The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness?

The Voice of One Crying in the Wilderness?
Vol: 100 Issue: 30 Saturday, January 30, 2010

President Obama took a long chance on Friday engaging in a face-to-face showdown with Republican lawmakers. It was great political theater.

That Obama agreed to address his opponents and take their questions live on cable television seemed to show he finally realizes he’s in political trouble.  But he still hasn’t figured out why. 

The Q&A session came two days after his State of the Union speech, which was itself a master disaster. It was as if the moment the cameras were turned on,  reality beat a hasty retreat.

He accused the Republicans of portraying his health care reform effort as a “Bolshevik plot” and telling their constituents he is “doing all kinds of crazy stuff that’s going to destroy America.”

Then, he says the Republicans, (it’s hard to write this without laughing) “I am not an ideologue.” He really said t
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hat! When his audience of Republicans expressed their disbelief, he protested, “I’m not.”

I looked up ideologue in the dictionary: ideologue, noun. “An adherent of an ideology, especially one who was uncompromising and dogmatic.”

Well, I’m glad he cleared that up! Up until he explained it, I would have bet that he was. After all, everything that he does reflects an uncompromising ideological bend.

But in Obama’s world, anyone who disagrees with him is an ideologue. He attacked the Republicans to their faces for trying to obstruct him on everything from economic stimulus to healthcare.

But not because the Republicans were doing what was best for the country, he said. Instead he suggested their motive was to score points with voters come election time.

“These are serious times and what’s required of all of us is to do what’s right for our country, even if it’s not best for our politics,” Obama said.

In other words,”I’m not an ideologue, but all the rest of you are.”

He slammed Republican opposition to the $787 billion economic stimulus plan passed by Democrats without Republican input.

Even in front of the Republican audience who knew better, Obama couldn’t resist blaming George Bush, reminding them of the high joblessness and hu
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ge budget deficit he had inherited from George Bush.

That was pure theater. Ordinary Americans might not understand, but the Congress understands that it is lawmakers and not the president who have the biggest impact on the economy. 

Obama inherited the budget deficits from the Democrat Congress that passed them and the high unemployment from the Democrat social programs that collapsed the mortgage industry. 

So the GOP lawmakers applauded politely engage in respectful hearing, but they weren’t buying the rhetoric.

Georgia Congressman Tom Price asked Obama how Republicans should handle being charged with offering “no ideas and no solutions” by Obama. Obama had an answer for that –” I don’t think I said that,” he shot back.

Yes, he did. Many, many times. But what does that have to do with it?

Obama appealed to the Republicans to ‘find common ground’ and to show Americans that they can move beyond the partisan rancor that he promised to end.

All that would be well and good, except the only way to do that would be for the Republicans to all suddenly become socialists.  

Otherwise, there IS no ‘common ground.’

Assessment:

What makes this meeting worthy of discussion is just how bizarre a spectacle it was. It was an open demonstration of how irrelevant Obama believes the truth to be. And how stupid he thinks the average American is. 

It was as if he were addressing a group of people from another planet who had no  concept of reality as it stood, primarily I believe, because he has no concept of reality as it stands.

But what is most astonishing to me is the way that it was all received by the public and among the pundits. We have been so conditioned over the past year that the bizarre has become normal and therefore unremarkable.

What could be more bizarre than Obama claiming his administration to be the most transparent in history? (Well, maybe his claim that he isn’t an ideologue?) 

His claim that the Republicans are only obstructing his socialist agenda to gain political points is outright stupid.  That was what all lawmakers are sent to Congress to do — represent those that sent them.

If they didn’t represent their districts, then the voters would replace them with someone that did.  Obama is counting on voter ignorance to see his agenda through.  

For the conditioning process doth already work, only he who knows better will continue to restrain, unless he be taken out of the way. 

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It’s not really about Obama or his politics. Not really.  What it is about is the process.

I want you to see it in context.  Obama has proved himself to be a serial liar — he lies in every speech. When Rep. Joe Wilson shouted “you lie” during Obama’s joint session of Congress, the Left was scandalized. 

Some immediately called for Wilson’s impeachment.  Entire newspaper columns and news programs were dedicated to uncovering dirt on Joe Wilson.  

There was quite a hubbub about Joe Wilson — but almost nothing said about the lie Obama was telling when Wilson called him on it.

Everybody already knew it was a lie; but that didn’t really matter so much because we’ve already been conditioned to expect Obama to lie.  

What was new was for somebody to say so out loud.  During the State of the Union speech, he lied about a recent Supreme Court decision and literally insulted the entire Court while they sat politely before him. 

Except for Justice Samuel Alito, who shook his head and mouthed, “That’s not true.”

Again, notice the public reaction. Nobody investigated the lie itself — it was unnecessary.  The decision said one thing,  Obama said it said something else that it did not say. 

But all the attention fell on Justice Samuel Alito for his ‘shocking breach’ of protocol.

Nobody was shocked that Obama was lying to the American people about the Court  — had not Alito reacted, there would have been no story to report.

I don’t believe that Obama is the antichrist, but I do believe the antichrist is alive today and waiting in the wings for his turn.   

Everything about the antichrist is a counterfeit of Christianity.  Jesus is one Member of the Holy Trinity.   Satan has an unholy trinity of his own, the antichrist, false prophet and the Dragon. 

Before Jesus began His public ministry, there came first the voice of one crying in the wilderness:

“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” (Matthew 3:3)

The antichrist will also benefit from efforts to prepare the way for the start of his counterfeit public ‘ministry’. 

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:3)

While I don’t think Obama is smart enough to be the antichrist, he is charismatic enough to serve as his forerunner, the one who prepares the path for the coming Dark Lord. 

