The Two Spies Report

The "Minority Report" from J. Michael Bennett, Ph.D, Emeritus Producer of the Future Quake Radio Show, and Author of the soon-to-be-released book series The Holy War Chronicles – A Spiritual View of the War on Terror

Month: September, 2015

“Blood Moon Apocalypse” Survival Stories Sought

The demise of humanity with the last Jewish Feast/”Blood Moon” coincidence has been trumpeted (excuse the pun) loudly and across the vast swath of Christian media and para-church organizations – not only the World Net Dailys, Skywatch TVs and similar outlets, but even Anne Graham Lotz’s (Billy Graham’s daughter) warning of an “Emergency for Jerusalem” that not only was concerned for our dear friend of Christians, the atheist Benjamin Netanyahu (while no mention of his Jewish sorcerer friend Rabbi Kaduri), but also of “The fourth blood moon on September 28 considered by rabbis to be an omen for Israel that will also be a super moon seen over Jerusalem” and “The end of the Jewish Shemitah Year on September 13 and the beginning of the Jubilee Year on September 28—both very significant in Biblical prophecy” (the Bible verses that confirm this “significance” in BIble prophecy were not listed).  Folks even in my own local church were hailing this as “the beginning of the end”, and appealing to people to come here a rabbi talk about the Jewish magical wisdom that could better inform Holy Spirit-filled Christians on what is “really going on”.

Having Christ-denying Jewish rabbis inform Christians on the “deeper things” of God is particularly chic these days, and it is fueled by the current Bible prophecy racket that misuses legitimate Bible prophecy to serve the interests of Cold War, tribalistic, Zionist political demogogues, under a veneer of prophetic “wisdom”, which is lapped up by the uninformed or usually xenophobic (mostly older) Christian masses.  These “rabbis” dish out mystical stuff that is as much Talmud and Jewish magical legends as much as it is scripture, which is perfectly normal in an Orthodox religious heritage; however, not long ago, Christians knew better than to seek deeper, murky spiritual prophetic insight from those who could not even acknowledge who was the Messiah their prophets spoke of, or those Messianic rabbinic variants who feel that there is a religious superiority and elitism to going back and resubmitting to the yoke of Mosiac Law, prompting even our Jewish Apostle Peter to say ” Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?” (Acts 15:10).

I have found the World Net Daily’s and other outlets pushing this latest “Chiken Little”, sky-is-falling “medicine show” to huckster books and DVDs to be not-surprisingly quiet on the subject today (I guess like other prophetic deadlines they hailed that came and went), although Skywatch is still pushing John Hagee’s warning from yesterday that it is the end of the world.

So, for the lack of reporting this morning from our para-church organizations and Christian media outlets on the subject, I would like to encourage you, loyal blog readers, to contribute your own “blood moon survival stories” here in the comments sections to this post.  And please feel free to grossly embellish – just like our highly-paid para-church ministry national leaders, who use their imagination to entertain us.  Extra points if you can scapegoat some minority, foreign people group or religion as the cause of your suffering in these days – American Christians love paranoia and demogoguery these days.

I will remember these “blood moons” the next time these Christian groups try to sign me up for one of these propaganda, Potemkin Village “Israel Tours” – designed to make money for the ministries, and promote secular Israel’s political agenda within wealthy America through their returning gulible Christian citizens.  The next time they ask me to go, I want to ask them if they will be doing something useful there like preaching the Gospel of Jesus at the Wailing Wall, like our dear Apostles did in Acts; if they don’t (and they won’t), then they can count me out.

If the world comes totally unglued in the next month or two, I guess I’ll have to eat my hat – but it still may not be because of some regularly-scheduled astronomical event.  The stock market usually has a big correction every few years in October.  I would not be surprised to see Israel unilaterally attack Iran and try to hide behind the US to start some alliance-fueled World War III, just like how the first World War was started.  When people of various cultures around the world start talking to each other and making peaceful amends, it makes Israel very nervous.

Any of you can follow your favorite bearded, yamulke and prayer shawl-sporting rabbi out there for “deeper knowledge”, but I think I’ll stick with my Rabbi Jesus, who had a word for the other rabbis as to their ability to discern prophetic signs in the sky:

“The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, [It will be] fair weather: for the sky is red.  And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times?” (Matt. 16:1-3)

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REVELATION: Ted Cruz is Green Acre’s “Mr. Haney”‘s Long-Lost Son!

I have not seen this as breaking news on World Net Daily, but check out the following two videos from Sen. Ted Cruz and study his voice and face carefully:

Now see how his voice and face resembles another prominent salesman and businessman, Mr. Haney from Green Acres…

The more speeches you hear from Sen. Cruz, the more it becomes apparent!  Apparently he learned to sell “ice cream to the Eskimos” like his old man…

Jesus and His Followers “Go Macho”

Under the “I Am Not Making This Up” Department:

Evidently a Florida gun manufacturer is making an assault rifle called the “Crusader”.  It boasts a “Templar” shield (as in the Crusade’s “holy mercenaries”), and has the safety settings “Peace”, “War” and “God Wills It”.  It is also emblazoned with Bible verse Psalm 144:1, which says, “Blessed be the LORD my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, And my fingers for battle” (NKJV).  The article cites the manufacturer as saying they intended for the weapon to be repellent to Muslims.

On the website for the gun product, it says that “Due to overwhelming media response – Crusader rifles are taking up to 2 weeks to ship.”

The original article also cites an earlier $660 million Pentagon contract for 800,000 rifle gun sights that have Bible verses inscribed on them as well.

If anyone wonders why I am taking all this effort in writing this lengthy book series The Holy War Chronicles – A Spiritual View of the War on Terror, let this be a case in point.

It also brings to mind when the Apostle Paul described in Ephesians 2 the doctrines of the “household of God” (v. 19), “a holy temple in the Lord” (v. 21), and “an habitation of God through the Spirit” (v. 22), which”are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (v. 20).  While books of the Bible like the Psalms contain great inspirational thoughts of devotion to God, such as the heart-rending passages such as Psalm 1 and Psalm 23, many of them reveal an Old Covenant view obsessed with the destruction of one’s enemies such as the verse cited here, and have been used to justify the commission of violent acts against people deemed “different” and thus “enemies of God” for countless centuries by Christians.  Frankly, this line of thinking is foreign to a New Covenant, Kingdom of Heaven-type of mindset, which should be obvious when pointed out in contexts such as these, and thus is not listed as being in the “foundation” of Christ’s Kingdom, in not being what He taught nor what it stands for.  One of the most dangerous things is when one mishandles Scripture – and it happens all the time by our most prominent and conspicuous Christian “leaders” to justify all sorts of rotten agendas.

