Prophecy News Watch - Week In Review/April 13- April 17
Keeping You Informed of World Events From A Biblical Perspective
Prophetic Trends & Headline News
1. Where is the United States in Bible Prophecy?
ISIS Has Camps On The U.S. Border, But Obama Says ‘Right-Wing Extremists’ Are The Greatest Terror Threat
ISIS camps have now been discovered directly across the U.S. border with Mexico, ISIS operatives have been captured illegally entering the United States, and ISIS is threatening to conduct a massive campaign of terror against U.S. targets, and yet Barack Obama continues to insist that “right-wing extremists” are the greatest terror threat that this nation is facing.
One recent survey found that 84 percent of all Americans believe that ISIS is a “direct threat to the USA”, but Obama refuses to secure our borders and he is even allowing dozens of American citizens that fought for ISIS overseas to come back into this country. What in the world is Obama thinking?
Even though ISIS has promised to drown all of us in our own blood, the Obama administration has purged virtually all references to Islam out of government terror training materials.
Meanwhile, as you will see below, Obama’s political enemies have been regularly labeled as “potential terrorists” in official government documents during the Obama era. This includes “patriots”, “conspiracy theorists”, “evangelical Christians” and “general right-wing extremists”.
This week, we learned that it has been confirmed that ISIS cells are operating in northern Mexico just a few miles from U.S. territory. The following is an excerpt from a bombshell report that Judicial Watch just released…
ISIS is operating a camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, according to Judicial Watch sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and a Mexican Federal Police Inspector.
The exact location where the terrorist group has established its base is around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Another ISIS cell to the west of Ciudad Juárez, in Puerto Palomas, targets the New Mexico towns of Columbus and Deming for easy access to the United States, the same knowledgeable sources confirm.
This comes on the heels of reports that federal authorities recently captured members of ISIS after they came across the border…
The warning follows reports from Judicial Watch in recent months that Islamic terrorists have been captured in Texas after coming across the U.S. border from Mexico.
The organization said just last winter its sources within the Department of Homeland Security said several ISIS terror group members were arrested by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.
Considering how porous our border security is at this point, how many more members of ISIS have been able to come across without getting caught?
And none of this should be catching anyone by surprise. There have been warnings since the middle of last year that ISIS would be attempting to cross the southern border and attack targets inside the United States. The following comes from a recent article by Kurt Nimmo…
In 2014, Midland County, Texas Sheriff Gary Painter said ISIS would cross the border and strike the United States.
In August, a former CIA officer, Mike Baker, told the Laura Ingraham Show ISIS works with the drug cartels.
Judicial Watch said in August ISIS was using Juárez as a staging area and planned to launch a car bomb attack against Fort Bliss, a U.S. Army base about fifteen minutes from the border.
In September, Infowars reporter Joe Biggs. traveled to the area and crossed the Rio Grande dressed in an ISIS terrorist outfit. The stunt demonstrated how easy it would be for terrorists to enter the country.
But some members of ISIS don’t even have to try to come into the U.S. illegally.
If you can believe it, the Obama administration is actually welcoming back home many Americans that went overseas to fight for ISIS. Just check out what Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson recently told 60 Minutes…
It was in a televised chat with Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” that he admitted there may not be as much oversight of those who trained and fought with terrorists as some people would like.
Stahl asked: “As I understand it, of the 180 Americans who have gone overseas to fight in Iraq and Syria, 40 have come back. I assume you’re keeping close tabs on those 40?”
Said Johnson: “We have, in fact, kept close tabs on those who we believe have left and those who’ve come back. A number have been arrested or investigated, and we have systems in place to track these individuals.
“But you can’t know everything.”
All of this is happening despite the fact that ISIS is threatening a massive wave of terror attacks inside this country.
They even have a hashtag on Twitter for this campaign. It is “#WeWillBurnUSAgain”, and it has already been used more than 15,000 times.
A video that was released in conjunction with this campaign sounds quite ominous…
“America thinks it’s safe because of the geographical location,” its voiceover says. “Thus you see it invades Muslim lands, and thinks that the army of jihad won’t reach in their lands.
“But the dream of Americans to have safety became a mirage.”
If I was in the White House, I would be inclined to take this sort of thing quite seriously.
But instead, the Obama administration continues to be obsessed with the “threat” from “right-wing extremists”. For example, a recent National Guard exercise featured role players that posed as “sovereign citizens” and chanted right-wing rhetoric…
The exercise, which Infowars reporters were barred from attending, took place in Richmond this past weekend and involved more than 200 soldiers, airmen, local law enforcement and firefighting personnel.
Footage captured by a local shows Guard troops pushing irate citizens away with batons before one of the protest group states, “I’m a sovereign citizen, I refuse to recognize you guys, I refuse to recognize you.”
“Why in the course of a drill for a dirty bomb, would an actor claim to be a sovereign citizen?” asks Keith Johnson, who filmed the footage. “The San Francisco Bay Area is not known for it’s sovereign citizen militia population and hearing this shouted during a mock terrorist scenario was disturbing.
Anybody familiar with Richmond will tell you it is not a rural ‘militia’ environment. Located in the East Bay Area near Oakland, it is a community with reduced circumstances. No one there is going to be proclaiming to be a sovereign citizen.”
And of course this is far from an isolated incident.
Since Barack Obama entered the White House, Obama’s enemies have been identified as “potential terrorists” in official government documents over and over and over. This is something that I documented in a previous article entitled “72 Types Of Americans That Are Considered ‘Potential Terrorists’ In Official Government Documents“.
The list below is from that article. And as you read this list over, ask yourself how many of these characteristics apply to you…
1. Those that talk about “individual liberties”
2. Those that advocate for states’ rights
3. Those that want “to make the world a better place”
4. “The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”
5. Those that are interested in “defeating the Communists”
6. Those that believe “that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations”
7. Anyone that holds a “political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful,or undesirable”
8. Anyone that possesses an “intolerance toward other religions”
9. Those that “take action to fight against the exploitation of the environment and/or animals”
13. “The Patriot Movement”
14. “Opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians”
15. Members of the Family Research Council
16. Members of the American Family Association
17. Those that believe that Mexico, Canada and the United States “are secretly planning to merge into a European Union-like entity that will be known as the ‘North American Union’”
18. Members of the American Border Patrol/American Patrol
19. Members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform
20. Members of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition
21. Members of the Christian Action Network
22. Anyone that is “opposed to the New World Order”
23. Anyone that is engaged in “conspiracy theorizing”
24. Anyone that is opposed to Agenda 21
25. Anyone that is concerned about FEMA camps
26. Anyone that “fears impending gun control or weapons confiscations”
27. The militia movement
28. The sovereign citizen movement
29. Those that “don’t think they should have to pay taxes”
30. Anyone that “complains about bias”
31. Anyone that “believes in government conspiracies to the point of paranoia”
32. Anyone that “is frustrated with mainstream ideologies”
33. Anyone that “visits extremist websites/blogs”
34. Anyone that “establishes website/blog to display extremist views”
35. Anyone that “attends rallies for extremist causes”
36. Anyone that “exhibits extreme religious intolerance”
37. Anyone that “is personally connected with a grievance”
38. Anyone that “suddenly acquires weapons”
39. Anyone that “organizes protests inspired by extremist ideology”
40. “Militia or unorganized militia”
41. “General right-wing extremist”