Indeed, he’s perfect for the job. 

The World’s Most Christian Country

The World’s Most Christian Country
Vol: 100 Issue: 29 Friday, January 29, 2010

There is an old joke about the Christian who dies and then finds himself standing at the Pearly Gates before St. Peter.  Peter welcomes him in and ushers him along a high fence line marked periodically by a series of locked gates. 

The Christian stops by one of those gates and says to St. Peter, “What’s behind that gate?”  

“That’s the Baptist section,” Peter says.  

“So why the high fences and the gate?” the guy asks.

Peter grins and says, “Oh, that’s because the Baptists think they are the only ones here.”   

That joke will work using pretty much any Christian denomination.  When speaking at a church, I often use it to ‘break the ice’, as it were.  Feel free to use it at your next church gathering.  It always works. 

Ever give any thought to what makes a joke funny? First off, it mocks a characteristic or trait so universally true that it falls into the ‘everybody knows’ category.  

If you don’t recognize the trait, then you don’t “get” the joke.  Even if the truism itself isn’t always true.  

A senior citizen is on the freeway heading downtown to renew his driver’s license when his wife calls him on his cellphone to warn him of a traffic hazard up ahead of him being reported on the news.  “There’s some guy driving the wrong way down the freeway,” she says. 

“One guy?” her husband snorts.  “There’s dozens of ’em!”

Assessment:

I often cite the CIA World Factbook statistics on religion in the United States that say America is a predominately Christian country. The statistic I usually cite — 87% — was based on the 2000 Census.  

Almost every time I use it, I get bombarded with emails like this one:  “I just cannot believe that 87% of America is saved!”   

Almost all of them include their own estimates of how many Americans are really Christians.  These estimates range from a low of 2% to a high of 30%. So let me first clear up the misunderstanding.

According to new CIA 2007 estimates, it isn’t 87% anymore. 

The CIA Factbook breaks down America’s religious identity as follows:

Protestant 51.3%, Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, unspecified, 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4%.

Catholics, Protestants, Mormons and other Christians now total only  78.5% — and not 87% — as they did using the 2000 Census estimates.  

But the  CIA statistic is not compiled according to Bible doctrinal purity.  The statistic is based on estimates compiled according to how folks identified themselves when they filled out their census forms. 

There is no way to estimate how many of that 78.5% are Christians at least, not according to my understanding of Christianity.  There isn’t even anyway to guess without that bringing that Pearly Gates joke to mind.  

It is difficult to get Christians of different stripes to agree on anything; the Rapture, the Tribulation, baptism, the proper way to worship,  etc., etc.   

About the only thing we’re in agreement about is that when we get to Heaven,  WE will be the only ones there. 

I teach what I believe the Bible says concerning salvation. Having compared the Bible to the doctrinal positions of many (most) mainstream Christian denominations is the reason I am non-denominational.  

But what doctrinal purity has to do with the identification of America as the’ world’s most Christian country’ continues to elude me.  

Bible prophecy wasn’t written to inform God — it was written to inform us.  

The identification of America as the world’s most Christian country isn’t from God’s perspective — that would inform us of nothing.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher that your ways, and My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Bible prophecy can only be informative if unbelievers are capable of understanding it from their perspective.  

This is where Occam’s Razor is applicable.  Do you have any way of knowing how many of the individuals within each of these denominations named by the CIA have trusted Christ for their salvation?  I don’t.  

So clearly the perspective being presented here isn’t that of believers. It is the unbelievers that see America as the world’s most Christian country.  

The reason is because 78% of Americans claim to be adherents to some form of Christianity.  Unbelievers don’t have a doctrinal test — they see American Christianity as a monolith.   

Because the world does not discern the things of the Spirit, what makes Americans predominately Christian in the eyes of the world is that they say they are.

Which is part of why America’s reputation is so bad.  We’re also the biggest consumers of drugs, producers of porn and dealers in advanced armaments in the world — and therefore, the biggest hypocrites.

Without some sense of context, 2nd Timothy 3:1-7 can refer to anything — and thereby signify  nothing.  

That is not logical.  2nd Timothy 3:1-7 clearly refers to a Church Age Christian society in decline in the last days.  Paul begins saying, “This know also, in the last days perilous times shall come.”  

It is just as obvious that, for it to be prophecy, it would have to refer to a recognizable society in existence in the last days.  If not, how would anyone be able to discern its fulfillment?  

In that case, it wouldn’t be prophecy, but just a general state of affairs on a worldwide basis — which again, signifies nothing.   

Paul’s description is of the deterioration of the Church in the last days, which cross references neatly with the Lord’s description of the Church of Laodicea. 

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.”

Jesus is not referring to the underground Church in China where Christians routinely give up their lives for the faith.  Or in North Korea, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Algeria . . .

 “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Is there another Christian nation you can think of that is currently on the verge of civil war over issues like public prayer, public display of the Bible, abortion, gay rights and Intelligent Design that you can think of?  

America is divided right down the middle between those two sides. So, too, is the professing Church.  

On one side are those who attended the Tea Party rallies carrying signs with Bible references, families, children, old people, all with grievances against the liberal government over all these issues.  

In hundreds of rallies involving millions of people there was not a single arrest, injury or report of disorderly conduct. 

Contrast that with the liberal protests and abortion rallies, the tactics, politics and the consequences of that political agenda unchecked.  

Without that contrast, Paul’s description of the last days of the Church Age are without context.  

“For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2nd Timothy 3:2-5)

Is there another prominent, universally recognizable society divided along those lines that springs to your mind first?   

Prophecy is given as a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that disbelieve, so that when it happens, they will believe.   

