Prophecy News Watch - Week In Review/July 14- 18

Keeping You Informed of World Events From A Biblical Perspective 


1. Where Is The US In Bible Prophecy?

20 Signs The Drought In The Western United States Is Starting To Become Apocalyptic

When scientists start using phrases such as "the worst drought" and "as bad as you can imagine" to describe what is going on in the western half of the country, you know that things are bad. Thanks to an epic drought that never seems to end, we are witnessing the beginning of a water crisis that most people never even dreamed was possible in this day and age. 

The state of California is getting ready to ban people from watering their lawns and washing their cars, but if this drought persists we will eventually see far more extreme water conservation measures than that. And the fact that nearly half of all of the produce in America comes out of the state of California means that ultimately this drought is going to deeply affect all of us. 

Food prices have already been rising at an alarming rate, and the longer this drought goes on the higher they will go. Let us hope and pray that this drought is permanently broken at some point, because otherwise we could very well be entering an era of extreme water rationing, gigantic dust storms and crippling food prices. The following are 20 signs that the epic drought in the western half of the United States is starting to become apocalyptic...

#1 According to the Los Angeles Times, downtown Los Angeles is now the driest that it has been since records began being kept all the way back in 1877.

#2 The California State Water Resources Control Board says that nearly 50 communities are already on the verge of running out of water.

#3 In a desperate attempt to conserve water, the state of California is considering banning watering lawns and washing cars. Once implemented, violators will be slapped with a $500 fine for each offense.

#4 It has been reported that a new social media phenomenon known as "drought shaming" has begun in California. People are taking videos and photos of their neighbors wasting water and posting them to Facebook and Twitter.

#5 Climate scientist Tim Barnett says that the water situation in Las Vegas "is as bad as you can imagine", and he believes that unless the city "can find a way to get more water from somewhere" it will soon be "out of business".

#6 The water level in Lake Mead has now fallen to the lowest level since 1937, and it continues to drop at a frightening pace. You can see some incredible photos of what has happened to Lake Mead right here.

#7 Rob Mrowka of the Center for Biological Diversity believes that the city of Las Vegas is going to be forced to downsize because of the lack of water...

The drought is like a slow spreading cancer across the desert. It's not like a tornado or a tsunami, bang. The effects are playing out over decades. And as the water situation becomes more dire we are going to start having to talk about the removal of people (from Las Vegas).

#8 In some areas of southern Nevada, officials are actually paying people to remove their lawns in a desperate attempt to conserve water.

#9 According to Accuweather, "more than a decade of drought" along the Colorado River has set up an "impending Southwest water shortage" which could ultimately affect tens of millions of people.

#10 Most people don't realize this, but the once mighty Colorado River has become so depleted that it no longer runs all the way to the ocean.

#11 Lake Powell is less than half full at this point.

#12 It is being projected that the current drought in California will end up costing the state more than 2 billion dollars this year alone.

#13 Farmers in California are allowing nearly half a million acres to lie fallow this year due to the extreme lack of water.

#14 The lack of produce coming from the state of California will ultimately affect food prices in the entire nation. Just consider the following statistics from a recent Business Insider article...

California is one of the U.S.'s biggest food producers — responsible for almost half the country's produce and nuts and 25% of our milk and cream. Eighty percent of the world's almonds come from the state, and they take an extraordinary amount of water to produce — 1.1 gallons per almond.

#15 As underground aquifers are being relentlessly drained in California, some areas of the San Joaquin Valley are sinking by 11 inches a year.

#16 It is being projected that the Kansas wheat harvest will be the worst that we have seen since 1989.

#17 The extended drought has created ideal conditions for massive dust storms to form. You can see video of one female reporter bravely reporting from the middle of a massive dust storm in Phoenix right here.

#18 Things are so dry in California right now that people are actually starting to steal water. For example, one Mendocino County couple recently had 3,000 gallons of water stolen from them. It was the second time this year that they had been hit.

#19 At the moment, close to 80 percent of the state of California is experiencing either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought.

#20 National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Boldt says that this is "the worst drought we probably have seen in our lifetime".

Most people just assume that this drought will be temporary, but experts tell us that there have been "megadroughts" throughout history in the western half of the United States that have lasted for more than 100 years.

If we have entered one of those eras, it is going to fundamentally change life in America.

And the frightening thing is that much of the rest of the world is dealing with water scarcity issues right now as well. In fact, North America is actually in better shape than much of Africa and Asia. For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled "25 Shocking Facts About The Earth’s Dwindling Water Resources".

Without plenty of fresh water, modern civilization is not possible.

And right now, the western United States and much of the rest of the world is starting to come to grips with the fact that we could be facing some very serious water shortages in the years ahead.

Gallup Poll: Majorities of Muslims and Atheists Approve of Obama; Christians Don't

While President Barack Obama’s job approval rating was highest, by religion, among Muslims, other non-Christians, Jews, and atheists, his highest job disapproval ratings were among Christians and Mormons -- Catholics, Protestants, and other Christian groups such as Evangelicals.

In the survey, conducted January-June 2014, Gallup asked about Obama’s job approval and disapproval, by religion. While 72% of Muslims and 54% of atheists expressed approval, only 44% of Catholics did, and only 37% of Protestant/Other Christian and 18% of Mormon/Latter-day Saints.

As for those Americans who disapprove of Obama’s job performance, 51% are Catholic; 58% are Protestant/Other Christian; and 78% are Mormon/Latter-day Saints.

“The United States remains a predominantly Christian nation, with roughly half of Americans identifying with a Protestant religion and another quarter identifying as Catholics,” said Gallup. “Thus, the opinions of these Christian groups are by far the most influential in determining Obama's overall ratings.”

“The patterns in Obama's job approval by religion have prevailed throughout his presidency, with Muslim, Jewish, and nonreligious Americans giving him higher ratings, and Mormons and Protestants giving him the lowest ratings,” said Gallup. “Catholics have typically been closest to the national average, but slightly above it.”


2. Israel - God's Timepiece

The Current Conflict Between Israel And Hamas Is Shattering Many Myths

The current warfare between Hamas and Israel shatters several myths that have been accepted as gospel by many in the international community and the media.

Myth 1: The primary cause of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is the occupation of the West Bank and Israel’s settlement policy.

Reality: The reality is that Hamas’s rocket attacks against Israeli cities and civilian targets have little to do with Israel’s occupation and settlement policy on the West Bank. Even if Israel were to make peace with the Palestinian Authority, the rocket attacks from Gaza would not stop. 

These Hamas attacks are incited by the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, Syria and others opposed to the very concept of the nationstate for the Jewish people. The best proof of this reality is that these attacks began as soon as Israel ended its occupation of Gaza and uprooted all the civilian settlements from that area. Israel left behind agricultural hothouses and other equipment that the residents of Gaza could have used to build a decent society.

Moreover, there was no siege of Gaza at that time. Gaza was free to become a Singapore on the Mediterranean. Instead, Hamas engaged in a coup d’état, murdering many members of the PA, seizing control of all of Gaza, and turning it into a militant theocracy. It used the material left behind by the Israelis not to feed its citizens but to build rockets with which to attack Israeli civilians. It was only after these rocket attacks that Israel began a siege of Gaza designed to prevent the importation of rockets and material used to build terrorist kidnap tunnels.

There are good reasons why Israel should change its settlement policy in the West Bank and try harder to achieve peace with the PA.

But even if that were to be accomplished the rockets from Gaza would continue and Israel would have to take the kind of military steps any democracy would take to protect its civilians from lethal aggression.

