The Answers Are Easy. It’s the Questions That Are Hard

The Answers Are Easy. It’s the Questions That Are Hard
Vol: 112 Issue: 7 Friday, January 7, 2011

I’m not a particularly young man.  And I’ve read a lot of books.  But in all that time, I’ve not read any scholarly effort to disprove the existence of Sophocles, Cicero, Socrates or Virgil. 

Neither have I come across any serious effort to discredit Roman historian Flavius Josephus.  

Historians seem satisfied with the authenticity of the ancients and their works despite the fact that just a handful survived into the modern era.   

Flavius Josephus was really a Jewish historian whose first-century eyewitness history was commissioned under his patron, Titus, the son of Flavius Vespasian and future emperor of Rome. 

According to his biography at Wikipedia;

His writings provide a significant, extra-Biblical account of the post-Exilic period of the Maccabees, the Hasmonean dynasty, and the rise of Herod the Great. He makes references to the Sadducees, Jewish High Priests of the time, Pharisees and Essenes, the Herodian Temple, Quirinius‘ census and the Zealots, and to such figures as Pontius Pilate, Herod the Great, Agrippa I and Agrippa II, John the Baptist, James the brother of Jesus, and a disputed reference to Jesus (for more see Josephus on Jesus). He is an important source for studies of immediate post-Temple Judaism and the context of early Christianity.

Josephus was not the only ancient to write of Jesus, the first-century Nazarene Whose exemplary Life and substitutionary Death had already made a impact across the known world.  The Roman historians Tacitus, Suetonius and Pliny, none of whom are known to have become Christians, all make reference to Jesus of Nazareth.

But my library at home could not contain all the different volumes of work dedicated to either discrediting the Bible or disproving the existence of Jesus Christ.  None have succeeded, but they keep trying.

Allow yourself to meditate on that last paragraph. None have succeeded.  If any of them had, then Christianity would be a dead religion.  And they keep trying. They shouldn’t have to try so hard.

Unlike other world religions that are so constructed that they could survive such a blow, conclusively disproving a single point of doctrinal truth would bring the entire edifice of Christianity crashing down.

If there was no King David, then Jesus could not be God because He specifically referred to David.  If the Book of Daniel was really an allegory written by Judas Maccabeus in 163 BC as some scholars alleged, the Jesus could not be God. 

Jesus referred to Daniel as a “Prophet” and to the prophecies contained in the Book of Daniel. If Daniel was a fraud, then Jesus would be too, since He should know and the Bible clearly indicates that He didn’t.

If the story of Noah’s Ark is an allegory, then Jesus cannot be God.  It was Jesus that likened the last days to the days of Noah.   If Sodom and Gomorrah are allegorical, Jesus cannot be God. Jesus admonished His followers to “remember Lot’s wife.”

That makes things even more complicated.  The Bible says that Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt.  If that didn’t happen, then Jesus either didn’t know or He lied.  In either case, He could not be God. God cannot lie.

Then there is the amazing story of Jonah and the big fish or whale.  According to the Old Testament, God told Jonah to head east for Nineveh and Jonah headed west toward Tarsus instead.  Jonah didn’t like Nineveh and so he defied God.

God sent a big storm, the crew tossed Jonah overboard, a big fish or whale swallowed him up, turned around and headed for Nineveh where it barfed Jonah up on shore three days later.  Later, Jesus taught,

“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  (Matthew 12:40)

So if Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a whale and preserved alive for three days, then Jesus isn’t God. More than that, Jesus said He would be in the earth the same way Jonah was in the whale.  If Jonah wasn’t, then by implication Jesus wasn’t.

Which means our faith is in vain and we are yet in our sins.

Assessment:

Christianity is carefully constructed, fact upon fact, precept upon precept, and pulling out any one of them would cause the rest to collapse like removing a key brick from a wall. 

The Bible claims of itself that it is Divinely inspired and therefore without error.

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”

So if any Scripture is proved unreliable for doctrine, reproof, correction or instruction in righteousness, then the whole Body of Scripture is suspect — including the parts that promise you salvation by grace through faith.

In the final analysis, that is where and how we learned of salvation, and it is in those Promises of Scripture that we place our faith.  If Noah didn’t build an ark, if Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a whale, if Lot’s wife wasn’t turned to salt, if Daniel didn’t write the Book the bears his name, then Jesus could not be God.  

