The ”Times of the Gentiles”

The ”Times of the Gentiles”
Vol: 77 Issue: 21 Thursday, February 21, 2008

Despite claims by Israeli officials that the issue of Jerusalem was not raised in a meeting this week between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and PA head Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian officials say that is nonsense.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that “the meeting dealt with all the issues pertaining to a final-status agreement, including Jerusalem.”

So, who’s lying? The Israeli government or the Palestinian Authority? The very question provides insight into how corrupt the Arab-Israeli ‘peace’ process has become.

Since 1993, there was only one way to tell if the Palestinian Authority was lying — somebody in the Palestinian Authority was speaking on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

In 1993, the Palestinian Authority agreed, in writing, to put off discussions of Jerusalem until all other issues between the two sides were settled.

Within a week, Yasser Arafat stood on the Jericho/Jerusalem road and declared Jerusalem the “capital of Palestine.”

In 2002, the Palestinian Authority claimed the IDF massacred 52 unarmed Palestinians. To support their claim, they dug up dead bodies from a local graveyard.

Helicopter footage of a funeral for one of the victims showed the ‘body’ falling from the bier, and hastily climbing back aboard to continue the procession.

The Palestinian Authority denies there was ever a Jewish presence on Temple Mount, while standing in the massive shadow of the Western Wall of Solomon’s Temple.

The Palestinian Authority stole billions of dollars in international aid, dispersed the loot among its top leadership (especially Yasser Arafat) and accused Israel of sabotaging the Palestinian ‘economy’.

There really isn’t much point in listing the official lies of the Palestinian Authority — space wouldn’t permit it anyhow — and if I have to convince you, either you just arrived back on earth after an extended trip through the solar system, incredibly stupid . . . or you are a UN diplomat. (But I digress. . .)

Indeed, for the very FIRST time since the Oslo Agreement was first signed, I am honestly in doubt as to who is lying. But somebody has to be.

Following the meeting, Prime Minister Olmert ‘denied’ discussing Jerusalem, but the ‘denial’ itself was parsed so carefully it could have been issued by a Clinton.

“The issue of postponing the discussion on Jerusalem to the end of the negotiations was not brought up in talks between me and Abbas,” Olmert said following the meeting.

Noted the Israel Insider of Olmert’s denial, “Of course, the issue of postponing the discussion on Jerusalem is a red herring: the issue is whether substantive issues were addressed. The Prime Minister did not deny this.”

Furthermore, the Insider reported, a “senior Olmert official” said that while he wouldn’t discuss what was discussed, “the issue of Jerusalem did not arise at all.”

That statement strains credulity to its limit. Palestinian negotiators have made Jerusalem the centerpiece of every negotiation since Oslo.

There are but two real issues remaining. Israel has surrendered to virtually every other PA demand — except the “Right of Return” and the division of Jerusalem.

While Israel’s Prime Minister continues to deny negotiating over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, Israeli religious leaders held a conference to discuss Jerusalem’s future.

Among those speaking were Chief Sephardi Rabbi Shlomo Amar, Israeli journalists, community leaders from Jerusalem’s Jewish neighborhoods, and Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Mount Institute.

From their remarks, it was painfully obvious that they also are inclined to believe, (like me, for the first time) that the Palestinian Authority might actually be telling the truth.

Assessment:

In June 1967, Israeli paratroopers fought their way through East Jerusalem to the Temple Mount. In the early 1990’s, I had lunch in Jerusalem with Gershon Salomon, the head of the Temple Mount Faithful.

Gershon was among the Israeli paratroopers who became the first Jews to offer prayers from the Temple Mount in almost two thousand years.

Indeed, it was that event that prompted Gershon Salomon to dedicate the rest of his life to bringing about the rebuilding of the Third Temple.

Gershon told me his participation in the recovery of the Temple Mount convinced him that he had been appointed by God to fulfill the prophecy of a restored Temple in the last days.

Although Gershon Salomon is an Orthodox religious Jew, he cited Jesus’ prophecy that “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)

Gershon was certain that the “times of the Gentiles” were fulfilled the day he first set foot on Temple Mount in 1967. Indeed, so were many Christians.

But only days afterwards, Moshe Dayan ordered the Israeli flag taken down and turned control of Temple Mount back over to Jordan’s Muslim Authority (Waqf).

Dayan feared the Israeli presence of the Temple Mount would so inflame the Muslim World that the UN would force Israel to give back all its territorial gains.

Dayan calculated that giving back control the Temple to the Muslims would mollify the UN and allow Israel to retain the newly acquired West Bank, Gaza Strip and the rest of East Jerusalem.

(The UN went along, and in response, Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas co-founded the PLO.)

Nonetheless, many prophecy watchers and scholars shared Gershon Salomon’s view that the ‘times of the Gentiles’ concluded with the unification of Jerusalem in 1967.

Some went so far as to declare it meant the return of Christ would take place in June, 2007. But it didn’t, because it wasn’t.

Jerusalem continues to be ‘trampled underfoot’ by Gentile powers to this day. It’s been forty years (plus one) since Gershon and his comrades liberated the Temple Mount and unified Jerusalem.

