January, 2004 Reflections on the Time of the End
Zechariah 8:2-3 – “Thus says the Lord of Hosts, 'I am exceedingly jealous for Zion...I will return to Zion and I will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.”
In the traditions of the Hebrews, Creation began in Jerusalem, the Navel of the world
“As the navel is set in the center of the human body,
So is the Land of Israel the Navel of the world…
Situated in the center of the world,
And Jerusalem in the center of the Land of Israel,
And the Sanctuary in the center of Jerusalem,
And the Holy Place in the center of the Sanctuary,
And the Ark in the center of the Holy Place,
And the Foundation Stone before the Holy Place,
Because, from it the world was founded.
Midrash Tanchuma, Qedoshim,
Of all the descendants of Noah, the chosen one to inherit the land of Israel was Abraham.
The ‘chosen line as Isaac’ was decided on Mount Moriah, where the Temple Mount resides, when Abraham obeyed the command of the Lord.
Genesis 22: 15-18 - “Then the Angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time out of heaven, and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this things, and have not withheld your son, your only son – blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
The blessings of father Isaac were given to the ‘chosen line of Jacob’.
Genesis 28:3-4 - “May God Almighty bless you, and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may be an assembly of peoples; and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and your descendants with you, that you may inherit the land in which you are a stranger (of your sojourning) which God gave to Abraham.”
This blessing was reaffirmed as Jacob as he laid his head on a stone pillow at Bethel (the House of God), eleven miles north of Jerusalem, and was revealed the ladder or the sefirot of the Almighty.
Genesis 28:13-15 – ”I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; ….and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoke to you.”
The descendants of Jacob were still mired in slavery in a land that was crumbling under the onslaught of ‘acts of God’ in a great catastrophe in Egypt. The first time the Lord of hosts repeated to them the promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, He also asked the children of Israel to prepare and sit down and have a feast. As He commanded them;
Exodus 12:24-27 – “And you shall observe this thing (Passover) as an ordinance for you and your sons forever. It will come to pass when you come to the land which the Lord will give you, just as He promised, that you shall keep this service. And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ that you shall say, ‘It is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our household.’”
To the “Promised Land” the ‘chosen descendants’ of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were returned, yet it took them over forty years to do so. The prophets of Israel warned that if Israel did not follow Torah, they were be exiled and so they were by Sennacherib, the ruler of Assyria. The prophets of Judah warned that if Judah did not follow the teachings (Torah) of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, they also would be exiled and so they were by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon.
Jeremiah 29:10 – “After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place (The Promised Land).”
The restoration by the Jews after seventy years back to the land of Judea was only accomplished when the curse the people placed upon the land of Israel was erased. How was that? According to the commands of the Lord, the land was to lay fallow, not be cultivated and to ‘rest’. This was called the Sabbatical Year. As the children of Israel were to rest every seven days, the Seventh-day Sabbath, or the seventh Sabbatical Day, the land of Israel was to rest every seven years, the seventh Sabbatical Year. This use of the “Sabbatical Year” in the time of Jesus is critical in the analysis of the history and life of Jesus and the history of the Hebrew Nazarene Ecclesia that he left under the leadership of His brother, James the Just.
Because the Jews did not allow the land and Jerusalem to ‘rest’ every seventh year as commanded by the Lord since before the time of King David, they were exiled from the land of Israel. For seventy weeks, or four hundred ninety years, the Sabbatical year land rest command was not followed. So the Lord of hosts gave “The Land” a seventy year rest during the Babylonian exile.
So again after the restoration of the Jews back to Jerusalem, the Lord of Hosts gave the Jews another test. For seventy ‘weeks of years’, or for four hundred ninety years, they were given to determine their allegiance to their God.
Daniel 9:24 – “ ‘Seventy weeks are determined for your people (Jews) and for your holy city (Jerusalem), to finish the transgression, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”
According to the rabbinic chronology which was initially put into written script in the 13th century by Rabbi Yose b. halafta in his work, Seder Olam Rabbah (The Great Order of the World), Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple of Solomon in the Jewish Year 3341. Note that this date was a date which progressed with time or 3,341 years since the days of Adam in the Garden of Eden.
The initial numbering system of our modern calendar for A.D. (“Anno Domini Nostri Jesu Christi") or “in the year of Our Lord Jesus Christ” and B.C. (“Before Christ”) was instituted in 527 A.D. by a Roman Catholic Abbot Dionysius Exiguus.
Then the Catholic monks labored to develop a dating system of the world empires prior to that date; the Roman, Grecian, Persian, Babylonian, Assyrian and Egyptian On the other hand the Jewish chronologer kept a running calendar from the beginning of their historical time, the creation of Adam.
