A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


November 26, 2014

Ferguson: The Aftermath

     It is difficult to write about Ferguson, Missouri today.  Whether I agree with the decision of the Grand Jury to not indict Officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown; it is not what I want to focus on.  Uppermost on my mind is how easy it seems for everyone in the media to "understand" why the rioting and the looting and the burning has taken place the last two nights.
     Not only that, but no one seems to want to consider the difficult position in which both the members of the Grand Jury and the witnesses found themselves.  They were all citizens who lived in that community, and they should be applauded for their courage in rendering a decision that everyone knew would be unpopular.  Long after the outside agitators and out-of-town demonstrators have returned home, they still have to live there.  They could have made the easy decision, and avoided the destruction of their neighborhood; but they did the right thing and upheld the Rule of Law.
     If you listen to everyone from the President, to Al Sharpton, to Rosie O'Donnell on The View, to news anchors who are supposed to be impartial, to the protestor on the street ... the only "fair" decision would have been to indict Officer Wilson.  The overriding impression that was broadcast was "the system is broken."  But is it?  Is it only broken if you don't agree with the decision?
     It seems to me they are all consumed with the paradigm of "white officer shoots and kills unarmed black youth."  As a society, we need to ask ourselves, is there a pattern here; and is there a legitimate cause for concern?  The answer to both questions would be "yes".  But no one seems to be interested in the reasons why the answer is yes.  What are the underlying reasons and causes that more black youths end up in these situations than young men of other races?  Does anyone consider how many times this situation occurs between black youths and black officers?  Is there a problem with authority among the youth in the black community?  And if so, how are we to ever meet in the middle as long as mutual respect is denied?  Or is it that the racial component of a white officer easily serves the agendas of all involved?  And although there is much talk by all parties about wanting peace, there is no evidence that it is being actively pursued.  (And I'm sorry, Rosie, but I do not see "righteous indignation"; only stealing, vandalism and breaking the law).
     When the President of the United States, who is supposed to be the President of all the people, says during a national press conference, "People will be disappointed about this decision, even angry; and that's an understandable reaction...", why are we surprised when protestors take that as permission to act on their anger?  And when he states yesterday, that the feelings and reactions are "rooted in the reality" of what is happening in some black communities, how does that contribute to healing the nation, or resolving the issues that underlie what happened in Ferguson?  He stated that he is concerned that law enforcement be "fair", implying that there is no accountability or responsibility on the part of those who engage with law enforcement.  I agree with you, Mr. President, that Trust is important to bringing about real change -- but Trust is a two-way street, to be entered in by both parties, and both races.
     When Al Sharpton says that Monday night's decision by the Grand Jury was a blow to their cause, and that they are ready for "the next round", who is surprised that the protestors view themselves as fighters?  Who is really surprised that violent escalation will be the result?
     Everyone keeps talking about "Justice"; all they wanted was "justice for Michael Brown."  But has everyone forgotten that Justice is about Due Process?  It is about fair treatment through the normal judicial system, especially as a citizen's entitlement -- every citizen, including both Officer Wilson and Michael Brown.  And that is the duty of the Grand Jury; to observe the legal order of our Judicial System as prescribed by the Constitution and the Rule of Law.  Can anyone explain to me how the Grand Jury in Ferguson, Missouri did not do exactly that?  It seems to me that what the protestors in Ferguson, national leaders, and biased commentators really wanted was a guaranteed result.
     Instead of allowing Due Process to proceed, they seem to have pre-judged this case and the only justice they wanted was that which suited their opinion.  And now that the Grand Jury has determined that Officer Wilson did nothing illegal to warrant an indictment, public opinion wants to declare that justice has not been served; so much so, that the Attorney General of the United States seems poised to file federal criminal charges based on the deprivation of Michael Brown's civil rights... Plan B has been set in motion.
     But we need to take a real hard look at what is "feeding the beast".  It is an ugly picture of inflammatory rhetoric, political strategy, and self-serving motivations.  It is about anarchy and mobocracy.  It is about race-baiting, and furthering the racial divide, rather than mending it.  It is about facing the truth of our inner cities and the mentality of aggression and hatred that breeds so insidiously in poverty.  It is asking ourselves if the racial animosity is being distorted and manipulated to tear our country apart.  Protests in over 20 major cities across the land seems to support this premise.
      Make no mistake -- the small community of Ferguson became the focal point of outside agitators and subversives who hijacked a local tragedy, and used it for their own purposes.  But when these opportunists have tired of Ferguson and moved on to their next target, the good folks of Ferguson will be left in shambles.  Right now, the senior citizens are afraid to leave their homes; local businesses have been destroyed; and young children are scared to go outside to play.
     The only ray of hope I have seen are the Ferguson pastors who took to the microphone to declare that the rioting and looting needs to stop; that we are all children of God; and that any hope of change lies in following His path ... and not in acting in accordance to the misguided, opportunistic tactics of those who would serve to divide us.  Those are the schemes of the devil.

Proverbs 28:4-5    "Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them. Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely."
 
   

