Reflections on the Time of the End
Joel 2:17-21 - “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, will dwell on Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will glow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house and will water the valley of acacias. …Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations.”
Feast of Unleavened Bread - Passover
Feast of Harvest - Pentecost
Succot - Feast of Ingathering /Tabernacles
You see the ‘judgments of the Lord’ carried the full weight of the Torah or God’s divine law. These three festivals were required of males of the children of Israel. The implications of following these festivals had everything to do about life and death. All males were to participate in the planting and harvesting of the spring and fall crop season. For a male to refuse to participate in the agrarian culture of the land and the festival meant death. To participate meant life. Here the Lord of hosts took divine concepts; obey you live and disobey you die and gave them very literal application. As such for God’s chosen ones to question the Torah or God’s divine law was not open to question. It was God’s command.
On the other hand, the “statues of the Lord’ (Lev. 23:21, 31, 39, 41) were centered on the civil legislative body and tribal law. They would take the spiritual concepts of the Torah and make literal applications for them. The participation in the ‘kingdom of God’ was taking realities in the other-dimensional states in heaven and giving real true-life applications.
Feast of Harvest - Pentecost.
Yom Kippur - Day of Atonement (Judgment)
Succot - Feast of Tabernacles
Participation in these festivals was a miniature yearly play where human action plays out in drama the act of fulfilling God’s Will. It is not that the Lost House of the Tribes of Israel will learn to obey the Lord their God but that they ‘will obey’ the Lord their God. Then they will be restored to ‘The Land’. This is not a promise to dwell in an other-dimensional ‘promised land’, but “you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your father”. Then and only then, “you shall be My people and I will be your God.”
The prophet then Joel picks up this theme.
Joel 2:1 – “Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in My holy mountain? Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the Day of the Lord is coming.”
Another lament or oracle is found in Jeremiah to the king of Egypt. Here we see potentially a mini-picture of a future day when the reign of Mubarak, as the modern Pharaoh, will be extinguished and the land will be desolated.
Ezekiel 32:7-9 – When I put out your light, I will cover the heavens, and make its stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. And the bright light of the heaven I will make dark over you, and bring darkness upon your land.’ says the Lord God.”
The prophet Joel then suggests that associated with the catastrophes of an earthquake will be the return of the Lord to Jerusalem, a restoration of the land of Israel as a land ‘flowing with milk and honey’, where the Latter Rain will once again be bountiful, the land will erupt with trees and vegetation, the land will sustain a bountiful of harvest, and the ‘fountain will flow out of the Lords house’.
Joel 2:17-21 - “Then you will know that I, the Lord your God, will dwell on Zion, my holy hill. Jerusalem will be holy; never again will foreigners invade her. In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house and will water the valley of acacias. …Judah will be inhabited forever and Jerusalem through all generations.”
Yet we shall soon see that the “day of the Lord” also occurred as a mini-drama when the Almighty One came in collision with the sins of this planet earth at the death of His Son on the cross. Within the panorama of the catastrophic events that surrounded the death and resurrection of Jesus on that “day of the Lord” in Jerusalem was a shadow picture of that future “day of the Lord” when Jesus will return again in the clouds of glory as Yahshua ben David (Jesus son of David).
The restoration of the literal chosen ones will be complete to a land where they can study Torah under the rulership of Yahshua who will rule this earth with a ‘rod of iron’. The prophetic vision of the ancient prophets of Israel and Judah will also be complete. But God’s ultimate will for this earth and all His people will still be another thousand years in the future. Did not the prophet Ezekiel state:
Ezekiel 37:21-22 - Surely I will take the children of Israel (House of Judah and the House of Israel) from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again.
In the 4th century a copy of the Gospel of Luke was found in the Codex Vatican’s and the Codex Sinaiticus. (Pap. 75, C, L, Coptic). This translation reads:
The Gospel of Peter 4-7(parts) - “And it was noon, and darkness came over all Judaea: and they (Jewish rulers and leaders) were troubled and distressed, lest the sun had set, whilst He was yet alive: (for) it is written for them, that the sun set not on him that hath been put to death. And one of them said, Give him to drink gall with vinegar. And they mixed and gave him to drink, and fulfilled all things, and accomplished their sins against their own head. And many went about with lamps, supposing that it was night, and fell down. And the Lord cried out, saying, My Power! My Power! Thou hast forsaken me! And when he had said it he was taken up. And in that hour the vail of the temple of Jerusalem was rent in twain.
And then they drew out the nails from the hands of the Lord, and laid him upon the earth, and the whole earth quaked, and great fear arose. Then the sun shone, and it was found the ninth hour: and the Jews rejoiced, and gave his body to Joseph that he might bury it, since he had seen what good things he had done. And he took the Lord, and washed him, and rolled him in a linen cloth, and brought him into his own tomb, which was called the Garden of Joseph.
Then the Jews and the elders and the priests, perceiving what evil they had done to themselves, began to lament and to say, ‘Woe for our sins; and the judgment hath drawn nigh, and the end of Jerusalem.’"
Isaiah 13:9,10,13 – “Behold, the day of the Lord comes….For the stars of heaven and their constellations will not give their light: the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and the moon will not cause its light to shine….Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth will move out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts…and they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.”
Isaiah later exclaims that the Lord of hosts will say:
Isaiah 50:3 - “I will clothe the heavens with blackness.”
Yet the Prophet Amos comes with one of the clearest descriptions of the moment in time when Yahshua was hanging on the tree that the planet earth bowed its head in sorrow and the world became dark.
Amos 8:9 - “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that I will make the sun go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts (Passover) into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist, and baldness on every head; I will make it like mourning for an only Son, and its end like a bitter day.”
Now the Apostle Peter was linking this moment of the crucifixion with a future event in the “last days” when once again the Lord of hosts will “pour out of My Spirit on all flesh.” Did it not become the signature of the Apostle Paul and Silas as they traveled to Thessalonica when their host, Jason’s home was attacked by envious Jews who cried out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too?” (Acts 17:6) Had not the fame of the death of Jesus the Nazarene traveled around the Mediterranean and the portents that were associated with His death? So, here were two of Yahshua’s disciples whose fame also traveled ahead of them.
Only days before, Paul and Silas were in the city of Philippi when Paul wrecked the livelihood of a fortune telling merchant by casting a demon out a young woman who was his most profitable diviner. Paul and Silas were dragged to the marketplace, whipped with rods and then imprisoned. With the strains of singing hymns, suddenly a “great earthquake” occurred, the prison doors were opened and the chain and shackles fell off their feet. Cataclysmic events appeared to follow the bond-servants of Yahshua. A literal translation of this same text would state; "These people who caused a physical upturning of the whole world are now also present right here in Thessalonica!"
Was there evidence that the earthquake in Jerusalem that occurred at the moment when Yahshua’s body was laid upon the ground was also an international catastrophic event? For the sun to be “darkened in its going forth” (Isaiah 13:10) suggests that the sun was not actually being obscured as in a solar eclipse. What we are saying is that the sun moved westward from its high noon position to sunset. As the sun sank below the horizon in the west the full moon was also rising in the eastern horizon.
