Archive for May 1st, 2006

Pray for the Illegal Immigrant Situation

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Take a moment to pray that God will show our leaders what needs to be done to not only secure our borders, but to streamline the immigration process, so that people will no longer have to come to our country illegally. We welcome all people to this country. Please come here legally and don’t flont the laws of the very nation you wish to become a part of.

-Steve
Jesus is Lord, A Worshipping Christian’s Blog

Quote of the Day

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Commenting on the street demonstrations, scheduled for May 1st, to be held by illegal immigrants:

(They are) “a declaration that we are no longer a nation governed by the rule of law, but that we are being ruled by mob rule.”

-Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project

Citizens urged to shop Monday

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Sounds like a plan to me.

Hoosiers concerned about illegal immigration are encouraging like-minded citizens to “shop till you drop” Monday as a counter to the national “Day Without Immigrants” protest.
“We want the business people to know there are a lot of people like us, who are very worried about the negative impact of illegal immigration and who spend money at their business,” said Greg Serbon, Crown Point, state director of the Indiana Federation for Immigration Reform and Enforcement.
Organizers nationwide are calling on immigrants to skip work and school, buy nothing and sell nothing Monday, although key local leaders are urging them to show up for jobs and classes.
Serbon and about 25 others upset at what they see as the government’s lack of action on illegal immigration took their concerns to the streets Friday with a protest in Downtown Indianapolis during the lunch hour. They were scheduled to return today.
The goal of the protest was to get the attention of Sens. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Evan Bayh, D-Ind., who Serbon said are failing their constituents by not taking a hard stand on closing the border with Mexico and enforcing immigration laws.
Protesters who gathered near the corner of Illinois and Market streets held signs with slogans including “Honk to stop illegal immigration” and “Close our borders now.”
“We’ve got a lot of positive responses,” Serbon said. “We’ve had a few people who don’t like what we have to say, but that’s to be expected.”
Natisha Cooper, 41, Indianapolis, co-chairwoman of the Marion County chapter of the group, said it is getting harder to express negative opinions about illegal immigration.
“Many people are afraid to speak up because they will be labeled as racist,” she said.
Serbon said the protesters are not racists or opposed to immigration. They want newcomers to obey the laws and, if they don’t, they want the government to enforce the laws.
Participants came from FortWayne, South Bend, Seymour, Valparaiso, Michigan City and Columbus, in addition to Indianapolis.

Re-Post: “A Key Gog-Magog Development”

Monday, May 1st, 2006
A Key Gog-Magog Development

by Michael G. Mickey

(4-29-06)

Are key developments crucial to the future fulfillment of Bible prophecy visible in the news around us, particularly developments related to the Gog-Magog invasion attempt prophecy tells us will eventually be made against Israel, as described in Ezekiel 38-39? Absolutely, as I love to point out at every opportunity.

For some time I’ve alluded to the fact Bible prophecy seems to foresee current NATO member Turkey, which is presently trying to gain membership in the European Union, oddly turning its back on the West, joining Russia and its Arab-Muslim brothers in a confederacy against Israel. In support of this theory, let’s look back a mere 8 months to see how dramatically things have changed as Turkey continues to posture itself much as I have suggested it needs to in order for prophetic fulfillment to occur. What the following reveals is Turkey is moving away from the European Union and the West before our very eyes; toward Russia and the East. I wrote of the following developments of late on the dates provided below. For many of my site’s regular readers, a great deal of this will be a review, but the terminus of this commentary is well worth the refresher as it will definitely sit you back in your seat!

Thanks to A.P. Gillespie for passing along the news story featured at the end of this string of information as it contains the most dramatic language I’ve seen used to date, indicative of how swiftly the Turks seem to be moving toward a future date at Gog-Magog.

On 8-28-05, I wrote, in part…

Bible prophecy seems to tell us modern day Turkey (biblical Meshech, Tubal, Gomer, and Togarmah), is going to join Russia and an Arab/Islamic alliance in an attempt to invade the nation of Israel in the prophetic future, as seen in the 38th chapter of the book of Ezekiel. Could it be we’re seeing, in the news of our world today, evidence the military alliance of the Gog-Magog invasion is coming into view on the prophetic horizon? Absolutely!

Middle East Newsline is currently reporting Turkey, long an enemy of Russia and vice versa, “has been examining a range of offers of military and defense systems from Russia.” Imagine that!

The article quotes a Turkish official as saying the following, which is very revealing in my opinion: “Many things have changed over the last year, and the key change is that Russia and Turkey are no longer enemies and that Moscow is no longer an enemy of NATO.”

