A Growing Sense of Buyer’s Remorse?

A Growing Sense of Buyer’s Remorse?
Vol: 89 Issue: 28 Saturday, February 28, 2009

The president’s proposed Fiscal Year 2010 Budget demonstrates just how much power was handed to President Obama and the Far Left Democrats on November 5.

The budget sets an ambitious agenda for health care and the economy which the White House inexplicably claims keeps his campaign promise of fiscal responsibility.

The budget is the largest in history, in keeping with the theme that the best way to deal with a financial crisis is to borrow oneself out of debt.

But highlighting the economic ‘crisis’ (he used the word ‘crisis’ in a recent speech about the economy 29 times) seems to have a magical effect.

Obama’s budget is a study in management by crisis and the use of reward and punishment.

Because of the ‘crisis’, Obama was able, for example, to openly reward ACORN to the tune of billions of dollars, without so much as a raised eyebrow from the media.

As to the bitter xenophobic rednecks clinging to God and guns out in the hinterlands, Obama’s budget has a present for you, too. Not only will your taxes go up, (no matter how much you make) but Obama is targeting your church too.

Obama’s tax-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor scheme includes reducing the deductibility of charitable contributions for households that earn more than that magical $250,000 per year that defines families as ‘rich.’

Research suggests that a 10-percent increase in the after-tax cost of donations cuts giving by 4 to 8 percent, according to Roberton Williams, senior fellow at The Urban Institute s Tax Policy Center in Washington, D.C.

About 3 percent of tax returns in 2006 (the most recent data available) had income of $200,000 or higher, which equates to approximately 3.4 million households, according to research conducted on behalf of Giving USA. Those returns claimed 42.5 percent of the total amount itemized that year.

The higher tax rate by itself would increase giving by lowering the after-tax cost of giving — if the contribution is fully deductible at the full tax rate. Relative to that higher giving, however, the 28 percent limitation would raise the after-tax cost of giving more, he said.

One other factor is that the proposed changes lower a taxpayer s after-tax income, making them feel poorer, which has an income effect that leads them to give even less, Williams said.

Granted, this is allegedly only supposed to affect the “rich” but that is a smokescreen. Tax the job creators and fewer jobs are created. Tax them even more and some of the jobs that are there begin to disappear.

One needn’t have a degree in psychology to predict that the job creators in society are going to preserve their own wealth first.

Reduce the deduction on charitable giving and the net effect is fewer charities capable of meeting the challenges facing them — which in turn creates additional dependence on government.

Former Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Reich was so effusive in his praise of the budget that he couldn’t help but let the cat out of the bag:

“Finally, a progressive budget. President Obama’s new budget is, well, audacious — not just because it includes several big, audacious initiatives (universally affordable health care, and a cap-and-trade system for coping with global warming, for starters) but also because it represents the biggest redistribution of income from the wealthy to the middle class and poor this nation has seen in more than forty years.”

Robert Reich smart enough to see that the goal is not to fix the economy, but to exacerbate the crisis even further. Obama’s budget amounts to $11,833.00 in spending for every single American, but claims that only the richest 3% of Americans will have to pay for it.

Is that even possible?

The WSJ published an editorial that examined what would happen if the government levied a 100% income tax on the top 3% of wage-earners and Obama’s budget would still be running a deficit.

CNBC’s Larry Kudlow called the Obama budget a “declaration of war on investors, entrepreneurs, small businesses, large corporations, and private-equity and venture-capital funds.

That is the meaning of his anti-growth tax-hike proposals, which make absolutely no sense at all either for this recession or from the standpoint of expanding our economy s long-run potential to grow. “

Larry Kudlow isn’t exactly a political conservative and CNBC is about as deep in the tank for Obama as is Moveon.org or the Huffington Post.

What got my attention was Kudlow’s observation that “up here on Wall Street, a great many Obama supporters especially hedge-fund types who voted for change are becoming disillusioned with the performances of Obama and Treasury man Geithner.”

“There is a growing sense of buyer s remorse.”

Assessment:

One could almost think that was the whole plan. To push the nation beyond the breaking point. To stir up a national sense of buyer’s remorse. Even among guys like Larry Kudlow and CNBC.

Obama certainly seems determined to do whatever is necessary to destroy the American economy. He isn’t even pretending anymore. The plan is income-redistribution at what may turn out to be catastrophic levels.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that if everybody were equally rich, then everybody would be equally poor. And nobody would have any incentive to produce anything.

The Soviet Union was defeated economically, not militarily. There was a Soviet-era joke to the effect that “we pretend to work, so they pretend to pay us.” Income redistribution is kryptonite to the principles of American capitalism.

There is yet another story in today’s edition of Worldnetdaily highlighting yet another effort to force President Obama to prove he is eligible for office.

In the same edition is a story about the rising popular opposition to the Obama economic plan organizing ‘tea party’ protests in some thirty cities nationwide. They’ve got some pretty catchy slogans: “Honk if you want to pay my mortgage.” “Obamanomics: Chains we can believe in.”

What would happen if enough Americans started to suffer buyer’s remorse to demand that Obama produce proof of eligibility for office?

It never made sense that Obama would even run if he wasn’t eligible — after all, Obama had no way of KNOWING that he could make it all the way to the White House without getting caught. So he MUST be legal.