42. Citizens that have “bumper stickers” that are patriotic or anti-U.N.
43. Those that refer to an “Army of God”
44. Those that are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”
45. Those that are “anti-global”
46. Those that are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”
47. Those that are “reverent of individual liberty”
48. Those that “believe in conspiracy theories”
49. Those that have “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”
50. Those that possess “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”
51. Those that would “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”
52. Those that would “insert religion into the political sphere”
53. Anyone that would “seek to politicize religion”
54. Those that have “supported political movements for autonomy”
55. Anyone that is “anti-abortion”
56. Anyone that is “anti-Catholic”
57. Anyone that is “anti-nuclear”
58. “Rightwing extremists”
59. “Returning veterans”
60. Those concerned about “illegal immigration”
61. Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”
62. Anyone that is engaged in “ammunition stockpiling”
63. Anyone that exhibits “fear of Communist regimes”
64. “Anti-abortion activists”
65. Those that are against illegal immigration
66. Those that talk about “the New World Order” in a “derogatory” manner
67. Those that have a negative view of the United Nations
68. Those that are opposed “to the collection of federal income taxes”
69. Those that supported former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr
70. Those that display the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”)
71. Those that believe in “end times” prophecies
72. Evangelical Christians
With each passing day, the potential threat posed by ISIS increases, and yet Obama remains fixated on “right-wing extremists”.
The EMP Threat: All It Would Take Is A Couple Of Explosions To Send America Back To The 1800s
Our entire way of life can be ended in a single day. And it wouldn’t even take a nuclear war to do it. All it would take for a rogue nation or terror organization to bring us to our knees is the explosion of a couple well-placed nuclear devices high up in our atmosphere. The resulting electromagnetic pulses would fry electronics from coast to coast.
Of course this could also be accomplished without any attack. Scientists tell us that massive solar storms have hit our planet before, and that it is inevitable that there will be more in the future. As you will read about below, the most recent example of this was “the Carrington Event” in 1859.
If a similar burst from the sun hit us today, experts tell us that life in America could suddenly resemble life in the 1800s, and the economic damage caused could potentially be in the trillions of dollars. This is one of the greatest potential threats that we are facing as a nation, and yet Barack Obama has essentially done nothing to get us prepared.
The technology necessary to conduct such an electromagnetic pulse attack against the United States has become much more accessible in recent years. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, even rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran either already have or will soon have the capability to hurt us in this way…
Rogue nations such as North Korea (and possibly Iran) will soon match Russia and China and have the primary ingredients for an EMP attack: simple ballistic missiles such as Scuds that could be launched from a freighter near our shores; space-launch vehicles able to loft low-earth-orbit satellites; and simple low-yield nuclear weapons that can generate gamma rays and fireballs.
If a successful, large scale EMP attack ever did take place, it would be a catastrophe beyond anything that the United States has ever seen before. The EMP Commission, which was established by Congress, says that it is likely that most of us would end up dead…
What would a successful EMP attack look like? The EMP Commission, in 2008, estimated that within 12 months of a nationwide blackout, up to 90% of the U.S. population could possibly perish from starvation, disease and societal breakdown.
In 2009 the congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States, whose co-chairmen were former Secretaries of Defense William Perry and James Schlesinger, concurred with the findings of the EMP Commission and urged immediate action to protect the electric grid. Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the Department of Energy, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the National Intelligence Council reached similar conclusions.
If you are a terrorist, a dictator or a fanatic that is looking for a “killshot” for the United States, those kinds of numbers would certainly get your attention.
And it was recently reported by WND that the Iranian military has already been playing around with such a scenario…
Peter Vincent Pry, who is executive director of a congressional advisory group called the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, raised the alarm as the agreement is about to be finalized.
He said U.S. military officials have confirmed such an Iranian plan.
“Iranian military documents describe such a scenario – including a recently translated Iranian military textbook that endorses nuclear EMP attack against the United States,” Pry wrote in a recent column in Israel’s main online media network, Aruz Sheva.
“Iran with a small number of nuclear missiles can by EMP attack threaten the existence of modernity and be the death knell of Western principles of international law, humanism and freedom,” he said.
Very chilling stuff.
And of course there are many, many others out there that would love to see the U.S. taken down other than just the Iranians.
Meanwhile, our power grid is far more vulnerable than most Americans would dare to imagine.
In previous articles, I discussed a recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission report which stated the following…
“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”
Are you starting to get the picture?
Our entire way of life depends upon electricity. If you take away that electricity, our society is transformed literally overnight.
A successful EMP would be an utter nightmare for this nation. Just consider what U.S. Representative Scott Perry had to say about a potential attack last year…
“The consequences of such an attack could be catastrophic; all electronics, power systems, and information systems could be shut down,” Rep. Scott Perry said in prepared remarks during an EMP hearing in May held by the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. “This could then cascade into interdependent infrastructures such as water, gas, and telecommunications. While we understand this is an extreme case, we must always be prepared in case a rogue state decides to utilize this technology.”
In essence, suddenly nothing would work and just about everything that we take for granted would suddenly be gone.
In a previous article, I spelled out some of the implications of such an event…
-There would be no heat for your home.
-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.
-Your computer would not work.
-There would be no Internet.
-Your phones would not work.
-There would be no television.
-There would be no radio.
-ATM machines would be shut down.
-There would be no banking.
-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.
-Without electricity, most gas stations would not be functioning.
-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.
-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.
-Hospitals would not be able to function normally.
-You would quickly start running out of medicine.
-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.
And as I mentioned above, all of this can happen even without an attack.
A direct hit from a major solar storm can cause the exact same thing.
In fact, NASA says that there is a 12 percent chance that such a storm will hit us during the next ten years…
NASA is warning that there’s a 12 percent chance an extreme solar storm will hit Earth in the next decade, sending out massive shock waves that would knock out grids across the world.
The economic impact of this doomsday scenario could exceed $2 trillion — or 20 times the cost of Hurricane Katrina, according to the National Academy of Sciences.
In recent years, we have been really lucky.
There was a close call in 2012 and another one in 2013.
The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book that I have co-authored with Barbara Fix that will soon be published entitled “Get Prepared Now”…
Most people have absolutely no idea that the Earth barely missed being fried by a massive EMP burst from the sun in 2012 and in 2013. And earlier in 2014 there was another huge solar storm which would have caused tremendous damage if it had been directed at our planet. If any of those storms would have directly hit us, the result would have been catastrophic.
Electrical transformers would have burst into flames, power grids would have gone down and much of our technology would have been fried. In essence, life as we know it would have ceased to exist – at least for a time. These kinds of solar storms have hit the Earth many times before, and experts tell us that it is inevitable that it will happen again. The most famous one happened in 1859, and was known as the Carrington Event.
But other than the telegraph, humanity had very little dependence on technology at the time. If another Carrington Event happened today, it would be a complete and utter nightmare. A study by Lloyd’s of London has concluded that it would have taken a $2,600,000,000,000 chunk out of the global economy, and it would take up to a decade to repair the damage. Unfortunately, scientists insist that it is going to happen at some point. The only question is when.
So keep an eye on the sun.
Personally, I cannot even imagine what life would be like without electricity.
Because we have become so deeply dependent on technology, most of us would have absolutely no idea how to live without it.