One of the difficult eras of calendar dating has been the Persian Empire of Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerses. Our present calendar of the ancient world was calculated by the medieval monks. This comprises our conventional chronology which states that the Persian Empire began in 539 BCE and ended in 321 BCE for a total of 207 years. Yet the Jewish rabbinic calendar for the Persian Era, using historical data of the Jewish people who actually lived through this era in Babylon and the cities of the Persian realm, state that entire Persian Empire was only 51 years from 368 BCE to 317 BCE. The difference between these two calendar systems is 156 years.
It was in the Jewish year 3830 that the destruction of the second temple of Herod was destroyed by General Titus, the son of the new emperor of Rome, Vespasian on Tisha B’Av, or the 9th of Av in 70 CE. True to the traditions of their forefathers, upward to three million Jewish pilgrims returned from the Diaspora to their Holy City Jerusalem during the Sabbatical year of 68 CE. It was there that they were to participate in the first festival of that year, Passover, called Pesach.
Here within the perimeters of the walls of Jerusalem, the residents of Jerusalem and all the pilgrims became trapped as the Roman legions of Vespasian marched into the province of Judea and surrounded the city in siege. For over two years, the city was starved out and those that escaped were brutally crucified on crosses outside the gates of the city.
It is estimated that over 2.5 million Jews died as a result of war, famine and disease and over 1 million Jews were exiled over all parts of the Roman Empire. Over 100 thousand were sold as slaves to the Romans, many who were later killed and tortured in the gladiatorial ‘games’ and pagan celebrations in the Coliseum in Rome.
Yet according to the prophecies of Daniel, 490 years (70 week of years or 70 years x 7 days/week) would be ‘determined for your people and for your holy city. Daniel was just coming to full awareness of the Jeremiah prophecy that the Jewish people would be restored back to their homeland was about to occur.
The people of Daniel, the Jewish people and their holy city of Jerusalem had a prophecy of their destiny. That prophecy of destiny began with the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in the Jewish year 3341 (421/420 BCE) and it ended with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions of Vespasian and his son, Titus in the Jewish year of 3830 (69/70 CE). As the Lord of hosts did state, exactly 490 years were determined among Daniel’s people and their holy city, Jerusalem would once again destroyed.
In the time of the end the restoration of the Houses of Judah and the House of Israel, called either the House of Joseph or the House of Ephraim will also end in ‘The Land ‘ and in Jerusalem. Was it not Jesus Himself who claimed:
Matthew 15:24 – “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
It was also the first mission of the twelve disciples in Matthew 10 to ‘the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
Matthew 10: 5-6 – “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter in a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
And so at the time of the end, the Lord of hosts will respond and make a covenant not only with His people, but with the land; the beasts, the birds, the creatures, the skies, the earth, the grain, wine and oil.
Hosea 2:18-23 - “In that day, I will make a covenant for them, with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. I will betroth you (Israel) to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will acknowledge the Lord.”
“In that day, I will respond,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, the new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel (Israel). I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people; ‘You are my people; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’”
Where will the Lord your God dwell? He will dwell in the Land, on Zion, my holy hill.
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.”
Zechariah 9:9-10 - “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! Se, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim (House of Israel (Joseph)) and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”
Ezekiel 34:25-31 - “I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. (Temple Mount) I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops. The people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they the House of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am you God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
Ezekiel 36:24 - “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.”
Ezekiel 37:21-22 - Surely I will take the children 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.
The Land. The Land. The Land of Israel belongs to the Lord of hosts because there is one place on this earth that He claims for His own. He gave His people the Land and He took it away. Yet when the day of the Lord comes, God will restore His chosen people and He will restore His Land. They will not be restored because they have been righteous, but they will be restored to honor God’s Holy Name and to make His Holy Name known to all nations.
The greatest solar storm on record occurred 144 years ago early in September 1859, when telegraph wires began to short and explode in America and Europe starting wildfires across the land as the planets magnetic field defenses were overwhelmed. Spectacular auroras were seen as far south as Hawaii and Rome. Whereas the space storm impact in March, 1989 was measured at -589 nT (nano-Teslas) Paul Brekke, SOHO deputy project scientist estimated the 1859 solar blast at a -1,760 nT or about three times more powerful than the X15 1989 solar storm that cut all power to the entire Canadian province of Quebec. This was the “perfect solar storm” with an estimated X45.
The November 4 solar flare was so powerful that it saturated the X’ray detector about the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s GOES satellite for eleven minutes so a full analysis could not be done. Space Environment Center is calling this flare an X20+. Craig DeForest, a solar physicist at Southwest Research Institute estimates that this recorded solar flare strength would be about a conservative X40. Even though it was not directed at the earth, an R5 Radio Blackout at many wavelengths as the initial radiation of the storm arrived only minutes after the eruption. This was called an “extreme event” by Bill Murtagh at the National Weather Service when he said, “They don’t get much bigger than this.”
We might have to suggest that the Lord of hosts is being merciful to us at this moment. Whereas sunspot 486, whose area on the sun is fifteen times larger than our earth, has emitted seven major flares in October and November with two in the top four, the largest flare which could have been the ‘Mother of all Flares’ was not facing the earth.
