Nearing
Midnight

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




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  •  

    August 24, 2015

    Why Syria Is Such a Mess

    Syria is a nation in a state of disorder. The fighting started with a civil war which had the primary focus on removing Bashar Hafez al-Assad from power. Four years later, infighting between rebel groups and the invasion of ISIS has resulted in a situation that can only be described as total chaos.

    The Pentagon has such a poor assessment of Syria; it recently used an expletive to sum up affairs in that nation. Our military has good reason to hold to a negative view of Syria. For the U.S. the Syrian theater has been an endless series of policy disasters.

    The worst misstep was our support for Islamic militants linked to Osama bin Laden, which brought about the emergence of the “Islamic State” (ISIS). Former senior State Department Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, recently published a memoir confirming that White House officials made a “willful decision” to support al-Qaeda affiliated Jihadists in Syria—despite being warned by the Defense Intelligence Agency that doing so would likely create an “ISIS”-like entity in the region.

    Another one of our disasters would be comical if didn’t have such a deadly outcome. The Pentagon spent millions training “freedom fighters” to combat ISIS. Once they were trained to supposedly engage the enemy, a so-called friendly rebel group called Division 30, it promptly killed most of and captured the rest of the unit.

    For months, the U.S. tried to get Turkey to join the fighting in Syria. When Ankara finally agreed to join U.S.-led efforts to fight Islamic State, the Turkish military was supposed to make the battle against the extremist group more effective. Yet within days, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, bombed not just Islamic State forces but also with even greater fervor, the one group showing some success in keeping them at bay: the Kurds.

    It is an open question if Syria still exists as a nation, and yet we have the added absurdity of Russia and Saudi Arabia arguing whether Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has future in a peaceful Syria. Speaking after talks in Moscow, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir reiterated Riyadh’s stance that Assad must go.

    “A key reason behind the emergence of Islamic State was the actions of Assad who directed his arms at his nation, not Islamic State,” Jubeir told a news conference after talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. “Assad is part of the problem, not part of the solution to the Syrian crisis. There is no place for Assad in the future of Syria,” he added.

    Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov maintains that Assad must stay. Moscow has wasted a lot of money and resources on the Assad family, like a gambler betting on his favorite race horse. Despite the losing streak, Russia claims that their support for Damascus will eventually turn the tide and lead to the eradication “terrorists.”

    The reason why Syria is a mess is because of Islam. There are probably 20 political/military groups in that nation fighting for power, and they all have the Koran as their operating guide. President al-Assad is a ruthless dictator who used nerve gas against his own people, but compared to the Islamists that wish replace him, he might as well be George Washington.

    Western governments have endless amount of optimism when it comes to the Islamic world. The U.S. alone has invested over $2 trillion trying to make nations like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya into model states. Despite failure and after failure, we refuse to consider the possibility that a strong secular government is the best path toward stability.

    Egypt has proven that a mixture of Islam and politics doesn’t work. Mohamed Morsi, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood was the first democratically elected head of state in Egyptian history. Democracy in the hands of Islamists is like heroin in the hands of an addict.

    As soon as the Muslim Brotherhood came to power they were prone to corruption; the murder of political rivals and the persecution of religious minorities. After General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, stepped in and conducted a coup d’état against Morsi, order was restored and Egypt was spared the carnage that has beset other Arab nations that dabbled with Islamic rule.

    The only hope for Syria is a leader that can put the boot on the neck of these various Islamic groups. Bible prophecy seems to say that Syria may be doomed to be a battleground from here on out. Damascus is the only city that has not been heavy damaged by the fighting, and Bible scholars know it is the one city prophecy predicts will be completely destroyed.

    “The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap” (Isaiah 17:1).

    --Todd


    Month of Destiny
    Part I


    September 17, 1940, brought the end to Adolf Hitler's World War II assault on the UK termed "Operation Sea Lion." The "Battle for Britain," as it has been dubbed by historians, failed after British people had absorbed a terrible pounding from Hitler's Luftwaffe bombers. Each day it seemed that the end had come for England.

    When the nightly assaults finally ended, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in the grand eloquent way only he could say it, broadcast to the English people and to the world: "This is not the end. This is not even the beginning of the end. But, it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

    Yet another September of notoriety has arrived. I in no way equate my situation to that suffered by the British people of World War II, or to any other people of any other era who have suffered in such war. But, I do feel bombarded after many months of things of fearful nature predicted to likely devastate the United States--and the world as well--beginning in the month of September, 2015.

    The articles and emails have increased the closer that month gets. And, now we are there--the dreaded September. I'm suffering from Pre-Trib war jitters.

    To admittedly attempt to couch it coarsely in the masterful language of the great Sir Winston Churchill, we know it is not the end of the end. It is not even the beginning of the end of the end. But we wonder if it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning of the end.

    Jesus said that the things He foretold must come, but the end will not be yet (Matthew 24:6). But, He said that when we see the things He forewarned, the end would have begun, and our redemption would be drawing near (Luke 21:28).

    I suppose we will shortly find out regarding this much-ballyhooed month whether all of the apocalyptic possibilities conjectured from every quarter--religious and secular alike--will be borne out as planet earth lurches into the fall. Many believe September will be a month of biblically prophetic destiny.

