Friday, October 30, 2009

Being Equipped

I thought it would be helpful to be reminded why we should regularly exercise our biblical world view muscles and consider current events from God’s perspective.

Massive cultural shifts are going on in our world today. And it seems as if the pace of change is accelerating. This provides Christians with great opportunities to help others see what the Bible has to say about why all these perplexing developments are occurring. So we need to be prepared to offer a biblical perspective about current events because this may lead to a conversation which helps people grow closer to Christ.

When we have discussions about reasons behind current events, our objective should not be to win a debate but to plant a seed of biblical truth that God can use to lead people to Him. It is useful to point out what the Bible says about something even if the other person does not recognize the authority of the Bible. Such comments are “faith flags” that tell people you are a follower of Christ and plants a seed of truth that God can use to turn their hearts to Him… Isaiah 55:10-11 says, "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it" (NIV).

When we hear news of tragedy or some incident demonstrating the depravity of mankind, it should bring to mind how this world sorely needs the return of the Lord. And then we may be encouraged by recalling that when Jesus returns, “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4, NKJ).

We may share our encouragement with others by telling them we are looking forward to the return of the Messiah who will bring justice to this world so that there will be only good news. God can use this to attract people to the Savior because they also grow weary of bad news whether they admit it or not.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Doom & Gloom

It concerns me that this blog has me continuously proclaiming doom and gloom. But I really am an optimistic guy. Certainly there will be plenty of doom and gloom during the Great Tribulation when God pours out His wrath on earth. While seeing the stage being set for the Tribulation isn’t pleasant, we can be encouraged remembering that the Lord will remove His followers before the Tribulation begins. “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Thessalonians 5:9, NKJ).

Most people even dismiss the Rapture as being mere pie in the sky wishful thinking. It is too incredible to be believed. But the Bible clearly indicates that a time is coming when a generation of Christians will be instantly translated into our resurrected bodies and removed from earth. If you need to be convinced of this, study carefully 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.

The Rapture of the Church is the next major event that has been prophesied. Paul expected the Rapture to be imminent in his day because he included himself in those who would not face death, “we who are still alive and left…” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). The doctrine of the Rapture is intended to be encouraging; knowing that we have to die or face the Tribulation before we are resurrected is discouraging (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Another reason we know the Rapture precedes the Great Tribulation is given in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8. This was written to put the Thessalonians at ease that the persecution they were suffering was not the Tribulation which would have meant that they missed the Rapture described in Paul’s first epistle.

Scripture also describes two very different phases of the Lord’s return. Only believers will see Him at the Rapture while all people on earth will see Him when He returns at the end of the Tribulation to set up His kingdom here. We meet Jesus in the air at the Rapture but at His second coming he sets foot on Mount of Olives. And there are many other distinctions like this.

For a through discussion of why I believe that the Rapture must precede the Tribulation, see my PowerPoint Bible study titled “The Rapture of the Church.”

Jesus promised, “I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3, NKJ). Until that day, “we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:12-13).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Marginalizing Christians

Jesus said, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20, NKJ). We have been mostly blessed in this country but I sense that is changing. The media is a leading indicator of how people regard Christians since most people embrace what they perceive to be mainstream ideas. Increasingly Christians have been portrayed as people that should not be emulated in movies and TV programming.

Mark Earley of the Breakpoint radio show observed that the marginalization of Christians is becoming more aggressive depicting Christians as “exotic creatures to be put under the microscope and feared.”

It is a small step from fearing a group of people to physically taking action against them. So the trend we see in our media is one more reminder that the spirit of Antichrist is active and growing in this world. Because we know that the Antichrist will “persecute the saints of the Most High” (Daniel 7:25, NKJ). Thank God that while today’s followers of Christ are exposed to the spirit of Antichrist, we will not be here when the person of the Antichrist is given free reign.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Change

Our government is determined to make fundamental changes in this country. Since Barack Obama was elected promising change, our government is acting like they have a mandate to overhaul the foundations of this country.

Congress is in a hurry to institute major changes to the health care system in the U.S. Certainly it does need to be improved but forcing everyone into a government-run system goes way beyond what is necessary to fix its problems and will introduce even worse problems like rationing.

Another massive change in the works is Cap-and-Trade, a way to tax the use of coal and oil. This will effectively tax everyone because over 90% of the energy used in this country comes from oil or coal. It will devastate an already struggling economy. The economic impact of this is so obvious and the global warming reason for it is so dubious that the proponents of Cap-and-Trade must be determined to bring this country down to the level of an emerging nation.

