Saturday, January 17, 2015

U.S. Doesn't Know Who 'Moderate' Rebel Trainees Will Shoot; Greg Laurie: God's Message To Mockers

It is interesting that Greg Laurie choose to dissect Daniel 5 and the message contained in this fascinating chapter of the book of Daniel. This one has been on my mind lately for the same reasons as stated by Mr Laurie:

Although it’s true that God is unbelievably patient and longsuffering toward us, there comes a moment when enough is enough, when the hammer drops, when the line is drawn, when the judgment is made.
Belshazzar was a man who thought he could openly and continually defy – and even mock – God and not pay a price. He was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, who was the most powerful man on earth in his day. There was no individual more famous and more wealthy than Nebuchadnezzar. He had everything going for him.

God had sent the prophet Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, telling him that he needed to get his life right with God. But Nebuchadnezzar disregarded that and went on his way, doing what he wanted to do. So God’s judgment came upon him. But during that time of judgment, Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses and then used his considerable position as the king to send out a decree telling all the subjects in his realm that he was now a believer in the true God.

About a year later, Nebuchadnezzar died, and sometime afterward, his descendant Belshazzar was ruling in his place. I believe that Belshazzar had been taught the things of God because the prophet Daniel said to him, “But you, Belshazzar … have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this” (Daniel 5:22 NIV, emphasis added). Belshazzar had heard about God. He had heard what was true. But he went out of his way to defy those standards.

The Bible warns, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7–8 NIV).

Although Belshazzar’s grandfather was a great believer, Belshazzar had no interest in God and no interest in spiritual truth. He was young. He was powerful. He was the king – and no one was going to tell him how to live.
But one night Belshazzar not only went out of his way to mock God, but apparently challenged the living God to a fight.
It wasn’t enough that he and his nobles were drunk. It wasn’t enough that his wives and concubines had been brought in. But he said, in effect, “I have an idea. Let’s go and get those cups that the Jews used in their celebration and worship of God. Let’s fill them with wine and then toast our false gods. That would really be fun.” So they brought in these vessels and began to mock God.
What a fool this young king was, because outside the walls of Babylon at that very moment were King Cyrus of Persia and his military forces.
Now, Babylon was an incredible city, surrounded by 87-foot-thick walls that stood 350 feet high, with 250 watchtowers. The walls were large enough for six chariots to ride abreast around the circumference of the city. Surrounded by those massive walls with all of those watchtowers and all of the military at his beck and call, Belshazzar must have felt safe.
Ironically, according to a historical account, his father was out on the battlefield facing off with Cyrus and his forces. You would think that Belshazzar would have been assisting his father. You would think that he would have been doing what he could to hold the city. But instead, he basically said, “Who cares about Dad out there on the battlefield? Let’s party!”
Adding to this is another interesting fact. God’s prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah had specifically foretold the destruction of Babylon. Yet Belshazzar was oblivious to it all.

Belshazzar wasn’t satisfied to just sin. He had to really sin. He had to push it as far as he could until he saw the handwriting on the wall. And because Belshazzar couldn’t read the handwriting, the prophet Daniel was called in to interpret it for him. He recounted to Belshazzar the dramatic story of his grandfather’s conversion. But then he said, “You are his successor, O Belshazzar, and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself. For you have proudly defied the Lord of heaven and have had these cups from his Temple brought before you. You and your nobles and your wives and concubines have been drinking wine from them while praising gods of silver, gold, bronze, iron, wood, and stone – gods that neither see nor hear nor know anything at all. But you have not honored the God who gives you the breath of life and controls your destiny!” (Daniel 5:22–23 NLT)

What a statement. How gutsy. How bold. Belshazzar knew better. Daniel was saying, “You knew this, and you sinned in spite of that fact. Here is what your real sin is: God gave you the very breath you are drawing right now, but you have not glorified him.”

The Bible concludes the story of Belshazzar with this: “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two” (verses 30–31 NIV).
The modern world has its own Belshazzars who mock God, laugh at his standards, and rebel against him – and they die bitter deaths after lonely lives. And then there are those who wise up, and instead of fighting with God, they realize that he loves them. Instead of running from God, they run to Him.
Those who mock God, those who make a joke out of these things and laugh at Christians and their beliefs should know this: God is not mocked. Many people have tried. And like Belshazzar, they have failed.
There is a last night for everyone … a last meal … a last statement … a last breath – and then eternity.

 The Pentagon says it is mobilizing 400 U.S. military trainers and an almost equal number of “enablers” to train Syrian opposition forces to fight the jihadist army ISIS.

