Reality Check

Reality Check
Vol: 117 Issue: 30 Thursday, June 30, 2011

“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:16)

For centuries, there have been those who formulate the accusation that most of the events, places, and people found in the New Testament did not exist.  For example, the existence of Pontius Pilate was questioned by secular historians and archaeologists alike.

But in 1961, the Pilate Stone was discovered at the site of Caesarea Maritima, the seat of the Roman prefect of Judea.

It records the dedication of a ‘Tiberium‘ (a building in honor of the emperor Tiberius) by “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea”.

Tacitus, a Roman historian of the first century, also confirms the New Testament designation of Pilate. He writes,

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus. . . .”

The John Rylands papyrus is the oldest existing fragment of Scripture and bears the record of part of the trial of Jesus before Pontius Pilate.  It dates to AD 125.

German scholars of the 18th and 19th century’s “Age of Enlightenment” based much of their “Jesus Myth Theory” on the absence of archeological confirmation of the existence of major New Testament figures, particularly that of Caiaphas, the High Priest who presided over the trial of Jesus.

In early 1990, workers widening a road in Jerusalem’s Peace Forest stumbled upon some ancient artifacts and an unusually large burial site.  Under Israeli law, excavation was halted until the Jewish Department of Antiquities could take a look.

What they discovered was so revolutionary that at first, the government sat on it while it decided what to do.  It took two years before researchers had reassured themselves that what they thought they found was what they thought it was — and before the Israeli government decided to share their conclusions.

It was a burial cave that contained twelve limestone ossuaries, or “bone boxes.”  As was the custom of the time, the bodies were almost certainly first laid out in a niche of a burial cave.  After the flesh had decomposed, the bones were gathered and placed in the ossuary.

Jewish ossuaries are fairly easy to date.  They were only used in Judea during the latter part of the Roman occupation during the first century, due to the shortage of available cemetery space. 

The practice ceased after the Destruction of the Temple in AD 70 and was never resumed. 

So pretty much any ossuary discovered in Israel automatically dates to the Late Second Temple Period and not before or after.  The twelve ossuaries discovered in 1990 contained the remains of sixty-three individuals.

The most beautifully decorated of the ossuaries was inscribed with the name “Joseph son of (or, of the family of) Caiaphas.”

That was the full name of the high priest who arrested Jesus, as documented by Josephus.  Inside were the remains of a sixty-year old male who archeology says was almost certainly the remains of the New Testament’s Caiaphas who presided over the trial of Jesus.

Israeli archeologists confirmed that it had apparently been sealed since Rome’s conquest of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, some 40 years after the date assigned to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Archeologist Jonathan Reed wrote that the ossuary bearing Caiaphas’ name “is one of the most beautiful ever found,” an indication of high status for the person whose bones it contained.

In addition to human remains and ossuaries, the Israel Antiquities Authority’s 1990 inventory from the Caiaphas Tomb also included a curious entry: two Roman nails.  Shortly thereafter, the nails mysteriously disappeared.

Twenty-one years after the Caiaphas Tomb was found, an April 13, 2011, article written by Karl Vick in Time Magazine announced that Israeli journalist Simcha Jacobovici had located the two nails from the tomb.

“Most interesting of all, perhaps, is that 20 years passed before anyone brought attention to the nails in the tomb of the man history knows only for his key role in Christ’s crucifixion. The implication, never stated quite out loud in the documentary, is that Jewish archeologists in charge of the dig had little stomach for drawing attention to the Jewish official the Gospels cast as the main villain in the Passion play. Jacobovici notes that Caiaphas may be the only figure named in the Bible whose tomb most scholars agree has been discovered, and the producer spends half the documentary trying to locate it and get a peek inside. The site, uncovered during construction of a park, ends up beneath a stretch of road near a playground.”

Aside from why the Roman nails were kept out of the official IAA antiquities collection, a deeper mystery is why Roman nails would be found in a Jewish tomb at all. 

Are they the nails upon which hung the Savior of all mankind?  According to Jacobvici, they ‘probably are’ – but nobody is saying for sure.   

All four Gospels give details of the crucifixion of Christ.  Their accurate portrayal of this Roman practice has been confirmed by archaeology.

“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.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

In 1968, a gravesite in the city of Jerusalem was uncovered containing thirty-five bodies.  Each of the men apparently died from crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.

The inscription identified one such individual as Yohan Ben Ha’galgol.  Studies of the bones performed by osteologists and doctors from the Hadassah Medical School determined the man was twenty-eight years old, stood five feet six inches, and had some slight facial defects due to a cleft right palate.

What intrigued archaeologists were the evidences that this man had been crucified in a manner resembling the crucifixion of Christ.  

A seven-inch nail had been driven through both feet, which were turned outward so the nail could be hammered inside the Achilles tendon.

Archaeologists also discovered that nails had been driven through his lower forearms.  A victim of a crucifixion would have to raise and lower his body in order to breathe.  To do this, he needed to push up on his pierced feet and pull up with his arms.

Yohan’s upper arms were smoothly worn, indicating this movement.

John records that in order to expedite the death of a prisoner, executioners broke the legs of the victim so that he could not lift himself up by pushing with his feet (John 19:31-33).

Yohan’s legs were found crushed by a blow, breaking them below the knee.

“For these things were done, that the scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken.” (John 19:36)

In 2002 another ossuary that was inscribed with the words “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus” was claimed to be a forgery. Israeli dealer Oded Golan was then charged with forging the James ossuary.

In October 2010 court proceedings for the trial of Golan and another defendant were concluded.  The presiding judge, Aharon Farkash, at one point questioned whether the trial should even continue.

“Have you really proved beyond a reasonable doubt that these artifacts are fakes as charged in the indictment? The experts disagreed among themselves,” Farkash told the prosecutor.

Then there is the logic factor.  If the Crucifixion was indeed the final act in the life of Jesus, it seems unlikely that thirty years later someone would be buried an ossuary bragging about being related to Him.

So the James ossuary is probably real – or at least, the best experts in the world cannot say with certainty that it is not.  To date, the court has yet to render a final verdict. 

The Caiaphas ossuary is certainly authentic, as are the Roman nails it contained.

The Gospel record of the crucifixion of Jesus is confirmed by eyewitness testimony and the testimony of Yohan ben Ha’gagagol and that of his thirty-four comrades in death.

Julius Africanus, quoting the first century historian Thallus, wrote that during the Cruxifixion;

“On the whole world, there pressed a most fearful darkness, and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.”

In Acts 19:22 and Romans 16:23, Erastus, a coworker of Paul, is named the Corinthian city treasurer.

