“Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” (Rev. 14:7)
A popular radio talk-show host opened his morning broadcast with the following question for his callers, “Do you think God is punishing this nation (with natural disasters) for our sins?” At the time, hurricane Katrina had already ravaged the Gulf Coast states, and record setting Wilma was about to make landfall on Florida’s west coast.
After 30-minutes on hold, I opined that “while God has used weather events in direct judgment of OT cultures, in this dispensation (of grace) we are spared His wrath based on what Christ already suffered (on our behalf) at Calvary. That said, what characterizes the generation that sees the “end of the age” (according to prophecy) are the frequency and intensity of catastrophic events.”
In other words, at some point on a predetermined time table (known only to God) the “age of grace” will give way to a literal Kingdom
era. Before this happens though, Jesus prophesied (in Matt 24) that a particular generation would witness a rapid combination of turbulent events tantamount to birth pangs.
Since I believe we are that generation, this month we feature 3-articles that detail a pattern of events, which point to the partial fulfillment of Christ’s prophesy in our day. Following the rapture
of the Church, the opening passage quotes an angel tasked with completing the great commission, which will signal the end of the age.Bottom-line:
God’s judgment is being held in abeyance during the waning moments of our era. Rather than fear the wind and waves, let’s revere (fear) the One who controls them.
to the Lord,
Roy TannerTiming the 'Birth Pangs'
by Hal LindseyAt the end of Jesus’ ministry
, while looking over the temple from the Mount of Olives, He predicted both its destruction and the Jewish nation’s.
Shocked, His disciples got Him alone and asked, “Tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 NAS)
The apostles then asked three all-important questions:
(1) When will these things happen?
(2) What will be the sign of Christ’s Second Coming?
(3) What will be the sign of the end of the age?
This refers to the time of Gentile rule over the world ending and the establishment of the promised world Kingdom to Israel over which the Messiah Jesus, as the Son of David, will rule.
Jesus answers questions #2 and #3 in Matthew’s account. He answers question #1 in Luke’s account in chapter 21:12-24.
Jesus gives a complete scenario of the signs of the end that would all begin to happen in one time frame – in concert with each other.
The key that would make the ‘signs’ unique is that they would all begin to occur together in the same era. The other key that would make these ‘signs’ unique and recognizable is that they would develop like “birth pangs”.
After Jesus enumerates the signs, He says of them, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” (Matt. 24:8)
Now here are the signs he called 'birth pangs':No. 1
The Church would depart from the truth and false christs and false prophets would arise. He warned that MANY in the Church would be deceived. This has already happened -- big time.
Most mainline Churches do not hold to Divine verbal inspiration of the Bible. Many have ‘air conditioned hell’ and redefined sin to be ‘politically correct’ today.
For instance, the clear Biblical teaching against homosexuality is now being ‘redefined’. In defiance of God’s teaching in 1 & 2 Timothy, women are now being ordained as Pastors and Priests.
Jesus is no longer the only one who can bring us forgiveness of sin through His death in our place. He is now a great teacher among many other religious leaders who can show us how to work our way to heaven.
Various suicide cults of this generation, from the People’s Temple to the Branch Davidians to the Hale-Bopp cult, shared the same characteristic. They all had a false christ, or false messiah figure. But worse is coming.No. 2
Jesus warned of wars and rumors of wars, but He said, “See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end.”
The 20th century was marked by three significant events that shaped its course. WW1, WW2 and the Cold War. Both World Wars involved virtually every nation on earth in an orgy of destruction that killed tens of millions.
The Cold War endured for forty years, without either side firing a shot in anger. The ultimate rumor of war! Historians have already named the 20th Century the century of war.
But the end, as Jesus predicted, was not yet.No. 3
Along with war, Jesus warned that “nation will rise against nation …” The word ‘nation’ is translated from the Greek word 'ethnos' which literally means ethnic groups or tribes. Ethnic unrest and tribal warfare has killed uncounted millions in this generation.
There are ethnic wars within the same nations. One of the most shocking examples of ethnic hatred is the case of the Kurds. They are Muslim, yet they are scattered along the borders of the fellow Muslim nations of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran – and hated by all.No. 4
Jesus predicted that “kingdom will rise against kingdom …” The word ‘kingdom’ comes from the Greek word 'basliea', which means a literal nation in our modern understanding of the word. There has been so much warfare between nations that mankind is trying to do away with nations.