An electromagnetic pulse attack would be one of the fastest ways to cripple America and end the dominance of the United States in world affairs. And in this day and age, there are hundreds of millions of people around the planet that would love to see that happen.
So to not take steps to protect our power grid from such an attack is very foolish. But that is precisely what Barack Obama (and presidents before him) have chosen to do. We have technology which would mitigate the damage from an electromagnetic pulse, but rather than spend the money Obama has decided to just hope that it will never happen.
Up to this point, we have been fortunate.
But someday, our luck may run out.
40 Jihadis Who Joined ISIS Return To U.S.
Dozens of American jihadis who fought in the war in Iraq and Syria have returned to the United States equipped with the training they used fighting either for or against ISIS, according to one federal official.
And their activities are being monitored.
“You can’t know everything,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a recent interview.
It was in a televised chat with Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” that he admitted there may not be as much oversight of those who trained and fought with terrorists as some people would like.
Stahl asked: “As I understand it, of the 180 Americans who have gone overseas to fight in Iraq and Syria, 40 have come back. I assume you’re keeping close tabs on those 40?”
Said Johnson: “We have, in fact, kept close tabs on those who we believe have left and those who’ve come back. A number have been arrested or investigated, and we have systems in place to track these individuals.
“But you can’t know everything.”
At Right Wing News, Warner Todd Huston commented, “So, Obama has now admitted that he has allowed domestic terrorists to run free inside the U.S., people who have already proved they are foreign fighters who have taken up arms against everything in which we believe!”
He cited Johnson’s comment and added, “In other words, DHS knows nothing, and they probably just let 40 more Tsarnaev brothers to roam across the USA free as they please.”
At the Western Journalism Center, James Beattie reported that James Clapper, the U.S. National Intelligence director, referred to the returning jihadis last month.
And Western Journalism reported, “Clapper was not the first U.S. official to make the statement, however. Former Rep. Tim Bishop, D-N.Y., confirmed what Stahl asked Johnson about during a speech last September.
“One of the concerns is the number of U.S. citizens who have left our country to go join up with ISIS,” Bishop said. “It is believed there have been some number up to 100 that have done that. It is also believed that some 40 of those who left this country to join up with ISIS have now returned to our country.”
It was reported only weeks ago that a group affiliated with ISIS had released a list of addresses that belong to 100 U.S. military service members.
The list of locations was accompanied by a call for their beheadings.
At about that same time came a report that Egypt was warning it had intelligence indicating a jihadist group is planning a worldwide offensive this spring or summer that could reach targets within the U.S.
Interrogations of ISIS members captured in recent weeks in the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and information collected by Egyptian security forces indicate ISIS is planning ground offensives this spring and summer aimed at taking over more territory across the Middle East and Persian Gulf, a senior Egyptian intelligence official told WND.
Some of the information indicates the new offensive will not be limited to the Arab world. Timed to coincide with its planned surge, ISIS is plotting possible attacks using cells abroad.
ISIS and its jihadist allies could activate cells to carry attacks in Europe and possibly within the U.S., the senior Egyptian official warned.
The official advocated the deployment of significant ground troops acting on multiple fronts to stop ISIS’ progression. He complained the Obama administration and international community has been hesitant to take major action against ISIS advances.
There have been numerous claims of ISIS cells embedded in the U.S.
Recently, Michael Steinbach, head of the FBI’s counter-terrorism division, was asked by CNN whether or not there are ISIS cells in the U.S.
Steinbach said there are “individuals that have been in communication with groups like [ISIS] who have a desire to conduct an attack,” and those people are living in the U.S. right now.
He conceded the FBI finds it extremely difficult to track every American traveling abroad who can join ISIS or receive training by foreign terrorist organizations.
“I’m worried about individuals that we don’t know about that have training,” Steinbach said. “We know what we know. But there is a number that’s greater than that that we don’t know.”
“Once you get to Europe, you can easily get down to Turkey and into Syria,” he noted.
WND also reported the FBI is opening up cases of suspects who may be tied to ISIS in 49 states.
“We are focused keenly on who would be looking to travel to join this band of murderers who will have come back from Iraq and Syria and to the United States,” said FBI Director James Comey in a speech to law enforcement officers in Mississippi.
“We have opened cases all over the place focused on this threat, so it is not … a Washington thing – it is something we focus on throughout the FBI,” Comey said.
2. Israel - God's Timepiece
Israeli Officials: Iran Massively Ramping Up Arming Of Hezbollah In Preparation For Major Assault On Israel
Senior Israeli officials warned on Monday evening that, over the last few weeks, Iran has considerably stepped up its operations to arm Hezbollah in order to prepare its terrorist proxy for a large-scale conflict with Israel.
According to the officials, cited by Israel’s Channel 2, new intelligence has revealed that Tehran has accelerated its proxy war with Israel on all fronts. Iranian delegations have been arriving in the Gaza Strip, and in recent months, the commander of Iran’s Basij paramilitary volunteer militia spoke of arming the residents of the West Bank to rise up against Israel. Iran has reportedly already begun arming members of Hamas in the West Bank.
Iran has also been attempting to establish a new front for Hezbollah with Israel on the Golan Heights, linking it to the existing one in southern Lebanon, according to the report.
Israeli officials have said that the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran, now under discussion in talks between world powers and the Islamic Republic, will release billions of dollars that Tehran will use to finance the arming of its terrorist proxies.
The officials expressed their concerns on the heels of the announcement that Russian President Vladimir Putin had decided to lift the ban on selling advanced anti-aircraft S-300 systems to Iran. The S-300 is said to be the best defense Iran could possess against Israel’s current arsenal of fighter jets, making the task of carrying out a military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations far more difficult, if the Israelis make the decision that a military strike is necessary.
Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, tried to calm concerns over the lift of the ban, saying that the S-300 system was designed exclusively for defensive purposes, “and is not intended in any way for offensive purposes, and therefore does not endanger any of the countries in the region, including Israel.”
Israel Alarmed At News Russia To Supply Iran Advanced Air Defense System
President Vladimir Putin on Monday lifted a ban on supplying Iran with sophisticated S-300 air defense missile systems, the Kremlin said, after Tehran struck a deal with the West over its nuclear program.
Israeli officials denounced the decision as proof of Tehran’s untenable newfound “legitimacy” following nuclear talks.
“This is a direct result of the legitimacy that Iran is receiving from the nuclear deal that is being prepared, and proof that the Iranian economic growth which follows the lifting of sanctions will be exploited for arming itself and not for the welfare of the Iranian people,” Israeli Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said in a statement.
Israeli officials said supply of the system to Iran could prevent any military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, Channel 2 news reported. The officials said the supply, if it goes ahead, would change the balance of power in the region. The TV report also cited unnamed American officials responding with concern to the news.
A decree signed by Putin removes a ban on “the shipment from Russia to Iran” of the S-300 missiles, the Kremlin said in a statement.
Russia signed a 2007 contract to sell Tehran the S-300 system, but the weaponry was never delivered amid strong objections by the United States and Israel.
Moscow blocked deliveries of the surface-to-air missiles to Tehran in 2010 after the United Nations slapped sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program barring hi-tech weapons sales.
Iran then filed a $4 billion suit against Moscow at an arbitration court in Geneva.
The decision to lift the delivery freeze comes after Tehran and international powers including Russia made a major breakthrough this month by agreeing an outline deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program.