November 25, 2014

The Sick Culture of Hollywood

     The media is all abuzz over the alleged sexual abuse by one of Hollywood's most beloved actor/comedians, Bill Cosby.  Is he guilty or not?  He refuses to talk, while powerful lawyers attempt to discredit the growing number of women who are coming forth with remarkably similar stories of seduction and rape.  This scandal is not going away quietly, and sadly, I believe it is a symptom of the perversion in Hollywood, our idolization of powerful entertainment moguls, and their willingness to take advantage of the helpless.
     It is not my intention to pass judgment on Bill Cosby; the truth will eventually be uncovered.  But I must ask ... are we really surprised at this latest disgrace?  Just take a look at the entertainment industry, in all its facets, and tell me it does not target the young, the naive, and the impressionable.
     There has been a long history of sexual abuse in Hollywood, and the most notorious behavior has always centered around children.  From silent screen star "Fatty" Arbuckle's alleged involvement in the rape and murder of a young starlet in 1921, right down through the scandals that have included Paula Poundstone, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski and Michael Jackson; the innuendo has been there ... it was open season on young, vulnerable children in Tinseltown.
     But the sexual abuse of children is not new to our modern age.  Pedophilia has existed ever since the world's cultures have been in existence.  Ancient peoples such as the Tracians, the Celts, the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans have all accepted pedophilia; sometimes it was considered the perfect expression of a sexual relationship between an adult male and an adolescent, and at other times throughout history, it has been considered a crime.  But nearly all cultures accepted it in some form or fashion, oftentimes as part of religious rituals.  Only Christianity and Judaism have frowned upon the practice.
     But our children and young adults are not only falling prey to the sexual perversions of the entertainment industry.  They are being seduced into a dangerous state of mind through video games such as Minecraft.  A reader of this blog recently revealed her consternation and horror at finding out her grandchildren were allowed to play this game, which encourages kids to kill animals (supposedly for food), and to progress to a stage of the game where they can enter a world called "Nether" and encounter zombies and underworld masters known as "Ender Dragon".
     This sinister game is supposedly approved for children aged four years and up, and is even considered as part of some school curriculums to teach problem solving and math skills!  Have we become so jaded and receptive to ANY form of deviance and immorality towards our children?
     There will be those who say we are a more "enlightened" generation, and see no problem with exposing our children to greater understandings of the adult world.  But there are too many instances of abuse to warrant this as rational thinking.  When we are willing to sacrifice our children to the gods of fame and celebrity; or to introduce them to fantasies of the underworld and the abode of the dead, then how long can that culture or civilization survive?
     Since Biblical times, child sacrifice has been a characteristic and methodology of Evil to capture a wayward nation.  Those who participated were doomed.  Today, whether children are being sacrificed sexually or psychologically, it is still despicable, dark, and demonic.  Hollywood and the gaming industry have been highly successful in perpetuating this evil, and introducing the New Paganism.  And the saddest part if all is just how easy it has been to look the other way.

Matthew 18:6    "But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea."

   
   

November 24, 2014

What's Happened To The Rule Of Law?

     It is just my opinion, but I am willing to speculate that one of the primary reasons this country has been a beacon for immigrants in the nearly two-and-a-half centuries of our existence is that we have represented a fairly consistent pattern of restricting the arbitrary exercise of power by subordinating it to well-defined and established laws.
     There ... I just gave you the definition of "the Rule of Law".  History shows that this land was a magnet for people who dreamed of escaping tyranny -- from the Pilgrims, who were escaping political and religious persecution, (as well as imprisonment), for charges of treason against the Crown; to South Africans who longed to break free of the apartheid injustice of a ruling party who, with extreme intent, demolished anything that got in the way of its legal and political agenda.
     It is also my opinion that, from the beginning of time, societies and civilizations have succeeded because people recognized the need for a moral and legal set of rules by which to live.  They have succeeded economically, socially and politically when they have respected the authority and influence of law; law which is described as "a system of rules which are enforced through social institutions to govern behavior." (Wikipedia).
     But that success and harmony only continues to exist when laws, (or constraints on behavior), are equally observed by the populace and the governing officials.  Why do you think that we have had tens of thousands, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of illegal immigrants flock to our southern border in the last year or so?  They are escaping the tyrannical rule of corrupt politicians and dictators, the uncontrolled dominance of drug cartels, and the unrelenting violence of civil wars within their own countries --- all the result of a lack of the Rule of Law.
     In other words, when the government of a nation decides that the instituted laws of that nation no longer apply to them, then there is not only the threat of injustice to the citizens, but a complete breakdown of their individual security, economic stability, and personal freedoms.
     When any government body, or individual, decides that they can arbitrarily ignore the established laws, and exercise power at their will, then the Rule of Law no longer exists.  In effect, laws are a check (or curb) on that autocratic power.  When they are breached, the freedom we have known under the law, becomes insubstantial.  There is a profound deterioration of individual rights, in the wake of a growing power of the State.  That makes liberty-lovers a little nervous.
     Here in the United States, it has been accepted that all government officers, including the President, the Justices of the Supreme Court, state judges and legislators, and all members of Congress, pledge first and foremost to uphold the Constitution. It has also been understood that these oaths affirm that the Rule of Law is superior to the rule of any human leader.  But when law-makers determine that they are no longer subjects of the law, then chaos ensues.
     We have seen that with the Fast and Furious debacle, the imminent "amnesty" issue, and I fear that we will see it set forth from the Ferguson, Missouri incident, as well.  To be sure, we have a problem with the Rule of Law being appropriately honored and administered in this nation.
     But let me drop a little bug in your ear ... our Rule of Law is not only being diminished from within our own country's framework, and by our own governing leaders, but could all this "lawlessness" soon come under the jurisdiction of the United Nations?  Let me explain ...
     Did you know that International Leaders from around the world convened about a year ago for what was called "the Bangkok Dialogue on the Rule of Law"?  Apparently, the UN has Millennium Development Goals, and the Rule of Law is a hot topic towards achieving those goals.  In fact, at the heart of the United Nations’ agenda is its role as the guardian of international legal frameworks.  That means that they, ideally, want to determine what our Rule of Law should be.
     Keeping that in mind, here is the UN's definition of the Rule of Law:  the rule of law refers to a principle of governance in which “all persons, institutions and entities, public and private, including the State itself, are accountable to laws that are publicly broadcasted, equally enforced and independently adjudicated, and which are consistent with international human rights, norms and standards”.
     Since when has America ever considered herself as following "standards or norms", as dictated by other entities?  Isn't that exactly why immigrants are streaming to our shores?  Never mind that our nation's Rule of Law was founded on Christian-Judeo principles of a "Higher Law" than man's laws; that our individual rights and liberties were established by our Creator, and are not subject to the whims of a  human ruler.  When that principle is forgotten, we are left with this reality:  "Behind every legal order there is always a god, be it God Himself or those who have control over the state machinery." (RJ Rushdoony, American philosopher, historian and theologian).
     Ultimately, we are in danger of losing our unique Rule of Law in this country.  We have abandoned the Source of our Liberties, and forgotten that God's Higher Laws are above the laws of any man.  It's simple, really ... we, as the people of our nation, along with those we have chosen to protect our Rule of Law, must decide what kind of authority we want as the source of power over us.  Do we want the authority of God-instituted laws; the control of an "international body", such as the UN, to mold us to an acceptable standard; or do we want the authority of a mere human ruler, who seeks his own power, instead of glorifying God's laws?
     I think we've taken our unique Rule of Law for granted too long, and assumed it would always exist.  But when men put their laws above God's; and seek their will, instead of His, then the legality of laws don't really matter -- only the end results that uphold a man's power and authority.  That's when we are in danger of replacing laws with illegality, and we cease to exist as the land of the free.  How much longer before our Rule of Law vanishes altogether?

