Prophecy News Watch - Week In Review/Sep 8- Sep 12
Keeping You Informed of World Events From A Biblical Perspective
Prophetic Trends & Headline News
1. Where is the United States in Bible Prophecy?
Is Russia Preparing For War With The United States?
Did you know that two Russian bombers practiced launching cruise missiles at the United States from a spot in the North Atlantic just the other day? And did you know that Russia is spending massive amounts of money to build and test new nuclear weapons systems? Meanwhile, the Obama administration is doing absolutely nothing to upgrade the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
Our nuclear officers are actually still using floppy disks and other computer technology from the 1960s. The size of the U.S. nuclear arsenal has been reduced by about 95 percent from the peak of the Cold War, and Barack Obama has spoken of even more dramatic reductions. Obama is snoozing even as a Russian general speaks of the need to “spell out the conditions under which Russia would launch a preemptive nuclear strike” against the United States.
Obama appears to be entirely convinced that a nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia is not even a remote possibility. He better be right, because we are definitely not prepared for one.
Even with everything that has happened between the United States and Russia lately, most Americans still believe that “the Cold War is over” and that Russia presents absolutely no threat to us.
But Russia is behaving as if the Cold War is still very much on. You probably didn’t hear a peep about it from the mainstream media, but just the other day a couple of Russian bombers simulated launching cruise missiles at us from the North Atlantic. The following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Bill Gertz…
Two Russian strategic bombers conducted practice cruise missile attacks on the United States during a training mission last week that defense officials say appeared timed to the NATO summit in Wales.
The Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were tracked flying a route across the northern Atlantic near Iceland, Greenland, and Canada’s northeast.
Analysis of the flight indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined “launch box”—an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at U.S. targets, said defense officials familiar with intelligence reports.
And Russia is spending money as if a nuclear confrontation with the U.S. is a very real possibility. In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin has committed to a “weapons modernization program” that is going to cost the equivalent of 540 billion dollars…
Putin said Russia’s weapons modernization program for 2016-2025 should focus on building a new array of offensive weapons to provide a “guaranteed nuclear deterrent;” re-arming strategic and long-range aviation; creating an aerospace defense system and developing high-precision conventional weapons.
He would not elaborate on prospective weapons, but he and other officials have repeatedly boasted about new Russian nuclear missiles’ capability to penetrate any prospective missile shield.
The Kremlin has bolstered defense spending in the past few years under an ambitious weapons modernization program that runs through 2020 and costs the equivalent of $540 billion.
You don’t spend that kind of money just for the fun of it.
Putin is deadly serious about being able to fight (and win) a war against the United States.
Of course nobody on either side actually hopes that such a war will happen. But most wars are won before a single shot is fired, and right now Russia is working very hard to make sure that it will have the best chance possible of coming out on top in any future conflict.
For example, Russian media is reporting that 60 percent of all Russian nuclear missiles will have radar-evading capability by 2016…
Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to complete the rearmament of Strategic Missile Forces within six years. “By 2016, the share of new missile systems will reach nearly 60%, and by 2021 their share will increase to 98%. At the same time the troop and weapon command systems, combat equipment will be qualitatively improved, first of all — their capabilities for the suppression of antimissile defense will be built up,” Defense Ministry’s RVSN spokesman Colonel Igor Yegorov told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
But of greatest concern is the new generation of nuclear-powered attack submarines armed with long-range cruise missiles that Russia has been developing.
Just this week, Russia conducted a successful test of the new submarine-launched Bulava intercontinental nuclear missile…
Russia carried out a successful test of its new Bulava intercontinental nuclear missile on Wednesday and will perform two more test launches in October and November, the head of its naval forces said.
The armed forces have boosted their military training and test drills since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, which Russia considers in its traditional sphere of influence.
The 12-meter long Bulava, or mace, has undergone numerous tests, some successful, and can deliver an impact of up to 100 times the atomic blast that devastated Hiroshima in 1945.
Each one of these missiles weighs more than 36 tons and has a range of more than 5,000 miles.
But in a future conflict, they would likely only have to travel a short distance.
That is because Russia has developed super silent attacks subs that are virtually undetectable when submerged.
Did you know that Russia is building submarines that are so quiet that the U.S. military cannot detect them? These “black hole” submarines can freely approach the coastlines of the United States without fear of being detected whenever they want. In fact, a “nuclear-powered attack submarine armed with long-range cruise missiles” sailed around in the Gulf of Mexico for several weeks without being detected back in 2012. And now Russia is launching a new class of subs that have “advanced stealth technology”. The U.S. Navy openly acknowledges that they cannot track these subs when they are submerged. That means that the Russians are able to sail right up to our coastlines and launch nukes whenever they want.
Most Americans don’t realize this, but Russian subs can come cruising right up to our coasts without us knowing about it and launch missiles which will start hitting our cities within just a few minutes.
And if you do not think that this can ever happen, perhaps you should consider what a Russian general said about a preemptive nuclear strike just the other day…
A Russian general has called for Russia to revamp its military doctrine, last updated in 2010, to clearly identify the U.S. and its NATO allies as Moscow’s enemy number one and spell out the conditions under which Russia would launch a preemptive nuclear strike against the 28-member military alliance, Interfax reported Wednesday.
Russia’s military doctrine, a strategy document through which the government interprets military threats and crafts possible responses, is being revised in light of threats connected to the Arab Spring, the Syrian civil war and the conflict in Ukraine, the deputy chief of the Kremlin’s security council told RIA Novosti on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has discussed reducing the size of our already neutered strategic nuclear arsenal down to just 300 warheads.
Let us hope and pray that we never see a nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
Because if one does happen, there is a very strong possibility that America will not be the winner.
Russian Strategic Bombers Near Canada Practice Cruise Missile Strikes On US
Two Russian strategic bombers conducted practice cruise missile attacks on the United States during a training mission last week that defense officials say appeared timed to the NATO summit in Wales.
The Russian Tu-95 Bear bombers were tracked flying a route across the northern Atlantic near Iceland, Greenland, and Canada’s northeast.
Analysis of the flight indicated the aircraft were conducting practice runs to a pre-determined “launch box”—an optimum point for firing nuclear-armed cruise missiles at U.S. targets, said defense officials familiar with intelligence reports.
Disclosure of the nuclear bombing practice comes as a Russian general last week called for Moscow to change its doctrine to include preemptive nuclear strikes on the United States and NATO.
Gen. Yuri Yakubov, a senior Defense Ministry official, was quoted by the state-run Interfax news agency as saying that Russia’s 2010 military doctrine should be revised to identify the United States and the NATO alliance as enemies, and clearly outline the conditions for a preemptive nuclear strike against them.
Yakubov said among other needed doctrinal changes, “it is necessary to hash out the conditions under which Russia could carry out a preemptive strike with the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces”—Moscow’s nuclear forces.
The practice bombing runs are the latest in a series of incidents involving threatening Russian bomber flights near the United States. Analysts say the bomber flights are nuclear saber-rattling by Moscow as a result of heightened tensions over the crisis in Ukraine.
A spokesman for the U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command declined to comment on the bomber flights in the North Atlantic.
No U.S. or Canadian fighter jets were scrambled to intercept the Bear-H bombers since the aircraft stayed outside the North American Air Defense Identification Zone.
Additional details of the incident that took place over the Labrador Sea, the stretch of the Atlantic between Greenland and Canada’s Labrador Peninsula, could not be learned.
However, officials said it took place during the NATO summit in Wales that was held Thursday and Friday.
The summit statement criticized “Russia’s aggressive actions against Ukraine [which] have fundamentally challenged our vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.”
In response to Russia’s actions, the alliance agreed to create a new Very High Readiness Joint Task Force in Eastern Europe that can deploy military forces in days.
“If required, they will also facilitate reinforcement of allies located at NATO’s periphery for deterrence and collective defense,” the NATO statement said.
U.S. Army troops will lead an international military exercise inside western Ukraine later this month. The exercises, known as “Rapid Trident 2014,” will begin Sept. 15 and include troops from several NATO and NATO-partner states, including Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Britain, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Norway, Poland, Romania, Spain, and the United States.
Russian nuclear forces will conduct a large-scale exercise in mid-September, state news agencies reported.
The Tu-95 is a nuclear-capable bomber that is outfitted with six AS-15 nuclear-armed cruise missiles. The missiles have a range of over 1,800 miles.
Google Earth analysis reveals that a Tu-95 launch box located in the Labrador Sea and firing AS-15 missiles would be in range of Ottawa, New York, Washington, and Chicago, and could reach as far south as the Norfolk Naval base.
However, air-launched cruise missiles fired from that location and outside the air defense identification zone would be unable to reach Kings Bay, Georgia—the homeport for U.S. ballistic missile submarines and a key strategic nuclear target.
Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic policymaker and currently senior analyst at the National Institute for Public Policy, said Russian leaders frequently issue public nuclear threats because they regard their nuclear arsenal as the main element of their great power status.
“Putin began what he called bomber ‘combat patrols’ in 2007 and they continue,” Schneider said. “They are designed to intimidate as well as practice nuclear bomber attacks.”
Schneider said that since the Ukraine crisis triggered by Moscow’s military annexation of Crimea, “there have been substantial numbers of all types of standard Russian nuclear threats.”
He said the threats have included nuclear exercises, bomber flights, and public statements, including Putin’s suggestion that NATO ‘not mess with us’ because Moscow remains a nuclear power.
Northern Command has confirmed that Russian strategic bomber flights increased sharply over the past six months.
Last month, at least 16 bomber incursions by the Russians took place within the northwestern U.S. and Canadian air defense zones over a period 10 days. It was the largest number of incursions since the end of the Cold War. U.S. fighter jets intercepted the Russian aircraft and followed them until they exited the defense zone.
In June, Russian bombers flew over the arctic prompting intercepts by Canadian fighters on two occasions. The Canadian government called the stepped up bomber flights a “strategic message” from Moscow amid heightened tensions.
And on June 20, the Russian Defense Ministry announced the test launch of six AS-15 missiles from a Bear bomber during military exercises.
That same month, on June 9, two Russian Bear bombers flew within 50 miles of the California coast in the closest strategic bomber flights near a U.S. coast since the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
Admiral Cecil Haney, commander of the U.S. Strategic Command, which is in charge of nuclear forces, said last month that he is concerned both by large-scale Russian nuclear exercises and by increased bomber flights near the United States.
