Oct 162017
 

The United States and its global allies face dangerous adversaries armed with nuclear weapons or who will likely posses them soon. How significant are these threats, and how do they play into Bible prophecies about what will occur at the “time of the end”? And what should you do to prepare?

On Aug. 29, 1949 the Soviet Union succesfully detonated its first atomic bomb at a remote experimental site in the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic (today’s Kazakhstan). This came as a shock to many U.S. officials, who didn’t think the Soviets could develop atomic weapons capability so soon after World War II.

Following that episode and throughout much of the 1950s and 60s, the fear of a Soviet nuclear attack against America and its allies was profound. During that time many experts believed that the immediate danger from a nuclear blast would come as a result of its intense heat and from debris and glass flying through the air. Consequently, civil defense “duck and cover” safety drills were conducted by schools and communities across the United States.

As a pupil in elementary school during that time, I participated in those exercises. My schoolmates and I were taught that if we saw the flash of a nuclear fireball, we should duck under our desks and cover our heads with our hands. After the shock wave, we were to move immediatly to the school’s basement cafetaria, which also served as a fallout shelter for ostensible protection from exposure to nuclear radiation.

Although such civil defense drills are a thing of the past, the threat posed by nuclear weapons remains very real. Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, thousands of nuclear weapons remained in Russia’s possesion. Today, besides the United States and Russia, seven other countries posses nuclear arsenals – China, France, India, Israël, the United Kingdom, Pakistan and North Korea.

For decades the greatest danger to America and its allies was Russia, but now North Korea seems to have taken that postion due to its unpredictability and open threats to use nukes against the Unites States. Plus, Iran will almost certainly pose a nuclear peril to the world within several years. To understand this overall problem, let’s examine the sobering security situations these nations present.

Nuclear weapons threat: Russia

Today most Americans think very little about nuclear weapons. However, this powerful, deadly technology matters a great deal to the Russian people and their leaders. Russia relies on its nuclear arsenal as a source of national pride, being one of the last vestiges of its former superpower status. According to the Federation of American Scientists, which calculates nuclear weapon stockpiles, the Russian Federation currently possesses more than 4,300 operational warheads.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not averse to using his coutry’s nuclear capability to pressure and threaten his adversaries. For example, to express dissatisfaction with perceived NATO incursions into a portion of Russia’s “neighborhood” (former Soviet bloc countries along its western border in the Baltic Sea region), Putin used his nation’s mobile nuclear missile launchers to project power.

This occured in October 2016 when he ordered nuclear-capable Iskander ballistic missiles to be placed in Kaliningrad, a Russian province between the NATO states of Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. Putin’s action prompted an anxious response from those nations and others in the region.

Putin said at the time, “We must take counter-measures, that is, strike with our missile systems the targets that in our opinion begin to threaten us” (quoted by Nicole Stinson, “Vladimir Putin Moves Nuke-Capable Missiles Closer to Europe in Latest Move Against NATO,” Daily Star, Nov. 22, 2016).

Besides its moves in the Baltic region, Russia has flexed its muscles in other ways, such as its annexation of Crimea in 2014, its overt support of Russian-separatist forces in eastern Ukraine beginning that same year, and its militairy ground and air operational support (beginning in September 2015) of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.

Russia’s confrontational approach to the United States and its allies has taken an even more troublesome turn with its efforts to develop a new intercontinental ballistic missile system. Putin’s action was in response to perceived threats related to NATO’s missile defense system, wich became operational in Europe in July 2016.

Newsweek recently reported: “Russia has for months been testing a giant nuclear weapons delivery system that can carry 10 heavyweight warheads. Russia began testing the Sarmat last year and had been expected to enter it into service in 2018. The Russian weapon was designed to push through U.S. missile defenses. It is expected to replace the RS-36M, which was known as ‘Satan’ by NATO in the 1970s” (Cristina Silva, “Russia’s New ‘Satan’ Nuclear Weapons System Could Wipe Out Texas or France,” March 23, 2017).

In addition, as TIME magazine pointed out, “Moscow has also returned to a habit of nuclear threats, while in its military exercises, it has begun to practice for a nuclear strike, according to the NATO militairy alliance”(Simon Shuster, “Why Russia Is Rebuilding Its Nuclear Arsenal,”April 4, 2016).

Nuclear weapons threat: North Korea

Another peril facing the United States and its allies comes from North Korea, with its accelerating missile development program and nuclear attack capability. Although it’s the world’s 51st most populous country, North Korea according to some sources fields the earth’s largest army with 1.3 millioen men under arms, led by “supreme leader” Kim Jong un.

Its armed forces face South Korea’s 625,000 frontline militairy personnel and 28,000 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. North Korea is “equipped with 20,000 artillery pieces, 1,000 short- and medium-range missiles, 70 submarines, more than 400 patrol/missile boats and 563 combat aircraft. A strike against [South Korea’s capital] Seoul would be devastating” (Christopher Wallace, “North Korea’s Army: 1.2 M Men, Obsolete Equipment and Nukes,” Fox News, april 28, 2017).

Seoul is a city of 10 million people- the most densely populated in the world. And it’s located only 30 miles from the demilitarized zone, the disputed boundary between twe two nations.

