Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Aug 13, 2012

The Bad Guys vs. the Bad Guys

The fighting in Syria has escalated to a full-blown civil war, with the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad doing everything he can to maintain his dynasty. The opposition only has light weapons, and has asked Western nations for military support. Unless al-Assad uses chemical weapons against his own people, we are unlikely to become directly involved in the conflict.

In other Arab nations, we apply diplomatic and military pressure to show autocratic rulers the door. One of the key reasons we have cold feet over Syria is the realization that we don't know if the rebellion we are supporting will lead to a change that will be better than the outfit currently running Syria. You would have to use twisted logic to figure out why we are fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan but are supporting forces in Syria that have al-Qaeda as part of its ranks.

Western nations were all too happy to encourage the revolution that took place in Iraq, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. Now that the democratic process has been allowed to run its course in those countries, we are now confronted with governments that are dominated by radical Islamists.

For years, what allowed for stability in the Middle East were dictators who took their nations' oil wealth and blew it on themselves and their cronies. When Libya's former head Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown, it was found that he controlled a vast fortune worth over $200 billion. Now that strict Islam governments are managing the national budget, money that went for palaces and private jets is now more likely to be spent on tanks and weapons of mass destruction.

It may have been a huge mistake for us to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. He kept a tight lid on the militant Islamic groups in his nation, and he provided a vital role in keeping Iran at bay. Even though Saddam brutalized his people, the death count under his rule was nowhere close to the carnage that was triggered by the NATO invasion. Over 150,000 Iraqis have been killed by the Suni-vs.-Shiite unrest.

Afghanistan is following the same pattern. The liberal media has done its best to hide the fact that a host of ethnic, political, and tribal factions are constantly at war with each other. The Taliban ran Afghanistan with a ruthlessness that could only be compared to Hitler's SS, but at least there was order to their madness. Today, pointless suicide bombings have become a way of life, and the Afghan government is one of the most corrupt on the planet.

The sinister nature of the Arab people is not some fluke or genetic defect. The Bible warns that their nature is because they are children of Ishmael. When Abraham sinned against God by having a child with his slave Hagar, he set into motion a conflict that will eventually lead to world War III.

"And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren" (Genesis 16:11-12).

It would have saved us a great deal of heartache if we had realized that there are no good guys in the Islamic world. The War on Terror has cost us $3 trillion and the lives of 7,600 America soldiers.

Every time we try to make friends with the Muslims, they have only rewarded our kindness with treachery. The situation in Afghanistan has become insane. In the past two years, there has been more than incidents of attacks against coalition forces. In one incident, an Afghani arranged to have breakfast with American officers. During the meal he pulled out a gun and killed three of them. A NATO spokesman said the incident and another one that quickly followed "clearly do not reflect the overall situation here in Afghanistan."

The one area where it is almost impossible to cover up the demonic nature of Islamic thinking is how they deal with Israel. Ask the average Muslim his view of an Israeli, and he will tell you the Israelis are the offspring of "pigs and dogs."

A common hatred of Israel was highlighted by a prank Egyptian talk show that infuriates guests by duping them into believing they are on Israeli TV. The show, called Judgment after Deliberations, invites guests on the air under the pretense that they are participating in a German talk show. When the guests realize they are on Israeli TV, they go into a rage.

Normally, in the civilized world, this would be presented as an exercise in what not to do. The goal of this prank is to demonstrate how everyone should act if they were in a situation that made them appear friendly to Israel.

The only good guys in the Middle East are the residents of the state of Israel. No Jew ever beheaded Americans, no Jew ever flew a plane into one of our buildings, and no Jew ever attacked us with a suicide bomb. Rather than standing beside the people who have been a blessing to us, we are strangely drawn to the people who have been a continuous curse.

“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2-3).


Biting into the Apple

Stepping out of the Wellington Hotel on Seventh Avenue, my friend, Mike, and I traversed the concrete time after time until my now seventy-year-old legs hurt. I say “now seventy-year-old legs” because I was sixty-nine when we were in New York City only a couple of weeks ago, and I turned into a septuagenarian shortly upon returning home.

