An interesting email appeared in my in box the other day. It set me to exploring in a slightly different direction things that looks to constitute a major quandary in trying to understand certain prophecies, juxtaposed against realities of these strange times.
The emailer–Dan—put his queries this way: “I do have one question that I have asked many, but to date no answer. I am still wondering how under the New World Order, led by the revived Roman Empire, [is the rising of the Islamic threat to Israel and the rest of the world going to be squelched]? Is this part of the “Covenant” that the Beast will confirm after the Rapture, or does a PS 83-type war need to take place first?”
–A couple of very good, and most relevant question, to be sure…
We have only to think about how Islam has made inroads into Western Europe–and, in fact, into this nation–to understand the seeming insurmountable problem the world faces with that religion, as implicit within Dan’s email queries. Only twelve short years ago, America was viciously attacked by the same religious zeal that over the years since has set our hourly news headlines ablaze. More than 3,000 people, the majority of them U.S. citizens, were forced to jump or be burned alive in the towering infernos, or die where they were on the hijacked planes and in the Pentagon, when nineteen Muslims carried out the orders of Osama bin Laden on America’s most tragic day in history.
Yet Islam is like a protected species adopted by the leftist do-gooders of the eco-freak sorts who think humankind should–except for them, I suppose–be eliminated, so that Mother Earth can return to her pristine condition. It is the same perverted, intolerant mindset that says it is the right thing to do to marginalize Christianity because Christians are intolerant, while embracing a religion whose “holy” book demands that all who will not bow the knee to Allah are legitimate targets for elimination by the most heinous methodologies available.
The Obama administration and its slavish mainstream media–both news and entertainment—have done all they can to try to convince us that Islam is a “religion of peace.” We have seen the president and his underlings go to extreme absurdities to blame anyone and everyone except Islamist terrorists for their dastardly deeds. We remember vividly the Benghazi murder of the American ambassador and some genuine American heroes, and the totally disproved claim by the White House and State Department that it was an anti-Mohammed YouTube video that caused a spontaneous riot, thus incited the good people of the area to commit the murders. That episode serves as prime example.
An insanity of sort pervades the minds of those who continue to insist that Islam asserts no threat to civilization, and that if we just embrace that religion, whose adherents refuse to assimilate, and who rather create enclaves within our own republic ruled by sharia law, they will love and accept us as fellow Americans and live at peace with the world. The truth is that the best thing one can say about that belief system is that at least you have a choice: bow the knee to Allah or die.
So, to get back to my emailer’s question. “How under the New World Order, led by the revived Roman Empire, [is the rising of the Islamic threat to Israel and the rest of the world going to be squelched]? Is this part of the “Covenant” that the Beast will confirm after the Rapture, or does a PS 83-type war need to take place first?”
The title of this commentary is “Why Islam Might Buckle.” Therefore, one can—correctly–presume that I infer that this unyielding religious system that harbors at its spiritually black center the murderous terrorism with which we are all too familiar will succumb to outside forces, or by implosion. It appears at this particular moment in history that such a thing as Islam buckling to any sort of pressure short of being defeated in war is nearly an impossibility. It is on the march across the Middle East, and around the world. The very civilization it wants to behead if their victims don’t bow the knee seems blind to the dangers of the scimitar-wielding juggernaut.
Will it be a Psalms 83 war that will cause Islam to buckle–to cease to be a threat? My own thoughts include the belief that Psalms 83 is an imprecatory prayer, not a prophesied war. It is a plea by the chosen people for the Lord to vanquish their immediately surrounding enemies (enemies within the Mideast region). It is a plea that I believe will be answered by God when He destroys all but one-sixth of the Gog-Magog forces who attack, according to Ezekiel, chapters 38-39.
I know all of the arguments presented by the growing numbers who believe Psalms 83 will be an actual war. If I’m wrong, I will profusely apologize for not seeing it coming. I have considered all of the thinking by those such as my good friend Bill Salus–who is an absolutely brilliant thinker and writer, in my estimation. However, I must listen to the inner voice speaking to my own spirit. I simply can’t see Psalms 83 as a war, but as a prayer that will soon be answered when God decimates Russia, Iran, and “many people with thee” (Ezekiel 38:6).
That said, I do believe that the Gog-Magog war will effectively eliminate Islam as any future threat–will take it off the table of war-making.