Yet the question needs to be asked, “Is anyone noticing? Do believers in the coming of the messiah see any prophetic significance concerning these aberrancies or “signs in the heavens’?
Flares during the year 2003, all from giant sunspot 486, are marked in red. This list is based in part on "Large Solar Flares Since 1976" compiled by IPS Radio & Space Services.
Ranking Day/Month/Year X-Ray Class
0 09/18/59 est.X45-50 Telegraph Failure in America & Europe
1 04/11/03 X28 to X40++ Ejected Jet away from this Earth
2 02/04/01 X20.0
2 16/08/89 X20.0
3 28/10/03 X17.2
4 06/03/89 X15.0 Power Grid Failure in Quebec, Canada
4 11/07/78 X15.0
5 15/04/01 X14.4
6 24/04/84 X13.0
6 19/10/89 X13.0
7 15/12/82 X12.9
8 06/06/82 X12.0
8 01/06/91 X12.0
8 04/06/91 X12.0
8 06/06/91 X12.0
8 11/06/91 X12.0
8 15/06/91 X12.0
9 17/12/82 X10.1
9 20/05/84 X10.1
10 29/10/03 X10
10 25/01/91 X10.0
10 09/06/91 X10.0
11 09/07/82 X 9.8
11 29/09/89 X 9.8
12 22/03/91 X 9.4
12 06/11/97 X 9.4
13 24/05/90 X 9.3
14 06/11/80 X 9.0
14 02/11/92 X 9.0
The Pathway to a One World Order
United Nations to move headquarters to Baghdad? - Jan 4, 2004 The United Nations with its headquarters sitting on 4.5 acres in Manhattan is under draft review by the international Quartet of the world powers (the US, UN, European Union and Russia) to transfer the entire seat of the UN from New York City to the city of Baghdad in Iraq. With 23,000 employees and cramped conditions, the present UN building offers little room for expansion. With the world community calling for the UN to reorganize and become truly a global military police force and become a worldwide government for a global economy. This could really make the words of John the Revelator, “Babylon is Fallen” become a literal time of the end reality.
Russia returning to the “Red” Oriental Powers – Dec 31, 2003
Russia, which has been flirting with the Western Nations (EU and the US) since the demise of the Cold War by President Ronald Reagan, is having second thoughts about integrating their society with the western powers with the curtain of former Soviet satellite states now becoming ‘elite clubs of democratic states’. Yet Russia appears to be staying on the eastern side of this divide; politically, economically, and psychologically.
The increasingly popular yet highly authoritarian leader, Putin, has recently led his country into revolt, first against George Bush and the invasion of Iraq, the World Trade Organization and the ratification of the Kyoto treaty and the western vision of free markets and democracy. Putin has been emphatic that that Russia has no intention of joining the European Union and any cultural ties to Europe will be what he describes as the “historic horizon”.
This view in not surprising in that biblically, Russia has been an oriental power more culturally related to the ancient empire of Persia. The historic roots of the famous onion domed cathedrals and buildings in Moscow are replicated after the ancient capital of Persapolis. With the rise of a new Babylon in Iraq (UN?), a new Persia in Russia, a new Greece in the United States and a new Rome in the European Union, will the four ancient powers of Daniel will be resurrected for the final events in the time of the end?
The U.S. – European Divorce – Jan 5, 2004
The political unity between the United States and Europe has over the past two years become more hostile and belligerent and was only recently highlighted by the toppling of Bush's statue in Trafalgar Square by leftists who meant to show that Europeans think Bush is just as criminal as Saddam Hussein.
As the United States is moving more conservative, the Europeans are becoming more liberal and this polarity is showing itself in the belligerent attitudes towards American ideals and foreign policy. With the European governments and their media being controlled by the left, it is no wonder that the majorities (68% in France, 63% in the UK and 53% in Germany) want their countries to keep an arm's length from U.S. policies. (Source: Ipsos World Monitor)
Whereas, in America, seventy percent of Americans go to church, most of the European leaders like Schroeder and Chirac take great pride in being either agnostic or atheists. What is the future? The world community and its alliances are being broken up and realigned. What used to be shades of grey is now becoming black and white. With the finger of the Almighty, shuffling the politics of the nations, the future will be fascination as the Lord polarizes the good from the evil.
A World Peace for a World Religion
Israel seeks return of Temple artifacts: Rabbis urge
Vatican to permit search of storerooms for treasures – Jan 16, 2003
Israel's chief rabbis, Yehuda Metzger and Shlomo Amar, met in an historical meeting which was a first by chief rabbis to meet with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican. The pope met Israel's previous chief rabbis during his visit in 2000.
During this meeting they sought permission to search Vatican storerooms for artifacts such as the huge golden menorah and other temple vessels that stood in the Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago.
When the Romans sacked Jerusalem in AD 70, they took Temple treasures with them. Legend has it that religious articles from the Temple, including the menorah, were among them. The Arch of Titus in Rome depicts victorious Roman legions marching off with the seven-branch menorah in hand.
