Monday, May 31, 2010

Perpetuating Lies: The Flotilla Story (UPDATED)

Any of us could have seen this whole scenario coming a mile away. As the "humanitarian" flotilla approached the Israeli blockade, it seemed obvious because the terrorists follow the same patterns over and over and the main-stream-media (MSM) takes the ball and runs with it every time.

First, lets look at the facts:

1. The flotilla consisted of Israel's enemies and was obviously intended as a publicity ploy (it worked).
2. Israel offered to inspect the contents aboard the ships and then transport any "aid" into Gaza.
3. Israel gave the flotilla hours to either stop or peacefully follow their ships into port. The flotilla refused both options.
3. Israel boarded the ships with a small number of soldiers and attempted to disperse the crowd which was, in reality a lynch
mob armed with knives, pipes and at least two guns (one report stated that the guns were taken from the soldiers), and
began firing on the soldiers.
4. Israeli soldiers ended up having to defend themselves and in the process, 15 deaths ensued.

Those are the facts. What amazes me, is the fact that the organizers of the flotilla knew exactly how this sequence of events would play out and were perfectly willing to sacrifice lives in the effort to gin up favorable media reports. The lack of consideration to human life is unthinkable, but we see it every day.

For years the terrorist groups have been willing to sacrifice innocent families as they launched missiles from civilian areas knowing that Israel retaliation would end up harming innocent lives, but apparently its worth the loss of lives to receive MSM-favorable news reports.

Predictably, the media will immediately jump on board and give the terrorists what they want. Already being called a "massacre", the portrayal by the MSM is that Israel "attacked" these innocent people, on an innocent mission to supply "humanitarian aid" (although interestingly there was no consideration to Israeli soldiers held hostage by Hamas, but I digress), and murdered these innocent people on the ships.

The whole story is painfully predictable. And that's what is so maddeningly frustrating about these episodes. The terrorists set up these scenarios - knowing exactly what will happen - they then sacrifice lives - and blame Israel. Then the MSM - in lockstep - falls in line and reports lies fed to them for the political purposes of Israel's enemies. Here we go again:

"Flotilla organizers to blame for 15 dead activists"

Defense minister says soldiers tried to disperse Gaza protesters peacefully; deputy FM makes first official Israeli response on IDF raid; PM updated in Canada.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a press conference on Monday that while he was sorry for lives lost, the organizers of the Gaza-bound protest flotilla were solely responsible for the outcome of the fatal IDF raid earlier in the day. Fifteen activists were killed and dozens wounded in the violent clashes.

Barak said that the soldiers tried to disperse the activists aboard the ship peacefully but were forced to open fire to protect themselves.

He called the flotilla a provocation, specifically called the IHH, an Islamic aid organization, "extremist supporters of terror."

Speaking at a Jerusalem press conference on Monday morning. "It was a premeditated and outrageous provocation" and its organizers had ties to global Jihad, al Qaida and Hamas, said Ayalon.

"Their intent was violent, their methods were violent and their results were unfortunately violent," Ayalon said.

"Israel regrets the loss of life and did everything it could to avoid this outcome," Ayalon stressed, adding that Israel had offered to transport the humanitarian cargo on board the ship to Gaza.

"The organizers on the ship did not heed the calls of our forces this morning to peacefully follow them and bring a peaceful closure to this event," said Ayalon, iterating that the successful arrival of the flotilla in Gaza would have created "a corridor of arms smuggling."

"Police on highest state of alert across country"

Israel Police and Prison Service raise state of alert following complication of naval raid on flotilla to Gaza. Police to block roads, prevent entrance to Temple Mount.

In addition, the Foreign Ministry urged all Israelis staying in Turkey or planning to travel to the country, to return to Israel or cancel their trip

.Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman will hold an emergency meeting on Monday morning at his office in Jerusalem. The Foreign Ministry plans to call on Israeli tourists in Turkey to return to Israel immediately.

Al Jazeera network reported that Turkey warned Israel of "unprecedented consequences." The network also reported a series of anti-Israel protests were taking place throughout the country. Protests were reported in front of the Israeli consulate in Istanbul and the Israeli embassy and the ambassador's house in Ankara.

The following article sadly reports the truth regarding the expected backlash - expected because we have seen this play out time and time again:

Analysis: Media defense washed away by flotilla"

In the end, after all, the flotilla is just another chapter in an int'l campaign to chip away at Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself.

Israel likely lost the battle over the flotilla of international aid ships on their way to the Gaza Strip even before the activists left their home countries and gathered in Cyprus late last week.

From a global media perspective, the story is pretty clear. Hundreds of international activists, some of them parliamentarians from Europe and Israel, are trying to bring thousands of tons of supplies to the Gaza Strip, and Israel is stopping them.

For the international media and its consumers, the reasons behind Israel’s decision do not make much of a difference, since what Israel is doing fits the way it is already widely perceived – as a violent aggressor abusing a weak and poor Palestinian people.

In its defense, Israel, this time, did not stand by idly as it was slammed throughout the world. It launched a diplomatic initiative aimed at explaining to the world why it planned to stop the ships.

First, it made the claim that the Gaza Strip was not suffering from a humanitarian crisis and that the thousands of tons in supplies that the ships were carrying were not really needed, since it was all already supplied to the Palestinians by Israel. The IDF went so far as to invite media down to the Kerem Shalom crossing to videotape the hundreds of trucks that transfer supplies daily from Israel to Gaza. At the same time, Israel offered to transfer the shipments on the boats to the Gaza Strip after they were unloaded at the Ashdod Port and inspected.

In addition to this effort, the long-standing claim was restated that if this flotilla were allowed to enter Gaza, it would open the door to unsupervised shipments that could contain not just flour, cement and medical supplies but also explosives, Kalashnikov rifles and Iranian-made, long-range Fajr-5 missiles.

Ok, enough about FACTS....Now we see the coming backlash:

In the end, though, none of this official Israeli counter-effort will really make a difference, since what will ultimately determine the impact of the flotilla saga will be the pictures and videotapes published and broadcast around the world.

All that is needed for the flotilla to “succeed” is a single picture of an Israeli soldier applying a headlock to an international activist. And no matter how hard Israel tries to block broadcasts from the ships, the pictures will get out. Facebook and Twitter are already full of snapshots, around-the-clock updates and even a live streaming video.

Let’s not fool ourselves. Even if Israel allowed these ships and all such ships to dock in Gaza City’s harbor, it would still be accused of laying siege to the Palestinians in the Strip since, albeit along with Egypt, it controls the land crossings.

In the end, after all, the flotilla is just another chapter in an international campaign to chip away at Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself.

And below we see the painfully predictable international "backlash" - a backlash that borders on "pavlovian", as the MSM takes the side of "AAI" (Anybody Against Israel) before any facts can emerge. But when it comes to Israel, we already know that facts are irrelevant.

"Strong int'l backlash to flotilla raid"

Turkey summoned the Israeli ambassador Monday to the foreign ministry to discuss the storming of the flotilla in the international waters off Gaza, which heightened tensions between Turkey and Israel to new levels.

"Israel has violated international law and will answer for the outcome of its actions," a spokesperson from the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

European Union Foreign Minister Catherine Ashton has called for an international inquiry into the clashes that took place between Israeli soldiers and international activists aboard Gaza-bound protest ships on Monday.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also spoke out on the events, condemning Israel and adding that he was shocked that the IDF would attack the ships, reported Army Radio.

Sweden, Greece and Jordan summoned their Israeli ambassadors to their respective capitals later on Monday to explain the loss of life in the IDF storming of the “Free Gaza” flotilla.

If the assault occurred in international waters, “there will be serious repercussions,”Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt stated.

"We were not expecting such an operation in international waters," Omer Faruk Korkmaz, an official of the pro-Islamic aid group, IHH, that led the aid shipment said in Turkey. "Israel has been caught redhanded and the international community will not forgive it."

Aside from facts vs lies, we have a more important perspective on this situation, prophetically. Questions that now arise:

- Will this event serve as the "triggering mechanism" for remaining events in the Middle East?
- What will be the response by neighboring terrorist groups?
- How will Turkey respond? Lebanon? Syria?

This may go nowhere - as stated above in one of the articles, perhaps this will simply be "just another chapter in an international campaign to chip away at Israel's legitimate right to defend itself".

One last thought. It is "interesting" to me that almost every day we receive reports of peaceful Christians being tortured and brutally murdered, simply for practicing their faith - and we get zero news stories. Zero coverage. No outrage, no public condemnation, no concern, no press.

It must be part of the age in which we are living. The truth is elusive and lies predominate.

Just more proof that although we are "in" this world, we are not "of" this world.



The videos are being released and they tell the story. The Israeli soldiers who were not allowed to even take their assault rifles, boarded these ships and were immediately attacked - in a vicious brutal manner. This was quite clearly self-defense. Not that the truth will matter to the MSM and the people who hate Israel -- but for those of us who care about the truth, it is found in these videos.

This link: "They came for war" further clarifies (including a video clip). This was indeed a lynch mob, who was well prepared for violence as soon as Israeli's entered the ship:

“They came for war,” was how one Israeli Navy commando described the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger boat where clashes erupted early Monday morning and ended with at least nine activists dead and dozens others, including eight IDF soldiers, injured.