Archaeologists excavating a Corinthian theatre in 1928 discovered an inscription. It reads, “Erastus in return for his aedilship laid the pavement at his own expense.”  

The pavement was laid in 50 A.D. The designation of treasurer describes the work of a Corinthian aedile.

In Acts 28:7, Luke gives Publius, the chief man on the island of Malta, the title, “first man of the island.” Scholars questioned this strange title and deemed it historically inaccurate.

Inscriptions have recently been discovered on the island that indeed gives Publius the title of “first man.”

“In all, Luke names thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands without error,” noted historian A.N. Sherwin-White.

And today, the JPost reported the confirmation of the authenticity of an ossuary containing the remains of Caiapha’s daughter, Miriam.

Assessment:

I can personally attest to having stood in the lost city of Capernaum.  I’ve seen the excavated remains of the house of Peter the Apostle and taught in the remains of the synagogue where Christ preached. I was in Jerusalem in 1992 when the Caiaphas announcement was made.

Until 1968 all these were also believed to be mythological.

I’ve stood in the remains of Herod’s Summer Palace atop the Masada. I’ve seen the “Jesus Boat” the remains of a fishing boat found in the northwest corner of the Sea of Galilee.  

It’s all real. It’s all true. 

In 1873, the family tomb of Mary, Martha and Lazarus was discovered and excavated on the Mount of Olives near the ancient town of Bethany by French archaeologist Charles Clermont-Ganneau.

A few years later, archeologist P. Bagatti excavated a tomb he discovered containing ossuaries marked with a cross and bearing the names of Jonathan, Joseph, Jarius, Judah, Matthias, Menahem, Salome, Simon, and Zechariah.”

During the fall of 1945, Dr. Eleazar Sukenik of Hebrew University investigated another first century Jewish catacomb at the southern end of the Kidron Valley on the road to Bethlehem.

He found several ossuaries with the sign of the cross, Greek inscriptions, a coin minted in A.D. 41 for King Herod Agrippa 1, proving the tomb was sealed by A.D. 42.

One ossuary contained the remains of Annias and Sapphira, mentioned in Acts Chapter Five. Another ossuary bore the name of the decedent and the Greek inscription “Iota, Chi and Beta,” which means, “Jesus Christ, the Redeemer.”   

And several years ago they found another Jewish Christian ossuary in Jerusalem that contained the inscription “Alexander, son of Simon of Cyrene.”

And it was just a year or so ago that the existence of a group of about 70 ‘books’ containing lead pages bound by rungs dating to the Dead Sea Scrolls period was announced in Jordan.  One of them contained a bas relief picture depicting a crucifixion outside the walls of Jerusalem.

So that’s the archeological evidence that supports the existence of Jesus of Nazareth and the New Testament record.  There is more, but these are just the highlights. 

Now, we will present the archeological support for the theory of evolution.  .  . . 

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-3)

There IS no evidence for evolution.  Not one single genuine transitional life form has ever been discovered. Which should be harder to find?  The tomb of a particular Jew like Caiaphas buried twenty centuries ago?  

Or the fossilized remains of at least one life form captured in the process of evolving? 

The Bible is true. It has been confirmed and verified in every possible venue.  Conversely, not one single fact of Scripture has ever conclusively been disproved.  Allow yourself to marvel on that for a second. 

Bible accuracy can only be checked by looking backward, but in every instance where the Bible’s accuracy CAN be checked, it HAS been checked and it has ALWAYS survived the investigation intact.  

You can be certain that it will be just as accurate looking forward. 

“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)

Maranatha! 

Dream On

Dream On
Vol: 117 Issue: 29 Wednesday, June 29, 2011

We noted last week that there is a central thread of complete lawlessness that seems to wind its way all through the Obama administration, from the president through his cabinet.

Last week’s example was Operation Fast and Furious in which the ATF was running guns to Mexican drug lords, who then turn them on our Border Patrol.  The gun that killed Agent Bryan Terry was identified by it’s serial number as part of that ATF operation.

That was last week. 

This week, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee began work on a bill that would temporarily freeze the Obama administration’s power to bypass the Congress and grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens by virtue of executive order.

At issue is the so-called “Dream Act” which is an acronym for the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors.” The Dream Act would grant what effectively amounts to amnesty to illegal aliens who entered the country as minors.

Critics of the Dream Act point out that the Act requires that illegal aliens be of good moral character and cannot have committed crimes in America.  Illegal entry is a crime.  Identity theft is a crime.  So is making false statements.

As one critic points out, an illegal alien commits a fresh crime every time he shows up for work and another crime every time he picks up a paycheck without proper tax information. 

The Dream Act is either invalid on its face or all those other crimes are only crimes if one is in America legally.

The Dream Act was first introduced and defeated in 2001. In 2011, the Democrats reintroduced it and defeated it again.  The Congress has spoken – twice. 

The Dream Act – which DID NOT pass the Congress — makes a mockery of existing federal immigration law that DID.  Consequently, the law of the land remains unchanged.

Under the Constitution, it is the DUTY of the president to enforce existing laws, whether he agrees with them or not.  Congress passes laws.  Only the judiciary reviews them. The President MUST enforce them.

Refusing to enforce existing law has been grounds for impeachment since the impeachment of Andrew Johnson in 1868.

A new enforcement memo was handed down last week by the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement directs agents to operate as if the Dream Act were existing law, under the excuse that the agency is confronted with more cases than it can handle.   

Instead, what it really amounts to is an act of brazen lawlessness, taking place in an atmosphere of lawlessness.

Last week it was gunrunning.  The week before that, Congress was debating Obama’s refusal to obey the War Powers act. 

Before that, it was the administration’s refusal to recognize the Congressional Defense of Marriage Act.  Before that, it was the administration’s refusal to prosecute civil rights crimes unless the perpetrators were white.

Indeed, almost every day there is a new example of the Obama administration’s absolute disregard for the law.  The most recent involved Obama’s offer to win a chance to have dinner with him and Joe Biden by making a five dollar campaign contribution.

Obama first pitched the plan in a letter to his supporters.

“I’m not asking you to donate today just so you’ll be entered for a chance to meet me. I’m asking you to say you believe in the kind of politics that gives people like you a seat at the table — whether it’s the dinner table with me or the table where decisions are made about what kind of country we want to be. (Signed)Barack”

On Monday, he followed up with a short video recorded from the Oval Office location where he records his weekly addresses to the nation.  In it, he announced:

“I have great news. We’re setting another place at the table for Joe Biden — he wants to join us. This won’t be a formal affair. It’s the kind of casual meal among friends that I don’t get to have as often as I’d like anymore, so I hope you’ll consider joining me.”

