Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is the Middle East Ready to Explode?

What an incredible week this is turning out to be! Hang with me as we try to work through the major prophetic news items in just the past three or four days.

First, elections toward a new parliament in Egypt began on Monday. Thousands of Egyptians participated in the first of several steps involved in the first truly free elections in Egypt in over 60 years. The first day went peaceful, but I read this morning that yesterday a few demonstrators got violent and out of control. Who will be the big winner in these elections to be ultimately decided by late spring 2012? Most pundants see the Muslim Brotherhood coming out on top. And you remember that one of their top initiatives is the total destruction of Israel. I look for increase tensions in the coming months along the Egyptian-Israeli borders in the Sinai. I also look for a continued emboldening of Hamas in the Gaza Strip as they are granted less restrictions by the Egyptian military government.

Second, the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate significantly. Over the weekend the Arab League imposed some strict economic sanctions upon President Assad. Their concern was the mounting death toll of Syrians who have opposed the Assad regime. There has been no response fr9m Damascus, but yesterday four Katyusha rockets were fired from Hezbollah bases in southern Lebanon into northern Israel. With tensions mounting the United States has ordered the evacuation of all Americans from Syria and has placed a carrier group off the Syrian coast. Many feel this is a sign of an American-led NATO military operation against Assad, like what the European Union and NATO did against Libya that brought down the regime of Qaddafi.

Here comes the interesting question: What will be Iran's response to any attack upon Syria - its proxy in the region? You can rest assured that Israel is rather nervous right now.

Speaking of Iran, have you been following the series of mysterious explosions that have been occurring on their military bases? So far each one has been labeled as an accident, but a series of accidents? Stay tuned for further news on this front.

Meanwhile, all is not quiet on the Jordanian frontier either. A steady stream of refugees from Iraq and from Syria are crossing the borders. That, coupled with the increasing presence of the Muslim Brotherhood, creates a climate where King Abdullah and his government are rather nervous. One worry that the Jordanians have was expressed this way by Oded Eran of the Institute for National Securities Studies: "The U.S. final withdrawal from Iraq may cause anarchy there, which in turn will increase the flow of Iraqi refugees to Jordan." Another concern the Jordanians have is the prospect of a unity government in the West Bank between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA). One of the consequences of such a unity government would be the inevitability of another Palestinian Intifadah against Israel, resulting in many Palestinians fleeing to Jordan for refuge.

Can any one say "Psalm 83 War?" I wake up each morning expecting to hear the headlines on the 6 o'clock news saying that war has broken out in the Middle East. I keep wondering how long the tides of war there can be held back. Yet I know all things are in God's hands. He is still the Sovereign God of His universe. But another Middle East war between Israel and her neighbors is inevitable because He has said it would happen. So now we just watch the pages of God's calendar turn day by day. Of course, we have a lot to do as we watch. Our mission for Christ has not changed just because the earth is unraveling. We are still to go and make disciples of all nations. May we do this faithfully and prayerfully as we wait patiently.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Egypt, Syria, Iran, and a God Who Is in Control

I trust you have been following carefully what has been happening in the Middle East, particularly in Egypt and in Syria. Let's begin with Egypt. This past weekend, demonstrators once again took to the streets of Cairo and in Tahrir Square. You might remember that it was in Tahrir Square in January that the "Arab Spring" was launched, resulting in the overthrow of then President Mubarak. And you remember that the Egyptian military assumed control of the country - in actuality, they have been in charge for the past 60 years or so, as both Anwar Sadat and Mubarak were military leaders. The military leaders promised the people that democratic elections would be held this fall, but they never occurred. Now the military is saying that those elections would be held next summer.

I listened to a news report this past weekend that related the concerns the Egyptian military has with having elections so quickly. According to the analysts, the Egyptian military leaders - many of whom are classified as secular Islamists - have a fear of the Muslim Brotherhood. The later is very well organized and poised to gain significant seats in a nationwide election. The Muslim Brotherhood has not been quiet in its desire for a Sharia-led government. So there is a philosophical and ideological battle being waged. So far the military has held the upper hand. But one wonders how long that will last now that the second "Arab Spring" has materialized. Nearly three dozen demonstrators have been killed by Egyptian soldiers. And, unlike in Syria where many within the military are defecting toward the side of the demonstrators, the Egyptian military seems to be holding firm. Egypt is definitely in crisis, and it is one you need to pay close attention to.