“Operation Sea Breeze”, as it was called by the IDF, actually began several hours earlier at about 11 pm Sunday night as the Navy made its initial contact with the Mavi Marmara and the other five ships which were part of an international aid flotilla on its way to try and break the Israel-imposed sea blockade on Gaza.

After several hours of radio communications and warnings that the Mavi Marmara would be boarded if the captain did not change his ship’s course, at 4 am Monday, OC Navy Vice-Admiral Eliezer “Cheney” Marom, who had set up a command post on the INS Victory, gave the order to Flotilla 13 to board the ship.

The three Israeli Air Force Blackhawk Helicopters hovering nearby made their approach above the Mavi Marmara’s upper deck. Sitting on board, the naval commandos could just make out the few dozen activists gathered below. Carrying non-lethal weapons as well as pistols, the last thing the soldiers thought they would walk into was a well-planed lynch.

“As the 15 of us slid down the ropes, 30 of them were waiting for us on the deck,” one of the commandos later told reporters. “They charged us and threw a few of the soldiers off the deck to the floor below. We did not expect to find ourselves in such a situation.”

As the rope fell from the helicopter onto the Mavi Marmara’s deck, some of the Turkish activists grabbed it, tied it to an antenna likely hoping that it would bring down the helicopter. The Navy commandos decided to still go ahead with the operation and began sliding down onto the ship.

Armed with rifles that could shoot paintballs – which can hurt but not kill – the soldiers landed on the ship and immediately came under attack by dozens of activists armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. Activists grabbed soldiers and tried to hold them hostage, stripping them of their helmets and equipment.

One of the soldiers tried to protect a commando who was being lynched by a group of activists. They were instructed by the flotilla commander to refrain from using their sidearm unless their lives were at risk.

Soldiers feared for their lives, asked permission to open fire

The force threw several stun grenades but the violent attacks continued. Two soldiers were injured and some of the activists succeeded in stealing one of the soldier’s guns. Shots were fired and one of the soldiers fell to the ground unconscious. Fearing for their lives, the soldiers asked and received permission to open fire, first taking aim at the activists’ feet.

In one corner of the ship, the commandos saw a gun flash. They returned fire and started chasing the shooter but could not find him.

As the clashes intensified, additional commandos boarded the ship as well as members of the Border Police’s Yasam unit who are experts in riot control and crowd dispersion. After less than an hour, the ship was in Israeli hands. The price though was steep – eight soldiers were injured, several of them seriously and at least nine activists were killed.

The videos taken by the IDF were passed around throughout the defense establishment and made their way to other special forces, including the Israel Police’s elite counter-terror unit Yamam, which had fought to participate in the mission but had been left on the sidelines due to legal complications involving police operations out at sea.

“The soldiers acted with the utmost nobility,” said one police source close to the Yamam. “They engaged in hand-to-hand combat, sustained injuries, but only opened fire after one of them was lying on the ground unconscious and two others had been shot. This was an unbelievable demonstration of restraint.”

More video links here: Video: Flotilla Muslims Club Navy Commandos"

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Converging Events

It seems that every day, the prophecy-related news has a different focus. Yesterday's news was all about Hezbollah and Syria and weapons being stored and transferred in the region. Today, the focus shifts back to Iran.

One aspect that amazes me, over the past 12-18 months now, is how the various stories in the region seem to be converging - all at the same time.

We have been watching the Iranian nuclear "crisis" moving rapidly towards conclusion. Will Israel attack? What will happen if they do?

We have been watching the arms build up in the north, and the strengthening alliances of Syria-Lebanon-Hezbollah with an array of weapons being built up, including weapons of mass destruction.

We have been watching the alliances of "Gog-MaGog" strengthening daily, with Turkey the newest "member" of the club - a club which is destined to attack Israel.

We watch the attempts to divide Jerusalem increasing daily - an act which is strongly rebuked by God Himself in Zechariah 12.

We watch the world closing in around Israel, with rhetoric from the UN, the U.S., Russia and the EU threatening to shrink Israeli borders and the same nations threatening to create a Palestinian state by force.

And all of these events are converging rapidly.

Today's news seems focused on one such "converging events" - the build-up to war with Iran:

"Israeli subs with nukes in Gulf"

Israel is planning to permanently station a submarine carrying nuclear cruise missiles in the Persian Gulf, the Sunday Times reported on Sunday.
Israeli submarines have visited the Gulf before, but the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.

The paper claims that the government has decided to station at least one of three submarines armed with nuclear missiles permanently within striking distance of Iran in the Persian Gulf.

Interesting....Business as usual? Probably not:

According to the article the submarines are moving to the Persian Gulf in respone to the growing missile threat to Israel from Syria, Iran and Hizbullah.

"Israel Submarines Headed for Persian Gulf"

Israel has allegedly deployed a permanent submarine presence in the Persian Gulf to keep an eye on Iran, according to media reports published Sunday. The three German-built submarines are reportedly equipped with nuclear cruise missiles.

The force is intended primarily as a deterrent, however. “The 1,500 kilometer range of the submarines' cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” noted a navy officer quoted by British newspaper The Sunday Times.

The deployment was sent in response to the recent delivery of Iranian-produced ballistic missiles from Syria to Hizbullah terrorists in Lebanon and the opening of Syria to Hizbullah presence. The missiles have the capability of hitting air bases and other sensitive sites located deep in Israel, as far south as Tel Aviv and beyond.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly shared satellite imagery of the delivery of the missiles with U.S. President Barack Obama during his recent visit to the White House.

The London Times claimed satellite pictures show a Hizbullah base on Syrian soil which is a depot for arms to be delivered by Hizbullah truck fleet to Lebanon

"Israel stations nuclear missile subs off Iran"

Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.

The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.

Israel’s urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

It looks like the US is getting into the picture as well:

"Iranian Navy Detects U.S. Submarine in Persian Gulf"

An Iranian patrol on Thursday spotted the nuclear-armed submarine in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which allows the passage of 90 percent of the oil produced by Persian Gulf states to Asia, the US and Western Europe, press tv reported.

There are currently 48 logistic and 18 combat US vessels in the Persian Gulf waters, among them the USS-Eisenhower aircraft carrier.

In other news worth reporting, we see that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu comes out with the truth regarding the calls for a Nuclear "Non-Proliferation Treaty" in the Middle-East, which is a thinly veiled attempt to disarm Israel. This quote by President Netanyahu says it all (link here):

A statement released by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office at the weekend called the resolution "deeply flawed and hypocritical: It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world. It singles out Israel, the Middle East's only true democracy and the only country threatened with annihilation. Yet the terrorist regime in Iran, which is racing to develop nuclear weapons and which openly threatens to wipe Israel off the map, is not even mentioned in the resolution."

I wish that was the end of the story, but it is not. Sadly, we see the following:

Israel announced that since it is a non-signatory state, the NPT has no authority over it, and Jerusalem will not cooperate with the resolution's implementation. It noted that the problem is not with a state like Israel that never signed the treaty and more or may not be quietly in possession of nuclear weapons for self defense, but rather with a nation like Iran, which has signed the treaty, but flaunts it in order to openly threaten its enemies.

US President Barack Obama also criticized the focus on Israel at the NPT meeting and in the resolution, but nevertheless gave his stamp of approval to the document and the 2012 summit, which will ultimately work to force Israel to declare its nuclear arsenal and open its nuclear facilities to inspection.

Ha'aretz analyst Yossi Melman noted that the NPT meeting was only able to produce such a strong resolution because the Obama Administration had essentially betrayed Israel and its security. Melman noted that the same NPT signatories had tried to hold such a meeting in 2005, but were refused the cooperation of the Bush Administration. Without US involvement, the conference never happened.

But Obama, notes Melman, is far more interested in his own agenda, even at the cost of Israeli security. Obama knew the focus of the conference would be Israel, and that it's primary aim would be to strip the Jewish state of any nuclear weapons it may possess.

Once again, we see U.S. President Obama siding with Israel's enemies. Not only that, but actually facilitating efforts to undermine Israel's security, and, in turn, their viability as a nation. Again, as mentioned so many times before - we will see how that works out for the U.S.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

In the news...

It looks like things are continuing to heat up in the Middle East:

"IDF bombs targets in Gaza"

Air Force jets bombed weapons-production sites in the northern Gaza Strip overnight Friday, as well as a smuggling tunnel in the south.

Late Thursday night a Color Red siren was sounded throughout the city of Sderot, after a Qassam rocket was launched from the northern Gaza Strip.

Earlier on Thursday evening, the IDF foiled an attempted terror attack near the Gaza border fence, close to Kibbutz Nahal Oz, as Palestinians attempted to take advantage of the heavy fog in order to plant an explosive device near the fence.

Air Force aircraft opened fire at the suspects, and seven Palestinians were reportedly injured.

Lebanon fires on Israeli warplanes"

The Lebanese army fired anti-aircraft guns on Israeli warplanes Wednesday after what it said were repeated violations of Lebanese airspace, state media reported.
According to the National News Agency of Lebanon, the army opened fire after Israeli planes entered Lebanese airspace for a third time over a two-hour period in what would be a violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701.