Thanks, good friend Adam of the Conspirinormal podcast, for finding this story.    

I’ll Be Out of Action For A While – Solicit Your Prayers

Friends,

In a few hours I’ll be having major sinus and nose surgery to remove some major bony blockages in my upper sinuses, and to rebuild my septum, which has been grossly contorted to accomodate it.  It has caused me major pain and a distraction for a number of years.

As a result I have been told I may have a difficult period of internal head swelling and pain for a number of weeks as it heals.  I have no idea how it will impact my resumption of activities such as this blog, but I’ll get back to it and book writing as soon as possible (it will be part of my recuperation, or I’ll get cabin fever as I get coherent again!).

I sure appreciate everyone’s prayers in the meantime, for the surgeons, my weeks of recuperation (and that I am not too whiny), and for my dear wife Ginger (and Pyro), for whom I will be able to do no lifting at all, or even leaning over for some time.

Thanks for your concerns!

Mike

 

 

BREAKING NEWS: God Responds to US “Abandoning” Israel by REDUCING Hurricanes

Christian friends,

In true World Net Daily fashion, I alert you to a sudden news flash on the status of hurricane activity worldwide and the US since our obvious “Sunni Muslim” President and his henchmen have “sold out” Israel with a proposed multi-nationally negotiated peace deal with Iran.

As a result of this blatant violation of the “Abrahamic promise” claimed by the atheistic nation-state of Israel – to “bless” Israel no-matter-what with arms, money and political cover or experience the wrath of God, the inevitable has happened, and it is starting to conspicuously affect our weather.

According to the Climate Depot data cited by the Drudge Report, global hurricane activity is at a 45 year all-time low – since the time of the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars in Israel.

But what about the United States, who stands in greatest judgment for attempting peace, in defiance of Israel’s regional dominance objectives?  According to Forbes Magazine, the U.S. has gone through “one of the longest periods of hurricane inactivity in U.S. history“.  It also notes that the frequency of major hurricanes has dropped significantly since the 1970s – after the Six Day and Yom Kippur Wars – and adds that “during the first two years of this current decade exactly zero major hurricanes struck the United States”, which has been the time leading up to the brokering the Iran Treaty.

There is a Biblical record to explain this.

The Jew named Jonah fled God and His mission for him to be a “light to the Gentiles”, in particular the Ninevites he hated.  When he fled to a ship at Joppa to flee God to faraway Tarshish, he was “harbored” in their boat by well-meaning Gentiles who sought to protect him – evidently in a position to experience the “blessings” of the Abrahamic promise by “blessing” and protecting one of Abraham’s kin.  However, their act of harboring him resulted in assisting him in his flight from God, and thus God sent His own type of hurricane to destroy the Gentiles who were harboring His rebellious Jew.  They called out to God and tried their best to protect their Jewish guest, but eventually they relented and cast him into the sea, which caused God to take away the storm and bring about praises to God from these Gentiles, while the Jew was placed alone to be taken up by God’s instrument – just as He intended.  In a similar manner God sent a worm to eat a gourd that had protected the Jew from suffering in the terrible heat as he joyously awaited the destruction of his enemy, to eliminate what was keeping God from “applying the heat” to the Jew himself so the God could get his attention and teach him a lesson.

In 1 Kings 22, King Jehoshaphat decided to “bless” Israel and thus claim the “Abrahamic promise” by helping her militarily against Syria, with whom it had otherwise been at peace with for three years, but had decided to pre-emptively attack to forcibly take more land from Syria.  While Israel decided to claim its “land promises” in faith, Micaiah, God’s prophet, told King Ahab of Israel that God had permitted a “lying spirit” to fill the mouths of Israel’s patriotic prophets to motivate the leaders of Israel to attempt take this land.  King Ahab of Israel decided to do another Jewish “false flag” operation by dressing up as his ally Jehoshaphat, while getting him to do the same so as to have his ally killed rather than himself (as Israel often does to the US with its proxy wars).  However, God was not fooled, and the king of Israel was routed, as well as his army and that of his allies.  The passage in 2 Chronicles 19 parallels this story, and adds that when Jehoshaphat returned to his own land after defeat while “blessing” Israel, his own prophet from God, Jehu, said to him, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD” (v. 2).  Jehoshaphat did not learn his lesson; he next tried to help Ahab’s son Ahaziah, the next King of Israel, by “blessing” them in a shipping economic venture, which the LORD Himself destroyed with adverse weather, causing the prophet Eliezer to again tell Jehoshaphat, “Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish (2 Chronicles 20:37).

Is this new weather data a sign of the “Shemitah Year”?  The “Blood Moons”?  The “Harbinger”?

Or maybe, God’s real way of “blessing” Israel was expressed by the Apostle Peter, who told the Jews at the Temple,

“Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” (Acts 3:26)

 

 

 

Please Pray for Jesus’ Work Through Stephen Colbert

Friends,

I know I come across as frequently whining against the short-sighted, maudlin, and boorish behavior and attitudes of my fellow American Christians whom I love (“Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline.”, Rev. 3:19. Jesus to the Church at Laodicea); think about what my close friends must put up with!

However, I want to emphasize that I do see many promising developments amongst followers of Jesus, particularly amongst the young, but as a consequence of relating to today’s culture they will be knocking down a few walls of tradition and culture masquerading as religious fundamentals, and it could get messy at times.  Older Christians raised as their predecessors (and myself) in a traditional evangelical/Catholic/Protestant culture of narrowed language and accepted means of expression, constrained levity and satire, and a propensity of “sacred cows” that dare not be skewered (such as our veneration of the divine nature of our nation, pastors and religious establishment and its other heroes) will be hitting the bottle of antacids frequently in the days ahead, or (like many) will turn bitter, resentful and evermore exclusionary in their thinking.  A few of my cautionary “heroes”, whom I think might yet preserve a genuine Gospel ethic in the current and future generation (albeit in their own daring way), are even some “old geezers” like myself.

One such person I highly regard is Stephen Colbert.  Most older Christians probably do not know who he is, even though he has been a cable television superstar for many years.  Others would hold him in high suspicion because of his early association with John Stewart of the Daily Show (himself one of the best bastions of old-fashioned Christian ethics (while not himself a Christian) even though they don’t recognize it), and his skewering of many conservative icons and sacred cows on his show who were not to be touched.   