If the fulfillment isn’t recognizable, then it is not prophecy.  Yet Paul clearly identifies it as a prophecy of the last days. 

Much of our discussion over the past few days has concerned America’s position in Bible prophecy, and in particular, why America isn’t named specifically.  

It seems unnecessary, since no other nation on earth at this particular point in history fits the description better than does the ‘world’s most Christian nation’.

At least, not on this side of the Rapture.  

None of the People, None of the Time

None of the People, None of the Time
Vol: 100 Issue: 28 Thursday, January 28, 2010

It was Abraham Lincoln that said, “you can fool some of the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all of the time”.

Most US politicians understand that equation to be true.The current administration seems to believe that fooling itself is sufficient.

The president’s State of the Union speech struck a tone somewhere between whiny and defiant, peppered as it was with excuses, misdirected blame, and serial lies.

There was a time, and not too long ago, when saying such a thing as that about a State of the Union speech would sound like partisan rhetoric.

But one doesn’t have to be a partisan to hear the whine, to see through the excuses, and to identify the lies; one merely had to be conscious.  There was something in the speech to disappoint everybody — irrespective of their politics. 

The first lie had to do with spending cuts. What the president promised as ‘spending cuts’ was almost laughably transparent. Congress approved, and signed, across the board increases for all departments on average by ten percent — before promising this week to cut them by 1% this week.

What he really did was lock in last week’s spending increases while disguishing them as this week’s spending ‘cuts’. 

The five largest elements in the US budget are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, defense and interest on the national debt. He can’t cut Social Security without losing the entire middle class. He can’t cut Medicaid or Medicare without losing the senior vote. 

He can talk about posting cuts in all three, but he’ll never get both sides of Congress to commit political suicide on his behalf. 

That leaves defense. But he just increased US troop strength in Afghanistan by an additional 10,000 troops. Those troops, together with those on the ground, need a constant supply of weapons and war matériel, necessitating increases, not cuts.

Neither can he cut homeland security, the FBI or the CIA in the midst of a war and especially with the Christmas Day bomber still in the headlines. 

He can’t cut education, he just promised to increase it. Congressional liberals won’t allow him to cut welfare, food stamps, unemployment insurance, or unearned tax credits for the poor.  

He swore he would not raise taxes on the middle class.  

There is no way that the Congress would vote themselves out of office during an election year.  They backed him on the cap-and-trade plan, even after he said it meant “energy prices will necessarily skyrocket.” 

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to him. (audio)

And it should seem fairly obvious to even the most socially liberal that it is impossible to reduce the interest charges on the national debt while increasing the national debt.

In his speech, he took credit for keeping a campaign promise to get the US out of Iraq next year. But he actually did nothing except allow the Bush timetable for withdrawal, already signed before he assumed office, go forward.

The most amazing thing to me were the promises that he claimed that he had kept already. He actually claimed to have presided over the most transparent government process in history! Not only that, he also took credit for ridding his administration of lobbyists.

“To close that credibility gap we must take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue and the outsized influence of lobbyists; do our work openly; and to give our people the government they deserve. That’s what I came to Washington to do. That’s why — for the first time in history — my administration posts are White House visitors online. And that’s why we’ve excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs or seats on several boards and commissions.”

William Lynn was a lobbyist for Raytheon, one of the world’s largest defense contractors. Obama appointed him as deputy secretary of defense. Okay, so maybe William Lynn is the only man in America qualified to hold that job. We’ll say that, just for the sake of argument.

Now what about Eric Holder?  Does ‘Global Crossings’ sound familiar? Global Crossings is a bankrupt telecommunications firm that made former DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe millions of dollars during the Clinton administration, when Eric holder was deputy attorney general.

Holder joined Global Crossings after he left the Clinton administration as a lobbyist.

Tom Vilsack was a registered lobbyist with the national education Association until he was nominated by Obama to be secretary of agriculture.

William Corr was a lobbyist for an anti-tobacco firm until he was nominated Deputy Health and Human Services Secretary.

David Hayes was a lobbyist for San Diego gas and electric before being named Deputy Interior Secretary.

Mark Patterson is Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner . Before that
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, he was a lobbyist for Goldman Sachs.

The list goes on; Ron Klain, Mona Sutphen, Melody Barnes, Cecilia Munoz, Michael Stautmanis. . . I think you get the point.

For all his talk about spending and budget cuts and fiscal responsibility, the CBO says that Obama’s first two years will see the two largest deficits since World War II.

“Last year’s deficit was the largest as a share of GDP since the of World War II, and the deficit expected for 2010 will be the second-largest,” said the CBO.

“The Congressional Budget Office projects that if current laws and policies remain unchanged, the federal budget would show a deficit of $1.35 trillion for the fiscal year 2010,” said the CBO report.”

At 9.2% of GDP that deficit would be slightly smaller than the shortfall of 9.9% of GDP posted in 2009.

“The CBO also said the federal budget in 2009 in terms of sheer dollar amount was the largest in history.”

Indeed it equals the sum total of budget deficits of all previous administrations in US history combined. Obama’s “path toward fiscal discipline” is therefore paved with annual deficits approaching $1 trillion.

“The budget deficit surged to 1.4 trillion in 2009 largest shortfall on record in dollar terms and nearly $1 trillion greater than the deficit recorded the previous year,” said the CBO.

Were Obama to paraphrase Lincoln, the quote would be, “you only have to fool enough of the people long enough to get elected. . .  Then, for the next four years, bluff.”

Assessment:

There was some discussion in the forum yesterday concerning the United States in Bible prophecy, her Christian character and the basis upon which we assume America plays a leading role in the last days.  