There have been rumors of creative new taxes in the works which will be necessary to pay for all the government debt that has been foisted upon us. This will exacerbate an already bad employment rate by discouraging small businesses which are in the best position to grow new jobs. The people of this country voted for change and we are sure getting it.

The trend toward globalization is getting painful to watch and it promises real suffering to come. While it might be possible to postpone the consequences of globalization, it is beginning to feel like this world is on a runaway train. The spirit of Antichrist is alive and growing in this world. It is interesting to note that the promise of change is what the Antichrist will do; Daniel 7:25 says “He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law” (NKJ).

Please pray for our country’s leaders to seek God’s wisdom in the actions they take. The U.S. doesn’t have to be on par with emerging nations for God’s plan to come to fruition. Come soon Lord Jesus!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Attacking the Church

I’m in an on-going debate with a friend on the virtues of conservative versus liberal ideas. So he brought to my attention the efforts to produce a “conservative” Bible.

Those advocating a “conservative” Bible probably do not realize the harm they are doing to the cause of Christ. People who scoff at the Bible being God’s Word would like to make fringe issues like this a big controversy and offer it as proof that the Bible depends on personal bias so it can not be trusted.

This issue is related to those advocating the King James Bible as the only legitimate translation in the English language. I’ve investigated this myself and found it to be much ado about nothing. Thinking people can compare the KJV with other translations like the NIV and see that the meanings of the different translations are effectively identical. The same thing can be said in many different ways.

I believe that those insisting on KJV-only are mostly sincere believers in Christ but are being used as tools by the devil to divide the church over a disputable matter as Paul warned us about in Romans 14:1. That is why we have so many Christian denominations; Christians generally agree on the fundamental issues regarding how people have eternal life, who Jesus is, His virgin birth and resurrection to name the most important.

Satan and his minions have attacked Christ’s followers getting us to divide over relatively minor issues to reduce our effectiveness in the world. While Satan’s activities will result in his taking many people to hell with him, we are encouraged to remember that he can not thwart God’s plan; Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18, NKJ).

Friday, October 23, 2009

Turkey Rising

We have been seeing more about Turkey in the news lately. Turkey has not been able to meet the European Unions requirements for membership and the EU continues to make new stipulations. Their bid for membership in the EU comes under review in December but unless Turkey pulls their troops from Cyprus, this is in question. Indications are that Turkey has become weary of trying to build alliances with the West and are now focusing on alliances with other Islamic countries.

Turkey is becoming more belligerent against Israel and friendlier with Israel’s enemies like Syria and Iran. As the two regional superpowers, Turkey and Israel used to be aligned but recent moves by Turkey are changing the political balance in the Mideast.

Turkey is so interested in forming their own regional alliance that they even signed a treaty with Armenia. This is pretty incredible given the historical animosity that existed between these two countries due to Turkey’s atrocities against Armenia in WWI. It seems like there is just no avoiding Turkey becoming aligned with Iran and other enemies of Israel.

Turkey is mentioned as Togarmah in Ezekiel 38:6, one of the countries that will join with Iran, Sudan, and Libya to attack Israel prior to the Messiah’s return. Togarmah was a descendant of Noah through Japheth then Gomer (Genesis 10:1-3). He is known in Assyrian records as Tilgarimmu. The inserted "L" is not unusual and was probably silent. Tilgarimmu was a city state in Eastern Anatolia (Asia Minor) which today is the southeastern part of Turkey near the Syrian border.

We are certainly now seeing the geopolitical shifts necessary for Turkey to be aligned with the nations that will attack Israel prior to the Messiah coming so this shows us we are not too far from Ezekiel 38-39 coming to fruition. Biblical scholars are divided over whether Ezekiel 38-39 happens before or after the Rapture of the Church but either way, “when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near” (Luke 21:28, NKJ).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fleeting Freedoms

It seems like every day there are new revelations about things our government is doing to remove freedoms that we have enjoyed in the United States. There appears to be an urgent effort to put more and more aspects of our lives under central control. It is amazing that President Obama’s administration has targeted Fox News because they dare to tell stories that do not boost his agenda. If anyone questions that we are accelerating down the slope toward totalitarianism in this country, this development should clear that up.

Fox News is growing because people want to know what is going on that the other news outlets are not telling them. Virtually all of the mainstream media outlets are essentially propaganda channels for the government perspective. Fox is the only major news network that dares to hold our government accountable. Cal Thomas published an excellent commentary outlining a number of things that Fox News brought to light in which other networks have tried to ignore.