The Maariv newspaper in Israel said the two rabbis could also seek to buy back a candelabrum that came from the Temple. It is believed to be held in the Vatican's vast treasure caves. Some Orthodox Jews believe the restoration of the menorah and other holy vessels to Jerusalem would be the first step in rebuilding the Temple, whose site is now occupied by the Al Aqsa Mosque, a Muslim shrine.
According to other press reports, the pontiff could proclaim an annual day dedicated to Judaism, in a fresh effort to further reconcile Jews and Christians.
Religions urged to reconcile for peace – Dec 23, 2003
Inter-religious and International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) in the presence of 8,000 spectators as representative from 70 countries around the world met in a simple public ceremony in Jerusalem’s Independence Park. Two Jews slowly approached yellow armchairs on a platform. The man, in a red gold-embroidered skullcap, bowed and placed a silver crown on one seat. The woman beside him placed a robe on the other. "The [Jews´] rejection of Jesus is restored and He is honored as king of peace, welcomed by the Jewish people and embraced and loved as the Lord," declared the Rev. Michael Jenkins, a minister of the Unification Church
A Christian clergyman then placed two thick candles on a low table in front of the yellow chairs. "The prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is now recognized as God's prophet," Mr. Jenkins said. "We believe in Muhammad."
Two Muslims then gave a Jewish professor a golden menorah as
a symbol of reconciliation with the Jews, and the Jews returned the gesture
with a black robe. "The best of what God gave you, you want to give to the
other," said Taj Hamad, a Muslim of Sudan, who donned the robe.
The ceremony was designed partly to convey the idea of the
participants that Judaism, Christianity and Islam must reconcile to advance
peace in the Middle East. "We should break down all boundaries that divide
people, we should live together in mutual respect and cooperation," said
the Rev. Chung Hwan Kwak, chairman of the IIFWP and the Inter-religious and
International Peace Council. Mr. Kwak is chairman and president of News World
Communications, which owns The Washington Times and United Press International.
The Jerusalem conference was organized under the auspices of the Rev. Moon. "The age of conversion is over," Mr. Chang said. "We have respect for each of the various faiths. Rev. Moon is working beyond all denominations for world peace.") Mr. Jenkins said religious leaders can support the peace process, help keep it alive when political negotiations hit snags, and give it their
World of Terror
On Saturday, January 3, 2003, an Egyptian charter plane filled with French tourists with and Egyptian crew drove straight into the Red Sea and disappeared killing 148 passengers aboard. On January 5, 2004, an obscure Islamic group called the ‘Advocated of Truth’ claimed responsibility for causing the crash in protest of the French governments banning of Islamic headscarves of Islamic women from being used in public in France.
According to Debkafile’s counter-terror sources on Jan 3, 2004, it was reported that a large group of Egyptian air force officers were aboard, flying home from counter-terror combat and fighter jets courses in the United States. In order to destroy this group, a federal US aviation probe established that co-pilot, Jamil Batouty, who was not supposed to be on duty at the time, has been assigned by his known Egyptian Jihad Islami connections in Los Angels and Cairo to carry out a kamikaze mission, took over controls and put the plane into a sharp nosedive shouting Allah is Great! In Arabic.
Also according to the same sources, British prime minister Tony Blair was vacationing at the Sharm el-Sheikh resort with his wife and four children. The day of the crash was supposed to be the last day of his end-of-year holiday. From the moment the disaster was reported, no word was released about their whereabouts.
Peace News in the Middle East
120,000 attend right-wing rally at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv – Jan 11, 2004
An estimated 120,000 Israeli representing mainly the settlers in the Shomron territories stages a protest rally against the planned evacuation by the Sharon government of ‘illegal’ towns the West Bank and Gaza Districts. Of the protestors included at least a dozen members of Sharon’s own Likud party.
Housing Minister Effi Eitam, of the pro-settler National Religious Party, stated emphatically, "We won't dismantle settlements and we won't expel Jews," Eitam said to the cheers of the crowd. "We will not be a party to dismantling settlements." The intent of the rally was to demonstrate that the life-blood of the Nation of Israel was in the settlements and the actions of the Sharon to dismantle these settlements could be more destructive to Israel than thought.
Assad visits Turkey for first time - Jan. 10, 2004
Recep Tayyip Erdogan
But Debkafile’s posed the question that with Turkey preparing to abandon Northern Cyprus, is this lesson for Syria and the Golan Height?
At the same time Israeli President Moshe Katsav invited Syrian President Basher Assad to Jerusalem for peace talks. The central dispute between the countries is control over the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau seized by Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Yet President Assad becoming more and more isolated is desperate to extract himself from the wrath of the United States for the Syrian backing of Palestinian terrorists and the Hezbollah.