But the headlines in Israel aren’t about the goings-on in the rebuilt Temple. The headlines are about whether or not Olmert has already secretly agreed to give it all back.

The “Times of the Gentiles” are NOT synonymous with “the times of the Church Age”. Christians are not ‘gentiles’ in the sense of the New Testament.

The New Testament identifies three classes of human spiritual beings; Gentiles, Jews, and a “new creature” — neither Gentile nor Jew — which is the Christian.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” Paul writes in 2nd Corinthians 5:17.

The Bible says the ‘Times of the Gentiles’ go right through the Church Age and into the Tribulation Period.

It begins with the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and culminates with the antichrist taking his seat in the Temple of God and proclaiming himself to be God (2nd Thessalonians 2:4).

Israel conceivably could have retained control of the Temple Mount in 1967 and reached some kind of accommodation with the Muslims to share Temple Mount between the Mosque and a rebuilt Temple. But they did not, because it was not the time.

That doesn’t mean this isn’t the generation that will see the return of Christ. It MUST be. Jesus said that the transition from physical restoration to final redemption would take place within one lifetime.

Psalms 90:10 defines the average human lifespan this way: “The days of our years are threescore and ten (70 years) and if by reason of strength, fourscore (80) years . . .”

The sixtieth anniversary of the restoration of Israel will be May, 2008. The Times of the Gentiles could be yet ten, or even twenty years down the road without being late.

The Rapture could occur at any time before that event — maybe this afternoon, maybe in the year 2023 — nobody knows, even if they think they do.

So often I hear Christians lament, “Why not now? What is He waiting for?”

2nd Peter 3:9 tells us that “the Lord is not slack (slow) concerning His promises, but is long-suffering toward us-ward.” What does that mean?

It means that God is holding off the recall of the Restrainer (and His vessels, the Church) until the last minute for a reason. Peter says the reason is because He is ‘not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.”

Of course, God knows that not everybody is going to repent. But He knows who will. And He knows who will never bend a knee before Him in this life.

He is waiting for that last repentant sinner, that final part of the Body of Christ that will make it complete.

He is waiting for you. And for me. We still have jobs to do, and He is long-suffering, making certain we have all the time necessary to do them.

We think He should come today.

(After all, we’re saved. . . Perhaps that means we still have some selfishness issues to work on before we get to heaven? So much for Christian perfection here).

“Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.” Luke 12:40

He Is Able. . .

He Is Able. . .
Vol: 77 Issue: 20 Wednesday, February 20, 2008

One of the most popular misconceptions about Christianity is that, in order to be a Christian, one must be ‘good’. From the perspective of the Bible, being ‘good’ is something of a dichotomy.

On one hand, the Bible tells us to model our lives after the epitome of ‘good’ by emulating our Lord Jesus. But on the other, the same Bible tells us that actually reaching our goal of being ‘good’ is not possible.

Were it possible to be ‘good’ then we wouldn’t need a Savior. Think about it.

God gave mankind ten simple rules for living. None of them seem particularly difficult; love God, honor your parents, don’t steal or murder, don’t bear false witness, be content with such as you have, etc.

But the Bible says that not one human being (Jesus excepted) ever managed to keep all ten. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Paul wrote in Romans 3:23.

Having examined the conundrum of mankind and the sin nature, Paul offers this opinion: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

None of us has any difficulty remembering when we were unregenerate sinners. Committing sin was not a problem — it was easy as falling off a log. Being a sinner wasn’t that big a deal either, (as long as you weren’t as big a sinner as some other folks).

Then we got saved. Until it was washed away, we never realized how heavy and filthy and debilitating our sin was. Now, we know.

And as saved, Blood-bought, born-again members of the Redeemed Family of God, living in the world, but not OF it, we go through life keeping all Ten Commandments and seldom, if ever, slip back into our sin nature.

Where before we would have cursed at the driver who cut us off in traffic, now we bless him and pray for his soul.

We never lie, never curse, tithe faithfully, never have a ‘bad’ thought, never want to ‘get even’ with somebody who has wronged us, we pray without ceasing, give all the credit for our successes to God, and never, ever, get angry.

Our every waking moment is spent glorifying God for His mercy and we never speak to anyone without sharing the Gospel with them.

God’s love is reflected by us at every waking moment, and we are just as spiritual when we are alone as we are when we are in church.

That describes you, doesn’t it? You are truly blessed! (I wish that it described me.)

But it doesn’t describe me. Unlike many Christians I’ve met over the years, I still struggle with my sin nature. It didn’t vanish when I was saved.

I haven’t led a perfectly sinless life since my salvation. I’ve fallen, but thanks to the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, I can get up!

One could sum up my personal Christian walk thusly: “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

I know right from wrong, and I want to choose right, and I know that I hate sin, but I admit that sometimes do what I hate.

What does that mean?

According to Scripture, it means that, “it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:17-18)

Assessment:

It is our obligation as Christians to spread the Gospel in all the world and lead as many of the lost to Christ as God gives us the opportunity. But lots of times, we don’t feel ‘good’ enough to carry the message.