"Rockets Fired at Sderot as Egypt Finds Seventeen Tunnels"

Sderot residents woke up early on Friday morning to the sound of rocket sirens as Gaza terrorists launched two projectiles at the city

On Thursday, terrorists fired a mortar shell at the Shaar Hanegev region. The day before, terrorists fired four rockets at Israeli towns near Gaza, but missed their targets, hitting open fields instead

Israel prepares to detain, Deport Gaza Flotilla Activists"

Israel is preparing to detain and deport hundreds of foreign activists who are making their way to Gaza by boat in a challenge to Israel's closure of the area. The IDF has set up tents for temporary shelter and plans to divert the boats to the Ashdod port, where buses will wait to take the activists to the airport for deportation.

Israeli officials said Thursday that they hope to avoid the use of force, but are prepared to bring the activists to jail if necessary.

While the flotilla organizers present themselves as human rights advocates whose sole goal is to assist the people of Gaza, a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center reveals the groups cooperation with radical human rights violators. Senior Islamic extremists, among them Mahmad Tzoalha and Sahar Albirawi, both top Hamas terrorists who today operate in Great Britain, and Hamam Said, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, attended the launching ceremony in Istanbul of a boat participating in the flotilla.

Activists say they are bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza. However, government spokesman Mark Regev said the flotilla is actually “a cheap political stunt.” If the activists were truly interested in the welfare of Gaza Arabs, they would have transferred aid via the land crossings, “along with the other 15 thousand tons sent every week,” he said.

Whatever aid is on the boats heading for Gaza will be unloaded in Ashdod and shipped to Gaza by truck along with the other aid sent through Israel, officials said.

This is an interesting twist to the "flotilla story" for anyone who has been paying attention. Ostensibly, all for human rights, true? Nothing political about this?

If that's the case, then why no concern over an Israeli who has now been captive of Hamas for nearly four years?

"Human Rights" Flotilla Organizers refuse Letters for Shalit

The parents of Gilad Shalit, held captive in Gaza for nearly four years, asked the organizers of the “human rights” flotilla to take letters and packages for Gilad. The answer was no.

Gilad has been held captive by Hamas terrorists in Gaza for nearly four years, during which time he has been allowed absolutely no contact with neutral or Israeli elements.

They refused to make the transfer of the aid conditional on anything having to do with Gilad Shalit.

The Shalit family said afterwards that they regret the refusal of the convoy organizers to cooperate or to grant humanitarian aid to their son Gilad, “who has been held by Hamas in Gaza for four years, against all law and international charters.”

That pretty much says it all doesn't it?

In the following article, we see more build up to war:

"Russia sends its mightiest warships for drills in Far East to prevent a US attack on North Korea"

Flagships of three Russian fleets have united in Russia’s Far East for the large-scale naval exercises in the Sea of Japan in June, a Pacific Fleet spokesman said on Wednesday.

The flagship of the Black Sea fleet, the Moskva missile cruiser, arrived at a naval base near Vladivostok on Wednesday and teamed up with the flagship of the Northern Fleet, the Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered guided-missile cruiser, and the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, the Varyag guided-missile cruiser.

In the midst of more instability in the region:

"France calls for North Korea to be punished for sinking South Korean warship"

France has joined the chorus of voices calling for North Korea to be punished for firing a torpedo that sunk a South Korean naval ship. The UN Security Council has indicated that it is likely to intervene.

France has joined the chorus of voices calling for North Korea to be punished for a surprise torpedo attack on a South Korean naval ship.

France’s foreign ministry has characterized the attack as “criminal aggression” and ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said that North Korea “should not go unpunished” for the attack.

A multinational investigation found “overwhelming” evidence that a North Korean submarine fired the heavy torpedo which sank the Cheonan near the disputed border, killing 46 South Korean sailors.

There is no telling where this whole North Korean - South Korean conflict will go, with tensions escalating daily. There is a reasonable chance that nothing will happen, and as a result North Korea would have successfully downed a South Korean ship, killing dozens of sailors in the process. It is a strange world that we are living in these days.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Preparing for War in the Middle East

There is some ominous information coming in from the Middle East - and it is particularly ominous for one reason: It may force Israel to take action.

"Report: Syria arming Hezbollah from secret bases"

British Times reports satellite images reveal Shiite organization 'allowed to operate freely' at secret compound in Syrian town of Adra, from which missiles are sent to Lebanon. Intelligence sources say ongoing smuggling increases chances of Israeli strike.

The chances that Israel may send a "calibrated signal" to Hezbollah and Syria by launching a precise airstrike against a weapons convoy are increasing, the British Times reported on Friday, following reports of Israeli plans to bomb a Syrian arms convey as it crossed the border into Lebanon. The Israeli strike was reportedly called off at the last minute.

Friday's report covered tensions in the region, and citied satellite images of secret arms depots in Syria, in which surface-to-surface missiles destined for Hezbollah are stored.

According to the report, the Times has been shown images of one such site, located in a compound near the town of Adra, northeast of Damascus. The site reportedly includes living quarters for Hezbollah fighters, arms sheds and a fleet of trucks used for transferring weapons. The facility is believed to be one of several used as a base for weapons deliveries.

“Hezbollah is allowed to operate this site freely,” a security source told the paper.

The weapons in question are either of Syrian origin, or are delivered from Iran by sea or by air.

The Jerusalem Post reports on the same issue:

"Hizbullah missile base in Syria"

Satellite photos show that Hizbullah terrorists have been living in armed bases stocked with surface-to-surface missiles in Syria, The Times of London reported Friday.

The photos show the Hizbullah members moving freely at a base in the Syrian city of Adra, near Damascus.

"There are rockets and missiles in Lebanon in greater quantities and levels of sophistication and this point endangers Israel," Feinstein said to AFP.

And the story wouldn't be complete without U.S. intervention: Intervention that helps the terrorists and ultimately hurts Israel by not allowing them to take any actions - a U.S. paralyzed by political correctness and taking Israel down in the process:

Report: U.S. stopped Israel from targeting Hizballah missile"

The London Times on Thursday reported on evidence it was shown revealing the existence of Hizballah-run military bases in Syria where long-range surface-to-surface missiles are received and prepared for shipment to southern Lebanon.

Security sources told the newspaper that several of the arms depots exist, and are being supplied either directly by Syria or by Iran.

According to the report, Israeli forces were planning to bomb one of the missile convoys as it entered Lebanon, but called off the strike at the last minute as a result of US pressure. Disregarding Israeli security, Washington has insisted that Jerusalem continue to let failed diplomacy lead the way.

Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama chided Syria for continuing to aid Hizballah in violation of UN resolutions, but also decided to renew diplomatic ties with Damascus. Middle East observers said the American leader's behavior sends mixed signals to Arab leaders that ultimately make him look weak and his threats empty.

Also earlier this month, Gen. Yossi Baidatz, a senior Israeli intelligence officer, told a Knesset oversight committee that it was no longer to describe the transfer of arms to Hizballah as "smuggling" since the operation is highly organized, massive and carried out in the open.

The bolded part of the article is worth repeating:

"According to the report, Israeli forces were planning to bomb one of the missile convoys as it entered Lebanon, but called off the strike at the last minute as a result of US pressure. Disregarding Israeli security, Washington has insisted that Jerusalem continue to let failed diplomacy lead the way."

So basically, the U.S. "policy" includes allowing Israeli enemies to continue their arms build-up while waiting for the tooth fairy to show up and spread magic "peace dust" in the region. Meanwhile, Israel's enemies are preparing for war - war which we know will come from biblical prophecy.

Fortunately God has decided that He alone will step in and defend Israel - but only when the situation is at its worst. Only when Israel has no where else to turn. That seems to be part of God's plan - to place Israel in a position where only God can protect them, and He most definitely will do so (Ezekiel 38-39). And in a big, dramatic way.

But in the meanwhile, God is also observing how the various countries treat Israel, and whether those countries either "bless" Israel or how they "curse" Israel. It appears that the U.S. is on the "curse" side of the issue, and we will see how that works out.

Perhaps a more important aspect of this whole issue, is the fact that we see the continuing build-up to war in the Middle East. It is coming, and it is probably coming soon. It's time to have the Bible in hand - to remain in prayer - and to follow Jesus' commands to watch and to be prepared. He is coming soon. There is no doubt about that.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

EU Council: "Winner" Under Lisbon Treaty

An article appeared today in the EU Observer which provides a nice bookend to yesterday's post regarding the current EU crisis and the possible formation of the biblical "10 Kings" ("EU Crisis and the 10 Kings").

Throughout the progress of the EU, many of us have watched the "WEU" (Western European Union) very closely. Originally formed under the Brussel Treaty", which interestingly began in 1948 with only four countries, the alliance grew to 10 countries and became known as the Western European Union. It has been watched closely because technically, the EU President is the President of the EU Council, who is led by the WEU.

The WEU has also been watched closely because it has always been considered as the "military wing" of the EU. The entire purpose of the original Brussels Treaty was to have a defense pact between these countries in facing the communist threat. It has remained so as it morphed into the WEU.