These are good questions, even without the inference that we used the “charlatan tricks of those who interpret Nostradamus” to make “far reaching assumptions” in our analysis.  

Among the far-reaching assumptions questioned in the forum is the conclusion that America’s existence was anticipated and that it has a role to play in Bible prophecy.  That is not an assumption.  

It is a conclusion based on the principle that Bible prophecy is Divinely-inspired by an all-knowing God and principally addressed to the generation to whom it would be most relevant.  

That conclusion is warranted by the evidence pointing to ours as that relevant generation.

If that is an unwarranted assumption, then there seems little reason for this generation to be any more interested in Bible prophecy than previous generations. 

And it calls into question the purpose for the multiplicity of prophecies and prophetic signs that are relevant only to the last generation.  

World-wide fear of climate change, incoming asteroids, killer sunspots, instant communications, an electronic economy, a developing global government, a religious-based war between civilizations, with attending famines, pestilences, earthquakes, natural disasters . . .

The conclusion is also warranted by history.  Israel was restored in 1948 according to Bible prophecy. One can debate whether the fig tree is really Israel, but that’s a rabbit trail into irrelevancy.  

Israel restoration was accompanied or followed by all the signs forecast by Bible prophecy.  

The Benelux Treaty that began the revival of the old Roman Empire was signed that year.  The World Council of Churches was created that year in Amsterdam. 

The UN’s “Global Constitution”, the UN Declaration of Human Rights that sets the stage for global government was signed in 1948, which was the year the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) Treaty set the stage for the global economy overseen by the World Trade Organization. 

It was in 1948 that the seeds of jihad were planted in Palestine.  The history of wars, natural disasters, earthquakes and the emergence of new pandemic disease from 1948 to the present shows an across-the-board increase in both frequency and intensity. 

One can debate all the relevant causes, like better telescopes or more sensitive equipment or better communications, ad nauseum — but those are rabbit trails.  

If I tell you today that next Friday at 4:15 pm a tornado will touch down in your yard and destroy your house, which is more relevant?  

That I told you in advance what would happen, where and when?  

Or what causes tornadoes to form?  

Bible prophecy forecast all these things to take place in a single generation, somewhere in time, and that the clock would start ticking with the restoration of Israel.  

Jesus said ‘this generation would not pass til all be fulfilled’.  

To assume He was telling the truth is not that far reaching, and that is the basis for the assumption that God anticipated the existence of the USA.  This generation is overshadowed by America.

Since the USA is currently the world’s leading superpower, but not one of the four regional powers named by Scripture, its omission is far more relevant than the omission of Micronesia, (which I’ve no doubt God also anticipated.)

That leads to the logical conclusion that something happens to the world’s only superpower that renders it irrelevant during the Tribulation.  

As to the far-reaching assumption that America is the world’s most Christian nation, that is a conclusion based on the same principle that identifies Israel as the world’s most Jewish country.  

Only a fraction of Israel’s citizens are religious orthodox Jews who would even remotely be recognized as Jews by the Pharisees of the Temple Era.   But it would be ridiculous to debate Israel’s Jewishness based upon the orthodoxy of its modern practitioners. 

Modern Israel is founded on the recognition of the God of the Bible as the source of their authority to exist as a nation. America’s authority to exist is founded on the same principles of God-given rights.  

Arguing that the Founders did not understand the Creator of the Declaration of Independence as the God of the Bible is another rabbit trail.  America was founded by Christians along Christian principles and was intended to govern a Christian population.

To argue otherwise is to turn history upside down. 

To argue that there is, in these last days, another nation whose cultural history, background, Constitution and temperament is more universally linked to Christianity is another rabbit trail — unless one is prepared to name another God thought would be more obvious to the generation to whom the prophecy was addressed

2nd Timothy 3:1-7 is  clearly addressed to believers in the last days of the Church Age.  But it assigns a unique set of values that are uniquely identifiable as representing the prevailing worldview of the world’s most representative Christian nation.  

These are far reaching assumptions only under the following circumstances:  

1) Bible prophecy is not any more relevant to this generation than it is to any previous generation.

 2) God didn’t anticipate America’s existence in the last days, since He made no mention of the nation whose Christian heritage was responsible for its ascension to the world’s most prosperous and powerful nation. 

Bible prophecy was not written in a vacuum.  

Bible prophecy was not intended to be understood devoid of context.   It is either relevant to this generation, or it is not. 

If it is relevant to this generation, then it follows that there is no other representative Christian society matching America’s social or political impact on the world that more mirrors 2nd Timothy 3 than America.

Why didn’t God name it by name?  Because it was only addressed to the generation to whom it would be relevant.  They don’t have any problem picking out the world’s most ‘Christian’ country.  

It’s the country that stands alone in support of the world’s most Jewish country against a world united against them both. 

The assumption isn’t that far reaching, after all. 

State of the Obamanation

State of the Obamanation
Vol: 100 Issue: 27 Wednesday, January 27, 2010

As America prepares for this year’s State of the Union address, it is a very different country than the one Obama addressed one year ago.  All the President’s handlers say this is his chance to “reconnect” with the middle-class.

From his war on the banks, to his health-care reform that could cost taxpayers for generations, president Obama’s policies have sent a strong message that Washington really doesn’t care about the middle-class.

Since the Massachusetts election, the Obama administration now claims it wants to change all that, while at the same time, denying the problem belongs to his administration.

 Worried about changing the health-care system as we are about getting by week to week,” Schumer said.

Obama is expected to use his State of the Union address to move closer to the middle, according to Schumer.

“I think he’s pivoting, pivoting into dealing with middle-class woes with jobs and the economy,” Liberal Democrat Senator Charles Schumer told reporters about the upcoming speech.

