JesusLand, Gun Control and the Coming Prince

JesusLand, Gun Control and the Coming Prince
Vol: 139 Issue: 30 Tuesday, April 30, 2013

”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” (US Constitution, 2nd Amendment, ratified December 15th, 1791)

The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is apparently written in language so mysterious and sublime that it means something different to everybody who reads it.

Evidently, it also changes meaning as the clock ticks forward, since it continues to be interpreted and re-interpreted as if there were an ongoing contest for the most original interpretation of a sentence that, to the ignorant and uninitiated masses, seems to make perfect sense just the way it reads on the surface.

For about the first two hundred years of the Republic, the 2nd Amendment meant American citizens had a Constitutional right to keep and to bear arms.

And, for about the first two hundred years of the Republic, the 2nd Amendment functioned as it was intended.  It kept the government at bay.

Originally, the Constitution was approved without a Bill of Rights, then sent to the states for ratification.  The states felt the Constitution, as written, failed to give enough protection to individual rights that they wanted specifically protected by amendment.

Among the rights the states sought to enshrine as Constitutionally-protected were the rights to freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to keep and bear arms.

The intent of the Bill of Rights was to protect individuals from government powers.  They were meant as a guarantee to the individual state governments as well as the American citizens that the Federal government would not try to take away the freedoms which many of them had so recently fought for.

Richard Henry Lee, the Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, noted at the time that,

“to preserve Liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.”

James Madison said in the Federalist Papers that the 2nd Amendment preserves,

“the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.”

Noah Webster observed that,

“before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States. A military force, at the command of Congress, can execute no laws, but such as the people perceive to be just and constitutional; for they will possess the power, and jealousy will instantly inspire the inclination, to resist the execution of a law which appears to them unjust and oppressive.”

Patrick Henry argued that the power to resist oppression rested entirely on the right to bear arms, saying,

“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined.”

It would seem, as I noted at the outset, that the 2nd Amendment was intended to mean pretty much what it says.  Indeed, our country was born when a group of colonists rose up in arms against British rule.

Guns empower the masses: they are the last line of defense for a citizenry confronted with an evil government.

The regimes of Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s U.S.S.R. recognized this principle and seized all weapons, precluding any effectual resistance to their tyranny.  One need only read the newspapers in New York and Los Angeles to realize that even the innocent have cause to fear the police.

Communities around the country are justifiably hesitant to relinquish their weapons and be at the mercy of local law enforcement.  Law enforcement, by definition, is powerless to act until AFTER a crime has been committed.  Police can’t protect individuals, they can only prosecute after the fact.

(Which, in the case of murder, is of little consolation to the victim)

In countries like Canada and England that have imposed what amounts to a ban on private ownership of weapons, citizens are most vulnerable in their own homes.

Home invasions (burglaries) became the crime of choice among criminals who became the embodiment of the slogan, ‘when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.’

A 1998 study by the US Department of Justice found that there were 40 percent more muggings in England, and burglary rates were almost 100 percent higher than in the United States.

And, counter-intuitively, rates of crimes using handguns is on the rise.  In 1999-2000, crimes using handguns were at a seven year high.

Apparently, criminals were easily able to access guns, but law enforcement officers and law-abiding citizens were not allowed.  (When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns, remember?)

In America, burglars aren’t sure if homeowners are armed or not, but the odds favor there being at least one gun in the house.  So they avoid burglarizing occupied homes.  Only thirteen percent of US burglaries are against occupied homes.

In Canada, the overall burglary rate is higher than the American one, and a Canadian burglary is four times more likely to take place when the victims are home.

In Toronto, forty-four percent of burglaries were against occupied homes, and twenty-one percent involved a confrontation with the victim.

Most Canadian residential burglaries occur at night, while American burglars are known to prefer daytime entry to reduce the risk of an armed confrontation.

A 1982 British survey found fifty-nine percent of attempted burglaries in the UK involved an occupied home, prompting the Wall Street Journal to report that;

“Compared with London, New York is downright safe in one category: burglary.  In London, where many homes have been burglarized half a dozen times, and where psychologists specialize in treating children traumatized by such thefts, the rate is nearly twice as high as in the Big Apple.  And burglars here increasingly prefer striking when occupants are home, since alarms and locks tend to be disengaged and intruders have little to fear from unarmed residents.” ( WSJ, Apr. 19, 1994, page A1)

The London Sunday Times, pointing to Britain’s soaring burglary rate, calls Britain “a nation of thieves.”

In the Netherlands, forty-eight percent of residential burglaries involved an occupied home.

In the Republic of Ireland, criminologists report that burglars have little reluctance about attacking an occupied residence.

In America, burglars are reluctant to invade an occupied home because they might get shot.  One out of every 31 burglars gets shot.  That is about the equal to the burglar’s odds of being sent to prison.

Assuming that the threat of prison is a deterrent to burglary, as in Canada or Britain, it seems reasonable to conclude that the equally large risk of being shot provides an equally large deterrent.

In other words, private individuals with firearms in their homes double the deterrent effect that would exist if government-imposed punishment were the only deterrent.

On the other hand, Switzerland has few restrictions on who can own or carry a firearm.

As a consequence, Switzerland has some of the lowest crime rates in the world, despite very high levels of gun ownership.  Also, despite being sandwiched between two aggressive powers during World War II, the country remained untouched, largely due to the heavy rates of private gun ownership.

Hitler and Mussolini knew that the heavily armed Swiss population would defend itself fiercely, (something they didn’t fear from the French, for example)

But these facts seem to be as lost to gun control advocates as is the clear meaning of the 2nd amendment.  To them, being at the mercy of invaders, either foreign or domestic, is a small price to pay to get guns off the streets.

Most gun control advocates point to the recent upsurge in gun violence by children as an example of why guns need to be controlled.

The fact is, the upsurge in gun violence among corresponds with the various successes enjoyed by gun control advocates.  There were more guns in circulation in America in previous generations, but far fewer gun deaths.  (The first federal regulation of firearms in America wasn’t introduced until 1934.)

