Wisdom of the Ancients

Wisdom of the Ancients
Vol: 112 Issue: 22 Saturday, January 22, 2011

According to our calendar, this is the year two thousand and eleven as measured from the birth of Jesus Christ of Nazareth in Bethlehem. 

The calendar that we use is the standard calendar in use world-wide for all official business.

Hindu countries, Muslim countries, officially atheist countries and religiously confused countries all date modern events based on the life of a Jewish laborer executed as a criminal by the Roman Empire roughly 1978 years ago.  

They may not believe in Jesus of Nazareth, but He affects their lives daily, nonetheless.   

In Buddhist Sri Lanka, this is the year 2545. In Hindu India, it is the year 1922.  Muslims reckon this year as the year 1421.

The starting point for the Buddhist calendar is the year 544 BC — the date of the Buddha’s death. The Muslim calendar dates from the flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Medina. 

The Chinese lay claim to being the world’s oldest civilization. Whether or not that is true, according to the Chinese calendar, which is the oldest calendar in continuous use since inception, this is the year 4704, dating from around the time of Noah and the Flood. 

The oldest calendar in use in terms of length is the Byzantine calendar, which uses the Julian date for its calculations, beginning with Day One, AM (Anno Mundi) on September 1, 5509.  

But the Byzantine calendar is based on the Julian calendar created by astronomer Sosigenes of Alexandria 45 years before Christ.  It isn’t based on human history, but rather by assuming an arbitrary date for creation based on the position of the stars, and then working forward.

What is fascinating about all of these calendars is that none of them (except the Byzantine) reach further back than about six thousand years. 

We have fossils that science claims are older than six thousand years.  We have dug up settlements and evidences of civilization that science says dates back further than six thousand years. 

But the human historical record comes to an abrupt re-boot at about the same place where the Chinese calendar begins. 

The Chinese record starts at just about the same time when Noah and his family left the Ark and began to rebuild human civilization.  And it is the oldest.

Everything before that is mythologized.  

Assessment:

The ancient Sumerians who were the first to develop a written language dated the lifespan of their early rulers into the thousands of years.  The ancient Egyptians claimed that their earliest rulers were giants who stood twice the size of ordinary men.

The ancient Greek and Roman mythologies included strange, demonic, half-human, half-animal creatures like centaurs, minotaurs, demi-gods, and so on.

Joshua makes reference to the gods “which your fathers served on the other side of the Flood” four times; (Joshua 24:2-3,14-15)

Every ancient civilization makes reference to an ancient, cataclysmic flood that was sent as a form of judgment by the gods, a god, or God. 

And in all the world, there is no record of human civilization that predates the record set forth in the Bible.  The Sumerians have written records predating Moses, (who wrote Genesis) but there is no coherent written account of human civilization that predates the Flood. 

The Book of Genesis explains the origins of human legends, like long-lived Sumerian rulers of pre-history. Genesis explains that until the Flood, human lifespans were measured in centuries — Methuselah lived for some 969 years.

Genesis 6:4 explains the Egyptian giants of prehistory.  It also provides a credible explanation for the origins of Greco-Roman mythology.  The gods, demigods, centaurs and so forth worshipped by the Romans and Greeks are entirely consistent with the unholy offspring of Genesis 6:4.

The gods of Mount Olympus and demigods like Hercules, Mercury, Perseus and Achilles and Joshua’s “gods on the other side of the Flood” are a far better historical fit than an explanation that they were simply invented out of nothing somewhere in the distant, unknowable past.

Were it not for the Bible’s insistence on the universal worship of the Creator as a condition of salvation and its insulting representation of all mankind as unregenerate sinners in need of His mercy, the Bible would undoubtedly be hailed as an unassailably accurate historical record. 

No matter how desperately science tries to discredit the Bible, it keeps coming back to the Cradle of Civilization for answers to questions relating to the origin of human language, human culture, human racial differences and human DNA.  

Linguists say all human language evolved from a single ‘proto-language’ that existed at about the same time and place that the Bible puts the story of the Tower of Babel, at the same time dismissing any connection between the Bible story and their findings as ‘coincidence.’ 

Note that the primary effort isn’t to prove the Genesis account true.  The primary effort is to disprove it in the face emerging evidence that tends to support Babel as a real event.  The same is true of DNA research that also tends to support, rather than refute, Babel as the source of differing racial characteristics.

One of the first rules of legitimate scientific investigation is that one approaches an issue with an open mind, rather than beginning with a conclusion and then working backward to find evidence to support it. 

But when it comes to the Bible, that is the first rule to be broken.  Openly. Scientists and historians that even consider the Bible are immediately and permanently derided as ‘religiously biased’ despite mounting evidence that all human history began exactly where the Bible says that it did.

No fact of history (or medicine, astronomy, geology, physics or science) contained in the Bible has ever been conclusively disproved.  None.  At best, there are things in the Bible for which there is no proof either way, like Adam and Eve, Noah’s Ark, or Jonah and the whale.

But whenever some piece of evidence does come to light, such as the 1993 discovery of the Tomb of Caiaphus, that piece of evidence always confirms the Bible’s account. 

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

How is this relevant?  What we call Bible prophecy is really a record of Bible history that hasn’t yet happened.  It is history in advance, as seen from God’s perspective outside of space and time.  It is as accurate as if it was yesterday’s news.

It is only from our perspective that it is really tomorrow’s. 

Inside is Where We Keep the Good Stuff

Inside is Where We Keep the Good Stuff
Vol: 112 Issue: 21 Friday, January 21, 2011

I was reading through the OL’s Member’s Forum the other day and marveling at the wealth of information contained there.  It has exceeded my wildest hopes when we first began mapping out what would become your Omega Letter back in 2001.