With this sudden trajectory forward in rotation, the tectonic plates were moving. Was there a crustal shift in the mantle of the earth at the death of Yahshua? It does suggest that there was a sudden change in the solar clock forward as the mantle of the earth moved eastward that effectively appeared to move the sun westward and thereby blackened out the sun as it sank in the western horizon. Yet was this the only record of such a catastrophe in the world?
Testimony of the Ancients
In the Babylonian Talmud, which was compiled between 70-500 CE we find a interesting reference to the hanging of Yeshua.
Babylonian Talmud - On the eve of the Passover Yeshua was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald . . . cried, "He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy." (Gary R. Habermas, The Historical Jesus (Joplin, Missouri: College Press Publishing Company, 1996), 202-203 cited by Michael Gleghorn, Ancient Evidence for Jesus from non-Christian Sources.)
Hanging you say? All modern Christian thought has stated that Jesus underwent a Roman crucifixion on a cross. It is interesting that a 14th century copy of a more ancient manuscript called the Hebrew Gospel of Matthews was preserved by a Jewish scribe called Shem-Tob ben-Isaac ben-Shaprut. Here the death of Jesus written by the Apostle Matthew is written in Hebrews. Let us look at uniquely Torah and Jewish account.
The Hebrew Gospel of Matthews 27:22-31 – “Pilate said to them: If so what shall I do with Jesus who is called Messiah? All of them answered that he should be hung. Pilate said to them: What evil has he done? Then they vigorously cried out: let them hang him let them hang him, let them hang him! Pilate, when he saw that he had no power of resistance and was unable to make any peace with them, before a great dispute among the people might arise because of this, took water and washed his hands before the people and said: ‘I am innocent (of the blood). Be careful what you do. All the people answered and said: His blood will be upon us and upon our seed.
Then he released Barabbas (to them), and delivered to them (the Jewish rulers and officials) Jesus for beating and affliction that they might hang him. Then the horsemen of the court took Jesus under guard and came together before a great company of people (Jews). They clothed Jesus with silk garments and covered him with a greenish silk robe. They made a crown of thorns and placed it on his head and set a reed in his right hand and were bowing down mocking him (saying): Peace be upon you, king of the Jews. They spit in his face and took the reed and struck his head. When they had mocked him (much) they stripped the robe from him dressed him in His own clothes and gave orders to hang him.” (George Howard, The Gospel of Matthew according to a Primitive Hebrew Text, Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia 31207, pg 143-145)
As the text continues, Yahshua carried the “gallows” called the ‘the Cross’, and was hanged on a Mount called Gulgota, where He was hanged and while mocked told to “come down from the gallows”, “come down from the tree”.
The Hebrew Gospel of Matthews 27:32-54 – “As they were going out from the city they met a man whose name was Simon the Canaanite. They compelled him to carry the gallows, that is, ‘The Cross’ They came to a place called Gulgota, that is, Mount Calvary, and gave him wine mixed with gall. But when he began to drink it he perceived (what it was) and would not drink it. Then when they placed him on the gallows they divided his garments by lot. Afterwards, they set for him over his head a writing which said: This is Jesus of Nazareth, the king of Israel. Then two thieves were hung with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Those who were passing by mocked him and shook (their) heads saying: ‘See, (how) you would lay waste the temple of God and in yet three days (built it); save yourself; if you are the Son of god come down from the gallows.’ The chief priest and the elders of the people mocked him saying; ‘others he saved; himself he cannot save. If he is the king of Israel let him come down from the tree and we will believe. Since he trusted in God let Him save him now if he wishes, because he said he is the Son of God.’ The thieves who were hung with him said to Him these very same words.
At the sixth hour darkness came in all the world and it remained until the ninth hour. Jesus cried in a loud voice saying, in the holy language: My God, My God, why have You forsaken me? One of those standing there said: This One is calling for Elijah. Immediately he took spongy-bread, filled it with vinegar and gave it to him to drink. Others were saying: We will see if Elijah will come and deliver him.
Jesus cried another time in a loud voice and sent his spirit to his father. Immediately the curtain of the temple was torn into two pieces, from the top downwards; the earth shook and the rocks were broken. The graves were opened and many of those asleep in the dust arose. They came out of their graves and after (this) they entered the holy city and were revealed to many. The captain of the hundred and those standing with him watching Jesus saw the earthquake and the things which were done and were very afraid saying: ‘Truly this was the Son of God.’” (George Howard, The Gospel of Matthew according to a Primitive Hebrew Text, Mercer University Press, Macon, Georgia 31207, pg 143-145)
In the ancient books of the ante-Nicene Fathers, we find several fascinating passages concerning the death of Yahshua, the earthquake and the dark day.
Julius Africanus was one of the Early Church Fathers in the early 3rd century who wrote in his book, Chronography, under the title, “On the Circumstances connected with our Savior’s Passion and His life-giving resurrection” the following description of Jesus’ death.
Chronography of Julius Africanus - “As to His works severally, and His cures effected upon body and soul, and the mysteries of His doctrine, and the resurrection from the dead, these have been most authoritatively set forth by His disciples and apostles before us.
On the whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by an earthquake, and many places in Judea and other districts were thrown down.
This darkness Thallus, in the third book of his History, calls, as appears to me without reason, an eclipse of the sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior falls on the day before the Passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let that opinion pass however; let it carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye.
Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth — manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period. But it was a darkness induced by God, because the Lord happened then to suffer." (Julius Africanus, Chronography, cited by George Syncellus (p. 609, 21 Bonn.) = Müller section 8 [fr. Greek]: quoted in The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
Here Julius Africanus quotes two other authors which he stated also referred to the same event, the death of Christ. These two historians were Thallus and Phegon.
Phlegon of Tralles (about 140 CE) wrote a major historical work called "Olympiades". As a distinguished chronicler of the Olympiads, in his 13th book he wrote,
Phlegon - "In the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad there was a great eclipse of the sun, greater than had ever been known before; for at the sixth hour the day was changed into night and the stars were seen in the heavens. An earthquake occurred in Bythinia and overthrew a great part of the city of Nicaea."
It was Eusebius, the Roman church historian of the Emperor Constantine, picked up this date of the crucifixion of Jesus, as being the 18th year of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. It was Syncellus who quoted Eusebius in his work called the “Chronicle” in the original Greek;
Syncellus - "Jesus Christ ... underwent his passion in the 18th year of Tiberius. Also at that time in another Greek compendium we find an event recorded in these words: "the sun was eclipsed, Bithynia was struck by an earthquake, and in the city of Nicaea many buildings fell." (Eusebius, Chronicle, cited by George Syncellus (p. 609, 21 Bonn.) = Müller section 8 [fr. Greek]: quoted in The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
The first quoted author of Julius Africanus was an obscure and unknown historian called Thallus who wrote a thesis some time between AD 30 and AD 180. The Early Church Father Jerome (Heironymus) in his Chronological tables translated the mostly lost Eusebius’ Chronicle which was written in Greek into his Latin Chronological tables, which also is lost. Yet these tables are well preserved in an Armenian translation. The Olympiads were played every four years and according to Jerome, the 202nd Olympiad came in the years of 29-32 CE. So the crucifixion of Jesus according to Phlegon occurred in the same year as the 202nd Olympic Games in Greece. Thallus’ now lost work was written after 30 CE and was first quoted by Theophilus of Antioch about 180 CE.