Jeremiah 10:23    "I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps."

November 23, 2014

Ezekiel 34:17

And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between the rams and the great he-goats [the malicious and the tyrants of the pasture].



     As always with Scripture, we must be careful to approach it within the larger context of a passage or Chapter.  Today, we consider Ezekiel, Chapter 34.  Ezekiel, as God's prophet, has been told to prophecy against the shepherds of Israel -- even to the Spiritual shepherds.  These "shepherds" are the kings, judges and rabbis of the nation of Israel.  And through Ezekiel, the Lord God asks the important question, "Should not the shepherds feed the sheep?"
     In other words, these leaders of the nation of Israel have been given a great responsibility by the Lord to watch over His people.  But God brings a severe condemnation against them.  These leaders, rather than guard and protect the people, and leading them to prosperity, have, instead, fattened themselves.  God comes against them with several accusations:  those who were weak or sick were not helped; those that were handicapped by life's struggles were not encouraged; and the civil leaders of the nation did nothing to lift them up.
     These allegations extended to the religious leaders as well:  those that strayed from the faith, or whom have not been taught the faith at all, have not been sought and corrected.  In fact, all leaders fall under a blanket charge of negligence and dereliction of duty.  Indeed, they have not tended to "their flock" with the care and encouragement that God desired.  Instead, they have seen to their own selfish needs, and dealt with the people by force and hardened hearts.
     So, God says He will take care of His flock Himself.  He will gather them and feed them, Himself, causing them to "lie down".  This is a very important piece of information, regarding God's "flock".  It is significant to understand four things about sheep:  1)  they refuse to lie down unless they are free of all fear; 2)  they will not lie down unless they are free of friction with others of their kind;  3)  they will only lie down when they can relax and be free of pests;  4)  they will not lie down as long as they are hungry and in need of food.  So God says HE will meet all these needs of His flock, and will feed the leaders both judgment and punishment. 
     But He is not through!  God also has a word for the sheep, themselves!  In our chosen Scripture, He clearly states that He is addressing the sheep, as well as the leaders (Rams and He-Goats).  There are those within the flock, itself, that have not done their duty.  He is talking to those that belong to Him who have prospered and are comfortable in their favored position.  He wants them to understand that this does not alleviate their compassion or acts of charity towards other members who are less fortunate.  "Belonging to the flock", does not mean you that you're home free, with no responsibility towards others.
     Just a few verses later, God declares, "I Myself, will judge between fat sheep and impoverished sheep, or fat goats and lean goats ... Therefore will I rescue My flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep."  God means to rescue the nation of Israel, not only from the world, but from themselves.
     How does this apply to us?  Will not we, as the Gentile nations, also be judged?  Won't our judges and kings and presidents be held accountable as to how they treated God's people?  Furthermore, what does this Chapter and passage say to us Christians?  We are also part of God's "flock".  And when He says He will "judge between sheep and sheep", what do you think that means for us?
     Might it mean that just being called "Christian" isn't enough to escape judgment? Our Christian lives -- how we served God, and how we encouraged (and aided) others of the faith -- will be scrutinized.  We must never think of ourselves as above reproach or reprimand.  And notice that He is talking to the "sheep"; not the shepherds here.  
     God knows that our Pastors have enough to answer to Him for not feeding His sheep.  But what have we sheep done for the flock?  Have we endeavored to encourage those new to the faith, so that they will have no fear when it comes to declaring their faith? Have we made sure that we are not causing friction within the Body of Christ?  Have we been diligent about keeping "pests" out of the Church; those who seek to introduce destructive doctrines to the flock?  And lastly, have we truly "fed" fellow members of the flock; or have we simply slapped the label of "Christian" on them and left them starving for the Word?  
     God wants his sheep to feel safe and secure enough to "lie down".  It is our duty -- and should be our privilege -- to provide these services, not only in obedience and praise to our God; but in loving support of the flock.  It is incumbent upon each of us to ask how He will judge our ministry to His flock.   
     