It is your Omega Letter, as I had always wanted it to be. The Omega Letter was designed first and foremost as a place where mature believers could fellowship together, but also as a place where they could share information with one another. 

Henry Ford once observed, “I’d rather have one percent of the efforts of 100 men than 100 percent of the effort of one” and on that philosophy, invented the automobile assembly line.

Just scrolling through the past week’s worth, one finds discussions on such varied topics as the new Zodiac, Glenn Beck, Obama’s speech, the Mossad’s latest assessment of Iran’s nuclear program, and lots more. 

The Omega Letter forums are an information clearing-house of facts and reports that are relevant to Bible prophecy or of interest to mature Christians, presented as they happen by observers unafraid to share their opinions or ask questions of one another. 

I couldn’t be more pleased with what the Lord has built.

For example, did you know about the thousands of dead octopuses (octopi?) that mysteriously washed ashore on a beach in Portugal? 

I consider myself much more well-informed than most people – after all, it is my job to know things.  But I didn’t know about that until I read it in the OL forums.

What about the magma bulge developing in Yellowstone Park?  Did you know about that?   Starting in 2004, the ground has begun to swell over what National Geographic describes as a ‘super-volcano’. 

A super-volcano in America’s heartland?  That would seem to be fairly important news.  National Geographic describes a super-volcano this way:

 “Volcanoes form mountains. Super-volcanoes erase them.”

In the case of the Yellowstone bulge, Nat Geo quotes US Geological Survey scientist Bob Christiansen explaining what the bulge, (which only began in 2004, remember) signifies:

First, a plume of heat wells up from deep within the planet and melts rock just beneath the crust of the Earth, creating a vast chamber filled with a pressurized mix of magma, semisolid rock, and dissolved water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases. As additional magma accumulates in the chamber over thousands of years, the land above begins to dome upward by inches. Fractures open along the dome’s edges, as if burglars were sawing a hole from beneath a wooden floor. When the pressure in the magma chamber is released through the fractures, the dissolved gases suddenly explode in a massive, runaway reaction. It’s like “opening the Coke bottle after you’ve shaken it,” says Bob Christiansen, a U.S. Geological Survey scientist who pioneered research on the Yellowstone volcano in the 1960s. With the magma chamber emptied, the surface collapses. The entire domed region simply falls into the planet, as though the Earth were consuming itself. Left behind is a giant caldera, from the Spanish word for “cauldron.”

Why don’t YOU know this?  Why isn’t it being shouted from the roof tops?  Your guess is as good as mine, but my guess is that somebody somewhere decided there is no point in sounding an alarm to an event for which there is no escape. 

“Since 2004, portions of the caldera have surged upward at a rate of nearly three inches a year, much faster than any uplift since close observations began in the 1970s. The surface continues to rise despite an 11-day earthquake swarm that began late in 2008, causing a flurry of apocalyptic rumors on the Internet. “

This is the kind of information you miss if you aren’t cruising the member’s forums.  You don’t have to post in the forums to benefit from them, although if nobody posts, there is no benefit to be had.

The Omega Letter Intelligence Digest is only the tip of the iceberg.  I try to cover what I believe are the most important issues of any given day from the perspective of Bible prophecy, but our forums are literally filled with insights every bit as valuable.

Another example of the kind of insight you are missing if you aren’t cruising the forums is one posted by an OL member making an observation about the Gospels. 

He notes that the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) present Jesus from a perspective unique to the intended audience.

In Matthew, He is presented as King to a primarily Jewish audience.  Mark presents Him as a Servant, to a primarily Roman audience.  Luke’s Gospel is written principally to the Greeks, presenting Jesus as a Man.  All three view essentially the same events, but each from its own unique perspective.

Then we come to the Gospel of John.  John’s Gospel is so much different than the Synoptic Gospels that it is the reason the others are called the “synoptics” – to set John’s Gospel apart.  John’s Gospel presents Jesus as God, and its primary audience is the Church.

That isn’t particularly insightful – after all, if nobody had noticed it before, we wouldn’t have a cool word like ‘synoptic’ to define it. 

But the forums are the place to find insight, like Pete’s observation that the Synoptics – written to the Jew, the Roman and the Greek, all have a variation of the Olivet Discourse.

Note once more that the Synoptics are evangelical; they present Jesus to the unsaved and represent both Jews and Gentiles. 

The Gospel of John is written primarily to those that already believe.

Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21 record the Lord’s reply to the question, “What will be the sign of Thy coming?”  including the outline of the Tribulation and His Second Coming.

John’s Gospel presents an entirely different scenario for the Church.  The Lord describes His return for the Church thusly:

“In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:2-3)

John’s Gospel makes no mention of the tribulation to come, as do Matthew, Mark and Luke.  Matthew, Mark and Luke warn their audiences of tribulation.

To the Jew learning of Jesus as their Messiah and King, Matthew writes:

“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 24:21)

To the Roman learning of Jesus as the Servant of Man, Mark writes:

“For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be.” (Mark 13:19)

To the Greek, being presented with a picture of Jesus as a man, Luke writes:

“For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:22)

John’s Gospel, (addressed to the Church), offers not a warning, but a word of comfort.  To the Church, saved by grace and not subject to judgment for sin, John records the Lord’s Promise:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

I am only one person and can only manage to write one Omega Letter a day.  But the Omega Letter much more than one daily briefing.

The Omega Letter is a compendium of insights and observations from an entire cross-section of mature believers from all walks of life and almost every region of the world, brought together in fellowship and commitment to their service to the King.

It is a blessing beyond measure to me personally. And if you are an OL member but you’ve not spent any time in the OL forums, you are just seeing the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.  