Meanwhile the government of President Bashir Assad in Syria holds the reigns of power tightly. But with many of his military leaders defecting and with increased isolation even from the Arab world, one wonders how much longer he can remain in power. Just days ago, King Abdullah of Jordan, until recently a supporter of the Syrian regime, said that it was time for Assad to go. The Arab League has gone on record as opposing the use of violence by Assad. One wonders how much support Assad is getting from his friends in Tehran these days. After all, he has served them well with his continual pressure upon Israel. The major concern with Syria is the vacuum that will be created when Assad steps down from power. Will the Muslim Brotherhood step into the gap? Will Iran exert more pressure through its proxy Hezbollah in neighboring Lebanon? And what will the absence of Assad mean for the Israelis and the security along the Golan Heights? This is another of those area of strong interest and vital concern.

And, lingering over the entire Middle East is the threat of a nuclear Iran. I can assure you that the Saudis are very nervous about having a nuclear Iran as its neighbor, especially if Iran begins to impose its weight in Iraq following the withdrawal of American forces there in a matter of a few weeks. Iran already bullies many of the smaller Arab states that lie along the eastern side of the Arabian peninsula. And, remember, the leadership in Riyadh is getting old. One wonders when the "Arab Spring" will come to Saudi Arabia.

When one thinks of a nuclear Iran, the next question is: What will Israel do to prevent it? From editorials in several Jewish papers, the conclusions range from an imminent air assault, possibly before Christmas, to doing very little unless there is cooperation with the United States and NATO. I think the last thing this Administration and Congress want is to engage in another Middle Eastern war, therefore support for Israel might only be of the verbal variety.

Among the attributes of God for which I am most thankful this year is His sovereign control over the affairs of this world. I don't know about you, but I am so grateful that the apparent senselessness of what is happening all around us makes complete sense to our God. In fact, it is part of His purpose and plan to bring in the inauguration of His Son.

I would like to close with the words to a great old hymn of the Church that celebrates God.
"Immortal, invisible, God only wise, In light inaccessible hid from our eyes,
Most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, Almighty, victorious - Thy great name we praise."

May you and your families have a blessed Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - What Is Really Going On?

I have to admit that I am having a very difficult time with the Occupy Wall Street protest mobs. Yes, I will use that term to describe them. They have a mob-mentality. They act like a mob. And, in many cities, the local authorities are treating them like a mob. Of course, the actions of the local police have come under review. The use of tear, that is just nasty. The use of night sticks...that is so harsh. Yet examine for just a moment what these mobs, that seem to now occupy almost every governmental center and/or park in the major cities in our nation, have accomplished.

Are the people on Wall Street, their supposed targets, paying any attention? Absolutely not! Business on the Street continues with most Americans watching the ebb and flow of their 401(k) and IRA investments. Are the major banks and lending institutions paying any attention? Well, some might say that the recent decision of Bank of America to back away from its $5 per month fee for using its debit cards was a victory. But, I contend, that victory came not through the obnoxious cries of those within the mob, but the statement made by many of BoA's clients as they changed banks. Although they held on longer than I would have thought, eventually the leaders at BoA saw the light and rescinded the fee. But there has been one group that has been paying attention: the liberal media. It seems that almost nightly there is a report on one of the "Occupy" groups with negligible negativity. (If this were the Tea Party, these would be described as being terrorists.)

So, if the Occupy Wall Street mobs have had no impact upon those they have targeted, what have they done. Well, they have destroyed property. They have defecated and urinated on public property. They have committed criminal acts - vandalism, rape and sexual assault, just to name a few. They have caused cities to take police from regular beats and put them into security positions, thus raising the chances for crime to rise in local neighborhoods. And cities have been forced to use precious tax-payer resources to pay for protection, emergency medical assistance, and clean-up.