I mean, how does one rail against somebody else’s sin while one’s own sin is ever before them?

Has our hypocrisy no limits?

In many ways, the world has a better grasp of the situation than we do. Here’s Joe Christian explaining about sin and death and hell, but the lost guy KNOWS Joe Christian still sins.

Think back to before you were saved. Did you think Christians were all sinless? Or did you think they were all hypocrites?

Admit it. Before you were saved, you used to look for imperfections among Christians. It made you feel better about yourself. Think about the person who finally DID lead you to the Lord. He was probably the one who admitted that Christians aren’t perfect.

As Christians, we tend to preach one kind of Christianity and live another. We can’t live the kind that we preach ourselves, and, for the most part, wouldn’t want to.

The average lost person thinks of salvation in terms of what he has to give up instead of what he has to gain.

To the world, a Christian can’t drink, can’t smoke, can’t watch TV, can’t listen to rock music, goes to church every day the doors are open, has to love everybody (especially those he can’t stand) and is generally about as phony as Homer Simpson’s neighbor Ned Flanders.

Why therefore, would anybody want to be a Christian? Christians not only make it sound like a miserable existence, it is so miserable that even Christians can’t meet the rigors that kind of existence demands.

“Do as I say, not as I do” doesn’t even work when you are raising kids.

When we are saved, we are saved from the consequences of our sin, we are not saved from our sin nature.

We’d like to think we are, but in order to believe that, we’d have to also have a pathological capacity for self-deception.

Christianity is the essence of freedom, but we tend to present it to the lost as a form of bondage. You can’t do this, you can’t do that, you have to give this up . . . where is the Holy Spirit in all of this?

It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin, and He doesn’t do it all at once. He created us, and therefore He knows our limitations.

Salvation frees us from the consequences of sin, but only death frees us from the propensity for it.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:24-25)

The fact is that salvation was designed for sinners. The Bible makes it clear that all men have sinned, and that sin is part of our earthly existence. We are to avoid sin, but when we fall, we are to turn to Jesus and allow Him to pick us back up.

That is the essence of the Gospel. That Jesus loves us so much that, while we were yet enemies of God, He died for us.

Jesus doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves up first. He says, “Come as you are. I am able.”

“Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1st Corinthians 1:9:10)

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 1:24)

Don’t let the enemy steal your victory by blinding you with your sin nature. You can still do a mighty work for God. Not because you are able.

But because He is.

“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day.” (2nd Timothy 1:12)

Special Report: Whose Jerusalem?

Special Report: Whose Jerusalem?
Vol: 77 Issue: 19 Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Despite all the promises made by both sides regarding the sanctity of Jerusalem, it is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the city will be redivided between Arabs and Jews.

The truth about Jerusalem has been so muddled by decades of dissembling and propaganda that evidently even many Israelis are no longer sure if Jerusalem is historically a Jewish city or an Arab city.

The first recorded mention of Jerusalem dates to the 19th century before Christ, where it was listed in the Egyptian Execration Texts as “Rusalimum.”

It is next mentioned five hundred years later in the 14th century BC in the Amara Letters as ‘Urusalim’. It is about this time that Joshua conquered the Land of Canaan.

The Israelites lived in the Land of Canaan under the Judges until King David of Israel established Jerusalem as the capital city of the United Kingdom of Israel around 970 BC — sixteen hundred years before the birth of Mohammed.

King David bought the threshing-floor on Mount Moriah at fair market value from its legal owner, with the transaction being carefully recorded in the Book of Samuel.

The owner, Araunah offered to give it to the King, but David insisted, saying, “neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which cost me nothing.” (2nd Samuel 24:24)

David inaugurated the Temple Mount and set up a tent over the Holy of Holies, leaving the construction of the permanent Temple to his son Solomon.

David’s United Kingdom of Israel split a hundred years later into the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah, (which included Jerusalem and the Temple Mount).

The Northern Kingdom was conquered by Sargon II and dispersed in 702 BC; the Southern Kingdom of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians a generation later.

Jerusalem remained a conquered city under a succession of empires from Babylon to Rome, but it remained a Jewish city until the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70.

The Byzantine Christians took over Jerusalem in 324 AD. Jerusalem remained in Christian hands until the 6th century when it was briefly captured by the Persians and recaptured by the Byzantines in 629.

Are you still with me? Historically, Israel was in Jewish hands for a thousand years before Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem remained a Jewish city for another six hundred years after that.

After the Romans, it was ruled by the Christians for another three hundred years.

By the time of Mohammed, the Jewish history of Jerusalem already spanned more than sixteen hundred years.

The Muslims held Jerusalem less than three hundred years before it was captured by the Crusaders. The Christian Crusaders held Jerusalem for almost 150 years before the city fell to the Mameluke Turks.

Under the Mamelukes, Jerusalem was again the seat of Judaism. The Jewish sage Nahmanides established a synagogue and seat of Jewish learning in the city in 1267.