Myth 2: What is being experienced now is a “cycle of violence”, with equal blame on both sides.

Reality: The reality, of course, is that there is no comparison – legally, morally, diplomatically or by any other criteria – between what Hamas is doing and how Israel is responding.

Hamas is willfully and deliberately committing a double war crime by targeting Israeli civilians and using Palestinian civilians as human shields. The deliberate targeting of civilians, as Hamas admits – indeed boasts – it is doing, is a clear war crime.

Hamas has aimed its lethal rockets at Beersheba, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem. This is a war crime. 

Moreover, it is firing these rockets from hospitals, schools and houses in densely populated areas, in order to cause Israel to kill Palestinian civilians. This too is a war crime.

This has been called Hamas’s “dead baby strategy.” It deliberately puts Israel to the tragic choice of attacking the rockets and killing some children who are used as human shields, or refraining from attacking the rockets and thereby placing its own children at risk. Israel has generally chosen the option of refraining from attacking legitimate military targets, but when any human shields are inadvertently killed or injured, Hamas stands ready to cynically parade the dead civilians in front of television cameras, which transmit these gruesome pictures around the world with captions blaming Israel.

Hamas has adamantly refused to build bomb shelters for its civilian population. It has built shelters but has limited access to them to Hamas terrorists. This is precisely the opposite of what Israel does – building shelters for its civilians and placing its soldiers in harm’s way.

Most recently Hamas has forced or encouraged civilians to stand on the rooftops of military targets so as to prevent Israel from attacking these entirely appropriate targets. Indeed a lawsuit is now being brought in Israel, against the Israeli military, urging it to ignore these human shields and to attack the military targets.

The argument is that unless the military targets are attacked, Israeli civilians will die, and a democracy has the obligation to prefer the lives of its own civilians over the lives of enemy civilians. Thus far the Israeli military has refrained from attacking military targets that are protected by human shields. There is absolutely no symmetry between the war crimes committed by Hamas and the entirely appropriate military response by the Israel Defense Forces.

Myth 3: Mahmoud Abbas is part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Reality: Mahmoud Abbas has become part of the problem, especially in recent days. He has supported Hamas in its war crimes against Israeli civilians and has characterized Israel’s self-defense actions as “genocide” against all of the Palestinian people. I have met Abbas and found him to be a decent man who genuinely wants a peaceful solution to the conflict, but he is not a man of courage who is prepared to stand up and tell the Palestinian people the truth about the current conflict. 

His willingness to join together with Hamas in a governmental partnership demonstrates both his weakness and his willingness to be complicit with evil. He speaks out of two sides of his mouth, one side when he speaks in English to Western media and diplomats, and the other when he speaks in Arabic to the Palestinian street, which he knows contains many supporters of Hamas. His public support for Hamas has made it far more difficult for Israel to arrive at a negotiated solution with the PA. It has also made it more difficult for Hamas to stop the rocket barrage and agree to a cease-fire.

The entire civilized world should be standing behind Israel as it defends itself against war crimes. That so many continue to support – or remain silent about – those who commit these war crimes tells us something deeply disturbing about their values and prejudices.

Messianic Jews, Arab Christians Gather Amidst Violence And Anger

"Dancing together with Arabs? Laughing together with them? These are the people I hated my whole life," says Chava, a Messianic Jewish girl who grew up in an Orthodox Jewish family in Israel.

Chava was part of a three-day gathering where she met with an estimated 1,000 Messianic Jewish and Arab Christian youth and young adults in Haifa. At a time when murderous kidnappings, violent riots and a developing war in Gaza are bringing racial tensions to boiling point, these young Messianic Jews and Arab Christians arrived at the conference still reeling with all the raw emotions of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"These young people came carrying a lot of hurt because of all the recent violence here in Israel," says Rick Ridings, organizer of the annual Elav conference. "Many of them thought that they had dealt with these feelings, but because of the kidnappings and killings they are in pain, on both sides." 

For Chava, who grew up in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish ghetto, it was the first time to be in such close quarters with Arabs. "I used to walk with my family to the Wailing Wall and pray that bad things would happen to the Arabs," she recalls. "We have this view that Arabs are bad people. But when I saw them praying to God, and heard them worshipping in Hebrew and then in Arabic, God touched my heart. These are the lost brothers and sisters I have been looking for all my life," she says.

Ridings, who has been organizing these gatherings since 2007, was not sure that any of the young Arabs or Jews would even want to be together during such difficult times. "I didn't know if any of the Palestinian Arabs would even be able, or want to come," he says. "Yet almost miraculously, given the heightened security, about 50 Palestinian believers were able to come."

"These were some of the most meaningful times I have seen at the conference," Ridings told Israel Today. "Perhaps the situation forced these young people to get over the things that normally cause problems. This was real, not just some canned program."

For many of the young believers this was the first time they had ever had a meaningful encounter with the other side. When an Arab believer who grew up in Gaza and a young Messianic Israeli shared their testimonies, it helped others to open up and talk about what they really feel, sharing honestly about what had happened in the army, or with friends killed by terrorists. 

"As I washed the feet of my Arab sister, I was able to ask forgiveness for the way my family, and my people, look at them (Arabs)," says Chava. "To hear her say that she forgives me and loves me was so healing. It was the love from Yeshua, nothing else. I never had an Arab friend. Now I have daily contact with my sisters in Ramallah, Jordan and Lebanon," she smiles.

"After hearing my story," continues Chava, "an Arab girl came up to tell me that she hated religious Jews whenever she saw them. This was her first time meeting with someone who came from an Orthodox religious background. She ran to me and asked for forgiveness and asked me to pray for her that she would have more love for my people." 

Ridings says that the vision for these gatherings is "to provide a safe environment for Jewish, Arab and Palestinian youth and young adults to have personal encounters with the Lord, to wait on him through worship and prayer, to grow in unity, and to be challenged to minister the Kingdom of God into every area of society."

On the last evening of the gathering, a young Messianic Jew shared about spending three months in Syria helping war refugees. The conference concluded with a call for the young people to go and share the powerful testimony of what Yeshua can do for our broken world.

Hamas Just Attempted To Create A Horrific Nuclear Disaster In The Heart Of Israel

After the horrors of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, how insane do you have to be to fire missiles directly at a major nuclear facility? No matter what side you are on in the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians, everyone should be able to agree that it is utter madness for Hamas to fire rockets at the Dimona nuclear installation in the Negev. 

The intent, of course, was to destroy the Dimona facility and create a horrific nuclear disaster in the heart of Israel. Fortunately, the area is heavily protected by the Iron Dome missile defense system and none of the rockets did any damage. 

And it is questionable how much damage to the facility that Hamas missiles could actually do. But that is not the point. 

What matters is that Hamas is trying to do it. With each passing year, Hamas rockets are becoming more advanced, more accurate and more powerful. 

And when Hamas fires some of their best rockets at a major nuclear facility, they are committing an act of all-out war. If Hamas continues to do this, it could spark a major regional war in which countless numbers of people could die.

Is that what they want?

There has been a lot of criticism of Israel in the mainstream media in recent days, but much of it is quite hypocritical. Just imagine what would happen in the U.S. if another country fired just one missile at New York City or at one of our nuclear reactors. 

If that happened, "glass parking lot" would suddenly be on the lips of tens of millions of Americans all over the country, and the U.S. military would rapidly be preparing for an absolutely devastating response.

Well, it isn't just one missile that has been fired at Israel. In recent days, dozens of rockets were fired at Israel before there was any response from the Israeli military at all.