November 22, 2014

The Danger of the Pendulum Swing

     I will probably be castigated for my opinion on this subject, but I cannot sit idly by and watch the Church, which belongs to Jesus Christ, become deceived by a "new paradigm" of how His Body is to conduct itself.
     Like me, many of the faithful have come to know God as much bigger and more Sovereign than He has been represented in the Modern Church.  We have turned to the Bible for our knowledge of Him and His precepts and commandments, rather than rely on denominational rituals and creeds.  We long to know Him and His Son more deeply and more truthfully.  We have immersed ourselves in His Word and seek to fulfill our purpose for His Kingdom.
     In that vein, we have left "lukewarm" Churches and have either formed our own home churches, (in the manner of the early believers in the Faith); or have sought Churches that encourage a more spiritual and personal relationship with God.  And that's why I am warning you to be aware.
      Be careful, because all may not be what it seems.  I know many who were not being fed Biblical knowledge, and in their pursuit of a closer walk with God, they left dried-up, denominational Churches for what appear to be more vibrant, "alive" Churches that purport to be seeking a greater knowledge of God.  The pendulum may be swinging towards an enthusiastic, contemporary Church body, but that doesn't mean it is authentic.
     Case in point:  Rick Warren, Pastor of Saddleback Church in California, has long been a proponent of "Change" in the Church.  He transitioned his successful book The Purpose Driven Life into a program he calls The Purpose Driven Church.  Along with associates who are eager adherents to the Emerging Church Movement, he has made a name for himself through his advice for churches who have "hit a plateau".  In case, you are unfamiliar with exactly what the Emerging Church is, here's a simple description:  Emerging Churches seek to reach the lost (or dissatisfied) by focusing on relationships and developing a "story," a "journey of life," that is expressed through the "narrative" of learning.  Sadly, the focus is usually on learning about oneself, than about gaining knowledge of our Creator.  Simply put, the Emerging Church teaches a doctrine that Religion Saves, not Christ.
     You can see how this more "personal" agenda might appeal to those who have never heard of Jesus's Saving Grace, or to those who are hungry for a warmer, more dynamic approach to worship.  But that is where the Devil is hidden in the details!  Escaping a lukewarm Church for one that is empty of the true Majesty of God is just a swing of the pendulum, and brings you no closer to a greater understanding of Jehovah.  Just take a look at Warren's Saddleback Church website -- you will be overwhelmed with all the ministry opportunities and programs in which to immerse yourself.  But where is a Mission Statement about the Core Beliefs of this Church?  It doesn't seem to be about God at all!
     So, in case you're wondering if you might have traded one false Church for another, here are some warning signs to be cognizant of; a change in format could be leading to a change in the Truth that's being preached:
•  Change in music to a contemporary rock style.
•  Removal of hymn books; eliminating the choir.
•  Replacement of organ and piano with heavy metal instruments.
•  Repetitive singing of praise lyrics.
•  Dressing down to casual and informal attire.
•  Eliminating of business meetings, church committees, council of elders, board of deacons, etc.
•  The pastor, or a new leader with a few assistants, usually four, takes charge of all church business.
•  A repetitive 40-day Purpose Driven Church study program stressing psychological relationships with each other, the community, or the world, begins.
•  Funded budgeted programs are abandoned, or ignored, with ambiguous financial reports made.
•  Sunday morning, evening, and/or Wednesday prayer meetings are changed to other times; some may even be eliminated.
•  Sunday School teachers are moved to different classes, or replaced by new teachers more sympathetic with the changes being implemented.
•  The name “Sunday School” is dropped and classes are given new names.
•  Crosses and other traditional Christian symbols may be removed from both the inside and outside of the church buildings. The pulpit may also be removed.
•  In accordance with Dr. Warren’s instructions, new version Bibles are used; or only verses flashed on a screen are referenced during regular services.
•  Purpose Driven Church films, purchased from Saddleback, precede or are used during regular services.
•  The decor, including the carpets, may be changed to eliminate any resemblance to the former church.
•  The word “church” is often taken from the name of the church, and the church may be called a “campus”. Denominational names may also be removed.
•  An emphasis on more fun and party sessions for the youth.
•  Elimination of altar calls or salvation invitations at the close of the services.
•  The elimination of such words as “unsaved”, “lost”, “sin”, “Hell”, “Heaven” and other Gospel verities from the pastor’s messages.
•  The reclassification of the saved and lost to the “churched” and the “unchurched”.
•  The marginalizing, or ostracizing, of all who are not avid promoters of the new Purpose Driven Program.
•  Closed meetings between the pastor or chosen staff members without any reports made to the general membership.
•  Open hostility to members who do not openly embrace the new program, or who may have left for another church.
     I simply want to ask you a few questions... Have the old, "Biblical" hymns been replaced by songs using the cultural vernacular?  And do the lyrics tell you anything of God's Character, or are they all about you?  Do you have a Coffee Bar or Lounge to attract younger church members?  Is God spoken of in these casual settings, or is it all about getting acquainted with each other?  As a Church Body, do you invite members or visitors to "give their life to Christ", or do you tell them to live the best life they can?  Does your Pastor believe there is a Hell or Judgment due mankind; or do you only hear about the Love and Grace of God?  How many of these bulleted points describe the format of your Church?  Do any of these contribute to a more holy and reverent understanding of God?  And finally, how many Lost has your Church brought into the Kingdom of God?  I'm not talking about how much your membership roll has grown -- I want to know if you have been instructed and encouraged to speak to the Lost and tell them of Christ's sacrifice for them.  Could it be that you are simply beguiling those who are comfortable in their faith?
     These are really important times for Christ's Church.  We have a job to do, and I sense that our time is running out to accomplish our purpose.  Instead of looking for the finish line and running as hard as we can towards Victory, we seem to be either stuck in slow motion, looking backwards; or looking at ourselves in the mirror and congratulating ourselves on OUR relevancy.  Neither description fulfills our commission as the Body of Christ.  We must escape the routine and mechanical operation of the apathetic Church, while guarding against the dangers of the "new spirituality" found in the false Emerging Church.  Right now, we are not resembling the Bride of Christ.  We cannot be too vigilant! 

2 Timothy 3:1-5    "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves ... haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!"
     

November 21, 2014

Is Chrislam The One World Religion?