These 10 countries who form the "member states" of the WEU and thus the leadership role of the WEU are:

- Belgium
- France
- Germany
- Greece
- Italy
- Luxembourg
- Netherlands
- Portugal
- Spain
- United Kingdom

Many of us have often pondered what the prophetic role of these 10 countries could be. The WEU clearly controls the EU Council, where the seat of power lies in the EU. Now we see that fact confirmed.

Today, interestingly, as the EU crisis approaches epic proportions - we see this article:

"European Council seen as winner under Lisbon Treaty"

Not quite six months in place, the EU's Lisbon Treaty has already led to a significant shift in the Brussels power landscape, with many of its main actors still trying to find their feet in the new order.

The new rulebook, in force since December 2009 after many years of negotiation and then ratification, greatly increases MEPs' co-legislating powers and creates a beefed up foreign policy post and a president of the EU council.

The changes have led to a relative decrease in the power of the European Commission, in past times the engine of EU integration, and the Council of Ministers, representing member states. In contrast, the European Council - the union's collected premiers and presidents and now an institution with its own budget and president - and the parliament are are winning out in the power stakes, say academics.

"The European Council has become the true policy-maker of the European Union," agreed the University of Bologna's Professor Lucia Serena Rossi during a conference discussing the post-Lisbon Treaty EU on Tuesday (25 May).

This is an interesting development. Technically, as a result of the Lisbon Treaty, which functions as the "EU Constitution", the WEU was slated to disband in 2011 - but that is hard to imagine in light of the current crisis. Additionally, in the past, there were discussions about these countries forming their own "union" if the EU were to collapse (these discussions took place when the original constitution was going through the process of ratification, unsuccessfully).

Will the WEU emerge from this crisis in a more powerful position? We already have the WEU leading the EU Council, which by all accounts is the most powerful body within the EU. Will these 10 countries ultimately decide to branch off from the EU? Will the EU "collapse" into these 10 countries? Will more power be given to these 10 countries in efforts to solve the financial crisis?

Only time will tell, but any collection of 10 countries within the EU structure is certainly worth watching. Especially a collection of countries with this much power.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

EU Crisis and the 10 Kings

This story is starting to get some attention. Last week "Europe on the brink?" listed a number of articles portraying the EU as entering a crisis due to the financial collapse of Greece, and several other countries that are rapidly approaching the same status. The entire EU structure is being questioned as far as its viability as a union. The viability of the EURO is also in jeopardy.

As mentioned, we know from Bible prophecy that the EU will ultimately morph into the "Ten Kings" of Daniel 2, 7 and Revelation 17. How it happens is not specified in the prophetic scriptures. All we know is this: As we approach the end of the age, the ancient Roman Empire will be re-gathered, and we know that the combined EU/Med Union clearly fits that profile in every way - even down to the description of "iron and baked clay" and a union that "will not remain united".

And we know that from this re-gathering of the Roman Empire, the next stage is the formation of 10 Kings. Exactly when this happens is unknown (only it has to happen before or during the Tribulation). Exactly how this happens is unknown. What we do know, is that once the 10 Kings are formed from the EU/Revived Roman Empire - two things will happen:

- The antichrist will come FROM these 10 Kings, (Daniel 7:24), and
- These 10 Kings will rule with the antichrist, with their only purpose to serve with the antichrist (Revelation 17:12-14).

So the order of events is:

Revival of the Roman Empire (present day EU/Med Union) ---> Formation of 10 Kings---> Rise of the antichrist and world domination along with the 10 Kings.

Todd Strandberg of Rapture Ready has noticed the current crisis in the EU and the possibility that we could be watching the genesis of the 10 Kings:

"Will the European Union Survive?"

We are at a very interesting point in history. The Bible said there would be a reformation of the Roman Empire, and that it would lead to the advent of the Antichrist. It doesn't seem possible for the EU to collapse into ashes. No matter how bad it gets, the union is going to survive.

The Bible tells us there will be a final world power that will have an extremely weak power base. In the vision given to Nebuchadnezzar and interpreted by Daniel, it is described as iron mixed with clay--meaning this government will have a connection to the Roman Empire, and it will be highly flawed. Out of this mess will come the most cunning and ruthless dictator the world has ever seen.

A partial breakup of the EU might actually benefit the progression of Bible prophecy. Scripture tells us that there will be ten kings who will give their power to the Antichrist. We currently have twenty-seven members of the EU, so something needs to happen to draw the number of leaders down to the magic number. The crisis we see now could be what triggers the final realignment.

"And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast" (Rev: 17:10).

"For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled" (Rev 17:17).

Historically, big changes have resulted from big crises. The early movements of the U.S. into socialism started during the great depression crisis, and that train hasn't stopped yet. That is but one example. It seems obvious that something has to change in the EU and that fact leads to several possible scenarios.

It's just a hunch, but I believe we are seeing the transformation of the EU into the 10 Kings. It may not be an immediate change as it may occur over a series of crises and/or it may occur in a step-wise manner. On the other hand, as things have been happening lately, it could be an acute, rapid change that occurs. That wouldn't be surprising either.

This rapidly evolving situation in the EU is most definitely worth watching. Many of us had assumed that the 10 Kings wouldn't be formed until the Tribulation (based solely on speculation, as the scriptures do not provide these details) - but now that assumption seems much less certain.

But we do know this: Based upon Daniel 2, the 10 Kings will represent the last form of government before the Second Coming of Christ Jesus.

Oh, and one more important point worth mentioning.

When the 10 Kings are formed, they won't be in power for long (their power will only last the length of the Tribulation or slightly longer if formed prior to the Tribulation). Revelation 17:12 reveals this fact:

"The ten horns you saw are ten kings...but for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast (antichrist). They will have one one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast."

The "one hour" seen in the scripture above translates to "a brief period" or "a short time".

God felt it necessary to inform us of this fact. Its a warning sign.

If we DO see the formation of the 10 Kings, we will know that the Tribulation is RAPIDLY approaching. And of course, that would mean that the Rapture of the Church is also RAPIDLY approaching. Even if we see events in the EU moving towards the development of 10 Kings, that too will indicate that the subsequent events of the Rapture and Tribulation are only a breath away.

That makes it worth watching, to say the least. It is hard to imagine that we could be witnessing such big changes, stemming from such a big crisis in the EU. It seems like yesterday that the Lisbon Treaty was ratified, a treaty that consolidated 27 European countries. And now they are in crisis mode. It is equally hard to imagine that we may be seeing the initial changes which will lead to the formation of the 10 Kings - but it may be evolving now. As mentioned before - a crisis inevitably leads to big, acute changes in these last days.

But over the past several months, everything seems to be happening at breakneck speed. The EU is no exception.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

New World Order

That was the term that the first President Bush coined and has been repeated ever since. For the first time that I can recall, we now hear casual conversations daily around having a world governance. Because of the world financial crisis, we hear many calls for an international financial/banking system with international regulations. But thats just the tip of the iceberg: The "world" already has an international criminal court (ICC), and even a international "military" which is casually called the U.N.'s "international peacekeeping forces" or one can simply see the United Nations imposing its will via global taxation which is being pushed for the purpose of fighting mythical global warming. Basically, we now hear serious discussions of taking whatever "crisis du jour" and putting it under a single global governance.

With this as a backdrop, brother Mike Mickey covers the issue perfectly at

Obama and The New International Order

by Michael G. Mickey

Speaking recently at West Point, President Obama called for what he referred to as a "new international order", a new world order if you will. Anyone surprised by that, in light of recent events as compared to bible prophecy? I know I'm not.

While witnessing what we have of late has been near physically painful to observe, from President Obama's world apology tour, during which he traveled the globe to bow before and apologize to practically every leader he could find for America being the great nation it has been, to his disenfranchisement with the nation of Israel to his tanking of the US economy's future through outrageous spending that is unsustainable, President Obama and his administration seems to be steering the U.S.A. toward what seems to be its prophetic destiny.

Finding the United States in end times bible prophecy is near impossible, at least if one is looking to see the U.S. as a superpower. Rather, bible prophecy foresees the global empire of the prophesied Antichrist to come (Revelation 13:7) as a key power, an empire which is going to include the European Union at the very least, along with Israel, the "kings of the east" (Revelation 16:12), the "king of the north" (Daniel 11:40) and the "king of the south" (Daniel 11:40).

While we don't know with specificity who all of the key end times players listed above will consist of, they will be locatable from the perspective of the nation of Israel at the time these prophecies are fulfilled. So where do we see the United States in that picture? North of Israel? South of Israel? East of Israel? No, no and no. It is for that reason I conclude that if the U.S. is going to exist as a major player in the last of the last days, it is likely going to be as a component of the Antichrist's empire, a scenario which I would point out as capable of instantly giving the prophesied Antichrist the military might we see him in possession of in end times prophecy. This is not a pleasant thought for those of us who love the U.S.A., but worthy of consideration as a possibility at the very least, primarily because NATO, which the United States is the lynch pin of, is located in Brussels, Belgium, as are the vast majority of the EU's major institutions.

With both the dollar and the euro presently in crisis and the West clamoring to bring peace to the Middle East, particularly at the expense of Israel, the prophetic scenario foretold long ago is making better sense by the minute, isn't it?