And more than 225 rockets have been fired at Israel since Operation Protective Edge started on Monday night. At one point, an average of about one rocket was being fired into Israel every ten minutes.

And many of these rockets are being shot directly at Israeli population centers with the intention of killing civilians. It is a miracle that we have not seen many casualties so far. But where Hamas has really stepped over the line is by firing at the Dimona nuclear facility. 

The fact that Hamas is attempting to create a nuclear holocaust is essentially an act of genocide. The following is how the Jerusalem Post described the attack...

Three rockets were launched at Dimona in southern Israel on Wednesday afternoon. The Iron Dome intercepted one rocket before it could land, while two other rockets landed in open areas.

Dimona is the location of Israel's nuclear reactor. There was no indication that rockets damaged any part of the reactor.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the rockets, stating that it had been attempting to hit the nuclear reactor. Militants from Hamas's Qassam Brigades said they had launched long-range M-75 rockets towards Dimona.

And as Breitbart has pointed out, what Hamas has just done is actually an act of nuclear terrorism as defined by the United Nations...

Article 2 (1) of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism states:

1. Any person commits an offence within the meaning of this Convention if that person unlawfully and intentionally...(b)...uses or damages a nuclear facility in a manner which releases or risks the release of radioactive material: (i) With the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury; or (ii) With the intent to cause substantial damage to property or to the environment; or (iii) With the intent to compel a natural or legal person, an international organization or a State to do or refrain from doing an act.

Let us hope that future Hamas missile strikes will not do any damage to Dimona either. In the end, it is questionable how much of a threat Hamas rockets actually are to an extremely well defended facility such as Dimona, but let us not completely underestimate their capabilities either.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, Hamas rockets are stronger and more accurate than ever and are now even capable of hitting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem...

Hamas has emerged from a 19-month cease-fire stronger, savvier, and more effective at hitting Israel where it will hurt the most.

Hamas's arsenal, estimated at 10,000 rockets, is only marginally bigger than it was heading into its last conflict with Israel, in November 2012. 

But its mid-range rockets are much more accurate, and it has acquired long-range missiles that reach beyond Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, putting as many as 5 million of Israel’s 8 million citizens at risk.

If Hamas wants Israel to stop attacking, they need to stop lobbing missiles into Israel. If Hamas keeps launching rockets, it could spark a major regional war. Just consider what Shimon Peres is saying about the conflict...

“We didn’t start the war today, they started it already several days ago,” he told CNN. “We asked them to stop it... We waited one day, two days, three days and they continued, and they spread their fire on more areas in Israel.”

He also said that a ground offensive on Gaza “may happen quite soon”. Referring to rockets being fired from Gaza, he added: “If they will stop for example tonight, there won’t be any ground entrance - but if they will continue, sooner or later this will be the response.”

And there are news reports today that Israel has already warned 100,000 Gaza residents living in cities near the border with Israel to leave their homes. That means that a ground invasion could be imminent. 

Let us pray for peace because every human life is extremely valuable. Every Israeli life is extremely valuable, and every Palestinian life is extremely valuable.

Nobody should want to see a major war between the Israelis and the Palestinians, because if one does happen it will be extremely bloody.

The Middle East is a powder keg that could erupt at any moment.

A single wrong move could bring about a nightmarish conflict that results in countless deaths.


7. Increase in Knowledge/New Technologies

Hacking Online Polls And Other Ways British Spies Seek To Control The Internet

The secretive British spy agency GCHQ has developed covert tools to seed the internet with false information, including the ability to manipulate the results of online polls, artificially inflate pageview counts on web sites, “amplif[y]” sanctioned messages on YouTube, and censor video content judged to be “extremist.” The capabilities, detailed in documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, even include an old standby for pre-adolescent prank callers everywhere: A way to connect two unsuspecting phone users together in a call.

The tools were created by GCHQ’s Joint Threat Research Intelligence Group (JTRIG), and constitute some of the most startling methods of propaganda and internet deception contained within the Snowden archive. Previously disclosed documents have detailed JTRIG’s use of “fake victim blog posts,” “false flag operations,” “honey traps” and psychological manipulation to target online activists, monitor visitors to WikiLeaks, and spy on YouTube and Facebook users.

But as the U.K. Parliament today debates a fast-tracked bill to provide the government with greater surveillance powers, one which Prime Minister David Cameron has justified as an “emergency” to “help keep us safe,” a newly released top-secret GCHQ document called “JTRIG Tools and Techniques” provides a comprehensive, birds-eye view of just how underhanded and invasive this unit’s operations are. The document—available in full here—is designed to notify other GCHQ units of JTRIG’s “weaponised capability” when it comes to the dark internet arts, and serves as a sort of hacker’s buffet for wreaking online havoc.

The “tools” have been assigned boastful code names. They include invasive methods for online surveillance, as well as some of the very techniques that the U.S. and U.K. have harshly prosecuted young online activists for employing, including “distributed denial of service” attacks and “call bombing.” But they also describe previously unknown tactics for manipulating and distorting online political discourse and disseminating state propaganda, as well as the apparent ability to actively monitor Skype users in real-time—raising further questions about the extent of Microsoft’s cooperation with spy agencies or potential vulnerabilities in its Skype’s encryption. Here’s a list of how JTRIG describes its capabilities:

• “Change outcome of online polls” (UNDERPASS)

• “Mass delivery of email messaging to support an Information Operations campaign” (BADGER) and “mass delivery of SMS messages to support an Information Operations campaign” (WARPARTH)

• “Disruption of video-based websites hosting extremist content through concerted target discovery and content removal.” (SILVERLORD)

• “Active skype capability. Provision of real time call records (SkypeOut and SkypetoSkype) and bidirectional instant messaging. Also contact lists.” (MINIATURE HERO)

• “Find private photographs of targets on Facebook” (SPRING BISHOP)

• “A tool that will permanently disable a target’s account on their computer” (ANGRY PIRATE)

• “Ability to artificially increase traffic to a website” (GATEWAY) and “ability to inflate page views on websites” (SLIPSTREAM)

• “Amplification of a given message, normally video, on popular multimedia websites (Youtube)” (GESTATOR)

• “Targeted Denial Of Service against Web Servers” (PREDATORS FACE) and “Distributed denial of service using P2P. Built by ICTR, deployed by JTRIG” (ROLLING THUNDER)

• “A suite of tools for monitoring target use of the UK auction site eBay (www.ebay.co.uk)” (ELATE)

• “Ability to spoof any email address and send email under that identity” (CHANGELING)

• “For connecting two target phone together in a call” (IMPERIAL BARGE)

While some of the tactics are described as “in development,” JTRIG touts “most” of them as “fully operational, tested and reliable.” It adds: “We only advertise tools here that are either ready to fire or very close to being ready.”

And JTRIG urges its GCHQ colleagues to think big when it comes to internet deception: “Don’t treat this like a catalogue. If you don’t see it here, it doesn’t mean we can’t build it.”

The document appears in a massive Wikipedia-style archive used by GCHQ to internally discuss its surveillance and online deception activities. The page indicates that it was last modified in July 2012, and had been accessed almost 20,000 times.

GCHQ refused to provide any comment on the record beyond its standard boilerplate, in which it claims that it acts “in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework” and is subject to “rigorous oversight.” But both claims are questionable.

British watchdog Privacy International has filed pending legal action against GCHQ over the agency’s use of malware to spy on internet and mobile phone users. Several GCHQ memos published last fall by The Guardian revealed that the agency was eager to keep its activities secret not to protect national security, but because “our main concern is that references to agency practices (ie, the scale of interception and deletion) could lead to damaging public debate which might lead to legal challenges against the current regime.” And an EU parliamentary inquiry earlier this year concluded that GCHQ activities were likely illegal.