The Lausanne framework marked a crucial advance in a 12-year standoff between Iran and the West, which disputes Tehran’s denial that it is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. However, Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have strongly condemned the deal for placing inadequate limitations on Iran’s ability to research and produce nuclear weapons.
Global powers must resolve a series of difficult technical issues by a June 30 deadline for a final deal, including the steps for lifting global sanctions imposed on Iran, and lingering questions over the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program.
Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who will have the final say on any deal, has plunged the accord into doubt suggesting that “nothing is binding” while President Hassan Rouhani demanded that sanctions be immediately lifted when any deal is signed.
Global powers Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States have said sanctions will only be gradually eased and want a mechanism to ensure they can be swiftly reimposed if Iran breaks its word.
Despite the dispute over the S-300 missiles, Moscow and Iran have remained on good terms, with Russia agreeing to build new nuclear reactors for Tehran and both sides supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
The S-300, developed by the Soviet Union in 1979, is a series of Russian long-range surface-to-air missile systems produced by NPO Almaz. The S-300 system was constructed for the Soviet Air Defense Forces in order to defend against aircraft and cruise missiles. Subsequent variations on the model were developed to intercept ballistic missiles.
'‘I Met Messiah': New Website Shares Video Testimonies Of Jews Who Received Jesus
A new website has been launched that shares the video testimonials of Jews in professional business who have all received Jesus as the Messiah.
Launched by Eitan Bar, a Messianic Jew himself, IMetMessiah.com is an evangelistic effort to speak to Jews curious about Jesus.
“As Jewish people, most of us grow up without considering whether or not Yeshua is the Messiah expected by our people for millennia,” he explains on the site. “Yet, something happened in our lives that changed each of us and caused us to rethink the usual Jewish views about Jesus.”
“We offer these stories to you and hope that your relationship with God will deepen through meeting our storytellers,” Bar says.
With over a dozen testimonials posted online and many more marked as forthcoming, IMetMessiah.com presents the testimonies of Mottel Baleson, now a messianic preacher in New Jersey, Michael Goldstone, the founder of Regency Lighting, Grant Berry, creator of Styli-Style Cosmetics, and others.
Berry said that as he moved to America from Israel and became successful in the beauty industry, he he still felt empty and depressed. However, a make-up artist that he began working with, named Maria, soon told him about Jesus. He then ventured on a spiritual journey as he opened up the New Testament and began reading.
Berry said that he tried to pray to God each night over a period of three weeks but felt like his prayers were bouncing off the ceiling.
“I was frustrated,” he recalled. “Here Maria was, this Christian girl that had a relationship with my God—the God of Abraham—and here I was, a Jew, trying to have a relationship with my God—the God of Abraham—and nothing. I was disconnected.”
Berry told her about his frustration with feeling that he was unable to reach God.
“I have been trying to tell you for six to eight months … You can’t have the Father without the Son,” Maria replied.
He immediately returned to his apartment where he cried out to God to show him if Jesus was really the Messiah. Berry said that he felt a rushing wind in his being and knew that God was speaking to Him. From that moment, he believed.
Baleston said that he had always heard about the outward things that one needed to do to be close to God, but never could make sense of it. He was also curious after his grandparents warned him to stay away from the New Testament as they asserted that it was filled with hatred against Jews.
“Growing up, we always understood that we had our Bible and the Gentiles had their Bible—the New Testament—and that they were two completely separate books,” Baleston said.
But as a college student, Baleston began to read the Scriptures one day while visiting the library and found the truth for himself.
“I thought it was going to be a handbook on how to persecute the Jews,” he recalled. “And yet, when I opened it, I read a story written by Jews about Jewish people.”
Baleston said that he opened up to the genealogy of Jesus, who was written as being the son of David, the son of Abraham. He was amazed as all three were Jews, and soon realized that the New Testament wasn’t against Jews at all as it was written by and about Jews.
“This is the One who was promised in our Bible [in] the 53rd chapter of Isaiah,” he exclaimed. “It is astonishing. If you were to just read that chapter … you would say, ‘Oh, this is some Christian Bible. This is Jesus.’ What you realize, though, is that it is in the middle of our Bible—our Jewish Bible!”
He soon told his father about his faith in Christ, and although he was skeptical, Baleston’s father opened the Scriptures and received Jesus as well.
Goldstone first heard about Jesus while hitch-hiking to Mexico with his best friend Ron. He had been experimenting with drugs and was dabbling in books about Eastern religions in an attempt to find God.
While making a stop in San Francisco on the way back home from trying to obtain mushrooms to start a drug business, he met a girl named Debra and began to pour his heart out about his search. Goldstone soon began to read the New Testament and learned about Jesus.
“Some of the things He said really disturbed me,” he recalled. “He said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one can come to the Father but through Me.’ I said, ‘How can this be?'”
Goldstone called out God that day and asked Him to show him the truth. As he did so, he believed that something happened in his heart. He told Ron, who said that he had been on the same journey and had received Jesus as the Messiah.
“Here we are that next day just embracing each other and crying, and sharing with each other how God met us, and how we both had asked Jesus to come into our life,” Goldstone recalled.
But the story didn’t end there. After he began attending church, a minister came to see him and began reading Isaiah 53 out loud.
“He said, ‘Brother Michael, where do you think this is?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know. Matthew? Luke?” Goldstone said. “And he hands me the book and it said Isaiah. And I said, ‘You’re kidding. This is the Old Testament?’ It was so obvious to me that this was talking about Jesus.”
The minister proceeded to show him Scriptures throughout the Old Testament that were prophesies of the Messiah, and Goldstone came to faith in Jesus. Debra soon became a Christian as well, and his mother and father also came to Christ.
10 Quotes That Reveal Barack Obama’s Obsession With A Palestinian State
Barack Obama is absolutely obsessed with getting the Jewish people and the Palestinians to agree to a peace deal which will permanently divide the land of Israel between those two peoples. Barack Obama insists that such an agreement will bring permanent peace to the region, even though no previous agreement between the Jewish people and the Palestinians has lasted very long at all.
We are just told to believe that the creation of a Palestinian state will somehow cause terror groups such as Hamas to totally forsake their goal of obliterating the Jewish state and pushing all Jewish people living there into the Mediterranean Sea.
For Obama, this has become personal. He wants to cement his legacy as a great “peacemaker” by being the president that succeeded where all presidents before him have failed. He wants to be the one that delivers the West Bank and Gaza into the hands of the Palestinians, and he has about 20 months left to do it. The recent election victory of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a blow to those plans, but Obama is not about to give up.
In fact, Obama administration officials are now hinting that they may back a plan for a declaration of a Palestinian state at the United Nations – thus bypassing negotiations with Israel completely. Whether by hook or by crook, Obama seems absolutely determined to make the Palestinian dream a reality. The following are 10 quotes that reveal Barack Obama’s obsession with a Palestinian state…
#1 “Negotiations will be necessary, but there’s little secret about where they must lead: two states for two peoples”
#2 “And I think everybody understands the outlines of what a peace deal would look like, involving a territorial compromise on both sides based on ‘67 lines with mutually agreed upon swaps, that would ensure that Israel was secure but would also ensure that the Palestinians have a sovereign state in which they can achieve the aspirations that they’ve held for so long.”