But if he MUST be legal, then why not prove it and get it behind him? The eligibility question hangs over him like an escape clause for buyer’s remorse. If enough Obama supporters get buyer’s remorse, he won’t be able to stonewall anymore. Currently, Obama maintans a phalanx of lawyers whose only job is to conceal the circumstances of Obama’s birth from the American public.

So far, they’ve been doing a pretty good job — mainly because they’ve got the ongoing media love affair with Obama working on their side. But Bill Clinton was once as popular as Obama. He still ended up being impeached.

And just imagine if there were something like this hanging over the Bush presidency? Obama is a constitutional lawyer. So Obama HAD to know before he even threw his hat into the ring that eventually, this question would HAVE to be answered and what it would mean.

He knows it would mean every bill he signed would be null and void. Including the trillions in future spending and the hundreds of billions already spent. It would bankrupt the nation. Possibly even push it over the brink into civil war.

A plan to bring down the nation from within by planting a ringer in the White House? Naw. It couldn’t be. It’s too bizarre. You couldn’t even make this work as fiction. There has to be some other explanation.

There just has to be. Doesn’t there?

1934

1934
Vol: 89 Issue: 27 Friday, February 27, 2009

“History does not repeat itself, but it rhymes” – Mark Twain

In 1933, Adolf Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. He took office in January, with Fritz Von Papen as vice-Chancellor to keep him in check. Only twenty years earlier the German Kaiser led his people into a disastrous war with the West.

Germans had had enough of the monarchy and the absolute power it had, and demanded the Kaiser’s abdication. Having gotten rid of the Emperor, the new German Republic carefully separated powers between the presidency and the chancellery.

But President Von Hindenburg was 86 years old when Hitler assumed the title of Chancellor of Germany. The timing was perfect.

Hitler’s ascendancy was meteoric. In the early 1920’s, he was little more than a neighborhood organizer. Over time, as hyper-inflation and catastrophic unemployment hit Germany, Hitler’s movement, dubbed ‘national socialism’ grew into a fringe party.

In 1923, leading what he hoped would be a violent overthrow of the Weimar Republic, Hitler leapt to a table in a beer hall in Bavaria and called on a gathering of officials to support him in the march on Munich.

Instead, they arrested him, put him in prison and outlawed the Nazi party. After his release, Hitler set about reorganizing the national socialists as a movement. In 1927, when the government lifted the ban on national socialism, it became a political party. In 1928, the Nazis managed only 3% of the vote.

It wasn’t until 1931 that Hitler began to made inroads within the vast German center-right political monolith still controlled by traditional conservatives like von Hindenberg.

In the 1932 election, thanks to such tactics as voter intimidation, voter registration fraud, voter fraud at the polls, etc. the national socialists managed a solid majority in Parliament.

In January, 1933 and only days after Hitler assumed the chancellorship, there was an explosion followed by a fire in the Parliament building. Hitler declared an emergency and rammed home the 1933 Enabling Act that allowed an emergency suspension of civil rights.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

President von Hindenburg died in August, 1934. Within hours of his death, the German parliament issued the following press release:

“The Reich Government has enacted the following law which is hereby promulgated.

Section 1. The office of Reich President will be combined with that of Reich Chancellor. The existing authority of the Reich President will consequently be transferred to the F hrer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. He will select his deputy.

Section 2. This law is effective as of the time of the death of Reich President von Hindenburg.”

The law was technically illegal since it violated provisions of the German constitution concerning presidential succession as well as the Enabling Act of 1933 which forbade Hitler from altering the presidency.

But whether or not he was legally eligible to serve didn’t matter much anymore.

Hitler declared himself Fuhrer and ordered a referendum to retroactively confirm it.

So on August 19, Germany, still grieving its beloved war hero and president, went to the polls and confirmed Adolf Hitler as their Fuhrer, an action that only four years earlier would have been unthinkable.

Desperate times called for desperate measures.

Assessment:

In 1933, Germany was one of the most cultured and honorable nations on earth. German honor was legendary, particularly among German military officers who would rather die than dishonor themselves or their sacred oath of service.

The German culture at the time was such that, despite the World War and its excesses, Germany was THE place for foreign exchange students and was a favored diplomatic posting.

Hitler was widely respected at first for his governing ability. He nationalized much of Germany’s banking system and began pouring money into the German infrastructure.

The first interstate highway system in the world was Adolf Hitler’s Autobahn. The ‘People’s Car’ (Volkswagen in German) was introduced at Hitler’s insistence.

Hitler’s political popularity morphed into a kind of cult worship in which he was styled as the German messiah. (The word ‘fuhrer’ is generally translated ‘leader’ but it is actually closer to the English word ‘lord’. )

Britain’s King Edward had so fallen under Hitler’s spell that it was necessary to force his abdication to prevent England from being ruled by a Nazi sympathizer. (Edward died in exile in 1972)

In 1934, when Adolf Hitler became the supreme leader of Germany, Germany had both a free press and a legally elected parliament.

The German Republic was a functioning, western-style representative democracy. Germany was known for, and disliked because of its excesses, but it was also known for being one of the world’s most honorable countries.

The demands of national socialism required rounding up certain classes of people. Experiments began on efficient ways to euthanize those deemed to be a drain on the German economy or damaging to its culture.

At first, it was baby steps, nationalizing the banks, rounding up firearms, demonizing certain classes of people, etc.

But desperate times call for desperate measures.