Inside is where we keep all the really good stuff

Silencing the Lambs

Silencing the Lambs
Vol: 112 Issue: 20 Thursday, January 20, 2011

It was just twelve days ago that a deranged part-time college student opened fire in a Tucson parking lot, killing six innocent people and critically wounding Representative Gabrielle Giffords. 

Just twelve days!  It seems like a lot longer, but mainly because the story has been told, retold, untold, rewritten, retold, untold and retold a dozen times already. 

In the first telling, the gunman was a former member of the military and a right wing Tea Partier with a grudge against Democrat Gabrielle Giffords. 

The second version added that he was a Christian right-winger.  The narrative expanded to include his being influenced by the overheated rhetoric of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. 

These versions were the ones immediately and uncritically accepted by the media, particularly on the Left, and only grudgingly relinquished when the actual facts emerged. 

The gunman hated Christianity.  He never listened to talk-radio.  He hated George Bush.  He believed that the government was behind 911. He was an ardent believer in UFOs.  He was an atheist that detested religious people but was totally immersed in the New Age. 

In short, if there was any possibility that he was influenced by somebody’s political worldview, the most likely suspect would be filmmaker Michael Moore. 

So the narrative had to be adjusted, slightly.  This gunman wasn’t influenced by talk radio, Glenn Beck, the military, Bible prophecy, Christianity, the Tea Party, and overheated right-wing rhetoric.

But the next one will be. 

So it is time for those on the Right to stop all the overheated rhetoric that is sure to cause the unhinged among us to whip out our pistolas and go about ‘setting things right for Jesus.’

But only those on the Right.  Those on the Left are free to continue to demonize any that disagree with them without fear of recrimination. 

Representative Steve Cohen responded to Sarah Palin’s comment that blaming her for the Tucson attack was a ‘blood libel’ compared opponents of health care to Nazis. 

Specifically noting Palin’s comment, which came amidst left-wing demands to tone down the ‘heated rhetoric’, Cohen said this from the House floor.

“They don’t like the truth so they summarily dismiss it. “They say it’s a government takeover of healthcare. A big lie just like [Nazi propaganda minister Joseph] Goebbels. You say it enough and you repeat the lie, repeat the lie, repeat the lie until eventually people believe it. Like blood libel, that’s the same kind of thing.  The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it, and you have the Holocaust. You tell a lie over and over again.”

Cohen (a Democrat, naturally) made his comments yesterday, even as the GOP agreed to stop referring to the health care bill as a job-killing bill — out of sensitivity to the unhinged among us.  

Evidently, there are a lot more of the unhinged out there than previously suspected.

Assessment:

Having acknowledged that there is absolutely no connection between the Tucson gunman and overheated right-wing rhetoric, the Left continues to push for legislation aimed at silencing the intolerant opinions of those that disagree with them.

Suddenly, as if a light had just gone off over their heads, politicians like Dick Durbin and Barney Frank are reminding Americans at every opportunity that “words kill”.  

That’s quite a change of heart, given that, if words really did kill, these guys would be mass-murderers.   I’d rehash some of their quotes, but you already know most of them from previous OL briefs. 

What I want to return to is Representative Cohen’s ‘overheated rhetoric’ for a moment, because pretty much everything he said about the Big Lie was true.  

But the Big Lie isn’t about health care. The Big Lie now on the table is that right-wing overheated rhetoric was responsible for the shooting in Tucson.  

But it is the Goebbels version. There is no evidence to support it, yet it is repeated over and over at every opportunity.  It also gives us another example of the Hegelian Dialectic in action. 

Hegel codified political mass manipulation as a three-part process: 

  1. Thesis: Identify a politically unpopular goal, like restricting free speech.  
  2. Synthesis: Create a ‘crisis’ whose solution requires the imposition of the goal identified in part one. 
  3. Antithesis: Exacerbate the danger presented by the invented ‘crisis’ until the public begins to demand the politically unpopular goal identified in part one as the solution to the crisis created in part one.

Thesis: Silence critics like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, talk radio, Christian leaders, and other political opponents.   

Antithesis:  Overheated right-wing rhetoric puts members of Congress and their constituents at risk of being shot by deranged Christians, (especially those interested in Bible prophecy) right-wing Tea Partiers, talk radio and Glenn Beck fans.  Something must be done.

Synthesis: Ban the kind of rhetoric that results in politically-motivated shootings. 

Althernative synthesis:  Ban private gun ownership. 

Do you see it?  Bible prophecy forecasts the coming of the most repressive dictator the world has ever seen, due to make his appearance at some point during the same generation that would see the restoration of Israel. 

At that point in history when Israel when was reborn (1948) the most repressive dictatorship in modern history had just been crushed by the Allies. 

The idea that another could possibly rise to take its place in the same generation was impossible, unthinkable.  

Yet the Bible said it was inevitable. 

And here we sit, just one generation removed from the Greatest Generation, listening to our own leaders parrot the exact same propaganda.   

Last time, it was the Jews.  This time, it is the Jews and the Christians.  But it is the exact same methodology.  And Cohen was right about where it will lead

But before that, the Rapture

“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Thessalonians 4:18)

Dumping Israel

Dumping Israel
Vol: 112 Issue: 19 Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last year a former Obama consultant, Anthony Cordesman, became the first high-level advisor to offer the argument that the US strategic alliance with Israel was harming US interests in the Middle East and should be scrapped. 

Until Cordesman said it out loud, nobody else would. Since then, calling for an end to US aid for Israel has become something of a ’cause’ — everybody who is somebody (or who wants to be) has jumped aboard the bandwagon. 

Atlantic columnist Andrew Sullivan argues that the best reason for throwing Israel from the train is because Israel refuses to “offer minimal cooperation” with international efforts to force Israel to commit national suicide to assuage the global sense of outrage at the “Palestinian problem.”  