Previous generations of Americans grew up with guns.  They were familiar objects around the house, like a shovel or a wrench.  There was nothing mysterious about them.  Kids knew better than to play with them.

Assessment:

Gun control advocates argue that the 2nd Amendment gives the right to keep and bear arms to a well regulated MILITIA, and not to the ‘people’.  According to this interpretation, the 2nd Amendment gives the government the right to keep and bear arms via the National Guard.

The silliness of this argument is obvious to anybody but a liberal or an activist judge.  Why would the government give itself the right to bear arms by Constitutional amendment, since the Constitution already gives it the right to do so in order to ‘provide for the common defense’?

But that has been the prevailing legal opinion since the passage of the Brady Bill.  That the right to bear arms is granted to the government via a ‘well-regulated militia’ by the 2nd Amendment.

According to Title 10 of the United States Code:

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

In other words, the ‘militia’ and ‘the people’ mean the same thing.

Among the various documents and action plans uncovered among the terrorist camps in Afghanistan was a plan for suicide operatives to simply walk up to someone’s door and shoot whoever answers.

Another called for terrorist operatives to set up sniper posts in American cities simultaneously and starting picking off victims.

Both tactics have been used by Palestinian terrorists against Israeli settlements, but were seldom successful, since all Israeli settlers are armed to the teeth.

The terror threat facing the homeland prompted a reexamination of the gun control debate by the DoJ. It recently released a 103 page “Memoradum Opinion For the Attorney General” issued in August by Assistant Attorneys General Steven G. Bradbury, Howard C. Nielson, Jr. and C. Kevin Marshall.

They studied the history of anti-gun legislation and anti-gun court cases and reached the following conclusion:

“Our examination of the original meaning of the Amendment provides extensive reasons to conclude that the Second Amendment secures an individual right, and no persuasive basis for either the collective-right or quasi-collective-right views.”

The memorandum was titled; “Whether the 2nd Amendment Secures an Individual Right” and conspicuously put the conclusion in the subtitle; “The Second Amendment secures a right of individuals generally, not a right of States or a right restricted to persons serving in militias.”

When I queried Google using the keywords ‘2nd Amendment’, there were only nine stories relating to the DoJ memo.  Of them, only one was in the national media. The Washington Times carried the story under the headline, “Gun group urges 2nd Amendment observance”. (since removed)

Other than that, the media seems to have spiked the story.  To the liberal left, gun control is more than an issue, it is a matter of doctrine.

Gun control is a front for the advancement of the socialist agenda.  Giving in to the idea that guns are dangerous concedes to the notion that it is better to let some lowlife steal your property, rape your wife, and beat you half to death than it is to expedite his passage into the next world.

(Your property was all gained at his expense anyway, so in a moral sense, he’s entitled to it as much as you are.)

That is the core of the socialist doctrine.  And it is the dominant worldview of most of the industrialized world.

But that worldview is changing, it would seem, in the newly discovered country of ‘JesusLand’.  The world is marching in one direction, but Red State America is beginning to turn itself around and march the other way, dragging the Blue States along, kicking and screaming all the way.

As a consequence, Red State America is now the only obstacle in the path of the globalist social engineers who are unwittingly, but eagerly, preparing the way for the antichrist.

Paul says that the ‘mystery of iniquity’ is already at work, but that the Restrainer will continue to restrain, ‘until He be taken out of the way’ at the Rapture.

Without the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit working through the indwelt Church, the Blue State Americans left behind after the Rapture will be only too happy to turn back around, throw away their guns, and defenselessly march in lockstep with their socialist cousins — straight into the waiting arms of the Beast.

“And THEN shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.” (2nd Thessalonians 2:8)

Note:  Looking back to when this brief was originally published in 2004 we can see that the Gun Control agenda has advanced quite a bit in nine years.  The original link to the DoJ was relocated to another url and the Washington Times article concerning the 2nd amendment has since been removed from their website.

Today’s Featured Commentary: Mystery Lady

Right Wing Trash

Right Wing Trash
Vol: 139 Issue: 29 Monday, April 29, 2013

Last week, I got an email from an OL member of almost two years’ standing requesting his membership be canceled and that we stop sending him our ‘right-wing’ trash. I’m not sure which hurt more; the ‘right-wing’ comment or the ‘trash’ comment.

The ‘trash’ comment was reflective of my writing, I thought (at first) whilst the ‘right-wing’ comment was reflective of my correspondent’s worldview. But then I thought about it some more, and both comments were a reflection on my writing.

My apologies.

If I was doing my job correctly, then he should have just called it ‘trash’ because he would have already learned that the right wing is no different than the left wing — both are propaganda.

I’ve done a lot of soul-searching regarding this issue, since I admit in advance that I’ve no sympathy for anything emanating from the Left. But not having sympathy for the Left does not automatically translate into sympathy for the Right.

Or does it? No. It can’t. The Left spins off in one direction, and the Right spins off in another. If there is a Left and a Right, then there must be a center point where each side began before the spin cycle is engaged.

Believe it or not, it is that center point that I am shooting for. If it sounds like I am defending the Right, it is only because the Left is so wrong.

America is divided into three parts; about a third of the country are Democrats. Another third are Republicans. The rest are somewhere in the middle.

I don’t believe it is a ‘right-wing’ position to oppose abortion — it is clearly center of the road for anybody who isn’t an idiot. Abortion is the taking of a human life. Oh, one can argue whether or not a fetus is a person until they are blue in the face — it is an argument without substance.

Unless a fetus in the womb of a human female can mature into something OTHER than a human, then it is a human fetus. If a fetus can be said to exist, then it is a human being.

Whether or not it can exist outside the womb is irrelevant, since eventually, it WILL be able to exist outside the womb, but ONLY as a human being.

The rest is semantics. An unborn baby is neither Republican nor Democrat, neither Right nor Left. It knows no politics.

If there is a difference, it is this. Those on the Right have thought it through and see no space between killing an unborn baby and killing a born baby. Those on the Left are so caught up in the semantics that they don’t see a baby — they see an agenda.