I personally find him to be a true genius of our generation.  Not only is he a multi-talented, highly educated and intellectual Renaissance Man of our generation, having an unparalleled litany of remarkable credentials to his credit (having invented the now-accepted word “truthiness”, multi-Emmy Winner and one of Time Magazines “100 Most Important People” in 2006 and 2012, has a Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor named after him, has a Virgin America plane named after him, Grammy Award winner, has had four different species of insects officially named after him, is the only person to have a piece of equipment in space named after him (the COLBERT treadmill) and having been knighted by the King of Jordan, amongst many accolades).  He definitely produces the most insightful and intellectual content on television.  How he provides these subtle and insightful subtexts, even when acting  as a buffoon or crassly, is appreciated by many, however it sadly goes over the head of most older Christians I know.  His interviews and comical pieces not only make me laugh, but better yet make me think.

One of the unique aspects of Colbert beyond his cleverness and intelligence (and the fact of being a month younger than me, I get him), is his strong continuing Christian faith, even while enticed by all the trappings of the entertainment world.  You can read about some of his background and religious influences here.  He mentions his upbringing in a healthy, practicing Roman Catholic family, that was shattered when his father and siblings were taken away in a plane crash when he was only ten.  Like many young men he began to lose his faith, when he says someone gave him a Gideon Bible on the streets of Chicago.  In here he found Christ’s teaching on the Sermon on the Mount, which changed his life, and which he likes to talk about (you can find the Sermon’s influence in much of what he does in his comedy, if you look for it).  He is known for being a regular Sunday School teacher as well – how many television darlings can you say that about today?  I have observed, when I watched his wickedly funny and insightful Colbert Report shows on rare occasion, was his consistent defense of basic Christian truths such as man’s creation by God – even when interviewing an evolutionary biologist – and make it seem funny, endearing, non-threatening, and likeable (and he comes across as more enlightened, informed and intelligent than his scholarly expert guests, without being a boor).

He will say a few naughty words or vulgarities on rare occasion (at least on cable) to make a point, joke about sex (while being presumably faithful to his wife of 23 years) or discuss topics that make fundamentalists squirm.  However, he is one of the few voices for the basic principles of love and decency toward others as Christ taught that the people in society respect, and will listen to.  The only other peer that I can think of in his class is another controversial figure in fundamentalist circles – the Christ-loving TV and film producer Tyler Perry, who is arguably the most powerful (and wealthy) man in Hollywood, openly teaching marital fidelity, devotion to Christ, wife and children, and redemption and forgiveness in the guise of dressing up as a woman (“Madea”) and spitting out a foul word or two for laughs, while millions watch and learn, as many of our dour churches lay empty.

We as Christians should diligently pray for these two decent Christian brothers, who are two of the few witnesses for Christ who, while ruffling our feathers at times, retain any measure of respect and credibility in reaching today’s culture.  Pray that God will send more like them.

Here is a link to Colbert’s inaugural show as the new host of David Letterman’s former show The CBS Late Show (his first foray into network television) – watch for his skewering of the media’s addiction to Trump coverage by use of an Oreo analogy, and the final musical number with one of gospel’s Staple Singers calling for societal love and unity.

http://www.cbs.com/shows/the-late-show-with-stephen-colbert/video/

The Kim Davis Circus Continues, And Earns My New Award

This afternoon, as I write this, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has just been released from jail for defying a court order to let her office release marriage licenses in her county, since the court has since observed that the office deputies have resumed the release of pent-up applications.

From what I observed on television, it was quite a circus event outside the courthouse – some DJ was blasting rousing music akin to “Eye of the Tiger”.  Amongst many flags being waved I saw a huge “Christian” flag – the one people pledge allegiance to at church (at least Vacation Bible School); others simply wielded crosses mounted on long pikes.   A fire-breathing pastor with a distinctively Southern “preacher’s voice” roused the crowd from a stage that had been set up, with appeals to never surrender, as he introduced the names of politicians who were running for office that had arrived there.  Amongst them were Senator Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, the latter particularly adept at getting his picture while cradling Ms. Davis, and insisting on addressing the crowd and while noting that he was running for the Presidency for eight years, he would also be willing to spend eight years in jail as a martyr as well.  Naturally, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins (who had hired 25-year-old Josh Duggar not long ago to be their Executive Director of their lobbying group as the best available choice to defend “healthy” marriages and opposing same-sex varieties, noting that “He’s going to fit in well, I think”) also took advantage of the event to get a “kick at the can” on stage in defense his group’s consistent record of defending “traditional marriage”, like the Duggar’s and Davis’.  Her attorney, Matt Staver of Liberty University’s “Liberty Counsel” was there as well; I am sure that their involvement will help raise many millions of dollars in operating funds solicited via newsletters when they recount their critical role in exploiting (er, “helping”) Ms. Davis as a guinea pig (er, “pioneer”) test case for the law and religious freedom.  Ms. Davis’ husband, that is her fourth husband who was also her second husband who also adopted her children she carried during her first marriage from an affair with her third husband to be more precise, went on stage with her to help defend the sanctity of marriage.  He was sporting overalls and a straw hat to help dispel any stereotypical notions of Kentuckians being “hillbillies”.  It all smacked of another “Scopes Trial” religious-circus atmosphere of ninety years ago.  I imagine many non-religious “fence-sitting” observers finally decided to join our Christian “side” after watching this display.

Time will tell whether she takes further action to use her office to stop further issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples or anyone else, but I am sure she will have a future on the church circuit, and will make much money for the Christian “culture war” groups which will use her name recognition in fund-raising mailings to scare older Christians into pledging money otherwise wasted on benevolence and missions.  Having thought a little bit more about the elements of her experience, I recognized her close resemblance to a far more famous incident whereby a state government official bravely, publicly and conspicuously “stood their ground” (literally as well as figuratively) in defiance of federal judges who were forcing state officials to comply with state laws concerning the civil rights of others, in disregard of their own deeply held social and spiritual convictions.  In honor of preserving his spirit, I hereby nominate Kim Davis for the first ever:

George Wallace “Standing In The Doorway” Brave Defense of Principle and Conviction Award!

For some of you younger tikes, George Wallace was a brave and ambitious Circuit Judge in Alabama.  He revealed his shadows of future greatness and destiny in his early days by bravely defying a court order in the late 1950’s to turn over the Barbour County voting records to federal courts and the Civil Rights Commission, which had reasons to believe that the black population and poor were being impeded in their voter registration and voting.  When he narrowly lost the 1958 Democratic Party nomination for Governor of Alabama (to a man with the essential endorsement of the Klan), he decided to adopt hardline racist positions, including the threat posed by blacks to the white Southern way of life, to have a chance at election.  It worked as he secured the Democratic nomination in 1962, with no Republican daring to run against him as he won the general election for Governor with 96 percent of the vote, which would have included the overwhelming majority of Alabama’s ubiquitous Christians.  In his famous Inaugural Address in January 1963 on the spot where Jefferson Davis was elected President of the Confederacy, Wallace promised that at the “heart of the great Anglo-Saxon heartland” he “drew a line”, declaring “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”.