“Clearly, we at the U.S. Strategic Command do monitor the strategic environment,” Haney said noting large-scale nuclear exercises during the Ukraine crisis.
“Any nation state has the right to train,” he added. “It’s just interesting how that information [on nuclear forces exercises] is readily available on YouTube. Clearly, the actions associated with Ukraine are problematic.”
On long-range strategic aircraft flights, Haney said: “I will say that the business of them coming close to the United States of America, we take very seriously.”
The Truth Of ISIS In America
More Americans are beginning to catch on that there are very evil people who in the name of Islam commit atrocities unimaginable to the human mind. ISIS represents Islam in its purest form. Mohammed would be smiling from ear to ear if he were able to see ISIS carrying out his planned agenda for world domination.
For years I have been conducting first-hand research at mosques around the world. For years I have been warning innocent people that Islam in its purest form is being taught in the mosques. Most people have ignored the warnings and blamed the violence on just a few ‘radical Muslims'. Many people continued to believe there are moderate Muslims and Islam is being hijacked.
In plain terms a moderate Muslim is a non-practicing Muslim. They do not exist and these people who claim to be Muslims are actually Apostates of Islam. Indeed they are good people who do not desire physical Jihad and world domination. Nevertheless they are ignoring the true teachings and basic beliefs of the Islamic ideology. These people are subject to death in accordance with Shariah law and groups such as ISIS are fulfilling the deeds of Mohammed. Around the world practicing Muslims are killing men, women and children who have departed from Islamic teachings.
If you were to ask any Islamic scholar they would tell you to faithfully practice Islam you must to the following basic principles:
1. A Muslim must adhere to all aspects of Shariah law, not just ones they feel like following. The acceptance of Shariah law cannot be separated. It is not a pick and choose system. For those who neglect portions of Shariah law they have left Islam and became Apostates.
2. A Muslim must have in their heart a desire to engage in physical Jihad in all places and all times. For those who can't fight they must provide financial and other support to the Mujahadeen (fighters). If they do not have the means to do this, at the very least they must support Jihad in their hearts.
3. A Muslim must desire a Caliphate. This is for Islam to be the dominate ideology in all parts of the world. You will hear numerous Muslims say this is not true, but basic common sense and Shariah law prove this to be accurate. Does not every Christian desire the world to accept Christianity and follow the beliefs? The same is true for Islam and Muslims.
4. The basic fundamentals of Islam dictate that slavery is authorized under Shariah law. This is why all of the Islamic terrorist groups kidnap and sell girls into slavery.
5. The marriage of girls as young as six years old is a standard practice within Islam. Mohammed married Aisha when she was six years old and all practicing Muslims state that Mohammed is an example for other Muslims to follow, and they do. Child marriages are not only being conducted in the Middle East in the name of Islam, but there are numerous mosques in America that advocate to the Muslim men to marry children.
6. Shariah law authorizes the Muslim man to beat his wife or wives.
7. Shariah law is not compatible with any man-made law and the Islamic ideology declares man-made laws do not have to be followed. Islamic leader's state Shariah law and the U.S. Constitution are not compatible.
8. Islam teaches that the Quran and Shariah law are applicable to all, and they can never be changed.
9. The Islamic ideology teaches that Jews, Christians, and other non-Muslims are the enemies of Islam.
10. Islam teaches that the land currently Israel belongs to the Muslim people and Shariah authorizes the destruction of the Israeli state and all Jews.
Now for the important question. Are ISIS terrorists in America? The best way I can answer that is to advise people not to get wrapped up in the dozens of Islamic acronyms. All of the Islamic terrorist groups follow the 10 points I mentioned above. All practicing Muslims follow the 10 points. Remember non practicing Muslims are apostates of Islam.
This means my analysis is that there are approximately 6 million Muslims in America (no one knows for sure how many). There are around 2300 mosques and Islamic Centers in America. I have been to hundreds of mosques in America and outside of America. I estimate only about 25% of people who identify with Islam are practicing Muslims. This correlates to mean that about 1.5 million Muslims in America practice Islam as Prophet Mohammed dictated 1400 years ago.
When ISIS started rumbling through Iraq they had a couple of thousand people. Soon they had several thousand because the practicing Muslims knew ISIS is the true example of how Islam must be practiced. In America if there are 1.5 million practicing Muslims it is only a matter of time when they feel comfortable and secure about trying to form a caliphate to include America. 1.5 million Islamic terrorists can do a non- recoverable amount of damage to our country. So, yes ISIS and their supporters are operating in America and we will soon be provided proof in the way of isolated terrorist attacks simultaneously all across our great country.
Could our country have survived twenty 9-11 types of attacks being conducted at the same time? Our government was not prepared for even a natural disaster as in New Orleans (hurricane Katrina). We could not withstand several major attacks at the same time. If we don't stop the Islamic ideology from being spread in America, we will have ISIS and there followers placing a black flag of Jihad at the White House in the near future.
Lost In America: Visa Program Struggles To Track Missing Foreign Students
The Department of Homeland Security has lost track of more than 6,000 foreign nationals who entered the United States on student visas, overstayed their welcome, and essentially vanished -- exploiting a security gap that was supposed to be fixed after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
"My greatest concern is that they could be doing anything," said Peter Edge, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official who oversees investigations into visa violators. "Some of them could be here to do us harm."
Homeland Security officials disclosed the breadth of the student visa problem in response to ABC News questions submitted as part of an investigation into persistent complaints about the nation’s entry program for students.
ABC News found that immigration officials have struggled to keep track of the rapidly increasing numbers of foreign students coming to the U.S. -- now in excess of one million each year. The immigration agency’s own figures show that 58,000 students overstayed their visas in the past year. Of those, 6,000 were referred to agents for follow-up because they were determined to be of heightened concern.
“They just disappear,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. “They get the visas and they disappear.”
Coburn said since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, 26 student visa holders have been arrested in the U.S. on terror-related charges.
Tightening up the student visa program was one of the major recommendations made by the 9/11 Commission, after it was determined that the hijacker who flew Flight 77 into the Pentagon, Hani Hanjour, had entered the U.S. on a student visa but never showed up for school.
Edge said ICE agents are trying to locate every one of the 6,000 missing students, but acknowledged that “we really have a lot more work to do” to tighten up the student visa program.
Despite repeated concerns raised by Congress, federal immigration officials have also continued to grant schools certification to accept overseas applicants even if the schools lack accreditation, state certification, or any obvious measure of academic rigor.
There are now more than 9,000 schools on the government approved list. The list includes such top flight American colleges as Harvard and Yale, but it also includes 86 beauty schools, 36 massage schools and nine schools that teach horseshoeing. Foreign students can enter the U.S. on a visa to study acupuncture, hair braiding, or join academies that focus on tennis and golf.
Once the student arrives in the U.S., it is up to the schools to keep track of the visa-holder’s whereabouts -- and report to the government if they repeatedly miss class.
That is a serious concern, Coburn said, because a number of for-profit schools appear to have been operating with a primary goal of selling visas, not educating students.
“We know we have a lot of non-accredited universities that are using this system to bring people in, collect money, and not educate them at all,” said Coburn, who is part of a bi-partisan group of senators that has been trying to tighten controls on student visas. “To me, it’s a mess.”
One school on the approved list, MicroPower Career Institute, licensed by the state of New York, continues to have four campuses on the approved list, even though five of the school’s top officials -- including its president -- were indicted on charges of visa fraud in May. According to the indictment, 80 percent of the foreign students enrolled MicroPower had delinquent attendance, putting them out of compliance with their visas. But the school did not report them, the indictment says. All five school officials have pleaded not guilty in the case.
ABC News visited MicroPower’s small fifth floor campus in a Manhattan office suite, but the school declined to make anyone available to comment.
Edge, who is Executive Associate Director at for ICE Homeland Security Investigations, said his agency had no choice but to continue to allow MicroPower to facilitate student visas.
“I can only say that this is the United States of America and everyone has due process,” Edge said.
The MicroPower case is one of several that touch on broader questions long raised about the student visa program.
Thomas Kean 9/11 Commission Co-Chair said the government has yet to address the security gaps the program has created. He said was stunned the federal government continues to lose track of so many foreign nationals who had entered the country with student visas. He noted that, even before the 9/11 terror attacks, federal officials had been aware of the gaps in the student visa program. The man who drove the van containing explosives into the World Trade Center garage in 1993 was also a student visa holder who was a no-show at school.
“It's been pointed out over and over and over again and the fact that nothing has been done about it yet... it's a very dangerous thing for all of us,” Kean said. “The fact that there's been no action on this is very bothersome.”
Janice Kephart, who was counsel to the 9/11 Commission and co-author of a separate report looking at how the hijackers entered the U.S., said the credibility of schools certified by ICE is another significant concern.
“When schools are not legitimate that enables terrorists to come here under a fraudulent basis and disappear into the fabric of society without anybody knowing that they are here for illegitimate reason,” Kephart said, “because the system itself will say they're here legitimately when in fact they're not.”
ICE has taken steps to address the issue, especially in the aftermath of a damning report by the Government Accountability Office in 2012, which found the agency had failed to adequately police for visa fraud. ICE officials told ABC News, for instance, that it has undertaken a new program to deploy field representatives around the country to personally inspect schools that had been approved to accept foreign students. So far, 15 field representatives have been hired, with a plan to ultimately employ 60 around the country, according to spokesperson Carissa Cutrell.
The agency has also launched a program -- so far installed at one airport, but planned for others -- that will immediately alert a customs inspector if a student is attempting to re-enter the country after their status has been flagged by a school official.
“We’re continually making improvements,” Cutrell said.
Edge said part of the blame for the continued trouble with the student visa program stems from a Congress that has been unwilling to impose tighter limits on schools -- many of which profit from tuition paid by foreign students.
Coburn, as well as Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Chuck Schumer, D-NY, were among those pushing for limiting ICE certification to accredited schools in 2012. But that effort stalled in the House of Representatives.
Rachel Banks, the director of public policy for NAFSA, the association of international educators, said her group has been working to promote opportunities for foreign study in the U.S. She said the group understands the need to monitor the arrival and departure of foreign nationals, but it should not come at the expense of legitimate applicants seeking to study in America.
“Students should not be scapegoated,” Banks said. “Foreign students are an asset and not a threat.”
The effort to expand options for foreign study appear to be prevailing. According to figures gathered by congressional investigators, the number of foreign nationals obtaining visas to study in the U.S. has grown from 662,966 in 2003 to more than 1.2 million in 2012.
