What the Bible says about light and seed

The True Light "In him, (the Lord Jesus) was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world,…the world didn’t recognize him." John 1:4,9.

The Good Seed and the Weeds “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seeds in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. Matthew 13:24,25.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unquenching The Spirit

Unquenching The Spirit


Q.  I have read in one of your previous posts that if we continually ignore or disobey the Holy Spirit’s guidance we will lose the ability to hear him. Aka Quenching the Spirit. This bothers me for obvious reasons.  If someone did indeed quench the spirit is that a permanent event or can it be restored by restoring our fellowship with God?

A.  People lose the ability to hear the Holy Spirit by persisting in ignoring His advice.  They do this because they’re afraid to yield their independence to Him.
They can regain the ability by reversing the process.  But just as ignoring Him was an action caused by a motive, the decision to begin listening again must be caused by the opposite motive.  They must be willing to yield their independence and follow His advice.
And just as it took time to convince the Holy Spirit to keep quiet, it will take time to convince Him they’re ready to listen again. His voice will be very quiet at first but will become easier to hear as they practice listening to Him and accepting His advice.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Gospel of the Kingdom Vs. The Gospel of Grace

The Gospel of the Kingdom Vs. The Gospel of Grace

This Week’s Feature Article by Jack Kelley

Part 1. The Gospel Of The Kingdom

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” (Matt. 3:1-2)
Prophecies of a Messianic King appear throughout the Old Testament and many in the Jewish leadership saw John’s arrival on the scene as their fulfillment. They sent representatives to the place where John was baptizing to see if he was the promised Messiah. He said he wasn’t, but that the one they had been expecting was even then in their midst (John 1:19-28).

750 years earlier Isaiah had said when the Messiah came He would reign on David’s throne forever (Isaiah 9:6-7) but the throne of David had been vacant for 600 years. John had come to tell them the time was finally at hand and they had better get ready for Him.

When Jesus began His ministry, John introduced Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:8) and publicly testified that Jesus was the Son of God (John 1:34). Right from the beginning Jesus began teaching that the Kingdom of Heaven was near (Matt. 4:17), and sent His disciples through out the land to alert the people to this fact as well (Matt. 10:7-8).

But even with Isaiah’s prophecies, John’s testimony, and the Lord’s teaching, the Jewish leaders refused to accept that Jesus was the Messiah. They questioned His claims, His doctrine, and His miracles in spite of the fact that all were clearly foretold in their prophecies.
Isaiah had also said when He came the Messiah would have no beauty or majesty that would attract them to Him and that nothing about His appearance would make them desire Him (Isaiah 53:2). The fact that Jesus was not like they expected Him to be was a big problem for them.
Just before John was executed, He had sent a delegation of his disciples to confirm for themselves that Jesus was who He claimed to be.

In reply Jesus said, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” (Matt. 11:4-6)
Jesus fed the multitudes, walked on water, healed the sick and raised the dead and still they asked for a miraculous sign. Finally in frustration He responded, “A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matt. 12:38-40). They would get their sign, but only after they had executed Him.

Later, just a few days before His execution, He warned them again. “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit” (Matt. 21:43). He was speaking of the coming Church.

After the resurrection, having performed the miraculous sign they asked for, Jesus waited 40 days for them to acknowledge it. But upon being informed of the empty tomb the Jewish leaders bribed the soldiers to keep them quiet and refused to recognize the Lord’s fulfillment of the sign of Jonah (Matt. 28:11-15).

At the end of the 40 days His disciples asked if He was now going to restore the Kingdom to Israel. Jesus said it was not for them to know the times or dates (Acts 1:6-7) and after telling them to wait for the Holy Spirit to appear He ascended into heaven.

An Ambivalent Answer?

Some have criticized His response as being ambivalent, but I disagree. The disciples knew 69 of Daniel’s 70 weeks had passed, and there was one week (7 years) left to fulfill. They knew the Messiah had been cut off (put to death) like Daniel had prophesied (Daniel 9:26) and from His teaching they knew why. It was to fulfill three of the six objectives the angel had set forth when he gave Daniel the 70 weeks prophecy over 500 years earlier.
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy”. (Daniel 9:24)

The purpose of the Lord’s death was to finish transgression, put an end to sin and atone for wickedness. What was left was to bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and anoint the Most Holy. Bringing in everlasting righteousness is a reference to Isaiah 9:7 which says the Messiah will reign with justice and righteousness forever. Sealing up vision and prophecy means to bring them to their conclusion by fulfilling them. Anointing means to consecrate or sanctify, and the Most Holy probably refers to the Temple.

By telling the disciples it wasn’t for them to know the timing of the kingdom’s restoration and immediately changing the subject to the coming Holy Spirit, I think the Lord was saying the offer of the kingdom was still on the table, but His focus was about to change. Obviously God knew they had rejected the kingdom at that time, but He was leaving the door open for them to accept it at some point in the future.

This is borne out by a prophecy He spoke through Hosea 750 years earlier.
“Then I will go back to my place until they admit their guilt. And they will seek my face; in their misery they will earnestly seek me” (Hosea 5:15). Please note the word “until” because it conveys the notion of “not now” rather than “not ever.” The door was still open.

A Parenthetical Statement

10 days after the Lord’s ascension, the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and the Church was born. For about 20 years the Church remained mostly an offshoot of Judaism until James, the Lord’s half brother, revealed that the Lord was first going to take from among the Gentiles a people for Himself before moving to restore Israel (Acts 15:13-18). This was a clear promise of a future for Israel.
But shortly after that Israel ceased to exist as a nation and has been absent for most of the past 2000 years while God’s focus has been exclusively on the Church. Because of this many scholars began to express doubt that Israel would ever return, even asserting that the Church has replaced Israel in God’s plan and all the unfulfilled promises to Israel have been inherited by the Church. As far as they were concerned, there was no longer a reason for Israel to exist.