#3 “The only way for Israel to endure and thrive as a Jewish and democratic state is through the realization of an independent and viable Palestine”
#4 “Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.”
#5 “Let me be clear: The United States strongly supports the goal of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security. That is a goal shared by Palestinians, Israelis, and people of goodwill around the world. That is a goal that the parties agreed to in the road map and at Annapolis. That is a goal that I will actively pursue as President of the United States.”
#6 “…we continue to believe that a two-state solution is the only way for the long-term security of Israel, if it wants to stay both a Jewish state and democratic”
#7 “It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of her own, and lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements of her parents every single day.”
#8 “None of us are under any illusion that this would be easy. As I said in my speech this morning, it has already entailed significant political risk by President Abbas, as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu. But I think the reason that they’ve been willing to take those risks is they realize this is the best way, the only way, for us to achieve what should be our goal: two states living side-by-side in peace and security. It’s right for Palestinian children. It’s right for Israeli children.”
#9 “Just as the Israeli people have the right to live in the historic homeland of the Jewish people, the Palestinian people deserve the right to self-determination. Palestinian children have hopes and dreams for their future and deserve to live with the dignity that can only come with a state of their own.”
#10 “The only solution is a democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state. ”
The rest of Obama’s advisors seem almost equally as determined to see a Palestinian state established.
For example, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough recently called Israel’s presence in the West Bank “an occupation”…
“The United States will never stop working for a two-state solution and a lasting peace that Israelis and Palestinians so richly deserve,” he said.
McDonough then described the alternate to a two-state agreement: a one-state solution based on unilateral annexation and abandonment of democratic rights for Palestinians that, he warned, “would only contribute to Israel’s further isolation.” In other words, he said, more divestment, boycotts and efforts to delegitimize Israel in the international community.
“An occupation that has lasted more than 50 years must end,” McDonough said, one of several times he brought the crowd to its feet.
And State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says that the Obama administration is “not going to prejudge what we would do if there was a U.N. action” on a Palestinian state. This represents a massive shift in policy from previous administrations. The following comes from the Los Angeles Times…
The U.S. would “reevaluate our approach” based on Netanyahu’s “change in his position,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters as the president flew to Cleveland to deliver a speech on economic policy.
State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki raised the possibility that the reevaluation could include a shift in position at the U.N. She avoided the usual U.S. language about vetoing Security Council resolutions that Israel opposes.
“The prime minister’s recent statements call into question his commitment to a two-state solution,” Psaki told reporters. “We’re not going to prejudge what we would do if there was a U.N. action.”
But in order for there to be a permanent peace, you have got to have two sides that want a permanent peace.
Unfortunately, that simply is not the case.
The following are the results of some surveys that have been taken of the Palestinian people in recent years…
-Only 34 percent of Palestinians believe that a “two state solution” is the answer to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
-58 percent of Palestinians prefer “armed struggle” over “engagement with Israel”.
-73 percent of Palestinians agree with the hadith quoted in the Hamas Charter that talks about killing Jews.
-62 percent of Palestinians support kidnapping Israeli soldiers and holding them hostage.
-Only 12 percent of Palestinians agree that official maps, documents and school textbooks should show the name “Israel”.
-Two-thirds of Palestinians believe that the eventual goal of the Palestinians must be “to get back all the land for a Palestinian state”.
If a Palestinian state is considered to be just an intermediate step to the liberation of all of “Palestine”, what kind of “permanent peace” is that?
Right now, the Palestinians are a divided people. The Gaza strip is governed by Hamas, which is a terror organization devoted to the utter destruction of the nation of Israel. The following are a few quotes from the Hamas Charter…
-“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.”
-“The land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf [Holy Possession] consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgment Day. No one can renounce it or any part, or abandon it or any part of it.”
-“The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews [and kill them]; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: Oh Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”
Remember, the people of the Gaza strip willingly chose Hamas to govern them.
How in the world are the Jewish people supposed to believe that lasting peace is possible with an organization that is absolutely obsessed with their destruction?
It simply does not make any sense.
'Iran Helping Hamas, Hezbollah Build Fleet Of Suicide Drones'
Iran is building an explosive fleet of so-called “suicide kamikaze drones” while also providing know-how on assembling these new weapons to its terrorist allies Hamas and Hezbollah, according to a new report commissioned by the US Army.
The report, which was cited by the American daily newspaper The Washington Times and published by the Army's Foreign Military Studies Office at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, states that “no aspect of Iran’s overt military program has seen as much development over the past decade as Iranian unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).”
“Whereas a decade ago Iran’s UAVs and drones were largely for show, a platform with little if any capability, the Iranian military today boasts widespread use of drones, employed not only by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), but also by the regular army, both regular and IRGC navy, and the regular and IRGC air forces.”
This development is significant for Israel because both Hamas and Hezbollah have sought to deploy drones which have penetrated Israeli airspace.
Thus far, they have not managed to cause damage, though drones outfitted with explosives could inflict casualties against soldiers and civilians.
“In a mid-February speech, regular army General Abdolrahim Moussavi outlined the army’s growing use of drones, with emphasis on suicide or kamikaze drones,” according to the US Army report. “While it is easy to dismiss the idea of a suicide drone as more symbolic than real in an age of cruise missiles and precise Predators, utilizing suicide drones is an asymmetric strategy which both allows Iran to compete on an uneven playing field and poses a risk by allowing operators to pick and choose targets of opportunity over a drone’s multi-hour flight duration.”
4. The Gog/Magog War
Russia-Iran Missile Deal Major Threat To Middle East
Middle East regional instability is set to worsen after Russia's lifting of its ban on the delivery of the advanced S-300 air defense missile system to Iran.
Russia's decision on April 13 to lift the ban is a highly dangerous development, which might well further destabilize the Middle East, and has serious potential to spark new conflicts.
The S-300 is one of the world's most advanced surface-to-air missile defense systems. Designed as a truck-mounted air defense battery, it can also be used as an offensive weapon, thanks to its long range and ability to track and strike many planes simultaneously.
If Russia follows through on its pledge to deliver the S-300 to Iran, the Iranians could then smuggle these sophisticated weapons into Syria, and from there, use a cross-border network to move the missiles on to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
From Lebanon, the S-300 missiles, which have a range of 125 miles, would not only pose a threat to vital Israel Air Force activity, but could also be used by Hezbollah to target civilian air traffic over Israel, triggering a devastating Israeli response.
In addition, Iran can be expected to try to smuggle the system to the Syrian Assad regime, as it has done with so many other types of weapons. Damascus, too, would in all likelihood use the S-300 to threaten Israeli aircraft over northern Israel.
Both the Assad regime and Hezbollah might also use the S-300 to try to challenge vital missions flown by the Israel Air Force, such as intelligence-gathering flights that help Israel keep an eye on the perpetual, threatening -- also Iranian-backed -- developments to its north.
It is reasonable to assume, however, that the Israel Air Force has already developed ways to overcome such threats.
The impact that Russian S-300 missiles will have in the region is far wider than just on Israel and its neighbors. Iran will doubtless be tempted to smuggle S-300 batteries, together with Iranian technicians and operators, to its Houthi clients in Yemen. The Shi'ite Houthis, also proxies of Iran, are currently unable to shoot down Saudi fighter jets engaged in an air campaign to stop the Shi'ite forces from taking over all of Yemen. Receiving the Russian-made surface-to-air missiles would change that.