The trick to making it all work is making sure the times are desperate enough to justify the measures being advanced.

Here’s the point. When von Hindenburg died in August, 1934, Germany was still one of the most honorable and cultured nations in Europe and everybody from King Edward of England to FDR thought Hitler was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

FDR’s biggest worry abut Germany in 1934 was that competition posed by growing German industrial power might further damage America’s depressed economy.

Only four years later, German Jews were being beaten and killed and their property either destroyed or confiscated during Kristallnacht (The Night of the Broken Glass).

What is the point I am trying to make here? There is no period in history that more perfectly mirrors the current global situation that that of the 1930s — and on almost every scale of measurement; economic, political and spiritual.

One of the truisms of history, which has been observed by everyone from philosopher Georges Santayana to George Bernard Shaw is this: “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat it.”

George Bernard Shaw put it this way. “One thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history. “

So, what does history teach us? I’m not going to spell it out in words — and that, by itself, should be instructive. Free speech is only free under certain circumstances in this brave, new 21st century world — and my sense of history tells me this isn’t one of them, even in a private letter to subscribing members.

But I can still safely make a few observations. We’re hearing a lot about nationalism and socialism, national emergencies and desperate times. And I think I can still safely observe the following about the lessons of history.

A lot can happen in four years.

“A Spirit of Adulation Bordering on Servility”

“A Spirit of Adulation Bordering on Servility”
Vol: 89 Issue: 26 Thursday, February 26, 2009

An overflow crowd of more than 700 Canadians packed St. Basil s Church in Toronto to hear Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput discuss how Catholics should live out their lives in the modern world.

But what he had to say is something that American audiences needed to hear.

“President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with.”

“First,” he said, “all political leaders draw their authority from God. We owe no leader any submission or cooperation in the pursuit of grave evil.”

“In fact, we have the duty to change bad laws and resist grave evil in our public life, both by our words and our non-violent actions. The truest respect we can show to civil authority is the witness of our Catholic faith and our moral convictions, without excuses or apologies.”

In a reference to the messianic treatment the Barack Obama received from the liberal mainstream media during the presidential primaries, Archbishop Chaput delivered his second point: “in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs.”

Noting that Obama actually trailed in the weeks just before the election, the Denver archbishop said that this places some of today s talk about a “new American mandate” in perspective.

“Americans, including many Catholics, elected a gifted man to fix an economic crisis. That s the mandate. They gave nobody a mandate to retool American culture on the issues of marriage and the family, sexuality, bioethics, religion in public life and abortion. That retooling could easily happen, and it clearly will happen — but only if Catholics and other religious believers allow it.”

Winding his talk down, the Archbishop of Denver remarked on the misunderstanding of the word “hope.”

“For Christians,” he explained, “hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a political slogan. Virtus, the Latin root of virtue, means strength or courage. Real hope is unsentimental. It has nothing to do with the cheesy optimism of election campaigns. Hope assumes and demands a spine in believers. And that s why at least for a Christian — hope sustains us when the real answer to the problems or hard choices in life is no, we can t, instead of yes, we can. “

Wow. I like this guy. “Cheesy optimism of election campaigns” is a great line. “We elect public servants, not messiahs” is another great line. But the best line of his entire speech was the one in which he dismissed Obamamania as a “spirit of adulation bordering on servility”.

Assessment:

One could see that adulation on display as Obama gave his address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday. Nancy Pelosi leapt to her feet no fewer than thirty times as Obama mouthed platitudes, made promises and spun lies.

Obama’s speech, which the Left hailed as “Realistic, yet optimistic,” and Nancy Pelosi called “outstanding” would have been so much better if it was true.

For example, “We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages. It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values.”

Really? If Obama has a plan to make sure the bailout money only goes to responsible homeowners and not speculators, he hasn’t told Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Speaking before the Senate, Bernanke said it’s important to save those who made bad calls, for the greater good. He likened it to calling the fire department to put out a blaze caused by someone smoking in bed.

“I think the smart way to deal with a situation like that is to put out the fire, save him from his own consequences of his own action but then, going forward, enact penalties and set tougher rules about smoking in bed.”

So, yeah, we’re going to bailout that neighbor down the street who bought more house than he can afford. Saying we aren’t is a lie.

Obama on oil imports: “We have known for decades that our survival depends on finding new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before.”

No, we don’t. Oil imports have been declining since ’05 and government estimates say oil imports will continue to decline over the next two decades.

Obama: “We’ve already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade.”

Ok, I know that Obama is above Constitutional rules on eligibility, so he may be above Constitutional term limits. But unless something happens to change the rules, Obama won’t be president ten years from now. He might as well promise to cure cancer ten years from now. (Wait. He did. Didn’t he?)

Obama: “Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.” Another demonstrable lie.

According to the Department of Energy, it will take two decades to even come close to doubling the current 8.4% of renewable energy use.

Obama: ” “Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.”

The president’s own economists, in a report prepared last month, stated, “It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error.”

Translation: This one isn’t actually a lie. It’s more of a best-guess scenario.

And finally, the most astonishing claim of the entire speech: “We’ve passed a recovery plan free of earmarks.”

The White House defends this lie by blaming it — I’m not making this up — on the Bush administration. “What may be next week’s bill is last year’s legislation,” says press secretary Robert Gibbs.