It is more likely that the speech will be about Obama’s woes.  About how the economic downturn, the uptick in terrorist activity, his plummeting popularity, and his failure to pass any meaningful legislation in his first year were all the fault of someone else.

Obama recently gave a speech about jobs and the economy in Ohio. The only thing about that speech that was memorable was that Obama referred to himself 132 times in that single speech.

He also appeared on ABC with Diane Sawyer to complain that he really is not getting a fair shake.

Obama has an interesting take on the Massachusetts election. It is partly George Bush’s fault, because people are “frustrated and angry over the past eight years” rather than during his administration so far.

According to all polls, two policy items that come in dead last our healthcare and green energy.  So that’s what Obama intends to lead off with — energy and healthcare. 

The speech is split up into three specific categories that the administration calls “rescue, rebuild, and restore.” But Obama isn’t talking about America.  He is talking about his own administration. 

According to the state of the union, as Obama sees it, were it not for him the country would now be in the throes of the devastating depression.

As a wise man once said, “when your neighbor loses his job, it is a recession. When you lose yours, it’s a depression.” Evidently Obama has never met that wise man.  

Whether or not we are in a depression or recession it seems odd that Obama would take credit for it. Obama inherited the recession from the Pelosi/Reid congressional policy.

The Democrats took control of Congress in January 2007.The recession began in the fall of 2007.

In January 2009, Obama promised the stimulus would keep unemployment below 8%. It is now over 10% and rising.

One example of the stimulus that Obama is unlikely to bring up would be the 200 jobs created installing smart electric meters.The 200 meter installation jobs are temporary. Once the meters are installed, the jobs are gone. 

The 176 meter reading jobs that the smart meters will eliminate are permanent jobs that are gone forever.

Obama is also going to claim credit for restoring American leadership in the world. The world was not impressed enough to give Obama the Olympic Games. It was not impressed enough to hand him a success at Copenhagen.  

Despite his worldwide apology tour Al Qaeda still doesn’t love us. The hand extended to Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was barely recovered with all fingers intact.  All the bowing and scraping before the King of Mecca and the Emperor of Japan only served to underline the administration’s foreign policy incompetence.

Ev
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en the Islamic world got a chuckle from Obama’s claim that ‘America is one world’s largest Islamic countries — even as Americans groaned when he denied America is a Christian country.

The State of the Union has never been worse.  

Assessment:

Given the circumstances of the past year, why does Obama administration persist in pushing ahead with such an unpopular and unsuccessful agenda?

One clue can be found in his reaction to the collapsing health care reform bill.   Obama dismissed public opinion on the topic, saying, “I know what happens once we get this done. The American people will suddenly learn that this bill does things they like.”

In other words, ‘who cares what they think?  I know best’!

It reminds me of that great line in the Wizard of Oz movie in which Toto pulls back the curtain revealing the mechanisms of power;  “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!  I am the great and powerful Oz.” 

(Good dog, Toto!)

Other policy initiatives that are at odds with the majority include the federal takeover of private banking and business, the unimaginably out-of-control federal spending, and ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ — whatever that means. 

It isn’t as if the public should be surprised.  Obama revealed his true colors with his “God, guns and antipathy” assessment of
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Middle America to the San Franscisco elite during the campaign.  

But evidently, his comments were SO over-the-top that Middle America couldn’t believe he really meant it. 

Noted the brilliant Victor Davis Hanson:

Like Plato’s all-knowing elite, Obama seems to feel that those he deems less informed will “suddenly” learn to appreciate his benevolent guidance once these laws are pushed through.

Liberal columnist Thomas Frank once promoted similar assumptions in his book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Frank argued that clueless American voters can’t quite figure out what their own self-interests are.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, another Obama supporter, also reflected the philosopher-king thinking in a recent column praising China’s “reasonably enlightened” dictatorship. Unlike the messiness of American democracy, he argued, a few smart strongmen in China can ram through the necessary policies “to move a society forward in the 21st century.”

If nothing else, there is the comfort of knowing that Barack Hussein Obama is probably not the antichrist — the Bible doesn’t indicate that the antichrist is a complete idiot.   

But that small comfort is nullified by the realization that he was elected by an electorate that wouldn’t have cared if he had been.  The entire 2008 campaign was centered around Obama the Messiah who will lead America back into the Promised Land.

The Apostle Paul’s ministry was to the Gentiles rather than to the Jews. Although himself a former Pharisee, he was chosen as the ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’.  

Since the Church Age concludes before the start of the Tribulation, Paul says little about the Tribulation itself, but he wrote extensively about the events of the final hours of the Church Age leading up to it. 

His description of the moral state of the Church in the last days is a letter-perfect description of American society in the 21st century.

Paul begins by setting the timeframe: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

For America, times have NEVER been more perilous. 

America’s social fabric is coming apart at the seams before our very eyes: “men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy . .”

That pretty much covers the top stories in a typical morning newspaper:

“Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God. . .”

Parents killing kids, teachers raping students, American politicians telling the world America can’t be trusted, Christ’s banishment from ‘Christ’mas, the politics of personal destruction replacing the politics of ideas, etc.

Paul’s outline couldn’t be MORE descriptive of 21st century America. Could it? 

Why America is so clearly envisioned by Paul in the final hours of the Church Age, but so completely absent from the Tribulation record is a subject of considerable debate. 

Bible critics argue that America isn’t in the record because America didn’t exist when the Bible was written. In that view, America’s absence is evidence the Bible is really a book written by men and not inspired by an all-knowing God.

2nd Timothy 3:1-5 mirrors 21st century America so precisely that it demolishes that argument without further comment.  America may not appear during the Tribulation Period, but America is as perfect a fit for the last days of the Church Age as it is for the description Jesus gave of the Church of Laodicea. 