I really thought I was in the best of shape. That is, the best of shape for one who had just a year and a half earlier been clinically dead three times in the space of an hour, on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. My cardiac workouts over those months sense the heart “event,” as I like to call it, took me on an hours-upon- hours ordeal of going nowhere on a treadmill with a vicious incline and speed of operation. Yet, I came back to the hotel room each time and lay with my legs draped over one of those large, round, tubular pillows that my wife tells me are really there just for decoration. Walking in the big city is much different than walking on the treadmill, I found out.

So, biting into the Big Apple was a painful experience physically, much as biting into the Edenic apple (or whichever fruit it was) was painful both physically and spiritually for Adam, Eve, and all of the rest of us. But take a bite out of the Apple we did, and we are prayerfully hoping that the seeds planted during that visit will bear spiritual fruit.

Rapture Ready received a request for the interview some weeks ago. It was from a Canadian film company asking that Todd or I agree to answer some questions on camera about Bible prophecy. They particularly wanted to talk about the Rapture, after having visited www.raptureready.com and reading some of the thousands of articles on the topic posted there.

Todd and I have agreed that any on-camera interviews will be done by me, since I’m such a ham. Actually, that wasn’t the reason we decided that I do the on-camera stuff, but the quip fits the jocular motif I wish to establish for the moment. Actually, there is some rather ironic humor in a blind guy doing all of the on-camera work–wouldn’t you agree?

That said, the subject and our purpose in agreeing to the request is a most serious matter. Talking about God’s prophetic timeline and the Rapture at this advanced stage of the Age of Grace is most critical for people around the world. The urgency made my answer to the producer’s request the only one we could give the filmmakers.

Whether to do the interview in the city that has been called "Babylon on the Hudson"–New York City—was a more serious twist of irony, as I considered and agreed to make the trip. I’m more than glad I did. I’m thankful for the opportunity to get the truth of where this generation stands at this crucial point in the nation’s history before the eyes and ears of America and the world. I am even more thankful that we put that truth on film in the most influential city and in the most influential part of that city, in the view of the people of most of the Western world.

Every year, the New Year is celebrated as it arrives at Times Square in the heart of that great metropolis. As the big, glittering ball drops, the masses gathered there shout the countdown in unison and break into deafening cheering when the ball reaches the bottom. The Canadian film crew placed me directly in front of where the ball reaches bottom, framing the interview within the area where the big clock is positioned in the background.

The masses went about their many activities while I answered the producer’s questions and the cameraman shot the film, occasionally stopping me to reload the cameras. The ambient noises in that great city are stunning, with people’s voices in conversation or shouting, vehicles honking, sirens blaring, and all the other sounds that town generates. Times Square is the center of the most frenetic activity, and although the producer stood near enough for me to hear his questions, my friend Mike and our friend Chris, a native New Yorker, said they couldn’t hear either the questions or the responses. Fortunately, the microphone was attached to my tie, just beneath my chin, so my words were easily picked up by the recording devices connected to the cameras.

]The first question was simply a request, something along the lines of, “Will you tell us about the Rapture, and talk about what happens from now until the Rapture?”

Interviewers, particularly those in secular media, are often naïve with their questions. They have little understanding of matters involved in the pretribulational view of the Rapture, for example. To answer questions such as this one requires much longer than these venues have time to include. So, trying to be precise and to the point is always the challenge.

I responded that there is nothing that must happen from that point until the Rapture, so far as Bible prophecy is concerned. That was precise enough. But, then, I felt it necessary to go into what is in fact going on right now that makes us know the Rapture is imminent. That line-up of current issues and events and what the future of the Middle East–for example—might hold, seemed to pique the producer’s interest, and he wanted to know about what is the most important of these "signs of the end of days.”

They always like that phrase, “the end of days.”

My immediate, precise answer was, of course, that Israel is at the center of the world’s spotlight, with a diplomatic proposal in process of attempting to force peace between Israel and its enemy neighbors–all surrounding Islamic countries. These things are exactly as God’s prophetic word says will be the case at the very end of the age.

Most important, the interview offered me the opportunity to give God’s plan of salvation, which I hope I did to the Lord’s satisfaction. It is up to Him to now make certain it survives the cutting room floor, once they begin putting the documentary and weekly program together. Let’s all pray to that effect.