“I favor an end to aid for Israel because a) Israel doesn’t need it and b) we need the money and c) it doesn’t seem sensible to me to keep rewarding an ally that refuses to offer minimal cooperation. I also favor the US laying out its own preferred solution, perhaps as a way to recognize a Palestinian state in the UN, whatever Netanyahu wants.” 

An imposed solution, no matter what Netanayahu (or the Israeli people) want?  THIS is the solution that is gaining support?  

I am (to this moment) still a subscriber to the premium intelligence website Stratfor which, at $349.00 per year, just became too expensive for me to continue.  

Obama advisor and Stratfor publisher George Friedman has also just called on Washington to abandon Israel so it can save itself from the Islamic world – in particular, says Friedman, from Iran and Pakistan. 

“The United States must quietly distance itself from Israel,” Friedman says in his book, titled “The Next Decade.” “It must strengthen — or at least put an end to weakening — Pakistan.”

Stratfor, which includes a number of former US intelligence officials, enjoys close ties with Obama, according to Middle East Newsline.  

Acknowledging that his proposal would be regarded as controversial, Friedman said under Obama and former President George Bush, Washington has been in a confrontation with the Islamic world, which consists of one billion people, as part of the “obsessive” U.S. war against al-Qaeda.

Hmmm.  I wonder why anyone would think calling America’s war against al-Qaeda “obsessive” might be controversial?  Could it be because al-Qaeda seems obsessed with making war on America? 

A U.S. withdrawal of support for Israel, which receives $3 billion a year in American aid, would restore balance in the Middle East, Friedman argued. He said Washington’s recent policy has destabilized the region as well as bolstered Indian dominance of Pakistan.

“Owing largely to recent U.S. policy, those balances are unstable or no longer exist,” Friedman said. “The Israelis are no longer constrained by their neighbors and are now trying to create a new reality on the ground.”

A new reality on the ground?  I suppose that is one way of looking at it — provided one is willing to ignore the old reality Israel used to have to work with. 

In the old, pre-1993 reality, Israel had captured the West Bank, Golan Heights and Gaza strip from Jordan, Syria and Egypt, respectively, following a series of wars of aggression launched against them by those countries, together with the rest of the Arab/Islamic world. 

In the old reality, while Palestinian terrorism was a problem, an Arab invasion was not, thanks to the buffer zones separating Israel’s heartland from those who would seek to destroy it. 

Friedman’s suggested new reality finds fault with Israel for seeking ways to protect its heartland while simultaneously surrendering its buffer zones to appease world opinion.

“The Pakistanis have been badly weakened by the war in Afghanistan, and they are no longer an effective counterbalance to India. And, most important, the Iraqi state has collapsed, leaving the Iranians as the most powerful military force in the Persian Gulf area,” Friedman said.

The book also called on Washington to recognize Iran as the new power in the Middle East. Friedman argued that Washington must arrange a detente with Teheran similar to that with China in the 1970s and the Soviet Union in the 1940s. He said Iran already dominates neighboring Iraq.

“And in the spirit of Roosevelt’s entente with the USSR during World War II, as well as Nixon’s entente with China in the 1970s, the United States will be required to make a distasteful accommodation with Iran, regardless of whether it attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities,” Friedman said. “These steps will demand a more subtle exercise of power than we have seen on the part of recent presidents.”

Friedman said the decline in U.S. support for Israel must mark the first step in a revised American foreign policy. He said this was vital for what he termed the survival of the U.S. empire.

America has an empire? Who knew? 

“The United States is a commercial republic, which means that it lives on trade,” Friedman said. “Its tremendous prosperity derives from its own assets and virtues, but it cannot maintain this prosperity and be isolated from the world. Therefore, if the United States intends to retain its size, wealth, and power, the only option is to learn how to manage its disruptive influence maturely.”

The best way to do that is to abandon our closest ally and embrace our most intractable enemies? That’s one of the reasons I am canceling my Stratfor subscription.  

If I wanted Obama-speak I can get that for free. 

Assessment:

It isn’t in my nature to seek opinions that I already agree with. Nobody could ever learn anything that way. I value opinions, particularly those that cause me to re-examine the opinions I already hold. 

But I don’t subscribe to Stratfor for opinions — I subscribe to Stratfor for intelligence information and analysis.  Once analysis becomes advocacy — in this case, advocating an abandonment of Israel, it is no longer of any use to me. 

Israel doesn’t exist in theory — it exists in fact.  It is a nation of men, women and children, not a collection of Zionist Jews bent on world domination.   There is no record of Israel attempting to enlarge its borders.

When Israel was attacked in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, it was part of a pan-Arab effort to take what land Israel already had away from them.   At the end of each war, Israel found itself in possession of more land than she started with.

So arguing that Israel is expansionist is like a compulsive gambler complaining that the casino has a gambling problem.  The Arabs gambled, they lost, and now they want the casino to restore their losses — on the grounds the casino should never have been there in the first place.  

As time went on, those demands morphed from demands that the casino restore their losses to a demand for complete ownership of the casino itself. 

There has never been a situation quite like this in the history of the world.  A nation so reviled that its destruction would be cause for global celebration.  But why?

Nobody is quite sure.   The Arabs want Israel destroyed because Israel is Jewish.  

The Europeans support the Arab cause, because the Arabs are not Jewish.   The countries that refuse diplomatic ties with Israel do so because Israel is Jewish.  

Those nations that support Israel —  like Canada, the US, Australia and so forth –support Israel because it is Jewish.  

The nations that support Israel are targets of al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism — because Israel is Jewish.    

The mainstream Protestant Christian denominations that favor divestment from Israeli investments as a way of supporting the Palestinian side favor the Palestinians because Israel is Jewish.  

Remove the Jewishness from Israel and there is no remaining reason to deny its existence. 

