The Third Way

The Third Way
Vol: 142 Issue: 31 Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Over the weekend, I watched a six-part BBC WWII documentary I had never seen before called, “The Nazis – A Warning From History.”  In the first place, I didn’t know there was a WWII documentary I’ve never seen before.

Secondarily, every one I’ve seen used essentially the same stock footage, which necessarily forces the filmmaker to focus on the events for which there is the most video footage.

We’ve all seen the same five seconds of D-Day footage where six guys are charging up from the shoreline when one of them goes down.  The next scene always shows a Canadian landing craft landing at Bernières-sur-Mer on Juno Beach.

The fact is that there is very little surviving video of the D-Day landings.  AP photographer Joe Rosenthal (who later shot the iconic picture of the Marines planting the flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima) put the film aboard an LST headed back to the armada to pick up more troops.

The LST was hit by a German shell and the photographic record of the landings at Normandy were sent to the bottom of the English Channel.   Similar accidents of war destroyed other photographic battle records.

So what is usually discussed in these documentaries are the events for which there is the most spectacular footage to show over it.

What made this particular documentary series unique was that it was made almost entirely using captured German footage.  Uniquely, instead of beginning with the invasion of Poland in 1939, this documentary begins with the surrender of Germany in 1918.

On November 11, 1918 (and to the great surprise of the German front-line troops) the war abruptly ended in an armistice.  The Germans on the front lines weren’t losing ground – some German forces were forced to surrender from positions behind enemy lines.

They wondered why the war had ended so quickly and why they had to vacate their hard-won positions in such a hurry.  They didn’t feel defeated.

The myth grew among the average German soldiers that they had been ‘stabbed in the back’ by the Marxists and Leftist Jews that had protested the war back home.

They took their bitterness back to the newly democratized Germany with them.  The Kaiser was deposed and his government replaced by a parliamentary constitutional republic officially called Deutsches Reich, better known to history as the Weimar Republic.

Thanks to Germany’s defeat and the crippling reparations demanded by the Versailles Treaty, the country polarized along the lines of left and right.  On the Left were the Communists and on the Right were the disaffected veterans.

The Weimar government, unable to meet the war reparations payments, began printing money to deal with the crisis, using the freshly printed marks to repay war loans and reparations.  In 1914 the papiermark was trading at 4.2 to the dollar.

By August, 1923 one dollar was equal to one million papiermarks.

Suppose you had saved up for retirement all your life and you were five years away from retirement.  You have a nice little retirement nest egg – you lived frugally and made some smart investments.   Let’s say you’ve accumulated a million dollars and you’re fifty-five.

If you were a German living 100 years ago in 1910, by the time you retired in 1920, your million-dollar retirement money is worthless.   By November 1923, the papiermark is replaced by the rentenmark.

The value of the rentenmark was pegged at 4.2 to the dollar, just like the million papiermarks were when you were saving them for retirement.   Now you are sixty-eight and need to exchange your million papiermarks in for rentenmarks so you can retire.

One million papiermarks will buy one billionth of ONE rentenmark which, by 1923, was trading at one trillion to one.  Remember, one rentenmark is worth about 23 cents.

Politics was totally polarized – on one side were the radicals, led by the Marxists and Communists, on the other were the conservatives led by the disaffected veterans who supported President Von Hindenburg.

Into the middle of this arose a young unknown, a charismatic politician who promised “hope and change” and promised to fundamentally transform the government.  Neither liberal nor conservative, he introduced a Third Way, national socialism.

In 1923, he published his political manifesto, Mein Kampf (“My Struggle”) that, in retrospect, causes historians to wonder why nobody saw what was coming.

Assessment:

The BBC documentary was published in 1997 using video interview clips from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s from surviving Nazis then well into their eighties.

So the context offered by this documentary is unique in that it offers the actual perspective of the time, rather than an historian’s opinion on the historical perspective.

At the time the documentary was released, Bill Clinton was president. The budget deficit was balanced and the US had actually begun paying down the national debt.  The Cold War was over. We won.

Nobody suspected in 1997 what the next decade would bring.   Anymore than anybody could foresee from 1910 what conditions would be just thirteen years later.

What struck me about the documentary was how closely it tracked with our past thirteen years.  It was spooky.   Nobody could have known when they were translating Hitler’s early speeches that the words “hope” and “change” and “fundamental transformation” would soon become part of the American political lexicon.

I was particularly stunned by a 1928 political speeches in which Hitler apologized to his supporters because change wasn’t coming as fast as he had promised, exhorted them not to give up hope and repeated his promise that the fundamental transformation of the German nation was just around the corner.

It was creepy. Here is one example from a Hitler speech:

“Our opponents accuse National Socialism and me in particular of being intolerant and quarrelsome. They say we don’t want to work with other parties. They say the National Socialists are not Germans at all because they refuse to work with other parties.  .  . I have to admit one thing – these gentlemen are quite right – we are intolerant.  I have given myself one goal, to sweep these parties from Germany.”   

Replace “National Socialist” with “Democrat”, “German” with “American,” and Hitler’s political antagonists with the Tea Party, and one has all the elements of an Obama stump speech.

The documentary also focused its attention on other less-commonly examined themes, such as the kinds of men Hitler surrounded himself with and those whom he appointed to various jobs.

As I watched, I kept thinking of Obama’s stable of unelected political ‘czars’ that he’s used to circumvent the Constitution’s ‘advice and consent’ requirements.

There is some kind of rule about comparing anybody to the Nazis – something to the effect that making such a comparison dilutes the singularly evil character of the Nazi era.