Edge said his agency has accepted that those numbers represent a continued challenge for the Department of Homeland Security.
“Our work has only begun,” he said. “We have a lot more work to do in this space.”
The Seven Year Cycle Of Economic Crashes & The Coming Shemitah Year
Large numbers of people believe that an economic crash is coming next year based on a seven year cycle of economic crashes that goes all the way back to the Great Depression. What I am about to share with you is very controversial. Some of you will love it, and some of you will think that it is utter rubbish. I will just present this information and let you decide for yourself what you want to think about it.
In my previous article entitled "If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States", I discussed many of the economic cycle theories that all seem to agree that we are on the verge of a major economic downturn in this country. But there is an economic cycle that I did not mention in that article that a lot of people are talking about right now. And if this cycle holds up once again in 2015, it will be really bad news for the U.S. economy.
Looking back, the most recent financial crisis that we experienced was back in 2008. Lehman Brothers collapsed, the stock market crashed and we were plunged into the worst recession that we have experienced as a nation since the Great Depression.
Prior to that, the last time that the stock market experienced a major decline of that nature was during the bursting of the dotcom bubble seven years earlier. 2001 was a year of recession for the U.S. economy and of big trouble for stocks.
And oh year, a little event known as "9/11" happened that year.
Seven years before that, in 1994, investors experienced the worst bond market of their lifetimes.
The following is how Reuters recalls the carnage...
The 1994 bond market massacre is remembered with horror by those who lived through it. Yields on 30-year Treasuries jumped some 200 basis points in the first nine months of the year, hammering investors and financial firms, not to mention thrusting Mexico into crisis and bankrupting Orange County.
Going back another seven years brings us to 1987.
Anyone that lived through that era remembers "Black Monday" and the horrible stock market crash very well.
The next major economic crash prior to 1987 was in the early 1980s.
In 1980, the S&L crisis was blooming and everyone was talking about the "stagflation" that we were experiencing under Jimmy Carter. The Federal Reserve raised interest rates dramatically to combat inflation, and this helped precipitate the very deep recession that we experienced early in Ronald Reagan's first term.
You can read much more about the "early 1980s recession" right here.
Seven years prior to 1980 brings us to 1973. To many young Americans, that year does not have any significance, but older Americans remember the Arab oil embargo and the super long lines at the gas pumps really well.
In addition, a recession began in 1973 which ended up stretching all the way until 1975.
And those that have studied these things say that the pattern keeps going back all the way to the Great Depression. Many correctly point out that the stock market crash which began the Great Depression was in 1929, but actually the worst year for the stock market during the Great Depression was in 1931. And 1931 fits perfectly into the cycle.
So we have this pattern of economic crashes occurring approximately every seven years.
But there is an additional element to this cycle which makes it even more extraordinary.
As Jonathan Cahn has pointed out, this seven year cycle also lines up with the seven year "Shemitah cycle" that we find in the Bible.
For those not familiar with it, during the Shemitah year the people of Israel were commanded to let their land rest for a full year. It was also supposed to be a time of releasing of debts.
But for the most part the people of Israel did not observe the Shemitah year, and in the Bible that is mentioned as one of the reasons why they were exiled to Babylon for seventy years.
The Shemitah year always begins in the fall, and the upcoming Shemitah year is going to start about a month from now.
Will we see things happen during this Shemitah year that are similar to things that we have seen in past Shemitah years?
For example, on September 17th, 2001 we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in U.S. history up until that time. It happened on the 29th of Elul on the Jewish calendar, which is the day right before Rosh Hashanah.
That record stood for seven years until the massive stock market crash of September 29, 2008. That date also corresponded with the 29th of Elul on the Jewish Calendar - the day right before Rosh Hashanah.
Will the pattern hold up in 2015?
Well, the 29th of Elul falls on a Sunday in 2015, so the stock market will be closed. But it is very interesting to note that there will be a solar eclipse on that day.
And as Jonathan Cahn recently told WND, similar solar eclipses in the past have preceded major financial disasters...
In 1931, a solar eclipse took place on Sept. 12 – the end of a “Shemitah” year. Eight days later, England abandoned the gold standard, setting off market crashes and bank failures around the world. It also ushered in the greatest monthlong stock market percentage crash in Wall Street history.
In 1987, a solar eclipse took place Sept. 23 – again the end of a “Shemitah” year. Less than 30 days later came “Black Monday” the greatest percentage crash in Wall Street history.
Is Cahn predicting doom and gloom on Sept. 13, 2015? He’s careful to avoid a prediction, saying, “In the past, this ushered in the worst collapses in Wall Street history. What will it bring this time? Again, as before, the phenomenon does not have to manifest at the next convergence. But, at the same time, and again, it is wise to take note.”
So what should we make of all of this?
I am sure that some of you will dismiss this as pure coincidence and speculation.
Others will find it utterly fascinating.
But one thing is for sure - people are going to be talking about this seven year cycle all over the Internet.
For an in-depth study of the "Mystery of the Shemitah" by Jonathan Cahn his new book release is available from Prophecy News Watch.
The New ISIS Threat: America's Electric Grid
Former top government officials who have been warning Washington about the vulnerability of the nation’s largely unprotected electric grid are raising new fears that troops from the jihadist Islamic State are poised to attack the system, leading to a power crisis that could kill millions.
“Inadequate grid security, a porous U.S.-Mexico border, and fragile transmission systems make the electric grid a target for ISIS,” said Peter Pry, one of the nation’s leading experts on the grid.
Others joining Pry at a press conference later Wednesday to draw attention to the potential threat said that if just a handful of the nation’s high voltage transformers were knocked out, blackouts would occur across the country.
“By one estimate, should the power go out and stay out for over a year, nine out of 10 Americans would likely perish,” said Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.
At the afternoon press conference, Gaffney dubbed the potential crisis the "grid jihad."
A lack of electricity would shut off water systems, impact city transportation services and shutdown hospitals and other big facilities. Fresh and frozen foods also would be impacted as would banks, financial institutions and utilities.
Pry provided details of recent attacks on electricity systems and said that ISIS could easily team with Mexican drug cartels to ravage America.
He told Secrets, for example, that the Knights Templar drug gang blacked out the electric grid of the Mexican state of Michoacan in 2013 to provide cover for killing those fighting the drug trade.
“The Knights Templars and other criminal gangs in Mexico will do anything for money, and ISIS, the richest terrorist organization in history, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal,” said Pry.
“ISIS could hire one of the Mexican cartels, or one of their criminal gangs already in the U.S., or activate jihadist terror cells already in the U.S., and inflict a multi-state blackout immediately, within days or weeks. Perhaps even a nationwide blackout,” Pry explained to Secrets.
“I am not saying it is likely they will do so. But given the capabilities and objectives of ISIS and our obvious vulnerabilities, it would be foolish to ignore the threat to the grid, to regard the threat as unlikely. Our planning should be based on imminent asymmetrical threats, and not assume that another 9/11 large-scale attack is years away,” he added.
The Texas Department of Public Safety recently said they believe there is evidence that ISIS plans an attack.
Pry, Gaffney and others have been pushing Congress to protect the electric grid from attacks including terrorists, assaults by U.S. foes like North Korea and even sun spots that can zap unprotected transformers with electromagnetic pulse.
Congress is looking at legislation to protect the grid via the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act.
US Military Decline Prevents Globocop Response
For many years, the United States of America has enjoyed the privilege of being called “the world’s policeman” or NATO- leading “Globocop”. These positions may hold in theory but less and less in practice or reality, largely due to the aggressive and systematic downgrading of the U.S military spending, seemingly coupled with a weakening of U.S political resolve and support both for pro-active deterrent as well as defensive military action around the world. The end result expected over time is that the U.S will become increasingly weaker than, and more vulnerable to, Russia and China – not to mention ISIS, Al Qaeda and other competing or hostile countries and organizations.
Recent reports provide supporting evidence for these concerns. According to the Trumpet.com,some experts warn that the spending cuts could soon give Russia and China an edge over the U.S. in several advanced military technologies. Total shortfalls in the U.S. defense budget over the next five to 10 years could reach $1 trillion, according to a report by the bipartisan National Defense Panel released July 31.
How did this state of affairs arise? It is reported that back in 2009, then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates waged a campaign to slash unnecessary or under-performing military programs. By 2011, he had proposed a budget that would have allowed the DOD (Department of Defense) to focus more on modernization programs to sustain the technological advantage of the U.S. military. But later that year, the Budget Control Act and the conditional sequester were both written into law. The National Defense Panel says that the combined effect of those actions slashes the Gates budget by just under $1 trillion over 10 years.
The consequences are likely to be most evident in three areas:
1. Increased U.S Military vulnerabilities through technological divestiture:
The Trumpet.com further explains that massive spending reductions and shortfalls will ripple across all branches of the U.S. armed forces, having an obvious effect on aircraft, watercraft and tanks. They will also have an impact—less immediately noticeable, but more detrimental—on the advanced military technologies that have granted American forces a critical battlefield edge for many decades.
These technologies include:
• Space-based targeting and deployment systems;
• Next-generation reconnaissance and navigation methods;
• Robotics for specialized combat;
• Unmanned submarines;
• Specialized fuel;
• “Global strike capability” systems;
• Stealth technology.
Meanwhile, two of America’s most powerful rivals, Russia and China, are investing ever-larger percentages of their growing gross domestic products into developing advanced military technologies. Langley’s Intelligence Group says that Moscow and Beijing are making strides in these areas that could eventually give them an edge over the United States. “Russia and China … are ramping up their considerable scientific expertise from the ground all the way up into space,” Langley’s wrote on August 13. They are “looking for ways to use new technologies to blunt U.S. hegemony in areas of the world they deem of interest.”
2. Enhanced Military co-operation between U.S military adversaries and her competitors:
As the West has sought to isolate Moscow over the Ukrainian crisis, Russia and China have entered into a new era of unprecedented military cooperation. Part of this has been a new willingness on Moscow’s part to share its cutting-edge military technology with the Chinese. One significant example of this came in late March when Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to sell the S-400 Triumf, a new generation anti-aircraft weapons system, to China. Once the deal is finalized, China will be the first foreign nation to use the sophisticated Russian weaponry.