At the same time new revelations erupted as a senior Syrian journalist, Nizar Najoef, who defected from Syria to Europe stated in a letter, January 5, 2003 to the Dutch newspaper “Di Telegraaf” the revelation of three sites where Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction are stored.
include tunnels underneath the town of al-Baida near Hama in northern Syria built by North Koreans to produce Syrian Scud missiles. The second in near the Syrian
air force base near the village of Tal Snan north of Salamija. The third is the
city of Sjinsjar on the Lebanese-Syrian border south of the city of Homs. The transfer of the Iraqi WMD was conducted by the Republican Guard under the
leadership of General Shalish with Assif Shoakat, the cousin to Bashar Assad.
advisers debating military force against Syria – Jan 10, 2004
Bolstered by the recent evidence that the government of Syria in Damascus, in spite of its international courtship of the US and Israel for peace, is increasing its support for the terrorist group Hezbollah and allowing more anti-American insurgents into Iraq, Senior aides for President Bush pushing for military action and punitive strikes into Damascus.
The case against Syria by the United States include: sponsoring anti-Israeli and anti-American terror groups, despite U.S. demands that it cease, using Syria as a conduit, has resumed deliveries of supplies to Hezbollah, the radical Lebanese-based Shiite group responsible for bombing the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut in the 1980s, refusing to close the Damascus offices of the Palestinian terrorist groups and resisting returning about $1 billion in Iraqi assets that Saddam had moved into Syrian banks. According to recent Israeli intelligence, Syrian planes carrying disaster aid into Iraq for the Bam earthquake victims were returning with weapons for the Syrian-Hezbollah-Lebanese pipeline.
In a November, 2003 memo called a ‘snowflake’ Rumsfeld charges that Syria was continuing to send insurgence unheeded into Iraq in collusion with senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali Husseini al Sistani. According to the hawks in the Bush administration, Syria should be the next U.S. target after Iraq.
Israel to Double Number of Golan Heights Settlers – Dec 12, 2003
While Assad and the Israelis are trying to decide if they are going to negotiate the future of the Golan Heights and the U.S. is pondering its next moves against Syria, Israel has approved a plan to spend $56 million to double the number of settlers living on the Golan Heights. Under what is known as the Israeli expansion plan, the number of residents living in the Golan would be expanded from the current 10,000 residents to about 20,000 in about three years. This will include nine new communities in a 640-square-mile area that was used in 1967 to bombard Israel.
Baker’s Mission to Reopen Syrian-Israeli Peace Track – Jan 2, 2004
In a surprise move in the Middle East, President George Bush sent his special envoy James A. Baker III who recently persuaded China, Japan and then major European countries to reduce their share of the $120 billion debt of Iraq. He is currently working to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to relinquish $3 billion in assets of Saddam Hussein reputed to be in Syrian banks back to the nation of Iraq.
Over the Christmas holiday season, a new mission was given to James Baker to reopen the Syrian-Israeli Peace Talks. Known for his historical ‘hard-line’ negotiation with Israel, he persuaded President George H.W. Bush to freeze Israel’s $10 billion loan guarantees in 1991, when he was Secretary of State of the United States.
As a reminder, James Baker told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos prior to the delivery of the Quartet's Road Map that he would give the Israelis and the Palestinians the plan and tell them that there would not be any contingencies.
Baker is also a senior counselor to the private investment company, the Carlyle Group, who posted this on their 1998 website: "The Carlyle Group is the official Advisor to the Saudi Economic Offset Program. In this capacity, Carlyle actively identifies, structures and helps implement viable joint venture in the Kingdom..."
Catastrophic Signs at the Time of the End
Famine, Pestilence and Disease
Global Food Crisis heralded by China’s rising grain prices – Nov. 20, 2003
US environmentalist Lester Brown, director of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, told an audience of Chinese environmental non-governmental organizations that "I view the price rises as an indication, as the warning tremors before the earthquake." To Brown, the rapid rise in food price hikes in China were a harbinger of a soon coming world food shortage. This will be caused in part by global warming and the rapid decline in water inventories in nations that are major grain producers.
"World grain harvests have fallen for four consecutive years and world grain stocks are at the lowest level in 30 years. If farmers can't raise production by (late next year) we may see soaring grain and food prices worldwide."
In the past few months, wheat prices in northeast China have shot up 32 percent, maize prices have doubled and rice prices are up by as much as 13 percent, official reports show. China faces a 40 million ton grain shortfall this year following five years of smaller harvests. Brown said that the world will be facing a 96 million ton shortfall in grain this year following poor harvests in the United States and India in 2002, and a poor harvest in Europe due to scorching temperatures this year. Shortfalls worldwide have been made up through dwindling grain reserves.
The article in this Newsletter, the Resurgent Sun, it does suggest that global warming may be more an ‘Act of God’ than a global phenomenon made by man. While the Kyoto Treaty was written to alter the destructive forces of global urban growth on the environment of the earth, the ‘Acts of God’ appear to be increasing. There is progressive scientific studies linking the warming of the global atmosphere to increased solar output and flares. This in tern will cause warmer atmospheric temperatures and rising temperatures in the core of the earth. These are introduced by the increased electrical activity induced by solar storm activity.