If the catastrophic events as recorded by Phlegon can now be assimilated into the gospel stories of the crucifixion of Yahshua, then we have a prime reference to the date of the crucifixion of Jesus.
It was also the early church father, Origen, who was a friend of Julius Africanus, who wrote two passages in his work, Against Celsius confirming this association of dates;
Origen - "Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events (although falling into confusion about some things which refer to Peter, as if they referred to Jesus), but also testified that the result corresponded to his predictions. So that, he also, by these very admissions regarding foreknowledge, as if against his will, expressed his opinion that the doctrines taught by the fathers of our system were not devoid of divine power." (Origen, Against Celsus 2. 14 cited by The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
Origen - "And with regard to the eclipse in the time of Tiberius Caesar, in whose reign Jesus appears to have been crucified, and the great earthquakes which then took place, Phlegon too, I think, has written in the thirteenth or fourteenth book of his Chronicles." (Origen, Against Celsus 2. 33 cited by The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
Origin - "Regarding these we have in the preceding pages made our defense, according to our ability, adducing the testimony of Phlegon, who relates that these events took place at the time when our Saviour suffered." (Origen, Against Celsus 2. 59 cited by The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
We then have the testimony of the 6th century Christian Neo-Platonist, Philopon, who wrote;
Philopon, a Christian Neo-Platonist - "Phlegon mentioned the eclipse which took place during the crucifixion of the Lord Christ, and no other [eclipse], it is clear that he did not know from his sources about any [similar] eclipse in previous times." (Philopon, De opif. mund. II. 21 cited by The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
Then there was the 6th century Christian chronicler, Cassiodorus, who spoke of the uniqueness of this eclipse;
Cassiodorus - Under these co[n]s[ul]s Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered the VIIIth day before the Kalends of April, and an eclipse [lit. failure, desertion] of the sun occurred, such as never was before or since."
Written in Latin: "Tib (erius) Caesar V (Cusp., et solus) coss. (Cusp., Domitius et Scribonianus.) His coss. Dominus noster Jesus Christus passus est VIII calend. Aprilis, et defectio solis facta est, qualis ante vel postmodum nunquam fuit.") (Cassiodorus, Chronicon (Patrologia Latina, v. 69) "Tib[erius] Caesar V [Cusp., et solus] coss. [Cusp., Domitius et Scribonianus], quoted by The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
What is lost in the Easter celebrations of the Christian denominations is that the origins of Easter can only be found in the Passover festival of the Lord celebrated even today in the spring Passover rites of the Jews. The parallels of Jesus as the Passover or the Pesach (Paschal) Lamb are lost as the hidden and mystical meanings of the Passover festival has been hidden in what is referred as the ‘mythical fog of the ancients’.
When the Roman Catholic Church did ‘change times and laws’, the 25th day of March in the Julian calendar was selected as the conventional date for the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar. As such the festival was converted from the lunar calendar of the Hebrews to the fixed solar calendar of Rome. Even this date was a fixed date. Easter was then fixed by convenience to the spring solar equinox on the Roman Julius calendar. Here as early as 243 CE in the works of Cyprian, De Pascha Computus, in probably northern Africa, the early Roman Christians linked the Passover, the spring equinox, and the 14th day of Nisan with the Passion of the Lord. (See The Catastrophe at the Crucifixion of Jesus, AD 33 )
Now five hundred years after the death and resurrection of Jesus, we have a Roman author testifying to the death of Jesus on the 8th day before the Kalends of April, which in the Roman Julian calendar was 25th March, 33 CE. So according to the Roman Christian testimony, the death of Jesus was sometime between March 25 and April 3, 33 CE. With the conversion to the Gregorian calendar, the date March 25 Roman Julian solar date and April 3 Hebrew lunar date would actually have now be converted to April 1 Gregorian date for the crucifixion of Jesus. No wonder this was called April fools day. (To be continued in the May issue of BibleSearchers Reflections)
Zechariah 6:6 - New King James Version – The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the white is going after them, and the dappled are going toward the south country.”
In the New International Version it says; - “The one with the black horses is going toward the North Country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.
In the New English Bible it says; - “The chariot with the black horses is going to the land of the north, that with the white to the far west, that with the dappled to the south, and that with the roan (red) to the land of the east.”
World Net Daily - As if the political turmoil was not enough, Hamid Reza Zakeri, an Iranian intelligence officer testifying at the trial of a 31 year old Moroccan student, Abdelghani Mzoud, claimed the Moroccan student had two meetings between senior Iranian and al-Qaida. The 9-11 strike on the New York City twin towers was actually ordered by the Iranian intelligence chief, Hojjatoleslam Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, in May 2001 who wanted to strike at this country's "economic structure, their reputation and their internal peace and security,"
Did the United States in retaliation for 9-11, open the War against Terror and invade the wrong country? Was it actually Iran and the al-Qaida who committed the atrocities of 9-11?”
From the preparation day of Passover, April 5, (14 Nissan) to the 56th year celebration of the Nation of Israel on April 20, 2004 (29 Nissan 5764), who won their independence on May 14, 1948, the tumultuous events in America and the Middle East give pause to BibleSearchers. What is the intent of the Divine One who is arranging all the nations in preparation for the coming of the Moshiach (Messiah)?
What is now being called the declaration of war by Iran against America, Iraq War II, all the best intentions of the Bush administration to prepare for the transition of government to the Iraqi people on June 30, 2004 appear to be swept away in a tide of violence that is ever escalating. Under the banner of Sheik Maqtada al-Sadr, who cloaks himself and his warriors with the mantle of the Mahdi, we must ask does he consider himself the future messiah after Mohammed, who would come to this earth at the end of the age? It is this same Sheik al-Sadr, who represents the Iranian cleric, Kadhem al-Husseini al-Haeri who in tern represents the Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Khakim. It is their intent to impose Islamic rule over the country of Iraq. We now can see the region quickly exploding in a “Holy War” of proportions not anticipated by military strategists of the United States.
By the end of April, the twin sieges at Falluja and Najaf have brought the worse crisis to the Bush administration since Sadaam Hussein was ousted from power. In the interim, President Bush endorsed Ariel Sharon’s Gaza-settlement plan with the words that “the entire world should thank Ariel Sharon”. This brought down universal condemnation from almost all the nations of this earth. The Arab world is now boiling in hatred to both the United States and Israel
The United States is quickly being engulfed in the same experience that Israel has faced for years. Whether force or appeasement, the results will be the same. The fate of George Bush Jr. and the United States seen as the ‘Great Satan’ and Israel seen as the ‘Little Satan’ will be intrinsically bound together in probably the worse diplomatic rift with the moderate Arab allies in decades. The rise of hatred towards Bush and Sharon is paralleled with the astronomical rise in admiration for Osama ben Laden.
If events were not unfolding rapidly enough, the al-Qaeda followers sent quick and forceful messages to their Islamic brethren, ‘separate you quickly from any ties and allegiances with the United States’. This was followed by a report on April 15 from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that they thwarted an al-Qaeda attempt to detonate a large chemical bomb at a Jordanian Military intelligence center, capturing tons of chemical for additional attacks of a possible ‘chemical toxic cloud’ over the U.S. Embassy or the Jordanian prime minister’s office.