Adding insult to injury, the Obama campaign ad continued:

“Most campaigns fill their dinner guest lists primarily with Washington lobbyists and special interests. We didn’t get here doing that, and we’re not going to start now. We’re running a different kind of campaign. We don’t take money from Washington lobbyists or special-interest PACs — we never have, and we never will.”

That is a naked, unabashed and easily-proved lie.  Added to the lie is the fact that Obama’s campaign push is a direct violation of campaign law.  The law prohibits the use of federal facilities for the purposes of campaigning.

The reason behind the law is to prevent precisely what Obama was doing – using government facilities to provide an unfair advantage in fund-raising and expense. It would cost someone like Michelle Bachmann or Mitt Romney MILLIONS to reach the audience that Obama reached with his video on the government’s dime.

The Obama administration claims that the video isn’t really a campaign fund-raising video. No, no. It’s a raffle – that’s different.  If that doesn’t work, they have other loopholes to exploit.

“First, they said, an open process for small donors to essentially win a raffle is not the kind of fundraising prohibited under the law—and the president didn’t make a direct appeal for donations, anyway. Second, they pointed to a longstanding advisory opinion from the Justice Department that differentiates between the residence portion of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—where the aide said Obama had been filmed—and official rooms in the White House. Third, they said, Obama’s approach is in keeping with the practices of his predecessors.”

What is particularly telling is that every single news report on the subject that I read offered in Obama’s defense a litany of similar violations allegedly committed by every president since Ronald Reagan.  

So why waste the time writing laws in the first place?

Assessment:

In America, we often hear the phrase “the rule of law” kicked around whenever some legal controversy touches the White House.  But it has become more a conservative catch-phrase than a legal doctrine.

As a legal doctrine in the United States, the “Rule of Law” has a certain defined characteristics:

  • Supremacy of Law: All persons are subject to the law – no person is above the law.
  • Concept of Justice: Nations governed by the rule of law are bound to the rules of justice and fairness
  • Places restrictions on discretionary power
  • Accepts the doctrine of judicial precedent
  • Applies common law methodology
  • Demands judiciary independence
  • Restricts exercise of legislative power by the Executive
  • Has an underlying moral basis

The American rule of law is based on the premise that increase in government means decrease in liberty.  The Constitution is a record of negative liberties – that is to say, any right not specifically granted the government is also beyond the government. 

Indeed, America’s creed since 1887 has been “a government of laws, not of men”. The Constitution is law, the highest law, and the President, Congress, and the Federal Judiciary are bound by its terms.

A government of laws and not of men is, then, the underlying principle of the American political and legal system.

What does it mean when the underlying principle of the American political and legal system is corrupted? 

What would it mean if the foundation of your home began to crumble?

I hate to beat a dead horse, but the fact is that not everybody ‘gets it’ at the same pace.  Some people may read a dozen or more OL briefs before they hit on an example that triggers their “Aha!” moment.

The purpose of the OL is first and foremost, to trigger that “aha” moment – to demonstrate to their satisfaction that we’re not just using clever semantic tricks, but that the prophecies of Scripture are actually coming to pass. 

Once that “Aha” moment arrives, it is like having the blinders removed, but those blinders were on there a long time – for some folks it takes more than others.

The Omega Letter must necessarily revisit the same ground from time to time using new examples.  

One of the most common questions I am asked about Bible prophecy is “Where is America in Bible Prophecy?”  It is not enough to just give an opinion — anybody can have an opinion.  Opinions without evidence to back them up are valueless.  

Today’s Omega Letter is number 3,173 in a row.  There are only so many thousand examples one can use to make the same point before necessarily covering some of the same ground.  The point is simple and unchanging.

“Jesus is coming! He’s coming soon!  The evidences are all around us! Quick! Look busy!”

Note to the Members: We are honored and thrilled to announce the appointment of Omega Letter’s newest columnist, Capt. Pete Garcia, US Army. Capt. Garcia is well qualified to share educated and informed opinions on topics most of us can only imagine.  

Pete has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations, focusing on Foreign Service and Military History. Currently, he is a Blackhawk pilot serving with the United States Army. Pete has served in Germany, Korea, Iraq, and Afghanistan, as well as having travelled to Mexico, Australia, Europe, and the Mediterranean.  

Pete is married to, (as he specifically says in his bio), a beautiful wife and is blessed with a wonderfully curious and smart five year old daughter.  

I am grateful beyond words that Pete has joined the OL family of columnists and I am sure you will come to look forward to his columns as I do. 

Be sure and check out his latest column and give him a hearty howdy-do. 

Maranatha,

Jack 

The Hell You Say. . .

The Hell You Say. . .
Vol: 117 Issue: 28 Tuesday, June 28, 2011

“And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. .  .” (Mark 9:43)

The other day I was chatting with an old friend and somehow we got around to the topic of the afterlife.  My friend isn’t a Christian, but is well aware that I am. 

I used to Bible-thump him, but that only hardened his resolve – he was determined to hold out for the sake of holding out.

I planted the seed, but instead of letting the Holy Spirit water it, I kept replanting it, going over the same ground so many times that I scraped right down to the bedrock.

It isn’t that my friend doesn’t believe – I think that he does.  But he isn’t saved.  He doesn’t want to be.

“Heaven sounds too boring,” he says. “Besides, all my friends will be in hell.”  

He’s both right and he’s wrong.  He’s right about all his friends.  I’ve known this guy since the ‘70s and I knew most of the same people. 

And sometimes, I admit that heaven does sound a wee bit boring.  Don’t look at me like that.  It does.  An eternity of no strife, no conflict, no pain, no sorrow, no tears . . . all that is wonderful and all, but if I had to eat chocolate cake for dinner every night for the rest of my life, I’d skip a lot of dinners.

It’s pretty hard to sell heaven to a lost sinner.  How in the heck do you explain what even the Bible says is beyond imagination?

“But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)

To my friend, that is the deal-breaker.  He can’t imagine heaven being any fun, but (unfortunately for him) he has no problem imagining hell as being far more interesting than heaven. 

We used to start into these discussions and get about half-way into them before things would shift from a conversation between friends to a debate between competitors, each defending his own position, parry and thrust, block and counter-strike, until exasperated, we’d agree not to ever bring it up again.

Until the next time.  My friend likes the debate (when he is in the mood) and often tries to restart it when he thinks he has some killer new argument.   He’ll ask a question, but it’s clear he doesn’t want to learn from the answer – he is just looking for a springboard issue.