Another key area of co-operation has been in joint military operations. The Trumpet.com in a separate and more recent edition reported that China’s Inner Mongolia held the biggest military drill ever held by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The training of 7,000 servicemen from five SCO member states was reportedly set to test troops’ effectiveness in fighting terrorism. The so-called Peace Mission-2014 drill was conducted from August 24 to 29 in China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The war games attracted a record number of troops and military hardware, never previously gathered in one place before by the SCO member states. Apart from infantry troops and special forces, the international task force has been strengthened with air defense systems, radio-electronic warfare units and aviation. According to the scenario, the international task force will eliminate terrorist groups in various situations and environments.
This kind of training, although being fronted as purely anti-terrorist in focus, could in many ways be easily adapted to standard military warfare that could place the United States at a serious disadvantage at all levels if ever threatened by a joint China and/or Russia-led attack: army infantry, navy, and air force.
3. Acquisition of newer and more powerful military equipment by Russia and China:
According to a recent report in NationalInterest.org, new advances are bringing the Chinese defense-industrial base ever closer to its counterparts (indeed, in some ways Chinese technology has surpassed Russian). The report examines five pieces of future Chinese military technology that could become “game changers”:
- Aircraft Carriers: China has signaled intentions to develop ships that may carry stealth-style fighters and could possibly launch AEW (airborne early warning) aircraft.
- Type 055 Cruiser: China appears to be building its first big cruisers, representing a jump forward for China’s naval capabilities. Analysts have estimated the Type 055 at around 12,000 tons, and have suggested that it could carry up to 128 vertical launch cells. A cruiser of this size could threaten to strike into the deep interior with cruise missiles, or could control the airspace in order to protect a task force.
- The J-20 Stealth Fighter: This fighter has been undergoing development since 2011 and is certainly a large aircraft, presumably with a long range and a significant weapons load. This presumably makes it capable of threatening US and allied military installations across the Asia-Pacific, especially when armed with air launched cruise missiles. The J-20 could also conduct interception and long-range recon missions. Assisted by other complementary systems, the J-20 could potentially throw the military infrastructure of the United States and its Pacific allies out of balance. The United States has become accustomed to using stealth aircraft, but it has yet to face a serious stealth threat.
- DF-41: Intercontinental ballistic missiles aren’t new, even for China. But the DF-41 heralds a shift from minimal deterrence to secure second strike. If China begins to build such missiles in large numbers, it can effectively equalize its nuclear relationship with Russia and the United States, as well as neutralize any effective national missile defense fielded by the U.S.
Russia too is working hard at building up military advantages at all levels. According to the Russia and India Report, there are some new top products for the Russian military that have been displayed in public at the Oboronexpo-2014 exhibition, including the following examples:
- The S-400 Triumf surface to air missile(SAM):
The SAM is designed for destroying aerodynamic targets in the air (tactical and strategic aircraft, jammers, and cruise missiles) including those using stealth technology, as well as ballistic rockets with a range of up to 3500 km, hypersonic targets, and other current and future air attack technologies. This is part of the technology that has been sold to China.
- The BPDM Typhoon-M counter-sabotage combat vehicle:
The BPDM was designed for the benefit of Russia’s Strategic Missile.Its main function is protecting strategic missile systems and engaging with enemy sabotage and reconnaissance groups.
- The heavy IFV ATOM:
The vehicle is designed for transporting motorized infantry units and hauling combat and fire support to dismounted riflemen.
Although these examples have been made public, it is no secret that the most potent and powerful weapons held may well remain classified top secret information until they outlive their competitive edge over potential adversaries. It looks like the United States has a lot to worry about unless she still holds a massive military advantage in ways that have yet to be made public. All indications however are that, with each passing day, she is instead becoming more and more of a sitting duck for all her potential adversaries.
2. Israel - God's Timepiece
Will The Gaza Truce Be Shorter Than The Gaza War?
Day by day, the prospect recedes of the Israel-Hamas Cairo negotiations actually taking place on schedule, one month after Aug. 26, the date the last Gaza ceasefire went into force. And even if they do, it will only be a pointless formality achieving nothing. The discussions, actions, disclosures and statements filling the air at present all point to the violence resuming on the Jewish New Year festival later this month.
Clearly aware of the dates, Hamas’ Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh warned in a sermon Friday, Sept. 6, that rocket fire would start up against Israel on Sept. 25, the first day of the festival, unless the blockade of the Gaza Strip was lifted by then.
This eventuality would sorely embarrass Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, to say the least – after their extreme efforts to demonstrate to critics that Hamas would never dare shoot another rocket after the punishment it took in 50 days of relentless Israeli warfare and air strikes.
This was the rationale they used for halting hostilities, prematurely according to their critics, without delivering the final crushing blow against the Palestinian extremists.
It now seems that the truce may be shorter-lived than the conflict itself, because it rested on misconceptions. Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh El-Sisi and Prime Minister Netanyahu designated Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to oversee and take charge of the slow strangling of Hamas rule of the Gaza Strip. That was one misconception. For one thing, Abbas never dances to any tune but his own, and, for another, Hamas’s popularity has soared at his expense – especially in his own domain, the West Bank, where a recent Palestinian poll showed 80 percent support for Hamas’s rocket war on Israel.
Knowing which way the wind was blowing, Abbas made it clear in his remarks Saturday that he had no intention of disarming Hamas, but would take charge of the Gaza Strip only if he was assured by Egypt as well as Hamas that the Palestinians would have one ruling body and “one gun.”
This was Abbas’s way of telling Israel to forget about its demand to demilitarize Gaza, because he had accepted the Hamas formula for a unity government: The Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority would rule the territory and Hamas would continue to be the sole military force, enjoying a status akin to the autonomous Hizballah militia in Lebanon.
Israel knew about these understandings in the last week of August, when the Shin Bet Direct Yoram Cohen traveled to Jordan for a meeting with Abbas. That meeting was widely misrepresented as a rendezvous between Abbas and Netanyahu for launching the latter’s vision of a “new political horizon” arising from the successful Gaza campaign.
Cohen’s mission was quite different: He was to hand the Palestinian leader a clear warning about how Israel views the future of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip and lay down red lines.
But for now, the second week of September, Hamas and Israel are back to the mid-war situation of impermanent truces, with Hamas still calling the shots and even setting the date for resuming its rocket war on Israel.
Hence the comments by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman Sunday, Sept. 7, that it was “unrealistic at this time” to demand Gaza’s demilitarization, although the issue “must stay on the table.”
Clearly Netanyahu has given up on his main condition for ceasing hostilities, which was the demilitarization of the terror-ridden strip of coastal land adjoining southwestern Israel. He and the defense minister seem to have resigned themselves to Hamas being left with the capacity to manufacture and shoot rockets at will.
This acceptance roused into action the critics, who were vocally opposed to the way the war was handled and pointed out, above all, how little was achieved before a truce was accepted. An unnamed “senior political figurel” caused a rumpus Sunday, when he reported in a leak to the media that, two weeks into the latest ceasefire, Hamas had begun rebuilding the attack tunnels, which IDF ground forces so painstakingly destroyed, and was again smuggling arms through Sinai tunnels, despite Egypt’s efforts to run interference.
Furthermore, the Gaza terrorists were again manufacturing M-75 rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv. Even after Israel’s massive aerial strikes, they were left with one-third of their rocket arsenal.
Unnamed sources in the defense ministry questioned the official’s sources for this information, which landed with the same suddenness as the revelation that the government had begun discussing the choice of Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz’s successor as the next chief of staff.
This issue tends to be highly charged as different contenders vie to make the running. If Netanyahu and Ya’alon wanted to delay the decision, they could have extended Gen. Gantz term, which ends Feb. 15, 2015, or got it out of the way by promoting his deputy, Maj. Gen. Gadi Eisenkott.
But both are reported to prefer to draw a line on the Gaza conflict and the performance of the two generals and start afresh. They therefore find themselves caught uncomfortably in crossfire from two conflicts – the possible resumption of Palestinian attacks from Gaza, and the contest in the top ranks of the IDF for the top job as chief of staff.
The Rise of Global Anti-Semitism
There is little doubt that anti-Semitism is on the rise globally, based largely on the age-old Arab/Israeli tensions centered on Palestine, Jerusalem and the dispute over other Israeli-controlled territories. More recently, anti-Semitism has been fuelled by the rise of radical Islam, currently exemplified best by ISIS, as well as the ongoing tensions between Hamas and Israel. But beyond these factors, there seem to be an ongoing resentment of Jews globally based on the perception that they disproportionately dominate various key sectors in business, finance, medicine, politics and general society all around the world.
This trend in anti-Semitic view was demonstrated in an article published in the American Free Press, in which writer Pete Papaherakles makes reference to a survey conducted on May 13 by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). The reportedly unprecedented “ADL Global 100” was a worldwide study of “anti-Semitic” attitudes, and was conducted in over 102 countries and included 53,100 participants, who represented 88% of the world’s adult population.
Papaherakles explains that the ADL presented respondents with 11 statements and asked them whether each was “probably true” or “probably false.” If someone answered that six or more of the statements were “probably true,” they were counted as harboring anti-Semitic attitudes. The statements included, “Jews have too much power in international financial markets,” “Jews have too much control over the global media,” “Jews have too much control over the U.S. government” and “Jews have too much control over global affairs.” Papaherakles says that these questions are “no-brainers” since only one out every 514 people in the world (0.19%) is Jewish, yet they dominate in all those areas. He adds: “But to state the obvious is considered anti-Semitic by ADL standards”, inferring that the survey needs to be understood in this context.
According to Papaherakles, Orthodox liturgy is said to have been progressively translated from the original Greek to Latin, Hebrew and then English and other languages. In this process, slightly alterations were made, purportedly always to the benefit of Jews, portraying them in an increasingly better light. He further states that on the “Judaeo-Christian” spectrum, Orthodox Christianity would be on the far right side, followed by Catholicism, then Protestantism, Christian Zionism, Reform Judaism, with Talmudic, Orthodox Jewry at the far left end.
ADL National Director Abe Foxman stated on his part regarding the survey that: “The data from the (ADL) Global 100 Index enables us to look beyond anti-Semitic incidents and rhetoric and quantify the prevalence of anti-Semitic attitudes across the globe. We can now identify hotspots, as well as countries and regions of the world where hatred of Jews is essentially non-existent.”
The survey also ranks countries and territories in numerical order from the least anti-Semitic (Laos, at 0.2 percent of the adult population) to the most (West Bank and Gaza) where anti-Semitic attitudes, at 93 percent, are pervasive throughout society). The margin of error for most countries, where 500 respondents were selected, was +/- 4.4 percent. In various larger countries, where 1,000 interviews were conducted, the margin of error was +/- 3.2 percent.