For decades, respected biblical scholars examining bible prophecy have anticipated a decline coming for the United States. I'd be remiss not to point out that President Obama is doing everything he can, seemingly, to accomplish that end for the U.S. whether he knows it or not. It's a foreseeable future because of Obama's increasing willingness to align the United States with the international community that respects us little and, most worrisome of all, openly anti-Israel organizations which threaten to bring the curse of Genesis 12:3 upon our nation.

Let's look at what a secular personality, Glenn Beck, had to say about President Obama's speech featured in the video above. The following is a transcript from his daily radio show that addresses the issue. As you read it, consider the prophetic scenario described above, but also bear in mind Zechariah 12:3 which foretells a time to come when "all the people of the earth", perhaps a new international order, will be "gathered together" against Jerusalem.
GLENN: Also we would like to spend just a few minutes on this incredible speech given by our president to our global force for good. Here he is at West Point this weekend giving a commencement speech.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We have to shape an international order that can meet the challenges of our generation.

GLENN: Hold it just a second. Could we just, just stop there. We have to shape an international order. Okay. You know, I think it was George H. W. Bush that first started talking about a new world order, and I was a little uncomfortable with the whole new world order thing. I've been hearing the talk of the new world order for a while. Of course, you can immediately go down a conspiracy theorist road, but you don't really have to do that. You don't have to go to the Star Chamber at all. You just have to look at the headlines of the day. You have to look at the banking bill, the reform, you have to look at any of the stuff that is coming out of Washington, you have to look at the IMF, and it's all very, very clear.

Now, in front of our soldiers we're now talking about a new world order militarily speaking.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: We will be steadfast in strengthening those old alliances that have served us so well. We will be —

GLENN: Stop for just a second. I don't think we have been steadfast in enhancing and holding together those alliances that have served us so well. Didn't we send the bust of Winston Churchill back? Haven't we insulted every — how are we doing with the whole Israel thing? That sounds like we're doing really — seriously. I think we've really done some good stuff holding the traditional alliance of America and Israel together. I mean, other than working out of a being with Benjamin Netanyahu after you invited him here and then not having a state dinner, I think that's totally — no, he understood.
Glenn Beck sees things for what they are, doesn't he, even if he doesn't understand bible prophecy from a fundamentalist Christian perspective? He sees President Obama as an actor in bringing us closer to the formation of a new world order that we know is going to come into existence based on God's prophetic Word. Not only that, he is cognizant of the fact that, while President Obama doesn't mind kowtowing to Muslim nations, Europe and the United Nations, he is completely disrespectful of Israel and its leadership which is emboldening all of Israel's enemies as never before, bringing us closer to prophetic fulfillment of a number of key end times conflicts than we've ever been before.

Not only do we see the stage being set for a new world order to come into existence, as well as the isolation of Israel by same, the global economy is a mess and, sooner or later, I believe this will result in a new global economy being built around the empire of the Antichrist who will subsequently implement the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-17) to control the masses of humanity through same. Again, can't we see this coming into view with the global markets being as unstable as they presently are on the heels of the international community's recent bailout of the economy of Greece?

The return of Christ for His Church? Conditionally, the likelihood of it being soon seems to rise daily from my perspective. As I read the daily news, I often feel like I'm following the bouncing ball of a sing-along song on a children's television show. There's something to that, you know!

Soon, Church! Soon!

UPDATE: I didn't see the article until approximately 15 minutes after I posted this commentary, but guess which city Vice President Joe Biden recently said could be the 'Capital of the Free World'? Brussels, Belgium!

Quoting Biden, the article reads: "As you probably know, some American politicians and American journalists refer to Washington, D.C. as the 'capital of the free world', but it seems to me that in this great city, which boasts 1,000 years of history and which serves as the capital of Belgium, the home of the European Union, and the headquarters for NATO, this city has its own legitimate claim to that title."

If you didn't pick up on my reference to NATO and all of the EU's major institutions being in Brussels and the future role that could play in the fulfillment of bible prophecy, something I have touched on a number of times in the past, you may want to scroll up, as well as visit the links in this update. This showing up in the news headlines today sent chills down my spine as I had no idea Biden had said this as I wrote what I did earlier. Obviously, I didn't see it coming years ago either, but the Brussels-NATO-EU connection has now been made publicly - and by the right-hand man of arguably the most powerful leader in the free world.

Could I be correct in my suspicion that the Antichrist is somehow going to have the might of the current U.S. military, the finest fighting force in the world, at his disposal in the prophetic future? Time will tell.

One Day of Headlines

Today seemed like a slow news day as far as prophetic developments. At least it seemed that way initially; but it is all relative. Relative to most days, this morning's news seemed slow. However, just a glance at some of the day's headlines reveals something interesting. In these last days, just a passing view of the headlines reveals a world that is just on the brink:

"One false move in Europe could set off global chain reaction"

"Sharp falls across Europe stock markets as debt fears dominate"

"Global stock markets see sharp falls"

"N. Korea leader to Army: Prepare for war"

"U.S. backs South Korea in punishing North"

"For Every Israeli Concession, a Palestinian Provocation"

"Obama Call for 'International Order' Raises Questions about U.S. Sovereignty"

"Obama to DoD: Prepare for N. Korea Aggression"

"U.S., European economies face major hurdles"

"World stocks sink on renewed European fears"

"U.S. is Said to Expand Secret Military Acts in Mideast Region"

"Clinton: Koreas security situation 'precarious'"

"Two Koreas snarl at each other, tensions rise"

Relative to most days, this is indeed a slow news day, but a casual glance at the headlines reveals a world which seems to be teetering just on the edge. From the world's financial crisis to the daily rumors of war - the headlines tell the story. "Slow" news days are rare lately - and even on a seemingly slow day now, there are multiple headlines which would have been attention-grabbing several years ago - but in the world today, it seems business as usual. It would be easy to become desensitized but Jesus' commands to "watch" prevent that.

We are in the midst of birth pains - and the contractions are occurring more intensely and more rapidly. The headlines tell the story.

Monday, May 24, 2010

As summer nears, the Gulf is heating up

As seen in a new article from the Jerusalem Post:

"Mideast Affairs: As summer nears..."

Relations between Iran and the Gulf states are more strained than ever. Iran is issuing threats and working nonstop to undermine their stability. It repeatedly declares that these countries are part of its historic territory and it will take them over at the appropriate time.

The Gulf states are aware of what is going on, but they are conducting an appeasement policy toward Teheran – even if they themselves have no confidence in it. All this is occurring while with increasing dread they helplessly follow the nuclear crisis, epitomized by Iranian determination and aggression in the face of American weakness.

The tension level in the region has increased in recent days as once again a measure of Iranian subversion in the Gulf states came to light. In Kuwait a spy network acting on behalf of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was uncovered; it intended to establish the infrastructure in anticipation of a takeover of the country: to incite the Shi’ites against the regime, establish sleeper cells to act when the time came and provide support for illicit economic activity.

Given the failed attempts by the West to impose sanctions on Iran, and the voices emerging from Washington that diplomacy is the way to solve the crisis and that the military option is off the table, Ahmadinejad has nothing to fear, at least at the current stage. He feels he can advance his subversive plan and strike at the countries of the region. The provocative naval maneuvers that Iran continues to conduct are intended to deter the US and Israel, but they also convey a clear message to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states: “We are here alongside you and we have massive power. Do not dare to provoke us.”

Meanwhile, the US offers no response.

In other news, we see Turkey moving more and more into alliances with Russia (aka "MaGog") exactly as Ezekiel 38 informed us:

"The Istanbul-Moscow Axis of Evil"

Turkey is pivotal because of its location as the boundary between Europe and the Middle East (remember, Napoleon said that "geography is destiny"), its large population, industrial capacity (15th-largest economy in world), and formidable army (second-largest in NATO).

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan and his AK Party are dismantling the foundations of the secular republic and pursuing Islamist domestic and foreign policies.

The domestic Islamist transformation of Turkey -- a country with vast secular population, excellent universities, emerging civil society, and a previously free press (now being intimidated) -- is tragic enough. But the transformation of Turkish foreign policy increasingly presents a clear danger to American interests.

In practice, this means allying with rogue states Iran and Syria (whom even President Obama recently saw fit to designate a state sponsor of terrorism). Worse, Turkey now embraces terrorist murder squads like Hamas and Hezbollah and fetes their leaders as honored guests. Turkey hosted Sudanese President Bashir, who is under indictment for crimes against humanity by the International Court of Criminal Justice.

In my conversations with U.S. officials, I have found dismaying unawareness of the consequences of the ugly reality that Turkey is now a functional ally of Iran

I was not surprised to read upon returning to the U.S. that Russian President Medvedev had made a state visit to Turkey's Islamist President Gul. Medvedev proclaimed establishment of "a full -scale strategic partnership," which includes Russia's building a nuclear power plant, as well as energy pipelines, in Turkey. This is hardly a new Warsaw Pact, nor an existential axis of evil. But neither can it be dismissed casually by incantations of "engagement" or defaulting, as the Europeans do, to soft power.

A Russian-Turkish alliance stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea presents a new set of problems for American diplomacy. A NATO member in a "strategic partnership" with Russia is contrary to more than a half-century of NATO doctrine. The problem is magnified when the NATO ally becomes an ally of Iran and holds joint military exercises with Syria. My soundings in Moscow suggest that the Russian government comprehends these changing dynamics and the advantages they give to the Kremlin. I see no evidence that the same can be said of our government.