On April 21, a car bomb destroyed a security force building in the Saudi Capital and six days later the former headquarters for the United Nation’s Disengagement Observer Force in the diplomatic quarter of Damascus was attacked which set off the worse violence seen in Syria in twenty years. This came in the midst of the delivery on April 16, of a psy-op tape by bin Laden that offered “a truce with the European countries that do not attack Muslim countries” and do not “interfere in their affairs.”
Many will observe and suggest a progressive decline into world chaos as ‘wars and rumors of wars’ continue to unfold at the end of times. It also suggests that the Lord of hosts is laying out a pathway to a One World Order for all the nations of the earth to follow.
The Pathway to a One World Order
Iran declares war on U.S. – April 5, 2004
World Net Daily – Joseph Farah editor of G2 Bulletin announced on Passover, April 5, 2004 that war had effectively been declared on the United States by Iran by what appeared to be a spontaneous uprising by a Najaf cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. The winds of war began when an edict or fatwa was issued by Iranian cleric; Kadhem al-Husseini al-Haeri on April 8, 2003, within hours after the United States military forces entered the city of Baghdad on April 7, 2003. It was distributed to Shiite mullahs in Iraq, calling on them "to seize the first possible opportunity to fill the power vacuum in the administration of Iraqi cities. People have to be taught not to collapse morally before the means used by the Great Satan if it stays in Iraq," the fatwa read. "It will try to spread moral decay, incite lust by allowing easy access to stimulating satellite channels and spread debauchery to weaken people's faith."
On the same day April 7, 2003 when the American military toppled Sadaam Hussein’s’ and seized the capital of Baghdad, Kadhem al-Husseini al- Haeri sent a handwritten letter to the city of Najaf, appointing Moqtada al-Sadr as his deputy in Iraq stating, "We hereby inform you that Mr. Moqtada al-Sadr is our deputy and representative in all fatwa affairs. His position is my position." Prior to this time Iran armed and trained some 40,000 Shiite Iraqi fighters. "Ayatollah Mohammed Bakir Khakim is on record pledging more than once to his followers a plan to impose Islamic rule over Iraq with the help of Iran," reports G2 Bulletin. "The Tehran ayatollahs, or the Pasadran, the powerful revolutionary guard, repeatedly have been telling the Iraqis they would be their legitimate allies and partners. In such a scenario, there is no room for the U.S. The coalition that liberated Iraq is seen by the Iraqi Shiite militants and their Iranian sponsors as a tool for handing Iraq over to them without the need to use a massive force of their own." Iran has clear objectives in Iraq. (read entire article)
Epic wars many times are started with trigger flash that erupts into a global inferno. Such was the day ninety years ago on June 28, 1914, when a member of the Black Hand, named Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand, inspector of the Austro-Hungarian army and his wife Sophie con Chotkovato in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Will this flash point be repeated and erupt as the nations of this earth are plunged into a regional Middle Eastern war when four Americans were dragged from two civilian vehicles, burnt to char and hung on a bridge over the Euphrates River?
Iraqis Drag Four Corpses Through Streets – April 1, 2004
FALLUJAH, Iraq (Yahoo) - Jubilant residents yanked the bodies of four foreigners — one a woman, at least one an American — out of their burning cars Wednesday, dragged the charred corpses through the streets, and hung them from the bridge spanning the Euphrates River. Five American troops died in a roadside bombing nearby. The brutal treatment of the four corpses came after they were killed in a rebel attack on their SUVs in the Sunni Triangle city about 35 miles west of Baghdad, scene of some of the worst violence on both sides of the conflict since the beginning of the American occupation a year ago…Chanting "Fallujah is the graveyard of Americans," residents cheered after the grisly assault on two four-wheel-drive civilian vehicles, which left both in flames. (Read entire article)
Many fail to consider that whether the entry of the United States into a war with Afghanistan and Iraq was a righteous war against terror against all mankind or as reported in The Thirty-Year Itch by Robert Dreyfuss, a strategic thrust by the United States to take control of the Persian Gulf’s Oil with the Bush Administration pushing forward the script for global dominance.
At the same time most American’s fail to comprehend the rise of the fanatical and fiercely focused ideology of Osama bin Laden and the Islamic fundamentalists. In their righteous indignation to resurrect the faded glories of Islam for Mohammed and Allah, they also seek to bring forth the era of the successor of Muhammad, Mahdi, who in their world view is returning to save this planet earth.
Knight Ridder News (Washington) - Muqtada al-Sadr summoned one of Shiite Islam's most messianic images when he chose the name Mahdi Army for his militia. The mahdi is believed to be the successor to Muhammad who will return to save the world. The word isn't mentioned in the Quran or in the collected sayings attributed to Muhammad, known as the hadiths. But the term is common to both Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam as the term for a leader who will bring righteousness to the world.
The title means "the divinely guided one" but refers to differing concepts, depending on the believer. Some Muslims believe the mahdi will come in conjunction with the second coming of Jesus. For the largest branch of Shiites, however, the "mahdi" is the 12th imam or leader of the Muslim faith who is said to have gone into hiding in the ninth century and who Shiites believe is still alive and will return at the day of judgment. The concept is so holy, say some, that few in Islam would dare use it to describe themselves, which makes the actions of al-Sadr's militia appear all the more audacious.
For more information on the “Mahdi”
Whatever the outcome of the 2004 elections in the United States, this nation that carries the motto, “In God We Trust”, appears to be the focal nation of the world that will thrust this planet into the final stages of a Universal government. It does not matter that the conservative Republican George Bush Jr. whose father, George Bush Sr. was former CIA director and former President of the United States, George Bush Sr. or John Kerry, the liberal Democrat contender for the presidency become president of the United States. They both will give us the same geo-political endpoint. The future of a political world government will come with the unification of the nations of this earth who come with one intention, a world peace with great security.
Kerry Calls for Shared U.N. Authority in Iraq – April 14, 2004
New York (AP) - A day after President Bush reassured Americans that he was following the right path to stabilizing and rebuilding Iraq, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry said Wednesday "there's a smarter way to accomplish this mission" as he called for sharing authority in Iraq with the United Nations. Kerry said a full U.N. partnership would relieve the burden on U.S. soldiers, relieve the cost on American taxpayers, and maximize the ability of the mission to succeed.
"We shouldn't only be tough, we have to be smart. And there's a smarter way to accomplish this mission than this president is pursuing," Kerry told reporters. He said the military is overextended and bearing the majority of the risk in Iraq. "It doesn't have to be that way. It never had to be that way." (more)
Only in the spectrum of a potential military defeat may the Lamb like Beast of Revelation 13:11, begin to ‘speak like a dragon’. Many prophetic scholars see this Lamb like beast that ‘came out of the earth and had two horns like a lamb to be the United States. Will this country begin to reveal its ultimate destiny as a nation consumed with power, greed and control and begin to act and talk like a dragon or is it doing so already?
In Iraq, a ‘perfect storm’ – April 8, 2004
Christian Science Monitor - The US closure of an irregularly published newspaper with just 5,000 readers seemed a tiny moment in the struggle for stability in Iraq. But the March 28 move to close Al Hawza, controlled by militant Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, now looks like the edge of a violent storm.