Jerusalem was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, but remained the seat of Judaism. In 1700, Rabbi Yehuda He’Hassid built Jerusalem’s “Hurva” Synagogue.

Four hundred years later, Jerusalem fell to the British in 1917, when the Ottoman Empire was defeated by the Allies in World War I.

Quickly doing the math, Jerusalem was a Jewish city for 1500 years or so, then Christian for another 400, Islamic 300 more, then Christian for 150, then Islamic for another 800 years, then Jewish again.

During all that time, from when David bought the Araunah’s threshing-floor until Lord Allenby marched into Jerusalem in 1817, to Christians and Jews, Jerusalem was always the capital city of Judaism.

Sixteen hundred years before Mohammed, the Jewish Psalmist wrote:

“If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalms 137:6)

From Abraham to Allenby, despite successive conquests, Jerusalem has been the heart of Judaism through the centuries.

From Mohammed to Saladin through the Ottoman Empire, Jerusalem has never been an Islamic capital, and ‘Palestine’ has never been an Islamic state.

Until 1917, it languished as a forgotten city on the edge of the Ottoman Turk’s Islamic caliphate.

In 1917, Syria did not exist. Neither did Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, the UAE, Saudi Arabia or the rest of the modern Middle East.

The entire modern map of the Middle East was drawn up in the 1920’s. Syria’s borders were drawn by the British in 1923 and administered by France until granted independence in 1946.

Iran, Iran, Jordan, etc., were created by the same British authority in the 1920’s following WWI.

But the FIRST national creation by the British was a homeland for the Jews in 1917, centered around the city of Jerusalem.

Assessment:

It is necessary from time to time to recap the history of Jerusalem as a bulwark against the propaganda.

Ninety years ago, the only defined ‘state’ in the Middle East was the Jewish Mandate.

And it was created by the same authority that created the rest of the modern Arab Middle East.

Ninety years later, even the Jews themselves aren’t sure who really owns Jerusalem. Behold, the power of propaganda!

The Olmert goverment is prepared to redivide the city, and is allowing the PA to set up intelligence and security apparatus in East Jerusalem in preparation for an eventual handover.

There is no history among the children of men more carefully documented than that of the Jewish people. Until the destruction of the 2nd Temple, Jews could trace their geneology back to Adam.

Their every conquest, every king, every ruler, every occupier was carefully recorded, their entire history, spanning three thousand years, is set down, in detail, in the pages of the Bible.

Until this generation, “The City of David” was instantly recognizable as another name for Jerusalem. For centuries, Christians sang of the “City of David” in our hymnals.

Suddenly, in a single generation, Jerusalem’s Jewish pedigree is in doubt. The entire world has taken a stake in solving a ‘mystery’ that is mysterious only in that anybody finds mysterious in the first place.

Is Jerusalem a Jewish city? Or an Arab city? I find myself astonished, even at this point in history, that anybody could entertain that as a question.

It’s like asking, “Is the Pope Catholic?” but to the world, the ownership of Jerusalem is as baffling as the identity of the true architect of the Sphinx.

The problem with Israel’s history is Israel’s history. Israel’s history is recorded in the Bible, and for the world to accept Israel’s history means accepting the Bible as well.

That is unacceptable. The world prefers the delusional view that Jerusalem is really an Arab city stolen by the Jews in 1967.

The alternative, historical view comes too close to legitimizing the Bible for comfort. They prefer the lie, because the truth makes them uncomfortable.

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:11-12)

There’s Something about Obama

There’s Something about Obama
Vol: 77 Issue: 18 Monday, February 18, 2008

There are a lot of cute names for it, “Obamamania” “Obamarama” (I liked Red-Eye’s “Baraca Blast”) but cute names aside, the phenomenon is real enough.

The Drudge Report featured a video link this morning of yet another fainting episode at an Obama rally — this marks at least the sixth time some lady has swooned at Obama’s feet since he’s been on the campaign trail.

Those in the mainstream media not caught up themselves by the Obama mystique call it, ‘a bit creepy’.

Noted conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer,

“Obama has an astonishingly empty paper trail. He’s going around issuing promissory notes on the future that he can’t possibly redeem. Promises to heal the world with negotiations with the likes of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

“Promises to transcend the conundrums of entitlement reform that require real and painful trade-offs and that have eluded solution for a generation.”

“Promises to fund his other promises by a rapid withdrawal from an unpopular war — with the hope, I suppose, that the (presumed) resulting increase in American prestige would compensate for the chaos to follow.”

But Krauthammer is a conservative columnist. Even more revealing are some of the comments by liberal media.

ABC’s Jake Tapper spoke of the “Helter-Skelter cultish qualities” of what he terms “Obama worshippers.”

(Tough words. “Helter-Skelter” was found written in blood on a refrigerator at the scene of the 1969 Manson Family LaBianca murders.)

The LA Times Joel Stein calls it the “Cult of Obama.” And TIME Magazine’s Joe Klein, (the ‘anonymous’ author of the book “Primary Colors” about the 1992 Clinton campaign), described it this way;

“There was something just a wee bit creepy about the mass messianism,” he wrote.