The war on terror could account for America’s absence from the record during the Tribulation Period.  So could another three years of Barack Obama.  

But the most probable reason for America’s absence during the Tribulation Period is still the Rapture. That America is still primarily a Christian nation is evidenced by the voter backlash against the Obama policy agenda. 

In point of fact, I believe that America does appear in Bible prophecy — but not during the Tribulation. America’s last appearance on the world scene, according to Bible prophecy,  comes just before it. 

Ask yourself this: What would happen to America standing in the world if suddenly, millions of Americans suddenly vanished without a trace?   (Besides restoring Obama’s favorability ratings, I mean.) 

I won’t be here to find out.  But I can make an educated guess.  

“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” (Revelation 18:23)

The Comforter

The Comforter
Vol: 100 Issue: 26 Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I received an interesting email over the weekend containing another exposition of 2nd Thessalonians and how Chapter 2, in particular,  is relevant to this generation. 

This email focused its attention on the “great falling away” or the apostasia of 2nd Thessalonians 2:3.

“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”

In this exposition, the writer argues that the falling away, or the ‘apostasia’ does not refer to a departure from the faith, but instead is a reference to the Rapture. 

It was an interesting take — I read the attached article several times, mainly because the author asked all the wrong questions but still came up with the right answers. 

I tried really hard to follow his reasoning, and it wasn’t until I was on about the third re-reading that I was able to see how he got there. 

“I could spend a lot of time presenting definitions of Greek words and quoting from learned scholars who have done much research on this section. But too much technical information can overburden the reader. So I shall distil the research and provide enough evidence to prove our conclusions are accurate and true.”

The rest of the article is filled with too much technical research, most of which was technically wrong. 

The point that jumped out at me is that there are so many well-meaning Christians that believe the Bible can only be understood by a select few. 

This author attempted to prove the Rapture is pre-Trib (I agree) and that the falling away does not refer to believers falling away from Christ due to eternal security (with which I also agree.)

But his case is built entirely on the premise that the Scriptures themselves aren’t clear enough to sustain his argument. 

Let’s review the relevant Scriptures.  Paul says the “Day of Christ” will not come until first there is a falling away, followed by the revealing of the antichrist. 

The next verse confirms his identification as the antichrist. 

“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.” 

Paul says that this revelation is being witheld by a Power Paul assumes the Thessalonians recognize without too much elaboration. 

“And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now holdeth back will hold him back, until he is taken out of the way.(2nd Thessalonians 2:7, NKJV)

At this point, many scholars believe they have to launch into a complicated dissertation about what the ‘mystery of iniquity’ REALLY means, instead of the obvious — the baffling power of sin is already at work blinding the world. 

For many, that is too simple.  

Then, there is a debate about who He is that holdeth back. Some argue that the one that “holdeth back” isn’t the Holy Spirit, but the antichrist himself.  

One could save oneself a lot of skull sweat by simply reading it for what it actually says. 

It says that the antichrist will not be revealed until He that ‘holdeth back iniquity’ is ‘taken out of the way.’ The antichrist doesn’t ‘hold back’ iniquity, he personifies it. 

One doesn’t have to research the original Greek or cherry-pick scholars that support a particular view.  One need only read the Scriptures prayerfully for what they say. 

Is it POSSIBLE for the antichrist to be revealed while the Church is still here?  According to Scripture, only if one can find away to take away the Holy Spirit, while leaving behind the vessels He occupies. 

And if that is possible, then Jesus lied and His promise is meaningless.

Assessment:

One of the most definite, and therefore, most controversial verses in Scripture is John 14:6:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” 

Why is that controversial? It is THAT verse that gives Christianity a bad name among the religions of the world.

If no man can come to the Father, except through Jesus, then it means only Christians can go to heaven. To the world, that is hateful, since it excludes anybody who isn’t a Christian.

Which brings us back to the ridiculous argument that Christianity is hateful because it won’t admit people that don’t believe in it into a heaven that they also don’t believe in.  

Like claiming that the toothfairy is hateful because you have to lose a tooth first.  If you don’t believe in the toothfairy, what do you care? 

In point of fact, what it really proves is that Christianity is real and Jesus is alive and heaven is a real place.  That is why it is so upsetting to the lost.  

They KNOW there is no toothfairy.  On the other hand, Jesus says, “Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake.” 

One can believe in Him by faith, or one can believe because of His works.   But the fact is, He is still at the center of the debate 2,000 years later.  The world may not accept Him, but they can’t help but believe, even when they deny Him.  

If they didn’t believe, somewhere deep down inside, then heaven wouldn’t matter any more than the tooth fairy. But it does.

It is in this context of explaining to His Apostles Who He really is that Jesus confirms both the Rapture and the timing of it.  One needn’t have a degree in classical Greek or Hebrew to understand His meaning. 

“And I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

Let’s look at the context.  Jesus has just revealed that He is in the Father, and the Father is in Him. (John 14:10)

Then He promises another Comforter He says will “abide with you forever.”  Who is this Comforter?

“Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17)

Again, one needn’t be a Greek scholar to identify the Comforter as the Holy Spirit. And if the answer is still unclear, one need only read down a few more verses:

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:26)

Jesus not only promised to send the Holy Spirit, He promised that; “I will NOT leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” (John 14:18)

Now, we return to 2nd Thessalonians Chapter 2 and knowing the Greek antecedents and dangling Greek participles and citing learned scholars seems less necessary.

Jesus promised that He will come to me before He will leave me without the Comforter.  The Comforter is the One that teaches and reveals all things to the Church. 