We would have to speak of Him in the past tense.  Is it even possible that Jesus was a good man, a great teacher and moral authority and that is all?  Does that explain why the world is still debating Him two thousand years later?

Jesus specifically said He was God on a number of occasions, despite what some would have you believe.  John 8:58 records His reference to Himself as “I Am.”  In John 14:8-9, Jesus says that seeing Him is “seeing the Father.”  In John 10:33 He says, “I and My Father are one.”

There is no doubt that those that heard Him understood what He meant, since the next verse says they took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy.

Jesus claimed to be God.  He taught as one that had the authority of God.  He refused to recant His claims of Deity at the cost of His own life.   If Jesus was NOT God, then He could not have been a great teacher of wisdom and morals. 

In light of His claims, he would either have to be a megalomaniac with galactic-sized delusions of grandeur or a con man of . . . dare I say it? . . . Biblical proportions.

But one would think after some 2000 years of close and constant scrutiny, if there was some previously-undetected flaw in the story, it would have come to light by now.  

If Jesus wasn’t God but claimed to be, He was not good.  If He taught as God and wasn’t, He was not wise. And if He went to the Cross for a lie, He was not sane.

In summary, Christianity is the most delicate religious belief structure in the history of mankind.  Christianity is unique in that it isn’t truly a religion so much as it is a relationship with a real Person.

Religion is man’s way of making himself acceptable to God according to man’s standard.   Christianity is God’s way of making man acceptable to God according to God’s standard.  

Buddhism could survive without an actual, historical, living Buddah.  Islam could survive even where the Koran contained contradictions.  Confucianism could survive learning Confusius didn’t say everything attributed to him.

But Christianity could not survive if Noah didn’t build an ark, Jonah wasn’t swallowed by a whale, if there was never a real, historical King David, or if there wasn’t really a Prophet named Daniel.

Given all that we know over the course of all the centuries, together with all we’ve learned just over the past generation, the fact that Christianity still stands intact is powerful, logical evidence of the truth of the Bible.

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

He is still able. And we can still trust Him.  We still have His Word on it.

And the Moon Into Blood . . .

And the Moon Into Blood . . .
Vol: 112 Issue: 6 Thursday, January 6, 2011

The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.” (Joel 2:31)

Throughout history, solar and lunar eclipses have been taken as a sign from Deity. In 585 BC, a solar eclipse darkened the battlefield during a pitched battle between the warring Medes and Lydians.

At the sun’s disappearance, both sides laid down their arms and declared a truce.

The ancient Chinese believed it was the sign of a dragon which had swallowed the sun. They believed that the dragon had to be slain to prevent the end of the world. 

So every eclipse, they would sweat it out, praying that whoever was facing the dragon would prevail.

China’s ancient astronomers were tasked with predicting when the dragon would arrive to swallow the sun – a time dominated by rituals of drums and chanting.

The emperor depended on the advance notice in order to send his archers to scare off sun-swallowing dragons.  Dragons played a similar role in explaining eclipses in ancient India and Indonesia.

Ancient astrologers were very good at predicting eclipses.  Besides the Chinese, the Magi of Mesopotamia kept very detailed records and both the Greeks and Romans had similar astrological systems incorporated into their religions.

There was a total lunar eclipse just before Christmas. It was the first total lunar eclipse in almost three years. It was the first total lunar eclipse to occur on the winter solstice (December 21) since 1638 and only the second since the time of Christ.

In addition, the December 21 eclipse was unusually red, due to the eruption of Mount Merapi in Indonesia in late October.

Less than two weeks later and only four days into 2011, a partial solar eclipse darkened the skies over Europe, North Africa and western Asia.  

In most years, a solar eclipse is visible from somewhere on earth twice a year, with a corresponding lunar eclipse a couple of weeks later.

This year there will be four solar and two lunar eclipses  – the one on January 4th, another solar eclipse June 1, a lunar eclipse June 15, a solar eclipse July 1, another solar on November 25 and a lunar eclipse on December 10. 