What is it that these protesters want? A few, mind you it is a very small percentage, truly are seeking for something better, perhaps at least a job. But the majority want something for nothing. As one protester was heard to exclaim, "I want to have a full time pay, but not have to work." A large percentage of these mobsters - there I said it! - pay no income taxes; they are receiving food stamps and other forms of governmental assistance. They feel that someone needs to contribute more so they can better themselves.

I remember reading E. Gibbons classic study, "The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire." In its latter days, before the invasion by the barbaric hordes, Rome had become a state filled with those who received entitlements. They were on the public payrolls. When those who received governmental handouts exceeded those who paid taxes to the government, society began to rapidly collapse. I believe we are seeing a repeat of that decline here in America today.

I am asked if anything can be done. Honestly, I don't know. I shared with a friend this past week that Humpty Dumpty has certainly fallen off the wall and I am not sure all the king's men can put him together again. These little acts of anarchy - for I believe that is what they truly are - are merely reminders of a greater anarchy that is yet to come after the Church has been raptured away. I invite you to read about those times in 2 Thessalonians 2.

Anyway, keep looking up for that is where our hope comes from. And don't forget to share that hope with someone who desperately needs to come to Christ.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Anything Happening of Importance?

Yesterday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its report on the Iranian nuclear project. The conclusion to the report stated: "After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the agency finds the information to be, overall, credible. This information indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device." This has been the contention held by most of the western world leaders since Iranian President Ahmadinejad announced that Iran was developing a nuclear capability back in 2005. Of course he indicated that it would be for the generation of electricity, but the world had strong suspicions.

According to one US based report, Iran presently has enough low-enriched uranium (LEU) to create four nuclear warheads. And we know that Iran has already developed a more sophisticated missile arsenal to deliver those potential warheads to Israel and into southern Europe. And with their recent threat to have Iranian ships patrolling international waters off America's east coast, one can imagine what might happen if one of those ships carried a missile armed with a nuclear device.

Last week, prior to the IAEA's report, Israel successfully tested its newest long-range ballistic missile, code-named Jericho 3. It has an effective range of over 4600 miles and is capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Also, last week, we learned that the Israel Air Force (IAF) had participated in some NATO-led military exercises over the skies of Italy, and then had invited both the Italian and Greek air forces to practice over the skies of Israel. Immediately speculation was raised that these exercises were a precursor to a NATO strike against Iran. The validity of that speculation is yet to be seen.

We have now entered the most dangerous phase of this "cat and mouse" game. Iran has the capabilities of instantly closing the Straits of Hormuz driving up the price of oil by shutting off all export from the Persian Gulf. High priced oil could topple a world economy that is perilously close to plunging off the cliff. Yet a rogue Iranian government, possessing several nuclear warheads, is a threat to not only the security in the Middle East, but to the rest of the world. Will the nations of the free-world step to in prevent that from happening? What would be the response of the Russians and Chinese who have strong alliances with Iran? Will Israel act alone? Stay tuned as I believe these questions might soon be answered.

One final thought. Friday the United Nations Security Council has scheduled a vote to grant a declaration of statehood to the Palestinian Authority (PA). However, in today's edition of Arutz Sheva,, a report stated that PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki told Associated Press, "It is clear now, with the U.S. counter effort and intervention, that we are not going to have these nine votes." Even the sub-committee that was appointed to examine the bid introduced by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in September, was deadlocked in whether to accept or reject the application. In all likelihood, the request will be rejected because the nine votes will not be secured. This certainly gets the United States out of a precarious position. It had promised to veto any resolution granting statehood, but that would have greatly angered an already anti-American Arab world. If the votes had been present and the United States would have abstained, then Israel would have been left hanging over the edge.

Perhaps that last statement has little relevance in the light of the comment President Obama made in response to a off-hand remark from French President Sarkozy at last week's G-20 summit in Cannes, France. Sarkozy, thinking his microphone was silenced, said concerning Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, "I cannot stand him. He is a liar." To which, President Obama replied, "You're fed up with him, but I have to deal with him every day." The Anti-Defamation League issued this statement: "President Obama's response to Mr. Sarkozy implies that he agrees with the French leader. In light of the revelations here, we hope that the Obama administration will do everything it can to reassure Israel that the relationship remains on a sure footing and to reinvigorate the trust between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu, which clearly is not what it should be."