Highlights of the survey findings published in adl.org included the following:
• One in four adults worldwide harbor anti-Semitic attitudes;
• The nation of Greece is the most anti-Semitic country in Europe by far, with 69% of Greeks labeled anti-Semites. Poland is second with 45% and Bulgaria third with 44%. France scored 37%;
• Eastern Europe (34%) scored more anti-Semitic than Western Europe (24%);
• Christians in Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries are more likely to harbor anti-Semitic views than those in Protestant countries. In contrast, Protestant countries such as the UK scored 8%, Sweden only 4% and the United States 9%.
• The highest concentration of respondents holding anti-Semitic attitudes was found in Middle East and North African countries (“MENA”), where nearly three-quarters of respondents, 74 percent of those polled, agreed with a majority of the anti-Semitic stereotypes that comprise the 11-question index. Non-MENA countries have an average index score of 23 percent.
• More than one-quarter of those surveyed, 26 percent, harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, representing an estimated 1.09 billion adults around the world;
•Only 54 percent of those polled globally have ever heard of the Holocaust. Two out of three people surveyed have either never heard of the Holocaust, or do not believe historical accounts to be accurate;
• The most widely accepted anti-Semitic stereotype worldwide is: “Jews are more loyal to Israel than to this country/the countries they live in.” Overall, 41 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.” This is the most widely accepted stereotype in five out of the seven regions surveyed;
• The second most widely accepted stereotype worldwide is “Jews have too much power in the business world.” Overall, 35 percent of those surveyed believe this statement to be “probably true.” This is also the most widely held stereotype in Eastern Europe;
• Among the 74 percent of those surveyed who indicated they had never met a Jewish person, 25 percent harbor anti-Semitic attitudes. Of the 26 percent overall who harbor anti-Semitic attitudes, 70 percent have never met a Jewish person;
• Three out of 10 respondents, 30 percent, believe Jews make up between 1 to 10 percent of the world’s population. Another 18 percent believe Jews make up more than 10 percent of the world’s population. Sixteen percent (16%) responded less than 1 percent. (The actual number of Jewish people as a percentage of the world’s population is 0.19 percent).
Alarmed about such high anti-Semitism in Greece, ADL National Director Abe Foxman reportedly flew to Greece to pressure the Greek government to do something about the urgent problem. He found that Greece’s nationalist party, Golden Dawn (GD), is greatly responsible for spreading anti-Semitism in Greece, as is the Greek Orthodox Church. Foxman has also appealed to the Orthodox Church to revise its liturgy, something that has never happened in the church’s 1,700-year history: “We call on Orthodox Christian leaders to begin the process now to remove anti-Semitic passages from its liturgy…untold numbers of Jews have suffered throughout the centuries, and today, in some countries where these churches are prominent, Jews are confronted by growing anti-Semitism, because of the failure to address this.”
According to Bible prophecy, the whole world will, before the return of Jesus Christ, be united in war against Israel and will determine to destroy her, as described in Ezekiel 38 and other scriptures. The stage seems to be getting very rapidly set for this exact end-time scenario with the rapid rise and spread of global anti-Semitism.
5. Apostate Christianity
Ted Cruz Stands Up To ‘Hatred and Bigotry’ At Conference Of Middle Eastern Christians
Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon that the “hatred and bigotry” he encountered when he was booed off the stage at a Middle Eastern Christian conference for defending Israel on Wednesday night was like nothing he has previously seen in his political career.
“I’ve certainly encountered audiences that disagreed with a particular point of view. But this virulent display of hatred and bigotry was remarkable, and considerably different from anything I’ve previously encountered,” Cruz said, just a few hours after his pro-Israel speech to the In Defense of Christians conference was drowned out by shouts and jeers from the audience.
The senator was booed off stage at the conference, which is aimed at raising awareness for the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians, after saying that Christians “have no greater ally than Israel” and calling on the audience to support the Jewish state.
“The division and anti-Semitism expressed tonight by some of the crowd is not reflective of the teachings of Christ, and is in fact directly contrary to the tenets of Christianity,” Cruz said.
In video posted by the Daily Caller, audience members can be heard shouting at Cruz during his keynote address.
“I am saddened to see that some here, not everyone, but some here, are so consumed with hate,” said Cruz, before he was interrupted with shouts of “all of us!” from the audience.
“You speak for yourself!” one participant yelled during the senator’s defense of Israel.
“If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you,” said Cruz, as audience members drowned him out with boos and cries of “enough!,” “no!” and “never!”
The Free Beacon reported on Wednesday that several Hezbollah and Syrian regime supporters were scheduled to speak at the conference. Numerous members of Congress were scheduled to attend, including Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), and Rep. Brad Sherman (D., Calif.).
The speakers included Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Raï, who has defended Hezbollah’s right to attack Israel and has called for a meeting with the Iranian-backed terrorist group’s leader Hassan Nasrallah.
Another speaker, Syriac Orthodox Church Patriarch Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, boasted on his official Facebook page last week about his Sept. 5 meeting with a “high level delegation from Hezbollah.”
The conference also featured Antioch Church patriarch Gregory III Laham, who has blamed terrorist attacks against Iraqi Christians on a “Zionist conspiracy against Islam” aimed at making Muslims look bad.
“It is actually a conspiracy planned by Zionism and some Christians with Zionist orientations, and it aims at undermining and giving a bad image of Islam,” Laham said in 2010, according to the Daily Star.
Despite the controversial speakers, Cruz decided to speak at the conference because he wanted to bring attention to the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians, his office told the Free Beacon on Wednesday afternoon.
He said Wednesday night that he was disappointed he was unable to give the speech he had planned.
“I’d intended to talk tonight about Pastor Saeed Abedini, wrongfully imprisoned in the nation of Iran for practicing his Christian faith. I’d intended to talk tonight about Mariam Ibrahim, wrongfully imprisoned and sentenced to torture and death for her Christian faith,” said Cruz. “I had intended to talk about the three Jewish teenagers who were kidnapped and murdered by Hamas simply because they were Jews.”
Pope Francis Stirs Controversy With Role Of Mary In Faith
Pope Francis has been a breath of fresh air for many Catholics seeking greater liberty and a growing concern for conservative Christians who take issue with his comments about homosexuality and other cultural issues.
But the pontiff's latest statement is sparking an uproar from believers around the world. Pope Francis sent a tweet Tuesday that absolutely violates the truth of Scripture:
"The Christian who does not feel that the Virgin Mary is his or her mother is an orphan," Pope Francis tweeted. As of the time I wrote this column it had been retweeted about 4,000 times and many of the responses were in appropriately unkind. It's not appropriate to attack the pope for his beliefs. It's more appropriate to share the truth.
Mary the Mother to the World?
First, let's explore how the pope expanded on his exaltation of Mary. During his weekly address in Rome, the pope positioned the Roman Catholic Church as a "mother" to the world and encouraged Catholics to follow Mary as an example of godly motherhood.
"In our catecheses, we have often noted that we do not become a Christian on our own, but by being born and nurtured in the faith in the midst of the people of God, that is the church. She is a true mother who gives us life in Christ, and in the communion of the Holy Spirit, brings us into a common life with our brothers and sisters," the pope said.
"The model of motherhood for the church is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who in the fullness of time conceived through the Holy Spirit and gave birth to the Son of God. Her motherhood continues through the church, who brings forth sons and daughters through baptism, whom she nourishes through the Word of God."
What About Romans 8:14-15?
Mary was a humble willing servant and a good example of godly motherhood, but she does not bring forth sons and daughters through baptism or nourish us through the Word of God beyond her example of humble servanthood in the Bible. What concerns me more, though, is the notion of people being orphans if they don't consider Mary their mother. Let's consider this statement in the light of Scripture. Romans 8:14-17 shines light on the issue of orphans in Christ—there are no orphans in Christ:
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together."
Nowhere in these verses does it make mention of Mary. Rather, we see the Father, the Christ and the Holy Spirit at work in a believer's life. That's Bible. If that's not enough, Jesus Himself stated plainly: "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18). I don't mean this in a sarcastic manner at all, but please note that Jesus did not say Mary would come to them, or that He would bring Mary with them, or that Mary is praying for them, or that they should pray to Mary.
There are other issues in the Catholic religion that don't line up with Scripture, but suggesting that "The Christian who does not feel that the Virgin Mary is his or her mother is an orphan" contradicts the simplicity of the gospel and excludes the millions of Protestants around the world who honor Mary as the mother of Jesus but do not ask for her help from heaven. Christians are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1)—the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Mary was a blessed vessel God chose to bring the Messiah into the world, but Jesus did not exalt her, and neither should we. Let's stand with the simplicity of the gospel.
6. The Rise of Islam
Four Dangers In Obama's Strategy Against ISIS
President Obama announced a four-part strategy to “destroy” the Islamic State terrorist group, commonly known as ISIS or ISIL. It consists of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, support for Iraqis and Syrians fighting the group, international counterterrorism cooperation and humanitarian aid.
This is a broad strategy that could succeed in eliminating the group’s safe havens. There are four problems ahead that the U.S. and its coalition of over 40 countries must expect:
Radical Shiite Influence Ends Sunni Cooperation
Iraqi Sunni tribes have pledged to work with the Iraqi government in fighting the Islamic State and the U.S. is in communication with them. Over 25 Sunni tribes are now fighting the Islamic State and are even working with the Iraqi military around the town of Haditha despite their adversarial relationship.
The formation of a new and more inclusive Iraqi government is being described as a "milestone" by the U.S. Sunnis appear receptive to the new government, at least for the moment, but their cooperation could cease with any indication of sectarianism, Iranian puppetry or use of radical Shiite militias in areas where Sunnis live.
The breakdown in the relationship between the Iraqi Sunnis and the Shiite-majority Iraqi government provided the critical opening for the Islamic State. Tension will arise if the Iraqi government chooses to give the post of Interior Minister to Haid al-Ameri, leader of the Iran-backed Badr Organization that has a militia.
If Iranian-linked militias grow in power and are seen as extensions of the Iraqi government, then cooperation with Iraqi security forces will end. Shiite militiamen massacred 73 Sunni civilians at a mosque in Baqubah last month, causing Sunni leaders to suspend talks on forming the new government.