How its twin fronts - of Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents - built and combined to create what might be described as the perfect Iraqi sandstorm is only now coming into focus. At the time, no one would have forecast the deaths of four US security contractors alone would result in a major military campaign in Fallujah. Similarly, the US coalition hardly anticipated that the closure of just one of 100-plus newspapers in Baghdad would form the genesis of a Shiite revolt in half a dozen cities around Iraq. As the violence continues, there are also signs of trouble among the 25 Iraqis on the Governing Council. Council Member Muhsen Abdel Hamid, in an interview with the Al Jazeera channel, said he was "with the Sadr people, and the people of Fallujah,'' and threatened to resign. Mr. Hamid leads the Islamic Party, the Iraqi affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that arches across the Middle East and wants to see Islamic law take precedence over secular institutions. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez vowed US forces would "imminently" retake the southern city of Al Kut, where Mahdi army members chased out a Ukrainian force on Wednesday. (read entire article)
DEBKAfile - US-led forces in Iraq were thrown back to the point they had reached exactly one year ago when Saddam Hussein’s colossal statue was toppled by joyous Iraqis. They were faced, according to DEBKAfile’s exclusive military and intelligence sources, with a row of devastating setbacks: ministers were quitting the provisional Iraqi Governing Council set up to hold the fort of government until the handover of sovereignty on June 30; large parts of the New Iraqi Army, police, border guard, protective units for oil installations and intelligence, trained and financed by Washington, were breaking down. It was reported that some Iraqi units were handing in their weapons and surrendering to the nearest insurgent militias; the rebellions radical Shiite Mahdi Army, other guerrilla groups or al Qaeda. The third element of the picture flowed from the first two: US troops were ordered to de-escalate military action and pull back from the major fronts of Baghdad’s sprawling northern Shiite slum known as Sadr City, the northern oil city of Mosul and Ar Ramadi at the western tip of the Sunni Triangle. They were told that further coalition troop advances were bound to cause an unacceptable level of civilian and troop casualties. (more)
For a nation whose congressional leaders recite the ‘pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America’, do they also proclaim the words, “with liberty and justice for all”. Does justice extend to all citizens that come under our dominion? Read the following.
– April 17, 2004
MSNBC - During his prime-time press conference last week, George W. Bush promised that, someday, “Iraqi security is going to be handled by the Iraq people themselves.” That day isn’t coming any time soon. As fierce fighting erupted in parts of Iraq in early April, the U.S.-led coalition tried to deploy U.S.-trained Iraqi units to quell the fighting. The results were disastrous: During the violence, many Iraqi police and civil defense personnel abandoned their posts, or joined Shiite militants loyal to renegade cleric Moqtada al-Sadr…
In exclusive interviews with NEWSWEEK, Iraqi soldiers and civilian witnesses described what happened. When bloodshed erupted during the first week in April, the U.S. military command scrambled to put down local uprisings led by Shiite militants in the south and by Sunni extremists in and around Fallujah. U.S. authorities wanted to give Iraqi troops a pivotal role in maintaining security in Fallujah and in the largely Shiite community of Shulla on the northwest edge of Baghdad. The idea was to show Iraqis taking responsibility for security matters, and to help U.S. personnel lower their profile in preparation for the Coalition Provisional Authority’s transfer of sovereignty to Iraqi institutions on June 30. The job fell to the 2nd Battalion of the New Iraqi Army, deployed at the Taji Military Complex northwest of Baghdad. Its 620 men had graduated from the Kirkush boot camp in January, and were the first Iraqi army soldiers to be deployed in a field military operation since the U.S. began reconstituting the post-war army.
Battalion members, some of whom were fired, and other eyewitnesses from Taji, paint a much more complicated and dramatic portrait of the incident. Fighting between coalition troops and pro-Sadr Shiite militiamen had already broken out April 4 in southern Shiite cities and in Baghdad’s sprawling slums Sadr City and Shulla when the battalion received news of its mission… The Iraqi soldiers were brought to Shulla, an impoverished community where adrenaline-charged Shiite militants were angry about the detention of one of Sadr’s top aides. Zubaidy said that his U.S. officers ordered Iraqi soldiers to open fire on the angry crowd in Shulla. “The American officers hysterically ordered us to shoot the 'traitors',” he recalls…Many Iraqi soldiers refused to fire, abandoned their weapons and fled from the scene, says Zubaidy. Another soldier from the battalion, Hamid Tamimi from Dijeil district in Salahuddin province, says some Iraqi troops even turned against the Americans and opened fire on U.S. personnel while chanting slogans and songs glorifying Sadr and his late father. A number of Iraqi soldiers did stay by the side of the Americans, Tamimi says, mostly from Kurdish militias. But most soldiers from Iraq’s predominately Shiite southern cities fought against the Americans, he alleges. A number of residents in Shulla, some of whom took up arms against U.S. troops, have similar accounts. Hayder al-Maliki, 26, received minor wounds in the leg and the scalp from U.S. gunfire. He alleges that he witnessed American personnel open fire on Iraqi soldiers. They refused to fight alongside the U.S. and sided with pro-Sadr forces. “In the beginning the Americans tried to push the Iraqi army into the fight. But when many of them declined, the Americans started to shoot at them”—and even incited other Iraqi soldiers to “shoot their friends in the army,” he says. (continue for entire article)
World of Terror
New al-Qaida plot to burn U.S. forests – April 8, 2004
WorldNetDaily - An Arabic-language jihadi website posted a message purporting to be "al-Qaida’s plan of economic attack" on the U.S. that included setting forest fires, according to the Northeast Intelligence Network. The six-point plan appeared Saturday and called for:
· attacks on the assets of large American companies all over the world;
· attacks on U.S. oil refineries;
· attacks on civilian airports with the goal of financially devastating U.S. airlines;
· deliberate pollution of food system;
· setting of fires in the forests – "especially those that provide the American market with the raw materials for the wood and paper and byproducts industries";
· attacks like those on the railway transportation lines in Spain.
Last fall, WorldNetDaily reported on al-Qaida's threats against the forests of the U.S. and its allies – and pointed out the rash of devastating wildfires that raged through Europe, Australia and the U.S. (more evidence of world-wide terrorist forest burning)
Mega chemical attack foiled in Jordan – April 15, 2004
Marriv - Al-Hayat: A terror cell was captured while plotting to detonate a powerful chemical bomb at a military installation that could have killed 20,000 people, experts say. This terror cell was connected to senior al-Qaeda mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The terrorists managed to smuggle three cars packed with explosives. In one of the cars, security forces found the chemical charge.
Jordan says major al Qaeda plot disrupted – April 26, 2004
AMMAN, Jordan (CNN) -- Jordanian authorities said Monday they have broken up an alleged al Qaeda plot that would have unleashed a deadly cloud of chemicals in the heart of Jordan's capital, Amman. Read lengthy article on this plot to topple the Jordanian government.
New Target and Tone - Message Shows Al Qaeda's Adaptability – April 16, 2004
Washington Post - Osama bin Laden's psychological operations campaign against the United States took a surprising turn yesterday with the release of an audio message that is modern, tactical and nearly diplomatic in tone, and addresses Europeans rather than Muslim devotees, counter-terrorism experts and intelligence officials said… It offered "a truce with the European countries that do not attack Muslim countries" and that do not "interfere in their affairs." European leaders quickly dismissed the offer.