While a militairy conflict in that region employing only conventional weapons would be dreadful in terms of loss of life, injury and property damage, the carnage and destruction resulting from a nuclear strike or exchange would be unthinkable. Despite that, considering its belligerent rhetoric and actions, North Korea appears to be preparing for such an eventually-after having conducted five successful nuclear tests between 2006 and September 2016.

The country’s central news agency Rodong Sinmun declared on May 2, 2017, that the state will launch a devastating strike to “reduce the whole of the U.S. mainland to ruins”. An American expert, highly knowledgeable about the menace posed by electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons, suggests this threat should not be taken lightly (see “Terrorism and EMP Weapons: Iran and Noth Korea”on page 15).

The number of operational plutoniumbased nuclear weapons possessed by North Korea is estimated at 10 to 30. “Unless something changes, North Korea’s arsenal may well hit 50 weapons by the end of President Donald Trump’s term. American officials say the North Korea’s already knows how to shrink those weapons so they can fit atop one of its short- to medium-range missiles- putting South Korea and Japan, and the thousands of American troops deployed in those two nations, within range” (David Sanger and William Broad, “As North Korea Speeds Its Nuclear Program, U.S. Fears Time Will Run Out,” The New York Times, April 24, 2017, emphasis added throughout).

Admiral Harry Harris, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command, told the Armed Services Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in late April: “North Korea vigorously pursued a strategic strike capability in 2016. Kim’s strategic capabilities are not yet an existential threat to the U.S., but if left unchecked, he will gain the capability to math his rhetoric” (“Hawaii Threatened by North Korea Now, U.S. Commander Tells Congress,”McClatchy DC Bureau, April 26, 2017).

On June 3, at an international security conference in Singapore, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declared North Korea’s push to acquire nuclear-armed missiles a “clear and present danger,” an “urgent military threat” and “a threat to all” (quoted by Robert Burns, “Mattis: North Korea a ‘Clear and Present Danger’ to World, ABC News website, June 3, 2017).

President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to work with the international community to try to achieve a peaceful solution to the North Korea nuclear threat. China has since suspended some imports of North Korea coal, consistent with UN sanctions, and began urging Kim Jong un to stop nuclear and missile activities.

President Trump’s approach is to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile and proliferation programs by instituting robust economic sanctions and taking stronger diplomatic actions.

After an April 26, 2017, White House briefing to U.S. senators regarding North Korea’s progress in nuclear weapons and missile capabilities, Defense Secretary Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Director of Intelligence Dan Coats said in a joint statement: “The United States seeks stability and the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We remain open to negotiations towards that goal. However, we remain prepared to defend ourselves and our allies.”

In an interview following that briefing, U.S. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware commented on the nuclear threat posed by North Korea by stating, “This is a very dangerous circumstance.”

Nuclear weapons threat: Iran

A third potential nuclear weapons danger to the United States and its allies arises from Iran. For more than six decades Iran had been engaged in efforts to develop nuclear energy technology. However it has always declared that all its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes.

Various authorities have disagreed with that claim and some have reported on evidence of Iran’s efforts to acquire the capacity and expertise to build nuclear weapons. In a report from Nov. 25, 2015, the United Nations atomic agency assessed “that a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003 as a coordinated effort, and some activities took place up to 2009” (George Jahn, “UN Atomic Agency Believes Iran Conducted Experiments Meant to Develop Nuclear Weapons,” US News & World Report, Dec. 2, 2015.

On Jully 14, 2015, Iran and six world powers – China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States – reached an agreement to limit Iran’s nuclear program in exchanged for relief from economics sanctions. These negotiations left ambiguity as to wether Iran would build nuclear weapons. But as noted above, Iran had previously developed the technologies needed to accomplish this in a relatively short period.

Added to its previous work on nuclear weapons science, Iran is formulating advanced missile delivery capability. “Tehran is developing increasingly sophisticated missiles and improving the range and accuracy of its other missile systems” (Anthony Cordesman, “Iran, Missiles, and Nuclear Weapons,” Center for Strategic and International Studies, Dec. 9, 2015).

An Iran with nuclear weapons would pose a severe threat to the security of the United States and its allies, along with the world at large. Consider the danger in these circumstances:

  • A nuclear-armed Iran, coupled with the ability to miniaturize nuclear warheads so as to be mounted on intercontinental ballistic missiles, would create an existential threat.
  • America’s Arab allies, such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia – which are anxious about Iran’s provocative regional actions – would feel significantly more vulnerable and threatened by a nuclear-armed Iran.
  • If Iran develops nuclear weapons, it would likely trigger nuclear proliferation to other countries in the Middle East – such as Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – which would lead to even greater regional instability.
  • Iran could share its nuclear weapons technology and proficiency with extremist groups such as Hezbollah, which is virulently hostile to Israël and the United States.

These are some of the reasons why the development of nuclear weapons capability by Iran is unacceptable to the United States and its allies.

What does the future hold?

But beyond the present dangers and threats posed by Russia, North Korea and Iran, what lies ahead for the United States and its allies? Will they end up locked in armed conflict? The immediate answer for the short term is that no one really knows. Nevertheless, the Bible is very clear regarding trends and events that will take place in what it describes as “the time of the end” (Daniel 12:4,9).

That future period will be incredibly dangerous and disastrous. As Jesus Christ Himself foretold: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22).