I’ve been going to church all my life but I was nearly 50 years old before I realized that the Age of Grace, aka the Church Age, only exists in a parenthesis between Daniel’s first 69 weeks and the coming 70th one. It began when the Holy Spirit came on Pentecost after the Lord’s Ascension and will end with the Rapture. Once the Church is gone the Lord will turn back to Israel to fulfill Daniel’s 70th week and implement the kingdom Daniel prophesied.
“In the time of those kings (the Gentile powers who control the Earth) the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).

In Daniel’s time it was already understood that this kingdom would be headquartered in Israel, but would have authority over all the Earth. Speaking through David, God said, “I have installed my King on Zion, My Holy hill” (Psalm 2:6).
He was referring to His Son, to whom He said, “Ask of Me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the Earth your possession” (Psalm 2:8).

Have You Forgotten Anything?

Those who teach that there’s no future for Israel have forgotten that James had foretold of one that would begin after the Lord finished with the Church (Acts 15:13-18). They have also forgotten that Paul confirmed this in Romans 11:25-27. And they’ve forgotten (or ignored) all the unconditional promises God had made to Israel.
This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar— the Lord Almighty is his name:
“Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,” declares the Lord, “will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me” (Jeremiah 31:35-36)

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms” (Ezekiel 37:21-22).

I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God (Amos 9:14-5).
There are probably dozens of others, but I’m sure you get the idea. Only by refusing to read these promises as they’re written can one deny that they are meant for Israel.

The Offer Still Stands

So the offer of a Kingdom to Israel was never rescinded, it was only set aside while the Lord builds His Church. Following that, He will turn His attention once again to Israel for the final segment of Daniel’s 70 Weeks prophecy. To say this will be a difficult time would be a gross understatement because Israel has to atone for the sin of rejecting the Lord’s earlier offer. Jesus called it the worst time of trouble the world ever has or ever will see (Matt. 24:21) but just as Hosea had prophesied, in their misery they will earnestly seek Him.

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence” (Hosea 6:1-2).
God will hear their prayer and pour out His Spirit of grace and supplication, allowing their hearts to be softened and their eyes to be opened to the fact that the one they put to death was their promised Messiah (Zechariah 12:10-14). After a period of intense mourning, they will admit their sin, and the blood guilt that He has not pardoned, He will pardon (Joel 3:21). It will be national conversion and it will change everything. Remember, it doesn’t matter who you are, no one comes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6).

Thy Kingdom Come

Then the Lord will appear over Jerusalem and fight against all the nations of the Earth, who have gathered against His people (Zech. 14:3). He will strike them with a plague that causes their flesh to rot while they’re still standing. Their eyes will rot in their sockets and their tongues will rot in their mouths. Those who survive will be stricken with great panic and actually begin attacking each other (Zech. 14:12-13). At the end of the day the victory will belong to the Lord, and He will be King over the whole Earth. There will finally be only one Lord and His name the only name. (Zechariah 14:9).

After that, the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it (Isaiah 2:2).
From all over the world people will say “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.”
 The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore (Isaiah 2:3-4).

This will be a time of rejoicing for Israel such as the world has never seen. The creation itself will join in the celebration.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God (Isaiah 35:1-2).

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12).
The ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away (Isaiah 35:10).

For this is what the Lord says, I will extend peace to her like a river and the wealth of the nations like a flooding stream. When you see this your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass (Isaiah 66:12,14).

The promised kingdom will have come to Israel, and the world will finally be at peace. Next time, the Gospel of Grace. 10-27-12

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankenstorm and British Columbia earthquake: Spiritual warfare and battle fatigue

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankenstorm and British Columbia earthquake: Spiritual warfare and battle fatigue 

Reblogged from: http://the-end-time.blogspot.com 

I was reading a weather report regarding Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm. The CT Post calls it a "freakish and unprecedented monster." This is the storm of mega-proportions that due to its combined elements of tropical storm, arctic nor'easter and unusual trajectory have made an historic storm of never-before-seen power. Billions will be affected by this Sunday-Tuesday with wind, rain, and snow. The impacts are expected to linger well into the weeks or even months. Power is expected to be out for days along the most populated segment of the nation: Washington DC to Boston Mass or even as far north as Portland, Maine. That is according to current weather analyses.

It seems that the storms have been coming one upon the other, almost. This is true for the entire globe, but especially true for America. It was a year ago May that the tornado outbreak at Joplin MO hit, wiping out the town and a good many other towns too. Then we had severe drought, wildfires, snow, derechos, floods and more in a non-stop train of disasters and storms. In addition, there have been thwarted terrorist attacks , mass shootings, Molotov cocktails, and unparallelled violence in Detroit and other cities. Then we had wars, cyberwars, and overseas involvement in successful and failed missions (Benghazi, anyone? WHO left them to DIE?).

People are weary. Just when we got over one set of disasters or near disasters, another one occurs that is worse. The Frankenstorm is a case in point.

I was reading an article about the coming storm that called it a hybrid, 800 mile storm set to impact millions and tens of millions of people. In the midst of the hubbub of the actual event, so large the mind can hardly contain what may be coming, one man's tears moved me.

"Across the street, Douglas Jumper, whose first floor took on nearly 5 feet of water during Irene, was tying down his patio furniture on Friday and moving items in his wood shop to higher ground. "I'm tired. I am tired," Jumper, who turns 58 on Saturday, said through tears. "We don't need this again."

What is happening in the world is a battle. It always has been a fight since the fall, but because we are close to the end the battle is more furious, more visible, and more potent against the humans who dwell on the earth.