Sunnis are much less likely to fight the Islamic State if they believe the Sunni terrorists will be replaced with even more hostile Shiite extremists. Acts of sectarian violence and oppression could cause Sunni tribes to embrace radical forces and some could even come to see the Islamic State as protectors and try to reconcile with them.
Iranian-backed militias and terrorists could also unravel cooperation between the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Iraqi government. Iran was the first country to arm the Kurds against the Islamic State, but the Kurds would prefer to ally with the U.S.
The Islamic State’s siege of Amerli was broken by U.S. airstrikes and two Iran-linked militias that the U.S. considers to be terrorist groups: the Hezbollah Brigades and Asiab al-Haq. Though Kurds worked with these militias, they are calling them the “Shiite Islamic State.” The Hezbollah Brigades are refusing to let the Peshmerga into Amerli and are burning homes of Sunnis suspected of belonging to the Islamic State.
Any successful strategy for Iraq must include limiting Iranian influence and the long-term disbanding of radical Shiite militias.
“Moderate” Syrian Rebels
There are Syrian opposition figures who want to topple the Assad regime and defeat the Islamists so that a secular democracy with separation of mosque and state can follow. Kamal al-Labwani, a major opposition leader, is one example. Clarion Project interviewed al-Labwani in April 2012.
Removing the Islamic State from Syria would require some kind of force on the ground. Supporting moderate rebels is the only option since the Assad regime also sponsors terrorism and is an ally of Iran. However, Islamist radicals dominate the armed rebel forces that would fight the Islamic State.
In April 2013, the New York Times reported, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.” As of June 2013, 10 of 12 rebel groups were Islamist.
Of the two that are not Islamist, one consists of the Kurds, who have PKK terrorists among them. The second one is the Free Syria Army (FSA), which has Islamist factions fighting in its name. Any arms given to the FSA could pass into unsavory hands because the FSA collaborates with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s Syrian branch. Further, many FSA fighters have switched sides and joined al-Nusra.
Time and time again, “moderate” Syrian rebel political leadership has been linked to Islamists. Ghassan Hitto, the former prime minister of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, was linked to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network and backed by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. He was rejected by the FSA, but the point remains that the rebels have a major Islamist component.
Prominent pro-rebel groups in the U.S. also cannot be relied upon. The Syria Support Group, the only group licensed by the U.S. to provide material support to the FSA, has Islamist links. It has gotten at least $12 million in U.S. government aid.
The leader of the Syrian Emergency Taskforce supports the Islamic Front, a coalition of Salafists that want to institute sharia
governance, some of whom work with al-Nusra. An Islamic Front-aligned cleric has raised millions of dollars in the U.S. The Front’s takeover of FSA bases in December prompted the U.S. and U.K. to suspend non-lethal aid to the Syrian rebels.
Another radical cleric came to America on a fundraising tour with the Syrian American Council. This organization has officials that used to belong to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. It opposed the designation of Jabhat al-Nusra as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.
Pro-Islamist Allies in the Coalition
The U.S. must also be prepared for the pro-Islamist members of its coalition against the Islamic State to predictably support Islamism.
Secular Syrian opposition figures complain that Qatar and Turkey are sidelining them by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. When the U.S. worked with Qatar in removing the Qaddafi regime in Libya, Qatar exercised its influence to benefit the Islamist forces. Libya is experiencing bloody fighting between Islamist and secular forces today.
Qatar continues to support the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Islamic Front, specifically Ahrar al-Sham. An Ahrar al-Sham leader named Abu Khaled al-Souri had high-level Al-Qaeda ties and was killed by the Islamic State. Jabhat al-Nusra and other Al-Qaeda-linked figures see Qatar as friendly territory.
Saudi Arabia, which has agreed to help support rebels fighting the Islamic State, has already been supporting the Islamic Front, specifically Zahran Alloush’s Army of Islam (or Jaysh al-Islam). His ideology is similar to that of Al-Qaeda/Jabhat al-Nusra.
The Saudis also back a coalition named the Syrian Revolutionary Council. It condemned the United Kingdom for sentencing Islamist cleric Raed Salah for inciting terrorism. He was previously imprisoned in Israel for financing Hamas and working with an Iranian intelligence operative.
The Meaning of Combat Troops
President Obama announced that an additional 475 U.S. troops are going to Iraq to assist Iraqi and Kurdish forces. This raises the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to 1,600, but President Obama is adamant that they won’t play a combat role.
The scope of their mission may not include combat operations, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll avoid combat. Islamic State supporters have incessantly expressed their eagerness on social media for U.S. troops to come fight in Iraq.
All Americans in Iraq, especially soldiers in any role, are a top target of the Islamic State. These soldiers won’t be on the frontline, but they will be at risk. The Islamic State will try to attack them at their bases.
Just as Afghan soldiers and policemen have attacked U.S. soldiers in "green-on-blue" attacks, Islamic State may have sympathizers ready to do the same to U.S. troops in Iraq. And if American soldiers are attacked, they will be equipped and ready to defend themselves -- in other words, engage in combat.
Should American soldiers come under attack, President Obama will face the difficult task of articulating how having troops in combat is not a violation of his pledge.
Before President Obama’s address, a CNN poll found that 76% of Americans support airstrikes on the Islamic State and only 23% oppose them. In addition, close to 62% favor military aid to those fighting the Islamic State, a dip in support likely reflective of American concerns about arming the wrong actors.
A Washington Post poll found that 71% of Americans support bombing the Islamic State in Iraq and 65% support doing so in Syria. About 58% want to arm the Kurds.
These polls indicate broad support for the announced strategy. However, Americans opinions have not been tested by stories of setbacks and possible American casualties.
If the U.S. government is to wage a successful campaign against the Islamic State and maintain American support, it must prepare to deal with the problems above.
Grave Setback For ISIS Strategy: Turkey Backs Out of US-Led War On ISIS
The Turkish government inflicted a stunning blow to President Barack Obama’s strategy for a broad US-led coalition for tackling and defeating the Islamic State, Thursday, Sept. 11 - just hours after the plan was unveiled in Washington. One of the 11 Sunni Muslim nations invited to Jeddah by US Secretary John Kerry Thursday to join the coalition’s establishment, Turkey announced instead that it wants no part in the US strategy for destroying IS.
In his speech Wednesday night, President Obama specifically named Turkey as one of the “friends and allies” who would contribute troops to the mission.
However, an official in Ankara, who chose to remain anonymous, stated later: “Turkey will refuse to allow a US-led coalition to attack jhadists in neighboring Iraq and Syria from its air bases, nor will it take part in combat operations against militants.” The statement continued: “Turkey will not be involved in any armed operation but will concentrate entirely on humanitarian operations.”
debkafile’s military and intelligence sources report that Turkey has knocked out one of the main props from under the Obama plan, which was its reliance on regional forces for combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, while the United States provided air strikes and cover.
As prime minister of Turkey eleven years ago, President Tayyip Erdogan confronted former US President George W. Bush with the same letdown when, on the eve of the US 2003 invasion of Iraq, he withheld Turkish bases for the deployment of 60,000 US troops to open a northern front against Saddam Hussein.
This act provoked a long crisis in relations between Washington and Ankara.
US sources report that, straight after the Jeddah meeting, Secretary Kerry will travel to Ankara on Friday, Sept. 12, to confront Turkish leaders.
But meanwhile, Germany and Britain have said they would not take part in the US air campaign in Iraq and Syria.
debkafile reported earlier: In his speech to the American people, Wednesday, Sept. 10, President Barack Obama unveiled a four-point strategy “to roll back, degrade and ultimately destroy” ISIS, at the head of “a broad coalition of friends and allies.” The US would lead off with systematic air strikes against IS targets, while local forces would perform the fighting on the ground. “No US combat troops would be involved,” he pledged.
He described the effort as a “comprehensive and sustained counter-terror mission,” to hunt terrorists down wherever they are. “We will not hesitate to take action against IS in Syria as well as Iraq,” said Obama. “There will be no safe haven for anyone threatening America.” He therefore called on Congress to approve additional resources for training and equipping Syrian opposition forces to take part in the war on IS.
Another 475 US military personnel had been assigned to Iraq, he said, but not in combat missions. They would provide training, intelligence and equipment and judge how best to support the Iraqi military. "America can make a difference,: he stressed, "but Iraqis must do the job of fighting IS themselves."
According to US sources, the Obama administration has earmarked the small sum of $25 million dollars for training the Iraqi and Kurdish armies.
In the past six weeks, the US has conducted 154 air strikes against IS – a relatively low number which debkafile’s military sources note is far below the fire power needed to “degrade” the Islamists.
Moreover, Washington has scarcely delivered on its promises for three years to arm the Syrian opposition adequately to contest Bashar Assad and his Iranian, Russian and Hizballah-backed war machine.
Now, it will take months if not years to bring the pro-Western Syrian rebel militias up to scratch for their new mission of fighting IS.
As for the broad coalition of friends and allies, US Secretary of State John Kerry stated in Baghdad Wednesday that it would consist of 40 nations. So far only 10-15 governments have signed up.
At the same time, President Obama appeared to be firm and determined in his resolve the eradicate the terrorist scourge that calls itself the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, but he made no bones about a mission that would start slowly and stretch out over a long period.
7. Increase in Knowledge/New Technologies
New Obama Plan Calls For Implanted Computer Chips To Help U.S. Troops Heal
When President Obama on Tuesday highlighted 19 executive actions he says he is taking to improve the mental health of U.S. troops and veterans, one of them centered on a particularly novel effort: The development of new computer chips designed to modulate the nervous system to help with everything from arthritis to post-traumatic stress.
The project is headed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a Pentagon agency that develops a variety of high-tech equipment for the U.S. military. It’s known as the Electrical Prescriptions program, or ElectRx (pronounced “electrics”). Program officials say the goal is to develop a technology that could help people heal more quickly through the use of biosensors and electromagnetic devices that control human organs.
“Instead of relying only on medication, we envision a closed-loop system that would work in concept like a tiny, intelligent pacemaker,” said Doug Weber, the program’s manager. “It would continually assess conditions and provide stimulus patterns tailored to help maintain healthy organ function, helping patients get healthy and stay healthy using their body’s own systems.”
Obama did not reference the new program directly in his speech Tuesday at the American Legion national convention in Charlotte, N.C. In a joint fact sheet released by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs, however, the agencies said DARPA will start a new $78.9 million, five-year research program “to develop new, minimally invasive neurotechnologies that will increase the ability of the body and brain to induce healing.” It’s part of the Obama administration’s larger “BRAIN Initiative,” which involves the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration, among other organizations.