On 11-18-05, I wrote, in part…

Recently, Turkey has been in the news – and often – in relation to its stated desire to join the European Union. Bible prophecy, however, points to Turkey having a relationship with Russia in the prophetic future when the two will join a number of other nations in a surprise attack on the nation of Israel described in Ezekiel 38 & 39, predictive of the future Gog-Magog invasion attempt. This I have alluded to on many occasions and told readers of my site to be watching for signs of in preparation for prophetic fulfillment to occur in the future!

Praise the Lord! Before our very eyes, everything is moving into place as predicted by the prophet Ezekiel, demonstrating yet again that our God is alive, on the throne, and in control! Not only that, but Jesus Christ is coming soon!

Still not convinced that what I’ve said is going to take place is, in fact, going to take place – that Turkey will turn from its EU entry goals and into the arms of its Gog-Magog allies? Consider the following excerpt from the same Guardian Unlimited article, the passage being absolutely prophetic in content, at least in my humble opinion:

Many Turks have grown increasingly frustrated with Europe’s ambivalence toward accepting the overwhelmingly Muslim nation. In 2002, a top Turkish general said that Turkey’s efforts to join the EU were doomed to failure and Turkey should look toward gas-rich Russia and Iran for alliances.

For the record, Iran is prophesied to be an ally of both Turkey and Russia when the prophesied Gog-Magog invasion attempt takes place. As we can see, the prophecies of the Bible, written literally thousands of years ago, continue to be perfectly accurate in predicting what is going to take place in the future.
Turkey and Russia are warming up to one another! How about that, prophecy watchers?

On 1-11-06, I wrote, in part…

Secondly, on the issue of the coming Gog-Magog attack, TehranTimes.com is reporting that Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinejad said earlier this week that “Iran and Turkey can act as a link between the East and the West in various economic, political and security fields.” Iran and Turkey a link between the East and West?

What odd bedfellows one would think Iran and Turkey would make, given Turkey is a member of NATO presently trying to gain membership into the European Union – the same EU the Iranians are presently in conflict with in relation to its nuclear goals. Or would they? As I’ve stated on numerous occasions, I have been anticipating Turkey growing closer to its future Gog-Magog allies in preparation for Gog-Magog to occur. As such, this comes as no real surprise to me.

The following excerpt from the TehranTimes.com article, a continuation of Ahmadinejad’s opinions and statements concerning Iran-Turkey relations, is demonstrative, in my humble opinion, that things are becoming pretty chummy between Iran and Turkey, a development which those of us watching for prophetic fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy should make note of (emphasis added mine):

Speaking with the outgoing Turkish ambassador to Iran, Bozkurt Aran, the president said that Iran and Turkey enjoy extensive historical ties.

Besides cultural affinities, Iran and Turkey hold very similar interests in national, regional and international issues, he noted.

Ahmadinejad stated that Tehran and Ankara play a decisive role in the region, the world of Islam and the international arena. The president stressed the necessity to expand bilateral ties in all fields in an effort to fulfill the expectations of the Iranian, Turkish and all Muslim nations.

“In view of huge potentials for promotion of ties and the determination of the officials of the two countries, we are waiting for a jump in bilateral relations,” he observed.

Is it just me or are we seeing Gog-Magog taking shape before our very eyes? Those nations anticipated to be friends at the time of the Gog-Magog attack are presently friends or at the very least showing promise of such. Even those most wouldn’t think are close to one another in ideology and long-term goals, namely Turkey and Iran, are growing closer, demonstrating the accuracy of the Word of God in telling us how all things are going to play out in the end.

On 2-28-06, I wrote, in part…

Turkey and Russia, demonstrative of how dramatically things are changing in preparation for the literal fulfillment of Bible prophecy to occur, only recently got on good terms with one another, having battled one another for regional supremacy for centuries. Less than two years ago, Russian president Vladimir Putin, for example, became the very first Russian head of state to visit Ankara, during which Turkey and Russia signed six agreements covering defense, trade and finance, as was reported by the BBC.

How quickly things have changed when we consider some of what Prof. Ruben Safrastyan, Ph.D., wrote in June of 2005 concerning Turkey and Russia’s recent past history, as seen in a Global Politician article:

* In 1992-1993, Turkey threatened to use force against Armenia, which followed by a swift and hard counteraction by Russia, which openly declared its readiness to use nuclear weapon against Turkey. Both states in that period not only were strategic opponents, but also took the counter-partner as a bearer of the military threat. In this sense, it is worth mentioning the statement by the Chief of the Headquarters of the Turkish troops, made in 1994, that Russia is the only state, posing a military threat to Turkey.