This time of “great tribulation”- described also as “a time of trouble” and “Jacob’s trouble” (Daniel 12:1; Jeremiah 30:5-7) – will be so fearsome that if Jesus Christ doesn’t return to earth to end it, the entire human race will face extinction. When warfare, which includes the use of nuclear weapons, is combined with immensely destructive natural and supernatural forces, the future period of savagery and upheaval will make all previous periods of war seem tame by comparison.

The coming great tribulation will strike principally, but no be limited to, the modern-day descendants of ancient Israël. This includes the United States, Britain, other British-descended peoples and the present-day Jewish state of Israël. As Bible prophecy indicates, these nations will be attacked and plundered by malicious enemies at that time.

There is no indication in prophecy of a nation like the United States standing as a world superpower at the time of Christ’s return, giving further reason to understand that America will have collapsed sometime prior. (Other prophecies do reveal the United States as an end-time superpower, but the time frame is well before the final events to come).

The downfall of the Unites States, Britain and other modern descendants of ancient Israël will occur because their citizens will have largely turned away from God in reckless disobedience and lost His divine protection. Previous to that coming destruction, they will have been the recipients of abundant blessings and great prominence in the world.

It’s important to note that Bible prophecy often has dual application and fulfillment – in both ancient times and the end time. The prophet Isaiah described both the people of ancient Israël and their contemporary descendants: “This is a rebellious people, lying children, children who will not hear the law of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do no prophesy to us right things; speak to us smooth things, prophesy deceits. Get out of the way, turn aside from the path, cause the Holy One of Israël to cease from before us” (Isaiah 30:9-11).

Not only have many people in these nations abandoned God, they have also disregarded or spitefully despised His laws. This includes desgracing the sacred marriage relationship through rampant divorce and pervasive sexual immortality as well as the horrific murder of multiple millions of children through abortion.

During ancient Israël’s time, God admonished His chosen people repeatedly to forsake their lawlessness (Ezekiel 14:6; Jeremiah 8:6). But because they refused, God told them they would be punished (Amos 3:2; Leviticus 26:19). Through His prophet Ezekiel, God said: “Now upon you I will soon pour out My fury, and spend My anger upon you; I will judge you according to your ways, and I will repay you for all your abominations … Then you shall know that I am the LORD who strikes … The vision concerns the whole multitude, and it shall not turn back; no one will strenghten himself who lives in iniquity” (Ezekiel 7:8-9, 13).

What should you to to prepare?

While God sent His prophets to warn the people in those earlier days, what about His message to the nations today? God’s Church is now commissioned with the vital responsibility to proclaim to the modern-day descendants of ancient Israël – and indeed to all nations – God’s warnings in Scripture about the consequences of sin and the need to turn from disobedience (Isaiah 58:1; Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20). The gospel (or good news) that Jesus gave His Church to proclaim includes the vital message of repentance and salvation through Him, as well as His impending return to earth as humanity’s only hope of survival?

But sadly, as the end of this age draws near, the Bible explains that men, women and even children will become increasingly selfish, corrupt and intracable. The apostle Paul describes vividly their attitude and temperament: “And know this: in the last days, times will be hard. You see, the world will be filled with narcissistic, money-grubbing, pretentious, arrogant, and abusive people. They will rebell against their parents and will be ungrateful, unholy, uncaring, coldhearted, accusing, whithout restraint, savage, and haters of anything good. Expect them to be treacherous, reckless, swollen with self-importance, and given to loving pleasure more than they love God. Even though they may look or act like godly people, they’re not. They deny His power. I tell you: stay away from the likes of these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

Because the vast majority of people today don’t know God or His Word, the Bible, they will be blind to danger signs increasing throughout society. As a result they will be shocked and frightend by numerous terrible conditions and events that will transpire (Matthew 24:37-39).

But what about you and me? Are we disregarding God, or are we willing to change our ways and sincerely obey His Word? And are we preparing for what the Scriptures tell us will occur in the coming days?

Those who know and understand the truth are admonished to recognize clearly: “the signs of the times” and to especially be spiritually awake and alert (Matthew 24:3; Luke 12:40; 1 Thessalonians 5:4). “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8).

Be ready all the time

To accomplish this we need to study the Bible diligently, apply its instructions faithfully and build a strong, close and enduring relationship with God. We also need to carry out unwaveringly our duty to preach and publish the gospel, even if people ignore or oppose it.

Those who refuse to follow God’s instructions to be obedient, watchful and prayerful will find themselves spiritually unprepared and then suffer the consequences of their neglect (Matthew 25:1-13). “Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts will not be loaded down with selfindulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day will take you surpise like a trap, because it will come on everyone who lives on the face of the earth” (Luke 21:34-35).

What else are we advised to do? We must be spiritually prepared and ever vigilant. “You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected” (Matthew 24:44). “Be ready” includes maintaining zeal for God and His Work on earth while preparing energetically for Christ’s second coming (Mattew 25:1-13; Luk. 21:36; Revelation 3:3).

We need to make every effort, with God’s help, to abound with love, joy and faith through His divine Spirit, while jettisoning all spiritual weariness and lethargy (Philippians 1:11; Acts 13:52; Galatians 6:9; Revelation 3:14-17). As we’ve seen, the Bible gives us ample instruction as to what we need to do in preparation for God’s coming, righteous Kingdom.