Cal Thomas also made a good point that targeting Fox News reveals the ineptness of the White House. He said if they were smart, “they would flood the network with its spokespeople. The administration apparently believes it needs an enemy to avert scrutiny from its socialist agenda, the undermining of free speech and the corruption of the U.S. Constitution. Because Republicans have no credible national leader, the administration has settled on Fox News.”

Our government is also working on schemes to silence talk radio and censor the Internet because they can’t stand the light of scrutiny. “For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed” (John 3:20, NKJ).

The government we have today is our punishment for neglecting God’s principles. The people of this country elected these power hungry rulers, so we really deserve the consequences that will result. But God is in control and prayer does change things. God blesses us despite our unfaithfulness to Him when we turn to Him. The Parable of the Prodigal Son is a good illustration of this, see Luke 15:11-24.

As David prayed about evil rulers in his day, a good prayer for us today regarding most of the government officials in this country is: “Let his days be few, and let another take his office” (Psalm 109:8, NKJ). All Christians should be good stewards of their US citizenship and vote knowing that it is a sin not to vote for the lesser of the evils.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Erosion of Human Rights

President Obama has shelved his plans to attend the 20th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9. The fall of the Berlin Wall on the night of Nov. 9, 1989, remains a high-water mark in the march of human freedom. And it has special significance to me personally because it represented the end of the Cold War which God used to open my eyes to Him, see my testimony more details.

I guess we should not be surprised that our president is passing on an opportunity to stand up for human rights. Actions speak louder than words. Though President Obama speaks eloquently about hope, he has gone out of his way to befriend those who most trample on human rights. There is a good summary of this in a Wall Street Journal article by Bret Stephens.

I’m sure our president believes that by talking to the world’s despots, he can convince them to change their ways. Certainly, the Lord commands us "love your enemies" (Matthew 5:44, NKJ) but this is to be applied on a personal basis, not a national level. God expects governments to act on His behalf to punish evil, see Romans 13:3-4. So government leaders who appease evil rulers are on a fools errand and doomed to failure. When the President of the United States cozies up to tyrants, it gives them more legitimacy thus emboldening them and their ilk to take even more advantage of people.

Evil is on the march around the globe and I fear that our government is adding fuel to the fire. Please pray fervently for president Obama that he would seek and act on godly counsel. And pray that God’s people may “discern the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3, NKJ) and make “the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16, NIV).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Legitimizing Evil

We live in an amazing time when it seems there is no check on a rising tide of evil. The United States is no longer standing in the gap to keep evil from building in this world. The more we learn about the people making up our government, the more we understand how determined they are to bring totalitarianism to this country.

The latest revelation about a government official is regarding White House Communications Director Anita Dunn. A video was released of Dunn speaking to high school students last June in which she praised Communist Chinese leader Mao Tse-tung as one of her “favorite political philosophers.”

Mao’s draconian policies are blamed for the deaths of tens of millions of people. How someone in our government could hold up such a tyrant as a role model to be emulated is chilling. We know that such clues about the values of our government officials are just the tip of the iceberg. There is certain to be much more going on behind the scene to give evil a green light.

Our government has been quick to cozy up to leaders known to trample on human-rights such as Hugo Chavez, the Castro brothers, and Manuel Zelaya, the would-be dictator of Honduras. President Obama has soft-pedaled criticism of human rights violations to avoid annoying China’s dictators. Our government has sent mixed signals to Iran and seems resigned to just living with their having nuclear weapons. And we are waffling on our commitment to keep Afghanistan from being a haven for terrorists.

The world is watching and sees the United Stated becoming less of a factor in discouraging wickedness. The natural consequence of this is that “evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13, NKJ). Our failure to exercise the moral authority we once had will have consequences. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20, NKJ)

Since the U.S. will not do anything to bolster righteousness, the community of nations will have to act when people have had enough. Conditions are getting riper every day for a strong world leader to emerge. “As you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18, NKJ).

We should be encouraged that the Lord will remove His followers prior to evil being completely unleashed on earth. “He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, NKJ). The Holy Spirit is He who restrains evil and since His present in the world is through followers of Christ, He will not be taken out of the way until the Church is removed. Praise God!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Opposing Israel

The Israeli news service Arutz Sheva reports that Organizing for America, the political arm of President Obama, recently carried an entry on its website from ultra-left-wing professor Richard Falk equating Israelis to Nazis, their treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust and says Israel is a threat to world peace. I hope this is just a case of Team Obama failing to screen hateful speech from their associates but I fear that it reflects our President’s private beliefs.