Those in the middle, those who say they have no opinion, well, they haven’t thought about it at all. Or they don’t want to admit it and get pigeon-holed as ‘right-wing’.

Because if they have thought through the abortion question, that is most likely the camp they will find themselves accused of being part of.

Assessment:

I’ve never been able to understand how anybody, regardless of their politics, could actively promote abortion. I can get my head around the concept that there are people who are born without a sense of natural affection — psychiatry calls that ‘sociopathy’ — but I have trouble getting a grip on those who advocate in favor of it.

Like Barack Obama. Guys like Barack Obama astonish me. Here’s a guy with two little girls of his own — they seem like perfect little girls. Then, of course, there is his own history. Here’s a guy that, had Roe v. Wade been the law of the land in 1960, would probably have ended up as medical waste at an abortion clinic.

Obama’s life is a horror story for pro-abortion forces, which is why they avoid discussing it at all costs. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that Stanley Ann Dunham had actually wanted the baby born to her at age eighteen.

According to her Wikipedia entry, her teachers, Val Foubert and Jim Wichterman; “taught the importance of challenging societal norms and questioning authority. Dunham took the lessons to heart; “She felt she didn’t need to date or marry or have children.” A classmate remembers her as “intellectually way more mature than we were and a little bit ahead of her time, in an off-center way.”

One high school friend described her: “If you were concerned about something going wrong in the world, Stanley would know about it first. We were liberals before we knew what liberals were.” Another called her “the original feminist.”

So, Obama’s mama was a Sixties liberal feminist. She was also, according to her best friend in high school, a committed and dedicated atheist. Barack Obama confirmed that assessment when he wrote in “Dreams From My Father” that she was a “lonely witness for secular humanism”.

Later, in “Audacity of Hope” he wrote: (who writes TWO autobiographies before their 40th birthday)?

“I was not raised in a religious household… My mother’s own experiences… only reinforced this inherited skepticism. Her memories of the Christians who populated her youth were not fond ones.”

If profiling a person has even a modicum of validity, then the profile of Barack Obama’s mama says that Obama only survived because Roe v. Wade had not yet been adjudicated.

Had Stanley Ann Dunham become pregnant out of wedlock in 1972, it is more than probable that Barack Hussein Obama may never have made it out of the womb in one piece. He was darned lucky that he had grandparents who were willing to raise him when he became inconvenient to her subsequent marriage to Lolo Soetoro.

It is not ‘right-wing’ to oppose abortion. At worst, it is middle of the road — the most recent Gallup Poll shows that 51% of the country now considers itself pro-life. (Watch for a concerted push by the White House over the next few months to try and influence and change that demographic.)

There is a left wing and a right wing in America — both are wings off the center of the American body politic. It isn’t those that oppose abortion that are the extremists — it is those who support and defend a woman’s right to choose to kill her baby that qualify for the ‘extremist’ title.

Unless one is prepared to argue one could take a more extreme position on birth control than killing the baby – a tough position to sell as being ‘centrist’.

The simple fact is that a ‘woman’s right to choose’ had already been exercised — that’s how she got pregnant. The Left argues a woman should have a second chance to choose and that consequences to the victim of that second choice are somehow irrelevant.

Does that sound centrist to you?

Yet this past weekend, the airwaves were filled to overflowing with people arguing back and forth about whether or not Notre Dame Catholic University should convey an honorary degree in law to a politician whose pro-abortion record is one of the most extreme in the nation.

If there is a center of the road argument that is different from that of the right wing, I’d love to hear it. Just because one doesn’t agree with the Left doesn’t automatically make someone a member of the Right.

The truth is ALWAYS somewhere in the middle.

Note:  Obama’s recent speech to Planned Parenthood brought this brief to mind this morning. Its original publication was May 18, 2009. 

The Least In the Kingdom Is Still IN the Kingdom

The Least In the Kingdom Is Still IN the Kingdom
Vol: 139 Issue: 27 Saturday, April 27, 2013

One of the objections offered in response to the position that God’s grace is greater than all our sin refers to the passages in Scripture that enumerate specific sins together with the warning that those that commit these specific sins ”shall not inherit the ‘Kingdom’.”

The objection in part, reads this way:

“Paul says in several verses in Corinthians, and Galatians that some behaviors will keep us from inheriting the Kingdom. 

First, I assume he means the Kingdom of Heaven. Second, I assume he means if we are doing those things and don’t stop, we cannot inherit the Kingdom.

These are very difficult verses for me. He is clear and specific. If doing these things will keep one from inheriting the kingdom, and a person is claiming to be saved, but continues to do them anyway, is Paul a liar if he says you can’t go to Heaven if you do these things?”

In the end, the questioner asks, “Wouldn’t it be better to choose not to sin?”  These are fair questions — especially that last one, so I will start with it.  

Q. “Wouldn’t it be better to choose not to sin?”  A. “Yes.”  Gee, that sounds easy.  Doesn’t it?

But Adam and Eve found it a bit more difficult than that.  They were created perfect, without an ingrained sin nature, and they only had one commandment to obey.

Their commandment was clear and specific:

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17)

They didn’t have to worry about graven images, or keeping the Sabbath or not stealing or bearing false witness . . . they only had one commandment and it was a singular negative.

“You can do anything. Nothing is forbidden, except for this one, little, insignificant command NOT to eat from this one little tree.”  

That was it.  One little commandment.  Not ten.  Just one.

Adam and Eve did NOT live in a sin-sick, demon-infested, fallen world filled with temptations specifically designed to trigger an in-bred, universal sin nature.  They lived in perfect fellowship with God, with Whom they walked in the Garden in the cool of the evening.

Wouldn’t it have been better if they had chosen not to sin? 

What if God gave them a second chance?  Suppose God said, “Ok, you guys are new here. I didn’t tell you about the serpent.  You aren’t very sophisticated — of course you were blindsided.  Now you know the difference between good and evil. So what?  Let’s just forget about this time and move on.  Go, and sin no more.”