Ordinarily, I would agree.  There is no historical comparison between Hitler and the Nazis and anybody else — yet.    But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be – but if nobody dares to compare, then nobody will see the next one coming until he is here.

That is the titular purpose for the documentary — it is “a warning from history.”  To hear a warning, you have to listen and then watch for the signs.

“Hope and change” isn’t a new political slogan.  And the “fundamental transformation” of a nation is not a new political goal.  It’s all been done before.

And according to the Bible, it will all be done again.

I don’t know if Obama is just another fascist dictator wannabe or if he is the real deal, and neither does anybody else, yet.   Until Hitler became Hitler, even Hitler wasn’t “Hitler”  — yet.  He was just another politician with an agenda..

By 1937 all the signs were in place that were necessary to foresee the coming cataclysm, but had Hitler been hit by lightning, run over by a truck or otherwise swept from office prior to 1937, Hitler would probably have gone down in history as one of Germany’s greatest leaders.

What we do know is that the Bible predicts that during the last days, a mysterious and charismatic leader will suddenly arise from obscurity,  will seize the reins of power by popular acclamation, and will unleash one of the most vicious periods of war, poverty, famine and persecution the world has ever seen.

The other thing we do know is that nobody listens to warnings from history.

Note:  This Letter was originally published August 16, 2010.  Today’s key word search that brought us to this Letter was “creepy”. The parallels of history to today’s political landscape are easily summed up with that one word.  For further understanding of the Prophecy and Signs of the last days, Pete Garcia does a thorough investigation of the scriptures and the current trends that are leading us forward to the day the Lord will take us out of this “creepy” time, in his article, “A Kingdom Without End, Amen.”

Lukewarm Christianity

Lukewarm Christianity
Vol: 142 Issue: 30 Tuesday, July 30, 2013

According to a survey carried out by the British theological think-tank, “Theos” one person in three between the ages of 18 and 24 did NOT know where Jesus Christ was born.

One in ten respondents to the survey thought that Jesus was born in Nazareth.

One in four didn’t know that an angel told Mary she would give birth to the Son of God. (Those respondents thought she had been informed by the shepherds)

In all, “Theos” asked a total of four questions of a representative group of 1015 people across Britain in a telephone survey.

Here are the questions, as asked of respondents in the survey:

  1. According to the story in the Christian Bible, where was Jesus born? (One in four didn’t know)
  2. Who told Mary she would give birth to a Son? (One in three didn’t know)
  3. Who was Jesus cousin? (Half did not know)
  4. Where did Joseph, Mary and Jesus go to escape from King Herod when Jesus was a young child? (77% didn’t know)

For the record . . . Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Mary was informed by an angel, John the Baptist was first cousin to Jesus and the family fled into Egypt to escape Herod.

Only SEVEN PERCENT of Britons between the ages of 18-24 aced the questionnaire. The most knowledgeable demographic was the group aged between 55-64.

And among the most knowledgeable Britons, a mere EIGHTEEN PERCENT — less than one in five — answered all four questions correctly.

Or, put another way, EIGHTY-TWO percent of British adults between the ages of 55 and 64 COULDN’T answer all four questions correctly.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Paul Wooley, director of Theos, was unsurprised.

“No-one seriously thinks that being a Christian or a member of the established Church is the same thing as being British today. But, at the same time, if we are serious about social cohesion we can’t afford to ignore the stories that have bound us together as a culture for a thousand years.”

Assessment:

It is difficult to reconcile the survey results with the nation that gave the English-speaking world the King James Bible.

America was founded by British Christians in pursuit of religious freedom.

Until the dawn of the 20th century, Britain led the world in bringing Christ to the nations.

Indeed, until early days of the 20th century, the word ‘missionary’ without the word ‘British’ preceding it was only half a word.

The London Missionary Society was an extensive Anglican and Nonconformist missionary society formed in England in 1795 with missions in the islands of the South Pacific and Africa.

The Anglican Missionary Society spread throughout the 18th and 19th century, establishing the world-wide Anglican communion, once second only to the Catholic Church in its universality.

English Christian culture reached its peak during the Victorian Era, during which time, blasphemy against God, Christ, Christianity or the Bible was a punishable crime.

(It is worth noting that, at the same time, the British Empire reached its zenith, giving rise to the saying, “the sun never sets on the British flag.”)

A century later, the sitting Archbishop of Canterbury made headlines when he questioned the Divinity of Christ and the veracity of the Resurrection story.

(And today, the sun sets on the British flag every day at the same time it sets over London. Make of that what you will, but facts are facts.)

Many Bible scholars over the centuries have noted a correlation between the descriptions contained in the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches and seven identifiable periods (or epochs) within the Church.

  1. Ephesus corresponded to the Apostolic Church of the 1st century (33-100).
  2. The Church at Smyrna was the Persecuted Church under the Caesars (100-312)
  3. The Church at Pergamos corresponds with the early Roman Church founded by Constantine (312-590)
  4. The Church at Thyatira (The “Dark Ages”) corresponded with the period when the Vatican kept the Bible under lock and key and persecuted non-Catholic Christians as ‘heretics’ (590-1517)
  5. The Church at Sardis corresponds to the Reformation Era (1517-1750)
  6. The Church at Philadelphia (the ‘missionary Church) corresponds to the Great Revival period during which the Gospel was introduced around the world (1750-1925)
  7. The Church of Laodicea (the apostate Church) corresponds to the rise of the Christian ‘ecumenical movement’ the first ‘Ecumenical Council’ the Federal Council of Churches, the World Council of Churches, etc. (1925-the Rapture)

The spirit of the Church at Philadelphia is embodied by the historical phrase, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” reportedly utter by Charles Stanley, when, at long last, he ended his search for missing British missionary David Livingstone.

