Archive for November 6th, 2006

The Armor of God

Monday, November 6th, 2006

11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:11-18 (New International Version)

What a wonderful illustration!!
I’ve heard this one since I was kid and have always enjoyed the visual image it conjures up.
Paul makes a very important point though:
Even though our opposition manifests itself through the acts of people, the real power Christians contend with is Satan himself. The “father of lies”, the “great deceiver” is our enemy and will use any weapon in his arsenal to keep the lost people lost, the denying people denying and the questioning people questioning. But his chief mission is to destroy the Christian.
Now by “destroy the Christian” I’m not saying that he can steal your soul like he does in the Hollywood movies, but he can bring the Christian down to the point where our message to the lost of the world is silenced.
This is why Paul says to cover ourselves with the armor of God. With His protection, and His Word (the Bible), by using prayer, the Saints of God (all of us who have accepted Jesus and become saved) will be able to ward off any attack by the devil.
Will an attack still hurt? Well, sure it will, but with God on our side, we cannot be defeated.
Put on the armor of God and continue to fight for Jesus!!!

“The Press at War, What ever happened to patriotic reporters?” by James Q. Wilson

Monday, November 6th, 2006

We are told by careful pollsters that half of the American people believe that American troops should be brought home from Iraq immediately. This news discourages supporters of our efforts there. Not me, though: I am relieved. Given press coverage of our efforts in Iraq, I am surprised that 90% of the public do not want us out right now.

Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 2005, nearly 1,400 stories appeared on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening news. More than half focused on the costs and problems of the war, four times as many as those that discussed the successes. About 40% of the stories reported terrorist attacks; scarcely any reported the triumphs of American soldiers and Marines. The few positive stories about progress in Iraq were just a small fraction of all the broadcasts.

When the Center for Media and Public Affairs made a nonpartisan evaluation of network news broadcasts, it found that during the active war against Saddam Hussein, 51% of the reports about the conflict were negative. Six months after the land battle ended, 77% were negative; in the 2004 general election, 89% were negative; by the spring of 2006, 94% were negative. This decline in media support was much faster than during Korea or Vietnam.

Naturally, some of the hostile commentary reflects the nature of reporting. When every news outlet struggles to grab and hold an audience, no one should be surprised that this competition leads journalists to emphasize bloody events. To some degree, the press covers Iraq in much the same way that it covers America: it highlights conflict, shootings, bombings, hurricanes, tornadoes, and corruption.

But the war coverage does not reflect merely an interest in conflict. People who oppose the entire war on terror run much of the national press, and they go to great lengths to make waging it difficult. Thus the New York Times ran a front-page story about President Bush’s allowing, without court warrants, electronic monitoring of phone calls between overseas terrorists and people inside the U.S. On the heels of this, the Times reported that the FBI had been conducting a top-secret program to monitor radiation levels around U.S. Muslim sites, including mosques. And then both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times ran stories about America’s effort to monitor foreign banking transactions in order to frustrate terrorist plans. The revelation of this secret effort followed five years after the New York Times urged, in an editorial, that precisely such a program be started.

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Suppose the current media posture about American military and security activities had been in effect during World War II. It is easy to imagine that happening. In the 1930s, after all, the well-connected America First Committee had been arguing for years about the need for America to stay out of “Europe’s wars.” Aware of these popular views, the House extended the draft by only a one-vote margin in 1941. Women dressed in black crowded the entrance to the Senate, arguing against extending the draft. Several hundred students at Harvard and Yale, including future Yale leader Kingman Brewster and future American president Gerald Ford, signed statements saying that they would never go to war. Everything was in place for a media attack on the Second World War. Here is how it might have sounded if today’s customs were in effect:

December 1941. Though the press supports America’s going to war against Japan after Pearl Harbor, several editorials want to know why we didn’t prevent the attack by selling Japan more oil. Others criticize us for going to war with two nations that had never attacked us, Germany and Italy.

October 1942. The New York Times runs an exclusive story about the British effort to decipher German messages at a hidden site at Bletchley Park in England. One op-ed writer criticizes this move, quoting Henry Stimson’s statement that gentlemen do not read one another’s mail. Because the Bletchley Park code-cracking helped us find German submarines before they attacked, successful U-boat attacks increased once the Germans, knowing of the program, changed their code.