When I think about it, my friend is not unique – I know several guys that find the battle more interesting than the topic under discussion, and others with whom I’ve agreed to disagree agreeably.  Some are just flat hostile to the entire topic.   

What does one do with a life-long friend who just flatly refuses to either believe or discuss it?  It sounds like an easy question with an equally simple answer.  At least, theoretically.

Some would answer in favor of immediate separation from that person, for “what concord hath Christ with Belial?”  But Paul is talking about being “unequally yoked” – it can’t mean “only associate with believers” or who would we share the Gospel with?

According to the Bible, Jesus had a reputation around town as a “winebibber” and a “glutton” that hung around with all the ‘wrong’ people. Mainly, publicans (Gk telones = “tax collector) and sinners.

“And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31)

The Apostle Paul confronted a situation in which a wife was a believer married to an unbelieving husband.

“For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” (1 Corinthians 7:16)

Granted, one’s spouse is a different case than a fishing buddy.  But God puts people in our sphere of influence for a reason.

“But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. (1 Corinthians 7:17)

Assessment:

“And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:45-46)

You’re probably wondering why I repeated myself by opening the assessment with the same verses about hell.  Look again.  They are two different verses.  The next sequence is as follows:

“And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:48-49)

Three times in succession, the Lord tells us there is a place called “hell” — a place where “their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”.

Hell isn’t going to be ‘interesting’.  And my friend isn’t going to find his buddies, even if they are there.  Elsewhere in Scripture, Jesus tells the story of Lazarus and the rich man.  It isn’t a parable.

When the Lord taught in parables, He clearly identified them as such.

In this case, Jesus began, “there was a certain rich man” – a specific rich man of Whom the Lord claimed knowledge – and “a certain beggar named Lazarus.”

The Lord described the deaths of both men, whose bodies were both buried in the earth but whose consciousness continued, unbroken, into Paradise, where each had some form of spirit body recognizable by the other.  Abraham also had a form of spirit body the rich man could recognize.

Finally, the rich man’s spirit body was real enough to feel pain.  We learn all that from just one verse:

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.(Luke 16:23)

So according to Jesus Christ, hell is real, the torments are real, and spirit bodies are tangible to be recognized from a distance and to feel pain while “their worm dieth not from “the fire that is not quenched.”

“Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.” (Luke 16:27-28)

The rich man, while in hell and in torments, remembered his father’s house, so his memories of his life on earth are intact.  He not only remembered his brothers, but he was terrified at the prospect that they would end up there because “that’s where all their friends went”.

We cannot imagine Heaven and what little we can imagine is no doubt wildly out of synch with what it will actually look like. 

Streets of gold with a tree standing in the middle with living water running through the middle of a garden, mansions, a giant apartment building with twenty-four doors, peace, joy, no more death, no tears, no sorrow . . . a man blind from birth would have an easier time describing the color red.

But hell – that’s a whole different story.  Throughout history, man’s vision of hell has been clear enough to inspire generations of painters and poets like Dante.  There is far more secular literature on the subject of hell than there is of heaven.

My friend’s other objection to hell is that, “If God was such a loving God, He would never send anybody to hell.”  

That is a valid objection and one that I completely agree with.

Hell wasn’t created for sinners. It was created for Satan and the rebellious angels that followed him – when they were kicked out of heaven, they made their abode in hell.  

Man is created in God’s image — as an eternal being.  When the body dies, the eternal component lives on – somewhere – and the choices are limited to one of two possible places. 

One choice is heaven, which is attained by recognizing oneself as an undeserving sinner that God loved so much that He stepped into time and space as a man, lived the sinless life God’s justice demands, and paid the penalty due for sin on behalf of sinful humanity.

To accept the pardon extended, one must repent of one’s sins and trust Jesus to keep them and preserve them whole into the next life. 

Or they can choose to stand before the Judge the way they are, like my friend, who would rather take his chances in hell.   But it is the individual that chooses – not God. 

God’s choice was to die — so we wouldn’t have to.

If YOU Are Able, then HE Wasn’t Necessary. . .

If YOU Are Able, then HE Wasn’t Necessary. . .
Vol: 117 Issue: 27 Monday, June 27, 2011

If I had to name the single theme that pops up the most often in my email box, it would be the question, “How can I be sure I’m still saved?”  Not, “How can I know I AM saved?” but rather, “How can I be sure I’m STILL saved?”

The question reflects the two different types of Christianity that exists in these last days.

The first type is the Christian you see at church every time the doors are open. 

The one that volunteers for everything, teaches Sunday school, belongs to the choir, has his finances in order, doesn’t drink, smoke, chew or cuss and whose idea of a good time is coffee with the pastor. 

If you see yourself reflected in the above paragraph, you can stop right here.

Today’s OL will be of no use to you, so you needn’t waste the time. (I’d be better served if you used the time to email me and tell me how you manage it).  

The second type of Christian is the one some of us know ourselves to be.  We prayed for salvation and for a time, we were on Cloud Nine. 

That was us in church every time the doors were open.  It was us that volunteered for the bus ministry, went out door-knocking on Saturdays and tried to make having coffee with the pastor the high point of the week.  

But the more we were around the Christians from church, the more we came to think that we were different. 

The kind of Christianity we see demonstrated by other Christians is one of sinless perfection; a person who explodes into profanity when he hits his finger with a hammer is not a ‘real Christian’ or he would have been able to check his language.

A Christian who drinks or goes out for a drink in a restaurant or bar isn’t a real Christian.  Christians don’t drink.  A Christian who is going through a divorce isn’t a real Christian.  A real Christian would tough it out, remembering Christ’s admonition about divorce.

A Christian who still smokes isn’t a real Christian.  A real Christian would have been delivered from that nasty habit by the saving power of Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. 

Real Christians are never out of fellowship with the Father.  If they see someone who is, that someone was either never really saved in the first place or has through his conduct, lost his salvation.   And they seemingly have the Scripture to back it up.

“For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.” (Hebrews 10:26-27)

According to this verse, once a Christian is saved, if he sins willfully, there remains no new sacrifice for sin.  Especially considering the next part of the verse; “But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

Seems pretty cut-and-dried.  Until you read it carefully.  Jesus Christ was sacrificed ONCE, for all time, as full payment for sin.  If you sin willfully, there is no new sacrifice available. 

But notice the penalty carefully.  A certain and fearful — watch this – looking for of judgment and fiery indignation.

That judgment and fiery indignation WILL devour the adversaries.  But the Scripture says the saved Christian who willfully sins will find himself FEARING the loss of his salvation.  This passage was written to reassure the Hebrews of their eternal security. 