Christians know we're in a spiritual battle. Secular people don't, but we do. Satan rages against God and against His children. God rages against sin. The Christian battles his own personal sin, and each of suffers from the effects of it and from the effect of others' sins. It is a fight all the time. We must be constantly vigilant, (James 4:7) on guard (1 Peter 5:8) and wearing our armor. (Ephesians 6:10-17). Even having the Holy Spirit in us to energize us, it is a weary thing to always be on guard against a relentless and intelligent enemy bent on our destruction. Ask any soldier. (Illustration: artist unknown, Illustrator of Henry Davenport Northrop's 'Treasures of the Bible', 1894)

The bible warns us against growing tired and losing heart.

"Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)

Notice the word IF. This says to me that it is possible to lose heart. The verse is talking about not getting tired of being kind and patient and loving. We become appalled at obstacles, disheartened at betrayals, grief-stricken over sin, and sometimes we just plain tire of the battle.

Jeremiah said in chapter 45:3 "You said, 'Woe to me! The LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.'"

Imagine how hard it is for those people who do not have the Holy Spirit in them to help restrain their sin, grow in Christ-likeness, and in doing well to others. How is it for them who do not know Christ and wonder at the storms. I awaken this morning to news of a 7.7 quake in British Columbia (Mark 13:8) and a tsunami warning for Hawaii and small tsunami waves already hitting the American west coast. So both the east of America and the west are being pummeled.

The man from the article, Mr. Jumper, comes to mind. I do not know if he is saved or not, but his weariness just struck me. I can empathize. The battle against the worldly elements must seem insurmountable...one storm after another means that there is constant activity to protect, board, evacuate, adrenaline flowing, family members to be rounded up, cared for, evacuated. Then the waiting through the storms, never knowing if your home will even be there after it is all said and done. Then afterwards the constant activity expended to get back up and running, repairs, insurance calls, re-building....

And then it happens again. And then again.

We are told that the end time is like a woman giving birth. The long gestation began when Jesus ascended and will end when He returns in glory. As the pregnancy nears its bloody conclusion the discomfort grows as the pressure increases to unbearable levels. And when the labor pangs begin the pain only increases in frequency and intensity. The brief periods of respite between the pangs grow shorter in duration and soon before one can catch one's breath the next pang comes crashing down. It is like that with the Frankenstorm and the major earthquake. And the Tribulation will be so much worse. We need more than ever to carry each other's burdens. (Galatians 6:2).

Annie Vallotton, Gal 6:2

Without the Lord, I don't know how people even cope. Perhaps they are not coping.

Battle fatigue:

Wikipedia explains, 'Now called "Combat stress reaction (CSR), is a term used within the military to describe acute behavioral disorganization seen by medical personnel as a direct result of the trauma of war. Also known as "combat fatigue", historically, it has some link to shell shock. Combat stress reaction is an acute reaction including a range of behaviours resulting from the stress of battle which decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and inability to prioritize."

You can go here to look at the symptoms of combat fatigue, or see the chart below. Click to enlarge.

Satan brings disorder into our physical world by afflicting humans (Job 1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Hebrews 2:14). The disorder is not just external but internal also. In my opinion I believe the symptoms many people are feeling, whether they know they are in a battle or not, are symptoms of battle fatigue.

Image from World War I taken in an Australian dressing station near Ypres in 1917. The wounded soldier in the lower left of the photo has a dazed thousand-yard stare, a frequent symptom of "shell-shock". (Wikipedia)

Literally, I awaken each morning wondering what dread thing might have happened overnight. Is Damascus destroyed? The verses in Isaiah 17 say that it will happen suddenly. Destruction comes quickly, was there an earthquake? A volcanic explosion? The labor pangs are increasing to a degree where their effects cannot help but be felt in the world by the people. People are internalizing the stress of the economic times, the moral times, and the potential for natural disaster. These internalizations, fears, tragesides, worries have an effect on the mind and the body.

Franz von Stuck, "War," c. 1894
The underlying root cause of all this is a spiritual battle over the deed to the earth. (Satan has already lost and our Savior owns the earth and everything in it (Revelation 5:5; Psalm 24:1), but satan refuses to believe that, so he presses on, and God lets Him, until the time is right for us to be taken up and the times to end.)

"Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out." (Proverbs 242:19-20)

Gill's Exposition explains that verse so well: "For their calamity shall rise suddenly,.... And come upon those that fear not God, and rebel against the king and the state, and innovate in matters of religion; and especially that bring in damnable heresies, and, while they cry Peace, peace, and are pleasing themselves with their new schemes and prosperous success, swift and sudden destruction comes upon them."

We rejoice in our Holy Savior who does these holy things. There will be much singing in heaven over His conquering of sin. But watching the world be warned and punished is HARD. And it has its effects. We are battle weary too! Those who do not have Jesus are even more battle weary. At least we know the time is short. They don't know when this will ever end, and for many who do not heed the warnings, it never will.

Be aware that the spiritual battle of this world is taking its very real and physical toll on people. Brethren, do not grow weary. The writer of Hebrews said,

"not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25).

I believe this is why: battle fatigue. Its effects are real.  Do not grow weary. It is the last hour! The Lord is near, indeed, He is a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Are you futilely carrying water in a sieve? Read here for the answer

Saturday, October 27, 2012
Israel is a dry land. It is verdant in some areas where it is close to the humid Mediterranean, and in the north rain does fall between November and March. More than 70% of the average rainfall in Israel falls between those months. June through September are usually rainless, however. For the most part it is a dry country. The Jordan rift valley is the the lowest place on earth (1300 feet below sea level) where where only one to two inches of rain fall annually.

Egypt, where major portions of the bible events take place, of course is also dry, with rainfall averaging from 8 inches per year in the north to 2-4 the further south one travels.

It is dry there. Water is an issue.

The first time a well is mentioned in the bible is in Genesis 16:14, where as so often a well is the major landmark- "Wherefore the well was called Beerlahairoi; behold, it is between Kadesh and Bered."

