Rumors of War

Rumors of War
Vol: 77 Issue: 29 Friday, February 29, 2008

If you were challenged to give a complete summary of the political history of Israel from 1948 to the present in as few words as possible, how would you meet it?

What words would you choose? Since I am the one who made up the parlor game, I’ll go first.

Of all the countries in the world, Israel is unique in that it is still fighting its War of Independence sixty years after recognition.

The modern state of Israel is the product of war, arising out of the ashes of the Holocaust. It was founded by survivors for survivors.

Israel has been in a fight for its continued survival since the day David ben-Gurion petitioned the United Nations for international recognition on May 14, 1948.

The next day, the Arabs attacked. Israel’s short history is divided by its wars; the War of Independence, the 1956 Sinai War, the 1967 Six Days War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War, etc.

“Israel” has a different definition geopolitically, depending on which of its wars one uses to define it. The UN defines Israel according to the 1947 Partition Plan. The Bush administration defines it by the borders as they existed following the War of Independence, the so-called “Green Line”.

The 1993 Oslo Agreement, as signed, defined Israel’s borders according to the Six Days War Armistice lines, which include the Golan, Gaza and West Bank, excluding Jericho.

Since Oslo, a mainly one-sided war against Israel by the Palestinians has effectively pushed Israel back within the 1947 Partition lines where it began.

I am sure that there are those that take exception to my characterizing the Arab-Israeli War as “mainly one-sided.” Think it through.

The Palestinians are throwing everything they have against Israel. If packing women and children with explosives and throwing them against the enemy doesn’t qualify as total war, what would?

But if the Israelis were to throw everything they had at the Palestinians, there wouldn’t be a Palestinian ‘problem’.

(I’m not advocating that Israel commit genocide against the Palestinians. I’m simply pointing out that as wars go, this one is remarkably one-sided.)

“And as He sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3)

Let’s step back first and look at the bigger picture behind the question.

His questioners were Jews who’d lived their entire lives within a day’s journey of Jerusalem. Jesus was seated on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came unto Him ‘privately’.

He replied to them ‘privately’, which infers that He spoke from the perspective of Jews living near the Mount of Olives.

In verse 6 He said, “And YE shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:7)

We began with my effort to summarize Israel’s geopolitical history in as few words as possible. My summary ran 202 words.

Jesus needed five: “Wars and rumours of wars.”

Assessment:

Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert termed its conflict in Gaza a “war”. The same day, his peace ‘partner’ the allegedly ‘moderate’ PA leader Mahmoud Abbas told a Jordanian newspaper:

“I do not rule out a return to the way of armed struggle against Israel.”

Abbas specifically rejected any recognition of Israel as ‘a Jewish state’ and categorically stated he would not disarm Hamas or demand Hamas recognize Israel.

Abbas pointedly told his Arab audience that “the only “recognition” of Israel he demands of a Palestinian unity government is to recognize Israel as its adversary.”

Insofar as his being Israel’s only hope for peace, Abbas admitted that he is really only “against armed conflict because we are unable. In the future stages, things may be different… ”

In the interview, Abbas bragged that he personally fired the first shot in the PLO’s terror war with Israel.

“I was honored to be the one to shoot the first bullet in 1965,” he told the Jordanian paper. He also bragged that, together with Yasser Arafat, they:

“[T]aught resistance to many in this area and around the world, defining it and when it is beneficial and when it is not… we had the honor of leading the resistance.We taught everyone what resistance is, including the Hezbollah, who were trained in our camps.”

Note that this remarkable confession of responsibility for virtually every Islamic-inspired terror death linked to Israel’s existence since 1965 is being made by the West’s last, best hope for peace between Israel and the Arab world.

Is this war? Or just a rumor of war? (Were it any place other than Israel, as seen from the perspective of the Mount of Olives, nobody would have to ask.)

What else is the “Mount of Olives Gazette” reporting?

A Kuwait newspaper reported that Hezbollah is making plans for a large-scale attack against Israel in March.

According to the report, the attack is being planned in coordination with Syria and Iran, and is to take place before the Arab summit next month.

The paper also said the coordinated assault against Israel would include attacks from Hamas and Islamic Jihad from Gaza and the West Bank.

In preparation, arms, munitions and fighters are flowing into Gaza through Egypt, signaling a possible direct Egyptian involvement in a new pan-Arab war against Israel.

Gaza, which until 1967 had been part of Egypt, is being converted into a military staging area via an Egyptian pipeline.

And now, Jordan has joined Egypt in breaking the Israeli embargo and supplying electricity to cities in the West Bank.

Indeed, the AP report detailing the electricity-supply deal under the headline, “Jordan Denies Wanting West Bank Back.”