President Obama has demonstrated over and over that he is fully aligned with the agenda of the political Left. And everyone knows that the Left is no friend of Israel. This emboldens Israel’s enemies and makes war in the Mideast more likely.

I think many on the Left secretly look forward to war in the Mideast if the U.S. can avoid getting involved because it would cause oil prices to go up. And higher oil prices are needed to make alternate energies more practical in order to save the planet from the ravages of carbon dioxide. The icing on the cake for the Left is that further damaging the U.S. economy due to high oil prices would force us to be more subservient to the world community of nations.

God will punish this country for opposing Israel. I believe that we have been blessed because we have stood with Israel during some trying times. But to abandon them now will have severe consequences. God promised Israel through Abraham, “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you” (Genesis 12:3, NKJ).

Please pray for President Obama that he will continue America’s tradition of being a friend of Israel. And, “pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6, NKJ). We can look forward to the day when the Prince of Peace will make the peace of Jerusalem permanent.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Climate Change

Have you noticed how global warming faithful have more and more begun to refer to their cause as climate change? They do that so that they can also blame colder temperatures on carbon dioxide emissions. Indeed, there is actually more evidence today that global temperature are trending down rather than up. That is why global warming is so controversial; unbiased science does not really support the claims that carbon dioxide emissions are causing global temperatures to rise. But the global warming crowd doesn't even want to debate the issue, it is settled matter in their mind and they are pursuing their agenda to fix the perceived problem with religious fervor.

The global warming faithful are determined to reduce carbon dioxide emissions any way they can and are willing to sacrifice our economic health to do so. I believe that many have embraced the religion of global warming simply because it is a means to an end which will help bring down the United States making us more on-par economically with the rest of the world. The Cap & Trade solution to global warming that Congress will slick by the public is simply a new tax on everyone. You can't add more tax on manufacturers and not expect these costs to get passed on to consumers. This will be one more weight to drag down the economy.

The reason the global warming faithful want to see the United States on-par economically with the rest of the world is to force us to yield our interests to the greater good of the whole world. President Obama has demonstrated that his desire to "spread the wealth around" extends to the whole world, not just our country. This "think globally, act locally" mind-set is what will bring the world together under the government of the Antichrist.

I know I have been pretty pessimistic about our economic outlook lately. The point is that if you extrapolate out today's trends, things do look pretty dismal. But God is in control and prayer does make a difference. There certainly are different degrees of economic pain and it does not have to be the worse case scenario here in the United States.

I really do believe that the Lord will remove His faithful from the planet before the real economic melt-down described in Revelation 18 occurs. Jesus said in Matthew 24:37-42, "As the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming" (NKJ).

Matthew 24:37-42 tells us that things will be going on pretty much as usual when the Rapture of the Church occurs. So, we can be encouraged that we still live in the Age of Grace despite the storm clouds we see on the horizon. I do think that all-hell will break loose on earth following the Rapture though. Now is not a time to be putting off following Jesus.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Health Care Bondage

Our government seems determined to bring one-sixth of the U.S. economy under their direct control despite universal public opposition. We have seen how government-run health care has worked in other countries and the downsides far outweigh the upsides. Ultimately health care will be rationed so that only the privileged wealthy can afford the treatments they need despite the rhetoric to the contrary. Socialism always makes worse the problems it claims to fix because reality is far different than its Utopian world view.

What the proposed changes in health care will mean is increased control of the many by a few in government. Virtually every facet of our lives may be tied to health care so in the interests of keeping costs down, the government will force their people to conform to their view of appropriate behavior. Thus we will have less freedom to follow our personal convictions.

The trend toward more government control is inevitable. Indeed the day will come when "no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name" (Revelation 13:17, NKJ). All the changes we see going on in our economy are part of a demon-inspired plot to bring freedom loving Americans under bondage in preparation for the Antichrist's rise to power. Our government is doing this by taking on massive debt which reduces the value of the dollar and causes inflation. The reduction in buying power of the dollar is a hidden tax that is on top of all the other taxes the government is coming up with to siphon away more of the fruits of the productive.

I know this sounds pessimistic but God is in control and our gloomy outlook can turn on a dime when we get on board with what He is doing. As 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (NKJ).

No matter what happens in this country, we should have no fear, "for our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20, NKJ).