Officials say the BRAIN Initiative — which stands for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies — includes a related DARPA effort to build new brain chips that will be able to predict moods to help treat post-traumatic stress. It’s known as the SUBNETS program, short for Systems-Based Neurotechnology for Emerging Therapies. Teams at both the University of California, San Francisco, and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston are involved.
The major hurdle for the ElectRX program may be shrinking the technology needed so that it can be used in the body. Implantable devices already are in use to fight inflammatory diseases and other health problems, but most are about the size of a deck of cards, requiring surgical implantation that can result in side effects, DARPA officials said. They want “ultraminiaturized devices” that would could be inserted through needle injection or other less invasive means.
8. Christian Worldview/Issues
'The Blasphemy Challenge' Tempts Teens To Curse God
Though only 17, high school senior Perri Frost has met more than her share of atheists and agnostics. For several years she has been reaching out to fellow teens who are skeptics, including some who post videos on the internet insulting God.
"Some of the teens who seem most hostile toward God are the same ones who emphasize that they are rational thinkers," she says. "It seems odd to want to insult Someone who supposedly isn't there."
Regarding the videos, Frost is referring to "The Blasphemy Challenge," an Internet-related activity that encourages people to post a clip of themselves cursing God or renouncing the Holy Spirit's work in their life. The more brazen clips include assertions that the person willingly accepts the consequences this action (including hell) incurs should it turn out that God does exist.
Blasphemy-challenge promoters make no secret of their desire to promote atheism among teens. One website offered to send a free DVD documentary against Christianity to teens who post a video rejection of God online. One of the project's organizers told Fox News, "It (the blasphemy challenge) exposes the crock that is Christian doctrine."
Some Needed Clarifications
Online atheists base their so-called "blasphemy challenge" on Scriptures such as Mark 3:29 in which Jesus says, "But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin" (ESV). On the basis of this Scripture, some atheists fault God for apparently being unable or unwilling to forgive this specific sin.
But what exactly is blasphemy? Are there unforgivable or unpardonable sins? How does one know whether or not they have "crossed the line" and passed beyond the point of God's forgiveness?
Biblical examples of blasphemy imply irreverence or slander against God. But the term also means, "to spurn." The Scriptures alluding to "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit" imply a two-fold indictment against the leaders who personally encountered Jesus while He was here on Earth: They refused to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah, plus they accused Him of being empowered by Satan. To say the least, they spurned Jesus.
Considering the Context
Barry Leventhal, Ph.D., is director the Jewish studies program at Southern Evangelical Seminary. Regarding passages that deal with blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, Leventhal states, "There is a difference between an unpardonable sin, and the unpardonable sin. The sin which ultimately places a person beyond God's forgiveness is to live and die in the act of unbelief. That is, to reject Christ."
Most scholars agree that Jesus' ominous warnings about "blaspheming the Holy Spirit" represent a situation unique to the time that Christ was on Earth. Leventhal explains, "Jesus had presented Himself as Messiah to the Jewish leaders. With irrefutable evidence, He had done everything necessary to validate who He was."
Because the religious leaders were intimately familiar with all of the Old Testament Scriptures—and because the incarnate Lord was right in front of them—these particular Jewish leaders had been entrusted with an unparalleled amount of revelation. "For them to stubbornly maintain that posture of unbelief and then to attribute Christ's work to the devil—this rejection of God's overtures was the inexcusable, unpardonable, "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit," Leventhal explained.
Could a Christian Commit the Unpardonable Sin?
Some Christians struggle with a nagging fear that they may have committed an unforgivable sin. Verses like 1 John 1:9 reminds us that when people come to God in repentance and faith, "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." Rom. 8:1 assures believers: "There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
Jesus taught that part of the Holy Spirit's work in the world would be to reveal to people their sinfulness and need for salvation (John 16). A healthy concern about sin evidences the fact that the Holy Spirit is still at work in a person's life. To feel contrite about sin is proof that one hasn't committed something unpardonable.
Effective Witness in an Age of Doubt
Interestingly, the taunts of blasphemy-challenge videos are directed almost exclusively at the God of Christianity.
"The online atheists and teens who are into the blasphemy challenge are almost exclusively opposed to Christianity," says Frost. "There are almost no complaints against other faiths. Virtually all of the atheists rail against Christianity only."
The rise of spiritual skepticism and outright blasphemy are vivid reminders that Christians must strive to be authentic. After listing the spiritual qualities that ought to be tangibly present in a Christian's life, Gal. 5:23 says that "against such things there is no law." In other words, "it can't be argued against." The blasphemy of an unbelieving world is tangibly answered by a testimony of Christ-likeness on the part of God's people.
Christian Group ‘Derecognized’ At State’s Colleges Because It Requires Leaders To Hold Christian Beliefs
After an international Christian group for college students, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, was “derecognized” by all 23 California State University schools because IVCF wouldn’t stop requiring its leaders to hold Christian beliefs, a writer for Christianity Today wondered what might be coming next.
“It’s not just InterVarsity that will be impacted,” Ed Stetzer wrote. “Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities. This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. Presumably, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have to allow Oscar Meyer to lead their campus chapters.”
Stetzer then offered, “Only in a modern American university would this make any sense.”
More from his analysis:
Now, it’s not persecution. Christians are not banned. People can share their faith. But, now, what we once called “equal access” has taken another hit — people of faith do not have equal access to the university community, like the environmentalist club, the LGBT organization, or the chess club.
The university system has decided that speech with beliefs that undergird it — and shape how it is organized — has to be derecognized.
Stetzer asked IVCF’s national field director & campus access coordinator to explain how the IVCF chapters in California state schools are affected. Here’s what Greg Jao told him:
Loss of recognition means we lose 3 things: free access to rooms (this will cost our chapters $13k-30k/year to reserve room). We also lose access to student activities programs, including the new student fairs where we meet most students. We also lose standing when we engage faculty, students and administrators.
Stetzer tore into what he sees as universities’ “continual sanitization of unacceptable religious voices” and then noted a very big irony, writing that “those who champion nondiscrimination, in the name of nondiscrimination, are creating rules that push out those who ‘discriminate’ based on biblical belief statements.”
Jao sees another irony, telling Stetzer that “the university is using a rule intended to protect and to include religious groups to exclude religious groups because they want their leaders to be representatives of that religion. It’s an imposition of a civil religion (democratic process) on a religious leadership selection issue.”
Stetzer concluded by noting it appears this trend will continue.
“But, the question remains, how will Christians react? I hope they won’t call themselves persecuted, since that lessens the persecution in, for example, Iran. However, I also hope they will speak up graciously. And, that even people who are not religious will see the danger of stripping faith from the organized conversation at the university.”
Hindu Nationalist Group Seeking to Cleanse Christian Presence From India Is Not Unlike ISIS
International Christian Concern has warned that Sangh Parivar, an umbrella Hindu nationalist group, is inflicting suffering and looking to cleanse the minority Christian population in India, much like terror group ISIS is doing in Iraq and Syria.
The watchdog group said in a press release that the nationalist group and its associate organizations have been directing hate speech toward Christians and leading attacks on pastors and churches in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Believers are reportedly worried that radical Hindu nationalism and persecution of minorities will escalate.
John Dayal, a member of the Indian government's National Integration Council, said: "There has been a sharp rise in hate campaigns against Christians by political organizations. This threat of purging Christians from villages extends from Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh to now Uttar Pradesh, and to the borders of the national capital of New Delhi."
There have been reports of churches being turned into Hindu temples, and entire mobs attacking Christian houses — ICC shared of one incident in July where a church in Sahakarinagar village was rampaged by a group of 25 Hindu radicals, led by Hemanth Singh, a leader in the local Bajrangdal group. Rev. R. C. Paul, who was leading a Bible study at the church at the time, was beaten along with several other members.
"We were shaken and are very scared of the situation in the area. We are concerned of our safety, even going alone outside looks very dangerous at the moment," Paul said.
ICC noted in its press release that news headlines will continue to focus on Christian persecution at the hands of terror group ISIS in Iraq, but argued that the international community "must take notice of the issues of Christian persecution globally."
"Like Christians facing ISIS in Iraq, millions of Christians across India are facing persecution at the hands of radical Hindu nationalist groups," the watchdog group added.
"Without drastic change, this difficult situation will likely only get worse, as radical Hindu nationalist groups popping up across India have been given almost complete impunity under the new Hindu nationalist government led by BJP and Narendra Modi."
Following May's election of the nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, several Indian church leaders had said that they were not concerned that extremist groups would rise up against minorities.
"Minorities, such as Christians and Muslims, are an integral part of the nation and of the social fabric of Indian society. Minorities are protected by the Constitution, I believe that the new government cannot and will not want to go against the Constitution. As Christians we are confident," His Exc. Mgr. Stanley Roman, bishop of Quilon, in the state of Kerala, had said at the time.
His Exc. Mgr. Albert D'Souza, archbishop of Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, and general secretary of the Indian Bishops' Conference, added that sometimes "small groups of fanatics can give us concern," but argued that the Church "will continue in its mission to pray for the new government and contribute to the common good of the nation, supporting democracy, respect for pluralism, the rights of all and a secular concept in the political agenda."
New Delhi Archbishop Anil J. Couto has now also raised concern, however, at the rising attacks on Christians and churches in India in recent months.
"It is very disturbing, and we request local authorities to take adequate measures to book the miscreants threatening to weaken the social fabric of this great nation," Couto said.
"The Sangh Parivar plan is to carry out shuddhikaran — attempts to re-convert Christians to Hinduism," the Archbishop continued." This move by fundamentalist groups is a grave assault on the fundamental rights of individuals and people and groups."
Other persecution watchdog ministries, like Open Doors, have also noted a rise in Hindu extremism targeting Christians. The group ranks India as number 28 on its list of countries where Christians face the most persecution.
Shocking Porn ‘Epidemic’ Stats Reveal Details About Christian Consumption
Shocking porn consumption statistics released earlier this month show that an almost identical proportion of Christian men report watching smut each month as their non-Christian counterparts.
In a survey undertaken by Proven Men Ministries in collaboration with the Barna Group, it was found that 15 percent of self-identified Christian men view pornography several times each month compared to 14 percent of non-Christian men.