     Whether you believe in the Bible and its End Times prophecies or not, you must admit that Christianity and Islam make for strange bedfellows.  Yet, that is exactly what three different events that I am about to reveal seem to project.  Chrislam is the blending of the Christian/Judeo faith with the tenets of Islam, and you might want to investigate what the Good Book has to say about this false religion, and how it will affect the world.  It's all there in the Book of Revelation; Chapter 17 to be exact.
     Specifically, it is described as a "harlot", which scholars often use to describe a false religion.  But more specifically, this false religion is depicted as dominating all the “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” of the earth; as well as having great influence among the world’s rulers and influential people, who become "drunk" on her false promises.  Furthermore, these leaders are accused of committing adultery with the harlot, showing that she lures them away from their faith in the true God.
     So, what does all this have to do with Chrislam?  Keep in mind the descriptions I've just given you, and let me relate the following events.  First, Pope Francis is hosting a global ecumenical conference at the Vatican this week.  (Remember, the meaning of "ecumenical" is universal; all-embracing; and all-inclusive).  In attendance will be representatives of all the major religions of the world; including the Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jaina Shasana, Taoist and Sikh religions.  Now, of course, this all appears to be "on the up and up", as the conference is centered on marriage between a man and woman, and the revitalization of the family for the good of society.
     But when the conference is sponsored and promoted by the Pope and the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, and features speakers such as Rick Warren, who has been quoted as stating that "Muslims and Christians believe that God is one", it casts serious doubt as to the real purpose of this event.
     Secondly, this past summer Pope Francis worked with a German art historian to share Islamic works of art from the Vatican's Ethnological Museum with a museum in Sharjah, one of the emirates of the United Arab Emirates.  The artworks on display stem from the 12th to the 19th century, but also include valuable objects from everyday life in the Arab world, all owned by the Vatican.  Most of the objects had arrived in the Vatican in 1925 when Pope Pius XI hosted a kind of international cultural exhibition comprised of gifts presented to him from private donors and missionaries stationed all around the world.  After the exhibition, the collection needed a permanent home, and the Vatican established its Ethnological Museum.
     The sharing of the Vatican's artwork is being hailed as "an act of diplomacy" by Pope Francis, who prefers to be more open and accepting of other religions, unlike his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, who had distanced himself from other faiths.  This Pope sees himself as a "unifier" and advocates for the role of culture in religious, social and moral matters.  In fact, the exhibit is being promoted as  "the first collaboration of the Vatican with an Arab country", and furthering the "dialogue between Christians and Muslims."  Fittingly, the title of the exhibition is "So that you may know each other", which is actually a verse from the Koran in response to the question of why people are so different.  You can decide for yourself if this is just good PR, or if this is foretelling a deeper motive.
     Finally, did you know that Berlin will be the home of a temple where Muslims, Jews and Christians will worship together?  It will be called the House of One, and each faith will meet in separate "compartments" (a synagogue, a church, and a mosque), and then converge to worship together as they find "common ground".  Can it be anymore clear that a hybrid religion is in the works?  And I find myself asking why leaders of the Jewish faith would agree to be involved in such a project in the very city from which Hitler's design for their distinction was born?  Are they just "drunk" on the false promises of a One World Religion?  And could this be viewed as another sign, or signal, to the Islamic world that they are dominating the world's religions?  I don't know what is motivating these religious leaders, but a Temple of Chrislam is not the answer.
     I realize that not everyone sees these events through the same Biblical lens that I do.  But it is my solemn wish that people would consider what the Bible reveals about this End Times religion.  I cannot say for sure that Chrislam fits the bill, but it sure is headed in that direction.  The Bible prophecys that this One World religious system will be used by the AntiChrist, at least at first, to entice and attract the world to her uniting promises.  It will be an instrument of his deception to gain the world's adoration.  But when she becomes drunk on her own power, and has fulfilled her purpose of forcing everyone to bow down at her counterfeit altar, the AntiChrist will turn on this false religion and usurp her power for himself; establishing himself as God.  The deception by both the Harlot (a tempting One World Religion) and the Anti-Christ will be so great, that even Christians should fear falling for it.
     So, I mention these events and show their connectivity to encourage you to be aware and to stand strong in your faith.  Deception is rampant in our world today.  Nothing is as it seems.  But we must guard ourselves against the deceit and lies that will fool the world.  The time is short until Evil reveals its true self, and we must all declare our trust in Jesus and the Father.  Our eternal lives depend on it!

Revelation 17:4   "And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication..."
     

November 20, 2014

Bacchus, Dionysus & The Zombie Apocalypse: Satan's Bloodthirsty Rerun

     Have you ever wondered where the Zombie phenomenon came from?  How did it suddenly take over our culture, imagination and conscience?  And could it possibly be intertwined with an age-old deception and strategy?  Sure, it had a brief rise in popularity during the 1970's in The Night of the Living Dead movie genre.  But, we are now at the point where even the CDC and the Pentagon offer ways to protect yourself from "the Zombie Apocalypse".
     Well, it seems that this ghoulish sensation isn't such a new occurrence after all; and may not be as fictional as you think.  As with every evil personification in history, you can find demonic involvement.  You may be surprised to find out that your average zombie shares the same characteristics with the ancient worship of the God of wine, abandon, and revelry, known as Bacchus, or Dionysus, in the Greek.  For the purpose of this discussion, we will use his Greek name.
     So, by all mythological accounts, Dionysus just sounds like he was a party hound deluxe.  But there's more to him than just being the champion of "a good time".  According to Greek mythology, he is seen as "the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and thus symbolizes everything which is chaotic, dangerous and unexpected, everything which escapes human reason and which can only be attributed to the unforeseeable action of the gods." (Wikipedia)   But that's not all.  Those who partake of his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself.  His cult is also a "cult of the souls"; his female followers feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead.  Starting to get a picture of who this "god" might be?  Well, let me take you a little farther.
     In 410 B.C., the Greek dramatist, Euripides, proclaimed the greatness of Dionysus in his play The Bacchantes (who were members of a religious cult that swept over Greece in the 600s BC, a period of social and political upheaval).  Euripides portrayed Dionysus as having "put off the god and taken human shape".  In the play, Dionysus boasts that he has fallen to earth, sent by "the one who will loose me" to do his evil work.
     The play accurately depicted the real-life followers of Dionysus, who had no love for moral guidelines or laws of the conventional world.  Dionysus had been sent to help them gain a spiritual state of ecstasy through their rituals.  And just what were those acts of worship? On the conservative side, women migrated in frenzied hillside groups, dressed in fawn skins accompanied by screaming, music, dancing, and licentious behavior.  But that didn't satisfy their lust for "anything goes".  In fact, any creature that dared to resist or flee their perverse rituals was often subjected to sparagmos (tearing apart) and omophagia (consumed raw).  This lifestyle was so rampant and so depraved, that it was eventually outlawed by the Greeks and Romans.  Beginning to see a resemblance to Zombies, now?
     While you may think this ancient cult wished to possess the soul of the one consumed, the goal was actually more demonic.  They really sought to capture the essence of Dionysus and bring him through a portal of incarnated rage within humans.  It is not surprising, that the Hebrews of that age believed demonic possession was actually a result of the rituals of these followers of Dionysus.  And apparently something called a kestatot (magic band) was used to capture the souls of people by magic.  Even the prophet Ezekiel warns against them:  And say, Thus says the Lord God: Woe to the women who sew pillows to all armholes and fasten magic, protective charms to all wrists, and deceptive veils upon the heads of those of every stature to hunt and capture human lives! Will you snare the lives of My people to keep your own selves alive? (Ezekiel 13:18; Amplified Bible).
Statue of the "Rites of Dionysus"
     To give further credence to this worship of Dionysus, the Apostle Paul (in Acts 17:34) mentions a man by that name who was delivered from this cult and came to faith in Jesus.  This is significant because to be named Dionysus either meant that his parents had been followers of the demonic god and had predestined their child to the same perversion, or that this man was under the spell of the magic arm band (kestatot).  This band had some kind of connection to a container called an orca, or kiste.  And here's more evidence that this all ties together as demonically influenced -- Wherever a kiste is inscribed on sarcophagi or on Bacchic scenes, it is depicted as a sacred vessel or soul-prison with a snake peering through an open lid.
      But there's more to understanding Dionysus and his significance in Greek mythology.  According to Wikipedia, "the Dio-element has been associated since antiquity with Zeus" -- another name for our old friend Nimrod, a clear representative of Anti-Christ.  Furthermore, he was the son of a mortal woman and Zeus, king of the gods.  (You should recognize this as imitating the Bible's Genesis 6 account of fallen angels mating with human women).  There are a couple of different versions of the birth and death of Dionysys.  In one account, his mortal mother asks Zeus to reveal himself in all his glory as proof of his godhood.  He came to her wreathed in bolts of lightning; mortals, however, could not look upon an undisguised god without dying, and she perished in the ensuing blaze.  (Another attempt by Satan to counterfeit God's Shekinah Glory in ancient mythology). Zeus rescues the unborn Dionysus by sewing him into his thigh, and later releases the fully-grown baby from his thigh on Mount Pramnos in the Aegean Sea.
     Another version has Dionysus as the son of Zeus and Persephone, the queen of the Underworld.  Zeus's jealous wife, Hera, enlists the aid of the Greek gods, the Titans, to dismember Dionysus.  Once again Zeus saves his son by retrieving the heart and sewing it into his thigh, from whence a reborn Dionysus emerges.  Both stories present an enigmatic death and rebirth legend that came in handy to various pagan religions that reverenced the mysteries surrounding this "god".  (It also didn't hurt Satan's cause of counterfeiting Christ's death and resurrection).
    These "Dionysian Mysteries" were, in one sense, a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state.  There were elaborate (and debauched) rituals initiating people into this cult, which are too depraved to recount here.  Suffice it to say, that a partial rendition of the Invocation of Dionysus gives you a clear picture of the nature of this religious veneration:  "I call upon loud-roaring and revelling Dionysus, primeval, double-natured, thrice-born, Bacchic lord, wild, ineffable, secretive, two-horned and two-shaped. Ivy-covered, bull-faced, warlike, howling, pure, You take raw flesh, you have feasts, wrapt in foliage, decked with grape clusters...".