Finally, although we should certainly be mindful about the current nuclear peril posed by Russia, North Korea and Iran, let’s realize that times will grow increasingly worse prior to Jesus’ return to earth. To survive and even thrive through that catastrophic period, let’s make sure our full attention and concentration is on developing our spiritual condition and relationship with God. This is what is most important and what He would have us do right now. Is it what you are doing?

Out: World News & Prophecy / Beyond Today

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The United States is bitterly divided both politically and socially. At the same time its role in the world is being underminded in strategic regions. Are we entering a time of escalating danger and  trouble like that spoken in the Bible? / by Darris McNeely

On July 4 this year North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear weapon as far as Alaska. Some experts said the missile had the capability of reaching as far as the U.S. mainland and the city of San Fransico.

The timing of the launch was not by coincidence. July 4 is the annual celebration of America’s birth. The day is a symbol of the gift of freedom gained through the struggle for independence and the founders setting up the nation’s government, all by God’s blessings. It also focuses on America national strength, which has served not just the country but the world at large. North Korea was giving notice it was setting sights on America.

In fact, North Korea leaders “warmly congratulated the national defence science soldiers on striking the US imperialists on the face, “according to the North Korean news agency KCNA. They also stated that if “US imperialists commit even the slightest military provocation,” the North Korean military would “show to the world the territory of the US will be reduced to ashes” (Agence France-Presse, “Explosions in Sky as Pyongyang Celebrates ICBM Launch,” July 6, 2017).

This news brings obvious concerns. A nuclear-armed North Korea is without question a menace. But I’m not scared, and neither should you be. I know there’s a God who has a purpose and plan for this world. Bible prophecy tells me that though there will be devastating wars, probably even nuclear wars, human life will not be annihilated.

Bible prophecy explains why our world is dangerous. It also provides hope, which removes fear. Let’s look at what’s happening, and let’s understand why.

Steps toward the worst time ever

North Korea picked the day it did to show America it had within its reach the ability to inflict great destruction on the America people. This grave danger posed by a regime that has proven its disregard for human life – starving and repressing its own citizens in building its nuclear program – comes at time when America is being torn apart with political debate over the presidential election process and healt care reform.

The ability of the president to effectively govern is challenged by media-hyped allegations of collusion with Russia in the 2016 election process. The cloud of doubt cast over government threatens to paralyze and distract the nation’s leaders from focusing on the real posed by nations that wish to remove American power and end its long-established world role.

The threat is real. The consequences are far-reaching. In His last major prophecy before His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus Christ spoke of a time of world turmoil and upheavel that will create war, tension and trouble beyond any seen in any previous period of history. It will be a time of “great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be”(Matthew 24:21). This will create conditions that, if not cut short, would cause the extinction of all live (verse 22).

These verses describe a time made possible by the creation of deadly nuclear weapons at the end and in the aftermath of World War II. Since then the world has been under the threat of massive destruction unlike any period of world history.

Treaties, arms agreements and goodwill have not deterred the spread of nuclear weapons to countries that would use them to advance their national and religious interests. North Korea threatens to use its nuclear weapon against America.

Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and threatens to launch them against the state of Israël. Should Saudi Arabia obtain a weapon, an already unstable Middle East would be at dagger points. The world is at the point of massive destabilization on the issue of nuclear weapons alone.

There is one common thread to this scenario – the desire of certain nations to remove America’s historic role as a world superpower. Let’s look closer at what is happening.

The Asian calculus

The Unites States has hoped that China would be a broker in persuading North Korea to stand down from its nuclear ambitions. This is a false hope. China has propped up the Kim regime since the time of the Korean War. It is in China’s interests to keep Korea divided and South Korea without nuclear weapons.

The last thing China wants is a united Korea on the Korean peninsula, armed with nuclear weapons and aligned with America. Such a situation is a threat to Chinese desires to control all of Asia. Nor is a nuclear-armed Japan something China wants. More nuclear nations in Asia would create a level of instability likely to drag other nations like Russia and America into regional conflicts. China’s leaders supporting a rogue nuclear-armed North Korea fits their long-range plan.

China is pursuing a steady course to become the dominant power in Asia, replacing America. It’s building a naval power capable of controlling the vital sea lanes of the region. It will soon be capable of threatening the U.S. Navy, which has guaranteed open sea lanes and the movement of ship-borne cargoes. Freedom of the seas is vital to a stable global economy.

China has also been pushing claims to small islands in the South China Sea. These islands, some of which are claimed by Japan, would give China further ability to control the seas. Against rulings by the World Court, China has continued to pursue its territorial goals. Its desire to cut down American influence in the Pacific Rim remains. Whatever happens with North Korea, America cannot expect Chinese support that would undermine China’s long-term strategic interest – the removal of American influence in Asia.

America relying on China is like the book of Hosea’s description of ancient Israël flitting like a “silly dove, without sense,” to foreign nations in seeking alliances (Hosea 7:11).

At that time neither Assyrian nor Egyptian national interests were aligned with Israël’s. Israël’s sins and internal problems were draining its stength and national character. Because of spiritual sin the leaders and people could not see that they were weakened. They did not seek God in their lives and had pushed Him to the margins (verses 8-12). Decline was inevitable, and their fall soon came. Is America today in the same situation?