Clearly, the option not to sin is always there.  But man’s nature is what it is.  We are sinners by nature.  It is what we do.  It defines us.  We are the only natural, created beings that are capable of sin.  It is what defines us — it is what separates us from the lower order of mammals.

My dog cannot sin.  She can do things that are against the rules, and she can do them wilfully, but she cannot sin.  She knows only what is forbidden, not why.  She feels no guilt when she disobeys.  She has no individual self-awareness.

Sinning is what we do.  NOT sinning is unnatural, which is why the “natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

However, when we become saved, we receive an additional component — a “quickened” spirit, at which time we become a NEW creature, (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15).  The new creature is capable of receiving the things of God, but the new creature continues to reside inside the old one.

“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”

This is the dual nature of the Christian — a supernaturally quickened new creature temporarily trapped inside the old one.  Literally, it is the spirit of life trapped inside a body of death.

“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Romans 7:21-25)

Wouldn’t it be easier just to choose not to sin?  One would think so.  But no human being in the history of man, from Adam until now, (excepting the man, Jesus Christ) ever managed to pull it off. 

Including the Apostle Paul . . . which brings us to the second objection, to wit: “Is Paul a liar if he says you can’t go to Heaven if you do these things?”

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:10-11)

Let’s begin with the most obvious issue.  Who are the unrighteous?  Are they those that do the things enumerated on that list?  Does that mean a fifteen year old girl that never did any of these things is righteous? 

“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10)

So even if one never committed fornication, idolatry, adultery, self abuse, theft, was never covetous, never took a drink, never said anything evil of someone else or ever committed extortion, such a one was already unrighteous, according to Romans 3:10.

How does one become righteous?

“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3)

“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:5)

“Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works . . .”  (Romans 4:6)

“And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:22)

So, the unrighteous that do all these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.  But unto the unrighteous that believe, God imputes righteousness.

“Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” (Romans 4:23:25)

So, righteousness is imputed unto the unrighteous, by believing in Him that was delivered for our offenses and raised again for our justification.”  Works — bad OR good,  cannot be relevant if salvation comes by faith alone.

Now, what about Galatians 5:19-21? Paul here is addressing the works of the flesh. Saved people are still ‘in the flesh’ until they take their last breath. (Romans 7:25)

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Go back to the top of the passage.

“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”  (Galatians 5:3-4)

Does this mean that somebody who is justified by the law and “fallen from grace” has lost their salvation?  No.  It says that if you seek to be justified by the law, then you haven’t sought justification by grace. 

The odd thing about teaching eternal security is that it almost sounds like one is defending a RIGHT to sin, rather than acknowledging the reality that sin is part of being in the flesh, and that in the flesh “dwelleth no good thing, for to will is present with me.” (Romans 7:18)

Because it sounds like a defense of sin, it is easy to argue against it.  That’s what makes the simplicity of Christ so complicated.

Sin is not all right.  Sin is not good.  Sin is not ok with God.  Sin has no defense.  Neither does a sinner.  That’s why we need a Savior.

Sin has consequences, here on earth, at the Bema Seat before Christ, and subsequently into eternity in heaven.  Not everybody will be made a ruler over ten kingdoms, or ten cities. 

But everybody who stands before the Bema Seat is saved. 

In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord Jesus pronounced blessings, or beatitudes, for certain groups of individuals.

Note with me that all of them are future tense — “they SHALL be” comforted, they SHALL inherit the earth, be filled, obtain mercy, see God, be called the children of God, etc. 

ALL of them, that is, except two.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs IS the kingdom of heaven.”

Notice that the rest will inherit the Kingdom, but that the poor in spirit ALREADY have.  The Expositor’s Bible Commentary defines the “poor in spirit” this way: 

“To be poor in spirit is not to lack courage but to acknowledge spiritual bankruptcy. It confesses one’s unworthiness before God and utter dependence on Him.”

That does not sound like the kind of person that believes his eternity is settled according to his ability to choose not to sin.

The second group that have ALREADY inherited the Kingdom of Heaven are “those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs IS the kingdom of heaven.

Is the Lord talking about personal righteousness?  Well, let’s put it another way.  Is there such a thing as personal righteousness?   I believe that is an issue asked and answered already.  

Either there is NONE righteous — or there is.  Which is it?  BOTH cannot be true.

“Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11)

So he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is already greater than was John the Baptist.  So it would appear that being the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, one is still IN Heaven. How does one become called “the least” in the Kingdom?

“Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19-20)

Those that are saved, but that break the commandments and teach others to do so will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven, but they will still BE in Heaven.

Again, explaining the doctrine of eternal security is not an ENDORSEMENT of sin, but a recognition of reality.  All men sin, including saved Christians.  So if the standard for salvation is to trust Jesus AND sin no more, heaven will be empty.

And if sin is on a sliding scale, that is to say, some saved sinners will go to heaven but other saved sinners will not, based on HOW sinful they are, then the standard for righteousness is not by faith alone, but by faith plus UNDEFINED works.

Sin is a “work” — it is something you have done — nobody else can sin for you.  Sin is your work and yours alone.  God doesn’t make you sin.  Neither does Satan.  Only you.  Sin is the most intimate and private of all human endeavors.

If your salvation is dependent on your works, then so is your righteousness.  If your works can make you unrighteous, then you are NOT clothed in the righteousness of Christ, you are clothed in your own.

Any other understanding makes both you AND Satan more powerful than Jesus, since Satan can trick you into sinning, whereas the Bible says that having paid the penalty for all sin once and for all,  Jesus sat down at the right Hand of the Father. (Hebrews 10:12)

In the final analysis, salvation is so simple that it is too complicated for us to grasp intellectually.  That is why the Lord says we must have the faith of a child.  A child doesn’t wonder if he deserves what his father provides for him. 

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

It would be better to simply choose not to sin.  Indeed, Christians make that choice every day.  Except for the times that we don’t.  And that is why we need a Savior.  Not just at the point of salvation, but for every single step that we take in our walk with Him.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

Salvation cannot work any other way.

