Whistling Past the Graveyard
Vol: 96 Issue: 29 Tuesday, September 29, 2009
At the start of his first joint meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Obama said his special envoy, George Mitchell, will meet with Palestinian and Israeli negotiators next week.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will report on the status of those efforts next month, he said in New York.
It is past time to stop talking about starting negotiations, Obama said before talks that included the two leaders as well as senior officials from the U.S., Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Talks must begin and begin soon.
Obama, who pledged to take a direct role in pursuing Middle East peace, is attempting to restart negotiations on the major issues that divide Israel and the Palestinians: territory, borders, the future of Jerusalem, and Palestinian refugees.
The main problem for the Israeli side, Netanyahu s words of praise notwithstanding, is that Obama closed the door for further negotiations in his UN speech.
Instead of assuring the world that America stands with Israel against her enemies, he railed against her for being an obstacle to peace. He referred to Israeli communities outside the 1949 armistice lines as illegitimate.
In essence, he warned that Israel cannot expect the US to support it if it doesn t surrender all the land demanded by the Palestinians
The only thing he required of the Palestinian side is that they end incitement against what he called the Jewish State . Were it anybody but Obama, that comment would constitute a US recognition of Israel s legitimacy as a Jewish state.
Israel has fought hard to obtain that recognition, since it makes a powerful argument against the so-called Right of Return demanded as a condition of peace by the Arab side.
The Right of Return would grant instant citizenship to several million Arabs. Outnumbered demographically, Israel would cease to be a Jewish state at the very next election.
But while two of Israel’s top peace demands are recognition as a Jewish state and an end to Palestinian incitement, observers noted that Obama did far more to damage Israel’s legitimacy by highlighting the “occupation” and Jewish settlements as the root of the conflict.
“The goal is clear: two states living side by side in peace and security: a Jewish State of Israel, with true security for all Israelis; and a viable, independent Palestinian state with contiguous territory that ends the occupation that began in 1967,” said Obama.
America does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlements.
There was no mention of the events that brought about the so-called occupation itself. Israel was invaded by the combined armies of the Arab Legions, including Jordan, who held the West Bank, Egypt, who controlled the Gaza Strip and Syria, who used its Golan Heights to shell northern Israeli cities and towns.
After six days of intense combat, Israel captured these territories and annexed them to prevent them from being used to stage another war of annihilation against the Jewish State.
The president, from the platform of the UN, called for a contiguous Palestinian state. That can only be accomplished by dividing Israel. He called on Israel to end their settlements and essentially give in to all of the Palestinian demands.
There s not much left to negotiate.
I have argued in the past that the role of the Church is to be watching for signs of the return of Christ and that signs pointing to the coming of the antichrist are useful only in that the Rapture happens first.
So if we see signs pointing to the antichrist, we can know it means the Lord is preparing to come for His Church. Of course, there are good and well-meaning Christians who believe the Rapture happens after the revelation of the antichrist.
I happen to disagree with that interpretation for reasons that I ve articulated many times the timing of the Rapture is not the focus of today s discussion.
The focus today is on how close we appear to be to the Tribulation Period. According to the Prophet Daniel, the antichrist will confirm a covenant between Israel and her enemies. That event starts the countdown to the 2nd Coming of Christ 2,520 days later.
There is a general understanding that the antichrist will be a prince of the Roman Empire. He will be a prince of the people Daniel predicted would destroy the city and sanctuary, an event accomplished by the Roman legions in AD 70.
According to Rupert Furneaux s book, The Roman Siege of Jerusalem the troops involved came from all over the Empire. Titus marched on Jerusalem from Caesarea with 2 legions, the XII Fulmnata and XV Apollinaris.
He was joined by Vespasian with the X Fretensis Legion and the V Macedonica. The force was augmented by some 60,000 auxiliary troops from all over the Empire.
So while the antichrist will be a prince of the Roman Empire, that doesn t necessarily demand he be a Roman, an Italian or even a European.
He could also be a Syrian or an Arabian – or an African. And while Scripture does indicate a revived Roman Empire, nowhere does it say it will have the same boundaries. Should America join the EU, he could even be an American.
Here is a little of we know about the coming antichrist from the Bible;
1) He will rise from obscurity (a little horn (Daniel 7:8); 2) He will speak boastfully (Daniel 7:8 Revelation 13:5); 3) He will blaspheme God; (Daniel 7:25, 11:26 Revelation 13:5, 2nd Thessalonians 2:7); 4) He will oppress Jews and Christians (Revelation 13:7) 5) He will try to change the calendar, perhaps to define a new era, related to himself (Daniel 7:25); 6) He will try to change the laws; 7) He will show no regard for the religion of his ancestors (Daniel 11:37).
It all sounds terribly familiar, doesn t it? I received a really interesting video by email that posed the question: Did Jesus Reveal the Name of the Antichrist? The video argues that the following verse contains the name of the antichrist.
And He said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. (Luke 10:18)
Intrigued? I’ll post the video in the briefing forum for your review, but here’s a thumbnail summary. Although this verse was written in Greek, Jesus spoke Aramaic, the most ancient form of Hebrew.
The premise is that heaven in the verse means the same thing as heights . Indeed, Isaiah 14:14 says, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
The word translated as lightning is Strong s #1299 baraq . The word translated in Isaiah 14:14 as heights is Strong s #1116; bawmaw . The Hebrew letter waw is transliterated into English as either an o or a u . It is used as a conjunction to join two thoughts.
So, according to the filmmaker, Jesus, speaking in Aramaic would have said, I saw Satan as Baraq O Bawmaw . Interesting.
Do I think that Jesus identified Barack Obama as the antichrist? I don t know I have my doubts. Luke has Jesus saying I saw Satan fall from heaven, not from ‘the heights’. And Strong s translates Luke from Greek, not Aramaic, and ‘heaven’ in Luke 10:18 is translated from #3770 ouranios, meaning ‘heaven’ not ‘heights’.
So it could be. But it is ambiguous enough that it’s no smoking gun.
But here s the thing. We re talking about it. The antichrist is close enough to making his appearance that we re on the lookout for him. But the Bible says that when the antichrist comes, he will be received as the Messiah. The whole world worshipped the Beast Revelation 13 says.
The Church won t worship him. They can t be fooled by him. The Bible says that the next time Jesus puts His foot on the earth, it will split the Mount of Olives in two. So if a guy says I m the Christ, and the Mount of Olives is intact, a Christian would know he s a fraud.
But at the same time, the antichrist won t necessarily know he s the antichrist until after he is indwelt by Satan. So the antichrist is most definitely alive somewhere in the world today, but he may not know he is Satan s man.
The issue isn t that Barack Obama is the antichrist. Or that Javier Solana is the antichrist. Or whoever else s name might pop up in the coming weeks as a good candidate.
The issue is that nobody is laughing at the concept of a coming antichrist. Just at the candidates being offered for consideration.
The whole world knows instinctively, it seems that the time is right. They just don t want to acknowledge it. Because if there is a coming antichrist, there must also be a returning Christ.
It’s like whistling past the graveyard — recognizing that demands a decision they aren t yet ready to make.
So they laugh. Nervously.