David longed for a sip of water from the well at Bethlehem. (2 Samuel 23:15)

Famously, when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, and they got thirsty, they grumbled and clamored for water. So Moses inquired of God what to do and God said to strike the rock and when Moses did a flow of water gushed out. (Exodus 17:1-7).

Think of how many times in the bible Jesus (or The Angel of the LORD) met someone by a well or a spring.

When Abraham and Sarah put out the slave girl Hagar that had begotten Ishmael, Abraham gave her a skin of water and sent her on her way with the boy. They wandered, but the water ran out. She put the boy Ishmael under a bush and sat weeping a little ways off so she would not have to watch the boy die. The Angel of the Lord (Jesus?) heard Hagar weeping, and comforted her with His words and when she opened her eyes there was a well of water. (Genesis 21:8-21).

I've mentioned before that the Woman at the Well is my favorite story in the bible. John 4 has the story. A woman who seems to have been marginalized came to the well at midday (hot!) to draw water by herself (unusual- wells were the original water cooler place for talk and gathering). Jesus was there, being tired and thirsty. He was sitting. He told the woman to draw water for Him, and this was also unusual because it broke a gender and race taboo- men did not speak to women alone and Jews did not speak to the hated Samarians. She exclaimed in surprise.

"Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”"

Living water? He seemed to her to be an unusual man speaking of an unusual thing. And indeed He is an unusual Person and the Living Water is the everflowing Holy Spirit. He said in John 7 in the section titled Rivers of Living Water:
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. (John 7:37-39)
Of course the enemy hates that the people have water. Wells were often targets of the enemy to plug up.

"For all the wells which his father's servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped them, and filled them with earth. (Genesis 26:15)

"And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones." (2 Kings 3:19).

In the bible, water is a symbol for Salvation, Holy Spirit Truth, and Everlasting Life.
  • "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation." (Isaiah 12:3).
  • "Understanding is a well-spring of life unto him that hath it; ..." (Proverbs 16:22a)
  • "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)
Peter likens false teachers and false prophets to dry and empty wells, hypocrites offering a pretense of Christian life but having no water at all: "These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever." (2 Peter 2:17)

Can you imagine if Hagar, for example, had wandered alone with her son in the desert, her skin empty and the sun beating down, knowing life would end for herself and her boy if she didn't find water, spotted a well. Eagerly moving the rock so as to draw water, she lets down the bucket, only to come up with nothing but sand and earth. Her wailing would have been all the worse for this bitter disappointment, having had the glimmer of hope only to have been fooled by the pretense of life giving water.

There is nothing worse than pretense! There is nothing more disappointing to sit under a teacher only to discover they were only offering dry earth and vain hope all along! (Colossians 2:8). They were a dry well and a broken cistern!

In Jeremiah 3:10 God says that He hated the pretense Judah was putting forth in their devotion to Him. Matthew Henry Commentary explains:

"Josiah went further in destroying idolatry than the best of his predecessors had done, and for his own part he turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul; so it is said of him, 2 Ki. 23:25. The people were forced to an external compliance with him, and joined with him in keeping a very solemn passover and in renewing their covenants with God (2 Chr. 34:32, 35:17); but they were not sincere in it, nor were their hearts right with God. For this reason God at that very time said, I will remove Judah out of my sight, as I removed Israel (2 Ki. 23:27), because Judah was not removed from their sin by the sight of Israel's removal from their land. Hypocritical and ineffectual reformations bode ill to a people. We deceive ourselves if we think to deceive God by a feigned return to him."

"for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water." (Jeremiah 2:13)

Have you heard the phrase "carrying water in a sieve?" That comes from Greek Mythology. "In Greek mythology, the Daughters of Danaus were the fifty daughters of Danaus. They were to marry the fifty sons of Danaus's twin brother Aegyptus, a mythical king of Egypt. In the most common version of the myth, all but one of them kill their husbands on their wedding night, and are condemned to spend eternity carrying water in a sieve or perforated device. In the classical tradition, they come to represent the futility of a repetitive task that can never be completed." (Wikipedia)

John William Waterhouse
The Danaides, 1903
You cannot earn your own salvation. If you are not complete in Christ (Colossians 2:9-10) you are no better off than the Danaides daughters, carrying water to fill an endlessly leaking well. If you're in church and you believe that to be enough, it isn't. Filling a leaking cistern in a church is just as leaky and incomplete as it would be in any other place.

Whenever you're reading the bible and you see a reference to a spring or a well or a fountain, then think of these symbols of water and what they mean.

"Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." (Ephesians 5:25-26)

"Whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." (John 4:14)

How might you get some of this living water? Christian blogger and author Joel C. Rosenberg linked to a simple Gospel web animation that explains why we need Jesus and how to be saved. It is here. Please share it widely and often. And I pray you are saved and partaking of the Living Water daily.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The limits of US power - Caroline B. Glick