Under that headline, the AP noted:

“In the past few years, speculation has ebbed and flowed on whether Jordan harbors ambitions to regain control of the West Bank. With Jordan now training a Palestinian security force, which the kingdom also insists is meant to assist Abbas, the question is rising again.”

Today, February 29, a date that occurs only once every four years, this is the overall Middle East sit rep.

To the north, Hezbollah, backed by Syria and supported through Iran, are preparing for a March assault aimed at triggering a ‘disproportionate’ Israeli response that will justify wider Arab involvement.

To the east, Jordan’s King Abdullah finds it necessary to deny reports Jordan wants to recover its lost West Bank territory, while Egypt issues similar denials from Israel’s southern flank.

Abbas is assuring the Arab world that he has not abandoned the ‘armed struggle’ as Islamic Jihad and Hamas prepare for simultaneous assaults on Israel’s east and southwest flanks.

Yesterday’s Jerusalem Post reported that Israel foiled a plot to blow up its nuclear reactor at Dimona.

While all this is going on, the United States is accelerating efforts to force the creation of what now appears to be two separate terrorist states before war breaks out, claiming that peace is just around the next corner.

You just can’t make this stuff up. If somebody were to make a movie about it, it would flop because the plot line was too unbelievable.

But that’s what the critics say about Bible prophecy, too. Even as it unfolds before them.

Special Report: Death of an Era

Special Report: Death of an Era
Vol: 77 Issue: 28 Thursday, February 28, 2008

Of all the things in this world that I find admirable, there is nothing I find more admirable than intellect.

Particularly when it is possessed by someone who truly understands its power.

Such a man can be a great force, regardless of whether it is a force for evil or for good.

Yesterday, one of the greatest intellects of the 20th century drew his last breath and left this earth.

William F Buckley died at aged 82 at his home in Stamford, Connecticut. Buckley was reportedly found sitting at his desk in the study of his home.

At the moment of his death, said his son, Christopher, Buckley was busily working on a column.

(That’s the way I’d like to go. His son sent a message to President Bush saying that his dad ‘died with his boots on’).

William F Buckley was the author of at least fifty-five different books, ranging from political commentary to novels to books about sailing.

He rose to prominence when he declared war on the postwar liberal order, beginning with his blistering assault on Yale as a ‘traitorous den of atheistic collectivism’ immediately after his graduation.

“God and Man at Yale” earned him the undying hatred of the liberal Establishment, not that it bothered Bill Buckley. Buckley was delighted when historian Arthur Schlesinger labeled him, “the scourge of liberalism.”

Buckley worked for the CIA for a year (under the supervision of E Howard Hunt of later Watergate fame), before founding the conservative magazine, the National Review, in 1955.

Buckley had a special love for young conservatives, forming the group “Young Americans for Freedom” in the 1960’s.

But he was best known to the public through his television program, “Firing Line” which ran from 1966 to 1999, beating Johnny Carson’s record by more than three years.

His wit was legendary. Buckley once published a particularly nasty letter from a Dr. Marshall Prickman that insulted Buckley for everything from his ‘stupidity’ to his ‘ugly face.’

Buckley responded to the letter publicly in his magazine, opening his reply with the words;

“Dear Doc. Please call me Bill. May I address you by your nickname?”

Assessment:

I hate death almost as much as I admire intellect. One gets a sense of the wastefulness of death when somebody like Bill Buckley succumbs to Adam’s curse.

Here is a man who dedicated his entire life to the accumulation (and categorization) of knowledge. He had written more books than some people read in a lifetime.

His brilliant wit was honed over a lifetime of debates with some of the most cynical and nasty liberal opponents imaginable.

Gore Vidal once called Buckley a ‘crypto Nazi’. Buckley responded by calling Vidal a ‘queer’ — on national television.

Testifying in a libel suit in which the National Review was a defendant, Buckley was asked if he called Jesse Jackson an ‘ignoramus.’

Buckley told the court, “If I didn’t, I shouldn’t have.” In the same trial, he turned to the judge at one point and said, “I decline to answer that question. It’s too stupid.”

When asked what job he wanted in the Reagan administration, Buckley replied “ventriloquist.”

Although a rock-hard conservative, Buckley supported Democrat Joe Leiberman over Republican challenger Lowell Weicker.

He explained his reasoning by saying that: Lieberman “doesn’t have the tendency of appalling you every time he opens his mouth.”

I thank God for the life and times of William F Buckley and celebrate his passing with a deep sense of personal loss. My hatred of death for the thief that it is has gone up another notch.

America has lost one of its greatest champions. And I have lost one of my favorite thinkers. William F Buckley was one of a kind. His death marks the end of an era.

I shall miss him.

“Repent and Be Saved! I Said, REPENT AND BE SAVED!”