Most critically, Iran can use the system to harden air defenses around its multiple nuclear sites, making any potential future air attack significantly more difficult.
Enhancing defenses around Iran's nuclear program has implications for global security as a whole, by making it easier for Iran to present its threshold nuclear status as an almost invulnerable established fact. This in turn would weaken the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, allow Iran confidently to continue exporting arms and terrorism across the Middle East, and allow Iran to build ballistic missiles that would place all of the Middle East, and large areas of Europe, in their range. If deployed on Iranian ships or submarines, Iranian ballistic missiles have the potential to reach even farther.
For the past five years, Russia has refrained from sending the S-300 system to Iran, due to Israeli and American pressure, as well as the biting sanctions that have been in place against the Islamic Republic.
Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, explaining that regional stability was at stake, lobbied Moscow intensively in 2010 to cancel a 2007 deal to supply the system to Iran. Russia, after sending mixed signals, eventually cancelled the deal.
Now, with a "framework" deal on Iran's nuclear program in place, and with the P5+1 countries working with Iran on a finalized deal by the end of June, Russia is keen to capitalize on lifting sanctions to resume business with Iran. China has also just agreed to build nuclear plants for Iran. Their decision looks like a sign of things to come.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is already active throughout the entire Middle East; it has been supplying Iranian proxies with more arms, training, and funds. This forward positioning, in turn, gives Iran the ability to remotely spark conflicts and destabilize the region.
As Russia's and China's decisions illustrate, lifting sanctions on Iran will only boost the IRGC's efforts to spread Iran's increasingly destructive influence.
7. Increase in Knowledge/New Technologies
Could Every Israeli Soon Be Obligated To Get A Biometric ID?
Israel is one step closer to a national biometric identification system Monday, after outgoing Interior Minister Gilad Erdan announced that he would be advancing legislation to make a nationwide - and mandatory - switch to the system.
The Biometric Database Law mandating collection of fingerprints and facial contours from all Israeli residents - and integrated in domestic ID cards and national passports - was actually passed by the Knesset in December 2009.
The same law mandated creation of a biometric government database of that information, to be used for management of access control, identification of individuals and to assist in locating individuals suspected of criminal activity by the law enforcement officials.
The law was passed in part to prevent identity theft and the loss, theft and destruction of the flimsy blue ID cards issued by the Interior Ministry, which had spiraled out of control in the decade prior to 2007. It was later revealed that more than half of those requesting new documents had a criminal background.
Erdan submitted a report to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and to the Knesset Chairman emphasizing the importance of finally implementing the system and adding that the switchover would be gradual.
"Smart biometric records that cannot be faked [...] will lead to the full protection of the identity of Israeli citizens," Erdan said, according to Channel 10. "It will provide a balance between our duty to ensure the security of citizens and our duty to protect their privacy. We will promote a gradual transition to mandatory biometric documentation."
Since the first phase offering a switch to biometric identification on a volunteer basis was implemented in June 2013, some 640,000 people have entered the biometric database, he added.
In A Cameras-Everywhere Culture, Science Fiction Becomes Reality
Science fiction writer David Brin calls it "a tsunami of lights" — a future where tiny cameras are everywhere, lighting up everything we do, and even predicting what we'll do next.
Unlike George Orwell's novel "1984," where only Big Brother controlled the cameras, in 2015, cheap, mobile technology has turned everyone into a watcher.
A snowboarder with a GoPro can post a YouTube video of a friend's 540-degree McTwist in the halfpipe. But also — as happened recently — a Penn State fraternity can upload Facebook photos of partially naked, sleeping college women.
A San Jose homeowner cowers behind a locked door while she watches an intruder stroll through her home on a surveillance video. A man launches a drone to spy on his neighbor tanning by her pool. Pet owners monitor their dogs.
With each technological advance, more of our lives — from the humdrum to the hyper-dramatic — is being caught on camera.
That includes the police, whose actions can be recorded by anyone with a camera phone. In South Carolina, a cellphone video released last week showed a police officer firing eight shots at a fleeing man's back. In San Bernardino County, news choppers captured footage of deputies punching and kicking a man as he lay face-down on the ground with his hands behind his back.
"Painting a picture that cameras are everywhere and anywhere is pretty provocative," said Ryan Martin, a technology analyst at 451 Research, but it can also present opportunities to increase accountability and improve safety.
There are 245 million surveillance cameras installed worldwide, according to research firm IHS, and the number increases by 15% a year.
Surveillance technologies are evolving in fascinating ways. Google researchers are developing a camera small enough to fit on a contact lens.
That may be years off, but other cutting-edge ideas are hitting the market now.
ParaShoot is selling a $199 HD camera that's light enough to wear on a necklace or stick to a wall or car dashboard. "Never miss the meaningful moments again," the company touts.
Another company, Bounce Imaging, is manufacturing a throwable camera shaped like a ball, with police departments as the target customer. The omni-directional cameras can literally take pictures on the fly and instantly transmit pictures to a smartphone.
"You can throw a security camera into it and as it flies through the air it's taking pictures," said Bounce chief executive Francisco Aguilar. It's like "a bunch of security cameras facing all directions in the room."
It's the size of a softball, but the company is working on shrinking it to golf-ball dimensions. The ball can also be mounted inconspicuously atop a pole for 360-degree surveillance.
A company called Axiom is making body cameras for police. In the near future, says general manager Marcus Womack,videos could be instantly uploaded to the Internet over Wi-Fi or cellular networks for live streaming.
The camera is the easy part, he said. "It's dependent on mobile networks being able to support the streaming media."
As surveillance spreads, huge volumes of video data are growing beyond the ability of humans to sift through it all. Technologists are turning to artificial intelligence to take over the grunt work.
"We have systems that are capable of doing a lot of thinking based on images," said Manuela Veloso, computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. Programs could comb through vast databases at lightning speed, or even work in real time using algorithms that are "on the lookout for specific events … a person falling, people running."
Programs can already track balls, pick out landmarks and recognize when two machines collide, Veloso said. The next steps are training computers to recognize more specific anomalies.
The U.S. Department of Defense is developing video-monitoring technology called Mind's Eye to predict crime before it happens, not unlike the 2002 movie "Minority Report," starring Tom Cruise.
China is using face-recognition technology to identify dissidents as part of its Gold Shield Internet monitoring and censorship program.
It's not just governments that are collecting rich stores of data. Facebook uses face-recognition technology to identify users' friends in photos.
"Evolutionarily, we're primed for it," said Kevin Kelly, author of the book "What Technology Wants." "For most of human history, we've been covering each other. It's only in recent history we've developed a heightened sense of privacy."
But, he adds, social norms guided behavior in the less-private past. Norms for the cameras-everywhere era haven't been developed — nor are there well-thought-out legal structures that would keep inevitable abuse in check.
"It has to be symmetrical," Kelly said. "In the sense that when someone is watching you, you have to be able to watch them too. Who is watching? Who is being held accountable?"
Brin, the sci-fi author, shares Kelly's concerns. In 1989, the police in his prescient novel "Earth" were required to wear cameras, while citizens wore cameras on their shoulders, to keep each other honest. His 1993 nonfiction book, "The Transparent Society," presaged the tensions of a cameras-everywhere culture.