One would think that the above article was written by a prophecy expert. I can recall years ago, when prophecy watchers wondered when (not "if") Turkey would start its movement into the Russian-Iranian axis. At the time, it appeared that Tukey was a "shoe-in" for entry into the EU - a fact that seemed inconsistent with the prophecies of Ezekiel 38-39 where Turkey (ancient "Beth Togarmah" of Ezekiel 38) is seen as aligned with the Russian-Iranian led invasion of Israel.

But over the past 2-3 years we have watched as Turkey began "dismantling the foundations of secular republic and pursuing Islamist domestic and foreign policy", not to mention aligning with Russia in a big way.

Turkey was the last piece of the Gog-MaGog invasion. The other regions mentioned have, for years been aligned with the radical Islamic terrorist movement who seeks to destroy Israel (Iran, Turkey, Northern Africa, etc.).

The pieces are now in place. All that seems needed is a triggering mechanism to be ignited. It may be as early as this summer.

Propaganda and Israel

This article is well worth printing in its entire form. It is amazing, how, in this modern era, that we find ourselves living - the lies that are repeated daily regarding Israel. The sad fact is, most people read these lies and immediately believe them, against all truth. This article is just one small example, but we see it every day in the news. This article comes from the American Thinker::

"Propaganda from the AP"

Propaganda from the AP
Leo Rennert
It's just a short paragraph. Yet, it is riddled with factual and historical errors -- all part of an egregious anti-Israel bias that undermines millennial Jewish ties and claims to Jerusalem.

It appears in the May 23 edition of the Washington Post, as the last paragraph of a brief item attributed to the Associated Press about U.S.-mediated indirect peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, the Post's "Digest" feature.

Here is the entire paragraph:

"Israel wants to annex Jewish settlements in the war-won West Bank and East Jerusalem."

How is that wrong? Let us count the ways:

1. For starters, Israel doesn't want or need to annex any part of East Jerusalem. After the 1967 war, when it defeated Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies bent on destroying it, Israel made Jerusalem whole again. Israel formally put an end to 19 years of illegal Jordanian occupation of the eastern sector of the city -- the only time in its entire history that Jerusalem was a divided city. Today, there is nothing left for Israel to "annex." It's been a done deal for more than a generation.

2. When the Post and the AP refer to "East Jerusalem," this piece of real estate first and foremost encompasses the Old City of Jerusalem with its Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall and Temple Mount -- the latter two are Judaism's holiest sites. And there exists no Jewish "settlement" in the Old City. It may have started as a Jewish "settlement" 3,000 years ago when King David made it his capital. But as a Jewish capital for most of the next 1,000 years, (it never has been anyone else's capital) Old Jerusalem quickly turned into a full-fledged city, If there's a Jewish "settlement" in Old Jerusalem today, then Georgetown and Manhattan -- with their far more contemporary pedigrees -- are "settlements" in spades.

3. Not by any semantic stretch does "settlements" apply to other well-established Jewish urban neighborhoods in East Jerusalem beyond the Old City. Again, "settlements" in this context is a label that doesn't fit reality. There are more than 200,000 Jews today in East Jerusalem and they don't live in "settlements."

4. Nor is there any recent historical evidence that Israel "wants to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank." While Prime Minister Netanyahu so far hasn't put on the negotiating table the final borders he envisages under his accepted two-state solution, there is ample historical evidence that Israel has been ready to abandon all "settlements" in the West Bank. Yes, every "settlement" -- in the real meaning of the word -- namely, a fairly new implant of arrivals, such as was common in the first stages of America's westward expansion. Both in 2000-2001 (Barak-Clinton) and 2008 (Olmert), Israel offered to abandon all such remote West Bank "settlements," while insisting on retaining only well-established cities like Maale Adumim or the suburban Gush Etzion bloc. Salt Lake City may have started as a "settlement" but didn't take long to morph into a city. The same goes for the close-in Jewish urban centers that Israel wants to retain, while still leaving about 95 percent of the West Bank for a contiguous Palestinian state. Even the Obama administration acknowledges this reality.

5. The bottom line is that whether it's the Old City of Jerusalem, or other parts of East Jerusalem, or the West Bank, "settlements" are hardly the issue, if the term still has an exact meaning.

6. Another tendentious, anti-Israel biased formulation in this article is the "war-won" adjective appended to East Jerusalem. Since the article provides no context about the 1967 war -- no mention that Egyptian President Nasser set out to exterminate Israel and blockaded its access to the Red Sea (an act of war under international law) and that Israel prevailed in defense of its very existence in the ensuing Six-Day War -- the "war won" label as a stand-alone formulation makes it appear that it was Israel that somehow decided to go to war to capture East Jerusalem and the West Bank -- a total misreading of history.

7. Israel's "war-won West Bank and East Jerusalem" also leaves a false inference or impression that Israel, as winner of the 1967 war, used its victory to capture land from the Palestinians, when the historical truth is that there were no "Palestinians" as a putative national entity in 1967 and that Palestinians never exercised sovereignty in either the West Bank or in East Jerusalem.

But it's this kind of anti-Israel mythologizing that continues to permeate Washington Post and AP coverage and keeps eroding Israel's political and historical legitimacy.

Agenda journalism? Yes. Fair, accurate journalism? No.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

War Preparations

The build-up to war in the Middle East continues: This time, we see how Israel continues their preparations with a nationwide drill.

Joel Rosenberg weighs in:

"Israel begins five day nationwide drill to prepare for war"

“Israel’s annual national home front exercise begins on Sunday, as Hezbollah plays up fears in Lebanon that the drill means a conflict might loom with its southern neighbor,” reports Haaretz. “The exercise, ‘Turning Point 4,’ is due to last five days and be carried out in all parts of the country. During the first three days the drill will involve the Israel Defense Forces’ various command centers, the police, emergency services, ministries and other government offices. The exercise, which is held annually in May, will be broadened on Wednesday to include civilians, with a siren sounded at 11 A.M. throughout the country. Civilians will have to seek cover in shelters or other secure areas.”

“The exercise will focus this year on the ability of municipalities to respond to the launching of thousands of missiles and rockets on Israel. Most municipal authorities, where around 70 percent of the country’s people live, will hold drills as part of the national effort, conducted by Home Front Command, the National Emergency Authority and the Defense Ministry.
“Hundreds of police officers are scheduled to take part in the exercise; they will practice their three main tasks in the event of missile attacks: routine security, guiding traffic and maintaining order.

“The police will be tested on how they respond to local emergencies while the force is spread out all over the country.

“The main scenario for the police will be a strike on Be’er Sheva by missiles fitted with chemical warheads.

“Another aspect of the drill will be surprise strikes at home front targets.

“Many different elements of defense and rescue will be practiced. For the first time, for example, Israel will test its response to a blow to its computer and electronic-communications infrastructure after a cyber attack.

“The authorities will also examine their ability to evacuate hundreds of thousands of civilians from areas hit by missile barrages or strikes by unconventional weapons.

“The distribution of gas masks, something already underway over the past three months, will be expedited during the drill to include other parts of the country. Home Front Command will be tested on its ability to shift to emergency distribution on a national level.

“Extensive participation by volunteers, nongovernment organizations and youth movements is expected to be part of the drill, especially in helping local authorities reach people and communities in distress or needing special assistance.”

We also see related articles:

"Israel holds defense drill amid regional tension"

The five-day exercise, the biggest in Israel's history, has raised allegations by the country's enemies that it is preparing for war — a concern Israel has sought to allay.

Tensions have risen in recent weeks after Israel accused Syria of smuggling Scuds and other missiles to Hezbollah. Syria denied the charge.

Israeli media reported that Hezbollah heightened its alert status ahead of what it branded Israel's "war game." And they quoted Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri as saying the Israeli exercise defies peacemaking efforts.

"IDF prepared for all-out war within hours"

Council heads north to meet with Northern Command chief on backdrop of Hezbollah alert and home front drill, ask him to convey calming message to public. 'Countries and organizations cannot be deterred from growing stronger,' Eisenkot responds

Northern council heads met Sunday with Northern Command Chief Gadi Eisenkot on the backdrop of this week's wide-scale home front command drill and the heightened state of alert declared by Hezbollah, and asked the Israel Defense Forces to convey a clear and calming message to the public during the days of the exercise.

"I hope this summer will be hot only in terms of its weather, and not in terms of war," said Hatzor Haglilit Mayor Shimon Swisa. Eisenkot, on his part, said that the IDF was prepared for an all-out war within hours.

Wars and rumors of war indeed.

In the news...

The situation in North Korea seems to be increasing rather than decreasing. By this, I am referring to the sinking of a South Korean by torpedo. Initially, although it seemed apparent that North Korea was responsible, it looked like another potential crisis that would be swept under the rug in order to avoid an international crisis.

However, it is now widely publicized that North Korea is responsible and Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea authorized this action, in which 46 South Korean sailors perished.

"U.S. Implicates North Korean Leader in Attack"

A new American intelligence analysis of a deadly torpedo attack on a South Korean warship concludes that Kim Jong-il, the ailing leader of North Korea, must have authorized the torpedo assault...