His first term in office led to his most famous public act – the iconic “Stand In The Schoolhouse Door”.  The federal court Case Brown v. The Board of Education had granted the rights of those of any race to go to any institution of education, forbidding the segregation of schools like the University of Alabama, in 1954.  For the next nine years school officials and the police found all sorts of clever means to dismiss black applicants from being accepted, but in 1963 three black students applied for which they could conjure no plausible means of exclusion.  In early June federal courts issued an order forbidding Governor Wallace from preventing their lawful entry.  A week later, as the three arrived to go to school and accompanied by Federal marshals, they encountered a Gov. Wallace who stood defiantly in their way in front of the door of the University, bravely upholding his convictions and those of the large crowd, until forced to step aside by the marshals and the National Guard deputized by President Kennedy.  In September he went on to attempt to block the entry of black children into elementary schools.

This brave stand for social and spiritual principles over the rights granted by any federal court springboarded him into national prominence.  He learned to motivate voters with new techniques such as for his re-election where he showed a little white girl surrounded by a group of black boys, with the ad saying, “Wake Up Alabama! Blacks vow to take over Alabama.”a technique now used so effectively by Christian groups and their political candidates when identically directed towards Muslims and gays.  He was able to run effectively as a third party candidate for US President in 1968 with the strong military commander Gen. Curtis LeMay as his running mate (much like the Family Research Council’s No. 2 man) who advocated the use of nuclear weapons strategically in battle, and carried five of the major Southern states in the election.  Most importantly, shortly thereafter the school confrontation, in 1964 Bob Jones University, a prominent fundamentalist Christian college who has awarded degrees to Billy Graham, Tim LaHaye, Lindsey Graham, John Ashcroft and others (with John McArthur and Fred Phelps (pastor of Westboro Baptist Church) having also been students there), conferred upon Wallace an honorary doctorate, praising his “brave” stands against the judges.  Bob Jones had written a pamphlet entitled, Is Segregation Scriptural?, noting that it was morally wrong to “eradicate racial boundaries that God had set”.  The school lost its tax exempt status due to its insistence on racial discrimination, and only permitted blacks to attend in the 1970s, while still prohibiting interracial dating.  By the end of 1998, it still threatened to arrest any homosexuals who set foot on their campus.  Bob Jones University, along with Liberty University, the largest evangelical university and largest non-profit private university in the world (set up by Jerry Falwell to be “a private school for white students” that much later consented to segregation) are the two mills that generate almost all the newer “movers and shakers” in leadership in the Christian para-church organizations today, and two of the few institutions that produce young people with traditional fundamentalist values.

I feel Kim Davis has well-earned this award, and who knows what she may achieve in the future, and whose causes she may help?  I imagine that in future generations history will look at the actions of Ms. Davis and Gov. Wallace in a similar light.  Regarding the Religious Right candidates who have flocked to her cause, I am sure they have learned what Wallace learned when he lost his early governor’s race, and why they (like he) avoid speaking of problems like poverty, refugees and the struggles of the underclass and infrastructure, and rather give the Christian masses the “red meat” scapegoating the stranger and those who are different, when Wallace lamented afterwards,

“You know, I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor.”

 

Open Letter To My “Siege Bunker Mentality” Christian Friends

I have noticed yet again in recent days talk all around me from many of my Christian friends, extended family, church members and acquaintances about “something bad coming”, and their response ranging from a  general angst to a deeper paranoia, to desperate actions to stockpile supplies, buy firearms and even divest from investments.  When I try to inquire of the reasons they mention as to this sudden sense of imperilment, they will often mention “the usual suspects” such as President Obama not permitting another election, the Muslims taking over (with Obama’s help), financial meltdown, race wars with the black community, and widespread “Christian persecution” in the form of criticizing Christians for denying services (both in private businesses and state employees) to their neighbors with whom they disagree.  The more interesting ones are the apocalyptic-fueled ones that are imminent in nature (as in days or weeks), such as the “Blood Moons”, “Shemitah Year” and “The Harbinger” (my apologies if you have already been destroyed via cosmic event by the time you’re reading this).

In some ways I can relate in my own experience and past line of thinking to some of these, having been marinated in apocalyptic Bible Prophecy teaching and media for most of my life as well as Christian talk radio.  In fact, I can usually ascertain the origin of the source material my colleagues use to express their fears by the words they use, and whether the narrative was communicated to them via World Net Daily or other Christian channels, Michael Savage, Fox News, or transmitted via third-party Facebook- like channels.  I was there when everyone said the “generation after the budding of the fig tree” would signal the Rapture in 1988, the Y2K end of civilization, the alignment of the planets on May 5, 2000, the Harold Camping “thing”, and even the Mayan calendar signal on December 21, 2012.  Back when FEMA and other agencies were warning about an impending pandemic that may cause us to remain in our homes for up to three months, I listened to them and looked into such provisions (although I admit I didn’t get too far).  A flood like we had here a few years ago or even the remote “mega-terror” attack I guess could also trap us in our homes for some time, and I assume a nuclear exchange can’t be totally dismissed if we continue to butt heads with Russia in the Ukraine, although I think it is highly unlikely a major state player launches one, because we all own too much of each others’ stocks, bonds and real estate!  A stock market downturn usually occurs every few years in September or October regardless of any “blood moons”, and the beat goes on.

However, I think the real symptom of the “apocalyptic fever” many Christians in America are now feeling is most likely (but not certain) to be due to the easy gullibility and insecurity of American Christians, and the ample lineup of groups both inside the Church and without who stand ready to exploit and profit from it.  While this “mania” has been perfected amongst the wealthy, undereducated and complacent American Christian community, its origins go back to the start of the very Church.  When the going first got “tough” with Christ and His followers as the Jewish leaders unleashed their trap to persecute and arrest their movement, Jesus did not flee, seek protection from the Romans while asserting His “rights” or even appeal to the Jewish law for proper decorum; He faced and confronted His enemies voluntarily and without resistance, even though it meant certain pain and agony.  He even told His followers to “put away your swords” and healed the servant of His own enemy.  Meanwhile, His followers enacted the first official “Christian siege bunker” operation, running for the hills and hiding in places, rather than ministering to their Lord and standing with Him while He suffered alone.  At least some lady friends and His mother were brave enough to anoint His body, and a couple of Sanhedrin leaders brave enough to speak up for His body and take his corpse for proper burial.  Meanwhile, the Christian leaders Jesus said “the gates of Hell” would not prevail against, who had cast out demons in His name and healed, and whom had witnessed Christ’s own healings, cosmic transfiguration, raising others from the dead, control of the elements of nature and feeding the masses amongst other miracles, suddenly appeared to be uncertain that Jesus could protect them from the Pharisees anymore, so – they hid in the dark.  Jesus had to go looking for them behind locked doors.  When He appeared there He “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen” (Mark 16:14).  No wonder the most common thing Jesus always had to tell His followers was “fear not”; it’s still the most common thing He must tell them.  At least they left this experience ready to take on the Sanhedrin, Rome and the rest of the world, and willing to trust God and even offer their bodies and lives rather than shrink in fear.  For Christians today who can bear witness to the faithfulness of Christ’s resurrection and the accomplishment of His plans then and through the ages – what is the excuse for their cowardice today?