The contemporary nature of the message was a new twist for bin Laden. It included references to Israel's killing on March 22 of "old, handicapped" Sheik Ahmed Yassin, the spiritual leader of Hamas, and to "the billions of dollars in profit" being made in Iraq by Halliburton and other companies. He described leaders of those corporations as people with "narrow personal interest and subservience to the White House gang." …
"Terrorism in general is psy-ops," said Winston P. Wiley, former director of the CIA's analytical branch and counterterrorism center, using the military term for psychological operations. "The damage he's inflicting is disproportionate to the physical damage he's causing. It's all part of his campaign to destroy the United States." (read entire article)
Saudi FM sounds 'alert' on state of relations with US, warns on Iraq – April 27, 2004
New York (AFP) - Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal warned that US-Saudi relations were being dangerously undermined by misconceptions about alleged Saudi support for militant groups.
Separately in an interview published by The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday the prince also said the planned handover of power in Iraq will not work unless the country's new rulers have an army with real power.
Saudi FM Prince Saud al-Faisal (AFP File Photo)
In a speech to the Foreign Policy Association in New York, Prince Saud said he wanted to "sound the alert that the harmony of our long and fruitful relationship is threatened." …
A car bomb devastated a security forces building in the Saudi capital last Wednesday, leaving five people dead and 145 wounded. A radical Islamist group with links to Al-Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the blast in a statement posted on Islamist websites.
Saudi-US relations strengthened after the 1991 Gulf War when the Saudis were grateful that the elder George Bush stopped Saddam Hussein's army moving to invade the kingdom. The younger Bush's administration kept secret 28 pages of a Congress report on September 11 that highlighted support within Saudi Arabia for militant groups. Two days after September 11, the Bush administration also controversially let 148 Saudis, including some members of the Bin Laden family; leave the United States on a special flight. (More)
U.S.-Saudi Relations an Election Focus – April 23, 2004
Washington (AP) - It is no secret that President Bush, like his father, has deep personal ties with Saudi officials. The real question is whether those loyalties will cost the president at the ballot box this year.
(AP) Former President Bush escorts Crown Prince
Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, out of the Bush Presidential...
Bush's Democratic opponent on Thursday accused him of being too cozy with Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan to insist that the oil-rich Saudis do more to help lower the cost of gasoline in America.
The Bush camp and Bandar himself deny any undue influence. Bandar said he has talked about oil with Bush just as he has with Bush's predecessor, Bill Clinton, and other U.S. presidents going back to Jimmy Carter.
The U.S. dependency on foreign oil - and the fact that Saudi Arabia has more crude than anyone else - has compelled all presidents to befriend the Middle Eastern country. As Bandar told CNN earlier this week, "Oil prices and Saudi Arabia and American politics are intertwined."
That, precisely, is why John Kerry's gambit could prove effective, said Saudi Institute analyst Ali al-Ahmed. "Any association between the Bush family and the Saudi royal family is only going to undermine the credibility of the president," al-Ahmed said. "I think Bush either has to dance around it somehow, or join Kerry in his rhetoric - especially if Kerry is going to receive support from many people in the United States who do not like Saudi Arabia very well." (Read entire article)
A World Peace for a World Religion
Associated Press - An Islamic leader says it reveals Jewish "crimes." European Jewish leaders are troubled by it. Israeli theaters don't plan to show it. "The Passion of the Christ," Mel Gibson's crucifixion epic, is moving into cinemas around the world, and into the international tempests whipped up by terrorism, war and clashing religions.
"It's not going to help quiet things down," said Giorgos Moustakis, who teaches theology and Christian ethics at the American College of Greece. "There are fundamentalists in every religion – Christians, Muslims and Jews. Films like this get extremist feelings going. That cannot be good."
Many in the Arab world welcome the film, seeing it as an anti-Jewish message gaining worldwide currency at a time of escalating Palestinian-Israel clashes. "The Jews are most upset with the movie because it reveals their crimes against the prophets, the reformers and whoever contradicts their opinions," said Hamza Mansoor, secretary-general of the Islamic Action Front, a hard-line political party in Jordan. The film has opened to packed houses in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.
"The Palestinians are still daily being exposed to the kind of pain Jesus was exposed to during his crucifixion," a top Arafat aide, Aub Rdeneh, said in a statement after the March 20 viewing. Muslims revere Jesus as a prophet, not as the messiah, and some Arab countries have banned the film because a strict interpretation of Islam frowns on portraying its prophets as flesh-and-blood characters. But pirated DVD versions are circulating widely. Moreover, the Quran insists that, regardless of what the New Testament says, Jesus did not die on the cross and thus did not save humanity. The film will not be seen in Israel, either. Shapira Films, which has the Israeli distribution rights, "decided this was not the appropriate time to screen it," spokeswoman Orly Ben Eliyahu said. (read entire article)
The Land of Israel
Hamas Leader Rantisi Killed After Missile Attack – April 17, 2004
Bloomberg News-- Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the new leader of the Palestinian Islamic Group Hamas, was killed in an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City tonight, Cable News Network reported. The Israeli government told Rantisi that he might be marked for assassination, CNN said, citing unidentified local authorities. One of Rantisi's sons and a bodyguard were also killed, the report said. Some Hamas followers have vowed revenge for Rantisi's death, CNN said.
Rantisi assumed leadership of Hamas on March 23, a day after Israeli troops killed Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, the previous head. Rantisi's death comes hours after a suicide attack at the Erez border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel injured three Israelis. U.S. President George W. Bush said this week he supports Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to retain some West Bank settlements while withdrawing all settlers from the Gaza Strip in an accord that leads to the creation of a Palestinian state.
Arafat approved Attack on U.S. Convoy – April 4, 2004
RAMALLAH (Menewsline) -- The United States has determined that Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat approved an attack on a U.S. embassy convoy in which three Americans were killed in 2003. U.S. diplomatic sources said a U.S. investigation into the bombing of the embassy convoy in the Gaza Strip in October 2003 pointed to a clear role by Arafat. The sources said Arafat granted approval to a plan to strike U.S. interests in PA areas. Arafat, the sources said, did not draft or approve any details for a Palestinian attack. But they said Arafat agreed to a proposal relayed by a high-level aide for the Palestinians to "pass a message" to the United States.
According to the sources, a senior Arafat aide and member of the Fatah Central Committee left Gaza City for Arafat's headquarters in Ramallah in September 2003 to seek approval for a Palestinian attack on U.S. interests in the area. The Fatah official, described as a liasion between Arafat and Palestinian insurgents in the Gaza Strip, complained of U.S. policy toward the PA and Arabs.
Bush’s 2004 Middle East Vision Could Be Israel’s Nightmare – April 14, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Analysis - George W. Bush is the first US president to refer to the 1949 Armistice Lines in a formal statement on the Middle East conflict. This was the most striking and portentous US policy change to emerge from his joint news conference with Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon after their White House talks Wednesday, April 14: What he said was: Realities on the ground have changed over decades. In the light of those changes, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the 1949 armistice lines. Final frontiers should be mutually agreed on the basis of these changes.