Do you see it?  The presentation is that the Christian that sins willfully after being saved will ‘certainly’fear for his salvation.  Then the writer of Hebrews shifts to the remedy for such heresy.

“But call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions;” (Hebrews 10:32)

Having outlined the case made by the legalists, the writer of Hebrews shifts away from the ‘legalist’ argument to present the argument from the perspective of grace.

Recall when you were first saved, the battle that went on during those first days.  The enemy kept hammering and hammering and hammering.  Recall how God’s grace carried you through.  

The writer of Hebrews is assuring us that grace is still available, even if it seems to you as if you have blown it for all time.

“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:35-36)

Note the keywords here; confidence, reward, patience and promise.  They all hang on one act  — “after you have done the will of God.”

AFTER you have done the will of God, be patient because you can be confident that you’ll receive the recompence of great reward – as promised.

Sure. That sounds easy enough.  But what is the will of God?  There is but one place in all the Bible that spells out God’s will for mankind during this present age.

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

In summary then, the Christian does God’s will by coming to repentance.  The word translated as “repentence” comes from the Greek word, “metanoia” which literally means to change one’s mind about, in this instance, one’s sin nature.

Repentance is what we do, and how we act, after we are grasped by and transformed by the understanding of God’s gracious willingness to accept us as we are and our own willingness to let the Lord make the changes He sees fit.

So the promise is that a saved Christian that stumbles and falls is not lost. Instead, he has need of patience WITH HIMSELF – once you’ve turned your life over to His care, you can be confident that you will receive the Promise, as articulated by the Lord in John 6:37:

“All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

Assessment:

It would appear impossible to argue from Scripture that a person is saved by grace through faith and not works, but that a saved person’s works can undo the salvation he once had without reinventing new definitions for grace, faith and works.  

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4-6

The other side points out that it is ‘impossible for those who were once enlightened’ TO fall away. Both miss the message. 

What this Scripture teaches is that it is impossible, if one DID ‘fall away’ to ‘renew them again to repentance’, since that would mean crucifying’ to themselves the Son of God afresh,’ putting Him ‘to an open shame’. 

Renewing AGAIN to repentance would mean that the first Sacrifice was insufficient, and His Power to save is subordinate to our power to sin. 

That is the open shame.  Jesus is defeated.  Satan is victorious.  It means that Satan’s power over you was greater than the power of God.  He that was in you was not greater than he that is in the world, after all.  

And thanks to YOUR inability to maintain your salvation by your good works, (or if you prefer, thanks to your ability to lose your salvation by your bad works) He that was in you has now left.  Does that fit with the Scriptures? 

Hebrews 10:10-11 tells us,

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right Hand of God; From henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool.” 

Jesus Christ, the Creator of the universe, assumed the form of sinful man so that He could pay the penalty for sin forever.  On the Cross, He was reviled, beaten, crucified naked, and bore in His Body the sins of all mankind on their behalf. 

If His one sacrifice for sins was ‘forever’ but was insufficient to keep those Whom He had saved, then His shame at the Cross is not over.

He must continually be ‘sacrificed’ for sin. It means that He was not able. 

Moreover, if it is impossible, having once been saved, to be renewed unto repentance, then the lost Christian is in much worse condition than the lost sinner.  The lost sinner still has a chance to be saved. 

On the other hand, the lost Christian is, on the authority of Scripture, lost forever.  He had his chance, Jesus saved him, but then he blew it and now he is lost forever.  And according to Scripture, Jesus can’t save him again, since that would require putting the Lord of Glory to an open shame.

How many sins does it take to get out of fellowship with God? The answer is one.

“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of One shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:19)

How much obedience does it take to get right with God?  The obedience of One is sufficient to make us righteous, if we trust Him for our salvation.

There is no ‘license’ to sin.  There is only sin.  Our natural state is that of a sinner.  Evil is the absence of good.  Note that the default position in this world is that there is first evil.  Evil is dispelled by good — not the other way around.

Sin has consequences — their is no ‘license to sin’ in Scripture.  Smokers get lung cancer.  Alcoholics get liver disease.  Drug abusers overdose.  Divorce brings its own misery.  Getting saved eternally doesn’t mean you are exempt from the earthly consequences of your sinful actions.

Paul wrote to the Phillipians;

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (2:12)

“Work out your OWN salvation” with the Individual with Whom you have a personal relationship.  Through His Spirit, Jesus will guide you into all truth, but it takes time.

Know that YOU will NEVER be good enough, but have faith that He is.

The enemy wants to blind you to the fact that you ARE a new creature.  If he can hold your salvation over your head, extending it, and then pulling it away, then that gives him power over you.

It bears repeating; the simple truth of God is that the truth of God is simple.  The truth is that we are saved by grace through faith.

And THAT not of ourselves.  It is the Gift of God. 

The New ‘New Normal’

The New ‘New Normal’
Vol: 117 Issue: 25 Saturday, June 25, 2011

President Barack Obama is reportedly considering a dramatic reconciliation with Iran, despite the mullocracy’s unbridled animosity towards the West in general and the United States and Israel in particular.

So how much do you think that Israel could trust Iran? Suppose Benjamin Netanyahu offered to accept all Palestinian territorial demands, pulled all Israelis inside the Green Line, closed every disputed settlement and sponsored a UN resolution declaring Palestinian statehood. 

Do you think that having done all that, the Iranian mullocracy will forget that Israel is a Jewish state or that if Netanyahu begged Ahmadinejad for an audience that the Iranian Supreme Council would accept an Israeli offer of friendship?

Of course not.  Iran is an Islamic republic – Israel is a Jewish state. In Iran’s mullocracy, Israel is the little Satan.  How could a religiously-based theocracy enter into any kind of treaty relationship with an entity it regards as Satanic?

The very thought of an Israeli-Iranian rapprochement under the current regime is pie-in-the-sky dreaming. 

For Iran to enter into a peace agreement with Israel would be tantamount, from the perspective of the mullahs, to making peace with the devil himself.  

America is the Great Satan.

According to a report in the World Tribune, the White House has been debating a proposed initiative in which Obama would visit Iran and declare rapprochement with the Iranian mullahs on whatever terms he can get.  

The Tribune says Obama’s plan has the support of the First Lady, but is opposed by Obama’s senior policy officials. . . 

“The idea is that the president does with Iran what [President Richard] Nixon did with China — a reconciliation and dialogue that would recognize Teheran as the leader of the region,” a source familiar with the debate said, according to the report.

The sources said opponents of the proposed initiative toward Iran included senior officials in the National Security Council as well as the Defense Department and State Department. They argued that Iran, which refused to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency, has not demonstrated any willingness to halt such objectionable programs as uranium enrichment and long-range ballistic missile development.