The limits of US power - Caroline B. Glick 
 Reblogged from Prophecy Update.
Israel is the only country that can prevent the genocidal Iranian regime with regional and global ambitions from acquiring
Monday's US presidential debate on foreign policy came and went. And we are none the wiser for it.
Not surprisingly, at the height of the campaign season, neither US President Barack Obama nor his Republican challenger Gov. Mitt Romney was interested in revealing his plans for the next four years.
But from what was said, we can be fairly certain that a second Obama term will involve no departure from his foreign policy in his current term in office.
As far as Iran and its nuclear weapons program is concerned, that policy has involved a combination of occasional tough talk and a relentless attempt to appease the mullahs. While Obama denied The New York Times report from last weekend that he has agreed to carry out new bilateral negotiations with Iran after the US presidential elections, his administration has acknowledged that it would be happy to have such talks if they can be arranged.
As for Romney, his statements of support for tougher sanctions, including moving to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the crime of incitement of genocide were certainly welcome.
But they were also rather out of date, given the lateness of the hour.
If there was ever much to recommend it, the "sanction Iran into abandoning its nuclear weapons" policy is no longer a relevant option. The timetables are too short.
On the other hand, Romney's identification of Iran as the gravest national security threat facing the US made clear that he understands the severity of the threat posed by Iran's nuclear weapons program.
And consequently, if Romney defeats Obama on November 6, it is likely that on January 21, 2013, the US will adopt a different policy towards Iran.
The question for Israel now is whether any of this matters. If Romney is elected and adopts a new policy towards Iran, what if any operational significance will this policy shift have for Israel? The short answer is very little.
To understand why this is the case we need to consider two issues: The time it would take for a new US policy to be implemented; and the time Iran requires to become a nuclear power.
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, jihadist attacks on the US, then-president George W. Bush faced no internal opposition to overthrowing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. The US military and intelligence arms all supported the operation. Congress supported the operation. The American public supported the operation. The UN supported the mission.
And still, it took the US four weeks to plan and launch Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001. That is, under optimal conditions, the US needed nearly a month to respond to the largest foreign attack on the US mainland since the War of 1812.
Then of course there was Operation Iraqi Freedom which officially began on March 20, 2003, with the US-British ground invasion of Iraq from Kuwait.
Bush and his advisers began seriously considering overthrowing Saddam Hussein's regime in the spring of 2002. They met with resistance from the US military. They met with a modicum of political opposition in Congress, and more serious opposition in the media. Moreover, they met with harsh opposition from France and Russia and other key players at the UN and in the international community. So, too, they met with harsh opposition from senior UN officials.
It took the administration until November 2002 to get the UN Security Council to pass Resolution 1441 which found Iraq in material breach of the cease-fire that ended the 1991 Gulf War. The US and Britain began repositioning ground forces and war materiel in Kuwait ahead of a ground invasion that month. It took more than four months for the Americans and the British to complete the forward deployment of their forces in Kuwait.
During those long months, other parties, unsympathetic to the US, Britain and their aims had ample opportunity to make their own preparations to deny the US and Britain the ability to win the war quickly and easily and so avoid the insurgency that ensued in the absence of a clear victory. So, too, the four months the US required to ready for war enabled Iran to plan and begin executing its plan to suck the US into a prolonged proxy war with its surrogates from al-Qaida and Hezbollah protégés.
A CLEAR Anglo-American victory would have involved the location, presentation and destruction of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction. And this Saddam denied them. By the time US ground forces finally arrived, despite massive telltale signs that such weapons had been in Iraq until very recently, no smoking gun was found.
In the long lead up to the US invasion, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon warned that satellite data indicated that Iraq was transporting its chemical weapons arsenal to Syria. Sharon's warnings fell on deaf ears. So, too, a report by a Syrian journalist that WMD had been transferred to Syria was ignored.
According to a detailed report by Ryan Mauro at PJMedia.com from June 2010, after the fall of Saddam's regime, the Iraq Survey Group, charged with assessing the status of Iraq's WMD arsenal, received numerous credible reports that the chemical weapons had been sent to Syria before the invasion.
The stream of reports about the pre-invasion transfer of Iraq's WMD to Syria have continued to intermittently surface since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war last year.
In short, at a minimum, the time the US required to mount its operation in Iraq enabled Saddam to prepare the conditions to deny America the ability to achieve a clear victory.
THIS BRINGS us to Iran. In the event that Romney is elected to the presidency, upon entering office he would face a military leadership led by Gen. Martin Dempsey that has for four years sought to minimize the danger that Iran's nuclear weapons program poses to the US. Dempsey has personally employed language to indicate that he believes an Israeli preemptive strike against Iran's nuclear weapons sites would be an illegal act of aggression.
Romney would face intelligence, diplomatic and military establishments that at a minimum have been complicit in massive leaks of Israeli strike options against Iran and that have so far failed to present credible military options for a US strike against Iran's uranium enrichment sites and other nuclear installations.
He would face a hostile media establishment that firmly and enthusiastically supports Obama's policy of relentless appeasement and has sought to discredit as a warmonger and a racist every politician who has tried to make the case that Iran's nuclear weapons program constitutes an unacceptable threat to US national security.
Then, too, Romney would face a wounded Democratic base, controlled by politicians who have refused to cooperate with Republicans since 2004.
And he would face an electorate that has never heard a cogent case for military action against Iran. (Although, with the goodwill with which the American public usually greets its new presidents, this last difficulty would likely be the least of his worries.)
At the UN, Romney would face the same gridlock faced by his two predecessors on Iran. Russia and China would block UN Security Council action against the mullocarcy.
AS FOR the Arab world, whereas when Obama came into office in 2009, the Sunni Arab world was united in its opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran, today Muslim Brotherhood-ruled Egypt favors Iran more than it favors the US. Arguably only Saudi Arabia would actively support an assault on Iran's nuclear weapons sites. All the other US allies have either switched sides, or like Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain are too weak to offer any open assistance or political support. For its part, Iraq is already acting as Iran's satrapy, allowing Iran to transfer weapons to Bashar Assad's henchmen through its territory.
All of this means that as was the case in Iraq, it would likely take until at least the summer of 2013, if not the fall, before a Romney administration would be in a position to take any military action against Iran's nuclear installations.
And it isn't only US military campaigns that take a long time to organize. It also takes a long time for US administrations to change arm sales policies.
For instance, if a hypothetical Romney administration wished to supply Israel with certain weapons systems that would make an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations more successful, it could take months for such deals to be concluded, approved by Congress, and then executed.
This then brings us to the question of where will Iran's nuclear weapons program likely stand by next summer?
In his speech before the UN General Assembly last month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that by next spring or at the latest next summer Iran will have reached the final stage of uranium enrichment and will be able to acquire sufficient quantities of bomb-grade uranium for a nuclear weapon within a few months or even a few weeks.
Netanyahu said that the last opportunity to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons will be before it reaches the final stage of uranium enrichment - that is, by the spring. At that point, a hypothetical Romney administration will have been in office for mere months. A new national security leadership will just be coming into its own.
It is extremely difficult to imagine that a new US administration would be capable of launching a preemptive attack against Iran's nuclear installations at such an early point in its tenure in office.
Indeed, it is hard to see how such a new administration would be able to offer Israel any material support for an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear installations by next spring.
So this leaves us with Israel. Over the past several weeks, there has been a spate of reports indicating that Israel's military and intelligence establishments forced Netanyahu to take a step back from rhetorical brinksmanship on Iran. Our commanders are reportedly dead set against attacking Iran without US support and still insist that Israel can and must trust the Americans to take action to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
There is great plausibility to these reports for a number of reasons. The intelligence and military brass have for years suffered from psychological dependence of the US and believe that Israel's most important strategic interest is to ensure US support for the country. Then, too, in the event that an Israeli strike takes place against the backdrop of a larger military confrontation with Iran's proxies in Syria, Lebanon and Gaza, Israel would likely require rapid resupply of arms to ensure its ability to fend off its enemies.
But when we consider the political realities of the US - in the event that Obama is reelected or in the event that Romney takes the White House - it is clear that Israel will remain the only party with the means - such as they are - and the will to strike Iran's nuclear installations.
Israel is the only country that can prevent this genocidal regime with regional and global ambitions from acquiring the means to carry out its goals.