Through His occupation of the Church, He restrains evil. I don’t think there is any way to logically dispute that. 

Paul says the Comforter is taken out of the way, which allows for “that Wicked” to be revealed.  (2nd Thessalonians 2:7-8)

All the Greek and Latin gymnastics in the world can’t reinterpret the Promise that we will not be without the Comforter unless He (Jesus) has come for me.  I can’t speak for you. But I know what He promised me.

He can’t take His Holy Spirit from me and leave me comfortless without breaking His Word to me.  

The Comforter is taken out of the way before the antichrist is revealed at the beginning of the Tribulation Period and the Second Coming of Christ doesn’t take place until the end of the Tribulation Period. 

So unless the Holy Spirit can be ‘taken out of the way’ while still indwelling me until the 2nd Coming, I must be taken out of the way at the same time.

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only He who now holdeth back will hold him back, until He is taken out of the way. . .

“And THEN shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” 

One doesn’t need to speak Classical Greek to understand the Comforter. Or the identity of the “wicked one”.   Or the Promise. 

The antichrist cannot be revealed while the Comforter indwells the Church, since He must be taken out of the way. 

And the Comforter cannot be taken out of the way, leaving us comfortless, because Jesus said He would come for us, first. 

It really doesn’t get confusing UNTIL one starts quoting classical Greek, learned scholars and long-winded expositions. 

“But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.” (1st Corinthians 1:27)

It’s really not that complicated.  The Bible wasn’t written to scholars in some kind of mysterious multilingual code. 

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” (Luke 18:17)

Because it was written so a little child could understand it.  

The Other Big ‘O

The Other Big ‘O
Vol: 100 Issue: 25 Monday, January 25, 2010

It has been some time since we’ve heard from Osama bin Laden.  As it turned out, electing a guy whose middle name is “Hussein” who was “raised among Muslims and has Muslim members among my own family” didn’t make Osama stop hating America.

A pity.  It obviously seemed like a good idea when the second ‘O’ had it.  What a shame the first ‘O’ didn’t buy it.  

Osama evidently wasn’t mollified by Obama’s Cairo speech.  Announcing America wasn’t a Christian country and claiming America as one of the world’s largest Muslim countries didn’t seem to impress him much either. 

Osama could look up the CIA Factbook on the internet and find America’s population is 87% Christian and 0.7% Muslim.  (Maybe he thought Obama was making fun of him?)

Whatever the reason, Osama released a new audiotape aimed claiming the Christmas Day bombing attack
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over Detroit was an official al-Qaeda enterprise. The one-minute message was explicit in its threat of new attacks.

Like the airline plot, bin Laden said they would come in response to America’s support for Israel.”God willing, our raids on you will continue as long as your support for the Israelis continues,” bin Laden said in the recording, which was released to the Al-Jazeera news channel.”

The message delivered to you through the plane of the heroic warrior Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was a confirmation of the previous messages sent by the heroes of the Sept. 11,” he said of the Nigerian suspect in the Dec. 25 botched attack.

“If our messages had been able to reach you through words we wouldn’t have been delivering them through planes.”

Directing his statements at President Barack Obama – “from Osama to Obama,” he said – bin Laden added: “America will never dream of security unless we will have it in reality in Palestine.”

The message, which White House officials said could not immediately be authenticated, raised again the question of how much of a link exists between al-Qaida’s top leadership along the Afghan-Pakistani border and the handful of loosely affiliated groups operating in the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa and Iraq.

The al-Qaida leader, who was last heard from in September, seemed intent on showing he remains more than an ideological figurehead, as most analysts have suggested he has become during the terror network’s evolution into decentralized offshoots. 

On Friday, Britain raised its terror threat alert to the second-highest level, one of several recent steps the country has taken to increase vigilance after the Christmas Day bombing attempt. 

The online edition of Britain’s The Sunday Times reported that the heightened alert was prompted in part by an Islamic terrorist plot to hijack an Indian passenger jet and crash it into a British city.

Assessment:

US counter-terrorism officials and the White House are saying that they don’t believe Osama had anything to do with the Christmas Day attack and that he is simply taking credit for it to boost his own stock.

“He’s trying to continue to appear relevant” by talking up the attempted attack by an affiliate, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, told reporters.

Were it not for the administration’s penchant for dismissing the existence of organized Islamic terror (Obama called Abdulmutallab “an isolated extremist, for example), that claim might have a bit more credibility.

I recall thinking to myself shortly after the attacks that the Obama administration would deny al-Qaeda involvement even if Osama bin Laden claimed personal credit. Well, he has.  And they did. 

The problem with the continuing existence of al-Qaeda for the Obama administration is that they ran largely on an anti-war platform that blamed George Bush for making al-Qaeda mad. Everything about the war on terror was because the country under George Bush probably deserved it.   Gitmo Bay was a ‘recruiting tool’ for new terrorists.  

So was the war against al-Qaeda in Iraq — if Bush hadn’t invaded Afghanistan, al-Qaeda would have simply evaporated instead of flocking to Iraq to fight the US. If only we could offer an extended hand to terror they would unclench their fist in return.  We promised to close down Gitmo.  

We promised to treat terrorists like American criminals instead of prisoners of war. Since taking office, the Obama administration has systematically attempted to quietly meet most of Osama’s main complaints while trying not to look like appeasers. 

And it sort of worked — instead of threatening to kill us over Iraq, Afghanistan, Gitmo or for electing George Bush,  Osama now demands Obama abandon Israel.  

Given the administration’s war record so far,  there is little doubt that Jerusalem is preparing itself for when the US administration delivers the Left Boot of Fellowship as part of its effort to rehabilitate America’s image in the Islamic world ruined by George W. Bush.