As for oversight, serious questions have been raised about whether top national security officials even know what GCHQ is doing. Chris Huhne, a former cabinet minister and member of the national security council until 2012, insisted that ministers were in “utter ignorance” about even the largest GCHQ spying program, known as Tempora—not to mention “their extraordinary capability to hoover up and store personal emails, voice contact, social networking activity and even internet searches.” In an October Guardian op-ed, Huhne wrote that “when it comes to the secret world of GCHQ and the [NSA], the depth of my ‘privileged information’ has been dwarfed by the information provided by Edward Snowden to The Guardian.”

Experts Claim Everything We Read, Watch And Buy Online Will Be Controlled By Government By 2025

For those who still think that microchip implants are something that will become commonplace or gain traction in perhaps many years to come, think again: people are now currently queuing up voluntarily to be injected with a microchip in their arm. ABC news recently reported that the 5 million or so U.S residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are the current prime target for the microchips, being implanted in the name of keeping Alzheimer’s patients safe, as well as allowing quick and easy access to their identities and medical records should they lose memory or become lost.

The implants are said to be about the size of a grain of rice and contain a unique 16 digit ID number. The implants are injected into the arm or hand of the recipient, and thereafter read and monitored by the use of supporting RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Systems, which typically include scanners that read the information contained in the embedded chip and relay that information to computerized data systems. These will in turn read and analyse the data transmitted to authorized stakeholders such as medical practitioners and law enforcement agencies.

As expected, privacy activists are up in arms, protesting against the potential “big brother” abuses, such as unwarranted privacy intrusions via GPS tracking and the perceived human indignity in the widespread use of a system that has so far been largely restricted to tracking pets and livestock. However the potential candidates for the microchip implants themselves seem to be sold on the benefits and undeterred from accepting the implants: ABC’s John Berman reported that 34 patients already received the chip with “dozens more” in line.

The process of microchip implants in humans seems to have been taking place quietly behind the scenes for quite a while now. This seems to be a well–calculated and subtle move to gradually desensitize a privacy centered culture and society into accepting the perceived benefits of physical implants, which are packaged and marketed in such a way that privacy and other concerns are made to seem trivial, ridiculous or foolish. 

The husband of a lady featured in the ABC news video who had been micro-chipped because she had Alzheimer’s, merely shrugged off privacy and monitoring concerns, considering the implant benefits to be overwhelmingly positive and went on to take the microchip implant himself, without hesitation.

Two years back, ABC news also reported that 100 law enforcement official in Mexico received implants in the name of providing secure and exclusive access to sensitive classified information to only authorized personnel. Scott Silverman of Applied Digital Solutions, whose company manufactures micro chipped implants, described them as “tamper proof and secure”, as the chips cannot be stolen and re-used to gain unauthorized access. 

According to breathecast.com Silverman is also credited with the very popular form of the RFID chip originally known as Verichip, and subsequently re-branded as PositiveID which is now reportedly being implanted inside of hundreds of Americans as well as many throughout the world. Verichip was FDA-approved as a human-implantable microchip in 2004.

Inquisitr.com which recently reported these developments, suggests that microchip implants now seem to be steadily gaining traction and acceptance perhaps because the military is developing implantable chips to treat soldiers with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), as reported in an earlier report published by The Inquisitr. 

The separate report states that the United States military plans to treat and monitor psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with high-tech devices implanted into patients’ brains. The five-year, $70 million program was launched by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). According to Justin Sanchez, a program manager at DARPA, simple versions of the future brain implants are already being used to help patients with Parkinson’s disease.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom) are believed to suffer from PTSD and 30 percent of Vietnam veterans are believed to have suffered from or are still being treated for symptoms of PTSD.

Meanwhile, the twin process of microchipping and gradual desensitization continues. The general populace is now widely exposed and accustomed to RFID and biometric technologies, sold on individual and social benefits seemingly to the extent that privacy issues are now almost always ignored or downplayed, as members of the public become willing participants towards “the greater good”. 

Many Bible scholars see the desensitization to chipping as one more reason the world populace would embrace the potential chip related technology known as "The Mark Of The Beast". In Revelation 13 we are told that this mark would allow for the buying and selling of goods - in fact you can't conduct commerce without it.

"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666." Revelation 13:16-18

While there is still much debate in the Christian community as to what this final "mark" will look like and be - the emergence of bio-technologies, microchip implants, digital currency (such as bitcoin/paypal) and the desire for greater security seems to be paving the way for several possibilities.

Microchip Implants For Medical Purposes Could Be Trojan Horse To Expanded Uses

For those who still think that microchip implants are something that will become commonplace or gain traction in perhaps many years to come, think again: people are now currently queuing up voluntarily to be injected with a microchip in their arm. ABC news recently reported that the 5 million or so U.S residents suffering from Alzheimer’s disease are the current prime target for the microchips, being implanted in the name of keeping Alzheimer’s patients safe, as well as allowing quick and easy access to their identities and medical records should they lose memory or become lost.

The implants are said to be about the size of a grain of rice and contain a unique 16 digit ID number. The implants are injected into the arm or hand of the recipient, and thereafter read and monitored by the use of supporting RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) Systems, which typically include scanners that read the information contained in the embedded chip and relay that information to computerized data systems. These will in turn read and analyse the data transmitted to authorized stakeholders such as medical practitioners and law enforcement agencies.

As expected, privacy activists are up in arms, protesting against the potential “big brother” abuses, such as unwarranted privacy intrusions via GPS tracking and the perceived human indignity in the widespread use of a system that has so far been largely restricted to tracking pets and livestock. However the potential candidates for the microchip implants themselves seem to be sold on the benefits and undeterred from accepting the implants: ABC’s John Berman reported that 34 patients already received the chip with “dozens more” in line.

The process of microchip implants in humans seems to have been taking place quietly behind the scenes for quite a while now. This seems to be a well–calculated and subtle move to gradually desensitize a privacy centered culture and society into accepting the perceived benefits of physical implants, which are packaged and marketed in such a way that privacy and other concerns are made to seem trivial, ridiculous or foolish. 

The husband of a lady featured in the ABC news video who had been micro-chipped because she had Alzheimer’s, merely shrugged off privacy and monitoring concerns, considering the implant benefits to be overwhelmingly positive and went on to take the microchip implant himself, without hesitation.

Two years back, ABC news also reported that 100 law enforcement official in Mexico received implants in the name of providing secure and exclusive access to sensitive classified information to only authorized personnel. Scott Silverman of Applied Digital Solutions, whose company manufactures micro chipped implants, described them as “tamper proof and secure”, as the chips cannot be stolen and re-used to gain unauthorized access. 

According to breathecast.com Silverman is also credited with the very popular form of the RFID chip originally known as Verichip, and subsequently re-branded as PositiveID which is now reportedly being implanted inside of hundreds of Americans as well as many throughout the world. Verichip was FDA-approved as a human-implantable microchip in 2004.

Inquisitr.com which recently reported these developments, suggests that microchip implants now seem to be steadily gaining traction and acceptance perhaps because the military is developing implantable chips to treat soldiers with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), as reported in an earlier report published by The Inquisitr. 

The separate report states that the United States military plans to treat and monitor psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with high-tech devices implanted into patients’ brains. The five-year, $70 million program was launched by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). According to Justin Sanchez, a program manager at DARPA, simple versions of the future brain implants are already being used to help patients with Parkinson’s disease.