But, there is one other thought I would like to interject that could, in my thinking, cause Islam to buckle, as my article’s title would have it. God will send “strong delusion,” He says as recorded in 2 Thessalonians, chapter 2. This will happen post-Rapture. The Holy Spirit will withdraw as restrainer of evil. The minds of mankind–of all races and belief systems–will be open to unimaginable influences from Satan and his minions during that most horrible of times in history.
It is my belief that Islamists will be “deluded,” if you want to term it as such. That is, even the minds of Satan’s own religious deception will be profoundly affected by the delusion of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, thus will be easily persuaded to go along with Antichrist and allow the rebuilding of the Jewish temple atop Mount Moriah.
Certainly, anything that could change the mindset of the imams of Islam would necessitate supernatural action of the most profound sort. God’s prophetic Word says that just such profound, supernatural action is forthcoming!
One thing sure… Islam will one day buckle.
Russian/American relations are front and center in the news at the moment of this new year’s dawning. Conflicting approaches to these relations are also very much in the headlines.
The outgoing Obama administration, it is offered for public consumption, wants Russia punished for hacking into the presidential election process. The incoming Trump administration, mainstream news purveyors put forth, wants to cozy up to Russia and its President Vladimir Putin, because Mr. Trump is–they claim–Mr. Putin’s pal. The perception they want to create is that Trump doesn’t trust U.S. intelligence sources who, according to the mainstreamers, all agree that Russia hacked into the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails, etc.–thus in order to help Donald Trump get elected.
Fact is, however, all the U.S. intelligence services aren’t in complete agreement. They neither are of consensus opinion that Russia did the cyber-hacking, nor that Putin’s intention was to help Trump’s election effort. But, as we all know, the facts have little to do with mainstream reporting within today’s reality. The president-elect has embraced many of President Ronald Reagan’s thoughts, particularly with regard to Russia–in Mr. Reagan’s case, the Soviet Union. “Trust but verify” was perhaps the most famous statement/position stated by Reagan that best frames his position in dealing with the Soviets.
Reagan signed the Intermediate range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev on December 8, 1987. He used the phrase “trust but verify” to explain the in-depth procedures that would be in place to make certain the treaty stayed on the up and up.
The statement was from the Russian proverb Doveryai, no proveryai, taught him by a Russian translator in preparation for the meetings with Gorbachev. This requirement for dealing with the Russians will be highly necessary when Trump takes the oath on January 20. It is a precautionary thought that hasn’t been followed by Barack Obama for the last eight years and the present state of disarray with regard to the cyber-hacking hubbub proves the statement’s worth. Besides Israel, there is no more relevant nation than Russia in view for Bible prophecy yet to unfold. Let’s pray that some within the new president’s close circle of advisers can add prophetic understanding in Mr. Trump’s dealing with the Russians.
With that trust-but-verify relationship between America and Russia as a foundational premise for the further thoughts I hope to present, I would like to get into the reasons the title of this commentary has Mr. Reagan’s statement reversed–“verify but trust.”
I wish to try to apply this reversal to the personal relationship each of us–you and I–has with our Lord.
If you might indulge me for a brief time, I will, in order to hopefully make the point I wish to convey, reveal a small bit of relational goings-on in my own life at present. Realization of what all is involved in those goings-on completely escaped me until I began thinking on and praying about this commentary. The Holy Spirit was clear and to the point in whispering to my own, more often than not dull-of-hearing spiritual ears.
When the epiphany struck, it was so obvious that its simplicity sort of stunned me. My uncomfortable relationship of the moment with the uncertainties of life wasn’t mere chance. It involved the things I have believed–have taught and written about most all of my Christian life.
My wife, Margaret, had just had a car accident. It was one in which only she was involved, but it was a bad one, so far as the damage done to the car was concerned. Thankfully, Margaret had only her heel badly fractured as a result of the big sedan rolling over and ending right side up.
The state police officer who worked the wreck said it could have easily been a deadly accident. The car was totaled. So, needless to say, we are grateful to the Lord for His protection–and to the car manufacturer for the sixteen air bags that deployed during the violent rollover.
However, I’ve nevertheless been lamenting ever since that accident that happened on the Monday leading up to Christmas. Poor me. I’ve been so inconvenienced by it all. Christmas this year was, in my commercially minded self-centeredness, a disaster. Plus, I’ve been called into service as caregiver for Miss Margaret–and me a poor, old, blind guy.
The epiphany, that hit just this morning, is that this was no accident in the purest sense. This was a faith- and character-tester–to my own life, at least. It was a test to see how I would react to an occurrence allowed, not caused, by the Lord. His only involvement in the accident itself was that of protecting Margaret’s life. What part Satan and his minions had in it, I have no way of assessing. I failed the test miserably, dwelling only on how deleteriously it affected my daily routine–which I do not under any circumstance want to be disrupted.