And it is a lie. Even the Democrats admit to $3.8 billion in earmarks. Ok, so $3.8 billion doesn’t sound like much. Three point eight billon seconds ago was 1888. Three point eight billion minutes ago, Noah was constructing the ark.

It’s only a couple of earmarks, really. What Charles Schumer described as a few ‘porky’ items that “only the chattering classes care about,” added $10,000 worth of debt per American household.

With the stroke of a pen, interest increases the overall cost to $1.3 trillion, and per household debt grew to more than $16,000.

The Archbishop of Denver has his finger on the pulse of the American electorate. Obamamania is a spirit of adulation, but I wouldn’t say it is bordering on servility. We’ve gone all the way past that.

FDR s own Treasury Secretary, Henry Morgenthau, wrote in his diary dated May 1939:

We have tried spending money. We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work I want to see this country prosper. I want to see people get a job. I want to see people get enough to eat. We have never made good on our promises. I say after eight years of this administration, we have just as much unemployment as when we started. And enormous debt to boot.

Will it work? The proof is in the pudding. Every time the administration announces a new spending measure, the Dow drops another three hundred points.

Yesterday’s Drudge Report featured a chart showing the Dow’s cratering numbers from the day before over the caption, “Do you think it was something he said?’

Perhaps.

Understanding the Times of the Signs Part Three

Understanding the Times of the Signs Part Three
Vol: 89 Issue: 25 Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The AFP is reporting today that Secretary of State Clinton ‘rapped’ Israel for “blocking aid into the besieged Gaza Strip” and threatening to “raise the Issue” when she visits the region next week.

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz says US envoy George Mitchell is “expected to issue a strongly worded statement on the situation when he travels to Israel this week.”

There are two main sticking points. Israel has linked opening the Gaza crossing points to the release of a kidnapped Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit. Hamas kidnapped Shalit in 2006. If Shalit is released, Israel will open the crossing points.

It is worth mentioning, however, that Israel has not blocked all aid into Gaza — just the luxuries. And kidnapping is an international crime; hostage-taking is against international law. Hamas admits it holds Shalit.

The second sticking point is that Hamas is STILL launching rockets into Israel from Gaza. Two rockets landed in southern Israel five hours ago (at the time of this writing).

So which of these two sticking points can Israel un-stick on its own? Hamas has exclusive control over both issues. I read not one word of condemnation for Hamas by either official or in either report. It is as if Hamas were some kind of other-wordly species of being not bound by the standards of normal human behavior.

So what if Hamas is still holding Shalit hostage? So what if it is still shooting rockets at random into Israeli cities and towns.

That’s what Hamas does. That’s why Israel is getting ‘rapped’ by the US and not Hamas. Hamas is simply following its religious duty — which is to destroy Israel by any and all means available.

Wisdom Plus Knowledge = Understanding

We’ve looked briefly at the high points of both Islamic and Jewish eschatology. One of Islam’s major signs is when Muslims defeat Jews in battle. One of the ten signs of the coming Messianic Age is when Jews turn against Jews.

Hezbollah considers the Lebanon War of 2006 a tactical defeat for Israel. So do many analysts. Israel’s war objective was the disarming and destruction of Hezbollah as a fighting force and the recovery of two similarly-kidnapped soldiers. Hezbollah survived and Israel withdrew without recovering its men.

Hamas claims a similar ‘victory’ in the Gaza incursion. Israel vowed to end the rocket attacks from Gaza and recover Gilad Shalit. As noted earlier, Shalit is still in Hamas’ hands and two rockets just landed in southern Israel.

Wisdom is knowing the signs will be fulfilled; knowledge provides the background necessary to connect the dots; so understanding is therefore, the application of wisdom plus knowledge.

This series is about understanding the times within the context of the signs given by Bible prophecy. I wasn’t just using clever wordplay when I titled this series of articles. The signs have been right there in the Bible all along.

It is the times that make the signs relevant.

The Times of the Gentiles

The global Islamic population is estimated at about 1.2 billion. The number of professing or cultural Christians worldwide is estimated at roughly the same number, 1.2 billion.

That is 2.4 billion, more or less, out of a world population approaching 7 billion (in 2012).

The worldwide Jewish population is estimated at 13.2 million.

Let’s express it in percentages. Roughly one third, or 33% of the world is either Christian or Muslim. The global Jewish population is roughly 0.2% or two-tenths of one percent.

Islam has its major and minor signs signaling the return of the Mahdi. The Jewish Sanhedrin identifies the ten signs that will precede/accompany the Moshiac. Christian theology divides its major and minor signs as the “beginning of sorrows” or “birth pangs” and the “birth pangs” themselves.

The beginning of sorrows are political; (wars and rumors of wars) natural; (famines and earthquakes) and religious: (false prophets and false Christs) (Matthew 24:5-7) and unique (reestablishment of Israel) (Matthew 24:32, Isaiah 11:11-12)

The birth pangs include; the restoration of Temple worship (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 25:15, 2nd Thessalonians 2:4) the persecution of Israel and a rise in worldwide anti-semitism, weather anomalies, celestial disturbances (Matthew 24:29, Luke 21:25) and brief period of world wide Christian revival (Matthew 24:14)

Note something remarkable here. Israel’s ten signs of the Messianic Age require the reestablishment of Israel as a state to be relevant. It is the existence of Israel that defines this as the Messianic Age. The Messiah must be anointed with the oil of anointing in a restored Temple on Temple Mount.