    The chatter flows in unending analysis by those on the secular, internet financial websites. Some are straight out of Kooksville, with every conceivable theory ranging from aliens from Planet Kriptonia have stolen all of America's gold supplies to every Walmart in the U.S. has vast tunnels linking them one to another, where those aforementioned aliens will conduct business with the Illuminati devotees in a post-nuclear system of barter. Others are well-respected economic experts who have correctly predicted financial collapses such as that experienced in 2007-2008. Everyone of this latter sort--all for whom I certainly have respect because of their track records--have been proclaiming unabashedly that this immense financial bubble will burst very soon. It will be, they say, far worse than collapses of every other time in history.

    It is more than interesting that these secular experts in monetary matters have in recent weeks been mentioning the Shemitah in their punditry. Many of those who have never included religious thought of any sort within their analysis of what's going on now mention this "mystery" that Jonathan Cahn's books have brought to light. And, I have listened carefully. Many, many of the "experts" are now saying that the repetition of the cycles involved is just too overwhelmingly prevalent and consistent to be anywhere near coincidental.

    At the same time, gurus of the economic sort who do their punditry on the broadcast and cable networks seem almost oblivious to the fear that there is a problem of Vesuvius magnitude about to blow. These certainly display no knowledge of Cahn's books or of the Shemitah postulations. As a matter of fact, many of these are observably committed to the Obama administration's mantra that a national economic recovery is in full swing.

    The concern expressed by the Internet experts and apparently dismissed by the broadcast and cable experts is for September 13. This year of 2015 is the Shemitah year, called also a Sabbath or sabbatical year. It is the seventh year of the agricultural cycle, which ends at sundown on the 13th of September. The whole matter is tied to God's covenant with the Jewish people.

    With regard to the trepidatious thinking of the secular, non-mainstream financial marketeers, it is associated with financial issues, debt forgiveness, economic problems, recession, declines in the stock market, etc. On top of this, it is the beginning of a Jubilee year, which is the end of forty-nine years of the seven-year cycles, and the start of the fiftieth year. The fiftieth year involves requirement that all of Israel focus on God, the cancellation of debts, restoration of land to the original owners, and other stipulations that must be followed.

    God promised blessings for Israel when the people kept the covenant to let the land lie fallow on the seventh year of each cycle. He warned of severe punitive ramifications if Israel didn't keep the Shemitah year covenant. Israel failed in keeping the covenant and has suffered many adverse circumstances. Bible scholars contend the Jews are still suffering from failure to keep the covenant.

    Jonathan Cahn, a Christian who is a Jew and a rabbi, in his book, The Mystery of the Shemitah, writes that he believes the U.S. and the world could have economic (and other) problems around the time of September 13 this year. He doesn't say it will happen for sure, but, based upon the pattern of past years when the Shemitah has been in play, the evidence (that of severe economic upheaval), he submits, seems overwhelming as suggesting that something involving God's interaction might be scheduled in close proximity to this year's date.

    Critics of Cahn's books most specifically point out that God's covenant regarding the Shemitah was between the Jews (Israel) and God. They contend that America and all Gentile nations are therefore not part of either the blessings or the punishment in the matter.

    However, it cannot be denied that, over many years, the seven-year Shemitah cycles have, in almost precisely contemporaneous time frame, matched downturns in finance affecting national and global economies. As I say, so strangely intertwined is all of this that the Shemitah matter has captured the attention of non-mainstream news media economic experts who are truly nonreligious in forming their analyses.

    With going on $19 trillion of national debt, and the Treasury printing money to throw at the impossible-to-ever-repay IOUs, and considering all of the dynamics of economic insanity on the fiscal horizon, something has got to give. There are also many other portentous matters that are impending in the month of September that have prophecy watchers glued to their calendars.

    The Jewish holy days run concurrently with the Shemitah, further causing frowns of concentration for Bible prophecy observers. For example, one Bible prophecy authority and author writes:

    Sept.13-15: Rosh Hashanah (also called the Jewish New Year or the Feast of Trumpets) begins at sundown on Sept. 13 and ends at sundown on Sept. 15.Some (not all) prophecy teachers believe the Rapture could occur at the end of Rosh Hashanah this year or next year or some year. (1)

    He writes further on an important matter happening around the time of the Shemitah:

    Sept.15: The 70th UN General Assembly will begin meeting. During this session (not necessarily on the 15th), France is expected to present a resolution to the UN Security Council to divide the Promised Land (Two-State Solution) and to force a peace treaty on Israel and the PA. If the UN does this, their decision will lead to the beginning of the Tribulation period. (2)

    The month of September 2015--which will bring the last of the blood moons that have transfixed many--is seen by many as a pivotal point in God's dealing with this world of anti-God rebels. In many circles of Bible prophecy, students and observers practically insist that there will be dramatic and traumatic events take place that will begin a new phase of God's plan for fulfillment of prophecy. Next week, we will look in-depth at what the future for September and beyond might hold.

    Notes (1) September 15, Daymond Duck, Newest Articles, raptureready.com.

    (2) Ibid.

    —Terry