Well, that routine is continuing to be disrupted. I still don’t like it, but the Lord has most assuredly spoken to me and let me know that it is sinful indulgence to expect the world to revolve around one’s self.
I would hope that from this point forward, for however much time I’m allowed in this life, I would–after this lesson–at the very outset of life’s such disruptions, understand the spiritual implications. I hope that I will immediately verify in my spiritual understanding that nothing happens in the believer’s life in which our Lord is not intimately interested. We do not believe in and serve an existential God. Then, I would hope that I would always apply this primary “trust” Scripture to my life: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Verify but trust. That’s my prayerful New Year’s wish for you as well when you face life’s sometimes unpleasant surprises.
The year 2016 more than lived up to the anticipation it harbored back when I wrote my Nearing Midnight commentary at the beginning of last year. I want to present that article here, with the caveat that I anticipate even more profound prophetic unfolding in 2017.
Piercing the Perils of 2016
Never in my own memory has a new year appeared at its beginning to be more prophetically interesting. Never–in my thinking, at least–has one portended more perilous times, as the apostle Paul would have it. Yet I wouldn’t trade my time on this darkening planet with anyone of any other generation.
The fact that the Lord of Heaven has put me here at this strange, ominous, yet immensely fascinating time in history makes it all the more intriguing–even riveting, in terms of wanting to know what happens next. He has put you here, too, at this time when the final curtain is about to fall. He has trusted you to be an actor in at least part of the final scenes of this great, cosmic play called human history. No illustrious personages of the past–not Julius Caesar, not Napoleon Bonaparte, not Alexander the Great, not even Winston Churchill, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or Ronald Reagan were so privileged. We are about to serve as active members of a most especially commissioned cast who populates the end-times stage.
There is about to occur a schism–a separation–of cataclysmic proportion. It will rend one part of humanity from the other. It will not be a natural catastrophe that will inflict the humanity-dividing rift. It won’t be great political upheaval in America and around the world that will cause the tearing apart of life upon the troubled planet. Those things will certainly happen. But it won’t be acts of nature or of man that will bring about the very last scene of the age. That last act will be orchestrated by the Master Director of all Creation–by the Lord God of Heaven who is the final judge of good and evil.
The excitement presaging that grand climax of the age is building. Momentous events, written on the pages of Holy Scripture, are about to come alive. The final curtain will rise when Jesus steps out on the clouds of glory and calls all believers–His Bride, the Church, to Himself. If you are a believer in Christ alone for salvation, you will catch the grand finale as you watch from the luxuriant balconies of Heaven.
We see the drama building all around us for the tumultuous scenes set to play out during the times just ahead. The year 2016 is cloaked in the fog of malevolence this world continues to wrap itself in–an increasingly anti-God, anti-Christ vesture that embraces humanism forewarned about by the psalmist.
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (Psalms 2: 1-3)
A quick scan of the news just the past week exposes, I believe, the arrogance of those the Scriptures call “earth-dwellers” who incessantly strive to break asunder the governance God rightfully placed upon His creation called man. The reports are laden with prophetic indicators.
One such report is seen in the prideful claims by a U.S. State Department spokesman, as the boast involves the increasing call for “peace and safety,” While the situation in Syria grows intensely worse by the hour, with the Syrian people torn violently between the forces of Syrian dictator Basher Al-Assad and the hordes of ISIS murderers, Secretary of State John Kerry is lauded as bringing about a peace that just isn’t happening and will never come to pass.
State Department spokesman John Kirby wrote under the headline, “Bringing peace and security to Syria”: “Under Secretary of State John Kerry’s stewardship the United Nations passed a U.S. sponsored resolution to create a road map for Syria.” Again, the problem is that like in all of the humanistic efforts at bringing true peace, the only “peacemaker” is kept out of the peacemaking. Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, is denied at every turn by the president of the very country that speciously purports to be making the peace. (President Obama, remember, upon his very first week in office, proclaimed that the United States is not a Christian nation.)