Russia and the Middel East

Much was made of the more than two-hour meeting of President Donald Trump and Russia President Vladimir Putin at the annual G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July. President Trump’s 2016 campaign is under scruting for alleged collusion with Russia to influence election results. The question of Russian meddling in American politics continues to undermine confidence in the Trump administration, hinder passing legislation, and puts America in a weakened and compromised internationally.

All of this works to Russia advantage. Russia has supported the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in the civil war. Russia has built an air base in Syria and is working to plant its influence in the region as a counter to the United States. For America to rely on Russia to support its interests in the region is a folly. Russia wants influence in the Middle East. Destabilizing the current scene works to its advantage.

Another major part in the Middle East puzzle is Iran. It is building a Shiite arc of influence from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Using its own forces, the disruptive effect of ISIS, and its proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, it is extending its power and influencing events.

The Iranian Revolution continues. Its aim is the defeat and removal of the Great Satan, America. Iran has also vowed to wipe the state of Israël from the map as part of its desire to create a Shiite caliphate in the region. America stands in its way and therefore must be removed by any means possible.

A deeply divided America

In the same passage from Hosea 7 quoted above, Israël is described as having its strenght devoured and gray hairs on its head (verse 9). Yet the nation could not perceive that its weakness was so deep and severe that collapse was near. It’s time to consider the gray hairs, devoured strenght and decline of the United States.

The current political and social divide in the nation is deep, serious and dangerous. It has been developing for several years. The current phase can be traced back to the presidential election of 2000. The election that year between George W. Bush and Al Gore was so close, hinging on vote counts in several Florida counties, that it had to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The court ruled in favor of Mr. Bush. Cries of “foul!” rose from those who supported the defeated Mr. Gore, and a great national debate ensued. President Bush began his term under a cloud.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001, the attack on America that began the war on terror. The next month America and its allies invade Afghanistan and quickly overthrew the Taliban. In 2003 America invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein. Soon the protracted wars became deeply unpopular. While winning the wars, America couldn’t win the peace.

The end result of the Iraq War was a destabilized region, which led to the rise of ISIS. The uprisings in other Middle East nations in the so-called “Arab Spring” of 2010 led to further instability and is at the heart of the current Syrian civil war. The financial crisis of 2008 had further undermined American confidence.

Eight years of President Barack Obama further deepened the social turmoil in America. A national health care law was passed without bipartisan support from Congress. The hostility generated by that act contributed to the erosion of the national debate and is still defining current political relations.

Mr. Obama, the nation’s first black president, came into office amid great hope and expectation. He left with many former supporters disappointed and the nation much further in debt and in decline in the international arena.

The election of Donald Trump came at a time of failed leadership at many levels. Mr. Trump defeated 15 others who sought the presidency. The bitter campaigning deepened the national divided with each week. On election night a greaty army pundits and people around the world were stunned by the results.

Sadly, America lacks visionary leadership. The current scene has grown to open hostility, some calling it class warfare. There is always hope for improvement, but the long-term prospects don’t look promising. Meanwhile the international situation is growing more troublesome almost by the day.

America is crippled domestically at one of the gravest moments in history. The historic alignment of the powerful nations is changing. From Asia to the Middle East and Europe, we are seeing a shaking and overturning of nations and their relations to one another. Always in history this has been a signal of major shifts in world affairs. And those who are wise will seek to understand the times in the light of the Bible and its prophecies of where events are headed.

The only way to understand what’s taking place

Long ago, in the world of the ancient Middle East, God told His prophet Habakkuk that He was shaking the nations according to His plan: “Look around at the nations; look and be amazed! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it” (Habakkuk 1:5-6, New Living Translation).

God did overturn the nations of Habakuk’s time. Those events changed that world upheavel. The only way to understand this is through the keys of Bible prophecy. That God is the God of history is a key that helps calm the waters of fear and uncertainty. It’s why I noted earlier that I am not frightened by current world events, disturbing and startling though they are, and neither should you be.

But to be clear, we are in time of serious and increasing trouble. Now is the time for a wise person to turn to God seeking a relationship that comforts and encourages. The best advice you could hear right now is to turn down your connection to the news and turn up your connetion to God!

After Habakkuk surveyed the events of his day and understood the judgment of God that would soon turn the world upside down, he was able to take comfort in his relationship with God, saying: “I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strenght! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights” (Habakkuk 3:18-19).

You too can have that kind of faithful assurance from God – but it must start by turning to Him with all of your heart and being!

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Terrorism & EMP Weapons

Death and destruction due to terrorism is a pervasive element of today’s society. The potential of this despicable evil frightens citizens of many countries. Among nations and groups promoting and executing these malevolent acts are Iran and North Korea. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis described Iran as the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism”.

Daniel Byman, a professor and senior associate dean at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and a senior fellow in the Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution, wrote: “Iran’s leaders have used terrorism since they took power in 1979. Over 35 years later, Iran continues to use terrorisme and to work with an array of violent substate groups that use terrorism among other tactics” (State Sponsor of Terror: The Global Threat of Iran”, Feb. 11, 2015, Brookings Institution).

In October 2008, U.S. President George Bush temoved North Korea from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in the expectation that it would agree to halt its nuclear weapons development program. The strategy didn’t work. “Several shipments of arms have been intercepted on their way from North Korea to Iran and its terrorist proxies. North Korea has certainly provided material support for terrorists and terrorist organizations” (Ethan Epstein, “North Korea is Definitely a State Sponsor of Terrorism, “The Weekly Standart, March 6, 2017).