“And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” (Matthew 25:32)

These nations will be divided in accordance with how each treated the Jews. (Matthew 25:40) At one time, I had no doubt that America would be numbered among the sheep.  I still think so.  

But I am not as certain as I once was. 

Rebels With A Cause

Rebels With A Cause
Vol: 100 Issue: 23 Saturday, January 23, 2010

On the eve of the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which legalized abortion throughout the United States, a new survey shows a strong majority of Americans now believe abortion to be “morally wrong.”  

Morally wrong?  How can this be?  To imply there is some kind of universal moral code also implies the existence of a moral code Giver.  Isn’t that illegal?

Even more surprising is the finding that the strongest opponents of abortion are the ones most directly affected by any change in existing legislation.   

“Millennials” (those 18-29) consider abortion to be “morally wrong” even more (58%) than Baby Boomers (those 45-64) (51%).  Generation X (those 30-44) are similar to Millennials (60% see abortion as “morally wrong”).   More than 6 in 10 of the Greatest Gener
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ation (those 65+) feel the same

As an aside, the generational nicknames and their definitions are themselves revealing. World War II ended in 1945.  And so did new entrants to the Greatest Generation. 

The label reflects the almost-automatic and universal recognition that the greatest generation is behind us.  The Baby Boomer generation that succeeded it is the one that shares its place in history with the rebirth of Israel in 1948.

It is THAT generation who now occupy the global seats of power. So a more historically reflective nickname for the children of the Greatest Generation, (of whom I am a member), might be the “Worst Generation”.  

It was the children of the Greatest Generation that scandalized their parents with the launch of the Sexual Revolution that necessitated the invention of the ‘right’ to kill their offspring. 

Those children that survived the abortion mills are the ones who will soon shoulder the burden of paying for that legacy of irresponsibility. 

We taught them morality by example.  They witnessed the examples we set for them, analyzed the results, and cleverly learned to do the
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opposite
.  

Every generation has its rebels — it is part and parcel of the sin nature inherited from Adam. The first sin was the angelic rebellion led by Lucifer/Satan. 

The first act of human  rebellion was to disobey God in the Garden — and then shirk responsibility for it.  Eve blamed the serpent for beguiling her.  

Adam was the first liberal Democrat. Adam admitted he wasn’t tricked — he joined Eve in the rebellion, eyes wide open —  but then defiantly blamed God for creating Eve. 

“And the man said, The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12)

The rebels born to the Greatest Generation were well-summarized by the title of the movie that came to define my generation. We were rebels without a cause.  

The world our parents turned over to us wasn’t perfect, but it had been recently renovated — we didn’t have much to complain about, compared to the one we’re about to turn over to our kids. 

Our generation then later tried to hand off some mythological ‘universal dignity of the human spirit’ to our children as a substitute for the Lawgiver and Author of morals that made the Greatest Generation great.  

In so doing, we gave our children a cause to rebel against.  They are able to see right through the immoral, self-absorbed, overextended and crumbling society that we’re preparing to hand them. 

And in the time remaining, they’re doing a little rebelling of their own.  

Assessment:

There have always been competing schools of thought regarding a supposed end-times revival just before the return of Christ. Could this be what is being reflected here? 

It would be nice, but it wouldn’t necessarily be biblical. The professing Christian church of the last days is described as “rich and increased with goods,” but spiritually “lukewarm” and “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Revelation 3:16-17)

You couldn’t come up with a better summary of the current state of affairs if you were given another two thousand years to think of one. 

The Apostle Paul warned of a great ‘apostasia’ or ‘falling away’ (2nd Thessalonians 2) from the true faith and of consciences ‘seared with a hot iron’ (1st Timothy 4).

 People will reject sound doctrine, and  wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.  
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;(2nd Timothy 4).

The case made by those who are looking for world-wide revival as a sign of the last days largely depends on the assumption that you can’t have a revival without first having great apostasy.  

Following that line of thinking, this would be the burgeoning revival arising out of the great apostasy that followed the Greatest Generation.

That would seem an effort to interpret prophecy according to current events, rather than the other way around.

Let’s take another example.  Most prophecy watchers have an opinion about who the antichrist is, or who he will be, or what to watch out for.  If there were a single individual out there at the moment who looks good for it, it would probably be Barack Obama. 

Obama certainly seems to have a look more stout than his fellows.  He seems to have little regard for any god. The day he was elected the winning lottery numbers in his home state were 666.  

His efforts to fundamentally transform America seem to dovetail with prophesied efforts to change the times and the seasons.

And if Satan were an amateur and we were really as smart as we think we are, then maybe we’d have some reason to believe we were right. 

The guy seemed perfect for the part.   He was TOO perfect, in fact.   And now his political stock is falling faster than General Motors.  

Before we grow to wise in our own eyes,  what if the antichrist’s credentials are seemingly those of a born-again Christian with impeccable morals and a center right political platform?  

Would we recognize him then?

Jesus warned of false Christs and false prophets showing signs and wonders so convincing that they could even deceive the very elect, comparing them to wolves in sheep’s clothing.  

I’d love to report that the seeming shift to the right is a reflection of coming revival in the last days.  

Instead, I’m inclined to advise praying for a heightened sense of discernment.  

The Marist poll seems to confirm the sense of optimism a lot of us see reflected in the Scott Brown story and the rising political fortunes of the Republicans.

But a shift towards the political right doesn’t mean a shift towards God.  Or necessarily the onset of spiritual revival.  Just an admission that killing off one’s own offspring is immoral.  

When the enemy does come, he won’t look like a wolf. 

He’ll be disguised like a sheep. 

“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Revelation 3:3)