“Repent and Be Saved! I Said, REPENT AND BE SAVED!”
Vol: 77 Issue: 27 Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I believe that the Bible calls us to be witnesses of Christ, and that there is no more perfect expression of God’s will in the life of a Christian than when he works to lead others to Christ,

That said, what does one do, as one of our readers related recently in one of our forums, when somebody is clearly not interested in hearing the Gospel?

The forum comment describes an experience we’ve all shared in some variation. You strike up a conversation, and somehow, Jesus comes up in the discussion.

Your conversation suddenly stalls, and when you try to revive it, you meet a wall of stony silence.

Eventually, you come to recognize the signals and past experience tells you its time to say something cheery and take your leave.

But then it bothers you all the way home. . . “why didn’t I press the issue? Am I a coward for Christ? Jesus endured the collective hatred of the human race. Am I so weak I can’t bear a little rejection?”

You are convinced you failed Him. You had a chance to share the Gospel, and you blew it.

Maybe if you had tried a little harder, they might have listened. But no, you were too chicken!

It isn’t like you don’t know what is at stake — especially if you have been an OL member for any length of time at all.

You know that every person you meet is destined to spend eternity somewhere. You already know that they will either spend eternity in the joyful presence of Christ.

Or they will spend a Christ less eternity alone, tormented by the punishments of hell and their memory of rejecting their chance to escape it.

You know it because I remind you of it every chance that I get to do so. The redemption of a single sinner is worth the whole world, the Scriptures say. When one sinner repents, the angels rejoice.

Nothing in our walk though this world is of greater eternal value than leading a lost sinner to Christ.

But instead of pressing the issue, you walked away.

Knowing all that you know, you gave up without a fight. What kind of soldier are you?

Assessment:

If that is your story, or you have one like it, then the answer is, a smart one. A smart soldier would not press a battle against the odds — just so he could say he was in the fight.

Once you’ve use up all your resources in an unwise and ill-prepared assault, then those resources are no longer available to be deployed elsewhere where they can be of greater tactical value.

You offered Jesus, the offer was rejected. But in making the offer, you planted a seed. What you do next will affect the probability that your seed will take root.

You can continue to pour water on it until it drowns. Or you can plant it, give it as much water as conditions demand, give it a chance to germinate, and let nature take its course.

Planting the Gospel is sometimes like that. You plant it by sharing the Gospel, but sometimes, like planting in saturated ground, you can overwater and drown the seed.

Sometimes, just planting the seed is all that is necessary, and then its time to let the Holy Spirit take care of the nurturing.

Instead of drowning the seed in your eagerness to get it to take root, sometimes its better to let it germinate, even if it means somebody else will get to reap the harvest.

If your concern is for the health of the seed rather than your profit from the harvest, then it is not such a big deal if somebody else gets to harvest it.

Should you have pressed that person who clearly didn’t want to be pressed?

Ask yourself how you react when a salesman keeps pestering you after you tell him you’ll think about it.

Not only won’t you buy from that salesman, odds are that you won’t buy that brand, either, even though the salesman had nothing to do with the quality of the product.

Jesus knows whether or not you’ve done the job He sent you to do. How does He tell us to handle rejection? Does He tell us to press the issue until it comes to blows?

No. He says: “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.” (Matthew 10:14)

“And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.” (Luke 9:5)

“He that heareth you heareth Me; and he that despiseth you despiseth Me; and he that despiseth Me despiseth Him that sent Me.” (Luke 10:16)

When Paul and Barnabas attempted to preach the Gospel, “the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.”

Paul and Barnabas did their best. They preached the Word, the offered the salvation of Christ, and the Word was rejected. What did they do next?

“[T]hey shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.” (Acts 13:50-51)

“And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the Spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.”

Notice that Paul and Timothy were moved by the Holy Spirit to witness to the Macedonians. Notice also what happened when the Macedonians didn’t want to hear it.

“And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.” (Acts 18:6)

This was the Apostle Paul, and the Bible says it was the Holy Spirit moved him to preach. But the Macedonians were free to choose.

Paul and Timothy didn’t browbeat them, but rather, Paul said, “I’ve done what the Lord sent me to do. From here on out, it is up to you.”

Paul was not a bad Christian. He wasn’t weak, he wasn’t wishy-washy, he wasn’t uncaring. Paul was God’s chosen evangelist to the Gentiles.

But Paul understood that the seeds he planted would grow unto the Lord, or they would NOT grow unto the Lord.

There is an old saying to the effect that “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink.”

And if you try, you’ll probably drown the horse.

It wasn’t up to Paul to do more than the task that God put before him. Neither is it up to you.

It is our duty and our solemn responsibility to make sure everyone we meet has a chance to choose whom they will serve in this life and where they will spend eternity.

But it is not up to them to make the choice for them. Or to feel responsible when they choose badly. It’s not we that we failed Him.