Mark Blitz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries in Bonner Lake, Washington, noted the unusual pattern of lunar and solar eclipse activity included a rare ‘tetrad’ to occur in 2014.   A ‘tetrad’ is the name NASA assigns to the occurrence of four consecutive lunar eclipses, an event so rare this will be but the 8th time since the time of Christ.

The years 2014-2015 overlap into a Jewish Sabbatical year.  Finally, Blitz noted that they will occur on the Jewish Feasts of Passover and Sukkot in 2014 and again in 2015.

J.R. Church noted that the two solar eclipse events will ALSO occur on Jewish Feast days; the first on Nisan 1, the Jewish New Year and the second on Tishri 1 (Rosh Hashana):

“On each of these six Jewish Holy Days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give her light, Will this happen again in the 21st century?  No.  Did it happen in the 20th century?  Yes, in 1949/1950, the year following Israel’s statehood, and 1967/1968, the year Jerusalem was liberated in the Six-Day War!  Before that, you have to go back to 1493 for four successive lunar eclipses on Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles.”

According to J.R. Church, Pastor Mark Blitz, and a number of others, this means that the coming 2014-2015 Sabbatical year is probably the beginning of the “final week of the end of this age”  or the Tribulation.

Could they be right? 

Assessment:

You will probably be surprised at the answer to that question.  Yes, they could be right.  Jesus said that among the signs of His soon return would be signs in the sun, moon and stars. 

He wasn’t specific – He didn’t spell out what the signs would say. But He DID say where to look for them.  He said they would be in the sun, moon and stars – but there is more to it than that.  He said the signs would be accompanied by the distress of nations with perplexity, or confusion.

The ISV translates Luke 21:25 this way: “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and there will be distress on earth among the nations that are confused by the roaring of the sea and its waves.”

The signs in the sun are undeniable. For the last two solar cycles, and since the turn of the 21st century especially, the sun has been misbehaving in ways never seen in living memory. 

“We’re witnessing something unlike anything we’ve seen in 100 years,” said David Hathaway of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama in a June 14, 2010 article at space.com.

Typically, a cycle lasts about 11 years, taking roughly 5.5 years to move from a solar minimum, a period of time when there are few sunspots, to peak at the solar maximum, during which sunspot activity is amplified.

The previous cycle 23’s extraordinary minimum recorded the highest number of days without sunspots that researchers had seen since 1913, said Hathaway.

According to the report, the sun is “out of synch” and has been since about the turn of the 21st century. And recent observations by astronomers using the space-based Hubble telescope almost always include the word “unusual.”

The unusually weak solar minimum has baffled those True Believers convinced that global warming is both a threat to the planet and caused by human activity.   The planet appears to be cooling and human activity seems to have nothing to do with it.  

But they continue to warn that without immediate and expensive remedial changes, melting ice in the oceans will cause the sea levels to rise and wash away coastlines. 

So we have the sea and the waves roaring, causing worldwide fear and confusion. Particularly since melting ice doesn’t add water volume, but that is another story.

This story is about the possibility that Pastor Mark Blitz and J.R. Church could be right in their observation that the 2014-15 Sabbatical Year could be the first year of the Tribulation Period. 

The admonition against date-setting is pretty precise.

“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36)

“But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up” (Matthew 24:43)

“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)

Notice just how specific the admonition against date-setting really is.   “The day and hour” – “which watch” and “what hour” – what Blitz and Church are looking at is what year.

Could they be right?  Could we be but three years from the Rapture, at the most?  Is it possible that they have, by watching the signs, have correctly predicted the year the Tribulation will begin?

Sure, its possible!  That is why Jesus GAVE us the signs of the times.  So we would know what to look for.  So we would know when it was near, even at the doors.  

I’ll go a step further and say I even think they are probably right.  The Lord is coming. And He is coming soon.  Very soon.  Maybe even before 2014.

It’s as sure as the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

Maranatha!

Member Note: The OL Facebook page is ready to go.  We’ll be posting a facebook link on the main OL page shortly.  Meanwhile, you can reach the page through Facebook’s search feature by searching for Omega Letter Community.

There is already an existing Facebook site called “The Omega Letter.” We haven’t any idea who that is, and haven’t yet been able to find out.   But the Omega Letter Community page is up and running.  