Israel is tiny among the nations — tiny in area, tiny in population, and tiny in its territorial aspirations.  But it is simultaneously numbered among the most important nations on the face of the planet.

No city on earth receives more attention world-wide than does the city of Jerusalem.  But until the Jews claimed it as their capital, it was nothing more than just another town in the Ottoman province of Southern Syria. 

Until the Jews returned after 1900 years in exile and suddenly, it isn’t Jerusalem anymore.  It is suddenly (and miraculously) the ancient Islamic city of al-Quds. Jerusalem is what the Zionists renamed it.  Or something.

The Bible says that as we move closer to the end of this age,  the rest of the world will move further away from Israel until Israel stands completely alone and friendless.  

It isn’t until Israel has nowhere else to turn that God turns His attention back Israel’s national redemption.  

“And I will sanctify My great Name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” (Ezekiel 36:23)

“So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.”(Ezekiel 39:22)

“They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2)

So it is unsurprising, from the perspective of Scripture, that the call for America to abandon Israel to the tender mercies of the Arab world is growing louder.   

Israel is a visible reminder that the God of Heaven keeps His promises.  The god of this world hates that.  

If God keeps His promises to Israel, then it means God is just as faithful to keep His promises to His Church. That is something the enemy would prefer to keep a secret.  

By whatever means necessary. 

Bipartisan Compromise

Bipartisan Compromise
Vol: 112 Issue: 18 Tuesday, January 18, 2011

One of the unexpected gifts handed to the Left by the deranged Tucson shooter (and there were many) was the opportunity to stifle its critics by pretending that a nut with a screw loose was a ‘clarion call for bipartisan compromise’ or some variation on that theme.

One cannot turn on the television news without being bombarded by expert opinions that the shooting was the result of heated rhetoric on the Right. 

It has provided endless fodder for victims of Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome, forcing her to defend herself on Hannity, thereby painting an even bigger bulls-eye on herself for her critics to target.

Heavens!  I hope nobody reads the above sentence and is incited to bloodlust and mayhem.  I got the idea from a Joe Manchin commercial – but Joe Manchin is a Democrat – his use of an actual rifle with real bullets doesn’t count.

Nobody drew similar conclusions between Manchin’s commercial, entitled “Dead Aim” and the deranged shooter in Tucson.   

Instead, they commissioned a Washington Post poll comparing her “response” to the Tucson event with that of Barack Obama’s.   I’m not kidding.  

Since Sarah Palin is a private citizen whose ‘response’ was limited to Facebook postings and 140 character ‘tweets’ and Barack Obama is the, ahem, President of the United States with all the trappings of office including the bully pulpit, the fact that Sarah Palin didn’t compare well shouldn’t be news.

But for some reason, it is. 

“Palin, who is so expert in capturing the feelings, frustrations and hopes of a certain segment of the population, demonstrated no range,” Slate columnist John Dickerson wrote. “She offered nothing to meet this moment. Her remarks were defensive, illogical, and distracting.”

Defensive?   Palin was in Alaska being a private citizen when she was practically accused of being an accessory to the Tucson shootings. 

The Washington Post summarized the narrative being advanced by the Left as if it were true, and doing a pretty impressive job of it, if I might offer a hat tip to their propaganda department:

The Tucson shootings sparked a broad public discussion about whether the political dialogue in the country has become too toxic and overheated. In the new poll, Americans are split evenly on the question of whether the tone could encourage violence, with about half saying it has not gone that far and the other half saying it could or already has.

Slim majorities say political commentators on the left and the right have crossed the line of acceptable rhetoric, and almost half say so of the tea party movement.

Separately, 52 percent of Americans now hold unfavorable views of the tea party, a new high. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats – including as many moderate and conservative as liberal members of the party – have negative views of the political movement, as do half of all independents.

The public is somewhat less severe in its evaluations of the rhetorical stands of the two major parties and their supporters, with 45 percent saying the GOP has crossed the line in how opponents are attacked and 39 percent saying that of the Democrats.

That is a pretty skillful way of making it sound like a public ‘discussion’ when the ‘discussion’ amounted to a one-sided accusation of guilt by disassociation. 

The only provable connection between the shooter and American politics is that the shooter is a US citizen who registered Independent but never voted. 

But it does provide some insight into both the application and the power of propaganda.   The Post managed to connect the dots from the Tucson shooter to the Tea Party, demonstrating their intent by crowing the results.  

Fifty-two percent hold an unfavorable view of the Tea Party! Is that the same thing as saying forty-eight percent have a favorable view?   Well, yeah . . . but that’s not important now!

What is important is that nobody finds out that means the Tea Party only enjoyed a 41% favorability rating in a Washington Post poll from February 2010.

So they are lying.  Deliberately.

Assessment:

In 2006, a British film entitled, “Death of a President” about the assassination of George W. Bush was released internationally.   Criticism of a film about the assassination of a sitting president was casually dismissed by the Left as ‘predictable’.

In Film Journal International, Frank Lovece mused that:

“the film’s condemnation by politicians and pundits from James Pinkerton to Hillary Clinton is understandable and completely predictable: They can’t not comment, so when they do, they have to play to their audiences.

None of them seriously believes that this work of fiction will really make someone take a potshot at the president, and anyway, the attempt on President Ronald Reagan’s life came out of a crazy guy’s fascination with Jodie Foster, so you may as well decry movies starring blonde former child actresses.”

This is the Left’s narrative in summary form. They didn’t seriously believe a movie about killing a president would spark a crazy guy, but that Sarah Palin’s use of images about targeting political districts for defeat did?

Or they believe they can make you believe it, which, as the Post made clear in their story, they intend to do.

Now that the election is over and the new Congress is seated, the Left is demanding bipartisan compromise.   These are two interesting words, bipartisanship and compromise.