Note:  This morning’s addition was originally published last year.  Many Christians get down on themselves in their walk with Christ at some point or another.  This brief reminds us to look to the Savior and lean on His righteousness. We can try to do it ourselves but the Bible, history and personal experience tell us we can’t. We fail ourselves consistently.  He will never fail us.  Maranatha!

Groaning in Travail

Groaning in Travail
Vol: 139 Issue: 26 Friday, April 26, 2013

”For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)

Before moving along, examine the passage above carefully.  There are two references I want you to see.  The first is that Paul is speaking of “the Day of the Lord.”

The second is that Paul says the Day of the Lord will come as a “thief in the night”.  The Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation Period is clearly described by the Lord Himself.

“And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30)

This is often confused with the Rapture of the Church because of the next verse:

“And He shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Once again, examine the verse carefully.  Compare it to Paul’s description of the Rapture in 1st Thessalonians 4:16.

The “dead in Christ” rise first, then those who are alive and remain are “caught up” (Latin: rapios; Greek harpazo – both mean “to snatch up” – neither could be translated as ‘gather’).

The Lord’s elect are gathered from the four winds – from one end of heaven to the other – but significantly, NOT snatched from the earth.

So, the Day of the Lord comes as a ‘thief in the night.”  What does that mean?  It should be obvious. It means the Day of the Lord comes in secret, unexpectedly and without warning.  It was the Lord Himself that interpreted the ‘thief in the night’ reference:

“And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.” (Luke 12:39)

There is a commercial I saw recently on TV that illustrated the same point, so it is neither a religious point, nor is it obscure.  You needn’t be a theologian to ‘get’ it.

It depicts criminals calling potential victims and telling them precisely when they intend to rob his home.  The illustration was used to show why you needed protection – because thieves don’t offer their victims any warning.

But they DO leave signs, if you know what to look for.  Thieves always ‘case’ the neighborhood or the house or business they intend to rob.  Just like terrorists tend to ‘case’ the targets they intend to attack.

The Department of Homeland Security tells citizens to watch for such signs and to report them.  Local police are always on the lookout for signs of criminal activity.

None of the signs mean that the act itself has necessarily occurred – they just indicate that it is possible.

That is why the Bible consistently makes two points concerning the Rapture – points often ignored by those seeking to impose their own understanding instead.

The Rapture will be in secret. And it will come at a time when it is least expected.

Assessment:

Obviously, there are those that expect the Rapture any day.  I am among them.  So where does the “unexpected” fit in?

Jesus said that nobody could calculate the day or the hour, but that we could know when it is near, “even at the doors.”  We would know that it was near by the signs – but as we’ve seen, signs are not the same as certainty.

You can’t arrest a guy for looking like a burglar or acting like a burglar.  Until he burgles, it is possible that you could be wrong.  But knowing the signs means that you can be prepared, just in case you’re right.

The Japan earthquake has renewed the argument about whether or not earthquakes are increasing, as the Lord said they would as a sign of His Second Coming.

(The Olivet Discourse is in reply to the question, “what shall be the sign of Thy coming and of the end of the world?”  The reference is to the end of world government and the start of the Millennial Reign, not the end of the world’s existence.)

Every time there is a major earthquake, it rekindles the debate anew.  Are earthquakes actually increasing?  According to seismologists, if there wasn’t a discernible increase before, there is now.

“A seismology research fellow at the University of Melbourne, Gary Gibson, said the world averages one magnitude 8 quake a year, but the rate was inconsistent. The 1980s and 1990s had far fewer large quakes than average, for example.

”There is more variation than you would expect from a random occurrence of earthquakes, and we really don’t have a mechanism to describe why that is the case,” Dr Gibson said. ”But there is no question that the last two years have been very active and well above average.”

I beg to differ with Dr. Gibson, but only by about four years – the record-breaking began in earnest in 2005, but it takes time for skeptics to become believers.

In April of last year, we published a report entitled “2010 – The Year of Living Dangerously” that noted the following:

“On Monday, a 7.1 earthquake rocked southern Qinghai, China, killing more than six hundred and injuring more than 10,000.   Another 300 remain missing.

This is the 24th earthquake measuring at least 6.5 since January 1st.  So far, earthquake activity in the first four months of this year have claimed as many as 300,000 people. Over the same period last year, there were just twelve.”

Earthquakes are always followed by aftershocks, including a main aftershock that is generally one order of magnitude lower than the initial quake.  In the case of a M9.0, the aftershock could be as strong as an M8.0 – more than enough to trigger another tsunami.

Jesus warned that there would come wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences and so on. He warned that, “All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matthew 24:8)

The signs of the times are all around us and they are scary.  They are scary even to saved Christians who know the signs mean the Day of the Lord is at hand.

They are even scary to Christians who believe the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation begins.

There is nothing in Scripture to suggest that the Church Age will escape bad things in the last days — just that it will be removed before the beginning of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

“Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it cometh. For the LORD shall be thy confidence, and shall keep thy foot from being taken.” (Proverbs 3:25-26)

Notice there are two fears being addressed here. “Being afraid” and “sudden fear.” It is one thing to respect the risks attached as ‘sudden fear’ — it is another to allow it to rule your life.

“Sudden fear” is what comes to us all. It is this concept of ‘sudden fear’ that keeps us from being reckless. It is what keeps you from trying to beat oncoming traffic.

After all, you’re saved. You’re a Christian. Nothing can happen to you without God’s permission.  So why don’t you just jump out in front of that oncoming car?

(The ‘sudden fear’ is that God may have granted that permission without telling you.)

It is ok to be afraid in the ‘sudden’ sense — but not to be afraid OF the fear. We live in the world, but we are not OF it. Sudden fear is an understanding of the situation and a respect for its gravity.

Being afraid of sudden fear is what happens when one forgets to place one’s confidence in the Lord.

This is more than just a pretty platitude. It is a bedrock principle of doctrine. It is the Source of that “peace that surpasseth all understanding.”

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)

If we are where I suspect we are on the timeline, we will need that peace in the days ahead.  Unless the Lord comes first.