The officials said they were increasingly convinced that Mr. Kim ordered the sinking of the ship, the Cheonan, to help secure the succession of his youngest son.

North Korea has denied any involvement in the attack, despite the presentation of forensic evidence on Thursday — including parts of the torpedo found in the wreckage — that experts from three countries said established that the torpedo was launched from a North Korean submarine.

Although the American officials who spoke about the intelligence assessment would not reveal much about what led them to conclude that Mr. Kim was directly involved, one factor appeared to be intelligence that he appeared on April 25, the anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army, with a military unit that intelligence agencies believe to have been responsible for the attack.

“Nobody is going to take overt credit for the sinking,” said Jonathan Pollack, a professor at the Naval War College and an expert on North Korea’s military. “But Kim’s visit to this unit has all the hallmarks of congratulating them for a job well done.”

The North Korean defense commission, which rarely issues public statements, turned out a fiery-sounding warning last week, saying it would respond to any military retaliation with “all-out war.”

Who knows where this will lead. It may have absolutely no role in prophetic developments, but something this significant could play into international politics. It is hard to imagine that South Korea and the "international community" will sit by silently and allow this shocking aggressive action by North Korea to have taken place with no retaliation. We shall see.

Caroline Glick: South Korea, North Korea, Israel and Iran"

Caroline Glick weighs in:

On Thursday the South Korean government did something important. It told the truth about North Korean aggression. On March 26, a North Korean submarine attacked a South Korean naval corvette with a torpedo. Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in the unprovoked attack. And on May 20, the South Koreans ended all ambiguity about the nature of the attack and placed the blame where it belongs.

Sadly for South Korea, while China can be depended upon to block the passage of effective sanctions against North Korea in the UN Security Council and to take any other necessary action to protect the North Korean regime, South Korea cannot expect the US to take action to rein in North Korean aggression. For while the South Korean government acknowledged reality on Thursday morning, the US under President Barack Obama remains in reality denial mode.

In its frenetic bid to court China whose dollars it needs to finance its massive increase in federal spending, the Obama administration has downplayed not only China's nuclear proliferation but North Korea's nuclear proliferation as well. Last week North Korea announced that it conducted a successful fusion experiment. That is, it announced that it is developing a hydrogen bomb. Rather than condemn the move, the administration dismissed the danger claiming that North Korea was lying.

And just as it makes light of the threat emanating from North Korea, so the US has continued to downplay the threat Iran's nuclear program poses to US and global security.

AS FOREIGN Minister Avigdor Lieberman noted in his trip to Japan earlier in the month, North Korea does not only threaten its immediate neighbors. Through its proliferation activities, and particularly through its close ties to Iran and its Syrian, Hizbullah and Hamas clients, North Korea constitutes a threat to the Middle East and indeed to global security as a whole.

What Brennan's statements show is that Obama, who picked Brennan to serve as his chief counterterrorism advisor, is ideologically committed to the notion that Iran and its fellow jihadists are not an inherent threat to the US and its allies. That is, Obama is ideologically committed to the notion that there is no reason to take any action against Iran that could actually prevent the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah from developing and deploying nuclear weapons.

And now, a year and a half later, Obama's sanctions gambit is revealed as a dangerous joke. Iran is months away from the bomb. Hizbullah has an arsenal of guided missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv and beyond. Iran's diplomatic stature has soared to unprecedented heights as it runs diplomatic circles around Obama and his advisors. And Brennan wants to make a deal with Hizbullah.

South Korea's acknowledgment of North Korea's aggression places it on a collision course with the Obama administration which prefers to court Beijing for dollars than deal effectively with Pyongyang's aggression. Israel has been on a collision course with Washington for a year and a half now as it insists in the face of US opposition that Iran's nuclear program is the greatest threat to global security today.

Sadly, the US's ridiculous sanctions resolution and its general diplomatic incompetence make clear is that it is time for Israel to risk escalating its crisis with Obama still further. It is time for Israel to take the lead in the international campaign to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

In other news...

"Night falls on Gaza"

World must realize: Hamas not ready for peace

During the past month alone, five Gazans have been executed with formal sanction from the Strip’s Hamas rulers, three of them shot to death in front of the families of their victims just last Tuesday. Their bloodied bodies were then unceremoniously dumped at the local Shifa Hospital.

In some societies, the US most notably, homicide can mandate capital punishment. However, forensic evidence rules are exacting and legal processes are prolonged and arduous. Appeal rights are abundant. All three of those executed last week had appealed to higher courts several times in vain.

In Gaza, legal proceedings are invariably summary shams, kangaroo-court style. Once an individual is accused, his fate is essentially sealed.

Strikingly, this elicits no significant censure among the world’s democracies, the very ones that have often been so quick to rebuke Israel for supposed over-reaction to Gazan aggression. A rare, wan murmur of protest came from an unidentified “top UN human rights official,” who told AP that “fair trials…are almost impossible in Gaza.”

The central purpose of this article now comes to light - and that is - the draconian nature of Shari'a law - something that radical Islamists would like to impose upon the world. The ominous aspect of this, is that efforts to impose Shari'a law in various countries in which Islam is represented is gaining in popularity - to an ignorant population. The ignorance is primarily revealed by the lack of protest and the lack of concern over the growing push to have this judicial system imposed if not throughout entire countries, in regions where the Muslim population predominates.

Generally, however, Gaza’s notions of justice appear to have caused next-to-no offense in the enlightened West. This is consistent with the remarkable silence that has greeted the gradual imposition on Gaza of restrictions that echo aspects of Shari’a law.

An iron curtain of a strict theocracy is slowly descending on Gaza, but many human rights proponents still prefer to depict it as the embattled bastion of freedom fighters.

“Immoderately” dressed women are frowned upon in today’s Gaza. Strolling with a man or even riding a motorcycle with one’s husband can invite questioning. “Modesty patrols”inspect cars to catch unmarried women with men who aren’t relatives.

Male hairstylists are banned from beauty parlors. Women lawyers have, on occasion, been required to don headscarves. The hijab and loose robes are mandatory in secondary schools. Men aren’t allowed to swim in the sea shirtless.

The degree of devotion and prayer habits by mosque worshipers are strictly monitored by appointed commissars. Internet cafes and Christian institutions are particularly popular targets.

It is, therefore, mind-boggling that while more and more voices worldwide – including in Russia – advocate admitting Hamas into the regional peace process, such as it is, no attention is paid to the benighted transformation that Gaza is experiencing under Hamas hegemony.

This is an inexplicable and unconscionable lapse on the part of ostensibly progressive governments, and no less a failure on the part of professed human rights campaigners who claim to be spurred only by angst for the humanitarian conditions and welfare of Gazans.

The international community cannot seriously expect such a regime to be a reliable interlocutor with which Israel can indeed negotiate coexistence deals in good faith.
Look what it’s doing to its own people.

More news on Iran:

Massive U.S. Air-Sea-Marine build-up opposite Iran"

This article comes from DEBKAfile. As usual, I don't "endorse" any linked sites, but in these last days I like to take in all available information. DEBKA has been proven to have made mistakes in the past and thus "banned" from many popular sites. However, they have also been correct many times in the past - thus take the article with a grain of salt. Additionally, the following information has been observed by other news sources, lending more credibility:

DEBKAfile's military sources report a decision by the Obama administration to boost US military strength in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf regions in the short term with an extra air and naval strike forces and 6,000 Marine and sea combatants. Carrier Strike Group 10, headed by the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier, sails out of the US Navy base at Norfolk, Virginia Friday, May 21.

On arrival, it will raise the number of US carriers off Iranian shores to two. Up until now, President Barack Obama kept just one aircraft carrier stationed off the coast of Iran, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in the Arabian Sea, in pursuit of his policy of diplomatic engagement with Tehran.

Our military sources have learned that the USS Truman is just the first element of the new buildup of US resources around Iran. It will take place over the next three months, reaching peak level in late July and early August. By then, the Pentagon plans to have at least 4 or 5 US aircraft carriers visible from Iranian shores.

Another four US warships will be making their way to the region to join the USS Truman and its Strike Group. They are the guided-missile cruiser USS Normandy and guided missile destroyers USS Winston S. Churchill, USS Oscar Austin and USS Ross.
DEBKAfile's military sources disclose that the 6,000 Marines and sailors aboard the Truman Strike Group come from four months of extensive and thorough training to prepare them for anticipated missions in the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean.

If true, this information makes one wonder what possibilities exist. Could these ships be there as a deterrent to any action by Israel? Could these ships be there to send a message to Iran? Or, could war be on the horizen?

Only time will tell.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Why Bother?

I encounter people almost every day, who are aware of the fact that I am busy spending time watching for the coming of our Lord, Christ Jesus. Quite often I get responses like "we could be in the end times, but I'm too busy to pay attention", or "I don't really need to watch this stuff, because I'm saved and therefore always 'ready'", "we aren't supposed to be wasting time on prophecy, there is too much work to do" (as if somehow watching the signs is mutually exclusive with witnessing or doing other, non-prophecy work in the church etc.).