At this point however, many of Obama’s closest aides were said to support a U.S. reconciliation with Iran that would allow the Middle East regime to continue with a civilian nuclear program.

The sources cited such administration advisers as Valerie Jarret, Samantha Power and U.S. envoy to the United Nations Susan Rice, who want a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan to pave the way for a rapprochement with Teheran.

The sources said the president’s wife, Michelle, has also endorsed the reconciliation proposal. They said proponents have argued that this was Obama’s only option to achieve a breakthrough in U.S. foreign policy before the 2012 elections.

“There is a huge debate in the White House on this,” one source said.

The sources said the White House has been alarmed by the failure to raise funds for Obama’s re-election campaign. They said Jewish members of the Democratic Party, once deemed the biggest supporters of Obama, were donating at a rate of no more than eight percent of that in 2008.

It isn’t that the Obama administration has a plan worked out that is aimed at bring peace to the Middle East.  If Obama’s plan was aimed at Middle East peace, then it would necessarily involve Israel and to a lesser degree, her surrounding enemies.

Instead, Obama’s plan is to get himself re-elected at any cost.  What’s worse, according to the Tribune, is what might happen if Obama decides he can’t win.

A political consultant involved in White House fundraising efforts said Obama’s foreign policy could veer sharply from the status quo if he becomes convinced that he would lose in 2012. The consultant said an increasing number of Democratic Party leaders were considering asking the president not to run.

“Obama has both severe political and legal problems in winning a second term,” said the consultant, who, like the others interviewed, did not want to be named.

“If he feels he will lose anyway, Obama will follow a foreign and maybe even domestic policy that will be very controversial,” the consultant said.

“The idea is to show the president as a peacemaker who was stopped by the Republicans and other opponents in Congress.”

In other words, this isn’t about peace with Iran.  It’s a political con job. Obama’s rapprochement is expected to fail – but in any case, it doesn’t matter.  

In the end, Obama hopes his efforts will divide the Congress, create division and strife at home, and split the country down the middle (again) so he can ride a divided electorate back into the Oval Office for another term.

Assessment:

I believe that it was P.T. Barnum that made the observation that “nobody ever went broke betting on the gullibility of the American people.”  No matter – history proves him right, whoever he was.

When I was in the service, on payday we’d sometimes play a game called  ‘Liar’s Poker’.  Each player would declare the best poker hand he could make out of the serial number on a dollar bill. 

But you were allowed to lie.  That’s what made it interesting. The trick was knowing when to call the other guy’s bluff.

In Liar’s Poker, the winner isn’t necessarily the one with the best hand.  More often than not, the winner was the best liar.   It was a terrible way to try and stretch one’s paycheck. 

But it is an even worse way to try and govern a nation. Is it immoral to lie in order to advance a cause you believe strongly in?  

Would it be immoral to lie in order to trick somebody to becoming a Christian?  Of course it would.  

Even if one thought he was saving a person from eternal damnation?  Of course it would. 

Deception and lies are the tools of the enemy and the polar opposite of the God of Whom the Bible says, “Thy Word is truth.” 

What I find so striking about Obama’s dishonesty is its overtness – Obama lies openly and often, sometimes with a straight face, sometimes with wink and a nod.  He doesn’t care if people can see right through it or not.  

“From the moment he stepped onto the national stage to campaign for the presidency, Obama has consistently lied to the American people in order to convince us to trust him with our economic and national security.  Since becoming our president, he has betrayed that trust.

During his first eight months in office, Obama has exhibited his admiration for dictators and disdain for our allies.  He offended the Queen of England and bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia.  He praised the Marxist Daniel Ortega, kissed Socialist Hugo Chavez on the cheek and endorsed the Socialist Evo Morales of Bolivia.  He sided with Hugo Chavez and Communist Fidel Castro against Honduras, a country that followed its constitution and stopped its president from illegally turning himself into that country’s dictator.”

In a normal world, US presidents don’t deliberately work against what are clearly in America’s best interests.  In a normal world, US presidents don’t routinely lie without fear of retribution.

In a normal world, US presidents don’t routinely demonize their own constituencies or attack their own supporters or embrace their nation’s bitterest enemies.

In a normal world, such a leader would face a public backlash that would make the public excoriation of George W. Bush look like a comparative vote of confidence.

But it appears that we’ve all stepped through some kind of portal into yet a new “New Normal” even more radical than the old post 9/11 New Normal.  In the past two and a half years, we’ve boldly gone where no one had gone before in terms of lawlessness and disorder.

We’ve witnessed the stretching of our moral fabric to points not previously thought possible, seen the Constitution trampled before our eyes and our future sold off to our enemies to finance present excesses.

Since taking office, Obama has doubled the US debt, strangled the economy with regulations and roadblocks, unconstitutionally expanded America’s involvement in foreign wars, ignoring Congressional opposition, and not once has he been seriously called to account. 

It appears that the public either has an endless supply of patience or it simply cannot believe what is happening before its very eyes.  In either case, it is surreal.

Bible prophecy only identifies the existence of four spheres of global power in the very last days, none of them resembling the United States.  America’s absence from Bible prophecy has therefore long been a source of speculation. 

The simple fact is that by the time the antichrist comes to power, America is no longer a relevant player. Iran [Persia] still is.  Russia still is.  Israel still is.  So is Europe.

The Rapture may well account for America’s absence from the Biblical record.

But so could Barack Obama.  

When the Future Was Yesterday . . .

When the Future Was Yesterday . . .
Vol: 117 Issue: 24 Friday, June 24, 2011

“Future Shock” is the name of a book written by sociologist and futurist Alvin Toffler in 1970, at just about the same time that Hal Lindsey’s “Late Great Planet Earth” was hitting the New York Times bestseller list.

Toffler’s book was made into a movie narrated by Orson Welles in 1972.  Coincidentally, Hal Lindsey’s “The Late Great Planet Earth” was also made into a movie, also narrated by Orson Welles, in 1979.

Toffler’s book addressed the speed with which technology was changing, back in the age of microwave ovens and beta VCRs.  

He defined the social response to the shattering speed of 1970’s technological and social advancement this way:

“Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.”

Toffler explains, “Man has a limited biological capacity for change.  When this capacity is overwhelmed, the capacity is in future shock.”

As already noted, Toffler’s book was published the same year as Hal Lindsey’s “Late, Great Planet Earth“.  Toffler’s book explained future shock as a social symptom.  Hal’s book explained what future shock was a symptom OF.