Our administrators are daughter Kari Velemirovich and second daughter Char Fischer. (I have more daughters if needed – I find them quite handy.)

But Char is the key Facebook and social networking person – we’ve titled her “OL Social Butterfly.”

Remember, Facebook can NOT get ANY of your information from your membership in the OL. The two are entirely separate entities.  The only name given to Facebook to sign up was mine.

All OL member’s files, email address lists and other information are tightly guarded.  Our member forums remain private.  Kari has a column in today’s Features section explaining it better than I can.  

And participation is totally voluntary.  Your Omega Letter experience will not change in any way. 

It is just another place for us to occupy and witness.   Until He comes.

Two More Boats and Another Helicopter

Two More Boats and Another Helicopter
Vol: 112 Issue: 5 Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What does it mean to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding?’  Actually, the question is answered pretty clearly in the very next verse:

“In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) 

It sounds too simple. No wonder I am evidently having so much trouble with it. Since I first floated the idea of developing redundancies using existing social networking platforms, I’ve been informed by email and otherwise that what I should really be doing is trusting in the Lord.

I thought I was. But maybe I don’t get it.  To me, there is a difference between trusting in the Lord and tempting Him. 

For example, I could trust in the Lord to keep me safe (and I do).  But I wouldn’t lie down on a busy freeway to test Him to see if He really will.

I trust the Lord will preserve me through the flu season.  But I still get a flu shot and I practice good sanitation when I am around somebody that seems sick.   

Am I being unfaithful to the Lord by getting a flu shot? Instead of being careful to wash my hands, shouldn’t I just trust the Lord? 

I trust that the Lord will keep and preserve the Omega Letter Fellowship.  After all, it exists to serve Him, it consists of His people, and it is focused on keeping the saints informed of events coming our way so that we can prepare ourselves to meet them.

I trust the Lord to meet our needs, but I still pay the bills to keep the OL online.  The Lord provides the money, but He doesn’t pay the bills for me.

And I don’t necessarily like everybody I do the Lord’s business with.  I’m not crazy about my ISP, but it is necessary that I pay them if I want to stay online.  

But judging from my email, preparing for internet censorship by developing existing social networking sites means that I’m not trusting the Lord to preserve us.

If only I had sufficient trust in the Lord, such carnal preparations would be unnecessary.

I have avoided the various social networking sites because to this point, they have seemed unnecessary. The Omega Letter was a social networking site years before Mark Zuckerberg dreamed up Facebook. 

Why would another be necessary?

But that was before the Department of Homeland Security began seizing domains.  At first it was sites promoting terrorism seized by the DHS.  I was ok with that. DHS Seizure Notice

But then they started seizing peer-to-peer file sharing sites for copyright violations.  

I was less ok with that.  I don’t condone theft of intellectual property, but there are courts for that. The Department of Homeland Security wasn’t empowered to be a collection agent for the motion picture or record industry.

But once the public got used to the idea that it was ok for the government to seize a website domain first and ask questions later, DHS did what governments do.

It started expanding the reasons why. DHS/ICE shut down at least seventy-six domains in 2010, one for simply linking to a file-sharing site.

Christian websites that teach the coming of antichrist, the Second Coming of Christ, opposes abortion, supports the Second Amendment or support the military are already in DHS’s crosshairs as right-wing extremists and potential terrorists.

It is only a matter of time before somebody at DHS develops a working rationale that justifies the seizure of websites critical of the administration as a threat to national security.

Once that happens, it will be too late to do anything about it. This is one of the absolute truths of government. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

Assessment:         

It is not a lack of faith in God that prompts me to seek alternatives in the event that the Omega Letter becomes unreachable.  Neither is it an expression of trust in Facebook or Twitter. Or even an endorsement of them.  

There is a story I’ve shared before about the Christian who trusted God to preserve him through a rising flood. 

As the waters began to rise, a rescue boat came by to take him to safety.  “Go save somebody else,” he said. “God will preserve me.”

Later, as the waters forced him to the second floor, another rescue boat came by.  He sent it away as well.  Finally, as he stood upon the roof of his house, he waved away a rescue helicopter.

The guy was eventually swept away and drowned.  Standing before the Lord, he protested. “I trusted You to preserve me and You let me drown.  How could You leave me to my own devices like that?”