The Antichrist will seize upon this yearning and establish a one-world government over which he will rule. But it won't bring peace; it will bring total destruction.No. 5
Jesus predicted “in various places there will be famine …” According to the world experts, the Age of Famines began in 1975. There are famines raging someplace in the world at all times now.No. 6
Jesus predicted in Luke’s account, “There will be great earthquakes …” AP News reported on October 9th that there were only 10 major earthquakes from the decades of 1920 through 1980 – a period of 70 years.
But there have been 13 major earthquakes in the last 15 years. These refer only to the monster quakes that have caused great destruction and loss of life. More will be said in a moment on this. No. 7
Jesus predicted, “there will be … plagues …” Diseases once believed eradicted from the earth by antibiotics have now developed immunity to virtually every drug we have. Now we have super-strains of them.
Because of the rapid mobility of travel, a dangerous infectious disease any place on earth can become a pandemic over night – killing millions.
New strains of viruses that have trans-mutated from the animal kingdom to man now make pandemics of unimaginable horror possible. The latest is a bird flu in Viet Nam named H5N1 that the World Health Organization says could kill 150 million people worldwide.No. 8
Super Storms from celestial influence on the earth’s climate. The last “birth pang” Jesus predicted is, “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.”
I commented on these verses a couple of weeks ago. NASA has verified that the sun is getting brighter and hotter. This is having a dramatic effect on the rise of overall temperature on the earth. And that is causing the ocean belt around the equator to particularly heat up and cause more frequent and powerful storms – as we have definitely seen this hurricane/typhoon season.
Again, of all these things, the Lord said, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” Taken together and read in context, the Lord outlined, in advance, an exact history of the world as it has progressed since Israel took its place among the modern nations of the world in 1948.
This generation has witnessed more than the beginning of the birth pangs. They've gone past the beginning. To quote Winston Churchill, "this may not be the end, or the beginning of the end. But it is certainly the end of the beginning."Life-and-death flu
By Charles Krauthammer
Oct 14, 2005
WASHINGTON -- While official Washington has been poring over Harriet Miers' long-ago doings on the Dallas City Council and parsing the Byzantine comings and goings of the Fitzgerald grand jury, relatively unnoticed was perhaps the most momentous event of our lifetime -- what is left of it, as I shall explain. It was announced last week that American scientists have just created a living, killing copy of the 1918 ``Spanish'' flu.
This is big. Very big.
First, it is a scientific achievement of staggering proportions. The Spanish flu has not been seen on this blue planet for 85 years. Its re-creation is a story of enterprise, ingenuity, serendipity, hard work and sheer brilliance. It involves finding deep in the bowels of a military hospital in Washington a couple of tissue samples from the lungs of soldiers who died in 1918 (in an autopsy collection first ordered into existence by Abraham Lincoln), and the disinterment of an Alaskan Eskimo who died of the flu and whose remains had been preserved by the permafrost. Then, using slicing and dicing techniques only Michael Crichton could imagine, they pulled off a microbiological Jurassic Park: the first ever resurrection of an ancient pathogen. And not just any ancient pathogen, explained virologist Eddie Holmes, but ``the agent of the most important disease pandemic in human history.''
Which brings us to the second element of this story: Beyond the brilliance lies the sheer terror. We have quite literally brought back to life an agent of near-biblical destruction. It killed more people in six months than were killed in the four years of the First World War. It killed more humans than any other disease of similar duration in the history of the world, says Alfred W. Crosby, who wrote a history of the 1918 pandemic. And, notes The New Scientist, when the re-created virus was given to mice in heavily quarantined laboratories in Atlanta, it killed the mice more quickly than any other flu virus ever tested.
Now that I have your attention, consider, with appropriate trepidation, the third element of this story: What to do with this knowledge? Not only has the virus been physically re-created. But its entire genome has now been published for the whole world, good people and very bad, to see.
The decision to publish was a very close and terrifying call.