The prevailing feeling of impending doom that existed in the early 1970s was real enough that both books were instant runaway best-sellers.  In those days, that sense of ‘something’ was vague and undefined, but it was there.

Toffler tried to define it, Lindsey tried to explain it, movie franchises like ‘The Omen’ and ‘Mad Max’ tried to capitalize on it, but one thing is certain:

Whatever ‘it’ is, ‘it’ made it’s presence known with enough impact to make “The Late, Great Planet Earth” the best-selling Christian-themed book in history (excluding the Bible), it embraced Toffler’s term, ‘future shock’ so completely it is now part of our vocabulary, and made ‘The Omen’ and ‘Mad Max’ franchises among the most successful of their time.

There was a sudden awakening to the fact the Bible gave certain signs for the last days; discernible, chartable, undeniable and precise signs.

The 1967 Six Days War awakened the world to Israel’s existence and thrust her onto the world’s stage. Jerusalem, a city which most people thought of more in mystical than bricks-and-mortar terms, was suddenly the most important city on earth.

Although Bible prophecy was seldom discussed among Christians, suddenly, people started to connect some of the dots. Some ran to guys like Toffler for answers.  Others ‘whistled past the graveyard’, by turning their fears into entertainment.

When Hal Lindsey connected the dots for the secular world through Scripture, millions turned to the Bible for the answers, instead.

Assessment:

Future Shock was published forty-one years ago.  If the pace of change was shocking back then, consider what it means today.  An entire generation has grown up in a world where everything they learned yesterday is obsolete information tomorrow.

If you were born in 1970 and went to college and majored in geography, for example, when you graduated at 22 in 1992, everything you spent the last four years learning was wrong.

There was no Soviet Union, and there were about forty extra countries that didn’t used to be there.

Technology changes so fast last year’s TV is as obsolete as last year’s computer.  Last year’s car gave GPS-guided verbal directions to any destination on the globe – this year’s car can parallel park itself. 

As all this takes place, that sense of an impending ‘something’ continues to build, as we look for ways to explain it.  It sits somewhere at the back of the consciousness; — like wondering whether or not you turned off the iron before leaving for church.

Consequently, there has been an explosion in interest in things spiritual, extra-terrestrial, occultic, and scientific as people look for an explanation for what amounts to a global ‘nagging’ feeling.

Apocalyptic-themed movies like “The Omen” and “Mad Max” broke new ground in the 1970’s — today they are their own genre. Every year a new catalog of ‘end of the world’ movies make the rounds.  

  • Last year’s blockbuster was called “2012” – there are entire websites devoted to the 2012 Doomsday scenarios.  
  • A 10th century Catholic priest named St. Malachy is said to have accurately predicted every pope to sit on the throne since Malachy’s death. According to St. Malachy, the pope to follow John Paul II “would be a Benedictine.”
  • The current pope took the papal name, “Benedict.” The Malachy prophecies say that the next pope, Peter the Great, will be the last. The current pope will turn 85 in 2012.
  • Bible prophecy predicted the rise of a revived form of the Roman Empire, led by ‘ten kings’ that will eventually fall under the spell of the coming antichrist.
  • (The newly-expanded European Union is fighting over the wording of their new Constitution.  Leading the fight against the inclusion of any mention of Christianity are the leaders of the ten-nation WEU).
  • It predicted the restoration of Israel, and said that Israel would be in a constant state of war with her surrounding neighbors, necessitating a peace treaty to be confirmed the leader of revived Rome.

Daniel said all this would take place in the midst of an explosion of knowledge and a sense of disorientation (future shock?), writing;

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4)

At about the same time that Alvin Toffler wrote of the ‘to and fro’ nature of exploding knowledge and gave us the term, ‘future shock’, Christians like Hal Lindsey, Dwight Pentecost and others were taking note of the fact that the words of Daniel were no longer “sealed”.

As Israel took her place among the nations, the Arab-Israeli conflict took global center stage, and Daniel’s ten toes began to wiggle as old Europe began to pull itself together, Daniel and Revelation became less about symbols and more about specific details. 

Until this generation, symbols were satisfactory because there was no literal framework in which to put them. Until the restoration of Israel, everything about Bible prophecy for the last days was symbolic. 

With Israel’s restoration, symbols revealed themselves as facts, the heads, horns and beasts became identifiable nations, leaders and systems and the words of the Prophets morphed from ancient prose to future history to future shock as the world slowly recognizes that the clock is winding down.

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: (Romans 1:28-31)

The symbols are no longer symbolic, they are literal.  Bible prophecy is only as futuristic as tomorrow’s newspapers.  The Second Coming of Christ is much less a joke and much more a cause for sober reflection than at any time since the first century. 

“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:38)

Wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences, false Christs, solar anomalies, signs in the cosmos, global fear and confusion at what appears to be coming upon the earth . . . it’s ALL part of our present existence.  

“Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till ALL be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:32)

This generation.  That’s us.  Tell your friends. 

Analysis: The Geert Wilders Acquittal

Analysis: The Geert Wilders Acquittal
Vol: 117 Issue: 23 Thursday, June 23, 2011

Compared with the media circus that surrounded his trial, hardly anybody is reporting its outcome in the mainstream media, so we’ll be sort of ‘breaking’ this story in the West. So here goes. . . 

This just in –Geert Wilders Acquitted by Netherlands Court.

Geert Wilders is the leader of the Dutch Freedom Party (Partij voor de Vrijheid or, PVV) which in 2006 claimed one seat in Parliament and one member, Geert Wilders.

Today, the PPV holds 24 seats in the Dutch Parliament and is the nation’s third largest political party. 

The reason, at least in part, is because Geert Wilders said out loud what everybody else dared to only whisper.

Wilders was charged with such ‘crimes’ as “having stated that Morrocan youths were violent,” for calling for Dutch borders to be closed to all “non-Western immigrants” and for advocating an end to what he terms “the Islamic Invasion.”

He was also charged with five counts of religious insult and anti-Muslim incitement for describing Islam as a fascist religion and calling for the banning of the Koran.

In 2008 Wilders produced the film Fitna which is universally described as “a short political film by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders about his view of Islam.”

That is the politically correct description of the film. In reality, the film simply presents Islamic sermons, slogans, speeches, quotes and actions — without offering any opinion whatsoever. 

The only speakers are Muslim – the only images are Islamic, and none of it is reproduced, staged, set up or otherwise contrived.  In short, it is a documentary that does not take a position itself but instead exposes the position of its participants.  

The film was labeled “offensively anti-Islamic” by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon after its initial screening. Prosecutors had initially declined to charge Wilders, citing freedom of speech when it dismissed the case despite dozens of complaints over the film and a variety of public speeches.