Because given the preponderance of signs, THAT is an entirely plausible scenario.

Note: This brief was originally published March 14, 2011.  In 2013, there is still nothing to be afraid of if you are a child of the King; but there certainly is a lot to think about

Today’s Featured Commentary: On Excusing Evil

Nineteen Eighty-Four

Nineteen Eighty-Four
Vol: 139 Issue: 25 Thursday, April 25, 2013

In that seminal year of 1948, the year that Israel declared independence, the year the UN GATT Treaty created a global economy, the year the Benelux Treaty set the EU in motion, George Orwell made literary history with his novel, ”1984”.

Orwell’s novel revolved around Winston Smith, an intellectual employed by the Ministry of Truth in a totalitarian dictatorship on the fictional country of Oceania.

Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth” was an instrument of propaganda charged with rewriting history to support Oceania’s dictator, “Big Brother.”

Orwell’s novel gave society the phrase “Doublespeak” as exemplified in Big Brother’s Three Slogans; “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; and, Ignorance is Strength.”

(Orwell actually coined the words “doublethink’ and ‘newspeak’ — words that, once released from the world of fiction, entered reality as ‘doublespeak’).

The novel’s impact also introduced the adjective, “Orwellian” into the English language as a modifier for the word, ‘propaganda’ and “Orwellian Doublespeak” became part of America’s political lexicon.

An example of Orwellian Doublespeak as it would apply to modern politics is found in the mantra of the American Left; “We Support the Troops, But Oppose the War.”

What made Orwell’s book so fascinating was the premise that the citizens of Oceania fully understood and accepted the concepts of doublethink and newspeak for what they were; lies that became truth based on who was speaking them.

Throughout the novel, Oceania is at war with one of the other two existing superpowers, Eastasia and Eurasia.

At one point, Oceania switches alliances without notice, as a public speaker changes the names of the enemy and ally mid-sentence.

In 1948, Orwell’s novel was a disturbing work of fiction. By 1984, it had earned a reputation as a ‘cautionary tale’.

In 2008, we still don’t have a Big Brother. But ‘doublethink’ and ‘newspeak’ are not just part of our lexicon in 2008.

They are part of our daily information processing apparatus.

Assessment:

Advertising is a prime example of ‘doublespeak’ in action. George Orwell comes to mind every time a drug commercial airs that promises to cure some minor condition.

Provided, of course, that you aren’t worried about blurred vision, heart palpitations, anal leakage, male pattern baldness, uneven tire wear, sudden heart attack, uncontrolled bleeding or perhaps, death.

(Or that unmentionable (but evidently not) condition that, if it lasts more than four hours, requires emergency medical treatment.)

People are driving their doctors crazy asking them if some drug represented by old people wearing body suits while surrounded by long, flowing blue curtains, or standing alone on top of a mountain, or, even more baffling, wearing outfits that make them look like a suicide cult about to jump into an angry, rocky surf, is “right for them”.

Another, and much more relevant example is in American politics. The politicians provide the doublespeak and the electorate willingly learns newthink.

But in 2008, we call doublespeak ‘spin’ and the newthink emerges as a consequence of failing to wait until the spin cycle stops before attempting to interpret it all.

Hillary Clinton’s ‘spontaneous show of emotion’ the other day is widely credited with her victory in the New Hampshire primaries, for example.

It dominated the news. “Hillary Shows Emotion” was the headline of the day.

It made news because Hillary famously hides any emotion (except anger) — and has never welled up in public, or even discussed welling up in public, and there she was, in an ‘unguarded moment’ on the campaign trail, showing herself to be human.

What made less news was the fact that Hillary gave an interview to Access Hollywood defending her ‘spontaneous emotional moment’ the day before it happened!

See Brit Hume’s “Grapevine”

So, if she won New Hampshire based on a contrived emotional event, as is the widely-accepted conventional wisdom, why doesn’t anybody care?

Fox News called the pre-sob interview about the post-sob moment an ‘interesting coincidence.’ (I call it an Orwellian moment).

There was another Orwellian moment in Jerusalem yesterday when President Bush announced his intention to push a Mideast treaty between Israel and the Palestinians even as he admitted that the Palestinian side has not met a single one of its prior obligations under the ‘Road Map’!

While standing side-by-side with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Bush acknowledged that Hamas was dedicated to Israel’s destruction, that Hamas was in control of Gaza, and that Hamas was elected in a democratic election.

The next day, while standing beside Mahmoud Abbas, who has no control over Gaza, no control over Hamas, has made no effort to disarm Hamas, as Palestinian rockets still rain down on Israel Bush called on Israel to fulfill it’s obligations under the Road Map, suggesting that tactic might “encourage the Palestinians to do the same.”

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, quickly dismissed Bush and Abbas’ hopeful comments.

“This meeting was for public relations only, it was an empty meeting without results, only more dreams and waste of time,” the Hamas spokesman said.

“The meeting focused on the so-called security topics which mean to act against the interests of the Palestinian majority and the resistance.”

Bush also openly admitted that he doesn’t know whether Abbas’ government can resolve the Palestinian division before the end of the year.

But that minor detail was swept under the rug in his next breath, in which he promised the Palestinians a state by year’s end, anyway.

In Orwell’s world in 1984, truth was whatever Big Brother and the Thought Police said it was.

In the real world in 2008, truth seems to be whatever people prefer to hear, facts notwithstanding.

“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. (2nd Timothy 4:3-4)

“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)

Note: ‘Newspeak’ and ‘doublespeak’ now dominate the media in 2013.  The truth is very difficult to find in a sea of words that have no meaning.  A prime example was explained by Krauthhammer on April 23, 2013. In 2008 when this brief was originally published, the truth was out there for the finding, in 2013 we are forced to pick the lie closet to the truth.

Today’s Featured Commentary: Sinkholes and Landslides

The Sword of the Lord

The Sword of the Lord
Vol: 139 Issue: 24 Wednesday, April 24, 2013

There is a continuing controversy concerning the so-called ‘Jesus Rifles’ manufactured by Trijicon, a defense contractor located in Michigan.