Bipartisanship means ‘both parties ‘ and infers both sides agree.  When the Left uses it, it means the other side should compromise its principles as necessary.

What if one side believes something is bad for the country and the other side believes it is good for their partisan political fortunes?   Is that even possible?

A majority of the country opposed the health care bill.  The Democrats passed it because they were instructed to do so by their leadership, even though none of them had read it.  

That is the very definition of ‘partisan’ – when party comes before country.    The Democrats now demand that the Republicans ‘compromise’.  

Compromise is when one side relaxes its principles and puts political comfort before country.  If one believes that something can be viewed in terms of black and white, then ‘compromise’ would be the shades of gray between.

The call for bipartisan compromise is therefore a demand that the party in power bend its principles to accommodate policies it opposes in order to ‘prevent heated rhetoric from causing another Tucson’.

The issue here isn’t politics – it is propaganda.  Both sides in any political debate do their best to present their side in the most convincing manner – there is nothing wrong with that.

But go back through today’s brief again — and see WHO is taking sides.  It isn’t the politicians, it is the media.

 It is the Washington Post.  The New York Daily News.  ABCNews.  The New York Times.  These outlets enjoy Constitutional protection as unbiased watchdogs whose role is to keep government in check. 

They lie and they get caught and then they lie some more.  Nobody seems to care.  A free press is a double-edged sword. 

The media doesn’t report to the government, it reports to the public. In the past, even the perception of bias was enough to bring down giants – just ask Dan Rather, who famously denied media bias all the way to the unemployment line.

If the media is lying, then it seems logical that nobody would believe them.  But a new dynamic has been introduced. As long as they media reports what a significant portion of the public wants to believe, bias is irrelevant. 

So CNN, ABC NYTimes, WA-PO, CBS, etc. spin their reports to the Left, while Fox News, the Washington Times, the Washington Examiner, etc., are perceived as spinning to the Right.

And that’s how Sarah Palin can shoot people in Tucson all the way from Alaska.

“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved.”

“And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)

Seven Are An Abomination

Seven Are An Abomination
Vol: 112 Issue: 17 Monday, January 17, 2011

According to the Book of Proverbs, although God hates sin, He has seven sins in particular that He hates more than all the rest. 

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:17-19)

These seven sins are not separate from or stand above all other sin. Rather, they are the wellspring from which all other sins originate. 

Note  that God HATES the first six on the list. Note even more carefully His opinion of the seventh — it is an ABOMINATION to Him. 

The first deadly sin on the list is pride. Although it doesn’t make the ‘abomination’ category, it is the first step on the road that leads there. 

Pride is the most insidious sin, since it might easily be termed the ‘silent’ sin. Its very nature prevents us from either recognizing it in ourselves or admitting to it when it is finally recognized (usually by somebody else.) 

God hates pride. ‘Pride’ is arguably the seminal sin of the universe out of which all other sin arises. The first recorded sin in the history of the universe was not the fall of man, but the fall of Lucifer. 

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12) 

What follows is Satan’s indictment, often called the five ‘I wills’ — each of which are the byproduct of Lucifer’s pride. 

“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (14:13) 

Some preachers have made the case that sin can be defined through this passage. “I will” — rather than “God’s will.” It’s pithy and elliptical — and even accurate, up to a point — but it doesn’t quite hit the bullseye. Close, but not exact. 

If one were seeking to locate the root and branch of sin, “I will” is a lesser included offense, so to speak, but not the original sin.  “I will” is merely the outward expression of the original sin of pride. 

If you take God’s list in order, “pride” is first because without pride, the rest of them haven’t a leg to stand on. 

The secular dictionary defines ‘pride’ thusly: “A sense of one’s own proper dignity or value; self-respect.” 

Pride breeds lies. Why do people lie? Generally speaking, it is to conceal some secret that would make them look bad. There is a standing joke in prison that the one thing all inmates have in common is that they are innocent. 

Even after having served their time, few convicts own up to the crimes for which they were convicted, even though vindication wouldn’t give them back their time served. It is gone forever, so why bother continuing to deny it? Pride. 

“Hands that shed innocent blood” immediately brings abortion to the forefront of my mind. Why are abortion records kept secret? After the abortion is accomplished, the ‘problem’ is ‘solved’.

It isn’t illegal to have an abortion, so there is no legal jeopardy attached to having had one. The records are sealed to protect the privacy (and pride) of the perpetrator. 

And while there are many ‘reasons’ for wanting to get an abortion, when they are distilled down to their essence, one will find pride in there somewhere. The pro-life slogan, “It’s MY body” is an expression of pride. The abortion destroys the baby’s body, not the mothers. 

“A woman’s right to choose” is another. A pregnant woman already made her choice when she did the deed that produced the pregnancy. Claiming a special ‘right’ to a SECOND choice to correct the first wrong choice — as an expression of the uniqueness of womanhood, is rooted in pride. 

Men are expressly forbidden the same ‘right’ to correct a wrong choice. And not only is their sin NOT concealed, it is a matter of public record, accessible by anybody searching through court-ordered child support records. 

The identities of those who actually shed innocent blood are protected, to protect their pride. Those just as involved in the creation of the child, but who have no say in the matter of abortion, are often held up to public ridicule. (Or even imprisonment) 

The ‘innocent blood’ shed in the process is secondary to protecting the reputation of those who shed it. I would venture to bet that there would be lots fewer abortions if there were a legal requirement to post the particulars of an abortion in a local paper, the way the law requires public notification of a death, an estate, or a bankruptcy. 

A heart devising ‘wicked imaginations’ and feet that are ‘swift to be running in mischief’ would be less divisive and less swift if the particulars were certain to be published on the front page of the newspaper, even when no crime has been committed. 