In addition to countless terrorist bombings and assassinations that both Iran and North Korea have helped perpetuate, these nations are researching means of developing and employing electromagnetic pulse (EMP) nuclear weapons.

“An EMP attack on the United States could materialize in two forms: nuclear and non-nuclear. The most devastating form, and most difficult to achieve, is an EMP that results from a nuclear weapon. This form destroys any ‘unhardened’ electronic equipment and electric power system which means virtually any civilian infrastructure in the Unites States” (Jena Baker McNeill and Richard Weitz, “Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack: A Preventable Homeland Security Catastrophe,” The Heritage Foudation, Oct. 20, 2008).

While Iranian missilles cannot yet reach America, a potential nuclear weapons capability could still directly threaten the U.S. homeland. Many national security experts are worried about the possibility of a nuclear weapon arriving in a cargo container at a major U.S. port. In addition, there is great concern that a single missile containing a nuclear warhead launched from a ship or submarine off the U.S. coast and detonated in the atmosphere could destroy America’s electrical infrastructure.

“Suspected for years of plotting to dismantle the U.S. electric grid, American officials have confirmed that Iranian military brass have endorsed a nuclear electromagnetic pulse explosion that would attack the country’s power system. American defense experts made the discovery while translating a secret Iranian military handbook. A knowledgeable source said that the textbook discusses an EMP attack on America in 20 different places” (Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, March 19, 2015).

Furthermore, North Korea launched missiles into space in April 2012 and February 2016 and now has two earth-observation satellites in low orbit. Michael Maloof, a former U.S. Defense Department security policy analyst, explained their deadly significance: “North Korea could orbit a satellite which would be the size of a nuclear bomb and detonate it upwards of 300 miles above Earth, on command, making North Korea a threat to any country as a result” (“Expert: North Korea Has EMP Attack Capability”‘WMD.com, April 25, 2017).

Contrary to conventional thought, North Korea does not actually need a missile capable of reaching the Unites States mainland to create damage and havoc. This is because a satellite-based nuclear weapon could accomplish a crippling EMP attack that could effectively bring down the U.S. power grid.

Furthermore, a high-yield megaton-class (1,000-kiloton) nuclear weapon is not required for an effective EMP strike, according to Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and chief of staff of the Congressional EMP Commision. He stated: “I am looking at an unclassified U.S. Government chart that shows [that] a 10-kiloton warhead (the power of the Hiroshima A-Bomb) detonated at an altitude of 70 kilometers will generate an EMP field inflicting upset and damage on unprotected electronics” (Time to Take North Korea Nuke Threats Seriously”, Newsmax, May 4, 2017).

By some estimates, as few as three EMP detonations properly placed above the Unites States could lead to the deaths of 90 percent of the U.S. population within a year from starvation and disease. The danger is real and growing.

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Zionisme

Er bestaat geen enkele juridische grond, ook niet in het internationale (humanitaire) recht, waarvoor Israël verplicht is éénmaal aan het Joodse volk toegekende politieke en nationale rechten op te geven. Stichting van een Palestijnse staat, gebaseerd op VN-resoluties is volledige in strijd met vroegere bindende documenten.

Na de verdrijving van het Joodse volk uit Kanaan door Nebukadnezar in 586 v.Chr. en na de uitzetting van het Joodse volk in het jaar ’70 AD heeft het volk Israël altijd gehoopt terug te keren naar het ‘Land der vaderen.’ De droom van aliyah (opgang naar Zion) kreeg gestalte toen eind augustus 1897, dit jaar precies 120 jaar geleden, Theodor Herlz zich in Basel uitsprak voor de oprichting van een onafhankelijke politieke Joodse staat en dat ideaal vertaalde in een politieke beweging. Het lied Hatikwah, de hoop, werd het lied van de Zionistische organisatie en later Israëls volkslied.

Theodor Herlz werd de grondlegger van wat men het moderne zionisme noemt. Hij zag in het Europa van de 19e eeuw dat het antisemitisme nog steeds vitaal aanwezig was en meende daar iets tegen te moeten doen. Het enige middel om afdoende tegen de kwaal van de haat op te treden leidde Herlz naar de gedachte dat slechts een nationale Joodse staat de oplossing voor dit probleem zou zijn. De vroege geschiedenis van het volk Israël leert ons echter al dat dat niet zo werkte. Men vermoedt overigens dat naar aanleiding van de publiciteit die door de wereldpers aan het congres gegeven werd, de verfoeilijke ‘Protocollen van Zion’ werden geschreven. Antisemieten schreven daarin dat de Joden de wereldmacht wilden grijpen met het stichten van een eigen staat.

Herlz meende dat het Joodse volk recht had op een nationale herleving in haar eigen land Israël, waar iedere Jood, van waar ook ter wereld, een woonplaats moest kunnen vinden. Dit recht werd later erkend in de Balfour-declaratie. Als plaats voor het toekomstige Zion werk aanvankelijk gedacht aan Argentinië. Chamberlain (Brits politicus / Birmingham 1863 – Londen 1937) kwam later nog met het voorstel deze staat in Oeganda te vestigen. Maar vanzelfsprekend ging onder de Joden de gedachte uit naar hun oude vaderland, het land dat Bijbels en historisch gezien de enige juiste keuze was.