Advice, comfort and encouragement from the Scriptures in times of disaster and calamity.


King James Version: Proverbs Chapter27

10 Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.
11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.
12 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

King James Version: Psalms Chapter 71

1 In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion.

2 Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.

3 Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.

4 Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man.

5 For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth.

6 By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother's bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee.

7 I am as a wonder unto many; but thou art my strong refuge.

8 Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day.

9 Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.

10 For mine enemies speak against me; and they that lay wait for my soul take counsel together,

11 Saying, God hath forsaken him: persecute and take him; for there is none to deliver him.

12 O God, be not far from me: O my God, make haste for my help.

13 Let them be confounded and consumed that are adversaries to my soul; let them be covered with reproach and dishonour that seek my hurt.

14 But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more.

15 My mouth shall shew forth thy righteousness and thy salvation all the day; for I know not the numbers thereof.

16 I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only.

17 O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works.

18 Now also when I am old and greyheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come.

19 Thy righteousness also, O God, is very high, who hast done great things: O God, who is like unto thee!

20 Thou, which hast shewed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up again from the depths of the earth.

21 Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side.

22 I will also praise thee with the psaltery, even thy truth, O my God: unto thee will I sing with the harp, O thou Holy One of Israel.

23 My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed.

24 My tongue also shall talk of thy righteousness all the day long: for they are confounded, for they are brought unto shame, that seek my hurt.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Faith and Miracles Part VI: But If Not

Faith and Miracles Part VI: But If Not 
Reblogged from Prophecy Update.