Russia was ready to nuke Turkey a short time ago, but now they’re practicing war together. How can anyone question that the literal fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy concerning Russia and an Arab confederacy, among which Turkey will be numbered, coming against the nation of Israel in the end times is going to take place? For that matter, who can doubt, in light of these latest developments, that this event is on the prophetic horizon?

On 4-17-06, I wrote, in part…

An EUBusiness.com article from late March indicates Turkey’s EU talks are already running up against obstacles, “due to some members’ reticence about the vast Muslim country joining.” Am I surprised to hear that? Absolutely not!

In the 38th & 39th chapters of the book of Ezekiel, we’re told a military invasion attempt will take place in the prophetic future against the nation of Israel. Those who will participate in this attack are as follows:

* Gog – Most agree this is a reference to Russia.
* Meshech – Most associate this with modern day Turkey, ancient Anatolia, but some say it refers to the Moscow area.
* Tubal – Most associate this with modern day Turkey, ancient Anatolia.
* Persia – modern Iran
* Ethiopia
* Libya
* Gomer – eastern Europe or Turkey
* Togarmah – southeastern Europe or Turkey

When we look at the group that will attack Israel, it becomes obvious, aside from Russia, that the nations which will attack Israel are Muslim nations. While I don’t profess to be a geographical scholar, all the research I’ve done seems to make it clear that Turkey is going to be involved in the attack, in opposition to its long-standing loyalty to western ideologies as a present member of NATO, aligned with its Arab-Muslim brothers.

Could a blow-up between the EU and Turkey be in the making? I believe there’s an excellent chance that’s the case. Time will tell.

4-29-06: Here comes the terminus…

The headline of an article featured in The New Anatolian says it all: Turkey’s loss of faith in EU, greater ambitions in Mideast.

As dramatic as the headline is, the article’s content, from which the following excerpt was obtained, makes the prophetic posturing even more obvious:

Quite surprisingly as the AK Party loses faith in the EU process this corresponds to a stronger interest and involvement in the Middle East. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to have direct talks with Hamas, his participation in the recent Arab League summit, his Syria policy and criticism of several Western policies towards the region are very recent examples of this.

These steps are confusing to many and raise questions on whether the AK Party is shifting towards an Islamist agenda in its foreign policy and also searching for some new alliances. It’s very difficult to find a clear-cut answer to either questions; what’s certain is that the AK Party is slowly in search of some new alliances but there can be no alternative to the EU in the Middle East. So what could be behind these moves?

What could be behind these moves? I’m guessing the answer lies in the book of Ezekiel, chapters 38-39. How about you?
Keep looking up!

Impending ‘Da Vinci Code’ Movie Release Spurs Religious Debate

Monday, May 1st, 2006

More on the “Da Vinci Code” debate. See part one of my article “Christians and “The Da Vinci Code”.

A line from Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code” tells you why it’s easily the most disputed religious novel of all time: “Almost everything our fathers taught us about Christ is false.”
With 46 million copies in print, “Da Vinci” has long been a headache for Christian scholars and historians, who are worried about the influence on the faith from a single source they regard as wrong-headed.
Now the controversy seems headed for a crescendo with the release of the movie version of “Da Vinci” May 17-19 around the world. Believers have released an extraordinary flood of material criticizing the story – books, tracts, lectures and Internet sites among them. The conservative Roman Catholic group Opus Dei, portrayed as villainous in the story, is among those asking Sony Corp. to issue a disclaimer with the film.
Bart Ehrman, religion chair at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, likens the phenomenon to the excitement in the 19th century when deluded masses thought Jesus would return in 1844.
The novel’s impact on religious ideas in popular culture, he says, is “quite unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lifetimes.”
To give just one example, Ben Witherington III of Asbury Theological Seminary is following up the criticisms of the novel in “The Gospel Code” with lectures in Singapore, Turkey and 30 U.S. cities. He’s given 55 broadcast interviews.
Assaults on “Da Vinci” don’t just come from evangelicals like Witherington, or from Roman Catholic leaders such as Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George, who says Brown is waging “an attack on the Catholic Church” through preposterous historical claims.
Among more liberal thinkers, Harold Attridge, dean of Yale’s Divinity School, says Brown has “wildly misinterpreted” early Christianity. Ehrman details Brown’s “numerous mistakes” in “Truth and Fiction in the Da Vinci Code” and asks: “Why didn’t he simply get his facts straight?”
The problem is that “Da Vinci” is billed as more than mere fiction.
Brown’s opening page begins with the word “FACT” and asserts that all descriptions of documents “are accurate.”
“It’s a book about big ideas, you can love them or you can hate them,” Brown said in a speech last week. “But we’re all talking about them, and that’s really the point.”
Brown told National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition” during a 2003 publicity tour – he declines interviews now – that his characters and action are fictional but “the ancient history, the secret documents, the rituals, all of this is factual.” Around the same time, on CNN he said that “the background is all true.”
Christian scholars beg to differ. Among the key issues:

Jesus’ Divinity
Brown’s version in “Da Vinci”: Christians viewed Jesus as a mere mortal until A.D. 325 when the Emperor Constantine “turned Jesus into a deity” by getting the Council of Nicaea to endorse divine status by “a relatively close vote.”
His critics’ version: Larry Hurtado of Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, whose “Lord Jesus Christ” examines first century belief in Jesus’ divinity, says that “on chronology, issues, developments, and all the matters asserted, Brown strikes out; he doesn’t even get on base.”
He and others cite the worship of Jesus in epistles that Paul wrote in the 50s A.D. One passage teaches that Jesus, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped” and became a man (Philippians 2:6).
Historians also say the bishops summoned to Nicaea by Constantine never questioned the long-held belief in Jesus’ divinity. Rather, they debated technicalities of how he could be both divine and human and approved a new formulation by a lopsided vote, not a close one.

The New Testament
Brown’s version: “More than 80 gospels were considered for the New Testament” but Constantine chose only four. His new Bible “omitted those gospels that spoke of Christ’s human traits and embellished those gospels that made him godlike. The earlier gospels were outlawed, gathered up and burned.” The Dead Sea Scrolls and manuscripts from Nag Hammadi, Egypt, were “the earliest Christian records,” not the four Gospels.
Critics: Historians say Christians reached consensus on the authority of the first century’s four Gospels and letters of Paul during the second century. But some of the 27 New Testament books weren’t universally accepted until after Constantine’s day. Constantine himself had nothing to do with these decisions.
Some rejected writings are called gospels, though they lack the narrative histories that characterize the New Testament’s four. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were earlier and won wide consensus as memories and beliefs from Jesus’ apostles and their successors.
The rejected books often portrayed an ethereal Jesus lacking the human qualities depicted in the New Testament Gospels – the exact opposite of Brown’s scenario. Gnostic gospels purported to contain secret spiritual knowledge from Jesus as the means by which an elite could escape the material world, which they saw as corrupt. They often spurned Judaism’s creator God and the Old Testament.
On the question of mass burning of texts deemed heretical, Ehrman of North Carolina says there’s little evidence to support that claim. Rejected books simply disappeared because people stopped using them, and nobody bothered to make new copies in an age long before the printing press.
The Dead Sea Scrolls? These were Jewish documents, not Christian ones. The Nag Hammadi manuscripts? With one possible exception, these came considerably later than the New Testament Gospels.

Jesus as Married
Brown’s version: Jesus must have wed because Jewish decorum would “virtually forbid” an unmarried man. His spouse was Mary Magdalene and their daughter inaugurated a royal bloodline in France.
Critics: First century Jewish historian Josephus said most Jews married but Essene holy men did not. The Magdalene myth only emerged in medieval times.
Brown cites the Nag Hammadi “Gospel of Philip” as evidence of a marriage, but words are missing from a critical passage in the tattered manuscript: “Mary Magdalene (missing) her more than (missing) the disciples (missing) kiss her (missing) on her (missing).”
Did Jesus kiss Mary on the lips, or cheek or forehead? Whatever, Gnostics would have seen the relationship as platonic and spiritual, scholars say.
James M. Robinson of Claremont (Calif.) Graduate School, a leading specialist, thinks the current popularity of Mary Magdalene “says more about the sex life (or lack of same) of those who participate in this fantasy than it does about Mary Magdalene or Jesus.”
The whole “Da Vinci” hubbub, Witherington says, shows “we are a Jesus-haunted culture that’s biblically illiterate” and harbors general “disaffection from traditional answers.”
But he and others also see a chance to inform people about the beliefs of Christianity through the “Da Vinci” controversy.
“If people are intrigued by the historical questions, there are plenty of materials out there,” Yale’s Attridge says.
British Justice Peter Smith, who recently backed Brown against plagiarism charges, perhaps best summed up the situation in his decision:
“Merely because an author describes matters as being factually correct does not mean that they are factually correct. It is a way of blending fact and fiction together to create that well known model ‘faction.’ The lure of apparent genuineness makes the books and the films more receptive to the readers/audiences. The danger of course is that the faction is all that large parts of the audience read, and they accept it as truth.”

(Emphasis are mine -ed.)