According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, 11 to 20 percent of veterans who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations (Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom) are believed to suffer from PTSD and 30 percent of Vietnam veterans are believed to have suffered from or are still being treated for symptoms of PTSD.

Meanwhile, the twin process of microchipping and gradual desensitization continues. The general populace is now widely exposed and accustomed to RFID and biometric technologies, sold on individual and social benefits seemingly to the extent that privacy issues are now almost always ignored or downplayed, as members of the public become willing participants towards “the greater good”. 

Many Bible scholars see the desensitization to chipping as one more reason the world populace would embrace the potential chip related technology known as "The Mark Of The Beast". In Revelation 13 we are told that this mark would allow for the buying and selling of goods - in fact you can't conduct commerce without it.

"He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666." Revelation 13:16-18

While there is still much debate in the Christian community as to what this final "mark" will look like and be - the emergence of bio-technologies, microchip implants, digital currency (such as bitcoin/paypal) and the desire for greater security seems to be paving the way for several possibilities.

Estonia - Testing Ground For Global Digital ID

The founders of the internet were academics who took users’ identities on trust. When only research co-operation was at stake, this was reasonable. But the lack of secure identification is now hampering the development of e-commerce and the provision of public services online. In day-to-day life, from banking to dating, if you don’t know who you are dealing with, you are vulnerable to fraud or deceit, or will have to submit to cumbersome procedures such as scanning and uploading documents to prove who you are.

Much work has gone into making systems that can recognise and verify digital IDs. A standard called OpenID Connect, organised by an international non-profit foundation, was launched this year. Mobile-phone operators have started a complementary service, Mobile Connect, which allows identities of all kinds to be authenticated from smartphones.

But providing a digital ID that will be widely used and trusted is far harder. Businesses can check their employees rigorously, and issue credentials for gaining access to buildings, computers and the like. But what about outside the workplace? Facebook, Google and Twitter are all trying to make their accounts a form of ID. But these are issued without verification, so pseudonyms are rife and impersonation easy.

Private providers are offering their own schemes; miiCard, for example, uses bank accounts as a way of issuing a verified online identity. But these fall short of the reliability of a state-backed identity, issued by a government official, checked against other databases, using biometric data (such as fingerprints and retinal scans) and backed by law—in effect an electronic passport.

There is one place where this cyberdream is already reality. Secure, authenticated identity is the birthright of every Estonian: before a newborn even arrives home, the hospital will have issued a digital birth certificate and his health insurance will have been started automatically. All residents of the small Baltic state aged 15 or over have electronic ID cards, which are used in health care, electronic banking and shopping, to sign contracts and encrypt e-mail, as tram tickets, and much more besides—even to vote.

Estonia’s approach makes life efficient: taxes take less than an hour to file, and refunds are paid within 48 hours. By law, the state may not ask for any piece of information more than once, people have the right to know what data are held on them and all government databases must be compatible, a system known as the X-road. In all, the Estonian state offers 600 e-services to its citizens and 2,400 to businesses.

Estonia’s system uses suitably hefty encryption. Only a minimum of private data are kept on the ID card itself. Lost cards can simply be cancelled. And in over a decade, no security breaches have been reported. Also issued are two PIN codes, one for authentication (proving who the holder is) and one for authorisation (signing documents or making payments). Asked to authenticate a user, the service concerned queries a central database to check that the card and relevant code match. It also asks for only the minimum information needed: to check a customer’s age, for example, it does not ask, “How old is this person?” but merely, “Is this person over 18?”

Other governments have tried to issue electronic identity cards. But costs have been high and public resistance strong. Some have proved careless custodians of their citizens’ data. There are fears of snooping. Britain had spent £257m ($370m) of a planned £4.5 billion on a much-criticised ID card scheme by the time the current coalition government scrapped it after coming to office in 2010.

That has left a gap in the global market—one that Estonia hopes to fill. Starting later this year, it will issue ID cards to non-resident “satellite Estonians”, thereby creating a global, government-standard digital identity. Applicants will pay a small fee, probably around €30-50 ($41-68), and provide the same biometric data and documents as Estonian residents. If all is in order, a card will be issued, or its virtual equivalent on a smartphone (held on a special secure module in the SIM card).

Some good ideas never take off because too few people embrace them. And with just 1.3m residents, Estonia is a tiddler—even with the 10m satellite Estonians the government hopes to add over the next decade. What may provide the necessary scale is a European Union rule soon to come into force that will require member states to accept each others’ digital IDs. That means non-resident holders of Estonian IDs, wherever they are, will be able not only to send each other encrypted e-mail and to prove their identity to web-service providers who accept government-issued identities, but also to do business with governments anywhere in the EU.

Estonia is being “very clever”, says Stéphanie de Labriolle of the Secure Identity Alliance, an international working group. Marie Austenaa of the GSMA, a global association of mobile-phone firms, praises it too. Allan Foster of ForgeRock, a firm that is working on government ID schemes in Belgium, New Zealand and elsewhere, thinks that the new satellite Estonians will help change attitudes to secure digital identities in their own countries, too.

The scheme’s advantages for Estonia are multiple. It will help it shed the detested “ex-Soviet” tag and promote itself as a paragon of good government and innovation. It will attract investment: once you have an Estonian ID, setting up a company there takes only a few minutes. And it will create an electronic diaspora all over the world with a stake in the country’s survival—no small matter at a time when the threat from Russia is keenly felt. (Estonia is also planning to back up all its national data to secure “digital embassies” in friendly foreign countries.)

Struck by the X-road’s scalability and security, and the fact that it has already worked well for over a decade, Finland and other countries are adopting the Estonian system in whole or in part. But for foreign individuals, perhaps its greatest appeal is that it is optional. Those who like the system’s convenience, security and flexibility can apply (though Estonia’s chief information officer, Taavi Kotka, who is taking time away from his real-life job running an IT company, stresses that the ID is a privilege, not a right). Those who feel queasy about a foreign state having access to their personal data can steer clear.

Mr Kotka says that Estonia aims to do for identity what American Express cards did for international travel in the 1960s: to simplify life. But the bigger point is that government-verified identity has been divorced from location. If Estonia’s scheme takes off some other countries may well decide to follow its lead. Some may aim at volume; others, to target the top end, as with the market in non-resident investors’ passports. Soon, multiple satellite citizenship may even become the norm.


8. Christian Worldview/Issues

Mimicking Supermodels, Christian Girls Posting Seductive Selfies

When I was in high school, Bethany and I decided we wanted to do a really cool photo shoot of ourselves.

We put on the most modern outfits we could find, layered on the jewelry, doubled the mascara and headed to a prime location—our roof. We recruited (begged) one of our younger sisters to be our photographer. We all climbed onto the roof of our house and she snapped away with the camera.

Yes, a roof is a random place to do a photo shoot, but we did it there to get that perfect "modelesque" breeze to blow our hair just right. For each picture, we posed exactly the way we had seen the professional models do it with their lips puckered, one eyebrow raised, hand on hip, and serious eyes.

Without being told how to pose seductively, we were pros and knew exactly what to do. We proudly posted our photoshoot to Facebook and waited for the compliments to come in.

Seductiveness is the new norm. 

Sadly, we live in a culture that "trains" our minds to view seductiveness as the norm from a very young age. Just take a quick walk through the mall and you'll see poster after poster featuring models striking a sexual pose. Since the invention of Pinterest, Instagram and other apps, sexualized images are in our faces more than ever before.