We’ve discussed pride’s role in bearing false witness.  Now we come to that final pride-sponsored abomination: “he that soweth discord among brethren.” 

Assessment: 

Ever find yourself in a discussion over doctrine that turns nasty? Where what ostensibly began as an effort to ‘straighten out’ someone else’s doctrinal error degenerates into an argument over whose understanding of doctrine is the correct one? 

You can tell when it has made that shift from discussion to debate to argument, even if you aren’t part of it. It becomes less about the doctrine in question and more about who is right. 

Even after both sides have agreed to disagree, the debate lingers as each side waits for an advantage, some unrelated event or circumstance that will re-open the debate and give one side or the other a hope for the opportunity to say, “Aha! Told ya!” 

Pride, by its insidious nature, blinds us to the fact (obvious to most observers) that the goal of the debate has morphed. It’s no longer about the doctrine. It’s about being right. 

The debate about the timing of the Rapture is a perfect example. It is a given that, when two genuinely saved, born-again Christians start debating the timing of the Rapture, both sides sincerely believe that they are right. Why else would they want to argue about it? 

What neither side can articulate very effectively is what difference the timing of the Rapture makes to their own salvation. Or what difference it makes to the mission of leading souls to Christ. 

A pre-trib Rapturist is no more saved than a post-Trib Rapturist. One is saved by grace through faith in Christ, not by faith in Christ’s appointment calendar. An understanding of the timing of the Rapture is necessary to rightly dividing the Word insofar as understanding the Bible’s prophetic outline.

But we aren’t saved by our understanding of the Bible’s prophetic outline. It isn’t when He comes that saves us, it is faith in the One Who is coming. 

But spend a little time reading through some of the debates and it is hard to find much about Christ in them. It’s about being right. Pride. Bragging rights. 

Proverbs says that ‘pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

In our forums, debates about the timing of the Rapture has driven many members right out of our fellowship. Those who remain are vindicated — some even rejoice at having driven such a one away. 

Nobody has learned anything from the exchange except which party is the better debater. Each side remains convinced of their own position, because the goal is to defend their own view, not consider the merits of the other side. 

And pride won’t allow us to see that the damage being caused in the process far outweighs any eternal value that might be gleaned from winning over a post-tribber to the pre-trib side. 

Nothing of eternal value is obtained by driving away a brother or sister from fellowship over an issue that can never be proved until after the fact. 

It serves only to spread unnecessary discord among brethren, which the Scriptures identify as an ‘abomination before the Lord’.

The discussion at hand in today’s briefing is the insidious nature of the sin of pride. It sneaks up on us, unawares. By the time we recognize the role it plays, (if ever) it is too late to undo the damage its caused. 

It shatters relationships, spreads discord among brethren, damages the shared mission of all Christians — to demonstrate the truth that sets men free:

“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

As we have discussed in the recent OL brief, “A Difficult Book” the doctrinal differences between Christians are there because that is the way God has ordained it to be. 

In the Book of Genesis, we read of Nimrod’s efforts to rally the whole world to his cause, to build a tower that would thwart God’s effort at judgment in the event of another flood. 

To prevent the whole world from falling under the sway of one man’s heresy, God confused the languages and divided the world into nations, confusing their languages so that they would be able to form their own opinions about God’s will for their lives without the influence of a single, powerful human leader. 

Within the Church, there are doctrinal differences between denominations that serve the same purpose.

Interestingly, it is only AFTER those doctrinal divisions are ‘taken out of the way’ at the Rapture that the antichrist is free to advance his own personal doctrine, whereby he seizes control of the global religion and declares himself to be God. 

His plan could never work during the Church Age. Christians can’t even agree among themselves about the details of the Eternal God, despite the fact they were revealed by God Himself, let alone buy into the unified doctrine of antichrist. 

There is but one universal Christian doctrine, summed up in Acts 4:12: 

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) 

The Apostle Paul addressed the doctrinal divisions that had already stirred up the pride of the early Church, as some Christians declared themselves followers of Peter, and others, followers of Paul. 

“Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.” (Romans 14:1) 

There is probably no better example of a ‘doubtful disputation’ than the timing of the Rapture. Nobody knows for certain if the view they hold is right.  Moreover,  nobody can know until the Trumpet sounds. 

As Paul noted in his letter to the Corinthians; “What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?”

We teach what we believe, but nobody should be forced to agree with every detail in order to keep fellowship. We are all one in Christ as sinners saved by grace. 

I am convinced of a pre-trib Rapture, but if somebody wants to reject that in favor of another view, his eternity is not in jeopardy. Just his understanding. 

As to endless debate about peripheral details not related to salvation, Paul says,

“But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.” (1st Corinthians 14:36,38)

In addressing the minor doctrinal divisions of his day, Paul writes,

“One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded IN HIS OWN mind.” (Romans 14:5)

The operative phrase here is for each man to be fully persuaded of his own doctrine in his OWN mind. We don’t agree on all points of doctrine because that is the way God designed it. That is the genius of the Bible. 

It is what keeps us free.  What an amazing God!

Jesus of Nazareth

Jesus of Nazareth
Vol: 112 Issue: 15 Saturday, January 15, 2011

No person in the history of mankind has had a more profound effect on human history than an unskilled laborer named Jesus from the Galilean town of Nazareth Who lived and died in the first half of the first century.

Jesus Christ was but a youth of thirty-three at His Crucifixion, barely enough time in the natural for anyone to make much of an impact on the world in which one lives.  Especially given the fact that He lived in more-or-less total obscurity until He reached age thirty.  

His public ministry lasted but three years – less time than a single US presidential term.  But no US president that ever lived came even close to approximating His impact on history. 

There are entire countries that never heard of Abraham Lincoln or George Washington.  There is little doubt that there are places where nobody has heard of Barack Obama. 