‘A Day Without Immigrants’

Monday, May 1st, 2006

I still feel this is the wrong way to go about bring attention to the immigration issue. Doing this along with the silly stunt of rewriting our national anthem is only going to breed resentment and strengthen the resolve of those who feel that all illegal immigrants should be deported.
It is the responsibility of the immigrant to come here legally and assimilate into our society, not the other way around.
I can’t see anything good coming from this day without immigrants.

NEW YORK – The doors of Hector Castillo’s bakery are usually open 360 days a year, but anybody looking for his Mexican pastries or cookies will be out of luck Monday.
Castillo planned to close his doors in sympathy with an economic boycott by thousands of illegal immigrants and their allies across the country, a show of force to illustrate how much immigrants matter.
Some will work but buy nothing. Others will protest at lunch breaks, school walkouts or at rallies after work. There are planned church services, candlelight vigils, picnics and human chains.
For Castillo, 45, it’s a protest against legislation in the U.S. House that would make it a felony to be an illegal immigrant. “About 80 percent of our customers are Latin people, most of them Mexican, and the proposed law will affect all of us,” he said.
Thanks to the success of previous rallies plus media attention, planning for Monday’s events, collectively called Un Dia Sin Inmigrantes – A Day Without Immigrants -— is widespread, though fragmented.
“It’s highly unpredictable what’s going to happen,” said Harley Shaiken, director of the Center for Latin American studies at the University of California. “What unites everyone that’s going to do something on May 1 is they are making visible their strong feelings.”
On the eve of the protest, about 3,000 people rallied for immigrant rights at a park in Lynwood, a heavily Hispanic Los Angeles suburb. Organizers of the demonstration called on residents and businesses to support the boycott.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa urged students to stay in school during the day and advised protesters against waving flags of their native countries.
“You should wave the American flag,” he said. “It’s the flag of the country that we all are proud of and want to be a part of. Don’t disrespect the traditions of this country.”
A rally in Chicago representing the city’s Arab, Asian, black, eastern European and Hispanic communities, along with labor groups and religious leaders, could bring out as many as half a million people, organizers say. They urged immigrant workers to ask for time off and encouraged students to get permission to attend the demonstration.
“Stand in solidarity with people of all races and nationalities because immigration legislation does not just affect one group; it affects everyone!” Sadiya Ahmed, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, wrote in a recent e-mail.
In smaller cities such as Allentown, Pa.; Omaha, Neb.; and Knoxville, Tenn., immigrants and their allies have been going door to door with fliers, making posters and sharpening speeches. In New Mexico, restaurants cooked meals this weekend to donate to picnics Monday in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
In Pomona, Calif., about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, dozens of men who frequent a day labor center voted unanimously to close Monday, said Mike Nava, the center’s director.
In New Jersey, Rhode Island, Oregon and Pennsylvania, people boycotting work will march to the offices of elected officials to urge them to support pro-immigrant legislation.
Activists in Florida said many immigrants were concerned about recent federal raids, in which hundreds of immigrants with criminal backgrounds were rounded up in Florida and throughout the Midwest.
“We’re not officially coordinating a work stoppage. We are leaving it up to every individual. We don’t want people to lose a job, but we want to encourage people to stand up for their rights,” said Maria Rodriguez, head of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.
In California, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said a boycott would “hurt everyone,” while Democratic state senators passed a resolution supporting walkouts.
Opponents of illegal immigration spent the weekend building a fence to symbolize their support of a secure border. About 200 volunteers organized by the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps of California worked on a 6-foot barbed-wire fence along a quarter-mile stretch of rugged terrain near the U.S.-Mexico border about 50 miles east of San Diego.
In each of New York City’s five boroughs, thousands of workers were expected to take work breaks shortly after noon to link arms with shoppers, restaurant-goers and other supporters for about 20 minutes.
“This will symbolize the interdependence of all of us, not just immigrants, but all of society,” said Chung-Wa Hong, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.
Some big businesses are shutting down operations: Six of 14 Perdue Farms plants will close; Gallo Wines in Sonoma, Calif., is giving its 150 employees the day off; Tyson Foods Inc., the world’s largest meat producer, will shut five of its nine beef plants and four of six pork plants.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops urged immigrants to attend Mass instead of boycotting, and suggested that churches toll their bells in memory of immigrants who died trying to come to the U.S. They also urged students to stay in school.
Denver-area contractor Chuck Saxton, who hires temporary workers, is sympathetic to the movement. “I’m going to go to support them. These guys come here, they work hard and they’re honest,” he said. “They provide a vibrancy to our economy and our country that is fading.”