     By now, you should be seeing some of the similarities between this ancient Satanic cult and our modern obsession with Zombies.  There are those who will tell you that the Zombie phenomenon is fiction, and fairly new to our culture.  They are pictured as mindless, reanimated human corpses (sometimes animals) with a hunger for human flesh.  In truth, though, they are just the latest embodiment of the flesh-hungry undead, who have been a fixture of world mythology since its earliest recordings.
     One of the oldest written stories on earth (between 2750 and 2500 BC), called The Epic of Gilgamesh, records the vow of the Goddess of the Underworld, Ishtar (also known as Nimrod's wife):  I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld, I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down, and will let the dead go up to eat the living! And the dead will outnumber the living! 
     This could perfectly describe what we witness each week on the current TV blockbuster, The Walking Dead.  It is no coincidence that we are seeing this recurring theme once again in human history.  As I said earlier, George Romero's frightening 1968 movie Night of the Living Dead brought the concept of "the devouring undead" to our conscious minds.  However, he didn't refer to them as "zombies" in this first movie, but rather "ghouls"; which is actually more appropriate because in Arabic folklore and myths, ghouls are demons.  In the sequel to the movie, Dawn of the Dead, we first hear the term "zombie", which is thought to be a reflection of Voodoo resurrections of the dead in such demonically-influenced cultures as Haiti.
     Fast forward to our modern fixation on the "Zombie Apocalypse"; a breakdown of society as a result of an initial zombie outbreak from a plague/virus, which spreads and threatens to consume all of mankind. By now, it should be clear that our addiction and preoccupation with Zombies has become, perhaps, just a subconscious realization that they represent the coming of the complete, and final, destruction of the world as presented in the Book of Revelation.
     Taken all together, the mythology of Dionysus and his Mysteries, and the Zombie Apocalypse, literally comes down to the question of whether one will "be turned" to an existence that is exemplified by a rotten, putrefying soul; reanimated to devour others (demons) -- or "be saved" by receiving a true resurrected body; a new life after dying, showing the power of the One, True God and glorifying His Son, Jesus.
     Throughout the ages, Satan has attempted to influence mankind to come over to the dark side.  And he has been creative in his efforts, I will give him that.  Whether he tells his story through the lure of uninhibited revelry, the legends of mighty gods, or the seduction of a frightening apocalypse, Death is his perpetual theme, and the process of decay is ongoing.  We must not become distracted by Lucifer's intelligence and beauty.  We must be mindful to guard ourselves against the mania that takes our eyes off our only Source of True Life.
     If we belong to the Lord, we don't have to fear Satan's demonic influence in our culture.  Zombies are just the latest manifestation out of his ancient playbook.  The story never changes; he offers only death and decay -- and we know the ending!

Revelation 1:17-18   "... Do not be afraid! I am the First and the Last, and the Ever-living One [I am living in the eternity of the eternities].  I died, but see, I am alive forevermore; and I possess the keys of death and Hades (the realm of the dead)."
   
     
   

November 19, 2014

And Israel Cried Out To The Lord ...

   
     UPDATE:  A fifth victim has died due to the horrendous slaughter by Palestinian terrorists at a Jerusalem synagogue.  Others are in serious and critical condition.