“I don’t know what you mean,” the Lord replied.  “I sent you two boats and a helicopter.”

These social networking sites exist in every country on earth. There are more Facebook accounts than there are citizens of North America, including Canada and Mexico. 

It isn’t exactly the same as two boats and a helicopter, but to my way of thinking, it comes pretty close.

The Bible promises that in the last days, censorship will run rampant.  (Preaching Jesus will earn you a one-way trip to a guillotine.)

We’re not there yet, but we are to the point where preaching Jesus can earn you a date with a judge.  

Let me here address some specific concerns about the plan.  And if I fail to address your specific concern, please let me know.

First, it has been mentioned that the Omega Letter is aimed at teaching mature Christians.  Yes. That hasn’t changed.   But the days are growing short and I am under conviction from the Lord that we need to do more for the lost.

By way of analogy, if the Omega Letter is a church home, then Facebook would be akin to street preaching.  Not having a Christian Facebook page because ‘there be heathens there!’ seems somewhat, ummm, confusing?

Hal Lindsey has told me many times over the years, “I’d preach at the gates of Hell provided nobody told me what to say!”  

(If Hal is willing to charge the gates of Hell, I ought to be brave enough to go on Facebook.)

Secondly, the Facebook page will never replace the Omega Letter.  My principle focus will always remain the Omega Letter. 

While the decision may seem sudden from where you sit, believe me, it is something we’ve been working on for some time. It has been on my front burner ever since the first DHS seizure notice turned up on the web.

Finally, no Omega Letter member has to join Facebook to continue to receive the Omega Letter or to fellowship in the forums.  The social networking option is just that – another option — in addition – not in place of, the existing OL.   

It isn’t part of the Omega Letter website in any way. None of your information goes from the Omega Letter to Facebook.  Nobody is automatically included or signed up without their knowledge.

It is simply my Facebook page to which you are invited — IF you want to.  Or not.  

Meanwhile, everything about the Omega Letter remains the same. Nothing changes.

Preparing redundancies at this point on the Bible timeline isn’t evidence of a lack of faith.  If anything, it is quite the opposite.   I have faith the Bible is true. 

I’m relying on the Lord.  AND any boats or helicopters He sends our way.

Special Report: The Mind Guards are Watching Us All

Special Report: The Mind Guards are Watching Us All
Vol: 112 Issue: 4 Tuesday, January 4, 2011

With the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for the US military, there is now something new that ordinary Americans aren’t allowed to have an opinion about. 

You daren’t express a negative opinion about having gays serve openly with heterosexual soldiers lest you be labeled with some kind of pejorative name invented specifically for that purpose.  Homophobe, for example.

It isn’t really a word.  And if it was, it couldn’t mean what it is commonly taken as meaning.  If words are to have any meaning at all, then the word homophobia would mean “fear of humans”.  

A homophobe would therefore be a person with an irrational and unreasonable fear of human beings (homosapiens).

There is no linguisitical way to get “fear of homosexuals” from the combination of “homo” meaning, “human” and “phobia” meaning, “an irrational fear”.

It is a made-up word to describe a made-up condition that does not exist in any discernible way.   Even taken the way the PC crowd intends it, homosexuality does not inspire fear, at least, not that I can discern. 

The argument that favors enshrining sexual preference as inalienable right is based in fear but it isn’t fear of gays by heterosexuals, but fear of heterosexuals by gays.    Heterosexuals aren’t afraid of gays – that is ridiculous. 

Heterosexuals are well, heterosexual. That doesn’t leave them with a lot in common with homosexuals but it does give rise to a sexual tension that doesn’t exist between heterosexuals of the same sex.

Pretending that it doesn’t is simply that – pretending. Nobody would pretend that there would be no sexual tension between military-aged men and military-aged women. That’s why they don’t shower together. 

Barney Frank (D-Mass) went out of his way to insist that in the wake of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal that straight soldiers must shower with gay soldiers, but not women with men

Why?  And why not?

The rules of Political Correctness forbid the asking of questions like “why” or “why not” since some people may find the answers offensive.  

Political correctness is another way of describing “group think”.   A 1977 book entitled “Decision Making” explored the concept while it was still nameless and in its embryonic form and concluded that there are eight symptoms of “group think.” 