The seed we plant may not germinate for decades, but that’s up to God, not us. That’s where the ‘trust’ part takes over.

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)

Don’t beat yourself up. Your job is to take the stand as a witness. It’s up to the Holy Spirit to obtain a conviction.

“Faithful is He that calleth you, Who also will do it.” (1st Thessalonians 5:24)

There are times when its our job to plant the seeds, then get out of the way and let Him take it from there.

Beginning of Wisdom

Beginning of Wisdom
Vol: 77 Issue: 26 Tuesday, February 26, 2008

For most of the 20th century, the best-known, and arguably most influential atheist in the English-speaking world was English philosophy professor Antony Flew.

The Oxford-educated Flew was the son of a Methodist minister who regularly attended lectures by famed Christian apologist C. S. Lewis.

Although his field was the philosophy of religion, Flew’s reputation as a prominent atheist thinker and apologist with the 1966 publication of “God and Philosophy” and his 1984 work, “The Presumption of Atheism.”

In 2004, at age eighty-one, Professor Flew renounced his belief in atheism with the publication of a new book entitled, “There is a God.”

Flew’s ‘conversion’ was primarily intellectual, rather than spiritual — he didn’t convert to Christianity, but rather, he came to the intellectual conclusion that atheism was unsupportable and that the evidence supported the existence of a Deity.

To a Christian, that doesn’t seem like much of a leap, but the atheist community was scandalized.

In 2006, when Flew joined eleven other British academics in petitioning the British government to teach Intelligent Design, the secular community lashed out.

The New York Times Mark Oppenheimer reported that Flew’s book had been ghost-written by Roy Abraham Varghese and that the book reflected Varghese’s religious perspective — and not Professor Flew’s.

In his article, Oppenheimer characterizes Flew as a senile old man being manipulated and exploited by evangelical Christians for their own ends.

Varghese denied it, but the New York Times seldom allows the truth to interfere with a good story, and the Flew story was no exception.

Finally, Flew himself issued a statement through his publisher, Harper Collins, in which he set the record straight:

“My name is on the book and it represents exactly my opinions. I would not have a book issued in my name that I do not 100 percent agree with. I needed someone to do the actual writing because I’m 84 and that was Roy Varghese’s role. The idea that someone manipulated me because I’m old is exactly wrong. I may be old but it is hard to manipulate me. This is my book and it represents my thinking.”

Flew’s conversion was, as I noted earlier, intellectual, rather than spiritual. Professor Flew changed his mind as a result of what he considered to be hard evidence, not faith.

In an interview following his book’s publication, Flew explained;

“What I think the DNA material has done is that it has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved in getting these extraordinary diverse elements to work together.”

Assessment:

The antipathy of the secular humanist community for their former champion is understandable. Flew’s transformation, in the eyes of his followers, from ‘enlightened thinker’ to ‘demented old man’ was a necessity.

Had Flew simply become a Christian, his ‘conversion’ would have been much easier to dismiss. Atheists don’t view Christians as demented, but rather as delusional, which is both a distinction and a difference.

Christians might be irrationally optimistic, but no intellectually honest thinker would care tp argue that C. S. Lewis was mentally defective.

Christians come to faith as the result of being convicted of their sinful state, which to the secular mind is the same as being motivated by guilt.

A secular thinker understands what ‘guilt’ means, even if he finds the concept of an Eternal Judge irrational. But Flew’s conversion wasn’t motivated by an understandable, if “irrational” sense of guilt.

Flew’s conversion was the consequence of reasoned analysis, based on the otherwise inexplicable scientific evidence of Intelligent Design revealed by DNA research.

That is why his book, “There Is A God” had to be dismissed as either the confused ravings of a demented old man, or as a fraud perpetrated by a manipulative ghost writer.

A Deist is really a rational atheist stripped of both his intellectual comfort level, and of most of his best arguments.

An atheist is convinced there is no God, no heaven, (and especially!) no hell, no eternal accountability and, most importantly of all, in the supremacy of man.

At the end of this life, there is only the certain darkness of the grave. Nothing to worry about. Just a cessation of consciousness.

Deists, on the other hand, have neither the confidence of the atheist, nor the assurance of salvation that motivates the Christian. They arrive at their conclusion that there is an Intelligent Designer behind our existence based on reason, logic and evidence, but refuse to accept the notion of a personal God by faith.

Deists leave the questions of heaven, hell, eternity, etc., to theologians, but in so doing, leave themselves with fewer answers than either atheists or Christians do.

To a Deist “Intelligent Design” can mean anything from a Creator God to space aliens.

The atheist’s insurance is that he is accountable only to himself. The Christian’s assurance is that Christ has made Himself accountable on his behalf.