Jewish theology demands Jewish possession of the Temple Mount. But it doesn’t require the existence of either Christianity or Islam to be relevant.

Islam also requires the existence of Israel for its eschatology to be relevant. An Islamic military defeat of Jews in battle, one of Islam’s major signs, demands an Israel to do battle with.

Without Jews to defeat and Christians to betray afterward, Islamic eschatology would collapse.

Christian eschatology is utterly dependent upon the existence of Israel for relevance. The restoration of Israel is the singular event that nails down this generation as the generation that will see the return of Christ.

All the subsequent birth pangs; Temple worship, abomination of desolation, global antisemitism, false christs and prophets, etc., demand the existence of Israel in order for them to be relevant to our age.

Islam needs Israel as a target to hate. Christianity needs Israel the way a child needs a parent to explain its existence. But the central point is that both NEED tiny Israel’s 0.2% of humanity to exist in order for them to be relevant.

It is the existence of Israel that defines the “Times of the Gentiles.”

Assessment:

Taken together, what does it all mean? First, we have to understand that eschatology is as central to Islam as it is to either Christianity or Judaism — maybe even more so.

It is a central feature to Islamic prophecy that Allah will eternally destroy Israel at the Last Day. From the date Mohammed first began preaching his new faith until May 14, 1948, there had never been an Israel to destroy.

We also need to understand that Islam’s adherents are sincere believers. They believe as sincerely in the tenets of their faith as we do.

Just as Christianity imposes a religious duty upon Christians to share the good news, Islam imposes a religious duty on Islam to overspread the Dar al Harb (Zone of War) by proselytizing where possible and by the sword where necessary.

It is central to Islamic eschatology that Israel be utterly destroyed and that Jerusalem be restored to Islamic rule. The Mahdi would not and could not return unless and until there was a Jewish state for him to destroy.

It is central to Jewish eschatology that Israel not only be restored, but ultimately to regain possession and control of Temple Mount from which the Jewish Messiah can be anointed when he comes (Daniel 9:24)

It is central to Christian theology that the antichrist, when he comes, finds the Jews in possession of Temple Mount. He can’t desecrate the Jewish Temple until after it has been re-consecrated.

We opened this report with a discussion of the US effort to get the peace process back on track. For that to actually happen, the Arab negotiators have to be willing to abandon much of Islam and its central doctrines.

They would have to at least entertain the notion that Israel will continue to possess Jerusalem or parts of it, as well as the Noble Sanctuary at al Aqsa. (That’s what recognizing Israel’s right to exist entails.)

The Jews would have to be willing to abandon the most important sign of all — the existence of a Jewish State for the Messiah to rule.

This is what global expectations for a successful peace process would require of its participants.

Conversely, Christian prophecy requires a peace process since both Daniel and Paul predict its confirmation as the starting point to the 70th Week of Daniel and its collapse as the starting point of the Great Tribulation.

The Olivet Discourse is a study in wisdom, instruction, and knowledge. Having outlined all the signs of His coming, Jesus pulls it all together in a single, blinding flash of inspired understanding.

He said, “And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.”

Understanding the Times of the Signs – Part Two

Understanding the Times of the Signs – Part Two
Vol: 89 Issue: 24 Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The last time I visited Israel was just before the signing of the Oslo Agreement in 1993. At the time I was there, both the West Bank and Gaza were part of Israel.

We travelled freely north and south along the Jordanian border, past Jewish settlements then-extending throughout the West Bank. I recall at one point being struck by the contrasts between the opposite sides of the same road.

To the east was the border with Jordan: razor wire fencing, a buffer strip laced with mines, another razor wire fence and beyond that, an endless expanse of nothing.

Not five hundred yards to the west were neatly planted rows of orange and other fruit trees. The orchard stretched on for miles. It was as endlessly green on the Israeli side as it was dry and brown on Jordan’s.

There wasn’t a half-mile between them, but they might as well have been on opposite sides of the earth. It had once all been as barren as a moonscape. But when the Jews moved in, the land responded to their touch, just as Scripture prophesied.

Everything that they had touched had prospered. (That which was turned over to Palestinians since has withered and died.)

A Judgment AND a Prophecy

As two nations, Arabs and Jews share a common ancestry going back to Abraham, his sons Isaac and Ishmael, and grandsons Jacob and Esau.

“And he [Ishmael] will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.” (Genesis 16:12)

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.” Genesis 17:20

“And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)

Understanding that the Arab-Israeli conflict is rooted in Bible prophecy is key to understanding the times that fit the signs for the last days.

It is a conflict that began more than four thousand years ago following the death of Joshua.

The Israelites disobeyed God and entered into peace agreements with the Jebusites of Jerusalem, the Canaanites that inhabited areas of the West Bank, and the Amorites who inhabited what is modern Jordan.

“And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars: but ye have not obeyed My voice: why have ye done this? Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”

(Judges 2:2-3)

It was both a judgment and a prophecy. Today, both sides continue to negotiate despite knowing that neither side can prevail in the debate over ownership of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

For one side to prevail, the other side’s god has to lose — a snare from which there is no discernible way out.

The Times of The Signs

Just as the Mahdi is central to Islamic eschatology, [study of the last days] the coming of the Jewish Moshiac [Messiah] is central to Jewish eschatology.