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dollar's Demise

The U.S. government's actions to keep a good crisis from going to waste in dealing with our economic woes has served to bump the dollar from its reserve status. Economists believe the market rebellion against the dollar will spread until the U.S. Federal Reserve raises interest rates from near zero to the high single digits, and stops "printing" money by taking on debt. But a jump in interest rates will clobber stocks and cripple the stagnant housing market. The only other choice is to keep rates at zero and continue the failed policy of printing even more money but that is sure to cause triple-digit inflation that would collapse the economy as we know it.

I can't help but think that those making the decisions are not considering the needs of the hard working taxpayers of this country but are instead pursuing an agenda that yields American economic sovereignty to the world community of nations. Indeed Revelation 17:13 says, "These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast" (NKJ).

We need to pray for those making these tough decisions particularly President Obama and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that they will seek the council of God.

"Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion will be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth." (James 5:1-4, NKJ)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New Energy & Russia

It became apparent at the World Gas Conference in Buenos Aires last week that advances in technology for extracting gas from shale and methane beds have advanced enough to alter the global balance of energy faster than almost anybody expected. This has become a real potential for America to be energy independent and will weaken Russia's grip on Europe.

This realization has irked the Russians; Gazprom's Alexander Medvedev has tried to dismiss it saying, "There's a lot of myths about shale production." If the new energy sources materialize as expected, Gazprom will not be able to fund Russia's becoming a world economic power. I think this development makes it even more likely that Russia will jump at any excuse to have a military presence in the Mideast. Any disruption of oil supplies in the Mideast will drive the cost of oil up which benefits Russia.

I think it is likely that greed for greater economic power in the world is the hooks God puts into the jaws of Gog to bring him and his army into the Mideast. Gog is the leader of the land of Magog, which is the term used in Ezekiel 38 and 39 for Russia. The land of Magog has to be Russia because it is described as being the land to the "far north" of Israel (Ezekiel 38:6, 38:15, 39:2).

Christians may be encouraged by these events because they are described as happening in the "latter days" (Ezekiel 38:16), a term the Bible uses for the time-frame associated with the return of the Lord. "It is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed" (Romans 13:11, NKJ).

Monday, October 12, 2009

How Convenient

I had a conversation over the weekend where I was encouraged to spend time studying the arguments of Bible prophecy scoffers. While I agree that effective apologetics requires that we should know the objections people have to a literal interpretation of God's Word, I consider it a waste of time to really "study" their arguments in detail. Just as it is much more efficient to train bank tellers to recognize the characteristics of legitimate cash rather than all the known indicators of counterfeit money, I'd rather spend my quality time studying what God has said.

I commented that the growth of skeptics about God's Word today is actually a prophetic sign of the age we are living in: "Scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation" (2 Peter 3:3-4, NKJ). The dismissive response I got to this was, "how convenient!"

When Bible prophecy is fulfilled, it is beyond coincidence but God does it in such a way that scoffers have latitude to continue believing that no miracle took place at all. When people do not really believe that God is Almighty and in control of the very molecular forces that make up our universe (Hebrews 1:3), they discount fulfilment of Bible prophecy through natural means. But this is the usual way God works because He is indeed in control of our world despite the appearance that things are out of control.

Even the greatest future supernatural event in the history of the church will have some sort of natural explanation that will allow scoffers to dismiss it. Concerning the reaction of people following the Rapture of the Church 2 Thessalonians 2:11 says, "God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie" (NKJ). Once a person has made up their mind to take their own way instead of the path to God, He honors that decision by giving them plenty of latitude to embrace alternative explanations.

A little skepticism can be healthy if it is accompanied by a genuine desire to know the truth along with due diligence in seeking the truth but it is dangerous to allow oneself to be saturated in the doctrines of those who have hardened their hearts against God. "Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful..." (Psalm 1:1, NKJ).

Afghanistan & Peace

President Obama is considering whether to send more troops to Afghanistan as requested by his military commander there. The word from the White House is that it will take several weeks for the President to make that decision. Why the delay? Either we are committed to the mission in Afghanistan or we need to begin withdrawing. It seems to me that there is something else going on that has not been made public yet.

The easiest way to increase the U.S. combat soldiers in Afghanistan is to send Marines. The current U.S. combat units in Afghanistan are primarily made up of Army Special Forces and Marines. There just aren't that many Army Special Forces available though they'd be the most effective for the type of conflict in Afghanistan. So that leaves Marines but I think there is something going on which requires Marines to be held in reserve.

It seems likely to me that if Israel attacked Iran nuclear weapons infrastructure that the the U.S. Navy would have to be involved to keep the shipping lanes operating in the Persian Gulf. And if the Navy anticipates such an action, they will want all their Marines they can spare to deal with land-based threats to their operations.