As Christian girls, we're being bombarded by our culture's message that seductive and sexual poses are cool, hip and normal. Taking seductive selfies isn't raunchy anymore... it's acceptable and praised. Since we live in a fallen world it makes sense that our culture praises and encourages girls to act this way.

It makes sense that the supermodels and non-Christian girls don't have a problem posting selfies like this.

The question I have for you is this: Why in the world are Christian girls posting seductive selfies?

I'm shocked sometimes when I get on my Instagram and see some of the sensual poses a few of my Christian friends are posting. What surprises me even more is the comments I read from other Christian friends who are complimenting these images and calling them "beautiful." So what's up with this? It seems like an epidemic over the past few years.

Why are Christian girls so fond of posting seductive selfies?

I know the answer to these questions because I used to be one of those girls. I used to be the girl behind the iPhone flip-phone snapping those seductive poses. I was the girl on the roof doing a photo shoot so I could show off the results to my friends.

For me, I posted those pictures because I wanted guys to notice me. I wanted people to compliment "how pretty I was." I loved hearing the praise and affirmation from my friends. It was never an accident that I posted a picture of myself. It was always intentional and planned. I had seen enough images of fashion models to know what a "hot" picture was supposed to look like.

Many of you reading this blog know exactly what I'm talking about because you've done the same thing.

The truth is, posting seductive selfies is just an outward symptom of a much deeper issue.

It's a sign of a girl who is longing for something more. It's a sign of a girl who is trying to fill up her affirmation tank through the praises and compliments of her friends. A girl who craves attention from guys and hopes they'll notice one of her pictures. A girl who wants to appear confident, but is weak and lonely on the inside. A girl who enjoys seducing guys by making them "want what they can't have."

Seductive selfies are nothing more than an image that screams, "Look at ME!" They're an opportunity to point the spotlight on yourself for a brief moment and hope that someone will notice.

As Christian girls, God calls us to a much higher standard than to play the seductive selfie game.

The whole purpose of our lives is to point others to Christ, not to ourselves. These types of photos are never Christ-centered, but are always self-centered. God calls us to live morally pure lives in every way. Posting seductive pictures of yourself isn't promoting purity or holiness within the body of Christ.

Since that day on the roof, God has convicted me about the motivation and condition of my heart. Tell me if you think seductive selfies are okay according to Ephesians 5:1,3: "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children ... But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints."

What do you think?

First we're called to be imitators (reflections) of God to the world around us. You and I are God's children! We need to reflect the character and purity of our Father well. Second, we're commanded to stay away from any form of sexual immorality and all impurity. Did you catch that? "Any form...all impurity."

Seductive selfies don't stand a chance against these verses.

Our culture tells us that holiness and purity is lame, and that being too strict on yourself will lead to a life of boredom. If that's the case, then why are so many girls lonely, sad, depressed, insecure and needy?

God gives us standards for purity and holiness because He knows it's what's best for us. True joy and contentment won't come through the applause of your friends, it will only come through obeying and honoring God. "Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with their whole heart" (Psalm 119:1-2).

I know you want to be blessed by God. I sure do! Instead of striving after the empty applause of this world, strive for the fulfilling applause of your King.

You will never be happier than when you're living your life for God's glory.

As Christian girls we have a duty to honor our King in every area of our lives. We have a responsibility to bear the image of Christ to the lost world around us.

Will you join me in rejecting the trend of seductive selfies? Will you say no to posting self-glorifying pictures that put all of the attention on you?

Our world is in desperate need of Christian girls who are willing to stand up for God's truth by displaying something far greater than themselves.

Prosperity Preachers Join Ecumenical Movement With Praise Of The Pope

The ecumenical movement towards a one–world religion seems to gaining traction fast, with the meeting of mainstream protestant church leaders warming up to the Vatican in an effort that purports to work toward tearing down the ‘walls of division’ between Catholics and Protestants.

In a recent report, ChristianNews.net reported that two controversial TV preachers, Kenneth Copeland and James Robison recently met Pope Francis with the aim of working together towards this goal. Copeland and Robison are two religious leaders in northeast Texas known for drawing huge crowds to their services and events, and who were a part of leading the group identifying as a “delegation of Evangelical Christian leaders” in its meeting with the Roman Catholic pontiff late last month. Copeland heads Kenneth Copeland Ministries and Eagle Mountain International Church, while Robison is said to be an “apostolic elder” at Gateway Church and co-hosts the Life Today TV program.

Copeland and Robison are both reported to have visited Pope Francis at the Vatican in late June for nearly 3 hours of “prayerful discussion” as described in Robison’s blog post. “We continued in such glorious fellowship that words could never begin to describe it,” he wrote. “I am fighting back tears even as I write, so glorious was the manifest presence of Jesus.” 

Robison was afterward quoted as describing the meeting as “an answered prayer”, a “supernatural gathering” and “an unprecedented moment between evangelicals and the Catholic Pope.” Said Robison: “This meeting was a miracle…this is something God has done. God wants his arms around the world. And he wants Christians to put his arms around the world by working together…The world is suffering…We as Christians have too much love to share without fighting one another.”

Copeland reportedly also shared similarly positive sentiments about the visit. According to Robison’s blog post, Copeland “lovingly” spoke “a few words of encouragement” to Pope Francis, afterward praying for him.

These leaders are not the first mainstream protestant leaders to have warmed up to the Roman Catholic church and the papacy. As previously reported, megachurch speaker Joel Osteen similarly met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in early June. After the meeting, Osteen praised the Pope’s attempts to make the church “more inclusive.”

It is noteworthy that certain other Christian leaders have also been making similar moves towards inclusivity of Islam, in what is now being commonly described as the creation of “Chrislam”, a merger of Christianity and Islam. This movement has been initiated or embraced by other leaders representing Christendom as well. Examples were provided in an earlier edition of Prophecy News Watch in March and April. 

What should be made of these efforts to unite Christians with non-Christians and Protestants with Catholics? Unity of mind and purpose is so powerful that even God had to intervene to scuttle an attempt to build a tower from earth to heaven (Genesis 11:1-9). However, is unity to be had at all costs, or it to be based on truth? Clearly , in what is considered to be Jesus longest prayer on earth, he yearns for unity in the body of Christ, as recorded in John 17: 11,21-23:

•"that they may be one, as we are" (11)
•"that they all may be one" (21)
•"that they also may be one in us" (21)
•"that they may be one, even as we are one" (22)
•"I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one" (23)

In view of Jesus passionate prayer for unity, should we not all be eager to hop onto the unity bandwagon? Only in very qualified circumstances. Jesus was clearly referring to unity in the faith, not outside of it. Evangelical outreach.org expounds on this: 

“…In contrast to all of this, there is also a false unity offered and promoted by the devil! The counterfeit would like to combine all who merely profess a belief in Jesus Christ under one religious banner of tolerance. They seem to think we should unite on things like the Lord’s Prayer. They also believe doctrine is not important… truth regarding the plan of salvation is pre-eminent over unity with other religious people! Therefore, to unify at the expense of truth is NOT from God. That is not Christian unity, but the devil’s false unity. Furthermore, Paul risked Christian unity with Peter to maintain truth, when Peter was in error! See Gal. 2:11-21.”

So where exactly have Protestants found common purpose with the Roman Catholic system, given the glaring foundational differences in doctrine, approach and perspective? It is instructive that to begin with, as was recently reported by nowtheendbegins.com, that the Pope recognizes no salvation outside the Roman Catholic Church. In which case, the protestant leaders seeking unity are not aware of this, or are prepared to sacrifice key doctrinal beliefs at the altar of religious inclusivity for all.