The Jews of Israel reject the notion that their Messiah has already come. The messiah they are waiting for is a political figure. The Jews are not expecting a Messiah/ God.

They are expecting a political deliverer with a direct line to God, more along the lines of Moses. They look for someone who will bring peace and deliverance to Israel.

The Sanhedrin (97b) delineates ten specific signs that will accompany the advent of the Jewish Messiah.

1.) The world will either be all righteous or all guilty.

2.) Truth will be in short supply.

3) Inflation will soar.

4)Israel will be restored and repopulated.

5) Wise people will be scarce.

6) Jews will despair of their redemption.

7) The young will despise the old.

8) Scholarship will be rejected.

9) Piety will be held in disgust.

10) Jews will turn against Jews.

Admittedly it could be argued that most of these signs are pretty general and could have applied to any generation in history. Except for the restoration of Israel — without which, none of the other signs are relevant. And all ten signs must accompany the messiah.

It is much easier to argue the world is all guilty than it would be to try and pinpoint some examples of righteous worldly behavior. And to say truth is in short supply is the understatement of the 21st century. And so it goes, down the list.

Suffice to say that based on the Jewish signs of the times, the coming of the Jewish Mosiach is not merely imminent, but overdue.

When the Messiah came the first time, He lamented: “I am come in My Father’s Name, and ye receive Me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.” (John 5:43)

This time the Jews are ready for their messiah. So ready that, at first, they will embrace an impostor, says the Apostle Paul.

“Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:4)

This is uniquely Jewish and uniquely for the last days. When the antichrist enters the restored Temple and takes his seat on the Mercy Seat of the Ark, that is the ‘abomination of desolation’ referred to by Jesus as the event that kicks off the last half of the Tribulation Period.

“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains . . . But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:16,20-21)

Assessment:

As we examine and compare the various eschatological views, what I want you to keep in mind is that they are unchanged over the centuries. For the most part, they’ve existed down through the ages without modification.

Much of what Islamic eschatology predicted for the last days fits with this generation. That doesn’t mean that I believe that Islamic prophecy or the Koran are divinely inspired.

Things that are different are not the same. The Koran contradicts the Bible. I believe the Bible was inspired by God. God doesn’t contradict His own Word.

But as we saw in yesterday’s brief, Islamic prophecy is loosely based on Jewish and Christian teaching – it draws on Divine inspiration given elsewhere. Consequently, Islam has its own antichrist, [al-Dajill] its own messiah [the Mahdi] and its own religious beast [Isa].

Note that the physical existence of Israel in the last days is central to all three eschatological schemes.

In Judaism and Christianity, Israel’s eternal salvation is at the heart and soul of all end times prophecy and Israel’s redemption is the central purpose of the last days.

In Islamic eschatology, Israel is the enemy of the Muslim Umma and will be eternally destroyed by Allah in the last days.

The point is that all three religious systems point to the same generation as the generation of the end. The generation that witnessed the restoration of Israel.

That doesn’t mean, as I said earlier, that Islam is divinely inspired — quite the opposite. If anything it proves that the Enemy also believes this is the generation that will see the return of Christ and the fulfillment of all things.

And so part of what we are witnessing is the Enemy getting his ducks in a row.

“Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12)

“So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. ” (Matthew 24:33-34)

And we have front row seats.

Understanding the Times of the Signs – Part One

Understanding the Times of the Signs – Part One
Vol: 89 Issue: 23 Monday, February 23, 2009

Christianity is not the only faith that believes that God not only recorded the future in advance, but that He did so to a specific purpose. Both Islam and Judaism both have their own eschatology (signs of the times).

The Scriptures tell us that wisdom plus instruction equal understanding and that ‘understanding’ is the senior of the three attributes.

Psalms 111:10 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever.”

Proverbs 1:7: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

Proverbs 3:13: “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. “

Proverbs 8:5: “O ye simple, understand wisdom: and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.”

When one seeks wisdom through instruction, the Bible promises the result will be understanding.

Wisdom is something one uses to drive a car in traffic to keep from being involved in an accident. Understanding is what one requires to fix a car when it breaks down. Lots of people have the wisdom necessary to drive. Only a few have the understanding necessary to be a mechanic.

If you are stuck on the side of the road with a dead engine, you don’t need somebody with safe-driver wisdom. You need somebody with engine-fixing understanding.

There is a difference between the signs of the times and the times of the signs. The Lord gave us signs of the times thousands of years in advance. The signs were described long before the times in which they were possible.

People living in 500 AD knew the signs — but the time was not yet. People living in 2009 are living in the times the signs describe.

Over the next couple of days, we’re going to seek understanding about both the signs of the times and the times of the signs.

There is a term within Islam called “The Pillars of Islam” that outlines the five (or eight) duties incumbent upon every Muslim. The duties they impose are as follows:

1) Shahada: The Profession of Faith. To become a Muslim, one need only recite the Shahada (“There is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet” three times before witnesses.

2) Salah: Prayers. Muslims are required to pray five times a day at fixed times; dawn, noon, mid-afternoon, sunset and night. During salat the faithful face the Kaaba in Mecca. Failure to perform Salat is a personal sin.

3) Zakat: Alms-giving. All Muslims who are able to do so must give Zakat. Zakat consists of spending a fixed portion of one’s wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travellers.