“The message is becoming dangerously self-referential. The Obama campaign all too often is about how wonderful the Obama campaign is.”

Even ultra-liberal NY Times columnist Paul Krugman is having second thoughts, writing that “the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to a cult of personality.”

Notice the adjectives being tossed about, here, ‘messiah’ and ‘cult’. And don’t lose sight of who is tossing them; ABC, the LA Times, the NY Times, TIME Magazine . . . the principle propaganda arm of the American Left.

Then there is MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who reported that, on hearing Obama’s Potomac primary victory speech, “I felt this thrill going up my leg . . .”

Matthews also once said of Obama, “. . . [Obama] comes along, and he seems to have all the answers. This is the New Testament!”

Assessment:

I was watching Brit Hume’s broadcast the other day in which they highlighted a lady standing just behind Obama as he delivered a stump speech.

Hume noted her fervor, eyes shining, as she clasped her hands together in an almost prayer-like pose as she gazed adoringly at the candidate.

Another panel member noted the way Obama’s audience seems to go into a trance when he speaks, saying that that reminded him of the 1960’s.

I don’t know about that. I grew up in the Sixties. I saw a lot folks in that trance-like state — but it wasn’t because of politics.

Watching Obama’s audience put me more in mind of the Nazi rallies of the 1930’s German newsreels than it did a bunch of stoned hippies chanting, ‘tune in, turn on, and drop out.’

I am willing to concede that some of the liberals that expressed concern about the Obama cult did so because they are members of the Clinton cult, but this is hardly empty political rhetoric.

There is much more to it than just politics as usual. There’s something about Obama that doesn’t quite seem kosher.

First, there is the whole ‘Obama the Muslim’ charge.

Obama’s father and stepfather were both Muslims. It is no stretch to assume Barack Hussein Obama was therefore raised as a Muslim until his parent’s divorce.

His devotees claim Obama is really a devoted Christian, despite the ties that exist between his ‘pastor’ and Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Given that we are in the midst of a war with Islamic fundamentalists, that should at least give voters pause for reflection.

Not so. It just doesn’t seem to matter. It doesn’t seem to matter that Obama has spent more time running for president than he has serving in the US Senate.

It doesn’t seem to matter that Obama is more or less a blank page . . . no legislative accomplishments to speak of, appearing out of nowhere as a Democratic standard-bearer even before coming to the Senate, born in Hawaii, raised in Indonesia . . . do we really know anything about the guy?

Just for fun, I Googled “Obama Messiah” to see what would happen. Google kicked back 206,000 hits in which “Obama” and “Messiah” occurred in the same document. (The first ten were about the “Obama Messiah Watch”. )

Back in 1957, Paul-Henri Spaak, former Belgian Prime Minister and President of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe, cried out in desperation:

“We do not want another committee. We have too many already. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are sinking. Send us such a man and, be he God or the devil, we will receive him.”

The Bible says in the last days, a politician will arise who will captivate the world the way that Obama has captivated America. He will seemingly have all the answers to what ails us, and will be embraced as the world”s messiah.

The Apostle Paul says that he will go so far as to sit on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant and proclaim himself to be the messiah.

As a kid growing up, I could never quite picture it. It sounded too fantastic — surely everybody would be able to tell they were being hoodwinked. We had just defeated the Nazis and were locked in an ideological Cold War with the Soviets.

If we understood anything, I thought, we understood the power of propaganda and the dangers inherent in a political cult of personality. Maybe the Europeans would accept ‘such a man’ whether ‘he be God or devil’ but America never would. That’s what I used to think.

But I grew less resistant to the idea during the Clinton years, when up was down, and black was white and it all depended on “what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

That was then. Before we had mainstream media commentators equating Barack Obama to the New Testament. And housewives fainting in the aisles.

This is now, and now, it isn’t so difficult to imagine, anymore. I’m not saying Barack Obama is the antichrist — I don’t know who the antichrist is, and I don’t believe I ever will, so his identity is irrelevant.

What is relevant is the conditioning process preparing the way for him is evidently almost complete.

And if the stage is set for the antichrist, then the next event on God’s prophetic calendar is to withdraw the Restrainer — and the vessels He indwells.

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

But first, the Rapture!

The Fellowship

The Fellowship
Vol: 77 Issue: 16 Saturday, February 16, 2008

The dictionary defines the noun, ‘fellowship’, as follows: “1) a friendly association, esp. with people who share one’s interests; a group of people meeting to pursue a shared interest or aim.”

Add the word “Christian” and it defines the ‘shared interests and aims’ that hold such a fellowship together.

A ‘Christian fellowship’ is deeper than a ‘friendly association’. Unlike secular fellowships, it addresses both the secular and spiritual dimensions of our existence.

It is that spiritual dimension that makes a Christian fellowship unique. By definition, a Christian is set apart,(the word ‘church’ means ‘called out ones’) — sometimes even from members of his own family and friends.

It is that spiritual dimension to our humanity that either brings us together or drives us apart.