On the one hand, we need the knowledge disseminated. We've learned from this research that the 1918 flu was bird flu, ``the most bird-like of all mammalian flu viruses,'' says Jeffery Taubenberger, lead researcher in unraveling the genome. There is a bird flu epidemic right now in Asia that has infected 117 people and killed 60. It has already developed a few of the genomic changes that permit transmission to humans. Therefore, you want to put out the knowledge of the structure of the 1918 flu, which made the full jump from birds to humans, so that every researcher in the world can immediately start looking for ways to anticipate, monitor, prevent and counteract similar changes in today's bird flu.
We are essentially in a life-and-death race with the bird flu. Can we figure out how to pre-empt it before it figures out how to evolve into a transmittable form with 1918 lethality that will decimate humanity? To run that race we need the genetic sequence universally known -- not just to inform and guide but to galvanize new research.
On the other hand, resurrection of the virus and publication of its structure opens the gates of hell. Anybody, bad guys included, can now create it. Biological knowledge is far easier to acquire for Osama and friends than nuclear knowledge. And if you can't make this stuff yourself, you can simply order up DNA sequences from commercial laboratories around the world that will make it and ship it to you on demand. Taubenberger himself admits that ``the technology is available.''
And if the bad guys can't make the flu themselves, they could try to steal it. That's not easy. But the incentive to do so from a secure facility could not be greater. Nature, which published the full genome sequence, cites Rutgers bacteriologist Richard Ebright as warning that there is a significant risk ``verging on inevitability'' of accidental release into the human population or of theft by a ``disgruntled, disturbed or extremist laboratory employee.''
One batch of 1918 flu has the capacity for mass destruction that no Bond villain could ever dream of. Why try to steal loose nukes in Russia? A nuke can only destroy a city. The flu virus, properly evolved, is potentially a destroyer of civilizations.
We might have just given it to our enemies.
Have a nice day.Is Iran preparing for a US war?
by Amir Taheri
September 21, 2005Incredible though it may sound
, there are signs that Tehran may be preparing for a military confrontation with the United States and has convinced itself that it could win.
The first sign came last June with the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of the Islamic republic, an event that completed the conquest of all levers of power by the most radical elements of the establishment.
Since then the revolutionary factions have conducted a little publicised purge of the military, the security, the civil service, state-owned corporations and media. The most significant purges have affected the military high command.
Among those replaced are the defence minister, the commander-in-chief of the regular army and his four deputies, 11 senior commanders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and five commanders of the paramilitary Mobilisation of the Dispossessed. Some of the purged officers have been 'parked' in a mysterious new organ called The Defence Guidance Commission attached to the office of the 'Supreme Guide' Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The minister of intelligence and security and the minister of the interior, who controls the police and the gendarmerie, have also been replaced.
Another sign that Tehran may be preparing for war is the appointment of military officers to posts normally held by civilians, such as governors, mayors and directors of major public corporations.
But, perhaps, the surest sign yet is the military build-up under way in the five provinces bordering Iraq. The region, with a population of 20 million, has been put under the control of the IRGC which has also taken over units of the regular army, including the 88th Division and the border police. Iran is estimated to have 250,000 troops in the area, its biggest military build-up since the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1988.
One of the first acts of the new cabinet led by Ahmadinejad was to approve an "emergency" fund of $700 million (Dh2.57 billion) to be disbursed at the discretion of "the supreme guide" for "sacred defence purposes".Defence disbursements
The new administration has also decided to speed up defence disbursements under a five-year plan approved by Khamenei last year. The plan aims at doubling the military budget by 2010. But it now seems that, thanks to rising oil revenues, most of the plan could be completed by 2008.
In the past few weeks top regime figures, including Khamenei and Ahmadinejad, have made a series of unscheduled visits to Mash'had, Iran's second largest city. One curious fact revealed during these visits is that a bunker-like structure to house the 'supreme guide' is being completed close to the holy shrine of Reza, the Eighth Imam. The complex could also house the top echelon of government, including the president, the cabinet and members of the Islamic Majlis (parliament).
The choice of Mash'had is not accidental. The city is located 1,000 kilometres from Tehran and thus as far as possible inside Iran and away from American fire power in Iraq and the Arabian Gulf.
The United States is also expected to shrink from attacks against the Mash'had bunker for fear of collateral damage to the holy shrine of the Imam a few hundred yards away. The summer's comings and goings in Mash'had have provoked rumours that Khamenei plans to appoint Abbas Va'ez Tabasi, the mullah who runs the Eighth Imam's foundation, as "deputy supreme guide", just in case!