He offers the same advice now as he did then: Individuals under surveillance need to know what the government is collecting and why; they need to be able to watch back. "We should be focusing on systems of super-accountability," he said. "What they see doesn't matter. It's what they can do to us because there's no way to verify what they know and don't know."
One example: recent court decisions upholding the right of people to record their encounters with law enforcement.
People like Kelly and Brin have no fundamental problem with any of it, partly because people need protection against bad guys, partly because they know the technology is impossible to stop.
But people are so enthralled by what Brin calls "weapons of mass distraction" — their devices, their social networks, their cool apps, their video delights — that they won't do their part to maintain information symmetry.
For those who are creeped out by a cameras-everywhere society, Brin noted that Gutenberg's movable type and Galileo's telescopes provoked great anxiety in their time.
"Every generation," he said, "has been challenged by augmentations of vision, memory and power."
8. Christian Worldview/Issues
Jihad-Minded Muslims Setting Christian Children On Fire In Pakistan
Brutal persecution is putting Pakistan back in the headlines. At least two Pakistani Christians in Lahore were recently targeted by Muslims.
"If they identified themselves as Christians, they were attacked," reports Bruce Allen of Forgotten Missionaries International (FMI).
On Friday, while on their way to the mosque, two Muslims stopped 14-year-old *Fodor in the streets and asked him what religion he followed.
When Fodor said he was a Christian, "They pursued him on their motorbikes; they threw kerosene on him and then lit him [on] fire," Allen says.
"He was burned over 55 percent of his body."
FMI supports national church planters and pastors as they carry the gospel to their countrymen. The ministry's National Director for Pakistan, *Nehemiah, informed Allen of this attack shortly after it happened.
A few hours later, when Allen was passing the news along to FMI-supporters via email, Nehemiah called again: Another Christian boy had been set on fire.
"We were wondering if we were going to be seeing a spate of these [attacks] over the weekend," recalls Allen. "So I quickly alerted Mission Network News and said, 'Can you help us get the word out to be praying for God to protect these people, who are not denying His name?'"
A prayer request went up on MNN's Facebook page, and prayer warriors responded.
"We are so grateful for the thousands of prayers that were offered, and over the weekend, those attacks have abated," Allen reports.
That doesn't mean Pakistani Christians aren't safe, though.
No connections have been made between last month's Youhanabad attacks and the recent burnings. But, Allen says, the attacks DO point to a rising trend.
"There has been a swelling of anti-Christian sentiment in recent weeks, especially in Lahore," he states."As you watch in society and you see pamphlets endorsing terrorism, you see threats against Christian schools, you see bombings against the churches: it's just growing there, absolutely."
Pakistani Christians can't turn to the government for help; They're part of the problem. Over the weekend, Nehemiah updated Allen about one of the Christian men kidnapped by police following last month's riots.
"He just died on Saturday due to the torture his body received in the days since his arrest," shares Allen. "The beatings were severe enough that it caused him to die."
Although the Youhanabad mastermind has been arrested and confessed that the riots were pre-planned, dozens of Christians are still being held captive.
Global Survey Ranks Most And Least Religious Countries In The World
A global survey by WIN/Gallup International has ranked the most and least religious countries in the world, with the U.K. ranking among the least. In the United States, only 56 percent of the respondents said that they are religious.
Jean-Marc Leger of WIN/Gallup claimed, however, that religious affiliation continues to hold strong numbers on a worldwide scale.
"Religion continues to dominate our everyday lives and we see that the total number of people who consider themselves to be religious is actually relatively high," Leger said, according to The Telegraph.
"Furthermore, with the trend of an increasingly religious youth globally, we can assume that the number of people who consider themselves religious will only continue to increase."
The survey queried nearly 64,000 people from 65 countries about their beliefs, giving them the option of describing themselves as "a religious person," "not a religious person," "a convicted atheist," or "do not know."
The U.K. joined countries such as Czech Republic, Sweden, Japan and China on the least religious list, with only 30 percent of Britons describing themselves as religious — while 53 percent said that they are not religious, and 13 percent said that they are atheists.
Morocco, Georgia, Bangladesh, Armenia, and Thailand made up the list of countries where people most often described themselves as religious.
From the worldwide total, 63 percent of of the people who answered the survey said they were religious; 22 percent said they were not religious; 11 percent identified as convicted atheists, and 4 percent did not give an answer.
In the U.S., 56 percent of respondents claimed that they are religious, compared to 33 percent who said they were not, and 6 percent who chose to identify as atheists.
Another global study on religion released by Pew Research Center earlier this month found somewhat different statistics, though also worded its questions differently. It found that the total number of religiously unaffiliated people in the world is 16 percent, and projected that by 2050 that share will fall down to 13 percent. The study also reported that more than three-quarters of the American population describes themselves as Christian, though that share was predicted to go down to two-thirds by 2050.
Among the other statistics presented by WIN/Gallup International, Africa was found to be the continent with the highest number of religious people, at 86 percent of the population. Western Europe and Oceania on the other hand reported the lest religious populations.
Wealthier people were also found to be less religious than poorer ones, with those in the "medium high" and "high" income brackets reporting less religious belief than those in "medium," "medium low," and "low."
Those numbers somewhat correlated with the education levels, however, as people without an education and those who had only completed primary school were found to be more religious than those with higher educations.
Christian Churches ‘Must Be Made’ To Affirm Homosexuality, Says New York Times Columnist
A New York Times columnist and a corporate leader have agreed that Christian churches “must” be convinced, or coerced, to change their teachings on sexual morality and abandon an “ossified” doctrinal teaching that sex outside heterosexual marriage is immoral.
Frank Bruni wrote that traditional Christianity – whether among evangelicals, Catholics, or Orthodox – provides the greatest resistance to normalizing homosexuality in the United States in a recent column in the New York Times.
“Homosexuality and Christianity don’t have to be in conflict in any church anywhere,” Bruni insisted. “The continued view of gays, lesbians and bisexuals as sinners is a decision. It’s a choice. It prioritizes scattered passages of ancient texts over all that has been learned since — as if time had stood still, as if the advances of science and knowledge meant nothing.”
Bruni quoted furniture tycoon Mitchell Gold, who has used his millions to found a liberal pressure group Faith in America, writing that Gold believes Christian churches “must be made 'to take homosexuality off the sin list.'”
“His commandment is worthy — and warranted,” Bruni added.
The column sparked outrage at the notion that a successful businessman and an op-ed writer could induce the Christian Church to ignore a 2,000-year-old dogma.
Noting Bruni's column at The American Conservative, Rod Dreher wrote that he would find a conservative columnist lecturing liberal denominations that they “must” change their moral theology equally “appalling” as an act of imposition.
“But of course nobody on that side seems to have the slightest doubt about their cause, their motives, or their methods. None,” he wrote. “In a holy war, there is no room for doubt.”
A number of mainline Protestant churches have, in effect, taken Gold's advice, condoning – if not celebrating – homosexuality and allowing sexually active homosexuals to be ordained as pastors.
The Episcopal Church saw its membership decline by half-a-million people between 2002 and 2012. After changing its views of homosexuals, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) lost more than 600,000 people – in excess of 12 percent of its total members – in just three years. The first mainline church to allow for homosexual ordination, the United Church of Christ (UCC), lost 350 congregations within three years of its 2004 decision.