The Apostle Paul wrote: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2nd Corinthians 6:14)

This is not so much a command as it is a warning. Paul is not commanding Christians to shun unbelievers.

That would make no sense. Paul’s mission was to carry the Gospel to the lost. You can’t do that if you avoid contact with them.

Instead, Paul is warning of the consequences of ‘yoking’ oneself ‘unequally’ in the spiritual sense. “Fellowship” involves shared interests and shared aims.

Unbelievers can be very spiritual. I’ve heard some very spiritual conversations about Buddha; about Mohammed; about God; about the afterlife; about the existence of heaven and hell; but the moment one introduces Jesus into the discussion, an invisible line is drawn in the sand.

What had previously been a friendly conversation suddenly becomes tense. It generally ends in one of two ways. It either gets heated, or it drifts off into an awkward silence. Nobody is neutral when it comes to Jesus.

Jesus said, “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matthew 10:34-36)

Unbelievers (and even some new believers) read those verses and they don’t understand. After all, wasn’t Jesus tolerant, kind, family-oriented and peaceful? Isn’t that the basis for asking oneself the question: “What Would Jesus Do?”

Why, then, would He say He didn’t come to bring peace, but a sword? Or that He would set families against one another?

Mature Christians don’t have to ask that question. They need only look to those family members of their own who shun them as ‘holy rollers’ or well-meaning, but deluded eccentrics.

Or those former friends who now cross the street when they see you coming? Or avoid making eye contact when they can’t?

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He doesn’t so much bring the sword as He invites it.

For many Christians, coming to Christ means making foes from among one’s own household. That is why a Spirit-led Christian fellowship is deeper than ‘a friendly association’ — deeper even than some family ties.

There is nothing quite as satisfying to the spirit as fellowshipping with like-minded believers.

There are no doctrinal hurdles to first be overcome, no need to carefully choose words to avoid kicking somebody else’s sacred cow; just the opportunity to just talk freely.

To be able to say ‘rapture’ without first either having to explain it or defend it is, well, rapturous. To actually be able to discuss it — in depth — and without the discussion degenerating into an adversarial debate — is beyond value.

And to have a multitude of counsellors with whom to share the trials and burdens and cares of this world, counsellors who understand this world and that to come . . . this is a gem beyond price.

The Omega Letter has become such a fellowship and thanks to the world-wide web, it is a fellowship that knows no borders.

We come from every corner of this earth, from every continent; to share our trials and tribulations, toils and troubles, victories and defeats, to edify one another, to teach and to learn, to pray for one another and to rejoice at each other’s praise reports.

We are many individuals, from many cultures, nations and walks of life, but we are one family in Christ.

We are doctors, lawyers, laborers, computer geeks, grandmothers, military officers, American, Canadian, Israeli, Australian, European, Mexican, Brazilian (even one Islamic country I’d rather not name) — we have many viewpoints and perspectives — but we are one in Christ.

We are committed to understanding the times in which we live and imparting that understanding to a lost and dying world.

You each prove your commitment to that shared goal every month through your subscriptions. In addition to paying the bills, it is the subscription fee that serves as the primary gatekeeper to our forums.

There are lots of folks who love to seek out and disrupt Christian fellowship forums for the fun of it, but very few who will pay for the privilege when there are so many targets they can stir up mischief in for free.

I claim no credit for the Omega Letter fellowship becoming what it has become. I had nothing to do with it — the fellowship is the sum of its members, as reflected by its members.

A member of our fellowship was relating in the forums the other day that he had been the victim of a drug scam at a fast food store. I found his post exemplary of what I’ve been struggling to articulate.

Your average guy would be screaming bloody murder. Our guy’s concern wasn’t for himself, but for the people who scammed him. The member’s replies were equally filled with prayers — for the scammers!

That is what transcends geography and nationality and identifies us as one family in Christ.

Another member has taken it upon herself to keep track of member’s birthdays. Another has constructed a member’s directory.

Some have taken on teaching responsibilities. Others as prayer warriors. (One forum is dedicated specifically to prayer requests.) We share, we laugh, we fellowship!

If you’re a member and haven’t taken the time to visit the members forums lately, you are depriving yourself of the best part of the Omega Letter.

(If you aren’t a subscriber, you don’t know what you’re missing. The OL Daily Digest is just the icing. The fellowship forums is where we keep the cake.)

I’ve wanted, for some time, to find a way to personally thank each of you for having blessed me through the years with your friendship and your prayers — without sounding sappy.

I was unsuccessful. It still sounds sappy. But it is hard to write a love letter without sounding sappy, since that is what this is.

May God richly bless each of us, and our Omega Letter Fellowship, until He comes.

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” (Jude 24-25)

Special Report: All Roads Leading To Tehran?

Special Report: All Roads Leading To Tehran?
Vol: 77 Issue: 15 Friday, February 15, 2008

The death of Imad Mughniyeh had terrorist leaders across the Middle East squealing at the top of their lungs.