The next thing Jesus told them in that room was to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (v. 15).  Obviously, they could not accomplish the first and primary mission of the Church from their Lord by staying hunkered in their “panic room”. Evangelicals pride themselves on their central mission to the Great Commission to “preach the gospel to every creature”.  How do they plan to do this from their bunker? How will they have time to waste spreading the Good News when they have fortunes and property to protect?            

Older Christians these days seem to be worried and panic-stricken about everything.  It’s not just about Muslims, although at almost 1 percent of our population, most of whom came here to escape persecution from their Muslim peers elsewhere, and without control of any national power structures they seem certain that they will impose sharia law over the tens of millions of American gun owners and military any day now.  It’s not just about the black community, whose lack of economic opportunity and role models will keep them from expanding to bother white folk’s suburb serenity, or the gay community, although many Christians must fear that if they have contact with such “afflicted” it might spread and might threaten their fragile hold on their own masculinity and sexual preference, or lead to widespread “conversions” as heterosexuality falls out of favor for some reason.  Very soon Obama won’t be around to kick around anymore to blame for any possible traitorous act or American problem, and may even let us have an election like last time, leaving them to go back to saddling Nancy Pelosi with the guilt for America’s problems.  One of their biggest problems causing them to lose sleep is their own youth.  These youth’s Baby Boom parents have not effectively instilled in them the Cold War values they grudgingly accepted from their own “Greatest Generation” parents, those being a duty to see the world in tribalistic terms on a national, religious and cultural level, remaining on perpetual “high alert” while under “perpetual attack”, and thus putting their trust and allegiance in their society’s authoritarian power structures, be it the military, police or institutional religious leaders.  They find their children too tolerant, asking too many questions, and not making enough enemies of outsiders to be “respectable”.  They fear that American power and “leadership” by means of military and economic gunboats over the rest of the world, who resents our freedom rather than our heavy-handed bullying, will be lost on their watch, as well as a white European culture dominance at home.  This cataclysmic loss of cultural dominance at home and abroad in these days would obviously force Jesus’ hand to return at once to set things straight.

Today I heard my pastor teach from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount passage concerning the “eye”, or what they understood at the time to be the window to the soul.  Jesus said, “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.  But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness” (Matt. 6:22-23).  In other words, how we perceive the world around us with our “eye” will determine the nature and extent of the “light” that is in us.  The English standard Version says that “if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light”.  A “healthy” eye can see all the wavelengths of light and process them, not just some, as well as perceive shades of gray, and not just black or white.  It can see lightness, and not just only darkness in the world around it.  If it perceives only darkness on the outside, the “darkness” in the body will result in ulcers, high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes, or major depression – even isolation and distance from God.  A diseased eye can also be myopic and have limited range of vision, not perceiving other factors on the perimeter that would influence the overall perception of the reality the eye perceives.  Furthermore, the eye will see where the head turns to direct its attention.  If the thinking head turns only to what bad news the TV broadcasts on air or the words of demagogues on talk radio, TV and Facebook (particularly Christian leaders from emails, TV and the pulpits), then one will see a world only of endless threats and decay.

I want to end with a warning to my Christian friends who are too busy getting the bunker stockpiled rather than ministering to a hurting world.  Revelation 3 includes a description of the Church at Laodicea, which many people rightfully associate with the modern American church.  They were known for being very wealthy and self-sufficient, and thus wanting to be left alone.  Jesus said He had a very different view of their “success”, and said they were in a dire peril unbeknownst to them and had no reason to be content, not due to external threats but due to their own attitude, to the extent that He was ready to “spew them out”.  He counseled them to buy from Him gold refined in a fire, and white raiment.  Such “gold” can only be bought by persecution – the very thing American Christians are so desperately trying to prevent, but which Jesus uses to refine His children in need.  Regarding “white raiment”, Revelation 6 shows how they can be procured when they are given to the martyrs who gave their life for Christ.  Are we to resist the hand of God and seek to avoid such a destiny if He chooses it for our spiritual well being?

The most relevant analogy to what we face today was told by Christ as a parable in Matthew chapter 25.  He tells of a lord who left his business in his kingdom to his servants, giving them various amounts of talents (monetary coinage) to put to use for his estate while he was gone.  As we all know, the two with larger sums engaged in their community and produced greater returns.  However, the one with only one talent chose to bury it in the ground – the ultimate bunker in which to hide!  When the lord returned to assess their progress, the first two received commendation, and a promise now to be rewarded with “his joy”.  However, the one with one talent justified his “bunker mentality” by honestly admitting that the threat that caused him to take such draconian action was not due to outside enemies, but rather his own perception of the unreasonable and unreliable character of his own lord to assist him in the public engagement of bearing fruit from his investment.  He said, “Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, [there] thou hast [that is] thine.” (Matt. 25:24-25).  Did the lord honor him for his cautionary and fear-filled retreat?  No – he referred to him as a “wicked and slothful servant” (v. 26), who had a wicked view of the character of his own lord as unreasonably demanding, which impeded his success in the “marketplace”.  He noted that even the shady secular world would have done more with the resources he gave (v. 27).  He not only removed the Lord’s assets vested with him, but also cast the “unprofitable servants” into “outer darkness” (v. 30).  What will all these “bunker mentality” Christians today answer to their Lord, particularly if His return is as imminent as they suggest, if He finds them not at work as they were tasked but rather buried, afraid in a hole?  How will He respond to their perception that He will not be with them as they engage in a sometimes hostile world, doing the work of the “ministry of reconciliation” assigned to them?  If they are afraid today of Muslims, gays, liberals or others today, how afraid will they be of their LORD when He comes here to assess their progress?