  • Illusion of Invulnerability: Members ignore obvious danger, take extreme risk, and are overly optimistic.
  • Collective Rationalization: Members discredit and explain away warning contrary to group thinking.
  • Illusion of Morality: Members believe their decisions are morally correct, ignoring the ethical consequences of their decisions.
  • Excessive Stereotyping: The group constructs negative stereotypes of rivals outside the group.
  • Pressure for Conformity: Members pressure any in the group who express arguments against the group’s stereotypes, illusions, or commitments, viewing such opposition as disloyalty.
  • Self-Censorship: Members withhold their dissenting views and counter-arguments.
  • Illusion of Unanimity: Members perceive falsely that everyone agrees with the group’s decision; silence is seen as consent.
  • Mind guards: Some members appoint themselves to the role of protecting the group from adverse information that might threaten group complacency.

Let’s see how the eight principles of Group Think and how they are applied.  It needn’t be Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Pick something else. Global warming. Abortion.  But since we’re here, we’ll stick with Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for the moment.

The principle argument against repealing the policy has always been the most obvious one – it creates a dangerous sexual tension.  That it is a no brainer is evidenced by the fact men and women have separate shower facilities. 

The collective rationalization favoring repeal is that the military is invulnerable to the risks.  Questioning how is forbidden.

The illusion of morality says that it is immoral to exclude gays from serving alongside heterosexuals based on their sexual preferences, although Article 25 of the Uniform Code of Military Justices prohibits sodomy, which the UCMJ defines as “unnatural carnal copulation” which includes every act of sex possible between two persons of the same sex.  (UCMJ pdf file, page 1, Section 3 (c))

Excessive stereotyping – anybody that questions the DADT policy is a homophobe.  Anybody that fails to agree is subject to group pressure to conform.   If they have doubts, they keep them to themselves.

The illusion of unanimity is created by the use of stereotyping to stifle opposing views.  And finally, the Mind Guards – the enforcers of Political Correctness. 

George Orwell, creator of “Big Brother” once wrote, “in a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

President Ronald Reagan once said:  

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

The Mind Guards are watching us all.

Social Networking Notes:

Not everybody is on board with our plans to add social networking to the OL and those that aren’t seem upset about it. There is no reason to be.  While we are adding features, we won’t be replacing any existing features.

Let me reassure you that the fellowship will remain the same. The purpose is set up redundancies in the event that a column like this one gets the Omega Letter shut down.  

It won’t be necessary to have a Facebook or Twitter account to have the full Omega Letter experience.  It is entirely optional.  

We expect to be ready before the end of this week.  I will keep you posted as to our progress.

Maranatha! 

Rumors of War . . .

Rumors of War . . .
Vol: 112 Issue: 3 Monday, January 3, 2011

A few months ago, Jordan’s King Abdullah warned that, barring some kind of agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, there would be “war before year’s end.” 

The year ended Friday without an agreement.  

Clearly the King was wrong.   But only about the timing – not about the war.   The war planning continues on both sides.

One of the Wikileaks documents revealed Israeli preparations for a major war, probably against Iran’s Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. But not Iran itself.

”I am preparing the Israeli army for a large-scale war since it is easier to scale down to a smaller operation than to do the opposite,” Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi was quoted as saying in a cable sent from the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

According to General Ashkenazi, while Iran has more than three hundred missiles capable of reaching Israel within ten minutes, Hezbollah has thousands more located just across the border in Lebanon. 

According to the cables, Hezbollah has more than 40,000 rockets capable of striking anywhere in Israel and Hamas now has the capability to reach Tel Aviv.   

And a senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said during an address carried by an IRGC-backed website that Tehran would begin targeting American generals for assassination in retaliation for the assassination of two senior Iranian nuclear scientists in November.

The IRGC commander, identified as Brig. Gen. Mohammed Reza Naghdi, was the first ranking member of the Iranian military to openly threaten US military officers.

“The filthy Americans and the Zionists should not think that with killing our scientists, they can divert our nation from its path of jihad and scare us,” Naghdi said.

But Iran can’t really afford to escalate things too much at the moment.  One of the scientists targeted was Majid Shariari who headed up the country’s national program to battle the Stuxnet worm that has set back Iran’s nuclear program by as much as two years, according to some experts.