(It is indicative of the British Christian missionary zeal of the 19th century that Dr. Livingstone had no desire to be ‘rescued’, and subsequently died in Africa.)

A hundred or so years later, one in four of his countrymen can’t name the birthplace of Christ.

Of the final epoch of the Church Age, Jesus says,

“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16)

But take heart, Christian! Although Christ had zero words of commendation for the overall Church of the Last Days, He did not abandon us.

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” (Revelation 3:19-20)

There can be little doubt that we are deep into the Laodicean era. How deep is a matter of conjecture, but the Times of the Signs suggest we are in its waning hours.

“For 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: Ecumenicalism hit a high point yesterday with the Pope’s comment, “If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge them?” This sparked articles like this, “How Christianity Became Cool Again“. Christianity has never been “cool” but it is getting pretty lukewarm. Partly due to the uneducated masses.  Wendy Wippel does a fine job of educating Omega Letter readers today on the universe, in her article Subatomic Spandex.

Citizens of the World?

Citizens of the World?
Vol: 142 Issue: 29 Monday, July 29, 2013

According to the Bible, there must exist in the last days a three-tiered world system consisting of a global economy, global religion and global government.

Before going further, let’s establish some defintions. To be a ‘world’ system does not mean that everybody in the world is a member. Not every nation participated in the First and Second World Wars, either.

But as in the two world wars, a ‘world’ system is one that is acknowledged as such due to its world influence. A ‘global’ system is not necessarily one in which everybody participates. It is a system that has global reach.

Not everybody is part of the global government of antichrist. The antichrist’s government is but one of four major spheres of world power in the last days; together with the Kings of the East, Kings of the South and Gog-Magog powers.

The antichrist’s system rules what we traditionally consider “the West”. Defining “the West” is a rather interesting exercise, in terms of Bible prophecy. The generic West generally refers to the nations of Western Europe, their North American colonies, [reluctantly] Israel and [improbably] Australia/New Zealand and Japan.

In 21st century real-politik, “the West” doesn’t so much refer to direction as it does ideology. Japan, Australia and New Zealand are the Western nations of the Far East, making “The West” a global entity.

So when we are speaking in terms of ‘global’ and ‘world’ we are generally referring to those parts of the world that we refer to today as “The West” under the direct rule of the antichrist. That is not to argue that the antichrist won’t rule the entire world indirectly — in much the same way the US indirectly rules the entire world today.

Another way to understand it is by the process of elimination. The antichrist’s government directly rules the entire world, except the Kings of the South, the Kings of the East and the Gog-Magog nations — all of whom he eventually destroys or conquers.

But the revived Roman Empire is merely the seat of the antichrist’s rule. It is also important to understand where Scripture identifies the antichrist as a leader of the Roman Empire.

“And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.” (Daniel 9:26)

The ‘people of the prince that shall come’ were the Romans who destroyed the city and sanctuary in AD 70 — about six hundred years after Daniel’s prophecy. There are other verses that, taken in conjunction with Daniel 9:26, tend to lend themselves to the identification of a revived Roman Empire.

Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of an image as representing four successive world empires; Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. Rome is pictured as two legs of iron with two feet and ten toes of ‘iron mixed with clay’ — ‘partly strong and partly weak’ the Scripture says.

Daniel says that in the days of these kings “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed . . .” (Daniel 2:44)

The Western European Union consists of ten FULL members. The same ten are the only FULL members of the European Union.

But by and large, that’s about all the Scripture there is to argue that the antichrist’s government headquartered in Europe.

From our vantage point on the timeline, we can look backward to the fulfillment of prophecies that were still future to the great Bible expositors of the past. When Sir Robert Anderson wrote “The Coming Prince” — (considered the Gold Standard work on the antichrist and the last days, Israel did not yet exist).

Sir Robert was the first to use the 360-day calendar to calculate the meaning of Daniel’s 70 Weeks — while Jack the Ripper was still terrorizing London!

Assessment:

The American president recently traveled to Cairo to announce that “one nation (America) should not be exalted over another” and promised the world that he would take land from one people (Israel) and give it to another people, (Palestinians) and apologized for America in every other sentence.

The Left was ecstatic.

Newsweek editor Evan Thomas brought adulation over President Obama’s Cairo speech to a whole new level on Friday, declaring on MSNBC:

“I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above the world, he’s sort of God.”

Thomas, appearing on Hardball with Chris Matthews, was reacting to a preceding monologue in which Matthews praised Obama’s speech:

“I think the President’s speech yesterday was the reason we Americans elected him. It was grand. It was positive. Hopeful…But what I liked about the President’s speech in Cairo was that it showed a complete humility… The question now is whether the President we elected and spoke for us so grandly yesterday can carry out the great vision he gave us and to the world.”

Matthews discussed Obama’s upcoming speech marking the 65th anniversary of D-Day and compared it to that of Ronald Reagan. He then turned to Thomas and asked: “Reagan and World War II and the sense of us as the good guys in the world, how are we doing?”

Thomas replied: “Well, we were the good guys in 1984, it felt that way. It hasn’t felt that way in recent years. So Obama’s had, really, a different task. We’re seen too often as the bad guys. And “he has a very different job from” Reagan was all about America, and you talked about it. Obama is “we are above that now.” We’re not just parochial, we’re not just chauvinistic, we’re not just provincial.”