The president of the United States of America, in effect, proclaimed regarding the governance of the God of Heaven: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”
We can believe what that omniscient, omnipotent, governing authority has to say about such arrogance and willfulness. The message is chilling for the planet’s inhabitants who will be left behind when the great schism aforementioned takes place.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (Psalms 2: 4-6)
Details of what is about to take place in 2016, of course, lurks in the murkiness of an ever-increasing pall of trepidation. But, for those who are secure within the unshakable, impenetrable shelter of their Lord and Savior, there is no reason to fear. Piercing that black uncertainty is an effulgence that lights the path to the brightest of all possible futures. It is that Blessed Hope of Titus 2: 13!
These days, it seems, we are more and more frequently given reports that a 100- year storm has occurred. These are happening about every other year, and many prophecy watchers believe that these great storms have biblically prophetic overtones.
Certainly, I have to admit that there appears to be some relevance, these storms to how Israel is treated. White House correspondent Bill Koening is one Bible prophecy student who writes on these kinds of weather and other occurrences with regard to, particularly, America’s dealing with Israel. John McTernin is another writer on these matters that I find fascinating.
We remember Hurricane Katrina, for example, when the Bush administration had pressured the Jewish state to move Jewish Israelis in order that so-called Palestinians could move in. Katrina entered the Gulf of Mexico during this time and the results was that thousands of Americans along the Gulf Coast and beyond were forced to leave their homes. The storm was one of the worst in U.S. history.
With major tornadoes in many areas and flooding along U.S. rivers having seemed to increase over the past number of years, some have attributed the virulent weather to climate change or global warming. Others have seen the significance of these 100-year-type storms as relating directly to the treatment the Obama administration has given Israel over the past eight years.
We remember that close to the very first thing the president did was to snub the Israeli prime minister, leaving him after a few minutes of their meeting in the White House to go to the family’s private dining quarters. Mr. Obama has continued with his coolness to Benjamin Netanyahu since that very first meeting. At the same time, Obama has made nice at every opportunity with the leaders of the Muslim world, while giving lip service to support for the Jewish state. As a matter of fact, Obama is on record as saying right up front of his eight years in office that he intended to “put space” between America and Israel. This, ostensibly, to develop better relationship with the Arab states so that there could develop a greater chance for establishing peace in the region.
It was the old George W. Bush effort revived–trying to show the Muslims and the world that we were really their friends. The question to ask, of course, is: Have relations improved? No, they have grown worse.
The 100-year storm to which I refer as given in this commentary’s title is the international, diplomatic storm in which Israel currently finds itself. The first such storm it faced happened almost a half century before it became a nation in 1948. Israel was promised territory for establishing a nation in the region of its traditional homeland when the British issued the Balfour Declaration, written by British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour and issued by the government led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George.
That promise read:
Foreign Office, November 2nd, 1917.
Dear Lord Rothschild,
I have much pleasure in conveying to you, on behalf of His Majesty’s Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet “His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.
While there is little doubt that there was a genuine desire to establish a Zionist safe haven with the declaration, it is even more certain that the action was primarily taken–in the view of most historians–to give the British access to the Suez territory for hegemonic purposes.
When British General Edward Allenby entered Jerusalem, there was relative peace for a time. The Arabs of the region began to create strife against the Jews shortly thereafter, determined to not allow the British to put their geopolitical plans into action.
British General Louis Bols, put in charge of Jerusalem, disliked Zionism and rather than see to it the Balfour Declaration accomplished establishment of a Jewish homeland and protected the Jews, looked the other way at the Arab atrocities.
The betrayal by the British instigated a regional conflict–an ethnic storm that is raging today. And now, one hundred years later to the year, there has been set in motion another storm, instigated by Britain–and sadly–by the United States of America.
The Palestinian Authority has since 2015 pushed to change the language by which UNESCO speaks of Jerusalem and the holy sites, so that they are referred to almost exclusively by their Muslim names. The U.N. and its Israel-hating membership has done all within that body’s power to de-legitimize Israel as having any historical ties to the Temple Mount, or to the region, for that matter.
And now the Security Council resolution condemning settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, unopposed by Israel’s allies, America, and Britain is a betrayal of the worst sort.
Secretary of State John Kerry said on December 28 that the only chance for Israel to live in peace in the future is to accept a two-state solution. Implicit within his words is condemnation of Israel as the sticking point to peace in the region. Also, I infer, he is, along with his boss Barack Obama, threatening to abandon Israel altogether if Netanyahu refuses to give land for peace.
This last-ditch effort of the Obama administration to intimidate Israel comes as too little, too late, for their nefarious plans. Donald Trump has reassured Netanyahu and the Jewish people that the betrayal will not stand. Maybe, for a time at least, there is to be a ray of sunshine beyond this 100-year storm.