January 1943. After President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill call for the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers, several newspapers criticize them for having closed the door to a negotiated settlement. The press quotes several senators complaining that the unconditional surrender policy would harm the peace process.

May 1943. A big-city newspaper reveals the existence of the Manhattan Project and its effort to build atomic weapons. In these stories, several distinguished scientists lament the creation of such a terrible weapon. After Gen. Leslie Groves testifies before a congressional committee, the press lambastes him for wasting money, ignoring scientific opinion, and imperiling the environment by building plants at Hanford and Oak Ridge.

December 1944. The German counterattack against the Allies in the Ardennes yields heavy American losses in the Battle of the Bulge. The press gives splashy coverage to the Democratic National Committee chairman’s assertion that the war cannot be won. A member of the House, a former Marine, urges that our troops be sent to Okinawa.

August 1945. After President Truman authorizes dropping the atomic bomb on Japan, many newspapers urge his impeachment.

Original Link.

The Democrats are at it Again

Monday, November 6th, 2006

Democrats: “Either WE Win Or YOU Cheated”

That’s liberal Robert Kuttner’s claim in today’s Boston Globe-Democrat, offered without irony (Democrats are, after all, the “vote early and often” party).

“[U]nless there are levels of theft and fraud that would truly mean the end of American democracy, a Democratic House seems as close to a sure thing as we ever get in American politics three days before an election… November 2006 will be remembered either as the time American democracy was stolen again, maybe forever, or began a brighter day. ”

Last week, Democrats were complaining that black voters weren’t going to turn out because they’re assuming the elections are rigged, anyway. Now the dopes at the NYTimes-Boston Bureau tell them they’re probably right. Brilliant.

I am trying to figure out what is more breath-taking–Kuttner’s arrogance (“Of course we’ve already won this election! We shouldn’t even allow the actual voting, that can only screw things up.”) or his unfounded insults against his political opponents (“the only way the GOP–who’ve won 7 of the last 10 presidential elections–can win is by cheating!”)

I’ve been saying for two weeks that the fact the Democrats haven’t put this election in the bag shows that the American people just aren’t quite ready to trust them on national security issues. It is possible–highly unlikely but possible–that the many close races in the House could break the GOP’s way. And if they do, Robert Kuttner has already declared the outcome a crime.

Does Kuttner want to launch a formal investigation into how Truman stole the “it’s a lock” election from Dewey? Is it time for Michael Deaver to explain how Reagan–who trailed in the polls much of the 1980 campaign–soundly stomped a sitting president on Election Day?
Or could it be that (and I know this is a foreign concept to the American Left) that elections matter? That voters exercise their autonomy one at a time in the privacy of the voting booth?

Union-backed Outfit Faces Charges of Election Fraud.

So, less than a week before the midterm elections, four workers from Acorn, the liberal activist group that has registered millions of voters, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms to the Kansas City, Missouri, election board. But hey, who needs voter ID laws?

We wish this were an aberration, but allegations of fraud have tainted Acorn voter drives across the country. Acorn workers have been convicted in Wisconsin and Colorado, and investigations are still under way in Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania.

The good news for anyone who cares about voter integrity is that the Justice Department finally seems poised to connect these dots instead of dismissing such revelations as the work of a few yahoos. After the federal indictments were handed up in Kansas City this week, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement that “This national investigation is very much ongoing.”

Let’s hope so. Acorn officials bill themselves as nonpartisan community organizers merely interested in giving a voice to minorities and the poor. In reality, Acorn is a union-backed, multimillion-dollar outfit that uses intimidation and other tactics to push for higher minimum wage mandates and to trash Wal-Mart and other non-union companies.

House bill to require voter ID

The Federal Election Integrity Act was approved on a nearly party-line 228-196 vote. Republicans backed the bill 224-3, with three nonvoters; Democrats opposed it 192-4, with five nonvoters. They were joined in opposition by the House’s one independent member.

The bill, which faces an uncertain future in the Senate, is part of a Republican effort to complete before the November elections a package of proposals aimed at curbing illegal immigration and its effects on ordinary Americans.

The so-called “Voter ID” bill, aimed at stamping out voter fraud, would require voters in federal elections to provide picture identification by 2008 and provide proof of U.S. citizenship by 2010. It was among the recommendations made last year by the bipartisan Commission on Federal Election Reform, headed by former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, a Republican.