Thomas elaborated on Obama as God: “He’s going to bring all different sides together…Obama is trying to sort of tamper everything down. He doesn’t even use the word terror. He uses extremism. He’s all about let us reason together… He’s the teacher. He is going to say,”now, children, stop fighting and quarreling with each other.” And he has a kind of a moral authority that he can do that.”

For the record, I’ve not changed my view that the coming antichrist will be a ruler [a prince] of the European Union. But at the same time, the Scriptures are not adamant that he be European — merely that he be considered a ‘prince’ of that people.

I still think that the traditional view is probably correct, but we are living in exceptional times. What used to be prophecy is now history, and as the saying goes, “hindsight is always 20-20.”

The Scriptures are unbreakable, eternal, immutable, but one cannot say the same thing about the interpretation of Scriptural prophecy. Prophecy is subjective; that is to say, it can be read literally, figuratively or symbolically.

I believe that the Scriptures are intended to be taken literally unless the context or the topic are clearly symbolic or allegorical.

Parables are intended to allegorical. The Seven Churches of Revelation are symbolic of the Seven Epochs of the Church Age. The “people of the prince who is to come” is a literal statement.

The prince who is to come will be of the people that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD. The city and Temple were destroyed by Titus of Rome, with Julius Alexander as his second-in-command.

That prince will confirm a covenant between Israel and the Palestinians. The confirmation of the covenant is the event that signals the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week, or the final Week of The Age of the Law.

We learn more about the coming prince of the Roman Empire from John the Revelator and the Apostle Paul. He will be a master deceiver whose charisma and charm will win him the adoration of the entire Western world.

He will partner up with the leader of a global religious system and eventually, he will demand worship as a god. Those who refuse to join his combined religious/economic/political system will face decapitation.

As we get closer to the end of this present age, some of the old understandings are being challenged by events on the ground. Previous generations were only interpreting prophecy. We’re living it.

There’s a difference.

Note:  This Letter was originally published June 9, 2009 when Obama was only one year into his presidency.  The Holy Spirit is still in this world guiding and restraining the evil that is still to come.  The rose colored sunglasses are coming off and this president’s popularity both at home and abroad is waning.  There is still time to share the Good News.  Maranatha!

Beginnings of Sorrows

Beginnings of Sorrows
Vol: 142 Issue: 27 Saturday, July 27, 2013

I’ve always been a keen student of history, as far back as I can remember. Even before I understood the logic of the question, ”how can you know where you are going if you don’t know where you have been?”, the history of man has fascinated me.

I would learn some new historical fact that would explain the reason for some contemporary situation and, bingo! The lights would come on and it would all make sense.

I was always fascinated with the way all the tiny details had to fit together exactly, and what a difference a single change could make to the Big Picture as it exists today.

What if Gavrilo Princip had not shot Franz and Sophie Ferdinand to death on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo?

(Who? I’m glad you asked.)

Gavrilo Princip was a member of a Serbian nationalist terrorist squad. Franz Ferdinand was the Archduke of Austria, Prince Imperial of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia and heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne.

His assassination precipitated the Austria declaration of war that triggered the First World War.

What if Princip was captured or killed before he could do the deed that ultimately killed more than thirty-eight million people? That single event forever changed the course of history, brought down empires, and freed the Holy Land from centuries of Islamic rule.

So, what if Gavrilo Princip missed? What if his weapon misfired? Jerusalem would have remained a minor city in minor province of the Islamic Ottoman Empire. The modern map of the Middle East would not exist. Germany would have no need of a Jew-hating rabble rouser demanding vengeance for its defeat in a war that didn’t take place.

A single act by a single person on a single day that essentially created modern history. Who could have predicted such a thing? Yet had this one thing not happened, the world as we know it would not exist.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples to outline the signs of His Second Coming in the last days. In His reply, He said,

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6)

Jesus outlined the signs that would signal His return chronologically.

“For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (v.7-8)

As we go on, it is important to keep our historical perspective. Jesus was speaking from the perspective of His audience, the Jews of Israel.

The history of the 20th century is one of constant war, both hot wars and the Cold War (the ULTIMATE ‘rumor” of war), but it was those wars that gave us our present world situation. It was the First World War that liberated the Holy Land from Islamic control.

“Then shall they deliver you [the Jews] up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for My name’s sake. [Christ-killers].” (24:9)

It was the Holocaust of WWII that ultimately resulted in the restoration of Israel in 1948. And it was Israel’s declaration of statehood that has driven the course of modern history since.

“And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” (v.10)

The Arab-Israeli conflict shaped the lines of the Cold War, dominated the United Nations agenda for a half-century, provided the backdrop for the Persian Gulf War, and sparked the current Islamic terror war against the West.

The outline that Jesus gave on the Mount of Olives 2000 years ago is a perfect fit for the outline of world history as this current generation has experienced it.

We grew up amidst the wars and rumors of wars, watched world events literally shape our history before our eyes, from Yasser Arafat’s invention of aircraft hijacking as a terrorist weapon of the Middle East in 1968 to the attacks on the US homeland in 2001.

Now, to return to the question: What if Gavrilo Princip had not shot Franz and Sophie Ferdinand to death on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo?

Assessment:

For 1900 years, the prophecies of the signs of the Second Coming just sat there, unfulfilled and largely ignored by students of Scripture. Although the great Reformers like Calvin and Luther wrote commentaries on the entire Bible, neither attempted to expound on either Daniel or Revelation.

Neither made any sense at the time and were written off as “symbolic” or “allegorical”.

When the Prophet Daniel, who didn’t understand the visions himself, asked the revealing angel what they meant, he was told,

“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)

The Olivet Discourse was similarly written off as ‘allegory’ by centuries of Bible scholarship, until after Gavrilo Princip shot Franz Ferdinand.

