Apr 23, 2018

The Invisible Foe

The current policy of all news organizations is that acts of terrorism by Muslims are now reported without mentioning the names of the actors or what religion they belong to. The media have decided that the primary motivation behind Islamic terrorist attacks is the perpetrator seeking fame for himself. Some terrorists do post notes on social media, but in most cases, hatred seems to be the primary motivation.

A couple weeks ago, we had a major test of their media blackout when a man drove a camper van into a group of people sitting outside a restaurant in the German city of Muenster, killing two people. There was no mention of his name. The regional interior minister would only say he was known to the police and he appears to have had mental health problems.

A few days ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was forced to condemn a street assault in Berlin on two young men wearing Jewish skull caps. In a surprising twist, one of the victims of the attack told German TV that he wasn’t Jewish, but an Israeli from an Arab family. He had just worn the skullcap to see what would happen to him. The press passed on the chance to make this a teachable moment by saying it was a Muslim ironically attacking another Muslim.

It is just insane that European authorities would go to this level to protect Islamic terrorists. It was bad enough when they knew who the attackers were and they did nothing to solve the problem. Now Muhammad’s minions can kill without any fear of shame coming to their religion.

There are clear indications that silence is a horrible way to manage violence committed by Muslims. The citizens of London have made a huge mistake in electing Sadiq Khan as mayor. Because this man is a Muslim, he has had a head start on the failure to react to crime carried out by fellow Islamists. The city’s crime rate has exploded.

Data from the London Metropolitan Police showed a sharp rise in acid attacks in 2017 when authorities recorded the record number of 465, up from 395 the previous year and 255 in 2015. The murder rate in London has surpassed New York City’s homicide rate for the first time. According to the latest statistics, the Met Police has launched 56 murder investigations in 2018 so far.

In response to the rising levels of violence, Khan has announced a crackdown on knives and other sharp objects. People are being stopped on the street and searched for items like screwdrivers and pliers. The mayor wants to block the sale of cutlery and acid. He came up with this weird idea for the public placement of black box containers that have a slot for people to turn in their knives—weapons.

I can only wonder if this Campaign had the advisement of the Monty Python comedy troupe. The boxes have the sappy slogan “Only Cowards Carry.” Also on the boxes is a picture of the Cookie monster, and one of the weapons pictured for turning in is a broken wine bottle. Anyone foolish enough to deposit a good knife into these boxes might find himself later being stabbed with his own utensil.

An odd voice of reason in London is Morrissey, the former frontman for the 1980 group the Smiths. The singer said: “London is second only to Bangladesh for acid attacks. All of the attacks are non-white, and so they cannot be truthfully addressed by the British government or the Met Police or the BBC because of political correctness.”

Morrissey also declared the term racist is now meaningless:

“But of course, we are all called racist now, and the word is actually meaningless. It’s just a way of changing the subject. When someone calls you racist, what they are saying is ‘hmm, you actually have a point, and I don’t know how to answer it, so perhaps if I distract you by calling you a bigot we’ll both forget how enlightened your comment was.’”

The invisible foe I’m most concerned about is Satan. If he has become powerful enough to blind people to the source of most of the world’s terrorism, then he is only a few steps away from taking full control of the earth. Once the Church is gone, London’s official crime rate may go to zero.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:12-13).

–Todd


 

The Isaiah 17 Question

Inevitably the questions came. They came in various derivations of: “Do you think this bombing of Damascus is leading to Isaiah 17: 1?”

President Trump’s decision to keep his promise to Bashar al Assad that if he used chemical weapons again, there would be a price to pay. It was a promise kept to Russian President Vladimir Putin as well. He told the Russian leader that the missiles were coming. They would be “shiny” and “smart.”

Trump’s actions were a far cry from his predecessor’s drawing “red lines” in the Middle-Eastern sand. Time after time, the tyrants of the region crossed Mr. Obama’s lines with no consequences forthcoming.