     Have you noticed that the world's focus has turned once again to the nation of Israel?  No matter what your faith, the brutality of the murders at a Jewish synagogue in Jerusalem should break your heart.  Two Palestinian terrorists entered the place of worship with guns and meat cleavers and killed four people, including a Rabbi, and seriously injured seven more.
     According to Israeli news sources, the two terrorists entered the synagogue in the middle of prayers, and began shouting "Allahu akbar'.  Their murderous rampage lasted only a short time before they were both killed by Israeli police in a shootout.  Among the dead are three Israeli-Americans.
     World leaders quickly called the attack "an act of pure terror and senseless brutality and violence", and even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned it; the first time he has done so since the violence has erupted over the contested Temple Mount.  As to be expected, Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic terrorist organization, praised the attack as a “response to ongoing crimes against the al-Aqsa mosque [Haram Al-Sharif]”, and called for increased violence.  People lined the streets in Gaza, as Hamas passed out candy to celebrate the murders.
    To the rest of the world, it may be difficult to understand why so much violence and hatred is centered around the Temple Mount.  To fully understand the relevance of this sacred site, one must know its history and its significance.  The Temple Mount is considered to be the holiest site in Judaism, the third holiest site in Islam, and a revered site to Christians. To the Jews it is known as Har HaMoriyah (Mount Moriah) and Har HaBayit (Temple Mount); to Muslims it is known as Haram al Sharif (the Sacred Noble Sanctuary). In the Bible it is also called Mount Zion, which signifies both a physical location (Jerusalem) and a spiritual kingdom, whose center will be a heavenly Jerusalem.
     So, as we race towards the final confrontations of this world, we are beginning to see the culmination of 2,000 years of contention for this sacred ground.  It is the spot identified by Christians and Jews as the place where Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice, and the location of the Holy of Holies in the Jewish Temple.  It is also the site of Solomon's Temple, and Zerubbabel's Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.  But to the Muslims, this site is called The Dome of the Rock, and was built in AD 692 over the place where Mohammad supposedly ascended to heaven.  During the Crusades, Christians took temporary control of the Temple Mount, and the Al Aqsa Mosque was used as a palace and church in 1099.  Today the Temple Mount is under the control of the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a trust that was established in 1187 to manage the Islamic structures in Jerusalem. Under their current rules, access to the holy sites is prohibited to all non-Muslims.
     But recent archeological discoveries have pointed to the overwhelming evidence that this location originally belonged to the nation of Israel, far earlier than the building of the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa Mosque in the 7th century.  And now impassioned Jews want access to their holy site.  In recent weeks, there have been clashes between Jews and Muslims, as each fights for the freedom to pray at this contested shrine.  Under an arrangement in place since Israel's capture of the Old City and its shrines in 1967, the sacred plateau is administered by Muslims reporting to Jordan, while Jews have a right to visit.  But that is becoming increasingly unacceptable to either faith.  The Jews don't want to simply "visit" the Temple Mount, which they see as "the deepest root" to their faith; and the Muslim faithful see the encroachment by the Jews as changing the status quo and the control of the site.  Passions are rising, and daily clashes have resulted in at least two deaths.
     And now the violence has opened a wound that may be difficult to heal.  Fueled by Palestinian revenge (through Hamas), Jerusalem threatens to become engulfed in religiously-fueled hatred of Israel's "occupation".  It is easy to believe the emotional rhetoric that calls for a "Palestinian homeland", but few people bother to research the facts of history.
     The term “Palestine” is believed to be derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what are now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century A.D., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank) in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel.  (Satan's influence can be seen down through history as he attempts to eradicate God's "Chosen" people).
     The Hebrews entered the Land of Israel about 1300 B.C., and enjoyed sovereignty under various kings until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.  The Jewish people enjoyed brief periods of sovereignty afterward until most Jews were finally driven from their homeland in 135 A.D.  It is interesting to note that Jewish independence in the Land of Israel lasted for more than 400 years. This is much longer than Americans have enjoyed independence in what has become known as the United States. In fact, if not for foreign conquerors, Israel would be more than 3,000 years old today.
     But here is the fact that is ignored in today's ongoing war between Arab nations and Israel:  Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country, although Arabic gradually became the language of most of the population after the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestine. When the distinguished Arab-American historian, Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti, testified against partition before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, he said: “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.”
     The area, known as Palestine, today, was historically a part of southern Syria.  So the truth of Palestinian Arab nationalism is that it is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War.  And now through powerful propaganda efforts, undoubtedly fueled by a dark spiritual element, war has been declared on the natural rights of Israelis and Jews to their "Promised Land".
     So, for those who seek an agreement with Palestine through Israeli concessions for land, and a compromise of the conflict over the Temple Mount, I urge you to read the Bible.  I fear that there will be more atrocities such as what happened at the Jerusalem synagogue, but Israel's enemies need to realize one thing ... God's Plan for the nation of Israel and Mount Zion will never be defeated.  And in light of these prophecies,  the Biblical command to "Pray for Jerusalem" has never been more appropriate.

Thank you to the website, GotQuestions.org for their valuable history of the Temple Mount.  Thanks also to the Jewish Virtual Library for their history of Israel's Roots.   As a Christian, and a student of the Bible, it is my opinion, that these sources are correct in their knowledge. 

Psalm 87:2-3    "The Lord loves the gates of Zion [through which the crowds of pilgrims enter from all nations] more than all the dwellings of Jacob (Israel). Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God."
   



November 18, 2014

We Can Overcome!

     Feeling unnerved and disheartened?  Who wouldn't be, when every news report and headline foretells chaos and disorder.  For instance, everyone is on pins and needles, waiting for the verdict to come out of Ferguson.  The protestors have released a long list of St. Louis area locations they wish to target, should the verdict not be to their liking.  And they have received coaching from the Community Organizer-in-Chief, to "stay on course".  (I would like an explanation of exactly what that means, please.)  But it's not only Ferguson and surrounding areas that are in a state of suspense.  This event could potentially affect every town in America, as this case has become about race, not justice.
     And speaking of lawlessness, are we soon to be engulfed with up to 5 million immigrants whose illegal status will be made valid by a stroke of the President's pen? Executive Amnesty is a bold political move, and the tactic is obvious -- appear to be the Party of Hispanic inclusion, and paint the Opposition as anti-immigrant, thereby playing ahead to the 2016 Presidential elections.  But, in reality, this move is against the immigration laws already on the books, and appears to threaten Constitutional Order.  And I dare to suggest that this is not really about providing citizenship to hard-working immigrants, or securing Democratic power for generations to come, so much as it is designed to bring down our economic system and force us into Socialism.
     Then there is the report that the Islamic militants engaged with ISIS number around 200,000; at least three times higher (and some sources say seven times higher) than previous CIA estimates.  There is also the fact that their latest beheading video is situated in Dabiq, Syria, which has great significance.  According to Front Page Mag, "Dabiq is a highly symbolic location which has historical and religious significance for Islam. The Islamic State has designated this place for the “Final Hour” where Armageddon will begin in an Islamic apocalyptic tradition that designates the West as modern-day Romans."  It is this murderous Islamic army's goal to bring about the "Final Hour" of this final Crusade.  We, in the West, disregard their bloodlust at our own expense.
     These are only a few of the top headlines that assail us each day; Russia's aggressive stance, the unorthodox weather, another Ebola death in our homeland, and the growing gap between our citizenry and those who rule us, all combine to create an unsettling environment in which to live our lives.  Could it seem any worse?
     How are we to react?  Granted, we cannot ignore it; the potential to impact our daily lives is obvious.  But, unfortunately, it doesn't appear that we have much control over any of it.  Those who are observant will take the necessary steps to protect their families, and be prepared to confront any immediate danger or enemy that presents itself.  But there is so much that is out of our hands.  I must admit that there are times I cannot see past this world, and it threatens to overwhelm me.  The spirit of this realm tells me that I am simply a pawn, that I have no power, and I am expendable.  It tells us all that we don't matter in the big scheme of things.  So, when we choose to listen to those lies, it keeps us in check, and we dutifully submit.  But it's all lies!!!
     I am here to tell you that the powers of this world have no claim on us, if we will just recognize our purpose.  If you belong to God, then He resides in you, and we have His power to overcome the negative spirits of this world.  And I don't want to mislead you -- being an "overcomer" implies that there is going to be a battle; and the battle lines are being drawn.
     But we aren't left defenseless, and we must hold our position, even in these, the greatest trials of our lifetime.  I know it sounds like some "religious nonsense", but we must stop listening to who the world says we are!  We have been given a Promise that outlasts this world; that is far more glorious than all the power and riches and security that this earthly system can provide.  Oh, sure, the world will ridicule us and marginalize us, but we don't have to listen!
     It is our purpose to show the world that we depend on Christ for our victory, no matter the cost.  Let them rely on deception, and their own power, to reap the rewards of this world.  I know that the headlines are only going to get worse, and that my comfortable life in the most blessed nation on earth, is going to drastically change.  But I can also rest in the conviction that my endurance through all the forthcoming trials, my complete dependence on Christ, and my witness of His Saving Grace will bear fruit for His Kingdom.  So, let the negative headlines continue, and let the rulers of this world proceed with their chest thumping.  I know who I am, and what my purpose is; I will triumph over all obstacles, and I will move toward my ultimate reward.  I will not be defeated!