Then the pieces began to fall into place, one by one, detail by detail, from the ‘beginning of sorrows’ through the Holocaust, to the restoration of Israel, to the 9/11 attacks, right up to the impending Persian/Islamic war just over the horizon.

For Jesus Christ to get it right, Gavrilo Princip had to shoot Ferdinand. The first World War precipitated the rise of a discontented Prussian corporal to Fuehrer of the Third Reich and architect of the Holocaust. The Holocaust precipitated the sudden influx of Jews to Jerusalem and its environs.

All these were the beginnings of sorrows. But they HAD to happen EXACTLY in order for the Words of Jesus, spoken some 1900 years before, to find their fulfillment in this generation.

Bible prophecy is the Signature of its Author. Only God can predict the future.

Logic dictates that in every generation of history from AD 33 to this present day, there has been a Gavrilo Princip, some unknown actor whose actions shaped the events of the next generation.

And EVERY SINGLE ONE of them had to do EXACTLY as they did for Jesus to get it right on the Mount of Olives 2000 years ago.

Had Gavrilo Princip not killed Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo in June, 1914, there would be no Israel to be threatened by its Islamic neighbor states in 2007.

Having outlined events as they would happen, 1900 years in advance, Jesus paused to remind His audience, “Behold, I have told you before.” (Matthew 24:25)

Bible prophecy is undeniable evidence that the God we worship is no ‘cunningly devised fable’ to this generation, anymore than it was to Peter when he wrote:

“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.” (2nd Peter 1:16)

We have that same assurance, because, (now think about this!) Bible prophecy provides us with that same EYEWITNESS to His majesty! Nobody else but God could know in advance about all the Gavrilo Princips scattered throughout history.

We are eyewitnesses to history, and that history confirms His Word to the tiniest detail.

The same God Who outlined history in advance also assured us:

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

He IS coming soon! And He’s provided us with all the evidence necessary to prove it.

We need to get the word out.

Original Publication: March 26, 2007

The Only True Religion

The Only True Religion
Vol: 142 Issue: 26 Friday, July 26, 2013

I was chatting the other day with a friend about the news and such when he unexpectedly turned the conversation to the subject of religion and specifically the notion that Christianity is the only ‘true’ religion.

“How do YOU know that Christianity is the only genuine religion? People from other religions think theirs is the only true religion. Even some Christian denominations claim theirs is the only way to heaven. Didn’t Jesus die for everybody?”

“Don’t get me wrong,” he continued, “I believe in Jesus and the whole Bible. I just think the idea that Christianity is the only true religion sounds pretty narrow-minded. How can you be so sure?”

At the risk of sounding like, well, you-know-who, much depends on how you define the word ‘religion.’ The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘religion’ as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power,” or “a particular system of faith and worship.”

Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. Attending a particular church doesn’t make one a Christian. And not going to any church at all doesn’t mean one isn’t a Christian. It is not a ‘system’ of worship, it is a personal friendship with Jesus.

“Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:14-15)

But applying ‘religion’ to Christianity in its loosest sense, the question remains: “How can anybody be completely sure that Christianity is the ONLY true religion?”

Assessment:

The simplest answer is the most obvious. While there can be many religions, there can be only one God. And while there can be many purported revelations from God, only one of them can be true. Things that are different are NOT the same.

Jesus Christ said that He was the ONLY way to the Father. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:16)

Jesus also said that He alone revealed the Father.

“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27)

Christians don’t believe Christianity is the only true religion out of narrow mindedness or bigotry. They believe it because they take Jesus at His Word.

There is more or less universal agreement among the various religions that Jesus was a good man and a wise teacher. Jesus SAID that HE was the only way. Either he was telling the truth, or he was a liar and a lunatic.

Truth is not a feeling. Truth is not an idea. Truth can stand on its own merits, without requiring interpretation or semantic gymnastics.

Jesus offers a relationship with God, by trusting in Him and what He accomplished by His death and resurrection, instead of trusting in one’s own efforts.

Sincerity and good works cannot bridge the gap of sin between God and man. The truth of that statement is self-evident.

Men sin. Sinners cannot undo their previous sin, no matter how many good works they perform. Neither can they be certain they won’t sin again, no matter how sincerely they try.

If sincerity and good works were sufficient, then there would be no point in God giving us a Bible to correct our sincerely-held wrong ideas about Him. And He wouldn’t have sent His Son to accomplish what our good works could not.

It is utterly illogical to assume that there can be more than one acceptable way to please God. Logic demands that there can be only one true religion.

It isn’t narrow-mindedness. It isn’t religious bigotry. Jesus is the only way to the Father because He said so.

And if He doesn’t know, who does?

Note: Jack explains the simple difference between relationship and religion in today’s Letter published November 30, 2006.  Alf Cengia shares the latest news in the Middle East, entitled, ”On Trusting your Avowed Enemy”.

Eternity Is a Long, Long, Time

Eternity Is a Long, Long, Time
Vol: 142 Issue: 25 Thursday, July 25, 2013

Eternity is one of those things that must be, but still, it sits just outside our capacity to imagine it.

Eternity is a long time, but ‘eternity’ is ‘a long time’ the way a billion dollars is ‘a lot of money’. It takes a carefully constructed word picture to bring it into focus.

I heard ‘eternity’ described this way, once, and it helped. Suppose a seagull were to take a grain of sand from the East Coast and drop it off on the West Coast. Every ten thousand years, our seagull would transport another grain of sand from the East Coast to the West Coast.