I also found curious the reaction President Obama had to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. He was certainly surprised and, since he said it was more of an honor to the United States than himself, I think he may have been a bit embarrassed by it. Since President Obama has not been given to humility or praising the United States before, it seems to me that his humility this time was feigned to mask his embarrassment. So why would he be embarrassed? This prize for peace being awarded in the midst of the President preparing for war in the Mideast would be an embarrassment if the public found out. So much of what our President does embodies the spirit of the Antichrist; promising peace but bringing war.

I believe our president's propensity to pursue peace through appeasement is more likely to get us drawn into a conflict with Iran. This is the test that we have been anticipating similar to how the Soviets tested JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The difference this time is that the greatest immediate danger is not to the U.S. but to a third party ally - Israel. Since Israel can not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons, they will have to strike first. Israel will do the dirty work in Iran attacking their nuclear facilities mostly from the air while the U.S. is in more of a supportive role logistically and taking actions to keep the ocean trade lanes open.

The United States can have plausible deny-ability with the world by being reluctantly supportive of Israel, honoring our treaties with them. After all we can say we were willing to give sanctions more time ignoring that Russia and China were not playing along thus making Israel out to be the lone perpetrator... indeed Israel is used to that perception. The president's liberal base will howl about our supporting Israel in attacking Iran but in they will not abandon him because he is still their best hope.

So war is coming in the Mideast. I don't see how it can be avoided given the situation and in light of Bible prophecy. The world pursues peace but it will elude us until the Lord returns. "For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape." (1 Thessalonians 5:3, NKJ)

Friday, October 9, 2009

Intelligence Leaks about Iran

STRATFOR’s excellent commentary this week analyzed two related recent intelligence leaks about Iran… One was from the U.S. that Iran had progressed much further in their nuclear weapons program than originally thought (implying of course that the Bush intelligence machine let us down); and the other was from Israel that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's provided the Russians with a list of Russian scientists and engineers working on Iran's nuclear weapons program.

The presence of Russian nuclear weapons experts in Iran means that the Iranians have had the wherewithal to quickly develop nuclear weapons. The Russian involvement also means that effective sanctions against Iran are not possible and the leaks tell them that we know that.

STRATFOR’s conclusion about the timing of the leaks is that the Israelis must expect a resolution of the Iranian crisis in the very near future; this is the only reason they would have revealed their penetration of the Russian-Iranian system.

STRATFOR goes on to cite two possible outcomes from these developments. The first is that the Israelis and Americans are trying to get the Russians to realize they are facing a massive crisis in their relations with the West so that they’ll pull their nuke experts out of Iran and put real teeth into the sanctions. The hope is that this will cause the Iranians to abandon their nuclear weapons program. Given the momentum of these developments I’d say this is a weak hope.

The second possibility is that the Russians will continue to play the spoiler on sanctions while denying their support of the Iranians. STRATFOR believes that any military action on Iran would require U.S. participation to keep the Strait of Hormuz clear. The U.S. collaboration on the intelligence leaks would tend to reinforce that the U.S. will indeed join Israel in the military action. I also have come around to thinking this is likely so that President Obama can show the world that he is not a weak appeaser. This could also explain the president’s equivocating over putting more troops into Afghanistan; they may be needed elsewhere to counter an Iranian reaction.

STRATFOR concludes: “We have now moved from a view of Iran as a long-term threat to Iran as a much more immediate threat thanks to the Russians. [It appears as though the Russians and Iranians] have convinced themselves that Obama is unlikely to act because he is weak at home and already has too many issues to juggle. This is a case where a reputation for being conciliatory actually increases the chances for war.” I could not agree more!

Ezekiel 38-39 makes it clear that Russia (Magog) will invade the Mideast prior to the Messiah’s return. (Moscow is the only city-state which fits the description of being to the “far north” of Jerusalem; see Ezekiel 38:6, 38:15, 39:2) The collaboration of Russia with Iran (a.k.a. Persia) and the U.S./Israeli response to their belligerence will likely be the “hooks in the jaws” of Russia that brings them down into the Mideast (Ezekiel 38:4).

The fact that the U.S. is involved makes this country a likely target for the nuclear weapons that God allows to be used upon escalation of the coming Russian-Iranian-Israeli war. In Ezekiel 39:6 God said, “I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands.” The United States certainly has a lot of coasts and we certainly think we live in safety.

I have often thought what better time for the Rapture of the Church than during a nuclear war. People will be so distracted; who will miss millions of Christians when millions more have died from a nuclear exchange? And what better environment would there be for the Antichrist to emerge with solutions to all the worlds problems.