(Actually, depending on the speaker, somewhere between a shriek and a squeak)

Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah shrieked: “Zionists, if you want this type of open war, then let it be, and let the whole world hear: We, like all other people, have a sacred right to defend ourselves, and everything we can do to defend ourselves, we will do.”

Nasrallah’s audience squealed; “At your service, Nasrallah!” in response, raising their fists in the air.

“If they want war, we want war. If they want peace, we want peace,” said Moussa Khader, a 55-year-old demonstrator quoted by the Washington Post.

“We’re just waiting for an order.”

It that order comes, it won’t come from Nasrallah. It will come from Tehran.

One of the reasons that Imad Mugniyeh was so difficult to get to is because he’s spent most of the last dozen years in Tehran where he served as a liaison between Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.

Mugniyeh didn’t return to Damascus until about two years ago, and had been in hiding ever since.

Since disappearing into Iran, Mugniyeh had not been seen by any Western intelligence service, noted the World Tribune.

Mugniyeh had totally reinvented himself; plastic surgery gave him a new face, Iran gave him a new identity, and a decade in hiding gave him anonymity.

He reappeared during a visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Damascus in 2006. That appearance sealed his doom. Since the, Israeli, French and US intelligence services coordinated efforts to track him down.

Still quoting the World Tribune; “Mughniyeh was considered untouchable and to most unrecognizable,” a senior intelligence source said. “This is a monumental intelligence achievement.”

Israel, for its part, is continuing to officially deny any involvement. A statement from the Israeli Prime Minister’s office said only that:

“Israel is looking into the reports from Lebanon and Syria regarding the death of a senior Hizbullah figure and is studying the details arising from this, as they have been reported in the media in recent hours. Israel rejects the attempt by terrorist elements to ascribe to it any involvement whatsoever in this incident.”

The US response was somewhat less subdued, however. “The world is a better place without this man in it,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.

“One way or the other, he was brought to justice.”

Assessment:

The Middle East is bracing itself for the expected Hezbollah counter-strike over what the media is terming Mugniyeh’s ‘assassination’. (“Assassination” is too honorable a word. A better word might be ‘euthanized’ — like putting down a rabid dog.)

Ha’aretz speculates that Hezbollah will most likely retaliate directly against Israel, but thinks the United States would make an inviting secondary target.

“American targets might also be a “suitable” object for vengeance, and an attempt to parlay Mughniyah’s slaying into political leverage.

If American targets or civilians in the Middle East or Middle America are harmed as a result of an Israeli assassination, Nasrallah can hope for resulting pressure from the American public against Israel. “

Somehow, I doubt that even the Left will turn against Israel over this. Mugniyeh has as much American blood on his hands as he does Israeli. If anything, it should underline the nexus that exists between Islamic terrorism and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Iranian news agency IRNA called Mugniyeh a ‘martyr’ saying his ‘assassination’ would ‘boost the spirit of Hezbollah forces’.

Syria’s Foreign Minister claimed the killing of Imad Mugniyeh has ‘ruined all hopes for peace’ saying, “Whoever seeks peace does not act in terror.”

If it wasn’t so deadly, it would be funny. Every single Israeli peace overture ever extended to Syria was met by a terrorist attack.

Syria lost the Golan Heights to Israel as a consequence of using the location to launch rocket attacks against civilian targets in northern Israel.

Syria also threatened to sue the United States for supplying Israel with weaponry.

“We will punish the United States,” Mouallem said during a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

“There are Syrians who were sacrificed during the Israeli war against Lebanon, and they will file a law suit against America, which provided Israel with the weapons.”

Ok, serious or not, that IS funny. Syria and Iran provided Hezbollah with weapons, many of which were used directly against the United States.

Overall, Hezbollah’s body count runs into the tens of thousands; Jews, Americans, other Westerners, plus the innocents who died as a consequence of collateral damage.

The killing of Imad Mugniyeh, and its aftermath is a reminder that we remain at war with an enemy undeterred by reality.

To the enemy, the cold-blooded murderer of women, children, and the helpless, Imad Mugniyeh, is a ‘martyr’. And whoever it was who finally caught up with him is a ‘murderer’.

As to the enemy himself, well, all roads seem to lead through Damascus and straight to Tehran. Mugniyeh avoided justice for a dozen years with Tehran’s open assistance.

Osama bin-Laden is also believed to have spent time in hiding in Tehran under the protection of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Iran has been training and providing material support (and personnel) to al-Qaeda forces in Iraq. It is colluding with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela to topple the US economy, using its oil wealth to undercut the US dollar.

And it is actively seeking nuclear weapons with which it has openly promised to ‘wipe Israel from the face of the map.’

And the clock continues to tick. . . .

The Cup of Trembling

The Cup of Trembling
Vol: 77 Issue: 14 Thursday, February 14, 2008

It was only a week ago that the leaders of several religious parties that make up Olmert’s coalition government reacted to rumors that Olmert has been in secret negotiations with the Palestinians over the division of Jerusalem and the ‘Right of Return’.

The Jerusalem Post published a story last week that quoted Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Queria saying the PA was involved in ‘secret’ negotiations with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.