"But see, there's a problem when Grandma prays to be healed and she isn't healed. She thinks she doesn't have strong enough faith or that God doesn't love her. What about Grandma?" - An anonymous skeptic
"...Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." Dan 3:17-18 (emphasis added)
There are many times in our lives when we say, "God, if You love me, You will do X, Y and Z." We mistakenly believe that if God doesn't answer our prayers the way we want, it's because He doesn't care about us. Remember the three young men faced with a fiery furnace; they did not know what God was going to do, but they trusted him anyway.
The Bible is very clear that God loves us (John 3:16, 1John 4:10, Jer 31:3, Rom 8:35-39). God's Word declares that He loves us more than we can possibly know, that He IS love (1 John 4:8). We can go to God with confidence in His love for us, ready for whatever glorious things He wanted to do in us and through us. That's the heart of God.
No matter what happens, we can still trust Him implicitly.
More Miracles:
In January of 1992, Tony Darmanin went for a ride with Jeremy Benson in his sweet 1973 Chevy Nova hatchback. Jeremy and his father had spent a year fixing up that Nova for Jeremy's 16th birthday, and he loved it. Jeremy hadn't had his license long, though, and inexperienced teen boys with muscle cars generally spell T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
On a rainy winter evening, Tony Darmanin climbed into Jeremy's Nova with Brandon Wright and Billy Walters. As soon as Jeremy started up the engine and took off, Tony knew he was in trouble. They sped down North Shore Drive in Bellingham, Washington at speeds worthy of the car, but unwise considering the weather conditions. They came to a hairpin turn, Jeremy hit the brakes, and the car naturally hydroplaned on the wet pavement.
Tony said, "So, we're not slowing down, and now Jeremy can't steer." They shot off the cliff edge and flew through the dark night air. They should have all died.
A tree at the bottom of the 40-foot deep ravine helped save the young men's lives. The car smacked the tree, which changed their trajectory just enough to keep the car from landing upside down and crushing all its occupants. Instead, the Nova smashed nose-first into the ground.
Tony dangled in the back seat by his seatbelt. The hatchback had popped open and its cover had slammed down into his neck and back. His internal organs were gashed by the force of the seatbelt, and his ankle was injured. Tony only knew that he'd never felt that much pain in his life. Billy had cracked the windshield with his head and his brain had started to swell. (After temporary blindness, he would recover.) Miraculously, Jeremy and Brandon climbed out unharmed and went for help.
Tony woke up outside of the car in the rain. He knew he had to get some help quickly, and he saw no friends around. He began to pull himself a little bit at a time out of that ravine in excruciating pain. As soon as he reached the top, flashlights shone in his face. People in a nearby house had seen the Nova's headlights fly off the cliff and had already called 9-1-1.
At The Hospital:
Tony's mother Alice Darmanin raced to the trauma unit at St. Luke's Hospital ahead of the ambulance. When they brought in Tony on the gurney, she thought he was already dead.
"He wasn't moving and he was a grey color, and my heart just sunk. Of course they couldn't tell us anything. We sat there praying and praying, and the kids were calling everybody they knew to pray. We still didn't know anything about Anthony. Finally they told us that there was so much blood in the pictures they had taken, they couldn't could tell if it was his liver, his kidney or spleen that was bleeding. They said , 'If he survives the next half hour we'll take another set of pictures.' I only heard the 'if he survives' part."
Instant Healing:
Tony was conscious as the doctor probed his stomach and felt for damage and took him in to get a CAT scan. All he knew was that there was serious internal bleeding. "If you do not go into surgery in 15 minutes, you will die," the doctor told him. "Do we have your consent to take you to surgery?"
Tony gave the doctor permission to save his life while a sense of excitement filled him. In 15 minutes he could be standing in the presence of Jesus. If they did surgery and he got better, that was great, and if he died, he realized that was also great. Tony told us, "It makes you realize the significance of 'O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [1Cor 15:55]'" Already his veins had started to collapse and he felt pins and needles through all of his extremities.
Even as they sent Tony in for a CAT scan, though, he knew people were praying for him. "I felt their prayers. It was the first time in my life where I could actually feel the prayers of people praying for me."
About 45 minutes after she'd first visited them, the doctor returned to the Darmanin family in the waiting room to give them the relieving and unexpected news that their son was okay. According to Alice:
"All she says is, 'Do you want to see your son?' We walked back there and he's sitting up. The doctor said, 'I don't know what to tell you, but we don't know what happened. We don't know where the blood came from. We don't know where the blood went.' There was no blood. There were no wounds. She said, 'He has a very nasty crack on the back of his neck.' Actually, he should have died from that. The crack was on the hangman's vertebrae, and we were told only one in a thousand survives that."
The doctor kept Tony overnight, For the next few days Tony had some soreness, but that was it. He never had surgery.
Pain Remains:
Tony noted:
"But even though God did that miracle and healed my internal organs, for the past 18 years I have lived every day with pain in my back and neck from when the hatch slammed into me. I've gone to chiropractors, done physical therapy and deep tissue massage, and I'm still in constant pain.
"People tell me, 'You just don't have enough faith. If you had more faith God would have healed your whole body.' And I think, 'No... I have faith.' Or they say, 'You have unconfessed sin, that's why you're not healed,' and I think, 'No... I have my faults, but I don't have unconfessed sin.'
"No, this is what I've learned. I've learned that pain is not the enemy. I have learned that God has allowed me to have this pain for His reasons and for His purposes."
God's Love In Every Detail:
A year later, Tony was at college living in the dorms when he ran out of all his toiletries at one time. "I squeezed out the last of my toothpaste. I used the very last of my shampoo and conditioner (yes, I condition) and even my deodorant had been completely used up. All on the same day."
Tony walked down to his bank to see if he could take out five dollars. When he checked the ATM, though, he had only $3.67 - too little to draw out on a Saturday afternoon.
"Well, Lord," Tony said, "If You don't want me to be stinky, please help me out here."
He walked back to the dorms. As he was heading to the door, his friend Margaret walked up to him with a paper bag in her arms. She said, "I don't want you to be offended, but while I was at the store shopping this morning, I really felt God wanted me to buy these things for you." Tony took the bag and looked inside. It held shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and deodorant.
"And after all these years," he said, "It still brings tears to my eyes. Because it told me that God really cared about me, even in the little things. And it wasn't that she gave me money. Anybody can hand you money. She handed me the very things I needed."
It's Not About Toughness:
People often think that the proper response to pain is to be tough and pony up and push through it out of sheer determination. But, that's not the heart of God. Everything He does is for good, and He desires that we learn to completely depend on His love for us, no matter what things look like. He is willing to give us all we need, down to things as seemingly small as toothpaste. Almighty God who created the stars and calls them by name cares even for the sparrows.
"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows." - Luke 12:7
Tony said:
"The fact is that God cares intimately about me and knows about the smallest details of my life, and yet He's allowed me to live with this pain for the past 18 years. It's not that He's doing these things - He didn't cause my suffering. But, He's allowed me to suffer pain. None of us escape it. It's part of the territory of being human. What God has promised is He'll never leave us. He'll never abandon us. And He'll never let us suffer more than He can carry us through. Some people ask why does a loving God allow pain? And I've learned that it's because of God's love that I can live through the pain."
Is suffering always God's plan? Of course not. Jesus had great compassion and healed people constantly, and he promised that we would do greater things than he did (John 14:12). God wants us to know Him and He wants to form us into the image of His Son (Rom 8:28-29). He wants us to trust that He loves us, and when we go to Him for help, to go boldly (Hebrews 4:16). And whatever happens, as the Hebrew children said before Nebuchadnezzar threw them into the fiery furnace, "But if not" - But if not, we will still trust Him, we will continue to follow Him alone. Whatever He decides, we need to have confidence that nothing is able to separate us from His great and perfect love.
"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." -Romans 8:35-39

Paul McGuire -- Super Storms of Consciousness - The Seductive Winds of Armageddon

Paul McGuire -- Super Storms of Consciousness - The Seductive Winds of Armageddon



Posted: October 23, 2012 in Uncategorized
Discussion over the real and looming threat of a major war in the Tel Aviv-to-Tehran corridor dominated the final presidential debate last night. Iran, Israel and the disaster in Syria were mentioned more than any other countries — more than China, far more than Russia. Canada and Mexico were never mentioned last night.

Indeed, the sharpest and most impassioned confrontations between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney came over the Iran nuclear threat, the prospect of Israel launching a full-scale war against Iran, and whether the U.S. will stand with Israel as a faithful ally.