It makes me now understand Christ’s strange rhetorical question in Luke 18:7-8, “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”

“Boss Hogg” Runs The Kentucky County Clerk’s Office

For those discriminating readers of similar distinguished tastes (and vintage) as myself, it is well-known that a singular powerful figure controls the official county business and approvals in a rural Kentucky county.  Of course I speak of one “Boss” Hogg, the all-powerful county commissioner of Hazzard County, and extolled in the high-brow television series The Dukes of Hazzard.  “Boss” controlled all the major government offices in his county, and there were no approvals of any official actions in the county without his authorization, and thus consistent with his aims.  This position of local control made him quite wealthy.  The only other power figures were his wife Lulu, who placed her brother Roscoe P. Coltrane as “Sheriff” since he could not acquire other work, and “Boss”s nephew Hughie, who had his own schemes.  Another powerful figure venerated in the media was the legendary “Inspector 12” who had to approve each pair of Hanes underwear before they left the factory.  As she powerfully stated in this Youtube-preserved commercial, “They don’t say ‘Hanes’ until I SAY they say ‘Hanes’!”

We find a similar situation in another rural Kentucky county – Rowan County.  To consider the similarities we should first acquaint ourselves with its county clerk, Kim Davis.  According to a 2011 article in the Morehead News, at the time Kim was an assistant county clerk, while the current county clerk (who set Kim’s wages) was Jean Bailey – her mother.  Ms. Bailey was noted to have served 32 years in that position by that time, and served 3 more years to well exceed a third of a century in that taxpayer-paid position.  Kim worked for her mother in that office for 24 of those years.  This article notes that in this county of less than 23,000 people, in 2011 her mother had set her daughter’s taxpayer-funded annual wages at over $63,000, while the county Chief Deputy Sheriff was paid $38,000 and the Deputy-Judge executive $36,000.  Jean expressed extreme disappointment that county residents had complained about the wages she had set for her daughter, and thought it was unfair.

As most of you certainly know, newly serving County Clerk (replacing her mother) Ms. Davis has been in the national news for not only refusing to issue county marriage licences to gays and lesbians in compliance with new law, but also refusing to issue any marriage licences to anyone in the county, and also forbidding any of her six assistant clerks to do so either, to the point of ignoring a court order and appearing before a judge, who could not fire her but had to jail her as the only legal recourse for an elected official who refused to perform the duties for demanded by law and for which they were paid.  She declared it to be a case of “religious liberty” violation in inhibiting the expression of her views, and obtained legal counsel to represent her from the law firm Liberty Counsel, which is affiliated with Liberty University.  According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, five of the six deputy county clerks under her told the court that they would comply with the law and issue marriage certificates; the sixth deputy said he would not, who happened to be Nathan, her son who works for her in the office.

One could say that she was well experienced in the matter of the “sanctity of marriage” – in fact, four times, to be exact.  The U.S. News and World Report magazine reported that Kim Davis had obtained four marriages and three husbands over a fourteen year period, and gave birth to twins five months after her first divorce, with the father being her third husband, and adopted by her second husband – all while she was working in the clerk’s office, defending “traditional marriage”. They further note that she was afraid that being involved in the approval of a gay marriage could send her to hell; obviously she feels that her multiple broken marital covenants and adultery can be forgiven, but not for merely acknowledging the marriage of another.

The New York Times noted that Ms. Davis told a couple outside the courthouse desiring a marriage certificate that she was denying them this request as a state official based upon “God’s authority”.  A supporter of hers outside as well, 72-year-old Flavis McKinney, said that the longsuffering Ms. Davis reminded him of the prophet Daniel in the lion’s den.

The allusion to Daniel is an interesting one.  I believe that Daniel is probably the most consistently pious and wise man of the entire Old Testament.  The thing that distinguishes him from his peers was his ability to cheerfully work in a pagan society for a pagan leader and boss, work with pagan peers and serve pagan citizens.  His Jewish faith was certainly more strict and socially exclusionary than that of the New Covenant Christian faith.  Furthermore, his Jewish brethren were taken in hostile fashion to a faraway pagan land, and resided as a conquered minority.  However, he was devoted to the success, prosperity and well-being of his pagan kings and nation he served – even Nebuchadnezzar, whose fate he feared for when prophesying.  I am sure he was immersed in a place and city with pagan rites and talk going on all around him, but scripture suggests that he served them faithfully regardless, only offering resistance in a single case when his own personal worship of Jehovah would be compromised.  Even then, he did not seek counsel, start a protest movement or a violent resistance; he calmly agreed to “pay the price”, without adding malice to their charges against him.  When sent to apparent certain death in the lion’s den, he met the king’s inquiry the next morning from the bowels of the den with only a cheerful, “O King, live forever!”.  His prayers were in contrition for the sins of his own religious community, and not for the pagan nation he served, nor calling curses upon them.  Thus he was highly regarded in heaven, as well as the pagan nations he served – be they Babylon of their conqueror Persia – which led to their praise for the God of Daniel.  Why is he not cited within this context as a role model by our American Christian leaders?

Jesus acknowledged the earthly jurisdiction of pagan nations and their leaders when He said to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is Gods” (Mark 12:17), as well as acknowledging that His kingdom was not of this world, lest His followers would fight for it (John 18:36).  He saw earthly government as more of a distraction to be tolerated and not provoked, as he produced a coin from a fish’s mouth to pay their taxes to not resist the government (while a Christian leader in Florida has sat in a jail for not doing the same).  When Jesus talked to a Samaritan woman with “marriage sanctity issues” like Ms. Davis, he did not continue to chide her or protest her while in such state, but rather focused on giving her the “living water” she truly needed.  Jesus told soldiers employed by and serving the State not to use the State power to advance the agenda of the Church and Kingdom, but rather to not do violence, not do unjustly and to be content with your wages (Luke 3:14).

Paul had some guidance concerning sexually immoral behavior that was going on in the church in Corinth that was so bad that even the pagans complained.  But regarding the local church and its Christian members interacting with the greater community and its lifestyle “issues”, he said:

“I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth.” (1 Cor. 5: 9-13 KJV)

Paul is telling these Christians to hold to standards amongst those equally yoked to Christ within their own body, but not to judge the world itself in these matters, rather leaving it to God Himself.  He further recommends that they cavort with some of the worst “sinners” of their society, just like their Founder Jesus before, because of the Church’s mandate from Him to “go out into the world”, which means one will be exposed to such behavior and values.  If we followed Paul’s guidance here to “not judge the world”, it would eliminate the missions of most para-church organizations, and eliminate the “culture wars”, and most other “wars”.