When every grain of sand on every beach on the entire East Coast has been transferred to the West Coast (one grain at a time, every thousand years), that would constitute the first ten seconds of eternity!

Mankind is created in God’s Image, according to Genesis 1:26, and after God’s likeness. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that we look like God, or that God looks like us.

Jesus revealed,

“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24)

God’s ‘image’ and His ‘likeness’ refer to His eternal nature, not His cosmetic appearance.

Monkeys look as much like men as any of the other lower order of animals. They look enough like men to argue that, if man is in God’s image, then so are some species of monkeys.

Connecting the dots, then, Jesus tells us that God is a Spirit, and Genesis tells us that we were created in God’s Image and in His Likeness.

Scripture teaches that man was created with an eternal spiritual component.

A Spirit, in His Image, that is eternal in nature, in His Likeness.

That which is eternal is that which, by definition, cannot die, and cannot be killed. But it can be destroyed.

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)

Note the subtle shift in Our Lord’s Words when He moves from the temporal to the eternal. The body can die, the soul cannot be killed, but both can be ‘destroyed’ in hell.

There are those who teach that this means that hell isn’t a place of eternal torment, but rather a place where the condemned soul is annihilated.

The Bible speaks as much of hell as it does of Heaven; indeed, in His ministry, the Lord spoke MORE of hell than he did of heaven. Scripture divides ‘hell’ — as we understand it — into two phases.

There is hell, and then, later on, the Lake of Fire.

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.” (Revelation 20:14)

It is the ‘Lake of Fire’ that some teach is the place of annihilation. The Scriptures teach otherwise.

We are created with an eternal element, as we’ve already established. That which is eternal cannot be killed, but it can be ‘destroyed’. But ‘destruction’ means eternal separation from God, not annihilation.

Jesus explained in the story of Lazarus and the rich man;

“There WAS a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. . . .”

Both of them died, the Lord explains, and each went to his place, Lazarus to Paradise, and the rich man to hell.

“And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.” (Luke 16:19-20-23)

At the time of the story, Jesus had not yet redeemed humanity, and the righteous dead went to Paradise, which, the Lord taught, was separated from hell by a great gulf or chasm;

“And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” (Luke 16:26)

At His Death, Jesus ‘descended into hell’ [which also included at that time, Paradise] in order to liberate the righteous dead and take them to heaven;

“Wherefore He saith, When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)” (Ephesians 4:8-10)

Once the righteous dead were taken to heaven, hell was expanded to make room. Those in hell will be ‘cast into the Lake of Fire’ at the second death, the Scriptures say.

There are those who will point out that the word ‘hell’ (sheol) has two meanings; it means both ‘the grave’ and the place where departed spirits go. So they argue that hell is not really a literal Bible teaching.

“In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.” (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9)

Note the phrase ‘everlasting destruction’ and reconcile that, if you can, with the idea of ‘annihilation’. It takes some real imaginative interpretation to get there from here.

‘Everlasting destruction’ isn’t the same as ‘annihilation’ — which is instantaneous and permanent. And things that are different are NOT the same.

Hell is a place of punishment that the Lord described THREE times, using exactly the same words;

“Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark 9:44,46,48)

When the Lord chooses to repeat Himself, it is because He wants to make sure we get it right.

Jesus said the rich man was ‘in torments’, desiring that Lazarus “dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue, for I am tormented in this flame.” (Luke 16:23)

So, from our Lord’s Lips to our ears, we know it is a place of torment, involving ‘flames’ where ‘their worm dieth not’. Jude 13 reveals it is a place of eternal darkness.

While those in heaven will meet and recognize their loved ones, those in hell will spend eternity like the unidentified rich man, nameless, alone and in utter darkness.

The story of the rich man reveals hell to be a place of consciousness, a place of eternal remorse, a place without hope, a place of wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a place of eternal flame.

Jesus says of the hellbound sinner that it would be “better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” (Mark 9:42)

Jesus said of Judas that “woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” (Matthew 26:24)

Hell is worse than violent death and worse than having ever been born at all. Jesus’ words make no sense if Judas were facing ‘annihilation’ in hell. How could NOT existing (annihilation) be worse than never existing?

On the other hand, eternal torment would be MUCH worse than never having existed at all. The difference is obvious without having to conduct any special Scriptural gymnastics to prove it.

And if the plain sense of Scripture makes perfect sense on its face, why seek a different sense?

Hell is given over to the Lake of Fire at the second death at the conclusion of the thousand year Millennial Kingdom Age. The beast and the false prophet are cast alive into the Lake of Fire, where, Revelation 20:10 says that “they shall be “tormented day and night for ever and ever’ — not annihilated.

Eternal life and eternal death are two sides of the same coin in that they are BOTH eternal, since we are created in God’s Image, which is eternal Spirit.

It is often argued that, ‘a loving God wouldn’t send people to hell’ — and that argument sounds logical because it is true. A loving God wouldn’t send people to hell — and He doesn’t.

A loving God would provide an escape from eternal condemnation, which is different than expecting Him to change the nature of the punishment.

Hell was created as a prison and place of punishment for the rebellious angels. When man joined in the rebellion, he condemned himself to share their prison.

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

Heaven doesn’t require cream cheese to make it heaven, and there are no red union suits in hell. Both are real and both are eternal because we are eternal and, as eternal beings, we have to continue our existence somewhere.

God prepared a place for those who love Him and who want to spend eternity with Him. And He created a place for those who reject Him and rebel against His rule.

And He gave us a free choice to decide which we would prefer.