We are getting closer every day to seeing the Lord face to face… Maranatha!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Failing Dollar

The U.S. Dollar is falling relative to the Euro on rumors that oil producing states want to replace it at as the currency for trading oil. The UN is also calling for a new reserve currency. And the American public has had enough with our government's failed approach for dealing with the economic crisis that their policies caused in the first place. But it is unlikely that public outcry is happening soon enough to alter the path we are on. Ultimately we did it to ourselves electing public officials with liberal world views that brought America down.

The world now sees blood in the water and it will not be long before the Euro supplants the Dollar as the world's reserve currency. This means that the U.S. will no longer be an economic super power, Europe will be. A friend of mine scoffed at this idea because many of the Euro nations were having more economic difficulties than the U.S. But perception trumps reality in the world economy and the Euro has the momentum along with the political correctness of multiple countries working together.

And of course the Bible makes it clear that Europe will dominate the world prior to the return of the Messiah... "After the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary" (Daniel 9:26, NKJ). The Messiah was cut-off when the leaders of Israel rejected Jesus and conspired with the Roman governor to send Him to the cross. The prince who is the come is the Antichrist who will rule the world. The people of the prince who is to come are the ones who destroyed the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. - the Roman empire. The Roman Empire never really went away, it just morphed into colonial states and today Europe is the revived Roman Empire.

The demise of the Dollar is the evidence that the U.S. has yielded sovereignty to the world community of nations led by Europe. We are getting closer every day to Jesus bringing an end to the age of grace. Now is not the time to waste any time in following Christ.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Growing Left-Wing Conspiracy

Todd Strandberg had an excellent article in his weekly commentary this week that inspired my own comments...

I hesitate to use the word “conspiracy” because it congers up cabals of powerful old men meeting in dark smoke filled rooms making plans to take over the world. But what we see going on in the world today is indeed a conspiracy. Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world” (John 14:30) so he is in control of the governments of this world. Satan is not alone but has fellow fallen angels helping him along with all the people who continue living a life of deception in their rejecting the God of the Bible. Satan and his minions are working hard to increase their power in the world because they know their time is limited.

Everything on the Liberal Left’s agenda is opposed to God. Many of their policy positions sound good on the surface but dig deeper to understand the motives of what they stand for and you’ll find a humanist perspective that rejects God.

The Left says they stand for equality but they seek to force their utopian vision on people by punishing achievers and rewarding mediocrity. The Left excuses criminals thinking of them as victims of their unfair environment. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20, NKJ)

The humanist perspective of Left sees government as the savior of mankind so bigger government is better government. This is why the Left is always seeking to increase taxes, so they can pay for more government. Ultimately this is so they can bring more aspects of people’s lives under the control of the government. We can certainly see the agenda of Satan at work growing the scope of the world’s governments so that he will have more people in bondage.

In our day the media is one of Satan’s most powerful tools with which to deceive people. It is common knowledge that the mainstream media is biased toward the Left. We continue to hear rumblings of strategies they are working on to muzzle conservative talk radio and even the Internet… the last media channels that have not succumbed to the Left’s deception. With the growing influence of the Left it is clear that the day will come when Satan’s agenda is the only perspective you will find in the media. I agree with Todd Strandberg that the only thing preventing all the media from being the voice of Satan today is hand of God. Indeed, “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:7, NKJ).

I find it stunning how irrational the positions of the Left are but people caught up in this humanist deception seem to be beyond reasoning with. Still, I can not resist trying to help my Left-leaning friends see the right way. We do not always know the impact we are making with the truth. Indeed God said, “[My word] shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11, NKJ).

The Bible makes it clear that a delineation can and should be made between right and wrong. I believe that the Lord had in mind the politics of our day when He arranged for Ecclesiastes 10:2-3 to be recorded: “The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left. Even as he walks along the road, the fool lacks sense and shows everyone how stupid he is” (NIV).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Left-Wing Bias against Israel

In Jim Fletcher's weekly commentary, he pointed out some examples where the press leave out key details of their reports on the conflicts between Israel and the Palestinians. What is left out makes Israel look like the perpetrator when the truth is the other way around. He makes a good point about this perspective not being rational… why would a small kid on a playground surrounded by a dozen thuggish kids do anything to provoke them?

He gives a reason why the media fawns over the Arabs and is so biased against Israel calling it self-preservation. I agree that there may be some of this. It is a natural response to fear the wrath of aggressive hateful people. People who do not have God’s perspective are easily given to fear. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7, NKJ).