The Apostle Peter also gave advice on the proper circumstances for Christians to endure persecution, as well as the improper:

“If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or [as] a thief, or [as] an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” (1 Peter 4:14-15, KJV)

It is interesting to note that Christ never directed His followers into a “culture war” against the Roman State to transform it as a tool to accomplish Kingdom business, nor the conquering of the “Seven Mountains” of societal influence to dominate over the wishes of those not yoked to Christ; His Apostles likewise do not mention any such directives, unlike most of our prominent American Christian leaders.

I imagine Ms. Davis is a sincere follower of Christ, and is trying to follow Him the best she knows how, along with her many hangups like we all have.  She is also probably genuinely thinking she is bravely being a “soldier for Christ” and a martyr, while also motivated by other cultural and historical aversions to homosexuality which cause many Christians to take a harder line on this issue compared to similar ones.  She is also likely going to be exploited as a partially-witting tool of those “Christian” zealots who seek to accomplish those societal objectives mentioned in the last paragraph in opposition to the stated methods of Christ and His Apostles, which if followed would keep the American Church in “good report” with the society it is called to minister to and reach.

Nowhere in the Bible is authority granted for a third person to have the power to “grant” or permit or refuse a covenant between two consenting people, of sufficient mental capacity and judgment and without fraud discovered between the two parties, and which does not conflict with other covenants they are subject to; neither does the State.  The role of any third party, if any, is merely to witness the covenant they made at the time, if its occurrence were to be placed in doubt by others, or even disputed later between the two; the role of the State similarly is to document such transactions, their basic structure, parties and date and to confirm that it is not in conflict with other covenants either party is privy to (to the extent of State knowledge and records), with the purpose to judiciously resolve possible later disputes.  When the Department of Motor Vehicles acknowledges a transaction between buyer and seller in the trade of a car, we know it is not acceptable for the clerk to withhold the granting of the new title subject to their personal approval of the wisdom of both parties in making their private decision to covenant together.  The moral acceptability of the nature of a covenant between two parties in terms of permitting it is not the jurisdiction of the State nor even the Church (both of whom would have prevented mix-race marriages a mere generation ago based on moral grounds), the latter being only authorized to discipline members by disassociation for outward Bible-specified sinful behavior while in their own ranks, and for the limited jurisdiction of its own activities.  The ultimate “approval” or “disapproval” of a covenant is between the two parties and God Himself; otherwise, many churches would not even grant approval of marriages even between those of differing religious denominations (or remarriages, like with Ms. Davis)!  Why voluntarily give up the ancient, God-given right of two people to covenant together without interference from third parties, and transfer such a sacred right to the State or the Church?  Thus, I believe this recent public incident that is the subject of this article is not one of the moral acceptability of homosexual marriage, but a case of the personal abuse of governmental and institutional power.             

It appears to me that Ms. Davis, like many, thinks her taxpayer-paid civil position is somehow “sacred” because of her residence in it, and rather than doing the business of the taxpayers she was elected to serve to honor the laws their elected representatives passed and the judges appointed by them, she feels that it offers her the authority of endorsing or rejecting state-sanctioned marriages based upon her personal perception of the moral acceptability of the circumstances surrounding it.  This is a power not enumerated in her state’s constitution or elsewhere for her position, or for anyone else for that matter.  How would we fare if a Seventh Day Adventist bureaucrat forbid the rest of us to worship on Sundays, which they find “offensive”, or a Jewish one prohibiting the public display of a cross for similar reasons?  What if some of you who like to down a beer or glass of wine from time to time were forbidden to by a strict Baptist in a state or local office, for their own conscience sake?  Better yet – what if Ms. Davis had been denied her fourth marriage license by a good Christian clerk who rightly saw the history of adultery and string of broken marital covenants in her past?

I submit that Ms. Davis, no matter how well-intentioned, is just another “Boss Hogg” over Rowan County, or “Inspector 12”.

A Decade For All The Mullahs To Depart

I don’t know about you, but I have been seeing a lot of commercials on cable news and elsewhere, from a group known as “Citizens For A Nuclear Free Iran”.  You can guess their message – we must pull out all stops to sabotage the multi-nation peace deal recently struck with Iran, but it doesn’t offer any alternative solutions.

I did a little snooping, and according to the Wall Street Journal, National Public Radio (NPR) and other sources, these “citizens” are a new group formed to served as a deceptive, concealed front operation for AIPAC, or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.  NPR notes that the wealthy AIPAC is spending between $20 and $40 million dollars in media propaganda against the American public to persuade them away from what otherwise they might naturally and logically decide on this one issue based solely on American interests. Where is this massive amount of money coming from, and what “strings are attached” with it, and their agendas?  This is an organization whose primary loyalty is to a foreign power, to serve their interests.  I suspect that this sum is far larger than that spent by the Japanese to perform an identical operation through “Toyko Rose” in World War II.

This expensive propaganda “psy-op” mission (assisted by prominent Senators who are on the board of the organization) is necessary because its goal runs counter to the natural peace-loving nature of the normal peoples of the Earth.  The majority of the Iranian people want the treaty.  The communities of the major nations that helped broker it – the UK, Germany, France, Germany, China and Russia – all want it.  The United Nations officials and the Vatican want it.  Polls of the other nations of the world reveal that they are in support.  Even the former head of Shin Bet (their FBI) and Mossad in Israel support the treaty, as well as many of the opposition parties in Israel, who certainly care about the security of their own nation.

However, the hard liner mullahs in Iran are skeptical, as well as the hard liners in Israel, the US and some other Western nations who stand in opposition to the consensus of the rest of the world.  Ironically, each of these groups commonly seek a full “hot war” between the sides to eradicate one side of the other, which more ironically would kill possibly hundreds of thousands or millions of the common people who support the deal.  

Many say they want to keep up the sanctions, which is actually a type of blockade that has been recognized internationally and historically as itself an act of war.  The “starvation policy” against Iran just hurts the common people there, while the nuclear program proceeds regardless of the suffering of the public.  The supporters know it will eventually end in an act of desperation, even if the West has to bait it, to finally get their blood-letting underway on a vast scale; the Versailles Treaty and its crushing reparations was effective in accomplishing this in what became Nazi Germany.  The pro-confrontation, anti-peace supporters say that the sanctions should continue, yet also say that they are not being effective enough in stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

I still have an even bigger problem – call me a traitor, but what fundamental right do we have to dictate how another nation chooses to construct its own defense?  Is our status in being a self-appointed “exceptional” state give us license to just tell people of other sovereign nations what they can or cannot do, under threat of violence from our overwhelming military superiority?  Have we permanently adopted the rights of “preemptive strike warfare” just like the Talmud-inspired policies in Israel for such, even though the ancient Christian theology of “just war” calls it immoral?  Have we taken a similar, consistent tack toward Israel itself, when it lied to our President about its nuclear program, denied it to the world, and cut a secret deal with France to build it in exchange for invading Egypt on behalf of France and the UK in the Suez War?  Since Iran has signed the binding Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and Israel is a non-signatory, along with a handful of other states (India, Pakistan and North Korea), who is the real threat?  Who is the real “Axis of Evil”?