There are two main types of Zakat. First, there is the kajj, which is a fixed amount based on the cost of food that is paid during the month of Ramadan by the head of a family for himself and his dependents.

Second, there is the Zakat on wealth, which covers money made in business, savings, income, and so on. Zakat is based on 2.5% of one’s annual income or nisab, the minimum, which is three ounces of gold (currently $2,640.00.)

4) Sawm: Fasting. The Koran recognizes three kinds of fasts; ritual fasting, fasting as compensation or penance, and asthetic fasting.

5) Hajj: Pilgrimage to Mecca. It is the duty of every Muslim to make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his life time to throw stones at the devil.

Islam, like Christianity or Judaism, is not monolithic; within Islam are dozens of sects or ‘denominations’. Within Shia Islam there are eight pillars; in addition to the five already listed are:

6) Jihad: Jihad refers to ‘the struggle”. ‘Moderate’ or apostatic Islam argues that the jihad is a internal struggle with the sin nature. The problem with this interpretation is that Islam denies the sin nature. Sura 7:23-29 argues that men are basically good and are turned by Satan with Allah’s permission.

7)Walayah: Guardianship of the Umma (world-wide Islamic community).

8) Taharat: Purity or Islamic hygiene.

Islam includes similar imagery to that of Christian or Judaic eschatology. Until one begins to study it. Then the similarities cease.

The Muslim Jesus

Islam has a role for Jesus in the last days. The Muslim Jesus (Isa) is not the Son of God, but instead a minor prophet with a big job in the last days.

Isa will return to overthrow the antichrist (al-Dajjal) at the Battle of Aqabat Afiq in Syria. After having defeated al-Dajjal, Isa will ‘kill all pigs and break all crosses’ to confirm Islam as the one true religion. After defeating al-Dajjal, Isa subordinates himself to Mohammed. Isa marries, has children, dies forty years later and is buried next to Mohammed.

When he returns, Isa partners up with the Islamic messiah, the Mahdi. The two will rule for seven years, with Isa serving as the religious imam and the Mahdi serving as the political imam.

At the end of Jesus’ and the messianic Imam’s rule, the angels will be destroyed and the earth will “spill out its contents”.

Islam’s Signs of the Times

Islam divides up the signs of the end into “Major Signs” and “Minor Signs.”

The major signs that the end times have arrived include:

1) Gross Materialism will infect the world.

2) Women will outnumber men.

3) Christians and Muslims will fight together against unbelievers. Once the unbelievers are defeated by this combined force, the Muslims will turn on the Christians and defeat them.

4) Muslims will defeat Jews in battle.

Let’s examine each.

1) Gross materialism. (nuff said)

2. According to UNFPA statistics, globally, women now outnumber men 52% to 48%.

3) Muslims and Christians joined forces in 1991 to defeat Saddam Hussein and his secularist government.

Fighting alongside the world’s most Christian country in 1991 were Kuwait, Bangladesh, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.

Ten years later, 19 Saudi citizens hijacked four US planes and murdered 3000 innocents, kicking off what became a world-wide war on Islamic-inspired terror.

4) The 2006 Lebanon War ended without Israel achieving any of its stated objectives. Hezbollah declared victory and the Islamic world celebrated its first ‘victory’ over the Jewish state.

Israel also pulled out of Gaza leaving Hamas intact and in power — another defeat of the Jews by the forces of Islam.

The minor signs that the Islamic end-times have arrived are:

1) An increase in bloodshed and war: This is another ’nuff said’ category.

2) Contraction of Time: Islam believes that time will speed up as the days count down.

3) Religious knowledge decreases: This is a reference to pure Islam. The existence of ‘moderate’ Islam is a fulfillment of this ‘sign’.

4) Prevalence of the ungodly. If the majority of world-wide Islam is truly ‘moderate’ then the ‘Islamic ungodly’ represent the majority.

So to Islam, these must be the signs of the times. From the Islamic perspective, therefore, these are the Times of the Signs.

Assessment:

How seriously do you take Bible prophecy? Do you believe that every word of God is true? Are you one of those, “if the Bible said it, I believe it” type Christians?

Do you believe that Bible prophecy must be 100% accurate, 100% of the time in order to be Divinely inspired?

If you are, then you are a perfect candidate for applying wisdom and coming up with understanding as it applies to Islam.

In that sense, they are just like us. They believe that it is their obligation to obey God, just as we do.

Except if we don’t obey God, we’re still saved. There is a penalty due in this lifetime for sin, but the eternal penalty was already paid at Calvary. We were born as sinners so that we could learn to trust Him for our salvation.

Islam doesn’t have that blessed assurance. No Muslim knows for sure if he is saved or not.

Salvation for a Muslim comes at Judgment Day. On that day, works will be weighed on the scales of justice hung on a pillar on the east side of the Temple Mount platform. If the good works outweigh the bad works, then that Muslim is saved.

Now, suppose, as a Muslim, you look at your life and you KNOW that the scales of justice aren’t going to fall your way.

Indeed, that is how most of us come to Christ. We realize that on balance, we won’t come out ahead — and THAT’s why we need a Savior.

What does an observant and religious Muslim do when he weighs his life on that scale? Within fundamental Islam, there is but one certain road to salvation. Death by jihad.

If Christian salvation can be expressed as salvation by grace through faith, then the Islamic version is salvation by death through murder.