But U.S. officials can’t guarantee the forces won’t use that training to attack the Syrian military, even though the Obama administration contends its goal isn’t to topple the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In response to questions from WND at a press conference, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby acknowledged he could not ensure that the trained Syrian opposition fighters will be used only to attack ISIS.
He reiterated a prior background Pentagon briefing in which he said the goal is to “build the capabilities of the moderate Syrian fighters to defend the Syrian people, stabilize areas under opposition control, promote the conditions for a negotiated settlement of the conflict in Syria, and empower trainees to go” on the offensive against ISIS.
Such uncertainty has raised the prospect that the Obama administration quietly has reversed its position and will seek to topple Assad.
Underscoring the uncertainty is the fact that Turkey is one of three countries that has agreed to host training of Syrian opposition forces, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

In addition to hosting a portion of the training over a period of a year, Turkey also will provide trainers, as will other Arab countries in the region.
The government of Sunni Islamic Turkey has made it clear, however, that its first priority is to topple the government of Assad – who is Alawite, an offshoot of Shia Islam – not fight ISIS.
In addition, Turkey has made it clear that any fighters trained in the country will not be barred from fighting Syrian government forces.
Last October, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that Washington back a ground war aimed at overthrowing Assad.
In addition, Turkey continues to be a conduit for laundering money and providing fighters for ISIS.

Around 3,000 people in Turkey are believed to be linked to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, a Turkish intelligence report said on Saturday, warning of possible attacks by extremists.The report called for enhanced surveillance of the 3,000 people, including identifying their rank within the extremist group or whether they were active within it, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Saturday.

A “red alert” had also been sent to security units warning of possible attacks on the embassies of Western countries by IS jihadists following last week’s deadly Islamist attacks in France, the report said.

Security at the diplomatic missions had been increased to the maximum level, the report said, adding that NATO facilities and Western nationals were also potential targets.
And it warned of possible bomb attacks “anywhere and anytime” in Turkey by “sleeper cells.”

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Thursday said up to 700 Turkish nationals had joined the IS.
He added that Turkey had barred entry to around 7,250 people from abroad who were planning to join IS and said 1,160 would-be jihadists were also deported.
Turkey has long been accused of not doing enough to stem the flow of jihadists seeking to join the IS group which has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

Belgium ordered its army into the streets and anti-terror raids across Western Europe netted dozens of suspects Friday as authorities rushed to thwart more attacks by people with links to Mideast Islamic extremists.
As anxiety soared in the wake of last week’s bloody spree in and around Paris, the broad scope of the police actions illustrated the challenges facing a continent threatened by Islamic militancy far from the battlefields of Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
Rob Wainwright, head of the police agency Europol, told The Associated Press that foiling such attacks by returning jihadists had become “extremely difficult” because Europe’s estimated 2,500 to 5,000 radicalized Muslim extremists have little command structure and are increasingly sophisticated.
The seizures followed a vast anti-terrorism sweep on Thursday in and around Brussels and the eastern industrial city of Verviers in which two suspects were killed in a firefight and a third wounded as police closed in on their hideout. Authorities said the overnight operation netted several returnees from Syria.
The dead Belgian suspects were named as Redouane Hagaoui, 22, also known as Abu Khalid Al Maghribi, and Tarik Jadaoun, or Abu Hamza Belgiki.
Federal magistrate Eric Van der Sypt said Friday the suspects were within hours of implementing a plan to kill police. He said authorities were reasonably confident they had dismantled the core of a dangerous terrorist cell but more suspects could be at large.

Europe is in a state of high alert after anti-terror raids netted over two dozen arrests. UK police have raised threat level to ‘severe’ fearing attacks similar to the one narrowly averted in Belgium, while Brussels has deployed troops to guard key sites.
The security beef-up in Britain to the second-highest level of five comes after a Thursday raid on an extremist cell in Belgium revealed an imminent plan to attack police officers. British authorities say a similar attack may be in preparation in UK, the British media reported.
The authorities want to arm patrollers with additional Tazer guns, which incapacitate the target with a powerful electric shock. Unlike officers in continental Europe, their British colleagues mostly go unarmed. Amid the escalated terror tension in Europe, there are fears of a repetition of the knifing of soldier Lee Rigby in May 2013 in Woolwich, south London, by a jihadist loner.

British police also ramped up patrol in Jewish communities due to concerns of anti-Semitic attacks. One of the attacks in Paris last week, which triggered the ongoing anti-terrorism response in Europe, targeted a kosher supermarket.

Meanwhile Belgium on Saturday began deploying soldiers to patrol the streets. Up to 300 troops may be expected in the capital Brussels and in the northern city of Anvers, which has a large Jewish population.
In addition to Jewish neighborhoods the soldiers may be required to protect certain embassies, Defense Minister Steven Vandeput told in an interview with VRT network.
Further deployment in Verviers, where two suspects were killed on Friday in a raid, is under consideration. It is the first time in 30 years that Belgian authorities have used the military to reinforce police in cities.
And in Germany security forces are investigating threats to attack train station in Berlin and Dresden and the weekly anti-immigrant rallies in Dresden, according to Der Spiegel.
"We are taking these threats very seriously," an unnamed senior security source was quoted by the magazine as saying.
Germany was among the nations, where massive raids on Friday in the wake of the Belgium’s thwarted attack led to arrests. Two males in their early 40s were taken into custody while there others were released after questioning.

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