But even refraining from calling same-sex relations a sin – or, in the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “intrinsically disordered” – is not enough for the modern LGBT movement.
“The LGBT militants are not asking to be left alone,” said former Reagan administration adviser Pat Buchanan, a co-founder of The American Conservative. “They are demanding that we accept the morality of homosexuality and same-sex marriages, and manifest that acceptance, under pain of law and sanctions, in our daily lives.”
Buchanan said during an interview with WND.com that orthodox Christian churches must have one response to demands that they alter their teachings to fit the modern zeitgeist: “The answer is no. If it comes to civil disobedience, so be it.”
Buchanan's statement came as a number of prominent evangelical Christian leaders have called for open acts of nonviolent resistance if the Supreme Court forces states to accept homosexual “marriages” this summer.
9. Other Events To Watch
ONI Reveals Massive Chinese Naval Buildup
China has deployed a new high-speed anti-ship cruise missile and is sharply expanding an armada of advanced guided-missile warships and submarines, according to a naval intelligence report made public Thursday.
The Office of Naval Intelligence, in its first unclassified assessment of the Chinese navy in six years, revealed deployment of the new YJ-18 supersonic anti-ship cruise missile on warships and submarines that analysts say poses a major threat to U.S. and allied vessels.
China’s current naval force of 300 surface ships, submarines, amphibious ships, and missile-armed patrol craft is rapidly expanding, the report says.
According to the report, China began building or launched more than 60 naval ships and vessels last year, and a similar number of warships are under construction or deployed for 2015.
“Major qualitative improvements are occurring within naval aviation and the submarine force, which are increasingly capable of striking targets hundreds of miles from the Chinese mainland,” the report said, adding that despite some shortfalls, “it is emerging as a well equipped and competent force.”
The key focus of the Chinese navy is anti-surface ship warfare through deployment of large numbers of advanced destroyers, frigates, and submarines, supported by long-range range over the horizon radar.
The new YJ-18 cruise missile is deployed on the newest class of destroyer called the Luyang III, and on diesel attack submarines known as the Song/Yuan class, and nuclear-powered Shang-class attack submarines.
Andrew Erickson, a Naval War College professor, said the YJ-18 poses a significant threat.
“This supersonic missile could be extremely difficult for U.S. and allied ships to defend against,” Erickson said.
The YJ-18 reportedly has a maximum range of 111 miles at a speed of Mach .08 and a higher speed range of 24 miles. The new missile is more capable and has a longer range than the current anti-ship cruise missile arsenal.
Additionally, the report reveals that China’s coast guard now has more ships and vessels than the combined coast guard forces of countries in the region.
It was the first time the U.S. government has acknowledged China’s deployment of the supersonic missile, which appears based on the Russian SSN-27/Klub cruise missile.
The report also says deployment of DF-21D long-range anti-ship ballistic missiles will expand the attack range of the Chinese military “further into the Philippine and South China Seas.”
The report notes China is using its newly expanded naval power in maritime disputes throughout the region, including the Bohai Sea, Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and South China Sea.
“Against this back drop of increasing military capability, China’s leaders appear increasingly willing to assert China’s maritime claims, even when such actions risk exacerbating tension with China’s neighbors,” the report said.
China has clashed with Vietnam, Philippines, and Japan over maritime claims to islands in the South China and East China Seas.
Further escalating tensions, the Chinese have reclaimed “hundreds of acres” of land last year as part of a buildup of naval and maritime law enforcement operations in the South China Sea’s Spratly islands.
“Together with cutting-edge Second Artillery Force [missile] developments and South China Sea island building, this raises a serious risk for the U.S. and its allies,” Erickson said.
“If China envelops a disputed feature such as Second Thomas Shoal in a ‘Cabbage Strategy’ with nonmilitary Chinese personnel facing foreign forces—backed by some of the world’s most potent ballistic and cruise missiles—how will America respond? Washington needs an answer soon, or it will risk major erosion of its interests and those of its allies.”
China’s submarine force also has expanded rapidly. Currently, China has deployed 59 diesel submarines and nine nuclear power submarines, and ONI estimates the numbers will increase to 63 and 11 respectively by 2020.
“China’s newest indigenous submarine-launched [anti-ship cruise missile], the YJ-18, extends a similar capability to the SONG, YUAN, and SHANG classes,” the report said. “Previously, China’s only indigenous sub-launched ASCM was the YJ-82, which has a much shorter range.”
The report also reveals that China has now deployed four Jin-class nuclear missile submarines that are expected to begin operational deployments this year.
Adm. William Gortney, commander of the U.S. Northern Command, said earlier this week that China’s has three missile submarines in the water that are a “concern.”
The sea deployments of the submarines, armed with JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles, “will mark China’s first credible at-sea second-strike nuclear capability,” the report said.
“The JIN-class nuclear ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) is poised to begin strategic patrols in the near future, for the first time, putting Chinese intercontinental range ballistic missiles to sea,” the report said.
“At the same time, with the commissioning of the Kuznetsov-class aircraft carrier Liaoning China has taken the first step as a carrier-capable navy.”
The report contradicts a key theme of U.S. intelligence analysts for the past 15 years, namely that China’s military was defensive and focused mainly on preparing for a conflict with Taiwan.
The new report says China’s naval buildup is for operations far beyond Chinese shores, including sea-lane security and other power projection.
“Over the long term, Beijing aspires to sustain naval missions far from China’s shores,” the ONI report said.
Among the naval operations showing the expanded reach were the Chinese navy’s combat training in the Philippine Sea, training missions in the Mediterranean, and increased intelligence ship deployments in the western Pacific. Last year, for the first time a Chinese submarine was deployed to Indian Ocean.
Rick Fisher, a Chinese military affairs expert, said the YJ-18 is also likely to be deployed in land-based and aircraft-launched versions.
“This is a quite informative but fair assessment of the current and near term prospects for China’s naval power,” Fisher said of the report, noting that ONI provides more details than congressionally mandated Pentagon reports on the Chinese military.
“Its identification of the Navy [Communist] Party Standing Committee is a significant contribution to our understanding of the PLA,” he said.
The committee is the Party organ that makes decisions for the navy and the report notes that China’s military is a “party army” not a traditional national defense force as other nations have.
“This is a crucial point,” Fisher said. “It means that 35 years of effort by successive U.S. administrations to engage the PLA has been to a major degree misdirected. There must now be a major push by all U.S. agencies charged with ‘engaging; China to focus on the Party.”
Other key disclosures in the report include:
- The NATO code name for China’s J-10 fighter, the “Firebird”
- China’s navy will likely emerge as “one of China’s most prolific [unmanned aerial vehicle] users”
- The Chinese navy has 50,000 mines
- China will likely conduct warship deployment to the central and eastern Pacific in the next five years.
- The PLA Navy made “sporadic” progress as integrated joint-war fighting capabilities
- The report concludes that China’s naval build up of aircraft carriers, ballistic missile submarines, and potentially large-deck amphibious ships is altering how the PLA navy operates and “is viewed by the world.”
“Here, ONI is suggesting what to some non-government analysts is obvious: China is building its naval forces for eventual global power projection,” Fisher said.
“ONI is now suggesting, as others have already, that China could soon be projecting naval power in the same manner as the U.S. Navy,” he said. “The Washington policy community has not yet started to understand, much less respond to this level of strategic challenge.”