However, one of the most disturbing moments for me personally came when moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News asked: “Would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States, which of course is the same promise that we give to our close allies like Japan? And if you made such a declaration, would not that deter Iran? It’s certainly deterred the Soviet Union for a long, long time when we made that – when we made that promise to our allies.”

This was a flawed question. The far more important question is: If diplomacy and sanctions and covert operations don’t stop Iran from getting the Bomb, would you fully support Israel if Prime Minister Netanyahu feels he has no choice but to order preemptive military strikes on Iran.

Nevertheless, President Obama accepted the premise of the question and replied, “I will stand with Israel if they are attacked.” Mr. Obama tried to portray himself as a strong ally of Israel throughout the rest of that answer and the entirety of the evening. But consider his answer more carefully.

The President did not say unequivocally that he would stand with Israel in a preemptive strike on Iran, if that were the last option available. Rather, Mr. Obama insisted he would help Israel after Iran attacks the Jewish state. But if Iran attacks Israel with nuclear weapons, it would be too late for American military assistance to do much good. Indeed, it is immoral for an American president to vow to defend Israel only after she has been attacked with nuclear weapons. Yet this is the President’s position.

True, President Obama noted that “as long as I’m president of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.” But as I explain in detail in my new book, Israel At War: Inside The Nuclear Showdown With Iran, Israeli leaders aren’t convinced they can trust Mr. Obama to prevent Iran from getting the Bomb. The Israelis see time passing. They see the Obama administration interested in never-ending diplomacy with Iranian leaders who have shown no serious interest in making a deal despite years of attempts. They see Iran getting closer to the Bomb, and they see the White House constantly undermining the Israeli military option, and signaling that when the U.S. says “all options are on the table” that the President and his advisors don’t really mean they are seriously considering military options. 

Advantage Romney? Perhaps, but it wasn’t so clear.
Overall, I have come to believe over the past few months that Governor Romney would likely be a better ally for Israel that President Obama. He certainly wouldn’t do worse than Mr. Obama in creating tensions between the two nations. He has known Benjamin Netanyahu personally for many years, since they worked together at a business consulting firm in Boston in the mid-1970s. He has articulated a very pro-Israel policy throughout his campaign. And last night Romney made a strong defense for better U.S.-Israeli relations and gave a devastating critique of the President’s troubled relationship with Israel and weakness vis-a-vis Iran. “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran,”

Romney noted. “We’re four years closer to a nuclear Iran. And — and we should not have wasted these four years to the extent they’ve – they continue to be able to spin these centrifuges and get that much closer. That’s number one. Number two, Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to — to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to – to Turkey and Iraq. And – and by way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations. And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel. And then in those nations and on Arabic TV you said that America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations. Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations. We have freed other nations from dictators.” Strong stuff.

But if you look closely, Mr. Romney last night did not indicate clear and unequivocal support for a preemptive Israeli strike. Rather, he echoed the President’s promise to stand with Israel after a nuclear attack by Iran. “Well, first of all, I — I want to underscore the — the same point the president made,” Romney said, “which is that if I’m president of the United States, when I’m president of the United States, we will stand with Israel. And if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily.”

Was Romney concerned a stronger answer might allow the President to label him a “war monger”? Perhaps. But Romney’s answer came out soft. I repeat: it is immoral for an American president to offer to stand with Israel only after she has been attacked by Iranian nuclear warheads. Jewish and Christian friends of Israel must ask: Would a President Romney actually take decisive action to neutralize the Iran threat, even if that meant American military strikes? If not, would he fully and unequivocally back an Israeli strike on Iran, if no other options were available? I think so. I hope so.

But he didn’t actually say so last night.

At one point, Mr. Schieffer asked Romney, “What if — what if the prime minister of Israel called you on the phone and said: ‘Our bombers are on the way?. We’re going to bomb Iran’? What do you say?”

“Bob, let’s not go into hypotheticals of that nature,” Romney replied. “Our relationship with Israel, my relationship with the prime minister of Israel is such that we would not get a call saying our bombers are on the way or their fighters are on the way. This is the kind of thing that would have been discussed and thoroughly evaluated well before that kind of action.”

Does that mean a President Romney would give a green light to Netanyahu days or weeks ahead of an Israeli strike? It sounded that way, but he wasn’t precise. Rather, he changed the subject. Indeed, he actually left himself plenty of room not to support an Israeli strike. Why? It is worth asking why the Governor didn’t offer a clear statement of support for Israeli action if needed, when this would have provided a clear point of difference with President Obama. No one wants war. But if war must come, President Obama refuses to promise to stand with Israel in a preemptive strike. Isn’t it a bit odd that Governor Romney is leaving doubt, as well?

Last point: I found it intriguing that the candidates for the most powerful office of the most powerful nation on earth did not focus primarily on the most populous nations on earth, like the 1.2 billion people in China, or the one billion people in India. Rather, they focused primarily on future “wars and rumors of war” in the Middle East. Bible prophecy indicates that in the “last days,” the eyes of the nations will be riveted on Israel and her neighbors and enemies, the epicenter of the momentous events that are shaking our world and shaping our future. Last night was further evidence this trend is coming to pass before our eyes.

Consider the following facts, based on a search of the full debate transcript:
  • Iran was mentioned 53 times
  • Israel was mentioned 34 times
  • Syria was mentioned 34 times
  • China was mentioned 32 times
  • Pakistan was mentioned 25 times
  • Iraq was mentioned 22 times
  • Libya was mentioned 12 times
  • Egypt was mentioned 11 times
  • Russia was mentioned 10 times
  • Lebanon was mentioned 2 times
  • Saudis were mentioned 2 times
  • Palestinians were mentioned 1 time
  • France was mentioned 1 time
  • Great Britain was mentioned 1 time
  • Jordan was not mentioned
  • India was not mentioned
  • Indonesia was not mentioned
  • Mexico was not mentioned
  • Canada was not mentioned
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