The uproar prompted a Dutch appeals court to order that Wilders be tried anyway, on the grounds that politicians should not be permitted to make “statements which create hate and grief.”

Fitna” is an Arabic word with connotations of secession, upheaval and chaos.  It is often used to refer to internal divisions within Islam.  It has a secondary meaning in Islamic eschatology not too dissimilar from the Tribulation Period.

The term originally referred to the refining of metal to remove impurities and came to be used to describe a person’s purification process within Islam.   For that reason, fitna is sometimes translated as sedition, as in the Koran’s Sura 8:39:

“And fight with them (unbelievers) until there is no more sedition (fitna) and religion should be only for Allah.”

It took me quite some time to find a link to the actual film – this Youtube link was the only one not censored by Google or Dailymotion most probably because it was posted by a Wilders-hater, as evidenced by the vulgar commentary below the post.

Even Videosurf.com was reluctant to serve up the full 17 minute English version of the film.  The first offering returned by their search engine is an Islamic parody in which Old Testament Bible verses are used to create a similarly evil depiction of Christianity.

It is fairly effective, except the parody is limited to using ancient Old Testament verses — not current events inspired by Old Testament verses. 

It is easier to find a porn movie online than it is to find a complete copy of the Fitna documentary.  And it is easier to find a flattering portrait of Osama bin Laden online than it is to find one of Geert Wilders.

Immediately upon hearing the news of Wilder’s acquittal, Dutch Islamic groups vowed they would now take the case to the United Nations Human Rights Committee on the grounds that the Netherlands had failed to protect “ethnic minorities from discrimination”.

“The acquittal means that the right of minorities to remain free of hate speech has been breached. We are going to claim our rights at the U.N.,” said Mohamed Rabbae of the National Council for Moroccans.

Meanwhile, Wilders remains under 24 hour guard and under constant threat of death.  Hate speech is worthy of UN condemnation.  Death threats are not. 

Am I missing something?

Assessment:

Type Geert Wilders name into “Google” and you get about 6.2 million hits, most of which are like this front page hit entitled “Five Stupid Things Geert Wilders Said During His Stay in Toronto”.

I think it is always illustrative to examine what liberals think are stupid.  

  • Wilders shocked Toronto liberals by suggesting Canada should ban the burka in the name of equal rights for women.
  • Wilders denied the existence of moderate Islam, saying, “There is no moderate Islam, there is no good part of the Koran.”
  • Wilders claimed “An increasingly vociferous Islamic lobby has led to the harassment of Christians, female genital mutilation and polygamy” a scenario Toronto liberals find “ridiculous”.
  • Wilders floored them with his suggestion that Islamists either assimilate into Western society or remain in the Islamic world, and finally, (and most egregiously of all)
  •  Wilders made the wildly ridiculous assertion (that Toronto Life’s staff said “makes us laugh”) that Muslims are a threat to gay rights. 

So, liberals defend women in burkhas and claim that they believe in a moderate and tolerant Islam that is open to cultural assimilation and gay rights.

(Think they’re scared?)

Type in “Geert Wilders Acquitted” and Google returns a comparatively invisible 6370 hits – only 233 of which are actual news stories.  Most of the news stories that I read lamented Wilder’s acquittal, like this allegedly unbiased BBC News analysis:

“With the acquittal, it appears the radical views of Mr Wilders are now more mainstream in a country that for decades was viewed as one of the most liberal and tolerant in the world.”

The Australian chose to use MP Wilder’s full name, “Dutch Anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders” in its headline.  I found the Australian’s use of quotes in this passage particularly intriguing.

“The acquittal comes after Mr Wilders last month argued before judges that he was “defending freedom in The Netherlands” against Islam. One of Europe’s most heavily guarded politicians, he told the court he was “obliged to speak” because The Netherlands was “under threat” from Islam.”

The quotes are offered as the literary equivalent to raised eyebrows at the very idea that Wilders could be defending Dutch freedom before noting, (without quotes) that he is among Europe’s most-heavily guarded politicians and then immediately offering another literary raised-eyebrow at the notion he was really under threat from Islam.

Reuters called Wilders a “Dutch populist” in reporting his acquittal, saying in its subtitle that his acquittal might “exacerbate tensions over immigration policy.”  

Wilders is one of three prominent Dutchmen to call Islam a violent and dangerous ideology that is incompatible with Western values.  

The first was Dutch politician Pym Fortuyn.

Fortuyn made headlines by calling Islam “a backward culture” which offended Dutch liberal vegan and animal rights advocate Volker van der Graff who found Fortuyn’s views on Islam “intolerant” – so in 2002, he killed him.

The second was Theo Van Gogh, descendant of the famous artist, Vincent Van Gogh. 

Theo Van Gogh was a Dutch film producer who was working on a film called “Submission” about violence against women in Islamic societies. The title, Submission, is a translation of the word “Islam” into English; it refers to Muslims’ submission before Allah.

In August 2004, the film was broadcast on Dutch TV.  That November, Mohammed Bouyeri shot Van Gogh eight times before trying to decapitate him with a knife.  A second knife was used to pin a five-page note to Van Gogh’s chest.

The note threatened Western society in general, Jews in particular — and was addressed to Geert Wilders.

For the most part, the mainstream media has treated Wilders as if he were some kind of out-of-control menace, instead of his being an MP and the head of Holland’s third largest political party.  

Terrorism has a purpose as is reflected by its name; its purpose is to so terrorize a target as to force him to accept the unacceptable as an alternative to being killed. That’s what it is for and that is what it does.

Consequently, Europe (and most American liberals) are only too happy to capitulate to whatever demands Islam might make; from allowing Sharia law as an alternative to established law to pillorying guys like Geert Wilders for daring to break the Number One Rule and not pretending Islam is just another monotheistic religion.

Noted an editorial by Marshall Frank entitled, “Understanding the Purpose for Terrorism:”

Most every country in the western world, including the U.S. and Canada, are caving in to demand upon demand being made by Muslims, in government, in legal systems, in colleges and universities, in law enforcement and, unfortunately, the military. The massacre at Fort Hood would never have happened in 1981, given the obvious anti-American, radical Islamic posture of Air Force Major Nidal Hasan who randomly shot forty-one and killed thirteen, just after screaming “Allah Akbar.” His co-workers and fellow soldiers knew, for months, that he was a radical nut job, but dared not say anything for “fear” of reprisals, or being dubbed “racist” “bigot” “intolerant.”

One is hard pressed to find any fault with the conclusion expressed in Marshall’s next line; “Intimidation works.”

Geert Wilders is the exception that proves the rule.