DEBKAfile’s political analysts examined the 1949 Armistice Agreements to find out why Bush departed from the usual pre-June 4 1967 Green Line location. They found that the 1949 agreements, which were meant to stand only up until final peace settlements, left open or as demilitarized zones large and highly strategic areas of pre-1967 Israel, including the Hamma intersection of the Israeli, Jordanian and Syrian borders, the Nitzana region south of the Gaza Strip and abutting on Sinai in the Israeli Negev, the eastern half of the Israeli Arava from Tsofar south of the Dead Sea up to Eilat at its southernmost tip.
Putting these large chunks of Israel back on the negotiating table would provide a pretext for Egypt and Jordan to re-open its peace treaties with Israel and lay fresh claims to more territory. An even more dangerous twist could come about if the leaders of Israel’s two peace partners decided to renounce their claims in favor of enlarging a Palestinian state. Therefore, whereas Sharon may have gained partial endorsement from Bush of some of the larger West Bank Jewish settlement blocs – “existing major Israeli population centers” – it came with a price tag that is far too steep for Israel to safely countenance: payment for those settlements by turning the clock back to a time when large tracts of territory in pre-1967 Little Israel were claimed and fought over by its Arab neighbors.
The only real gain Sharon came away with from his oft-deferred White House visit was an assertion by the US president that Palestinian refugees should be resettled in a future Palestinian state rather than Israel. This effectively, though not explicitly, ruled out their right to return to lands and homes lost in the 1948 Arab-Israel war. (read entire article)
Sharon’s Plan Presages “Little Iraq” in Gaza Strip and West Bank – April 17, 2004
DEBKAfile Special Analysis - Sunday, April 18, Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon formally presented to the Israeli cabinet the letters exchanged between him and President George W. Bush Wednesday, April 14 that approve some key clauses of his disengagement plan. (Click here to see an overview of military disengagement)
Arabs express anger over US backing for Israeli disengagement plan – April 16, 2004
Beijing (Xinhuanet) - The Arab world has expressed its anger and dissatisfaction over Washington's surprise shift on its Middle East policy. US President George W. Bush on Wednesday embraced a controversial Israeli plan to pull out from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, calling such a move "historic and courageous actions." US Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday defended the US move, saying “I don't think we have abandoned our role as an honest broker at all." The US declaration was a heavy blow to the 3.7 million Palestinian refugees scattered through the Arab world and triggered wide anger and dissatisfaction in the Arab world.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said on Thursday that the Palestinians would never give up the right of return for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled or were forced out of their homes during the 1948 Mideast War. "Our destiny is to defend our land and sacred places and our rights in freedom and independence and the return of the refugees ... to their homeland," said Arafat, adding the plan would destroy any basis for a negotiated peace. "The Palestinian people will not give up their goal of seeking freedom and independence and a state with Jerusalem as its capital," he said. (read entire article)
– April 20, 2004
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report - Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah has produced a new master plan which he presented this week to the Hamas leadership group appointed to succeed Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the second Hamas leader Israel killed in less than a month. Their identities are a closely-kept secret on the orders of supreme Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus.
DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources have the names of the five new leaders: two well-known figures, Ismail Haniya and Mahmoud Al-Zahar, Said Siyam who recently succeeded al-Zahar as spokesman, Nazar Rayan and Yunes al-Assal.
According to DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counter-terror sources, Nasrallah’s basic premise is this: Israeli leaders must not be allowed to dictate the timetable of their pullout. It must be forced on them before they are ready and so award the Palestinians a victory. He reminded his Hamas allies of the Israeli troop withdrawal from south Lebanon in May 2000 which, instead of being an orderly retreat under the cover of Lebanese military units, became an uncontrolled route...
Nasrallah described how, several weeks before Israel was scheduled to withdraw from Lebanon, he would organize the town and village populations of the south and several thousand Shiites from Beirut into massed groups of civilians, each ordered to stage marches in different sectors. Elderly people hoisting Lebanese and Hizballah flags, women and children marched in a body on the bases of the Israeli-backed South Lebanese Army who, aware of the Israeli pullout, did not dare open fire on the advancing processions. In no time, all their bases were overrun by the motley mobs and the Hizballah flag fluttering overhead. According to Nasrallah, the departing Israeli troops had to negotiate safe passage back to the Israeli border in exchange for leaving their weapons, even tanks, behind.
For stage one, he proposed collecting the 200,000 Palestinian mourners who followed the Yassin and Rantisi funeral processions, and dividing them into groups of 10-15,000. Each would march on a marked IDF position or camp defending Netzarim and Gush Katif. In stage two, a million Hamas marchers would hurl themselves at Gush Katif, the largest settlement bloc of the Gaza Strip. Even Israeli tanks would not be able to arrest this human deluge, he said. The Israelis may start shooting, but the Palestinian mass will keep coming, and, like in Lebanon, it will mow down the army positions. The settlements will then crumble. Israeli troops and settlers will be stampeded into flight and the Palestinians will take over their bases and homes – not in 2005 as the Israelis offered, but next summer. (Read entire article)
Israel enlists pigs against terrorists - Use of unclean animals as sniffers blessed by rabbis – April 6, 2004
WorldNetDaily - A special Israeli security group, known as "Gdud Ivri," or Jewish Legion, is enlisting pigs in its life-and-death fight with Islamic terror…Yakutiel Ben-Yaacov, the leader of the Jewish Legion, learned about the British army's use of pigs during the 1936-1939 Arab revolt in Palestine… The British deployed pigs, known to have a highly developed sense of smell, to enable the discovery of explosives and to deter Muslim zealots from infiltrations.
Though the pig is considered a defiled animal strictly forbidden in Jewish dietary laws, the Muslims forbid any contact with the animal. Any contact with the pig is punishable by denial of entry to paradise. According to a Jewish law, saving a life supersedes the prohibition to eat or have any contact with pigs…This is not the first time Israel has made the decision to use pigs in its struggle with terrorism. According to recent reports, the Israeli government may soon place bags of lard on buses – a favorite target of suicide bombers. Many Muslims thus believe that a corpse smeared in pig remains disqualifies its owner from ascension to paradise, a goal of many Palestinian "martyrs."
Temple Mount Faithful hold Pesach sacrifice on Mount Olives – April 5, 2004
Haaretz – Members of the Temple Mount Faithful movement held a Passover sacrifice ceremony Monday morning, near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Police on Sunday rejected their request to hold the ceremony on the Temple Mount, and the movement instead held the ceremony, in which a kid goat was to be slaughtered, on Mount of Olives, which overlooks Temple Mount. (More)
shrouded body 'has links to the Crucifixion' – March 29, 2004
Telegraph CO UK - Dr. Shimon Gibson, director of the Jerusalem Archaeological Field Unit, was showing students around the 1st century tombs in the Hinnom Valley, south of the city walls of Jerusalem. Sliding down a 2 foot shaft he entered a typical 1st century rock hewn tomb of the Roman period, bones and a blackened shroud. Here was the first human shrouded bones plus a well preserved clump of hair. The shroud has been carbon dated to first half of the 1st century CE during the time of Jesus. Its body was a male who died of acute tuberculosis.