Many know that the agreement, hammered out by many nations to their satisfaction and teams of top weapons inspectors over months and years, has limited durations for its drastic scale back of nuclear processing and research of either ten years or fifteen years, based upon the operation.  Many now worry what happens when those days arrive, even though in the meantime, the deal increases the number of on-site inspectors dramatically, has a protocol for the removal of processed nuclear fuel and means to detect minute residues, and even a rigid protocol to immediately invoke original sanctions if it is broken.  I recently read from historian Karen Armstrong in her book Holy War that the Muslim culture sets a maximum periods of truces of ten years (most never lasted that long, because the Christian Crusaders routinely broke them).  This probably makes some logical sense, since things change amongst both parties, and the world and its conditions and issues that justify re-visiting most agreements over that length of time in any case.

However, I think I know the real reason why the negotiators on both sides agreed to this scale of duration of this ephemeral agreement, and why they cannot admit it in public.

It buys time for the hard-line mullahs to die off.

The people of Iran generally love the American people.  You should watch Anthony Bordain’s recent visit there on his CNN show – he was greeted very warmly as an American by the common people there, to his shock (he (and I) also loved their love of things American, like the custom street car show with hot rodded Camaros and Firebirds he witnessed amongst the young people).  Why they love us, I don’t know why – particularly after we overthrew (via the CIA and Norman Schwarzkopf’s dad) their democratically elected secular and progressive government in 1953, and installed a despot there.

You may say – then why do we see on our TV screens their streets filled with people chanting “Death to America”?  In actuality, the crowds look big but are limited – I bet you see similar chants from larger crowds of Tea Partiers at the Washington Mall.  Another thing I learned from the historian Karen Carpenter is that when they also chant that America is the “Great Satan”, they are referring to an Islamic view of Satan – not a great power that rivals God, but rather a tempter that causes man to sin and stumble.  They see America as tempting their people with immoral television programs (like popular international shows like Dallas and Baywatch), MTV and capitalistic greed.  In other words, they are concerned about the same things as Christians are here in America today (except for the “greed” thing – here we see it as a sign of “God’s blessing”).

Iranian President Rouhani, who helped negotiate this deal, is known as a political moderate, earning a Ph.D in Constitutional Law in Scotland.  He ran on a platform to secure a “civil rights charter” for ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, and for normalizing better relations with the West.  His progress in these matters is certainly debatable, but he operates in opposition to the Mullahs who sit above him in the Islamic State, including the “Principlists” who resist change there.  We as American Christians should pray for his success there, and protection.  He must also show the mullahs that he has not “sold out Iran” and must deal with a very conservative set of senior leaders.

If this or a similar deal would be approved, then it is likely at the conclusion that these “old guard” mullah fundamentalists would be long-buried and in Paradise (or wherever)), and the younger moderates like Rouhani and others in power.  This might be the best hope for us all globally in the short and medium term.

The trick is to get the “mullahs”, or fundamentalists who seek rather than try to avoid confrontation, on all sides to approve the deal, which may be a miracle if it succeeds.

This leads to my main point – we have many religious fundamentalist “mullahs” to get rid of in the West and good ol’ US of A as well right here in the next decade, if we are to survive.

The more secular ones (albeit who use religious imagery for their agendas) run institutions like the Republican Party, major conservative think tanks and key media positions.  The “true blue” religious fundamentalists, in their conservative evangelical, Reformed, and Catholic variants also control their own media empires, and hold powerful positions in para-church organizations like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, and the like.

Their platforms would match the mullahs in Iran in many respects.  They would impose a personal morality and restrictions on private behavior and what people do with curtains drawn and while not disturbing others, claiming “sola scriptura” while ignoring Paul’s admonition in 1 Cor. 5 to not judge the world, rather leaving that to God (and furthermore, to actually engage with the most disreputable and immoral in society, as a sacred mission of the church).  They want to impose themselves or their designees as national leaders in setting up theocracies by conquering the “Seven Mountains” of society and “occupying” them, regardless of the rights of minorities, and then begin squashing out other Christian communities of other views who might be rivals or resist.  They also want to prevent the practice of other religious faiths, the construction of their houses of worship and even to deport those of other faiths or intern them – ideas that the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists would wholeheartedly applaud.  They would also want to impose severe punishments on those of differing views of personal morality (even importing the witch hunts to places like Uganda), including capital punishment in a manner that the Saudi extremists in charge would find common cause.

The key is that these leaders, whom you and I both know, are getting white-haired and long in the tooth, and they know their days are numbered.  Check out the attendance at the latest Bible Prophecy conferences (which have long become little more than paranoid conservative foreign policy pep rallies under a veneer of generic Bible ideas), which are ever-dwindling in numbers and getting older every day, even in this era of paranoid, well-publicized “Blood Moons” and “Harbinger” scares.   They are not indoctrinating enough young people into their Cold War, tribalistic views of an America on constant “red alert” to “save the world”  to keep the racket going, even with their Liberty, Bob Jones and Christendom colleges and university “madrassas” regularly cranking out small numbers of molded ideologues.  They are thus left as an elderly “Politburo” whose hold on power is rapidly slipping.

Sadly, the picture is much grimmer within Israel itself.  The peace-loving segment of Israeli society appears to be slightly less than half of the population based upon voting data, but their numbers may be dwindling as their youth leave in droves due to the high expense of living in Israel and the despicable conditions they see the Palestinians living under and the self-inflicted pariah status of their own nation as a (rightly) perceived apartheid state.  Meanwhile, the Ultra-Orthodox, while only comprising around 10 percent in contrast to the current 80 percent in Israel who are God-denying atheists (and thus who receive special favor from American evangelicals), are continuing to breed very large families with almost all members being on public assistance due to their Talmudic studies.  They already control the critical “swing vote” in their parliaments and thus wield disproportionate power to enforce Orthodox byzantine rules on their own Israeli people, but are growing so fast that their power will become dominant within a generation.  From this class come those who burn New Testaments in front of the Knesset, fire bomb churches and pastor’s homes, and attack Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, and Christians or other aid workers who come to their assistance.

If we all can manage our own national and religious fundamentalist “mullahs”, in the USA, Iran, Israel and elsewhere, and their lust for an apocalyptic “hot war” to expedite the End of Days, sufficient to grandfather them out over the next decade, then the world would be a much safer, peaceful and unified place.