The Deist has neither insurance nor assurance, just a vague sense of ultimate accountability to some kind of Deity.

It takes little faith to acknowledge what can’t be explained away, but for Dr. Flew, it’s a beginning.

The Bible teaches that the “fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” but that, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”

“God Only Wrote One Bible”

“God Only Wrote One Bible”
Vol: 77 Issue: 25 Monday, February 25, 2008

There has been a battle raging within the Church since about the middle part of the 19th century, when a Coptic monk at an Egyptian monastery was building a fire for a guest.

The guest was Friedrich Constantine Tischendorff, who was traveling under the patronage of Fredrick, King of Saxony, in search of old manuscripts.

While staying at the Convent of St Catharine, he noticed some old-looking documents in a basketful of papers for lighting the stove.

On closer examination, he recognized it to be an ancient piece of the Bible. Ultimately, the convent yielded a complete New Testament manuscript dating to about 400 AD.

Tischendorf stunned the world when he unveiled his ‘Codex Sinaiticanus’ the oldest known complete ‘autograph’ [hand-copied manuscript] of the Bible in existence.

“Not so fast,” said the Vatican. “We just happened to have discovered an old manuscript in one of our vaults. Interestingly enough, ours dates to about 400 AD, as well.”

The Vatican’s manuscript was dubbed “Codex Vaticanus” for obvious reasons. The year was 1845.

Until then, the English-speaking world had relied primarily on the 1611 King James Version of the Bible.

But the Age of Enlightenment was sweeping Europe, and the discovery of the two previously unknown codexes (a ‘codex’ is really just a scroll) coincided with the wave of New Thinking.

The discovery of significant differences between the two older manuscripts and the Textus Receptus (Received Text) manuscript relied on by the KJV translators 250 years earlier created an intellectual Perfect Storm.

The oldest existing copy of the Textus Receptus dates to around the tenth century, and was recopied in secret as each old manuscript wore out from the 1st century forward.

King James rejected the Latin Version, and ordered a new English Common Bible be translated from the Textus Receptus.

That set the stage for the battle (that continues to rage to this day) within the Church between the KJV purists and users of other translations.

Many of the combatants aren’t even sure what the battle is about, defending their chosen version primarily on the grounds that it is easier to read.

The controversy behind the battle revolves around those differences between the manuscripts used for the translations. Some of them are very suspicious.

For example, a fundamental doctrine of Roman Catholicism that separates it from most other branches of Christianity is that of infant baptism. Wars were fought over it during the Reformation.

But it seems so clear from the Scriptures. . .

In Acts Chapter 8, the Ethiopian eunuch is reading Isaiah 53 when Philip happens by. The eunuch asks Philip about the passage, and the Scripture says,

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”

Clearly, Philip’s preaching bore fruit, for the Scripture continues, saying, “And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” (Acts 8:35:36)

Okay, checklist time. Philip shared the Gospel with the Ethiopian. The next thing he asked was, in essence, ‘what are the requirements for baptism?’

There’s no other way to interpret the question. “I heard the Gospel. There’s the water. What’s stopping me from being baptized?”

According to the Textus Receptus, “And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:37)

See? I told you the whole infant baptism thing seems so clear from Scripture.

If an infant can say that he believes with all his heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then the infant is eligible, by the authority of Scripture, to be baptized.

So what is the controversy? Well, it kinda depends on what translation you are using to support your argument.

If you are using the New International Version that was translated from the Codex Vaticanus, you will discover that your Bible doesn’t have an Acts 8:38.

Acts 8:36 is there, and Acts 8:38 is there, but either you don’t have an Acts 8:37 or there’s an asterisk to the notation, “this verse isn’t found in the best (meaning Vaticanus/Sinaiticus) translations.”

If you are reaching for your NIV to support your argument against infant baptism, the problem becomes immediately apparent.

Assessment:

Ok, that’s the argument in favor of the T.R. in a nutshell. Obviously, I barely scratched the surface of the argument in a few hundred words.

I personally study the KJV. And I believe there are flaws in the other translations. But I don’t insist that all other versions are either worthless or Satanic.

You see, the reason that I believe there are flaws in the other translations is because guys who CAN read Greek, Latin and Coptic Egyptian compared all three and THEY said there were differences.

Things that are different are not the same, so, if there are differences, it is clear that there are flaws somewhere.

But since I can’t read Greek, Latin and Coptic, never translated the TR or the CV/CS, in the end, I am choosing the KJV as the superior text primarily on faith, am I not?

Where have I placed my faith? In God? Or is my faith in what one set of translators say, rather than that of another set of translators? Or faith in what one group of writers and thinkers say, rather than that of another group of writers and thinkers? And so on.

After all, if I am to charge out there and defend the King James Version of the Bible, I should be sure I am defending God’s Word, and not that I am defending what a group of 15th century translators said was God’s Word.