This phenomenon will be analyzed in the next issue of, The BibleSearchers Reflection.
New bird flu could be worse than Sars – January 15, 2004
On the heels of the global scar of SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) which infected 8,000 and killed almost 800 people last summer, the WHO warned that a new bird flu is arising in several Asian countries in Vietnam, Japan and South Korea and millions of chickens and ducks are being killed to contain this potential epidemic. According to WHO regional coordinator, Peter Cordingly, "It will be a bigger potential problem than Sars because we don't have any defenses against the disease,"
he said. If it latched on to a human influenza virus it could cause serious damage on a global scale.”
To date three Vietnamese have died and six others are being tested. According to Veronica Chan, a parasite expert at the University of the Philippines, told Reuters: "There is no protection from the new strain of influenza virus, so it's going to cause a big epidemic. The pandemics that occurred in the 20th century were really devastating, especially the Spanish flu. We had that in 1918 and 40 million died of that. We should worry."
Dr Chan said a pandemic could start if a person with flu caught the avian strain of the illness. "The bird and the human influenza can re-sort their genetic components and come out with progenies, meaning products or a new virus," she said.
Mad cow disease, known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, now confirmed in the United States traced its origin back to Canada, where the heifer was bought in 1981. Canada confirmed its first case in May, 2003. For humans who eat any meat contaminated with brain or spinal matter can develop a variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This disease was first noted in Great Britain when 143 humans died after an outbreak of mad cow in the 1980s.
In spite of assurances from USDA, 90% of the beef export market of $6 billion per year was lost as global beef importers banned American beef. Since May, 2003, Canada has lost $1 million dollars in beef trade per day. The loss of exports on the global market will increase the marketing of American beef to Americans. Will this increase the potential of American’s dying due to its exposure.
Americans may soon be exposed to a new upsurge in vegetarian and vegan cooking. As for our BibleSearchers meeting, we enjoy a feast of gourmet vegetarian cooking weekly before our Biblical research begins.
6.5 earthquake shakes California, kills two. – Dec 22, 2003
In Paso Robles, a magnitude 6.5 earthquake toppled old downtown buildings and sent tremors from LA, 185 miles to the south, and San Francisco 165 miles to the north, including destroying an 1892 clock tower building.
In this scenic vineyard region studded with oak trees, the quake was the largest in California since the 1999 Hector Mine quake in the Southern California desert and the first fatal quake since the 1994 Northridge quake.
Devastating Quake in Iran claims over 41,000 lives - Jan 16, 2003
Over 45,000 lives is not the estimate of the death from the catastrophic 6.6 magnitude earthquake in Bam, Iran in December 26, 2003. The losses include also over 15,000 additional injured. The current recorded loss of 41,000 lives in the city of 80,000 people is only topped by the 1990 quake in northwest Iran of a magnitude 7.3 that killed about 50,000 people.
The city of Bam, 630 miles from Tehran in southeast Iran suffered extreme damage due to building construction of un-reinforced mud bricks. This loss to the city included the internationally recognized archeological site of the 2000 year old ancient city, the Arg-e-Bam called the Citadel of Bam which was the world’s largest mud-brick fortress.
In a country which was totally closed to the western world since the monarchy of the Shah of Iran was toppled in the 70’s, Iran opened its airspace to all planes carrying emergency supplies, waiving visa requirements for foreign relief personnel from every country of the world except Israel. The offer by Israel of sending their world renowned disaster relief teams was declined by President Mohammad Khatami. The US sent in about 200 search and research and medical experts into the land.
Record Breaking Temperatures
Temperatures Hit Record Lows in Northeast Jan. 10, 2003
In early January saw record breaking temperature plunge the Northeastern United States into a frigid weather that brought New England to near-record lows. The electrical grid was strained to maximum and life in many towns came to a standstill.
Boston's Logan International Airport recorded a low of 3 below zero, two degrees chillier than the previous record for Jan. 10, set in 1875. It was the city's coldest day since Jan. 16, 1994, when thermometers registered 4 below.
New Hampshire's Mount Washington Observatory, which boasts of having "the world's worst weather," recorded temperatures as low as 45 degrees below zero early Friday, coming close to the state's all-time low temperature of minus 47. The observatory reported a wind chill of 97 below zero, with a combination of wind speeds gusting at 92 mph and an outside air temperature of minus 39.
Knowledge shall be increased; Men shall run to and fro
Martian Exploration Rover, Spirit, begins 3 month cruise – Jan 15, 2004
At Gusey Crater on the surface of the planet Mars, a robotic rover began human’s first exploration of earth’s sister planet.