According to the Economist’s 2011 cover story, “peace becomes a little more fragile and the danger of war increases. Sadly, there is reason to believe that unless remedial action is taken, 2011 might see the most destructive such war for many years.”

“Such a war would bear little resemblance to the previous clashes between Israel and its neighbours. For all their many horrors, the Lebanon war of 2006 and the Gaza war of 2009 were limited affairs. On the Israeli side, in particular, civilian casualties were light. Since 2006, however, Iran and Syria have provided Hezbollah with an arsenal of perhaps 50,000 missiles and rockets, many with ranges and payloads well beyond what Hezbollah had last time. This marks an extraordinary change in the balance of power. For the first time a radical non-state actor has the power to kill thousands of civilians in Israel’s cities more or less at the press of a button.”

The Economist goes on to speculate, “A war of this sort could easily draw in Syria, and perhaps Iran.” 

The Economist is correct in assuming that the scenario it describes would easily draw in Syria, but I don’t believe Iran.  Neither does General Ashkenazi, who calls the threat from Iran “grave” but the threat from Hezbollah “acute”.

The Economist’ scenario would lead to the most destructive war not in many years, but the most destructive war in the history of the modern Middle East.

King Abdullah confidently predicted that war would break out in 2010.  The Economist appears just as confident that it will break out sometime in 2011.   

Obadiah, Psalms 83 and Isaiah 17 all describe the same war foreseen by the Economist and identify all the same combatants as the Economist.   

Except that according to all the experts, thanks to Stuxnet, Iran won’t be ready for at least two years.  The author of the Economist article didn’t foresee that when he was writing his piece last month.

But the Author of the Bible foresaw it when He was inspiring Obadiah five hundred years before Christ. 

Iran has a different appointment with destiny.

Assessment:

Adding up all that we know so far and throwing in a little New Year’s speculation, one could almost make the case for the Psalms 83 conflict in 2011 — followed by the Gog-Magog War in 2012, assuming the two-year time frame Iran needs to clean up Stuxnet. And no additional sabotage.

But I think a more powerful argument can be found in the fact that the prophecies of which we speak were penned thousands of years before the fact. 

They cite peoples and nations and whose destinies and alliances would intersect exactly as foretold and all in a single generation, somewhere in the then-distant future. 

Most of these alliances didn’t exist in any form until after the rebirth of Israel in 1948. None of the nations involved in the current Israeli-Arab conflict existed until after the 1917 Balfour Declaration that first announced the creation of a Jewish homeland.

Yet here they all are, assembled precisely as foretold, restored from the dustbins of history to their original incarnations — to face the judgments pronounced against them as they were when those judgments were pronounced.

Once restored to their original ethnic identities, they resumed the exact same conduct that earned the judgments in the first place, lest the sins of the fathers be unjustly visited upon their descendants.  

The Edomites of today picked up exactly where the Edomites of antiquity left off just as soon as the Jews of antiquity were restored as the Israel of today. 

Conduct that may result in what the Economist predicted as “the most destructive such war for many years.”  Don’t miss the forest for the trees.  

The detailed precision of Bible prophecy as it unfolds before us is simply staggering. 

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)

Perhaps in 2011? 

Member’s Note:  I was encouraged by your comments concerning our planned social networking outreach and share many of your concerns.  

We’ve been working very hard over the weekend on the project and are being as careful as possible to address them as we go.  Expect a more detailed update in the coming days. . . 

Two Thousand and Eleven

Two Thousand and Eleven
Vol: 112 Issue: 1 Saturday, January 1, 2011

The New Year rang in the way one would expect if this were one of the few years remaining before the return of the Lord.

At least twenty-one Christians celebrating the arrival of the New Year at church were killed when a car bomb exploded during their New Year’s mass in Alexandria, Egypt.  Nearly eighty more were wounded.

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit Argentina just six hours into 2011.  The temblor was so deep that it was barely felt on the surface, which raises worries that it may be a warning of a much bigger event to come.

A rare New Year’s Eve tornado swarm killed at least six people and injured dozens more across the Midwest and South.

Australia is struggling through flooding one official there described as being of ‘Biblical’ proportions affecting as many as two hundred thousand residents of Queensland.  Officials say that some communities could remain underwater for as much as a week.