Herzl hoopte dat dit ideaal binnen vijftig jaar gerealiseerd zou worden. Enige jaren voordat Herlz zijn idee lanceerde, was er al een immigratiebeweging naar het oude Land op gang gekomen. Wat deze immigranten aantroffen was niet veel meer dan een verlaten en verwoest land.

De Arabische bevolking had zich eeuwenlang nauwelijks bezig gehouden met bewerking en de opbouw van het land. Door de eeuwen heen was het land bijna geheel ontbost doordat de Turken belasting hieven over boombezit. (De straatarme bevolking was daardoor gedwongen om hun (vrucht) bomen om te hakken, daarmee een profetie vervullend uit Jesaja 10:19). De teruggekeerde Joden begonnen spoedig aan de wederopbouw van het kale land. In 1909 stichtte men de stad Tel Aviv.

Tussen de Eerste en Tweede Wereldoorlog trokken arme Arabieren uit de omringende landen het toenmalige Palestina binnen, aangetrokken door de welvaart die de komst van de Joden naar het Beloofde Land had gebracht. In Jaffa hebben zich in die tijd Arabieren uit niet minder dan vijftien Arabische landen gevestigd. Sinds de Oslo-Akkoorden in 1991 hebben zich zo’n vierhonderd duizend Arabieren uit Jordanië, Egypte, Irak en andere Arabische landen in de Bijbelse gebieden Samaria en Judea gevestigd en hebben daar 261 nederzettingen gebouwd.

In de eerste Wereldoorlog slaagden de Zionisten in Londen erin de stichting van de Joodse staat onder de aandacht van de Engelsen te brengen nadat zij een eind hadden gemaakt aan 400 jarige (1517-1917) Turkse overheersing van het Bijbelse land. Met de val van het Ottomaanse Rijk kwam er een einde aan een bijna vier eeuwen lang bestuurd moslimrijk. Er bestonden in die perioden geen afzonderlijke Arabische staten. In mei 1916 sloten Engeland en Frankrijk een geheime overeenkomst voor de opsplitsing van dat rijk. Frankrijk eigende zich Syrië en Libanon toe en Groot-Brittannië ging het mandaat gebied Palestina besturen. Gedurende deze periode bestonden de landen Syrië, Libanon, Irak, Saoedi-Arabië etc. nog niet. De Russische Revolutie en de stichting van het Derde Rijk in Duitsland dreven grote groepen Joden richting het aloude vaderland. Op 2 november 1917 (binnenkort wordt de 100 jarige verklaring feestelijk in Israël herdacht) werd namens de Engelse regering door Lord Balfour, de toenmalige minister van Buitenlandse zaken, de Balfour-declaratie afgelegd om ten gunste van de zionisten (Chaim Weizmann, Sokolov e.a.) een autonome Joodse staat op te richten naar aanleiding van hun verzoek, in het oude Vaderland.

De verklaring luidt als volgt:

‘De regering van Zijne Majesteit ziet met welgevallen de oprichting van een nationaal tehuis voor het Joodse volk in Palestina tegemoet en zal zich naar beste vermogen inspannen om het  bereiken van dit doel te vergemakkelijken, met dien verstande evenwel dat niets zal worden ondernomen wat schade zou toebrengen aan de burgerlijke en godsdienstige rechten van de bestaande niet-joodse gemeenschappen.’ 

Frankrijk, Italië en de VS betuigden hun instemming met de in de Balfour-declaratie vastgelegde politieke gedragslijn.

Het niet eerbiedigen van de bindende resoluties door de Britten, heeft de Arabische moslims alle gelegenheid gegeven om Israëls legale rechten op het land te bestrijden. Met hulp van historische leugens en met hulp van buitenaf, waaronder Europa – dat zo plechtig de resolutie van de Volkenbond had aanvaard – probeerden / proberen ze het bestaan van Israël uit te wissen. Er bestaat geen enkele juridische grond, ook niet in het internationale (humanitaire) recht, waarvoor Israël verplicht is om eenmaal aan het Joodse volk toegekende politieke en nationale rechten op te geven. Stichting van een Palestijnse staat, gebaseerd op VN resoluties zijn volledig in strijd met de vroegere bindende documenten.

Het is volkomen absurd en illegaal dat men van Israël eist dat het nogmaals een deel van de overgebleven 20 procent dient af te staan aan een door de wereld gecreëerd volk, dat geen enkel historisch recht op het land heeft.

Ook de rest van de wereld negeert de bindende afspraken en doet net of ze niet meer bestaan. Zij noemen de Bijbelse gebieden Samaria en Judea ‘de Westoever’ of  ‘de Palestijnse gebieden’ en verkondigen massaal de leugen dat Israël deze gebieden bezet houdt.

De Engelse politiek werd destijds geïnspireerd door imperiale motieven. Vooral in verband met de rijke oliebronnen van het Midden-Oosten wilden de Engelsen de Arabieren te vriend houden. Daarom hebben zij steeds de Joodse immigratie tegengewerkt en beperkt en zij waren uiteindelijk volkomen ongevoelig voor de wreedheid die zij daarmee tegen een toch al zo afschuwelijk gemarteld volk beginnen.