And so the world continues to implode. I don't have time to write about the new economic crisis in Europe that caused the DOW to plunge nearly 400 points today. Italy is the new crisis nation, and from what I have read, their crisis makes the Greek crisis look small. Could be a rocky week in the markets.

Hey, keep looking up. Someday soon we will be gathered to be with Jesus in a world that knows no crises. Praise God!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Another Cry for a New World Currency

The world's economic collapse continues. This past Monday the stock market dropped nearly 300 points based on the news that, in spite of a proposed European bailout of the immense Greek debt, the Greek Prime Minister said that the proposal would have to be put to the vote of the Greek people. Because of the severe austerity built into the bailout agreement, it is highly unlikely that the Greek people will give their approval. Like so many today they have come to view hand outs from the government as entitlements. Wall Street's fear, joined by all the world markets, is that Greece's default on debt will be imminent, creating a possible snowball effect in countries like Spain and Italy that are already teetering on the brink. Are we seeing the collapse of the Eurozone? Quite possibly. I read where some of the Greeks simply said, "Well, we can go back to printing drachmas once again." In other words, we will simply print our own money. Does that sound familiar?

In the light of the European financial crisis and with the continued struggle the United States has getting its own financial house in order, the cries for a one-world economic system complete with a one-world currency continues to be heard. On October 24, The Vatican called for
radical reform of the world's financial systems, including the creation of a global political authority to manage the economy. A proposal by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace calls for a new world economic order based on ethics and the 'achievement of a universal common good.' It follows Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 economic encyclical that denounced a profit-at-all-cost mentality as responsible for the global financial meltdown." (

In previous blogs we have cited the concerns of the BRICS nations over the declining confidence in the dollar as well as the Euro. You remember the BRICS nations are: Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. These are the nations to which we owe the greatest debt. They have called for a new world currency to replace the dollar. So far their call has not gained much traction, but it still lingers out there.

Then, on Monday, I received a report from WorldNetDaily, written by Aaron Klein. It was titled: "Next target of protesters: U.S. dollar? Group seeks global currency to replace each nation's financial system." Let me quote from the article: "A group working with Occupy Wall Street (OWS) is proposing a global alternative currency system to replace the currencies of individual nations. ... The group calls itself OWS Currency. ...Occupy Wall Street and subsequent occupations prove that the people are eager for a new system, states OWS Currency. Let's help them build it."

Whether one is a student of the End Times or not, one has heard that some type of one-world governmental organization will occur at the end of time. We know this as the government of the Antichrist. You can read about his economic administration in Revelation 13 and 18. From Scriptures it appears that he will step onto the world's scene just when it seems that all is hopelessly lost. He will have a plan to save the earth from financial and political chaos. It will come at the price of peoples and nations surrendering themselves to his leadership. He will have the answers. He will have the solution to all the troubles - both economically and politically. And people will listen and respond.

Some of you are saying to yourself, "This simply cannot happen." But, something similar has happened before. I have been reading a new history of World War II, titled - "The Storms of War" - and written by Andrew Roberts. After the defeat of Germany and the Axis powers in World War I, the French and British punished Germany financially. It was a country humiliated and decimated. In the early 1920's a rogue from Austria came onto the landscape. At first people paid no attention to him. In fact he was arrested and imprisoned for several years. But during that imprisonment he fleshed out his ideas to create a super world. Upon his release, his ideas began to resonate with the German peoples; and, well you know the rest of the story of Hitler and his powerful influence over the German people.

Is there a solution to the world's financial difficulties? I don't know. But the Bible implies that Satan does have a strategy that will be revealed through his puppet - the Antichrist. Is the stage being set for his appearance? I believe that it is and from the announcement of the Vatican and from the Occupy Wall Street Currency people, perhaps it is nearer than we think.

So, keep rejoicing in the hope we have in Christ Jesus. He is coming soon.