Spirit can travel as far as 100 meters in one day. The robot geologist
will begin her study by investigating the soil and rocks right around her,
checking out and using her robotic arm and the four instruments it houses: a
microscopic imager that will view rocks and soil up close, the rock abrasion
tool (RAT) that can grind into rocks, a Mossbauer spectrometer to find minerals
that contain iron, and an alpha particle x-ray spectrometer (APXS) to sleuth
out chemicals in the rocks and soil.
As the mission's lead scientist Steve Squyres announced yesterday, once the robot geologist has finished her examination of the immediate area, they will command her to cruise to a crater about 270 yards (250 meters) northeast of the lander. Then she will "head for the hills," a range that the team has dubbed the East Hills and which is a distant -- probably unreachable -- 300 kilometers away.
NASA Craft Captures Comet Images – Jan 03, 2003
NASA captured dozens of close-up images of a distant egg-shaped, 3.3-mile diameter comet, Wild 2 (search), that show the frozen ball of rock and ice spewing jets of dust and gas into space. The Stardust spacecraft (search) took 72 images of the dark nucleus of comet Wild 2 during a derring-do flyby of 149 miles that occurred 242 million miles from Earth.
Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (search) began poring over the black-and-white images which revealed at least five and as many as seven jets shooting from the comet, project manager Tom Duxbury said. Stardust recorded two distinct bursts of particles believed spewed by active jets on the surface of Wild 2 (pronounced Vilt-2) as it safely plowed through the gossamer cloud that envelops the comet. The spacecraft also snagged an untold number of the minuscule specks of dust, believed to be primitive leftovers from the formation of our solar system, for later study on Earth.
The images cover about 40 percent of the surface of Wild 2 (search), which appears pocked with sinkholes formed where scientists believe the comet has lost material through sublimation — solids turning to gas without an intermediate liquid phase. Stardust was expected to collect less than a thimbleful of dust, which the spacecraft is scheduled to jettison back to Earth when it sweeps past our planet in January 2006.
Scientists want to return samples of the dust particles to Earth for study because they represent pristine examples of the building blocks of our solar system dating back 4.6 billion years. They also believe the dust contains many of the organic molecules necessary for life, which comets could have pelted the Earth with eons ago. Two other cometary missions, one European and one U.S., are expected to be launched this year.
and Simeon the Elder identified on
1st Century Jerusalem Monument.
In the Kidron Valley across from the Temple Mount are three monuments known ever the centuries as Jewish shrines. New archeological evidence is confirming the 6th century writings of Theodosius and the 4th century Byzantine documents that at least one of these is a mortuary monument to three of the revered Nazarenes in the New Testament: Simon the Just, Zachariah the priest, father of John the Baptist and James the Just, son of Joseph and brother of Jesus.
Discovered two years ago, an article about the discovery and interpretation of the inscription was published recently in the French scientific quarterly, Revue Biblique, in Paris in July, 2003. This inscription was discovered by Jerusalem archeologist, Joe Zias of the Israeli Antiquities Authority and deciphered by Father Emile Puech of the East Jerusalem Ecole Biblique, the archaeological and biblical research center of the Catholic Dominican Order.
A horizontal inscription of 47 letters which was 1.2 meters long and 10 cm. high read as follows: "This is the tomb of Zacharia, martyr, a very pious priest, father of John,"
On the walls about nine meters high was also a 4th century vertical inscription which claimed to mark the site of the burial place of the temple priest of Zacharias the father of John the Baptist who baptized Jesus. The six lines in the Simeon inscription ran vertically instead of horizontally. The letters are of different heights, slightly crooked in placement and carved out rather shallow.
It was Shimon Gibson, of the Albright Institute of the Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem who observed while Zia and Puech set to work to make a cast replica of the engravings using dental silicon. Using scaffolding they were able to access the site. Recreating a 19th century technique, they applied the silicon like you would paper mache over the inscription and from the silicon impression they made a polyester mold. According to Zia, “we photographed and played around and invited experts - and nothing. It was very difficult to read it, but for the first time I heard people admit that there really was something there."
According to Gibson, "These were folks who knew their Greek and their Luke, but didn't know how to be masons." With the help of the lab director of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, Andre Weiner, and excellent craftsman, they finally had a readable mold.
The vertical inscription on the monument states that this is the tomb of "Simeon who was a very just man and a very devoted old (person) and waiting for the consolation of the people."
This verse as found in the Gospel of Luke 2:25, is written exactly as it was in the Codex Sinaiticus which according to scholars was later revised extensively. According to Zia, who presently his findings in November, 2003, at the annual conference of the American Schools of Oriental Research in Atlanta, "This (the inscription) shows there were different versions of the Old and New Testament going around," Continue
The testimony of the last two thousand years has been to the irresistible attraction of Jesus, the Son of God. Leave them in their cultures on whatever continent, Yahshua as a real historical person in 1st century Judea has an appeal that crosses all genders, customs and racial lines.