Queensland authorities issued health warnings outlining both the risks associated with rising floodwaters, together with the health risks associated with having crocodiles wash into one’s home.

And according to Foreign Policy Magazine, there are at least sixteen new potential conflicts brewing around the world that could explode in 2011.  Among them; Columbia, Iraq, Venezuela, the Sudan, Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti.

One of FP’s candidates, the Ivory Coast, appears to be on the brink even as we speak.   

But if these are the last days before the return of Christ, as I noted earlier, then it is perfectly appropriate for it to kick-off with wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, flooding and Christian persecution.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.” (Matthew 24:7)

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  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; (2nd Timothy 3:1-5)

Assessment:

There is a lot going on the world as we close the books on 2010 and prepare ourselves for what 2011 has to offer, but I want to take this occasion to discuss where we plan to take the Omega Letter in 2011.

Like many of you, I have been concerned about the direction the administration is taking and the threat posed to free speech, particularly as it relates to the Bible or Christianity.  

The administration is planning to implement what the FCC euphemistically calls “Net Neutrality” despite a ruling from a federal appeals court that said it lacks the authority.   (And in spite of more than three hundred Congressional signatures imploring the administration to obey the law.)

The United Nations is seeking some way that it can step in and control the internet, a prospect even more frightening than that proposed by the FCC.

Our own forums are buzzing with suggestions and ideas for what to do or how to stay in touch should the Omega Letter go dark.   It has been at the top of my worry list for some time as well.  

So I’ve been watching the other side to see what is working for them.

Cloward and Piven called it overwhelming the system – Mohammed Ali called it “rope-a-dope”. 

Obama used it to pass the health care bill.   Put too much in front of the people all at once and overwhelm them. Whatever gets through is more than you had before.

It worked for Mohammed Ali.  It is working for the Obama administration. And it could work for the OL.

I mentioned in the OL forum on Thursday not to cancel your Facebook account just yet.  That particular Omega Letter topic set me to thinking. . .  

Social networking sites like Facebook could prove to be exactly what we need – turning a potential liability into an asset.  

So we’re going to set up an Omega Letter Community Facebook account and use what so creeped me out when it was a personal account — unexpectedly broad exposure — to work FOR us. 

It isn’t as if we are somehow entering the devil’s workshop  — every website address is prefaced www (666 in Hebrew) – including the Omega Letter.

Facebook now has a half-billion members – that’s a pretty big haystack for the Omega Letter needle to hide in, should it become necessary. There are other social networking sites as well. Google has one and so does Yahoo.   

We’re gonna use as many as is practical.  In the past, efforts to set up redundant sites failed because everybody here already has their hands full with other projects. The blog I set up last year was just too much work for one person to maintain.  

And wearing too many hats means that instead of doing one thing well, I do many things badly.  So we’ve hired a full-time social networking specialist whose only job will be to moderate and maintain the OL’s social networking operation.  

I’ll keep you informed as things develop, but I think this may be a winner of an idea. I’m prepared to commit considerable effort and resources to its development.

Facebook will greatly expand the Omega Letter’s reach and put the Omega Letter in front of a whole new audience of potential readers.   

Twitter will enable us to fire off quick messages and I’m sure there is a bunch of other stuff that will be useful to us that I don’t even know about yet.

Who knows?  It might even be fun.

In the event that something happens where the OL goes dark, we’ll need redundant sites where we can hook up again.

As I said last week (last year, now) these various sites are not “bad” in the sense that participating sets you up for the antichrist.  Technology is by nature neutral – whether it is bad or good depends on how it is used.

A knife used in a bar fight to hurt somebody is bad. A knife used to remove a diseased appendix is good. But the knife itself is neither.  It’s just a knife.  

The same applies here.  The technology exists and if we can use it to advance the Kingdom by leading more people to Christ, then it is good.  

For 2011, I believe we are going to need all the technological advantages we can get.  This is one technological edge I should have seen before.

But I didn’t.  Maybe the timing wasn’t right.   But if it isn’t right now, it never will be.  

As we press on in 2011, I pray the Lord will bless and keep us all.  Until He comes.

Happy New Year! Maranatha!