Additionally, 3 percent of non-Christian men say that they look at smut several times a day compared to 7 percent of Christian men.
Overall, 64 percent of American men reported that they view porn at least monthly and 18 percent of all men said they are either addicted or unsure if they’re dependent upon smut; this proportion jumped to 33 percent for men between the ages of 18 and 30.
There are some profound differences between the genders, though.
Only two in 10 women report looking at porn monthly. While 11 percent of non-Christian women say they look at adult entertainment several times per month only 3 percent of Christian women report the same, exposing a stark difference between the two cohorts.
Proven Men Ministries founder Joel Hesch, who sponsored the survey, said the results prove that there’s an epidemic of sorts unfolding, with porn draining peoples’ “time, energy and resources” if addiction is left unchecked.
“What we are seeing can almost be described as epidemic,” he said in a press release. ”Viewing pornography can quickly turn into a very real addiction. Just like drug or alcohol use, what starts off as a seemingly innocent or fun act can quickly spiral out of control.”
Results were derived from a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults across the U.S., with a sampling error of ±3.1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
Hesch and his group aren’t alone. As TheBlaze recently reported, Fight the New Drug, an organization that also opposes porn, believes that smut isn’t merely a moral stumbling block, but that it’s also a public health conundrum that poses some serious risks to the human brain and society.
“The more harmful effects occur [in porn addiction] with its relation to our intimate relationships and our overarching society,” Olsen said. “Studies have shown us that individuals that regularly consume pornography can end up preferring the computer screen to a human being to get their sexual fix.”
9. Other Events To Watch
The United Nations – Ticking Time Bomb To A World Government
Most people are naturally inclined to think of the United Nations (UN) as a body committed to supervising or coordinating world peace. Few in the United States would imagine that there is any reason to view the UN otherwise, or even as a threat to their freedoms, peace, opportunities, the American way of life and the pursuit of the “American dream”. There are however, schools of thought that suggest that, if you take a closer look, you will see the UN as more of a threat than a friend to “we the people”, as well as the rest of what is commonly referred to as the “free world”.
Jean Warrick, in an opinion piece for the Shelby Star, explains why she feels that UN wishes are not shared by the American public in general. She explains that, despite the United Nations coming into existence in 1945 with 51 member nations with the goal to end war, many believe that its real mission was much more covert and sinister: to accomplish a One World Government. In addition, as an extension of that mission, the UN is said to currently be trying to have the U.S. ratify a number of treaties which would be devastating to U.S freedoms, and would terminate its sovereignty. The following list extracted from Warrick’s letter explains how:
1. The “Small Arms Treaty” would deprive Americans of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
2. The UN’s “Law of the Sea Treaty” would give the UN control of U.S shores and all the resources (fish, oil, etc.) they contain. The Senate may ratify this treaty soon.
3. The “Convention on the Rights of the Child” will allow the UN to dictate how parents can raise, discipline and educate their children, and the Senate is considering ratification of this.
4. UN Agenda 21 would allow international environmentalists to take away U.S privately owned land if they believe it is needed for the “collective good” of open space in the global one-world community.
5. American citizens would be required to pay massive UN taxes. Since America funds 22 percent of the UN’s budget, as well as 26 percent of its “peace-keeping” actions, U.S tax dollars are being used for the demise of Israel and other causes which the majority of our citizens would not approve.
6. Other items on the UN agenda are redistribution of wealth between nations and within nations.
7. The UN is advocating for a world currency controlled by the UN.
8. The UN reportedly plans on de-population by abortion, sterilization, and age limits on care.
9. In the International Court, foreign laws would have precedence over American laws.
10. The UN is taking steps to create its own army which could consist partially of Americans and could impose the UN’s socialist agenda forcefully, pitting American against American at the UN’s command.
Warrick concludes: “…But then perhaps we have to ask if there is some overall diabolical plan, with many involved, to bring this nation to its knees and impose a New World Order. This is a shocking question to even contemplate, but perhaps it’s better to consider and question now than to regret later. We must remember that most Germans did not agree with Hitler’s insane agenda, but their collective silence allowed World War II and the Holocaust.”
The points provided regarding the risk of potential usurping of U.S laws and freedoms by the UN may be valid but debatable to the extent that more detail and clarity could not be provided within the letter. Nonetheless, Warrick’s views are by no means isolated; rather indications are that her views are shared by a broad spectrum of the American society. In one such example, Jim Galloway wrote last year in ajc.com (quoting Senate candidate Paul Broun):
“Sixty-eight years ago today a clandestine organization was born. It was the birthdate of the United Nations. And now, sixty-eight years later, our nation is in danger because of this very institution. The United Nations is threatening our everyday way of life, the freedoms and liberties we enjoy and the privacy our families deserve. I want to get the US out of the UN and the UN out of the US. That's why one of the first bills I introduced this year in Congress was HR 75 to end all US participation in the United Nations.”
Although the U.N goals and strategies may threaten U.S freedoms in a more subtle manner or over the long term, the U.N approach to Israel has been much more direct and immediate. In an article published in UNwatch.org titled ‘UN, Israel & Anti-Semitism,’its author explains that: “ An alien observing the United Nations' debates, reading its resolutions, and walking its halls could well conclude that a principal purpose of the world body is to censure a tiny country called Israel… UN bias against Israel is overt in bodies such as the General Assembly, which each year passes some nineteen resolutions against Israel and none against most other member states, including the world's most repressive regimes…”
A recent New York Post article in the same vein states of the UN: “…This, after all, is the same organization whose General Assembly chastises Israel three times as often as all other countries combined; that has declared Palestinian terrorism to be a “legitimate” means of “fulfilling…one of the goals and purposes of the United Nations”; that once classified Zionism as a form of racism; and that has three special bodies devoted exclusively to agitating against Israel although no other such body exists for any other country…”
According to Wikipedia.com, “These decisions, adopted with the support of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) countries, invariably criticize Israel for its occupation and theft of Palestinian land and its continuous oppression of Palestinians. A number of observers have qualified this degree of criticism as excessive. For example, according to the UN Association of the UK, General Assembly resolutions in the period 1990–2003 show clear bias against Israel, with a great deal of explicit condemnation of violence against Palestinians but only occasional and vague discussion of violence against Israelis, including the use of suicide bombers. In addition, the UNHRC was criticized in 2007 for failing to condemn other alleged human rights abusers besides Israel.”
According to UN.org, the United Nations has four key purposes:
1.To keep peace throughout the world;
2.To develop friendly relations among nations;
3.To help nations work together to improve the lives of poor people, to conquer hunger, disease and illiteracy, and to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms;
4.To be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals.
By the UN’s own admission, any failure on its part (to encourage respect for each other’s rights and freedoms and to be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations to achieve these goals) is contrary to its own mandate. It is therefore clear that until it can be demonstrated openly that U.S sovereignty is not threatened by U.N laws and Israel is not discriminated against by the U.N, the world has much to fear regarding its trustworthiness and impartiality to all nations.
Preparing The Way For the 2nd Beast – Israel's Shimon Peres Proposes "UN of Religions" To Pope
Former Israeli President Shimon Peres met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Thursday to discuss a number of proposals on forming a united front against terrorism, including the idea to create a “United Religions” organization to combat religious extremism.
In his meeting, Peres told the pontiff that the Arab world recognizes the growing threat of terrorism that is being carried out by groups like the Islamic State. He said the Arab world “can join forces with Israel, the United States, and the European Union in the united front against terror in which religious leaders play a pivotal role, led by Your Holiness.”
In an interview with the Italian newspaper Famiglia Cristiana, Peres continued his call for world religious leaders to come together, proposing a de facto “United Nations of religions.”
“The U.N. has had its day,” Peres said. “What we need is an organization of religions, a United Nations of religions.
Francis promised the Vatican's attention to the proposal.
Such events have led many to dig deeper into the question of "Who is the false prophet of the end times?"
The false prophet of the end times is described in Revelation 13:11-15. He is also referred to as the “second beast” (Revelation 16:13, 19:20, 20:10). Together with the Antichrist and Satan, who empowers both of them, the false prophet is the third party in the unholy trinity.
The apostle John describes this person and gives us clues to identifying him when he shows up. First, he comes out of the earth. This could mean he comes up from the pit of hell with all the demonic powers of hell at his command. It could also mean he comes from lowly circumstances, secret and unknown until he bursts on the world stage at the right hand of the Antichrist. He is depicted as having horns like a lamb, while speaking like a dragon. The horns on lambs are merely small bumps on their heads until the lamb grows into a ram. Rather than having the Antichrist’s multiplicity of heads and horns, showing his power and might and fierceness, the false prophet comes like a lamb, winsomely, with persuasive words that elicit sympathy and good will from others. He may be an extraordinary preacher or orator whose demonically empowered words will deceive the multitudes. But he speaks like a dragon, which means his message is the message of a dragon. Revelation 12:9 identifies the dragon as the devil and Satan.
Verse 12 gives us the false prophet’s mission on earth, which is to force humanity to worship the Antichrist. He has all the authority of the Antichrist because, like him, the false prophet is empowered by Satan. It is not clear whether people are forced to worship the Antichrist or whether they are so enamored of these powerful beings that they fall for the deception and worship him willingly. The fact that the second beast uses miraculous signs and wonders, including fire from heaven, to establish the credibility of both of them would seem to indicate that people will fall before them in adoration of their power and message. Verse 14 goes on to say the deception will be so great that the people will set up an idol to the Antichrist and worship it. This is reminiscent of the huge golden image of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3) before which all were to bow down and pay homage. Revelation 14:9-11, however, describes the ghastly fate that awaits those who worship the image of the Antichrist.
Those who survive the terrors of the Tribulation to this point will be faced with two hard choices. Those who refuse to worship the image of the beast will be subject to death (v. 15), but those who do worship him will incur the wrath of God. The image will be extraordinary in that it will be able to “speak.” This doesn’t mean it will come to life—the Greek word here is pneuma meaning “breath” or “current” of air, not the word bios (“life”)—but it does mean that it will have some kind of ability to breathe forth the message of the Antichrist and the false prophet. Some have speculated this image may be a hologram which is now being used by several world leaders to address large gatherings. Along with being the spokesman for them, the image will also condemn to death those who refuse to worship the unholy pair. In our technological world, it is not hard to imagine such a scenario.
Whoever the false prophet turns out to be, the final world deception and the final apostasy will be great, and the whole world will be caught up in it.