Tomorrow . . .

Understanding the Times of the Signs: Judaism and the Last Days.

Meet The New Boss Same As The Old Boss

Meet The New Boss Same As The Old Boss
Vol: 89 Issue: 21 Saturday, February 21, 2009

It was Netanyahu that Israeli President Shimon eres tapped to form the next Israeli government, not Tzipi Livni, despite the fact Livni’s Kadima Party did slightly better than Netanyahu’s Labor Party did in the polls.

Israeli politics can be confusing. Bear with me while I try and sort some of it out before proceeding with the topic at hand.

Israel’s government is a parliamentary system; whichever party holds the most seats under the parliamentary system is the prime minister. If one party can’t claim a clear majority, then it can join with smaller, but like-minded parties within the parliament to form a coalition government.

Israel divides politically along the lines of the French model of “Left” and “Right”. The 1789 French National Assembly situated themselves by position within the Assembly chamber. Members of the “Third Estate” were the liberal revolutionaries. Members of the First Estate were the nobles.

The Third Estate sat to the left of the center of the chamber. The First Estate was seated to the right. From this single meeting of the French Assembly in 1789, confirms Maven’s “Word of the Day”, do we get our modern understanding of Left vs Right.

In Israel, Kadima represents the center-Left. Likud is Far Right. Since there are at least 18 different political parties holding seats in the Knesset, neither party has anything close to a clear majority. However, there are slightly more Knesset members that lean right than there are that lean left.

And on that basis, President Peres had no choice but to tap Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party to form a new government.

To understand Far Left and Far Right in terms of Israeli politics is nigh unto impossible outside of Israel.

In terms of the peace process, the Left is committed to a two-state solution based on the principles of land for peace. Israeli President Shimon Peres was one of the architects of Oslo.

On the Right, Benjamin Netanyahu opposed Oslo, saying it was a smokescreen to cover Yasser Arafat’s ‘Phased Plan for the Destruction of Israel’ — which, as it happens, what precisely what it turned out to be.

Netanyahu governed Israel as Prime Minister during the second Clinton term. By all accounts he remains wedded to the ‘Four Nos’ that resulted in his narrow defeat to Ehud Barak in 1999’s forced elections.

No Palestinian state. No division of Jerusalem. No return of the Golan Heights. No right of return for Palestinian ‘refugees’.

Benjamin Netanyahu is a native-born Israeli, or sabra, born one year after Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence. He served as an Israeli commando and fought in both the 1967 and 1973 Arab Wars.

(His brother, Yonathan, was the only Israeli soldier killed during the 1976 raid on Entebbe, the IDF’s lightning rescue of eighty-three Jewish hostages held at the Entebbe airport in Uganda.)

Bibi’s term ended in early elections in 1999 when Israeli voters decided to return to the land for peace model under Labor PM Ehud Barak for Clinton’s disastrous Wye Plantation Agreement.

Ten years later, Bibi is back.

Assessment:

It is said that a man is defined more by his enemies than he is by his friends. Netanyahu’s elevation to Prime Minister has infuriated the majority of the Arab world.

Hamas announced Israel had picked ‘its most dangerous politician’ to lead it. Egypt’s government reacted with ‘sadness’. Canada’s National Post called him “The Islamic World’s Malevolent Zeitgeist”.

Across the Middle East, the cry went up, “the peace process is dead” — as if there had been a living peace process over which to mourn.

Mahmoud Abbas threatened a complete freeze in relations if Netanyahu abandons the so-called two-state solution.

“We will not deal with the Israeli government unless it accepts a two-state solution and accepts to halt settlements and to respect past accords,” Nabil Abu Rudeina, President Abbas’s spokesman, said, guaranteeing an immediate impasse with the now-center right Israeli majority.

Netanyahu gave an acceptance speech outside the official resident of President Peres during which time he mentioned Iran by name several times but did not once mention the two-state solution or the failed peace talks.

Netanyahu reminded the world that “Iran is seeking to obtain a nuclear weapon and constitutes the gravest threat to our existence since the war of independence” while Hezebollah, the “terrorist forces of Iran threaten us from the north. For decades, Israel has not faced such formidable challenges,” he said.

Netanyahu’s comments came the day after the IAEA announced Iran had sufficient nuclear material to assemble a bomb — about a third more nuclear material than the UN had previously believed.

So, let’s take a step back and look at the Big Picture as it is taking shape for 2009.

Iran will in all probability soon declare itself, as did North Korea, the newest member of the nuclear club. And the leader of Iran remains a dedicated Twelver who believes it is his religious duty to start the Islamic global war that will force the Mahdi out into the open to take his place at the head of a marauding Islamic hordes battling to usher in a world-wide period of Islamic peace and prosperity.

The United States has just elected a far left liberal of Islamic-Arabic background who centered his foreign policy around improving ties with the Arab world to the White House for the next four years with a solid far left majority in Congress.

Hamas and Hezbollah have both fought recent wars with Israel — and survived — meaning that both now had reason to believe that victory over the Jewish state is at least possible.

Israel’s new center-right majority Prime Minister campaigned on a promise to destroy both Hamas and Hezbollah as threats to Israeli security. He was elected on a platform promise to eliminate the Iranian nuclear threat by whatever means necessary.

“And He spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees; When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled. ” (Luke 21:29-32)

Tick. . . tick . . . . tick