*****

Zion     

In het Hebreeuws is Zion, Tsion, beginnend met de letter Tsadee, de letter van de gerechtigheid. Tsion is een zelfstandig naamwoord en is afgeleid van het werkwoord tsawah, gebieden, de regels opstellen. Vanuit Tsion zullen immers ook de regels, zal de Torah uitgaan (Jesaja 2:3). Van Tsion, vanaf deze Berg, die boven de hoogste der bergen ter wereld in betekenis uitrijst, zal Adonai Zijn wet stellen, zal Hij orde scheppen op aarde in de chaos tussen de volken.

Wat in feite op kleine schaal gebeurde bij de berg Sinaï, alleen voor het volk Israël, zal op wereldschaal plaats vinden voor alle volken. Eens zullen, naar het profetisch visioen, alle volken optrekken naar deze heilige Berg om daar te leren leven en samenleven volgens Gods Programma.

Maar is het al zover? Tsion heeft all eeuwenlang een jaloerse tegenspeler: Rome, die zich steeds in de plaats stelt van Tsion en die de hele ‘bewoonde wereld’ onderwerpt en het eerstgeboorterecht van Tsion niet erkent. Volgens de rabbijnse traditie is Rome de stad van de jaloerse Esau, de oudste zoon van Yitschak (Izaak), die zich door Ja’aqobh (Jakob, Israël) aan de kant gezet voelt. Volgens de Joodse traditie is één van Ezau’s kleinzonen de stichter van Rome, het nieuwe Babylon. Want Rome is de opvolger van Babel: Ezau, de ‘jager’, staat in de lijn van Nimrod (Gen. 10:8), de grote jager, die alle volken bijeen jaagt in de stad Babel en die een wereldrijk sticht.

De eigenlijke strijd in onze wereld, de onderlinge spanningen tussen de volken en Israël, is in wezen de strijd tussen Jeruzalem en Rome, die in wezen de strijd is tussen Jakob en Ezau, de twee kinderen van Rivka (Rebecca) die al in de moederschoot tegen elkaar botsen: ‘twee naties zullen zich scheiden uit uw lichaam’ (Gen. 25:23).

Bij deze geestelijke volkerenstrijd hebben zich twee andere jaloerse geesten aangesloten: enerzijds de volksgeest van Ismael, die zich als oudste zoon van Abraham aan de kant gezet voelt door Yitshak (Izaak) en anderzijds de geest van Dan, het jaloerse, aangenomen kind van Rachel, dat zich verdrongen voelt door Efraim en Manasse. De twee zonen van Joseef (Jozef).

De nazaten van Dan woonden eerst rond de havenstad Jafo, maar trokken later naar het noorden, in de buurt van de Fenicische havensteden (Richt. 5:17), vanwaar vermoedelijk een groot aantal van deze zwerfstam zich ingescheept hebben voor emigratie naar de Ionische (Griekse) kusten: de naam ‘Dan’ herinnert wellicht aan de naam ‘Danaers’, een bij de Griekse schrijver Homerus geliefde aanduiding voor de Grieken. Hoe dan ook, gesteund zowel door de geldmacht van Mekka (Ismael) als door de filosofie van het artistiek vermogen Athene (Dan), weet Rome, Ezau, de volken op te jagen tegen Tsion.

Volgens Psalm 2 is de diepste wortel van het samenspannen van de volken tegen Tsion, van dit anti-zionisme/semitisme hun dubbele onwil! Enerzijds de onwil om zich te buigen voor Gods verkiezend handelen: ‘Ik heb immers Mijn Koning gesteld over Tsion, Mijn heilige berg (Ps. 2:6)’. Anderzijds de onwil om zich te onderwerpen aan Zijn Onderwijzing/Torah: ‘Laat ons hun banden verscheuren (Ps. 2:3)’. Men wil vrij zijn, eigen wegen gaan, niet horen naar wat er gezegd is.

‘Maar’, zegt de Psalmist: ‘weest verstandig, laat u gezeggen, gij richters der aarde, dient de Here met vreze, ja komt voor Zijn Aangezicht met gejubel (in Tsion), erkent dat de Here Adonai is en dat Hij de Enige is en Zijn Naam de Enige (Ps. 2:10,11).

Uit: TijdStip / Oktober 2017, 8e jaargang, nr. 1 / www.studiehuisreshiet.nl

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Watchman on the wall:

www.neverbesilent.com

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WEG UIT BABYLON – Laat Jeruzalem in uw hart opkomen:

www.weguitbabylon.nl

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The United States:

FOXNEWS.COM

www.BTmagazine.org / BEYOND TODAY

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Israel’s IDF and IAF:

www.idfblog.com

www.iaf.org.il

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www.foxnews.com

www.edition.cnn.com

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www.pillaroffire.nl

www.likud.nl

www.israeltoday.nl

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www.franklinterhorst.nl

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ejbron.wordpress.com

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ILTV’s Main Daily Newscast is LIVE and ready for you to watch!

iltv.tv

www.jerusalemonline.com

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www.wimjongman.nl/nieuwsbriefmap/weekbrief.html

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www.hadderech.nl 

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www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org / Anything you need to know from Anti-Semitism to Zionism

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Bijbelstudie boeken: www.everread.nl

Algemene boeken: www.deblauwetijger.com

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Astronomy in Israël:

www.astronomyisrael.com

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Gerard J.C. Plas

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