The belief that the Americans would not attack sites close to the holy shrines has also led to the creation of a massive new military base at Fadak, a suburb of the holy city of Qom, south of Tehran, where the Eighth Imam's sister is buried. Work on the base which covers an area of 7.2 square kilometres started in August.
Piecing together the bits of the jigsaw, one may guess the outline of Tehran's scenario for what it believes is an inevitable clash with the United States:
• The diplomatic tussle over Iran's nuclear plans goes to the Security Council which will fail to take a decision thanks to Russian and Chinese vetoes.
• The US, after much huffing and puffing, launches air strikes against Iran's nuclear installations (Tehran loves Israel to also participate because that would give the Islamic Republic a better claim to be fighting on behalf of Islam as a whole.).
• Iran retaliates by ordering the forces it controls inside Iraq to attack American and British troops. At the same time the Lebanese branch of the Hezbollah launches massive rocket attacks against Israel while Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, whose leaders spent the past month in Tehran meeting Khamenei and his aides, organise a wave of suicide operations against Israel from Occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank.
• The United States and its British allies, stationed in southern Iraq, launch a three pronged attack, from Shalamcheh, Hamroun and Shatt Al Arab to seize control of Khuzestan, the province that accounts for 70 per cent of Iran's oil production.
• Iranian Special Forces attack Iraq from the Zaynalkosh salient, south of the Kurdish provinces, some 80 kilometres from Baghdad's first defences in Ba'aqubah.
• Hazara Shiites strike against Kabul, the Afghan capital, from Maydanshahr while Pushtun warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and the remnants of the Taliban, some of whom are under Iranian protection, attack across Afghanistan.
• The Americans and their allies attack Khuzestan.
• Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz.
• The Americans attack the Iranian provinces of Kermanshahan and Kurdistan.
• US-led forces attack across the Mandali-Ilam axis. The Iranians retreat to the Zagross mountain range, the first line of Iran's natural defences. (To fight along the Zagross the IRGC is building new bases at Khorramabad, Pessyan, Borujerd, Zagheh and Malayer in the province of Luristan. The bases would assure the logistics of a quarter of a million troops and provide temporary shelter for half a million refugees from the border. These bases will complement older ones further west, at Sahneh and Kangavar. )
• Oil prices top $100 (Dh367) and the global economy plunges into a crisis.
• Americans launch cruise missiles against "regime targets" in Tehran. But the regime is already in Mash'had, protected by the Eighth Imam.
• Global TV networks air images of "indiscriminate carnage" and "wanton destruction" in Iranian cities.
• The Security Council meets in emergency and orders a ceasefire while the American media and Congress revolt against President George W. Bush and his "pre-emptive" strategy.
• Anti-Bush marches in Washington and dozens of other cities with Hollywood figures and other celebrities calling for Bush to be overthrown.
• Bush accepts a UN-brokered ceasefire and withdraws his forces.
• The Islamic Republic emerges victorious from what Ahmadinejad sees as "a clash of civilisations".
• The Americans leave Iraq and Afghanistan as Bush becomes a lame-duck for the rest of his presidency.
• The Islamic Republic gains new domestic legitimacy and proceeds to crush its opponents as "enemies of the nation and of Islam".
• Iran can speed up making its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles without being harassed by Washington.
• Iran becomes "the core power" of a new "Islamic pole" in a multi-polar system with China, the European Union and Latin America, under the Bolivarist leadership of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, emerging as other "poles".
• Bush's successor acknowledges Iran's new status and sends Bill Clinton, who apologised to Iran for "our past misdeeds" in 2000, to Tehran to offer another formal apology on behalf of Bush's successor and offer Ahmadinejad "a grand bargain".
• The Islamic Republic is now free to proceed to address what Khamenei has described as its "greatest historic task" which is the destruction of Israel.
Sounds outlandish? Well, it is. The Islamic Republic is a fragile structure in a zone of political earthquakes. Logically, the last thing it should want is war. Nevertheless, former President Mohammad Khatami has warned that Tehran may be boxing itself into a position in which it will either have to surrender or fight.