Jesus called his disciples early in his ministry, “Follow Me”. (Matthew 4:19) How simple and powerful this calling was. The calling was portrayed so poignantly in the life of Simon Peter, who followed willingly and without hesitation. He was an astute businessman, yet he dropped his net, left his fishing boats with his hired hands and followed Jesus.
Three years later, after listening to Jesus tell of relationship with God His Father, witnessing the teachings and the healings of the multitudes, pondering the secret teachings of the Divine He gave His disciples in the private evening hours, there a quiet corner of the house of Caiphas the high priest, he broke and ran scared when it appeared that he would be identified as a disciple and associate with Jesus there on trial. Not one time, two but three times he denied his Lord when listening to the cock crowing in the crisp morning air. There his heart and his life collapsed in fear.
Then Peter received the Holy Spirit. Again Jesus came to him and asked, “Follow Me”, not once, nor twice, but three times.
When Peter first met Jesus, everything appeared right. Here was an orthodox rabbi, who followed strictly the Torah. There was nothing mysterious. One the surface it appeared reasonable and impelling. To be a part of a messianic figure like Jesus who had the approval of a prophet like John the Baptist eliminated all reasonable doubt.
Then came the physical assault with the temple guards, the bloody combat with the servant of the high priest, the disillusionment, the rejection of the physical messiahship by his Lord, Yahshua, and with multiple oaths and cursing at the high priest’s home, his life of self-sufficiency and personal achievement came crashing down upon him.
Now Jesus came again and this time asked to yield himself as an internal sacrifice to Him. (Matthew 21:18) There was nothing left in him to rely upon himself. Finally in despair, hiding on his own boat in the Sea of Galilee, he was ready to receive all the Yahshua had to offer. Then the script says,
John 20:22 – “He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Are we ready to assume that Peter did not grow spiritually while under the personal supervision and tutelage of Jesus? What happened to his spiritual maturity? Did the promised of great intentions and personal resolutions end in denying Christ?
Are there are times when we feel you are in a roller coaster with Christ? Was it not exhilarating? Then there are times you do not know what is happening or what you need to do. It is depressing. Sometimes our spiritual journey comes to a suspension of time. God gives us no answers. He does not respond. And there we wait, agonizingly wait.
Our first inclination is to get busy and do something. We get busy for the church, busy giving Bible studies, busy introducing souls to Christ, busy attending church meetings, busy preparing sermons or bible class meetings. We try to drown out God’s silence in out lives through our incessant busyness. Quit being busy and wait!
Have you though that you might be charging ahead of Jesus? Maybe you are charging down a spiritual blind alley? This time of waiting may be God’s way of telling you the meaning of sanctification – to be set apart from sin and made holy.
Maybe this waiting is coming after you have received sanctification and now it is to teach you about dependency on Jesus and service to Him. The relationship that Jesus had with His Father is the same as your relationship with Jesus. Jesus never moved or acted until He received directions from His Father. The life of Jesus was so transparent that His Father was able to work directly through Him. You also must learn to be so transparent that the Lord of hosts will be able to work out His will through your life. Did Jesus not day,
John 14:10-12 – “He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, “Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me; The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me., or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
If there is any doubt, WAIT! To do any otherwise, God may not be guiding you.
Many times you feel clearly that God has outlined His wish for you. With great religious bravery you begin to sever business relationships, break up friendships, or charge with zeal in a great enterprise for God. Are you listening to God or are you listening to your own voice. Wait! Resist the impulse to act for God. Rather you must wait until God is able to work out His will through you. Otherwise, you might be jumping into situations that will embroil your life and make you useless for Jesus.
Wait until God’s timing has come. To your shock, He will have done it all for you. No effort, no heartaches and no disappointment. When you need God’s providential will, Wait!
Peter knew who he was and where he wanted to go before He met Jesus. At that moment life changed. When his life crashed and he could no longer depend upon himself, he was finally prepared to become an Apostle for Jesus. The next thirty seven years of his life became a servant of his Master. This impulsive bungling disciple became a fiery orator at Pentecost, whose words were heard in multiple tongues and dialects. Three broken promises and three oaths and cursing brought three new callings to the three known regions of the then known world. As the Apostle to the World, the Apostle Peter traveled and ministered to the Lost Sheep of the House of Israel for his Lord; in Seleucia and Babylon in the East, in Greco Macedonia and Roman Italia in the Center and in Britain and Celtic Europe in the West.
The Son of God did not stand on rock podiums and give altar calls to join My people. He rather said, “Follow Me!” His Sheep were the literal lost sheep of the House of Israel and the adopted sheep of the Gentiles who were grafted into de-vine (Divine). Jesus called Simon Peter to be His disciple and then after he learned to be selfless and transparent, He made him into a world-class Apostle. Jesus is calling you, “Follow Me.” When you are willing to give up all rights to yourself and be willing to accept discipleship of Jesus, then you will and only then be commissioned,
Matthew 28:18-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations “
Then Jesus can say to you, “Teach them to follow Me.”
Robert Mock MD