The Bible says, in Ephesians 2:8, 9 that “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”Does the Catholic church believe this? Nowtheendbegins.com goes on to quote a sermon delivered by the pope on June 25th, in which he emphasizes a gospel of salvation by works: “…The Christian belongs to a people called the Church and this Church is what makes him or her Christian, on the day of Baptism, and then in the course of catechesis, and so on… We have received the faith from our fathers, from our ancestors, and they instructed us in it.” In other words, you cannot come to God directly through prayer and faith in God through Jesus Christ, but only through following the rites and traditions of the Catholic Church as handed down by the ancestors.

In another statement, the pope declares: “Dear friends, let us ask the Lord, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, for the grace to never fall into the temptation of thinking we can make it without others, that we can get along without the (Catholic) Church…you cannot love God outside of the Church; you cannot be in communion with God without being so in the Church.”

Is this what the Bible says? Who intercedes for Christians before God, is it Jesus or Mary? 1 Timothy 2:5-6 states categorically: For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time..

Acts 4:12 states: Nor is there salvation in any other (Jesus), for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

ChristianNews.net reported that when news of the ecumenical get-together at the Vatican was publicized, many Christians expressed disappointment, saying it was unwise for the evangelical leaders to meet with Pope Francis. 

As the Apostle Paul said: Follow me as I follow Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). Anyone who does enough research will have to conclude that the differences between protestant and catholic doctrine are not subtle or trivial, but instead profound and irreconcilable.

The ongoing global ecumenical movement that seeks to unite all religions under the ruse that “all religions lead to God”, or that there are many paths that lead to heaven and salvation cannot be reconciled with Jesus’ own very categorical statement: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). This brings us to the pertinent rhetoric question asked in the Bible: Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:3). 

Christian Publishing- The New Battleground Over Same Sex Marriage

It is difficult to find any segment of American society that is not embroiled in the debate over homosexual “marriage”. From our public schools to the country’s highest courts, homosexual marriage and associated rights dominate the Nation’s discourse.

Indeed, perusing the aisles of many” so called” Christian books, finds an increasing number of titles addressing the battle over homosexual “marriage” and the Christian’s response to the issue. 

A Pew research poll from 2013 reveals a gradual move toward acceptance of homosexual marriage by not only mainline Catholic and Protestant denominations, but now in increasing numbers, by conservative Evangelicals.

Many of the largest Christian publishers are coming out with books supporting same-sex relationships. 

These books are serving to widen the divide between supporters and resisters of the trend. 

All of this indicates that Christian publishing may be the next” battleground” in America's explosive debates about homosexual marriage.

One of the most polarizing books to hit the shelves this year was, God and the Gay Christian: the Biblical Case in Support of Same Sex Relationships by Matthew Vines, published by Convergent Books a sister imprint of Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

In this book, Vines attempts to overturn the traditional Christian view that God condemns the practice of homosexuality, even within the confines of committed “same sex relationships.”

In a rebuttal of the revisionist views expounded in Vine’s book, Albert Mohler, president the Southern Baptist Theological seminary warns that Vine’s book seeks to “overthrow two millennia of Christian moral wisdom.”

Mohler goes on to propose that Evangelical Christianity is facing a watershed moment in the debate over the acceptance of “sexual sins” in the church.

In mid-May, in response to the publication of Vine’s book, the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) forced Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group to resign its membership in the organization.

Jerry Johnson, the CEO and president of NRB," wrote ”This issue comes down to NRB members producing unbiblical material, regardless of the label under which they do it."

Not only did the NRB forbid members from publishing such books, but refuses to be professionally associated with publishers that do. 

However, the NRB’s decision is not stemming the tide of new books being developed by other publishers.

Howard Books, a Christian imprint of Simon and Schuster, is set to release Facing the Music: Discovering Real Life, Real Love, and Real Faith by Jennifer Knapp. Knapp, a Grammy nominated Christian musician, “came out” as a Lesbian.

Howard Books is not a member of NRB, but the publisher is a member of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). Mark Kuyper, president and CEO of the ECPA, insists that publishing books affirming same-sex relationships would not be grounds for removal from the ECPA because it would not violate the ECPA's statement of faith.

And so the battle inside conservative, Evangelical Christianity will continue to occupy center stage, as the issue is debated in the print media, the courts, and in the church pews around the nation.

The final outcome is uncertain, but if the battle over same-sex relationships being fought among conservative Christians is won by the pro-homosexual advocates among them, the larger cultural war will be all but over.

Ultimate “Big Brother” Law – Scottish Plan Appoints Government Official To Oversee The Life Of Each Newborn

A Christian organization in the United Kingdom on Wednesday launched its legal challenge to the ultimate “Big Brother” law – a Scottish plan that appoints a government official to oversee the life of each newborn.

“We are making a stand for all mums and dads who are doing their best for the children they love,” said Colin Hart, director of the Christian Institute.

He confirmed that papers were lodged at Edinburgh’s Court of Sessions by the Institute, several other organizations and parents who would be subjected to the law’s requirements.

The “Named Person” initiative, the Institute has explained, would “see a state guardian assigned to every child between birth and 18-years-old.”

Those government officials would have access to all information about the child, whether the parents allow it or not, and could make recommendations and suggestions about the upbringing of the child.

Parents would be allowed to decline their advice, but then those government officials would “be able to share information with a wide range of public authorities and may intervene without parental consent.”

While the law is set to be imposed nationwide by 2016, it already is being implemented in some areas.

The Institute said the challenge was joined by Christian charity CARE, Tymes Trust and the Family Education Trust as well as parents James and Rhianwen McIntosh and Deborah Thomas.

The Institute explained the McIntoshes reported last month that they already were being subjected to the law when they were told their child’s private medical documents were being shared with the state-employed “named person.”

“I love my child better than anyone else and so for the government to tell me that I needed someone who knew better about my child to see to their well being, that was really quite belittling to me as a parent,” said Rhianwen McIntosh.

Thomas reported discovering the reaches of the law’s tentacles when her son was told to fill out a “creepy and weird” survey at school. She discovered questions were about “things like his perceptions of our family’s income, the seriousness of our family’s arguments, and whether he sometimes felt like he couldn’t go on – which is effectively a suicide question.”

“This marks the beginning of a landmark case which has implications for every family in Scotland,” said Hart. “We are not prepared to stand by and watch as the roles of parents and their rights to a family life are diminished and trampled over by an authoritarian big brother government intent on making its presence felt in every living room in the land.”

He said the idea behind the law may have been to prevent children who have needs from slipping through the net, but “that safety net will only be stretched to [a] breaking point as a result of this policy, raising the prospect that genuine child protection cases will fall through the holes.”

The BBC reported that the government has argued the plan will help with “vulnerable children,” but its critics say in simply violates the European Convention on Human Rights, which recognizes parental authority.

WND reported several weeks ago that physicians already were telling parents, “We are now required to inform the Named Person for your child if your child fails to attend an appointment.”

The Institute reported one family who received the letter told the Scottish Daily Mail: “We were absolutely shocked. The health board seems to be acting in advance of the law being implemented.”

“I shows the extent to which the law will impact on families and their private lives,” the family continued.

The Children and Young People Act, however, already has been condemned by a prominent human rights lawyer, Aidan O’Neill, who said in a legal opinion that the measure amounted to “unjustified interference” and “may be unlawful.”

He said the European Convention on Human Rights calls for governments to respect “private and family life.”

WND has reported the idea for a government watchdog for each child comes from the philosophy of the United Nations.