It quickly became obvious that at least one leader believed he was dealing with a different sort of president. Putin wasted little time removing eleven of his ships from harm’s way–from the warm-water port in Syria he had connived to secure for his navy. This achievement–a warm-water port for Russia’s navy–of course, had been one long desired by the Soviets and by Russia, once the USSR fell during Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika time as Soviet leader.

So, Damascus, Syria, has long been in the thinking of the geopoliticians of all stripes. The Assads, both Hafez and his son Bashar, ruled with iron fists, just as Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq. They ruled with more or less autonomy until, in my opinion, the rush of prophetic times overtook them.

And, who among any watchman on the wall, observing stage-setting in the Middle East (and around the world, for that matter) can deny that the crush of issues and events on a global scale has destroyed normal geopolitical equilibrium, opening the end-times door to prophetic fulfillment?

Israel is in headlines every hour. Russia, Iran, and Turkey, the Gog-Magog force leaders, according to Ezekiel 38-39, are coalescing due north of the Jewish state the prophecy says these diabolists will attack. China is already the king of the kings of the East and growing more powerful and hegemonic with each passing news cycle.

And now, Damascus is on the front pages of newspapers, Internet headlines and every other news venue, with smoke still rising from the damage the 100-plus cruise missiles inflicted.

The question, or derivatives thereof: “Do you think this bombing of Damascus is leading to Isaiah 17: 1?” is relevant.

The reason for the question, of course, is the prophecy that is one yet future, scheduled for the time near Christ’s Second Advent:

“The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isaiah 17:1). It is a prophecy, considering the aforementioned prophetic stage-setting realities, that rightfully makes the student of eschatology take notice–and, take notice they have–since even before the attack of April 13.

So, I’ll address the question of whether the attack by the America, Britain, France coalition is leading to the Isaiah 17 prophetic fulfillment.

I am of the conviction that everything going on in and around that whole region, and Damascus in particular, has prophetic significance. There can just be no doubt about it. I, however, like anyone, can’t say specifically at what stage of the stage-setting for the Damascus Isaiah 17 destruction we are in at present.

My own thinking always gets back to Jesus’ words about the days of Noah and days of Lot (Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17:26-30). I believe there will be no world-rending prophetic fulfillment–such as the Gog-Magog attack, such as the total destruction of Damascus–before the Rapture of the Church.

Jesus tells us in the prophecy that things will be going along as usual–particularly with emphasis on a good-performing economy– at the time He catastrophically intervenes into the affairs of mankind.

He said that the cataclysm will fall the very day He intervenes. I believe it is just after the Rapture that these specific, horrendous prophecies are fulfilled.

Keep observing and asking the questions. This is incumbent upon the true Bible prophecy student. But, keep looking up at the same time (Luke 21:28). That’s the prophecy we truly wish to see fulfilled!

 

–Terry

Apr 16, 2018

Ready-Made Mark of the Beast System

The Chinese government is implementing a Big Brother-style system that scores citizens based on their behavior, with rewards and punishments meted out accordingly. It is a method of control that would make George Orwell wonder with amazement.

It’s not that easy to create a dystopian state that can control the lives of 1.4 billion people. China’s leadership is determined to give it a shot. They will do this by constructing a Social Credit System that will open doors for the state’s model citizens – and weed out society’s undesirables, making their everyday life increasingly difficult to navigate.

Each citizen will be given a score on an 18-digit national identification code that is based on their criminal and credit history, their shopping habits, profession, and if they post negative articles or opinions about the government on social media or are connected to people that do, among other things. If a person’s score is low, they may lose the ability to land a new job, rent cars, travel domestically, and they may lose access to the internet or other forms of communication.

A system of public shaming is also being used to keep citizens in line. Some cities have replaced the citizens’ dial tones with recorded messages stating their shortcomings and encouraging callers to chastise them for their failures. The pressure is even being applied to people’s love lives. A cartoon TV advertisement by Credit China shows a man being rejected by his dinner date after she sees a billboard declaring that he’s a blacklisted citizen.

The Chinese government does not have the ability to manage every citizen’s bank account. Because there are so many forms of money, it’s not easy for Beijing to control all the financial system. But that evil vision will soon become a reality. A social credit system is now being tested with an aim to encompass the whole population by 2020.