We are the watchmen on the wall. For those of us that know the truth, that is an awesome thing to contemplate. It rekindles a sense of urgency for the lost.

“But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” (Ezekiel 33:6)

The Omega Letter’s mission is to prepare the saved for the work of the ministry by comparing the Scriptures to the signs of the times and providing evidence of the lateness of the hour and the soon coming of the Lord.

Our secondary mission is to examine the deeper truths of Scripture so that we are better prepared to answer the skeptic’s questions and make clear the choices that are set before him.

It is incumbent upon us to be prepared, “and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)

May God continue to sustain and provide for us as we continue in our mission.

Until He comes.

Note:  Today’s Letter you may notice contains many of Jack’s favorite analogies and illustrations. ‘Repetition is the key to learning’ was also one of Jack’s favorite sayings. Hell is a literal place and so many people today seem happy to go there.  These republished briefs are STILL intended for the use of your personal ministry according to 1 Peter 3:15.  For some perspective on today’s news, check out J.L. Robb’s Featured Commentary. Maranatha!

A State of Terror

A State of Terror
Vol: 142 Issue: 24 Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A reader took exception to my characterization of a Palestinian state as a ‘terrorist state’ and emailed me to tell me so.

The Palestinians, he explained, were only using terror because they have no other weapon with which to fight against Israeli ‘occupation’ of Palestinian lands.

The Israelis bring the terror upon themselves, argued my correspondent. Palestinian terror is the result of resistance to Israeli occupation. Remove the occupation and the resistance will end. Etc., etc., ad nauseam.

The argument sounds plausible enough. It seems to be the logic behind the shift of US support to a return to the 1949 armistice lines as a final solution to the conflict under the terms of the US-inspired Road Map to Peace effort.

End what the Arabs define as ‘the occupation’ ie; a return to the 1949 Armistice lines, and there will nothing for the resistance to resist. Peace at last! Simple.

In reality the argument breezes right by ‘simple’ — not stopping until it gets to ‘stupid’. The argument is ‘stupid’ — but it is built on what would more rightly be termed willful ignorance.

In the years between 1949 and 1967, Israel stayed within the 1949 Armistice lines now being championed as the solution to terrorism against Israel. There was no ‘occupation’ to resist.

The 1949 Armistice lines gave what is today called ‘occupied Palestinian territory’ in what the Jews call Judea and Samaria to Jordan. Jerusalem was divided into Jordanian East Jerusalem and Israeli West Jerusalem.

The Gaza Strip was, according to the agreed-on 1949 Armistice lines, given to Egypt. Jordanians settled in their territory and Egypt sent settlers into theirs to establish possession. There was no territory under dispute that was ‘occupied’ in any meaningful sense.

The world had accepted the 1949 lines and the existence of the State of Israel as a legally established member state of the United Nations, whether the Arabs accepted it philosophically or not.

Remember, the issue under discussion is the removal of the ‘occupation’ as a solution to Arab ‘resistance’.

In the years 1951-1955, while Israel was inside the 1949 Armistice lines and there was neither an ‘occupation’ nor a ‘resistance’ 503 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks emanating from the Jordanian West Bank.

Another 358 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks emanating from Egypt’s Gaza Strip.

Terrorist attacks launched from Lebanon and Syria killed another 61 Israelis. Then, as now, the majority of the attacks were launched against population centers and the majority of the targets were innocent Israeli civilians.

For example, on June 11, 1953 terrorists attacked a young couple in their home in Kfar Hess, and shot them to death. The victims weren’t collateral damage of a ‘legitimate act of resistance’ to some ‘illegal occupation’ — they were a young couple planning a life together in their own country who were deliberately targeted and murdered.

On March 17, 1954, terrorists ambushed a bus traveling from Eilat to Tel Aviv, and opened fire at short range when the bus reached the area of Maale Akrabim in the northern Negev. In the initial ambush, the terrorists killed the driver and wounded most of the passengers.

The terrorists then boarded the bus, and shot each passenger, one by one. Eleven passengers died in the attack. Survivors said the terrorists spat on the bodies of their victims. The attack was launched from Jordan’s West Bank.

In 1957, a kibbutz farmer was killed and two others wounded by a Jordanian landmine; another was killed from ambush as he worked in the fields.

In 1958, two fishermen were shot and killed as they fished; a motorist was ambushed near Sharon. . . this wasn’t resistance to an ‘occupation’.

It was a ‘resistance’ to the existence of the State of Israel.

In 1965, TWO YEARS BEFORE the Six Days’ War that created the so-called ‘occupation’ that is the alleged justification for Palestinian ‘resistance’, Yasser Arafat’s Fatah attempted its first terrorist operation against Israel when it tried to bomb Israel’s National Water Carrier.

Israel was in 1965 still within the 1949 Armistice lines, the so-called ‘occupied territories’ were part of Jordan, but the “Palestine Liberation Organization” was already in existence.

Here’s a brain-teaser. If Jordan and Egypt were in possession of the so-called ‘occupied’ territories in 1965, and if the Palestine Liberation Organization’s first attack was against Israel and NOT Jordan, then where is the ‘Palestine’ that Fatah was created to ‘liberate’?

I’ll wait and give you a few seconds to think about it.

Ready? I want you to get this, so I am typing slowly. . . the ‘Palestine’ that the PLO was created to ‘liberate’ — the ‘occupied territory’ against which the Palestinians are ‘resisting’ . . . is the Israel that existed as defined by the 1949 Armistice lines.

We return, for a moment, to my original assessment that the ‘simple’ solution slid past ‘simple’ and all the way to ‘stupid’ — it doesn’t sound so harsh anymore.