But it is hard to imagine a place so remote that nobody has heard of Jesus of Nazareth.  

Yet there are entire organizations dedicated to disproving that He ever existed.  Almost as much is written in this, the 21st century, that is dedicated to denying His existence as there is celebrating it.

There are so many views concerning Jesus Christ that the view Jesus didn’t exist almost serves as a primary source of evidence that He does.  It seems counterintuitive that so much time, effort and scholarship would be devoted to disproving Him if there were any serious doubt of His historicity.

A quote from Shakespeare is illustrative; “Methinks he doth protest too much.”  The Book of Proverbs expressed a similar sentiment thusly: “The wicked flee where no man pursueth.”   

Christians believe Jesus was both God and man and that as such, He was uniquely qualified to pay the penalty due for the sins of the world.  Look at the perfect symmetry of that belief in light of the existing evidence.

The case for Jesus as Savior begins with the covenant between God and Abraham.   God had led Abraham out of Iraq to a land God promised would belong to Abraham and his descendants forever as part of a covenant relationship between God and Abraham and his seed.

Abraham demanded a guarantee from God. 

“And he said, LORD God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?  And He said unto him, Take Me an heifer of three years old, and a she goat of three years old, and a ram of three years old, and a turtledove, and a young pigeon. And he took unto Him all these, and divided them in the midst, and laid each piece one against another: but the birds divided he not. (Genesis 15:7-10)

Abraham knew precisely what this was – it was a blood covenant of the type that was common among the Chaldeans of Abraham’s day.   The Abrahamic covenant foreshadowed the Ten Commandments and the Mosiac Law. 

The animals were butchered and arranged in piles to form an aisle through which each party to the agreement would walk, hands joined, while reciting its terms.

The implication of such a covenant was that if one party the covenant were unfaithful to its terms, then he would end up like one of those piles of animal parts.  While Abraham waited, he fell asleep and witnessed what transpired as a vision.

“And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, and it was dark, behold a smoking furnace, and a burning lamp that passed between those pieces.”  (Genesis 15:12)

Abraham and God were both parties to the covenant, but God signed it on both sides, binding God to the penalty instead of Abraham or his descendants.

This is where the story of Jesus of Nazareth really begins.  Because Abraham’s seed broke the covenant, somebody had to pay the penalty demanded by its terms.  God’s justice is perfect and perfect justice demands perfect adherence.

Even God doesn’t stand above His own standard of justice.   That is what makes Him God.

Assessment:

The story of Jesus of Nazareth is too complex to be a myth.  Much of the Old Testament is dedicated to prophecies concerning the Messiah – prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus of Nazareth.

The story plays out in a nutshell summary like this.  Within three centuries of the Flood, God pledges Himself in a blood covenant with Abraham and his seed. 

Two thousand years later, God steps out of space and time, fulfills the Abrahamic/Mosaic covenant by uniquely living a life perfect adherence,  paying the penalty demanded by its violation on behalf its violators at the Cross.

The terms of the Old Covenant having been fulfilled makes possible the introduction of the New Covenant, purchased by His own Blood, of salvation by grace through faith.  It IS the greatest story ever told.  

Just think of it!  The Bible says that before the world began, God already identified you as one of His own and made provision for your salvation.   

That all sounds good in theory but it also sounds like predestination. And predestination is one of those things that Christians like to analyze and argue about until they miss the significance of what it teaches.  

What it teaches that nothing occurs by chance, that God has everything under control, that the hairs on your head are numbered and whatever personal terror looms before us, God has already made provision for. 

It teaches that you can trust His Promises, including the one that says, “I will never leave or forsake you.”  And the one that says, “I will come again to receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

Let’s put aside the argument about free will and predestination and ‘what about the non-predestined?’ for now by simply allowing for the fact that God already knew because He is God — and we argue about it because we are not.

The existence of Jesus of Nazareth as a man that lived and died during the first half of the first century (which, not coincidentally, is why we call that the FIRST century, AD) is attested to by a wealth of contemporary and extra-Biblical accounts.

Josephus was not a Christian but he confirmed that Jesus of Nazareth was executed on a Roman cross outside Jerusalem.  Roman Senator Tacitus wrote of the crucifixion Jesus, mentioning that it took place during the administration of Pontius Pilate  — and of the subsequent rise of Christianity in his ‘Annals’.

Pliny the Younger wrote a letter to Emperor Trajan mocking Christians and their willingness to die for Christ  only seventy years after Jesus’ death and resurrection. And Suetonius referred to Jesus in his work, “Twelve Ceasars” – all within the first century.

According to the chronology of the standard Masoretic Text of the Hebrew Bible, Abraham was born in the year 1948 Anno Mundi, meaning “the Year of the World” [from Creation].

It was to Abraham that God gave the land grant that gave Israel the nickname, “the Promised Land.” 

Two thousand years later, Jesus stepped into the world to redeem the Covenant under which that land grant was made, but was instead rejected and crucified, precisely as prophesied by the Prophet Daniel.

The Temple was torn down, as Jesus prophesied, the Jews were scattered into the Diaspora. Two thousand years after that, God began to regather the Jews to their homeland and Israel was reborn — in the year 1948 Anno Domini.  

Full circle. . . from the birth of Israel’s eponymous patriarch in 1948 AM to the restoration of Israel as a nation after two thousand years in exile in 1948 AD. 

Everything about everything that makes it possible for us to have fellowship with God was born in Ur in 1948 AM.  

And the starting date for the restoration of ALL things, according to the testimony of Jesus, is the budding fig tree, symbolic of the nation of Israel, reborn after two millennia in the Diaspora, in 1948 AD.

How perfect is that?  Maranatha!  The Lord is coming!