Another tool China is using to control its citizens is a massive network of surveillance cameras that soon will number more than 400 million. All these cameras will be connected to a facial recognition system that can identify people and find anyone on a watch list. Even people who try to disguise themselves can be caught. The system can recognize a person by the way they walk.

Luckily for the rest of us, only China currently seems to have the will to implement this system on a national scale with little outcry from a citizenry already used to being watched and measured. Western nations are not all that far behind China. The explosion of social media and other web-based technologies has created a vast network of databases that track our activity.

Anyone who has a smartphone provides the government with the means to track all their movements. Since there are normally several applications running on your phone at any given time, several organizations may have records of your daily travels. With data storage getting cheaper at an exponential rate, the government can now have several gigabytes of information on every citizen.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was on the hot seat last week because he allowed political consultancy Cambridge Analytica to harvest data by use of a quiz app. I think the hearing was a giant sham to feign legitimate outrage. Facebook makes money by tracking the data of all its users. It readily shares this information with the government.

When the Antichrist comes to power, he will be able to use the Chinese system as a template for his global financial network. Since it is already clear that we have reached a point where there is nowhere to hide from this type of system, all technology barriers have been removed. The last step is just the formality of making a political decision, and prophecy has already warned us how that will go.

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six (Revelation 13:16-18).

–Todd


A Strange Thing?

We’ve all heard it, or said it ourselves. “A strange thing happened to me.”

It’s something we say for anything out of the ordinary. For example, when you pick up the phone (especially back in the old days when everyone had a land line) and you haven’t talked to a certain person in weeks. You dial the friend’s number and there is no ring. Then someone on the other line speaks the word “Hello.”

It is your friend–the one you haven’t talked with on the phone for days or weeks–maybe even months. It’s your friend’s voice.

You say his or her name in a questioning inflection. They say, “Yes, it’s me,” and ask if it’s you.

Then you both say almost simultaneously: “I was just calling you.”

The phone didn’t ring because you dialed simultaneously and connected at precisely the right time that prevented a ring on either end.

That “strange-thing” scenario plays out in our brains over the course of our lifetime. We have deja vu moments–sensations that make us sense that we are reliving a previous moment in time. The brain glitches, or whatever they are, are rare, but they happen to most of us.

We might say, “I had a funny thing happen to me,” rather than, “I had a strange thing happen to me,” on these deja vu moments and  other occasions when extraordinary occurrences take place in our lives. A movie with a title reflecting this sensation is the film A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

But what we really mean when we use the word “funny” is that the occurrence is very out of the ordinary.

The above is to preface the telling of a strange thing that happened to me a week and a half ago. It is among the strangest of my experiences–perhaps second only to my brief visit to somewhere within the heavenly realm on Good Friday of 2011 due to my heart stopping three times because of a “widow-maker” heart attack–an event about which you are doubtless tired of my recounting…but it was so out of the ordinary and so absolutely a vision, not a dream, that I can’t help recounting it.

A friend of mine since junior high school days and I have kept in touch over these many years. He is a guy who is full of good humor, yet serious-minded when sound thinking is called for by life’s circumstances. He is one thing more. He is lost–doesn’t know the Lord for salvation.

My friend went to Vietnam, was a second lieutenant, led a squad of twelve men into the tunnels beneath those killing fields. They were charged with cleaning out the tunnels of Vietcong, the term for North Vietnamese, black pajama-clad jungle fighters.

He did his job, and, miraculously, after many missions, made it back home to America. He did get into drugs, not an unusual thing for those who fought in that war. He suffers traumatic psychological disorders. However, he is a very sound thinker, and always under control, having received much psychological help over the years since returning home. He earned a law degree during the early years of his return.

I have prayed for him for all these years–that he would be brought to the point that he would hear the words of my witness to him.

He always listened to my talk about Christ, yet, although very politely listening and agreeing that he acknowledged there is a God, never seemed to go deeply beyond a cursory acknowledgment of needing God in one’s life.

About six months ago, he called to tell me he was under a doctor’s care. He had been diagnosed with a form of lung cancer. They were attacking it with chemo and radiation. They had hope for cure.