“This law shows the natural progression for a country that has ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and attempts to live up to its treaty provisions,” said Michael Donnelly, the director of international relations for Home School Legal Defense Association.

HSLDA has been exposing the pitfalls of the U.N. treaty, which has not been adopted by the United States.


9. Other Events To Watch

World Economy As Vulnerable To A Financial Crisis As It Was In 2007

The world economy is just as vulnerable to a financial crisis as it was in 2007, with the added danger that debt ratios are now far higher and emerging markets have been drawn into the fire as well, the Bank for International Settlements has warned. 

Jaime Caruana, head of the Swiss-based financial watchdog, said investors were ignoring the risk of monetary tightening in their voracious hunt for yield. 

“Markets seem to be considering only a very narrow spectrum of potential outcomes. They have become convinced that monetary conditions will remain easy for a very long time, and may be taking more assurance than central banks wish to give,” he told The Telegraph. 

Mr Caruana said the international system is in many ways more fragile than it was in the build-up to the Lehman crisis. Debt ratios in the developed economies have risen by 20 percentage points to 275pc of GDP since then. 

Credit spreads have fallen to to wafer-thin levels. Companies are borrowing heavily to buy back their own shares. The BIS said 40pc of syndicated loans are to sub-investment grade borrowers, a higher ratio than in 2007, with ever fewer protection covenants for creditors. 

The disturbing twist in this cycle is that China, Brazil, Turkey and other emerging economies have succumbed to private credit booms of their own, partly as a spill-over from quantitative easing in the West. 

Their debt ratios have risen 20 percentage points as well, to 175pc. Average borrowing rates for five-years is 1pc in real terms. This is extemely low, and could reverse suddenly. “We are watching this closely. If we were concerned by excessive leverage in 2007, we cannot be more relaxed today,” he said. 

“It may be the case that the debt is better distributed because some highly-indebted countries have deleveraged, like the private sector in the US or Spain, and banks are better capitalized. But there is also now more sensitivity to interest rate movements." 

The BIS warned it is annual report two weeks ago that equity markets had become "euphoric". Volatility has dropped to an historic low. European equities have risen 15pc in a year despite near zero growth and a 3pc fall in expected earnings. The cyclically-adjusted price earnings ratio of the S&P 500 index in the US reached 25 in May, six points above its half-century average. The Tobin's Q measure is far more stretched than in 2007. 

“Overall, it is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally,” it said. 

Mr Caruana declined to be drawn on when the bubble will burst. "As Keynes said, markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent,” he said. 

The BIS says prolonged monetary stimulus in the US, Europe, and Japan has led to a leakage of liquidity, contaminating the rest of the world. The rising powers of Asia are no longer able to act as a firebreak – as they did after the Lehman crash –and may themselves now be a source of risk. 

Emerging markets have racked up $2 trillion in foreign currency debt since 2008. They are a much larger animal than they were during the East Asia crisis of the late 1990s, so any crisis would do more damage. “The ramifications would be particularly serious if China, home to an outsize financial boom, were to falter," it said. 

BIS officials doubt privately the whether China can avoid a ‘hard landing’, fearing that the extreme credit growth over the last five years must lead to a financial reckoning. They also doubt whether the aftermath will in the end be easier to deal with in a state-controlled banking system where the Communist Party controls the credit levers. 

The annual report suggested that China’s $4 trillion of reserves are a Maginot Line defence. It noted US was also a large external creditor in the 1920s, as was Japan in the 1980s, before each went into deep crisis. “Time and again, in both advanced and emerging market economies, seemingly strong bank balance sheets have turned out to mask unsuspected vulnerabilities that surface only after the financial boom has given way to bust,” it said. 

The BIS is the doyen of world’s financial institutions, created in Basel in 1930 to clean up the mess left by German reparations payments under the Versailles Treaty. It has since evolved into the bank of central banks, and lately the bastion of monetary orthodoxy. It issued a crescendo of warnings in the build-up to the Lehman crisis, implicitly rebuking the US Federal Reserve and others for holding interest rates too low, which in their view robs economic growth from the future. 

The BIS was vindicated, though not everybody agrees that it was right for the right reasons. Monetarists argue that the Great Recession was due to over-tightening into the downturn. This caused M3 broad money growth to collapse months before the banking crisis. 

The BIS backed QE as an emergency measure in early 2009 to avert a deflationary spiral but has long since called for a return to sound money, and even rate rises. "The predominant risk is that central banks will find themselves behind the curve, exiting too late or too slowly," it said. 

This has earned BIS a reputation for Austrian School ideology , accused of encouraging crude liquidation. The bank denies this, tracing the bank’s doctrines to the pre-Keynesian Swedish economist Knut Wicksell. 

Wicksell posited a “natural rate of interest”. Holding rates too low creates a host of problems. While his model looks like the modern “Taylor Rule” used by the Fed and other central banks, it is different in crucial respects. 

Confident in its cause, the BIS more or less indicts the central bank establishment of malpractice. "Policy does not lean against the booms but eases aggressively and persistently during busts. This induces a downward bias in interest rates and an upward bias in debt levels, which in turn makes it hard to raise rates without damaging the economy – a debt trap." 

"Systemic financial crises do not become less frequent or intense, private and public debts continue to grow, the economy fails to climb onto a stronger sustainable path, and monetary and fiscal policies run out of ammunition. Over time, policies lose their effectiveness and may end up fostering the very conditions they seek to prevent," it said. 

Basel's lonely call for discipline pits it against the Fed, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England, and even Frankfurt these days. It prompted an unusually piquant riposte from London earlier this month. "Has monetary policy aided and abetted risk-taking? I hope so. That's why we did it," said the Bank of England’s chief economist Andy Haldane. 

"It is good to have the debate,” said Mr Caruana gamely. Yet he refuses to back down. “There is something strange about fighting debt by incentivizing more debt." 

He is now skirmishing on a fresh front, questioning the Fed's new enthusiasm for macro-prudential curbs as a first line of defence. "On their own there is little evidence that they can constrain financial imbalances. We don’t think macro-pro can serve as a substitute," he said. 

Mr Caruana said the US recovery is not a vindication of monetary stimulus, but evidence that the best answer to "balance sheet recessions" is to clear away the dead wood and unlock resources for new technologies. “The Americans were quite aggressive in forcing recognition of losses and there was a very rapid recapitalisation of the banks. This is why it was successful. The role of quantitative easing is an open question.” 

Mr Caruana dismisses the global deflation scare as alarmist, even though Sweden's Riksbank has just abandoned his camp and slashed rates to near zero to avert a Japanase-style trap. Deflation is very unlikely to happen in the West, he insists. Gently falling prices are typically benign in any case. "We should not exaggerate the role of deflation in history," he said. 

The Great Depression is the exception, not the rule. Welfare systems and unemployment insurance now make such an outcome almost impossible. "In the 1930s the stabilizers were very different," he said. 

Critics are unlikely to accept this assurance since Spain, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and Latvia have all gone through depressions over the last six years, and Italy, France and Holland are all close to debt-deflation. The concern is what would now happen to parts of Europe if there were a fresh downturn or an external shock. Debt ratios are higher than they were in the 19th Century. The "denominator effect" of deflation is therefore more destructive today. 

The International Monetary Fund has hinted that it might be best for the world to chip away its debt mountain with a few years of inflation, as the US did in late 1940s and early 1950s, armed with financial repression. 

Asked whether he would support this form of loss recognition for creditors, Mr Caruana came close to choking. “It must be clearly resisted,” he said.


Blessings,

Kade