The tomb was in Akeldama, the ‘field of blood’ where in the gospel of Matthew was bought by Judas with the 30 pieces of silver he made for betraying Jesus. It is also the reputed site of where Judas hung himself. Today it is a rubbish tip. Yet in the 1st century this area was an aristocratic burial ground facing Mount Zion, near the site of the palace of the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate and the homes of the priests and the wealthy elders of Judea. This tomb is also adjacent to the tomb of Annas the Elder, the father-in-law of Caiphas the high priest, both of whom were implicated in the arrest of Jesus. (read the entire article)
Occasionally an article will be found that is not current but pertinent to BibleSearchers. This article on the purported remains of the Apostle Luke and how modern genetic studies were used in the analysis of these teeth and bones is of interest in the potential role of DNA typing to determine the future lost tribes of the House of Israel.
test pinpoints St Luke the apostle's remains to Padua – October 21, 2001
Professor Guido Barbujani announced the conclusion that the remains in an ornate lead coffin in the Basilica of Santa Guistina in Padua, Italy were more than likely the bones of Luke, the Biblical physician and friend of the Apostle Paul.
The teeth from which the DNA, believed to be that of St Luke was taken
Even to the Catholic authorities it was a surprise that the genetic analysis does not contradict the evidence that the remains are those of the Luke, the author of the third gospel and the Acts of the Apostles.
Proof of St Luke's authenticity only came about when the Greek Orthodox Church demanded his body back, insisting that although it was probably brought to Padua during the Crusades from where Luke was reputed to have died in Thebes, Greece. The coffin had been in Padua since 1172, when it was placed in a marble sarcophagus and kept in the town's church.
It was last opened in 1562 but remained largely forgotten until 1992, when Antonio Mattiazzo, the bishop of Padua, received the request for its return. He called together a team of experts - among them Prof Barbujani - to work on carbon dating the bones and attempting to verify their authenticity. In 1988 the 400-year-old seals were cut from the lead coffin and, inside, they found a skeleton without a skull. The skeleton was that of a man of between 70 and 85, about 5ft 4in tall, of a stocky build. He had suffered from osteoporosis and arthritis of the spine.
It was then discovered that the remains fitted, anatomically, with a skull in Prague which was said to be that of St Luke, including two teeth. "Radiocarbon dating of one of the teeth indicated that it belonged to someone who died between AD72 and 416BC.
Luke the evangelist, according to ancient sources, was born in Antioch, worked as a doctor and died at 84 in Thebes. The coffin with his remains was taken to Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, around 338 and was later moved to Padua." It is believed that the coffin was probably taken out of Constantinople for safe keeping, either during the reign of the Emperor Julian, who tried to restore paganism, or during the iconoclast period of the eighth century, when many religious images and objects were destroyed.
The radio carbon dating suggested either the body was of a 1st century male or a new body was put in the coffin in Constantinople around 300 CE. DNA samples of the teeth were compared to living descendants of ancient populations around Antioch and Constantinople. The DNA matched the modern Kurdish DNA of the Syrians at Aleppo rather than DNA from Greeks in Attica and Crete. These findings, however, impressed the scientific world. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in America found it fascinating. (read entire article)
Catastrophic Signs at the Time of the End
Famine, Pestilence and Disease
A US geophysicist has set the scientific world ablaze by claiming to have cracked a holy grail: accurate earthquake prediction, and warning that a big one will hit southern California by September 5.
Kohler And Chase Piano Building burning in the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Photo: Steunbrugge Collection, Earthquake Engineering Research Center, University Of California, Berkley
Russian-born University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) professor Vladimir Keilis-Borok says he can foresee major quakes by tracking minor tremor and historical patterns in seismic hotspots that could indicate more violent shaking is on the way.
And he has made a chilling prediction that a quake measuring at least 6.4 magnitude on the Richter scale will hit a 19,300-square-kilometre area of southern California by September 5.
The team at
UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics accurately predicted a
6.5-magnitude tremor in central California last December as well as an
8.1-magnitude quake that struck the Japanese island of Hokkaido in September.
"Earthquake prediction is called the Holy Grail of earthquake science, and
has been considered impossible by many scientists," said Keilis-Borok, 82.
"It is not impossible. We have made a major breakthrough, discovering the
possibility of making predictions months ahead of time, instead of years, as in
previously known methods."
Knowledge shall be increased; Men shall run to and fro
face found on Turin shroud – April 13, 2004
Telegraph News UK - The haunting image of a tall, bearded man bearing the marks of crucifixion that adorns the Turin shroud has been called one of the greatest religious hoaxes - one that has intrigued scientists and believers for decades. Yesterday, the respected Institute of Physics in London renewed speculation about the revered object by announcing that a "ghostly image" had been discovered on the back. (Read more)
– April 1, 2004
Sun-Sentinel - Labs say they have nearly all the tools to make artificial life. If they succeed, humanity will enter a new age of "living technology," where harnessing the power of life to spontaneously adapt to complex situations could solve problems that now defy modern engineering. Scientists eagerly talk of a new world of ultra-small living machines, where marvelously made-to-order cells heal the body, clean up pollutants, transform electronics and communication, and much more. The researchers say it may be possible to make sweaters that mend themselves. Or computers that fix their own glitches. Though some experts see this new technology as providing unlimited benefits, others worry about the moral appropriateness of human-made life and the introduction of new species with the potential to evolve into creatures that could run amok. (Read entire article)
Shooting Stars - April 4, 2004
ABC News - U.S. Military Takes First Step Towards Weapons in Space. For all of human history, people have looked at the stars with a sense of wonder. More recently, some U.S. military planners have looked skyward and have seen something very different — the next battlefield. While the military's presence in space stretches back decades, now there appears to be a new emphasis. Officials in the Bush administration and the Department of Defense are actively pursuing an agenda calling for the unprecedented weaponization of space. The first real step in that direction appears to be coming in the form of a little-noticed weapons program at the U.S. Missile Defense Agency.
Weapons in space may be the next frontier for the U.S. military. (Digital Vision)
The agency has now earmarked $68 million in 2005 for something called the Near Field Infrared Experiment. The NFIRE satellite is primarily designed to gather data on exhaust plumes from rockets launched from earth, and defense officials claim it is therefore designed as a defensive, rather than offensive weapon. But the satellite will also contain a smaller "kill vehicle," a projectile that takes advantage of the kinetic energy of objects traveling through low-Earth orbit (which move at several times the speed of a bullet) to disable or destroy an oncoming missile or another orbiting satellite. As one senior government official and defense expert described the program, which has seen cost-related delays and increased congressional scrutiny: "We're crossing the Rubicon into space weaponization." (More)
Planets Form Heavenly Spectacle – March 23, 2004
Cape Canaveral, Fla (AP) – The planets were arrayed across the evening sky in a spectacular night show that won't be back for another three decades. For two weeks, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn the five closest planets were easily visible at dusk, along with the moon.
The Lineup of the Five Planets - Photo:CBS/AP
"It's semi-unique," said Myles Standish, an astronomer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "They're all on the same side of the sun and stretched across the sky and that's what is kind of pretty." The planetary lineup was visible to the naked eye every night for an hour after sunset from around the world through early April. At the end of the year, the same five planets will reunite for a few weeks, but in the pre-dawn hours.
Robert Mock MD