Trijicon doesn’t actually manufacture rifles, it manufactures rifle sights. The company’s founder was a born-again Christian who was killed in a 2005 plane crash in South Africa.

Before his death, it had been his order that all of the rifle sights manufactured for the US military would have a Scripture verse appended to it’s serial number.

The company, which had been putting Scripture references on its products for two decades, continued the practice after his death in honor of his memory.

One of the citations on the gun sights, 2COR4:6, is a reference to 2nd Corinthians 4:6 which reads:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Other references include citations from the books of Revelation, Matthew and John dealing with Jesus as “the light of the world.”

John 8:12, referred to on the gun sights as JN8:12, reads,

“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Evidently fearing the power of those words, somebody pointed out the offending practice to the media and the watchdog groups were suddenly all over it.

Initially, the Pentagon had no problem with it.

“The perfect parallel that I see,” said Maj. John Redfield, spokesperson for CentCom, told ABC News, “is between the statement that’s on the back of our dollar bills, which is ‘In God We Trust,’ and we haven’t moved away from that.”

Said Redfield, “Unless the equipment that’s being used that has these inscriptions proved to be less than effective for soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and military folks using it, I wouldn’t see why we would stop using that.”

But Mikey Weinstein of the deceptively-named Military Religious Freedom Foundation together other groups dedicated to stamping out Christianity in the name of religious freedom, insisted that Bible verses on gunsights violated the Constitution.

Weinstein, an attorney and former Air Force officer, said many members of his group who currently serve in the military have complained about the markings on the sights.

He also claims they’ve told him that commanders have referred to weapons with the sights as “spiritually transformed firearm[s] of Jesus Christ.”

Once the story got out, it became an international scandal.  Canadian forces in Afghanistan using weapons equipped with the gunsights had already begun removing the inscriptions when the Pentagon suddenly reversed itself and insisted Trijicon do something.

Trijicon folded like a lawn chair and began manufacturing kits to remove the inscriptions from the gunsights and have already started shipping them.

Assessment:

There are two ways of looking at the argument.  The first is that allegedly expressed by the unnamed commanders in Mikey Weinstein’s story that weapons equipped with the sights are “spiritually transformed weapons of Jesus Christ.”

No Christian would believe that — Bible verses aren’t magic incantations and inanimate objects have no spirits to transform.

But it sounds believeable enough to non-Christians, which is why Weinstein most probably made the story up. True or not, the story captured the imagination of the media.

The NYTimes felt a duty to inform al-Qaeda that the markings meant they were being shot at by “Jesus rifles.”

The idea caught on and soon the Western media
http://www.omegaletter.com/admin/tinymce/themes/advanced/langs/en.js
was objecting that the inscriptions played into the hands of those who call the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq a ‘Crusade”.

Evidently, we can invade their countries.  We can occupy their cities. We can attack and kill the Islamic jihadists we find there.

But we don’t want to make them mad at us by reminding them of why they declared war on us to begin with. To impose their religion on the West.

The other way of looking at it is the one expressed by Major Redfield, that the inscriptions are no different than the inscription, “In God We Trust.”

Which makes perfect sense, which is why the military not only ordered the inscriptions scrubbed, but probably found Major Redfield a new assignment while he waits for his retirement papers to come through.

This isn’t about the benefit of putting Bible verses on rifle scopes.  Most of the men who used them probably didn’t notice.  After all, they’ve been inscribed on every gunsight manufactured in the past twenty years.

It wasn’t until the tyranical minority discovered they were there that they began demanding their rights to be free from any religious influences by denying others their right to freedom of religion.

The overwhelming majority of the US military are Christian and most of them are of the born-again, Blood-bought variety.

(As evidence, let me again remind you the inscriptions have been there for two decades without a word of complaint.  Until now.)

What is worth noting from this story is the horrified reaction of the public to the idea that we might offend the people we are shooting.

Does anyone recall why we are shooting at them in the first place? Because if we don’t shoot them, they will continue in their efforts to kill Americans and destroy Western culture.

About eighty-seven percent of Americans are Christians.  One hundred percent of our jihadist enemies are Muslim.  The jihadists want to wipe out Christianity and Judaism.

That is the only reason for the conflict.

About ten percent of Americans are atheist or agnostic, with all the other religions, including Islam, making up the remaining three percent of the non-Christian population.

When asked, former Army Major General William Nash told ABC News that he personally had “no problem” with organizations providing Bibles and other religious tracts to U.S. troops.

“But I do have a problem,” said Nash, “with military equipment being labeled in a way where it seems like it’s our God against their god,” he said.

Which is exactly the reason that this will continue to be a ‘generational war’.  Because we insist on sending our forces into battle against their god unarmed.

I don’t believe that Scripture verses on gunsights give rifles magical powers.  But they do remind us that what we are fighting for is the right to our own God.  That is what the enemy is fighting to take from us. The right to worship our God, rather than theirs.

It IS their god against ours, whether we want to frame it that way or not. And their side’s god will keep on winning — as long as our side remains ashamed of ours.

“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

This is as much a spiritual war as it is a flesh-and-blood war.  It would be a lot easier to win if our forces were permitted to carry the Sword of Lord with them.

Note:  This brief was originally published January 22, 2010.  Fox ran a story on April 22, 2013 to give the latest in the removal process.

Today’s Featured Commentary: Wonderland

CISPA (Gezundheit!)

CISPA (Gezundheit!)
Vol: 139 Issue: 23 Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Yesterday the House of Representatives agreed in a largely partisan vote (248-168) to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known by its acronym, CISPA.

The vote was originally scheduled for today and was widely expected (by the tech industry) to fail, but after a whack of last minute amendments, it was deemed ready to go early and put to a vote.

Obama hates it and has threatened a veto if it makes it through the Senate.

In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Executive Office of the President expressed concern over the lack of privacy safeguards in the CISPA bill and said it “strongly opposes” H.R. 3523 as written.