While admitting fear may be a factor in some cases, I think the main reason the Left is biased against Israel is that they are ideologically aligned with those who hate Israel. A world view that opposes God opposes the people God chose to record His word and from whom the Messiah came. But it is very dangerous to oppose God and the apple of His eye (Zechariah 2:8). “It shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it” (Zechariah 12:3, NKJ)

So as Jim Fletcher said in his excellent article, don’t believe the mainstream media reporting on Israel. It is more important than ever to pray for discernment in these days of dangerous deception.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Pride Before Destruction

Many conservative commentators have been abuzz about President Obama going to Copenhagen and lobbying for Chicago to be the city of the 2016 Olympics. The power of the president's personality did not move the International Olympic Committee who instead chose Rio de Janeiro. Sure this will be a historic first for South America but the IOC rejected Chicago at the first round; clearly they were not impressed with President Obama.

One reason the IOC was probably not impressed with President Obama is that he mostly talked about himself in his speech to them. The word "I" seems to be our president's favorite word. This is a pattern in all President Obama's speeches where he has not been able to transition from the self-promoting mode of a campaign to governing. And this is not to even consider why a junket to boost his Chicago political cronies is more important than fixing our economy or dealing with the Iran and Afghanistan problems.

What happened in Copenhagen brings to mind Proverbs 16:18 which says, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (NKJ). We need to pray for our country and our president that he would seek God's wisdom. We are living in perilous times; not a time to have prideful leaders. Now more than ever humility is in order. As Jesus said, "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth" (Matthew 5:5, NKJ).

Friday, October 2, 2009

Russia’s Useful Idiots

According to Wikipedia, “the term useful idiot was used to describe Soviet sympathizers in western countries and the attitude of the Soviet government towards them. The implication was that though the person in question na├»vely thought themselves an ally of the Soviets or other Communists, they were actually held in contempt by them, and being cynically used. The term is now used more broadly to describe someone who is perceived to be manipulated by a political movement, terrorist group, hostile government, or business, whether or not the group is Communist in nature.”

This term useful idiot must surely apply to Iran today. Ahmadinejad and the Mullahs running Iran want to see turmoil between nations in order to bring forth their Messiah, the 12th Imam. Russia has no interest in the 12th Imam but they too would like to see turmoil in the Mideast. Any kind of threat to the Mideast oil supply will cause the price of oil to go up and that directly helps Russia because gas and oil is Russia’s main source of revenue. Thus Iran is one of Russia’s useful idiots because they have compatible objectives and they both rationalize that the end justifies the means.

The Iranian government is bent on instigating a war to summon the 12th Imam and they do not worry about the cost to their people. They have demonstrated their low regard for human life when they sent waves of suicide soldiers against Iraq during their war. Since they believe that the end justifies the means, losing a sizable portion of their population is a reasonable price to pay if it means a ruler will emerge that can unite the world under Islam.

The United States has also become a useful idiot of Russia. Our policy of appeasement regarding Iran encourages the Russian-Iranian axis of evil. Any trade sanctions the U.S. and other Western nations impose on Iran will be useless without Russia participating. While Russia may appear to be going along with the West, they are motivated to keep the current useful idiot Iranian leadership in power. So they will make sure Iran gets the essential supplies they need to keep them going and if a war results, their stock goes up in the world economy.

In the face of the world appeasing Iran I don’t see any way Israel can avoid taking military action. To allow Iran to get nuclear weapons is to allow their enemies to fulfill their promise to wipe Israel off the map. When Israel attacks Iran, they will also have to deal with Syria which harbors Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy. This will be seen by the world as an over-reaction by Israel and Russia will feel justified in sending their military to the Mideast to “restore order.” This likely chain of events reveals how close we are to Ezekiel 38 coming to pass.

You would think that the United States government would recognize the inevitable consequences of appeasing Iran but the likelihood of this appears very slim. Our government is being run by radical liberal ideologues. Radical liberals are the classic useful idiots of Russia from back in the Soviet era. They still love the concept of communism and while they are ostensibly opposed to war, they’d see the “silver lining” in a Mideast conflagration particularly if the U.S. wasn’t a party to it. They see the price of oil going up as a good thing to help us get weaned off of carbon emissions. Indeed some of them in their heart-of-hearts would like to see earth de-populated a bit and would tolerate a broader war to reduce the number of “polluters” on the planet. Again, in the liberal mind, the end justifies the means.

“Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Luke 21:28, NKJ)