In efforts to prepare for an upcoming series on prophecy, I was re-visiting some of the scriptures that Jesus provided, in the context of watching for the signs. It is interesting how passionate Jesus was that we watch the signs of the age of His return. It was of tremendous importance to Jesus - not only to be watching, but to be prepared in the last days. Lets look at a brief glimpse of these scriptures:

"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come" (Matthew 24:42)

"So you must also be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Matthew 24:44)

"Therefore keep watch because you do not know he day or the hour" (Matthew 25:13)

"You must be on your guard" (Mark 13:9)

"So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time" (Mark 13:23)

"No one knows about that day or the hour, not even the angels in heaven...So be on your guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come." (Mark 13:32-33)

"Therefore keep watch..." (Mark 13:35)

"What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:36)

"Be always on the watch..." (Luke 21:36)

And to add to these scriptures about the urgency to watch the signs, we see a mini-discourse given in Luke 12 about the same topic:

"It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes" (Luke 12:37)

"It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready" (Luke 12:38)

"You must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Luke 12:40)

In this same teaching, Jesus also said the following, which is highly germane to the topic of watching:

"He said to the crowd: 'When you see a cloud rising in the west. immediately you say, 'Its going to rain' and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, 'It's going to be hot' and it is.


You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don't know how to interpret this present time?" (Luke 12:54-56)

To summarize:

- It is extremely important to Jesus that the last generation is watching for the signs of His return. That point is clear.
- It is extremely important to Jesus that the last generation is prepared for His return. That point is clear.
- Those who are watching and are prepared will receive special rewards for this "longing for his appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8)

- For those who profess to love Christ, yet spend more time on things that they believe are more important (weather signs for farming purposes etc.) are considered by Jesus as hypocrites. Wow. Thats an eye-opener isn't it? But it is right there in plain english. Jesus, in Luke 12:54-56 made this point crystal clear. His audience apparently spent enough time studying the weather signs - signs that would assist them in their daily lives - because it was important to them - yet, they had no idea of the prophetic signs that were around them, in abundance. Signs that indicated that indeed Jesus was the promised Messiah.

The fact that they were unaware of these signs was considered as hypocritical by Jesus. Wow again.

Can anyone really argue that Jesus doesn't want us watching these signs? I can't imagine how, in light of the above scriptures.

Then we come to the next point. Being prepared. How does one prepare? What does this actually mean?

First of all, having an awareness of the fact that we are in the last days, most definitely puts Christ in focus in our lives. The sense that He will return an any moment, is life-changing. And having Christ as our primary focus is how we should all be living at all times - prophetic awareness simply sharpens that focus. Thats a good thing.

Secondly, Jesus requested that we not only watch, but that we remain prepared for His return. I believe there are a multitude of reasons for this, but one central theme comes to mind.

The Bible tells us that we, the Church, are considered as the Bride of Christ. The Bride. Awaiting His coming - a coming in which Jesus will personally come and take us to the special place that He has prepared for each of us (John 14:1-3).

Just think about this for a moment. Jesus - who came to earth in order to "pay the purchase price", on the cross, for each of us. For His bride. What incredible love.

And He is coming back, with great anticipation - to take us to our eternal dwelling place, where we will be in His presence forever.

How can this be met with a boring sigh? How can this be met with someone completely unaware? Not watching? Not caring enough to watch? Hypocrite does sound like the key word. If someone professes to love Christ, how can they have no interest in His return?

Prepared? Yes - prepared spiritually. Jesus clearly wanted us to all take our faith "up a notch" in these last days. He wants us focused on our love for Him as we watch the signs. He wants us to have the same level of excitement and hopefulness that ANY bride would have as the wedding date approaches.

If there is no anticipation of Christ's return - if there is no excitement - if there is no "sharpened focus" - then what message does that send to Jesus?

Jesus desires that we put Him in the center of our lives. That is always the case, and has been for around 2,000 years. But there is something different in the last days. There are probably more reasons - but as the bride of Christ, we are expected to be living with great anticipation and excitement at the prospect of Jesus coming back for us.

As Jesus stated:

"...keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him" (Luke 12:35-36)

And he closed with this:

"It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes" (Luke 12:37)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

More Headlines

As mentioned, so many stories are converging right now, it is hard to keep up. Take a look at the headlines over the past 48 hours (in addition to the ones already posted). The articles and a few quotes speak for themselves:

"US Joins Pro-Muslim 'Alliance of Civilizations'"

The Obama administration has announced the United States will join the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, another openly anti-Israel organization.

...the Alliance has been anything but cooperative when it comes to improving understanding of issues relating to the security of Israel's and United States' civilians.

The group claimed in its first report in 2006 that global tensions were driven primarily by the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The same report referred to “a perception among Muslim societies of unjust aggression stemming from the West” in a discussion relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States by the international Al Qaeda terrorist group.

Since Obama took office a year ago, he has worked hard to reach out to the Islamic community of nations in a series of gestures that make it clear he is bending over backwards to strengthen ties with the Muslim world.

Since his speech from Cairo last June, Obama has reached out to Iran and Syria, restoring full diplomatic relations with Damascus and returning an ambassador to the Syrian capital. The U.S. has also joined the anti-Israel U.N. Human Rights Commission.

This is just more evidence that the US is in the process of abandoning support of Israel.

"Perfect storm" as market tremors hit China, Europe and the US

Capitulation fever has swept global markets on triple fears of faltering recovery in the US, Chinese credit curbs and Europe's intractable escalating debt crisis.

"It is the perfect storm," said Andrew Roberts, credit strategist at RBS. "People have been too complacent about risky assets. This is a global deflation scare and people need to get ready for falls in US and European bond yields.

Wall Street shares plunged 3pc after new jobless claims in the US rose to 471,000 last week, the biggest jump in three months. The S&P 500 index of shares fell to 1080, triggering automatic stop-loss sales as it crashed through support on its 200-day moving average.

David Rosenberg from Gluskin Sheff said a fresh "train wreck" may be coming in the US mortgage market as rates on a wave of "option ARM" contracts reset upwards in September. This may compound a deflationary process already eating at the US economy as Washington's fiscal stimulus wears off and the effects of a stronger dollar feed through.

Meanwhile, monetary tightening in China has begun to set off tremors. Shanghai's bourse has tumbled 20pc since mid-April (or 58pc from its 2007 peak), dragging down oil and base metals.

An internal BaFin note in February said German banks held €522bn of exposure to state bonds in Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. It warned of "violent market disruptions" if contagion spread beyond Greece, triggering a "downward spiral in these countries, as in the case of Argentina".

City fears of "Great Depression"

Leading City experts have started raising the prospect of "Great Depression II" amid worries that the European economic crisis could trigger a deeper bout of chaos.

Markets on both sides of the Atlantic dipped to fresh lows as fears surrounding the fate of the euro project transmuted into worries about the wider global economic system.

Andrew Roberts, head of European rates strategy at RBS, said "Great Depression II" could now be approaching, adding: "It now has potential to speed toward its conclusion; a European $1trn package which does little and political panic tells you we are about to reach the end of the road. The world should be discussing deflation, not inflation."

Although the rush to safety stems originally from the euro's difficulties this week and German efforts to ban short-selling on its banks, fears that the episode may evolve into a deeper economic crisis were bolstered by fresh data.

"This is clear evidence that the deepening and spreading eurozone debt crisis... is now weighing down appreciably on consumer confidence. This is a very worrying – if hardly surprising – development."

Syria says it wants peace but keeps aiming missiles at Israel"

President Shimon Peres on Thursday declared that Israel seeks peace and that it poses no threat to Lebanon or Syria, but lamented the fact that Syria keeps arming itself while making claims it is interested in peace with Israel.

"Syria is taking simultaneous opposing actions. They talk peace while simultaneously manufacturing a huge store of 70,000 missiles on [Israel's] northern border, aimed at Israel."

Almost every scenario is being touched right now:

- Israel vs Syria
- Israel vs Hezbollah/Lebanon/Hamas
- World financial crisis/collapse
- EU struggles to survive in the midst of financial collapse
- Weapons build-up in the Middle East, including chemical weapons and other WMDs
- North Korea discovered to have sunk the South Korean ship
- The world aligned against Israel
- Attempts to divide Jerusalem

It seems that the world is JUST on the brink. The word "crisis" is something that we hear in the news daily, if not hourly.

Something is about to happen - most likely from one of the scenarios given above - any of which could trigger remaining prophetic events, including the beginning of the Tribulation. I can't help but wonder what the future antichrist is thinking right now - as he watches the stage being set for his arrival.

We are on the verge of big things. It wouldn't surprise me if we were to witness yet another huge earthquake in the coming weeks, and another story of a newly drug resistant bacteria/virus that is causing concern, just to close the loop on a big birthpain that we seem to be experiencing.

We were warned of this era - an era that Jesus so passionately informed us about and showed equal passion in His repeated warnings to watch the signs, and then, as a result of seeing the signs, preparing for His coming.

The time to prepare is now. We will soon be in His presence - and that is most definitely worth preparing for. After all, we are seen through God's lens as the Bride of Christ. The Bridegroom is preparing a place for us, and He is almost ready to take us there. He WILL return for His bride and take her to the dwelling place that He has prepared (John 14:1-3). What an awesome place that will be (Revelation 21,22).