I have my reasons for being suspicious of the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus manuscripts, but when you get right down to it, I don’t know without first looking it up which modern translations are from CV/CS and which are not.

I don’t know what the motives of the translators were, don’t know where they went to school, don’t know their names, actually, I don’t know much about them at all.

But I doubt they are all demoniacs united in some shared conspiracy.

Actually, I don’t know the names of the KJV translators, where they went to school, or what their motivations were, either.

About all I know for sure is that they translated the KJV first.

As to which is the superior translation, well, by faith in the translators whom I’ve never met, the intellectuals and scholars whom I’ve never met, and tradition passed down through the generations, I can confidently pronounce the KJV the superior version.

But based on what my ‘superior’ translation says, my faith is supposed to be in the Holy Spirit to illuminate God’s Word to me, to make it real, to lead me and guide me, and to be confident that He will not steer me wrong.

Here’s what I know. I know the Holy Spirit speaks to me through my KJV. I can study and learn from the other versions, but He speaks to me through the KJV.

But I also know some intellectually honest and spiritually sincere Christians who cannot understand a word of it. It isn’t because they are too thick. It’s because they can hear Him speak to them through another translation.

Logically, if the only valid translation is the KJV, does that mean that anybody who uses a different version is a bad Christian? Or more susceptible to deception?

Is the Holy Spirit limited in what He can impart spiritually to a sincere believer by the physical arrangements of English words on paper?

Is that all it takes to shut God down?

So, you may ask, “how many Bibles are there? God only wrote one Bible.”

(I agree. But He published it in Hebrew and Greek, so He left His Spirit here to help the rest of us understand it all — without it losing anything He wants us to know in the translation. )

Must the Swahili Bible be translated from the English KJV to be valid? Or the Russian Bible? What about the French? (Well, theirs would be in French, and therefore, superior in any case, so that’s a bad example)

Debating about the superiority of the various Bible versions is as much an exercise in intellectual pride than theology.

Don’t believe me? What does it mean if you win the argument? Think that through for a second.

He won’t be any more saved, but you can bet you haven’t strengthened his faith in the Bible. If he still can’t understand the KJV, and he goes back to his more comfortable version, he’ll be too guilt ridden and suspicious of it to get anything out of it.

And since he can’t follow the KJV, it means that you won the debate — but he’s left without his Bible. Congratulations.

Ok, one might argue, why can’t he follow the KJV? He’s clearly not trying!

(Well, ok, then, but when you finish making this argument, be sure and get up. God may want to take His throne back.)

“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” (Hebrews 5:12)

Now, that verse raises yet another debating question. Which is ‘milk’ and which is ‘strong meat’?

Trusting in a particular English translation of a Book? Or trusting in the Personal tutelage of its Author?

You tell me.

Is The New Testament?

This Is The New Testament?
Vol: 77 Issue: 23 Saturday, February 23, 2008

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

At this point in the process, nobody can yet say with 100% certainty who will be on the November presidential ballot, although the smart money right now is betting on McCain vs Obama.

Or, if one is taking one’s political cues from the mainstream media, its the Antichrist vs. the Messiah.

According to the New York Times, (and many conservative commentators) the Antichrist is John McCain. There’s something about John McCain . . .

Last month, the NYTimes endorsed his candidacy. Last week, the New York Times ran a negative story about him so thin that even many Democrats leaped to his defense — including uber-Clintonite loyalist Lanny Davis.

I won’t go into all the details — you can get that from the news, but Davis called the NYTimes’ charges ‘meritless’ and even argued in McCain’s defense.

“It is sad and unfortunate that facts are not included to make a fair story and that good journalism rules were not followed,” Davis said, while emphasizing he does NOT support McCain.

The fact that prominent Democrats are coming out in McCain’s defense has McCain’s critics on the Right flummoxed, as well.

They were all set to launch their own assault on McCain, but the NYTimes’ hit piece forced them to rally around their antichrist candidate.

David Brody, writing for CBN, noted: “In [the] conservative world, if The New York Times does a ‘hit job’ on you, then you wear that as a conservative badge of honor. This story could actually help John McCain.”

Indeed it could. Sean Hannity has been among McCain’s most vocal conservative critics. But when the McCain gossip column appeared on Page One, and above the fold, Hannity was livid.

“This is the most despicable act of liberal bias that I have seen in my life,” he thundered.

“They wanted you to come to a conclusion, and that is that Senator McCain had some kind of relationship with a female lobbyist and did special favors for her. It is beyond disgusting and despicable.”

Assessment:

While conservatives struggle to find something they like about the antichrist, liberals have unabashedly embraced Barack Obama as their Messiah.