“H.R. 3523 effectively treats domestic cybersecurity as an intelligence activity and thus, significantly departs from longstanding efforts to treat the Internet and cyberspace as civilian spheres,” the statement read. If the bill was presented to the President, “his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

Critics of CISPA (and there are many on both sides of the aisle) charge that CISPA is just a repackaging of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which was primarily a Hollywood-backed effort to force ISPs to become copyright enforcement agents.

SOPA would have criminalized most online activity.  Everything from downloading a song to cutting and pasting an interesting article into a forum post to uploading a video of yourself singing karaoke would be a crime.

Critics said that an earlier version of CISPA was a stalking horse for the copyright industry — they worried that companies would dress up anti-piracy initiatives as security complaints.  New language makes this unlikely and emphasizes that the bill is about cyber-security.

The amendments include one that would narrow the definition of the information that can be collected and shared with the government.  Another prohibits the bill to be used for monitoring copyright and intellectual property violations.  A third would require an annual review of how shared information is used by the NSA and other agencies.

Government agencies and a number of major US companies have suffered hacking attacks in which intruders have stolen classified information, military and trade secrets, credit card data and so forth –much of which ended up on the web.

(I was notified that my own credit card turned up on the web after Anonymous hacked Stratfor and posted subscriber’s credit card information online.  Somebody had used it to make a $1 donation to the Red Cross to make sure the card was valid, which alerted the credit card company.)

CISPA was written to address these kinds of attacks, the bill’s supporters say, by sharing information between companies and the government.  (This is where I start to get a little paranoid.)

In theory, it will be easier for the government to warn companies about security threats.  In turn, the companies will have more ability to alert the government about suspicious activities or attacks.

In theory.  But it has been my experience that even the best theories fail to take into account the Law of Unintended Consequences. CISPA undertakes to update existing laws, like the National Security Act of 1947, the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act limits what private companies can do with your information.  In practice, what CISPA does is shield companies from getting sued for passing your information around.  That’s why companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix (all of whom are fighting privacy lawsuits now) all love CISPA.

Critics say that H.R. 3523 will allow websites to share users’ personal information with the federal government in the name of cyber security, with no judicial oversight.

It would authorize internet providers, social networking sites, and other websites that store personal information to monitor users’ personal emails for the vague purpose of “protecting the rights and property” of the provider.

Under CISPA, the government can even scoop your library card records to find out what kind of subversive literature you might be reading to determine if you are one of those “end of the world” nuts.

The American Library Association warns, “This bill would trump all current privacy laws including the forty-eight state library record confidentiality laws as well as the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the Privacy Act.”

CISPA would let Internet companies monitor and collect any user information they think poses a threat to their networks or systems. The bill would also let these companies share the collected information with the NSA and other federal agencies. Companies that share such information would enjoy a high degree of legal immunity for their actions.

Back around the time that former NSA Director Sandy Berger was stealing documents from the National Archives, there was a graphic circulating the net depicting the NSA logo and the slogan, “The NSA. We read your email, so you don’t have to.”

It was a joke then.  Now it isn’t so funny.

Assessment:

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”  (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)

The Bible reveals that the antichrist’s system of government rests on three separate pillars; his control of a combined system of government, economy and religion.

I often refer to these systems as “global” systems, but that isn’t entirely accurate.  The Bible just as clearly reveals that the world is, at that time, divided into four spheres of influence, much as it exists today.

The Bible links the antichrist with Europe and the West.  According to Daniel 9:26 the antichrist is a prince of the people that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70.  That was accomplished under Titus of Rome on behalf of the Roman (Western) Empire.

The Bible says that the antichrist assumes responsibility for Israel’s defense from the three other spheres of global power in existence during the Tribulation (and already in existence today.)

One is the Gog-Magog alliance between Russia, Iran and the various non-Arab Muslim countries of the East prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel.   The second is the two hundred million strong army of the  Kings of the East.  The third sphere of power is represented by the king of the South.

But the antichrist will control the fourth and most powerful government, located in the West.  And that is the government that Bible prophecy puts the greatest focus on, since it is representative of world-wide Christendom.

Under the antichrist, the economy is apparently entirely digital, since the Bible says that he will be able to restrict who can buy and who can sell from a central location.

Those that are not members of his system and do not display his “mark” will be declared “socially dead” and unable to engage in normal social intercourse.

What I want you to see this morning is how these systems are ALL coming together before our very eyes.  The details are fuzzy — the Bible’s script is filled with symbols and generalities — but the trends are clear and unmistakable.

First comes the restoration of Israel (1948).  Then the revival of the Roman Empire, (Benelux Treaty 1948), the creation of a global economic system (GATT Treaty 1948) and finally, a global religious system masquerading as Christianity (World Council of Churches 1948).

But their final forms are somewhat unclear, since Scripture was so written as to make sense to every generation.  Not to mention the difficulties involved for the writers of Scripture trying to describe 21st century images using 1st century vocabularies.

But the Bible does say that all these things will come together in a single generation, somewhere in time, and from that point forward, all would develop until the Big Picture would reveal itself.

CISPA isn’t the final form of anything.  But it is trending exactly as one would expect if the end result was to be a centrally controlled system capable of monitoring and identifying every single person and controlling their ability to buy or sell, based on their politics.

Because that is what the Lord told us to look for.  Not the final form.  That won’t come until after the Rapture.  The Lord said to look for the trends.

The Lord never told the Church to be on the look-out for the antichrist.  He never provided us with any clues to his identity. I quote this verse a lot, but read it again with new eyes. . .

“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)

What direction does CISPA take us?  Can you think of ANYTHING that is trending the other way?

Amazing, ain’t it?

Note: Shortly after the original publication of this brief on April 27, 2012 the Senate ultimately voted down CISPA. Last week, the bill again made it through the House of Representatives with slight modifications but those campaigning against it say the modifications do not go nearly far enough.  Hundreds of websites went black in protest at the controversial CISPA bill but the protest lacked the big names of previous actions and is said to have failed

Today’s Featured Commentary: A Tale of Two Sinners