I prayed more and more that he would come to genuinely want to accept God’s way to salvation–a thing I had gone over with him many times. I prayed the Lord would draw him to Christ in whatever way necessary.

To go back a bit farther in our lives, a friend of ours since childhood–a very healthy guy of about 70 at the time–suddenly developed a strange heart malady. This friend was a Christian, and very close to both of us over the years.

Howard, this friend with the heart disease, died in 2013 right before Christmas. My friend and I have talked about Howard many times since.

I continued to pray that the Lord would use Howard’s death, somehow, to bring my friend to understand what is needed for his own time of death, if he is to go to Heaven.

Mike called me about a month ago to tell me that he was now in hospice. The doctors told him they were out of options, which means he will doubtless pass away soon.

I prayed all the harder in the manner mentioned above.

A week and a half ago, Mike called me. There was a strange lilt to his voice. He said, “Terry, guess who I just was visited by this morning before dawn.”

I hesitated, not having a clue. My dying friend, his voice unusually serious, yet strangely expressive, made seemingly a hundred thoughts race through my head. I was silent.

“Howard,” Mike said.

“Howard?” I tried to think of who he was talking about.

“Howard was here. Right here at the end of my bed,” Mike said. “He talked to me.”

“What did he say?” It was all I could think to say. I knew he meant our friend who had died had, Mike thought, talked with him. I was then stunned into silence.

“He said, ‘Mike, you’ve gone to Sunday School and church your whole life. But, you’ve not heard a word. But, Mike it’s going to be okay. You’ve got to listen, though, in order for everything to be okay.”

Instantaneously, I jumped in. I said, “Mike, I believe you have had a genuine visitation from Heaven.”

I believe this, because at that moment I knew without any doubt what the words Mike had heard from Howard–or whomever the heavenly visitor was– meant. They were to give me an opportunity to speak directly to him in a way I had never been able to do so before.

I said, “Mike, I have to tell you that this is a message from God Himself, from the Lord Jesus Christ, who wants you to accept Him for salvation. You must listen to what I have to tell you. The Lord wants you to listen.”

I said, “You know I love you. I would never lie to you or hurt you. I want only the very best for you.”

Mike said, “I know that, Terry. I believe you.”

I said, “Then listen carefully, because this is directly from Jesus to you.”

I then went through the plan of salvation–how Jesus said He is the only Way to God the Father and Heaven.

Mike listened, and said he believed I was telling him the truth.

I said, “The Lord sent Howard–or whomever the heavenly being was–to you to make you realize this message is from Heaven above.”

Mike said, “When I started to ask Howard about what was going on with this…standing at the end of my bed, he said. ‘Mike, where do you think I am?'”

Mike said he knew then that Howard  had come to him from Heaven. He knew Howard was a Christian–had taught Sunday School and lived a Christian life all the years of our lives together.

Let me tell you, by this time, I had chill bumps running all over me, chill bumps of happiness. The Lord had used our friend Howard’s heavenly image, in whatever way, to get Mike’s attention. God had directly intervened–had answered my prayers that Mike would truly listen to what God had been prompting me to say to him.

 

When we hung up, Mike had not yet committed to Christ for salvation–not verbally, at least. I told him that Paul the Apostle wrote that if he will confess with his mouth the Lord Jesus, and will believe in his heart that God has raised Him from the dead, he will be saved–will go instantaneously to Heaven and to Jesus when his heart stops in this life.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” I told him in the simplest terms the Bible uses.

So, it was a “strange thing” that happened to both my friend Mike and me a week and a half ago.

But was it “strange,” really?  God has moved Heaven and Hell to bring sinners to repentance by sending His Son to die for us. He is not willing for any to perish.  For God to move in this way is not at all strange in God’s love for us. Miracles can be commonplace in His divine view of things.

Mike and I have just been blessed to be part of  God’s increasingly miraculous interventions into this world during this time so near Christ’s return. He is about to intervene in an even more thrilling way–through the Rapture!

Pray that Mike will soon call again with some really good news.

–Terry