According to the report, both Jerusalem and the Right of Return are being negotiated, despite the official Israeli position that neither issue is even on the table.

Olmert denied the allegations, and gave his personal assurances to Shas that the rumors were untrue.

Olmert promised the Shas leader that Jerusalem would not be discussed until the end of the negotiations with the Palestinians and that he would make sure Livni abided by that vow.

“We are satisfied for now, but if secret negotiations begin tomorrow, we are leaving,” a source close to Yishai said following his meetings with Olmert and Livni.

“He believes the prime minister and the foreign minister. If he didn’t, we would leave the coalition.”

Were Shas to leave the coalition, it would bring down the Olmert government and force new elections.

Despite Olmert’s denial, Ha’aretz is reporting that not only has Israel been negotiating over Jerusalem, but there is already a done deal.

Frankly, there is no way to be certain what is true and what is a rumor — after all, this is the Middle East.

There is a strong faction within Israel that is so tired of non-stop war that they would be willing to live with almost any settlement that would allow them to live in peace.

It would seem that desperation covers a multitude of sins. . . .

Assessment:

In 1993, that desperation had come to a head; five years of non-stop violence during Arafat’s first intifada exhausted the public will to resist.

The PLO and Israel had just signed an agreement that had been hammered out in Oslo under which Israel would exchange land for peace with the Palestinians.

The Oslo agreement put of Israel’s holiest places, like the tomb of the Patriarchs and Joseph’s Tomb, under Palestinian administration.

Under that agreement, the Palestinian side promised to respect the holy places of Christians and Jews as they do their own.

They lied.

In 2000, following repeated Islamic attacks on Jews worshipping at Joseph’s Tomb, Prime Minister Ehud Barak ordered a withdrawal from the area.

Within an hour of the withdrawal, Palestinian rioters overtook Joseph’s Tomb and reportedly began to ransack the site. Palestinian mobs reportedly tore apart books, destroying prayer stands and grinding out stone carvings in the Tomb’s interior.

Palestinians raised an Islamic flag over the tomb. Amin Maqbul, an official from Arafat’s office, visited the tomb to deliver a speech declaring, “Today was the first step to liberate (Jerusalem).”

The Palestinians burned the tomb, constructed a mosque on the site, and painted the dome of the compound an Islamic green.

Last week, the Israeli government announced its intention to restore the damaged tomb site. The Palestinians rioted, set the tomb afire again, and this week, claimed that Joseph was really a Muslim.

The Biblical patriarch Joseph lived and died about TWENTY-FOUR CENTURIES before Mohammed. But Islam also claims Abraham, who lived and died two centuries before Joseph was also a Muslim.

This is as ridiculous as making a claim that Abraham was really a Christian. The Bible says we are spiritual heirs to Abraham, but that neither makes Christians Jews nor does it mean Jews are really Christians.

Abraham had faith, and God counted it unto him as righteousness, but Abraham was not a Christian, for the same reason that Abraham could not be a Muslim.

Christian doctrine would not be articulated for another twenty centuries after Abraham and one can not follow a doctrine that does not yet exist.

If a Christian were to claim Abraham’s doctrine, he wouldn’t be claiming Christianity, he’d be claiming Judaism. Claiming Joseph as a Muslim patriarch doesn’t make Joseph a Muslim. It would turn Muslims into Jews.

It is ridiculous on its face. Yet NOBODY laughed, not even the Jews. And I’ve yet to see a single mainstream media organization question either claim.

As impossible as it seems, the world has begun to accept any Islamic claim, no matter how ridiculous, rather than take the chance of inflaming the tender sensibilities of the Religion of Perpetual Outrage.

Until this generation, the word ‘Jerusalem’ meant “Jew.” The Israelites split into two kingdoms, dividing themselves between the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom (“Israelites”) and the two tribes that made up the southern Kingdom of Judah. (“Jews”)

Judah’s capital, Jerusalem, was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, the First Temple was sacked and its treasures carried away to Babylon.

A hundred years later, the Persian King Ahasuerus Longimanus (or ‘Xerxes’) issued the decree to Ezra to rebuild both Jerusalem and the Temple.

The western retaining wall of the 1st Temple — the one destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar — still stands in Jerusalem today.

These facts have stood as solidly for the last two thousand years as has the Western Wall that testifies to their accuracy.

Still, according to the Islamic version, the Jewish claim to Jerusalem is unsupported by history.

And it is the Islamic version that the world has whole-heartedly embraced.

Accepting the claim of Joseph as an Islamic patriarch is like claiming Abraham Lincoln was a follower of John F Kennedy — but try and find a mainstream news story that sounds even remotely skeptical.

Uniquely to this generation, truth is not what is actually true, but rather, it is what people prefer to accept as true. I say ‘uniquely’ because there have been historical examples, like the Nazis, but that was localized to Nazi-occupied territory. And so on.

In this generation, the deception is as universally accepted as it is transparent. Because this is the generation of whom Paul was speaking when he wrote:

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:12-13)