Last year, Tim Noah at “Slate” inaugurated the “Obama Messiah Watch,” asking:

“Is Barack Obama–junior U.S. senator from Illinois, best-selling author, Harvard Law Review editor, Men’s Vogue cover model, and ‘exploratory’ presidential candidate–the second coming of our Savior and our Redeemer, Prince of Peace and King of Kings, Jesus Christ? His press coverage suggests we can’t dismiss this possibility out of hand.”

That was a year ago. A Google search for the words “Obama” and “messiah” this morning returned more than a quarter million results.

There is even a blog called, “Is Barack Obama The Messiah?” that tracks quotes from True Believers.

For example, this quote from the Dallas Morning News February 28:

It was more like church – not the stuffy kind, but roof-shaking soul church where people testify and dance in the aisles when the spirit’s upon them.

“It’s electric! Can’t you feel it?” said one man, who told me he was headed for work at the IRS after the rally. I could feel it, because it’s a fundamental element of crowd psychology that the expectation of “electricity” creates it. . . . ”

This photo of Barack Obama was taken at a fund-raiser in April and published in New York Magazine under the title, “The Transfiguration.”

Notice the man sitting to the right in the picture (on Obama’s left) in the blue shirt. That is billionaire and Moveon.org patron George Soros. Notice also, the reverent, misty-eyed adoration of his followers.

Also listed among Obama’s Apostles are Oprah Winfrey, who gushed that Obama’s ‘eloquence’ is rooted in the fact he has “a tongue dipped in the unvarnished truth.”

MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, (who actually moderated MSNBC’s presidential debates) abandoned any pretense of journalistic impartiality, babbling of Obama;

“I’ve never seen anything like this. This is bigger than Kennedy. [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have the answers. This is the New Testament.”

A few other Obama quotes out there on the net include:

“The atmosphere at his events is such that one wonders if Obama is about to walk out with a basket with some loaves and fishes to feed the thousands,” wrote Geoff Elliott in The Australian.

“It’s almost like the Messiah, you know?” said a young woman at one of his rallies, according to WCCO in Minnesota.

“It was raw, naked, complete, worship, love, heart-whole passionate stunned and almost unbelieving but desperately wanting to believe him adoration,” wrote one skeptic who was quoted after attending an Obama rally.

“He is their Messiah. It’s a cult.”

In a piece called “The Liberal Messiah” in the American Thinker, J.R. Dunn says that the cult of personality surrounding Obama is symptomatic of how liberals see their leaders.

“A leader is a transcendent being, someone more than human, someone with a touch of the divine,” writes Dunn.

“Leaders don’t handle tasks, they lead movements, they embody the spirit of the age. They transform. Leaders, to put it simply, are fuhrers. This explains why liberals are so attracted to tyrants on the international scene.”

What I find so fascinating is the role reversal. The secular media literally worships Obama, using adjectives like ‘messiah” and ‘messianic’ in almost every story covering his campaign.

In the meantime, conservatives are doing their level best to find something defensible about their Antichrist candidate.

Before the Silly Season is over, I expect to see at least one pro-McCain rally where they are holding up signs saying, “McCain – Not the Messiah.”

A ‘New Testament’ election — between the Messiah and the Antichrist — to see who will govern the ‘Great Satan’ — that’s a lot of religious imagery for a ‘secular’ nation like America.

And the timing is interesting, isn’t it?

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” (Matthew 24:24)

Belgrade Burning. . ..

Belgrade Burning. . ..
Vol: 77 Issue: 22 Friday, February 22, 2008

Following Kosovo’s declaration of independence last weekend, NATO Secretary-General said KFOR would “respond swiftly and firmly against anyone who might resort to violence in Kosovo.”

Moscow warned that it would not rule out the use of force, if necessary, to resolve the dispute over Kosovo’s recent declaration of independence — especially if NATO gets involved.

“If the EU works out a single position or if NATO steps beyond its mandate in Kosovo, these organizations will be in conflict with the U.N., and then I think we will also begin operating under the assumption that in order to be respected, one needs to use force,” Dmitry Rogozin said, in comments carried by Russia’s Interfax news agency.

The Russians have refused to recognize Kosovo’s independence, triggering a diplomatic standoff with the US and a number of EU states who had immediately recognized Kosovo’s declaration.

On Thursday, Belgrade erupted into rioting as angry Serbs protested the US extension of recognition, changing, “Kosovo is Serbia” and vowing never to accept its independence.

In an massive case of understatement, Richard Holbrooke, former Clinton negotiator to the Balkans was quoted telling reporters:

“The fact that (independence has) not happened as peacefully as people had hoped is the direct result of the incitement to violence by extremist elements in Belgrade, implicitly and privately supported by the Russians.”

Ya think?