1 John 5:4     "For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith."

November 17, 2014

Why Is Israel So Hated?

     With another beheading of an American in the last few days, the obsession and hatred of the West and Israel was made abundantly clear by the Islamic State Caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  I suppose I  can rationally explain his obsession with the U.S. and their coalition forces.  Muslims in the Middle East resent the presence of our troops on their soil and our interference in their governments.  The liberalism of the Western culture is an affront to their religious sensibilities, and there is the centuries long battle between Christendom and Islam.  The Crusades of old are still alive and well, and they center around the Holy Land and its people.
     Al-Baghdadi has described the Jews "as money-hungry individuals who controlled the leaders of Muslim countries ... The Jews were frightened; they feared for their economy. They feared for the Muslims’ wealth and the goods of our lands, which they plunder, suck dry, enjoy themselves with, and fight us with via their agents from amongst the treacherous rulers of the Muslims’ lands. They fear for their security. They fear the revolt of the Muslim peoples [against their rulers]. They fear their defeat. They fear the return of the Khilafah (caliphate) and the return of Muslims to pioneering and leadership."
     But where does this display of al-Baghdadi's boastful hatred and revulsion for the Jews come from?  And why have the nations of the world hated Israel?  For sure, this hatred has prevailed since Israel came into existence nearly 3700 years ago.  When God "chose" the Hebrew people from among all the nations, and established them in "the land He gave them", they became a target.  They were despised for what God accomplished on their behalf; for how they conquered the land with the help of their Lord.
    While Israel might have been the immediate object of much hatred and contempt; in reality, it was their God that the nations hated -- because the God of Israel was greater than any of the false gods of the conquered nations.  That hatred has not waned down through the ages; and because they hated God, they hated everything that came from Him ... His Word, the Bible, and His "chosen" people, the nation of Israel.  It really is as simple as that.  Remove all the politics and the warring religions and the conflict between ethnic peoples and it comes down to this:  they hate the reality of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, and the King and Redeemer of Israel.
     That makes the modern restoration of the nation of Israel to their ancient lands a bitter pill to swallow.  Because if God's prophecy of a restored Israel has come true, then "the rest of the story" (as Paul Harvey would say) may also be truth.  You see, it is not merely the history of the last nearly four thousand years of national conflict that has wrought a great animosity towards Israel; there has been enmity against God's plan for the Messiah to come through the nation of Israel since the Garden of Eden.  There is an evil, spiritual source behind the hatred for Israel.  This hostility can be traced to a spirit of anti-Christ; any person or spirit who opposes and denies Christ as the Son of God, and wishes to prevent His return as the King of Israel --- which is the final prophecy of the Bible.
     This spirit can be seen in the plots and tactics of evil rulers down through history, starting with Satan -- certainly Haman, Antiochus Epiphanes, Nero, Titus, Hitler and now al-Baghdadi all qualify.  And, as Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said on Face The Nation yesterday, "The Middle East is awash with militant Islamists ... Ayatollah Khamenei, the ruler of Iran, calls for the annihilation of Israel. He just did that four days ago. He specified nine ways and reasons by which Israel should be destroyed."
     Behind it all is that spirit of opposition to Christ; a spirit who abhors the reality that Israel is actually in their homeland, and the possibility that her King may soon reign.  And so, as we begin to see the ancient Biblical prophecies fulfilled, the nations are being drawn to Israel to come against her -- just as the Bible predicted!  You see, al-Baghadi, and the nations aligned with him, know what the Bible says will happen; they know that Jesus, Israel's King, will appear with His armies of Heaven, and they will be destroyed.
     It is their delusional and deceived hope that if Israel can be "pushed into the sea", and it no longer exists, that their own destruction can be prevented.  But that is because they have believed the Lie and are sadly deceived.  But the truth is this:  Israel can do nothing to alleviate the hatred from the nations; no amount of concessions for land will satisfy the hatred against her -- that die was cast in the Garden, and the enmity will survive until her Messiah returns.  As for Israel, Jesus, himself tells her that she will be "desolate" -- miserable and grief-stricken -- and He will not return until the nation recognizes Him as their King.  How close are we?  No one knows; but you can feel the spiritual battle rising.  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!

Psalm 2:1-2     "Why do the nations assemble with commotion, and why do the people meditate upon and devise an empty scheme? The kings of the earth take their places; the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and His Anointed One (the Messiah, the Christ)."