The ‘occupation’ created by the capture of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967 is a smokescreen.

That isn’t to say that the PA doesn’t want the ‘occupied territories’ of Judea, Samaria and Gaza — but they are a means to an end, not the end itself.

The ethnic cleansing of Jews from the territories outside the 1949 Armistice lines is only the first step in the greater historical goal of the ethnic cleansing of Jews from the “Palestine” the PLO was created to ‘liberate’. Israel.

In the thirty years from 1960 to 1990, 704 Israelis died from terrorist attacks, including terror attacks against Israeli targets abroad.

In 1993, Israel signed its ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Yasser Arafat that resulted in Israel’s disastrous policy of trading portions of the captured territory to Palestinian control in exchange for peace with the Palestinians.

Over the course of seven years, the deal expanded until what began as a deal to give the PA limited autonomy over Jericho became all the West Bank, the Gaza strip, and a demand that Israel withdraw to within the pre-1967 borders.

How much peace did Israel get in exchange for trading away half its territory? From the signing of the Declaration of Principles outlining the exchange of land for peace until Arafat launched the Oslo War in September 2000, 256 Israelis were killed in terrorist attacks. That’s a period of precisely seven years.

In the preceding thirty years of terror that brought Israel to its knees, 704 Israelis were killed. Averaged over the decades, ummm, 704 divided by three decades . . . that’s an average of 234 victims of terrorist attacks per decade.

‘Peace’, therefore, killed more Israelis in seven years than war did, on average, in the preceding thirty years!

The ‘peace’ for Israel ended when Arafat rejected a settlement that was tantamount to an Israeli surrender to demands that were beyond his wildest dreams when Oslo was first signed in 1993.

Arafat’s rejection of the Camp David Accords, a virtual surrender to Palestinian terror, has, as of April, killed more than 1,058 Israelis, again, mostly innocent civilians deliberately selected as targets.

The Oslo formula of trading land for peace has therefore resulted in more Israeli deaths from terrorism since September 1993 than all the terrorist attacks from 1949 to 1993 combined.

Here is the interesting thing about this whole thing. At least, it is the thing that stands out as the most inexplicable part of it. It isn’t selective propaganda — it is recent history.

Sixty years isn’t that long a period of time, but it is evidently long enough for selective propaganda to create a mythical Palestinian people out of displaced Jordanian and Egyptian terrorists.

But Oslo was only twelve years ago. And the terrorism continues unabated. And somehow, history is being revised as it happens.

The Palestinian intentions are clear and unmistakable. They are borne out by history, year by year, for each of Israel’s fifty-seven years of continual conflict against an enemy whose goal is Israel’s annihilation.

During the 1967 War, Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir stood before the global press corps to defend the war, saying, “the Arabs can fight, and lose, and come back to fight another day. Israel can only lose once.”

I’ve yet to hear anybody mount a logical argument to the contrary.

None of this is unknown to the leaders of the European Union. Or the leaders of the Russian Federation. Or the diplomats at the United Nations.

One would think that even the United States government might have analysts clever enough to detect a pattern here and realize the objective isn’t Palestinian statehood but Israeli annihilation.

So it can’t be chalked up to ignorance in the usual sense. It is willful ignorance. Deliberate, willful ignorance adopted by a conscious choice to ignore the facts and participate instead in what is, in the final analysis, a global conspiracy against Israel’s existence.

The chosen target for the coming flashpoint is Jerusalem. Since there isn’t a world leader on the planet who doesn’t have analysts who can see the same thing we can, they know that forcing Israel back behind 1949 lines won’t end the terror. And they also know that Israel will not surrender East Jerusalem by accepting the imposition of the 1949 Armistice lines.

Two thousand, five hundred years ago, (think of it!) the prophet Zechariah described the events that would lead up to the coming of Israel’s Messiah.

“And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon Me Whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for Him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zechariah 12:10)

Zechariah was probably born in Babylon and was among those priests who returned to Jerusalem after the Captivity in the group led by Zerubbabel. This would place the beginning of Zechariah’s work as a prophet around the month of November, 520 BC.

In his lifetime, ‘Israel’ had not existed for two hundred years. Judah was under Persian occupation. The Temple had been destroyed and Jerusalem was in ruins.

From that vantage point in history, Zechariah described Israel’s political situation in the last generation before the coming of the Messiah.

“Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.

In that day, saith the LORD, I will smite every horse with astonishment, and his rider with madness: and I will open mine eyes upon the house of Judah, and will smite every horse of the people with blindness.” (Zechariah 12:2-4)

Jerusalem as a burdensome stone, a place that causes all the people around to tremble. Check.

All the nations that ‘burden’ themselves with Jerusalem to be cut into pieces. Hmmm. . . . US support for Israel is the stated cause of 9/11 and the subsequent war on terror. Check.

‘All the people of the earth gathered against it.’ Sadly, that now appears to be true. Check.

Zechariah predicted God would smite those who ride against Jerusalem with madness. Hmmmm. (again)

The Palestinian Authority has more or less global support for the creation of an openly terrorist state dedicated to Israel’s destruction existing side by side with Israel.

Provided Israel surrenders Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the rest of Judaism holiest places. Madness? Check again!

There are two conclusions one can draw. The first is that this is quite a coincidence. Simply amazing. What a great guess! If the coincidence theory leaves you flat, that leaves only one remaining conclusion.

Jesus is coming. And He is coming soon.

Note: This Omega Letter gives us a point by point history lesson of terror in the Middle East up till this brief was originally published in 2005.  Pete Garcia’s commentary today covers more of the signs of the last days; our days.