Assessment:

America’s instantaneous recognition of Kosovo’s independence raises what seem to me to be two significant questions. The first question is also the most obvious (and the most difficult to answer): Why?

Thanks for a decade of NATO-supervised ethnic cleansing, the majority of modern Kosovars are actually Albanian Muslims.

Kosovo was historically the center of medieval Serbia, until it was captured by the Ottoman Empire in the 15th century. Consequently, to the Serbs, Kosovo is the heart and soul of its medieval history.

The displacement of the Serbs under Ottoman rule in the 14th century is called “the great migration’ by Serbians to the present day. Serbians have as long a memory as do their Islamic counterparts.

In the First Balkan War in 1912, Serbian forces joined a Balkan alliance against Albania to avenge their defeat by the Turks 400 years earlier.

The Balkan Wars revived Balkan aspirations for independence, and Kosovo became its symbol. To Serbs, Kosovo is a legendary symbol of Greater Serbia, a symbol of the ideology of rebellion against foreign rule.

On June 28, 1914, a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo. The Serb separatists chose June 28 for the assassination deliberately.

In Serbia, June 28 is “Kosovo Day”. British archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans emphasized the enduring power of Kosovo in the Serbian pysche:

“The memory of Kosovo, one of the greatest battles of the world, decisive even in its indecisiveness, remained alive up to contemporary times.”

American journalist John Reed also noted the power of the Kosovo legend.

“The Serbs carry on a hero cult, and today with the name of Milos Obilic they bracket that of Gavrilo Princip; the former stands for Serbian heroism in the tragedy of the Kosovo Field, the latter for Serbian heroism in the final liberation.

Gavrilo Princip’s assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was the culmination of the Kosovo ethos of self-sacrifice and martyrdom on behalf of one’s people or nation.”

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in Sarajevo was the fuse that ignited World War I. The spark that lit the fuse was Kosovo.

In a sense, Kosovo is Serbia’s Jerusalem. Which returns us to the question of why Washington was so quick to recognize its independence.

While Kosovo represents the historic and spiritual soul of Serbia, under the Ottomans (and later in the 1990’s under NATO and UN supervision) Kosovo was ethnically cleansed of its Serbian population, leaving modern Kosovo primarily inhabited by Albanian Muslims.

American recognition of Kosovo is therefore as much a slap in the face of Serbia as US recognition of an independent Kurdistan would be to the Iraqis, Iranians and Turks. And by extension, a slap in the face to Moscow.

The fallout from the Kosovo declaration, as already noted, includes a Russian threat of military force against NATO. It resulted in the burning of the US Embassy in Belgrade, and has split the world down the middle over the issue.

Serbian President Boris Tadic warned the United Nations (UN) Security Council yesterday that Kosovo s unilateral secession was likely to shake the world order for years to come.

“This arbitrary decision represents a precedent, which will cause irreparable damage to the international order,” Tadic told the 15-member council.

China, concerned that Taiwan will be next, expressed its ‘grave concern’ over the US decision. Spain, Romania, Cyprus, Greece and Slovakia have all joined the Russians and Chinese in denying Kosovo recognition, Brazil and India say they are studying ‘the ramifications” of Kosovo’s declaration.

Would that Washington had done the same thing – because the answer to the question of why the US stuck its neck out for Kosovo is, “I haven’t got a clue.”

Just about the last thing either the United States or the EU needs is another independent Islamic state, particularly one located in the heart of Europe.

Why embrace Islamic Kosovo at the cost of further alienation of Russia, China, Serbia and half of Europe, including Spain?

President Bush said he was extending recognition to Kosovo in the “interests of peace.” Maybe its just me, but shouldn’t the ‘interests of peace’ result in, well, peace?

Do you remember the last time Belgrade erupted into violence? It was when Bosnia-Hercegovina broke away from Serbia. US recognition resulted in a Serbian-NATO war.

Interests of peace? Perhaps we need to redefine the term, then.

Which brings us to the second question: What will Russia do if the NATO ‘peacekeeping’ forces attack the Serbian Army, should it attempt to recover its breakaway province by force?

It is not hard to envision the outbreak of war between Russia and NATO in such a scenario.

And it conjures up the spectacle of America, Old Europe and Osama bin Laden on one side, fighting China, Russia and the other half of Europe that opposes recognition of a new Islamic Republic on its doorstep.

How many sides can we be on at the same time?

What would America do if the Latino population of California declared independence and suggested unification with Mexico? Would China and Russia be justified in bombing the US to prevent a US military effort to reclaim California?

There is no logic to be found in America’s decision to support the creation of a majority Muslim state in the birthplace of Serbian Orthodox Christianity, and plenty of logical reasons for opposing it.

One need look no further than what happened last time, following the events of Kosovo Day, 1914, to find a really good one.

Is Kosovo worth another World War?