“Effective voter registration and voter identification are bedrocks of a modern election system,” they wrote in their final report.

But Democrats, siding with groups that work on behalf of minorities and illegal aliens, called the bill a “modern-day poll tax” and said it would place an insurmountable burden on voters and infringe upon their voting rights.

Rep. Brian Bilbray, California Republican, countered that the real infringement upon voting rights would be allowing fraudulent votes by the dead or illegal “to cancel out legitimate votes.”

“That is the violation of the Voters Rights Act that we have not addressed,” he told colleagues before the vote.

Democrats, who have long demanded reforms to the federal voting process, yesterday dismissed Republican concerns about voter fraud.

“Show me the examples of the problem you’re trying to solve,” demanded Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat who accused Republicans of trying to appeal to the “fear and — yes, perhaps — the prejudices of people.”

A Republican cited a study by Johns Hopkins University that found 1,500 dead people who had voted in recent elections. Mr. Hoyer belittled the study, saying no criminal convictions for voter fraud had been won in any of those cases.

Mr. Bilbray pointed out that such convictions might be obtained if proper identification were required.

Absent Without Leave

This year more voters than ever will cast ballots early. The result may be that we get the final election results late. It’s possible we won’t know which party controls either house of Congress for days or even weeks because of all the disputes and delays caused by absentee ballots.

Thirty states now allow anybody to cast an absentee ballot without having to give an excuse for missing Election Day. That’s up from just 20 states six years ago. Several other states also allow early voting at government buildings or even grocery stores. This year, it’s expected that over one in four Americans will vote before Election Day.

In states such as Washington, California and Arizona, more than half the ballots are likely to be absentee. In California, more than 1 in 5 voters have signed up to receive absentee ballots for every election. Oregon has gone even further. In 2000 it abolished polling places, and everyone votes by mail.

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Supporters of absentee voting insist that it increases turnout. But that’s simply not the case. Curtis Gans, the director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, says that “academic studies all show that easy absentee voting decreases or has no effect on turnout,” with the 2004 election a slight exception. This is because “you are diffusing the mobilizing focus away from a single day and having to mobilize voters over a period of time.” Mr. Gans notes that the people who really are helped by absentee voting are those who cast ballots anyway.

It’s certainly true that voters like no-excuses absentee voting for its convenience. “Forcing voters to go to the polls to cast their ballots is an antiquated, outdated, absurd practice,” says Oren Spiegler, a Pennsylvania voter. But it comes at a price. Simply put, absentee voting makes it easier to commit election fraud, because the ballots are cast outside the supervision of election officials. “By loosening up the restrictions on absentee voting they have opened up more chances for fraud,” Damon Stone, a former West Virginia election fraud investigator, told the New York Times.

It’s so easy to cheat you’d be surprised who’s been caught at it. In 1998, former congressman Austin Murphy of Pennsylvania, a Democrat, was convicted of absentee-ballot fraud in a nursing home, where residents’ failing mental capacities make them an easy mark. “In this area there’s a pattern of nursing home administrators frequently forging ballots under residents’ names,” Sean Cavanagh, a former Democratic county supervisor from the area, told me. He says that many nursing home owners rely on regular “bounties” from candidates whom they allow to enter their facilities and harvest votes.

Absentee voting also corrupts the secret ballot. Because an absentee ballot is “potentially available for anyone to see, the perpetrator of coercion can ensure it is cast ‘properly,’ unlike a polling place, where a voter can promise he will vote one way but then go behind the privacy curtain and vote his conscience,” notes John Fortier, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, in his new book, “Absentee and Early Voting.”

Israeli Sheikh: Temple Mount is Entirely Islamic

Monday, November 6th, 2006

So much for Islam having tolerance. As if they ever have in recent memory.

Responding to a plan to build a synagogue on Judaism’s most sacred site, Sheikh Raad Salah warns that the entire complex is Moslem. Islam was founded 550 years after the Jewish Temple was destroyed.

Sheikh Raad Salah – head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, a Hamas supporter, and an outspoken enemy of Israel – warns that Israeli plans to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount could lead to violence and bloodshed. “The day will never come when a Moslem or an Arab will have the right to cede even one foot of the Al-Aqsa Mosque or of Jerusalem,” the Sheikh’s Al-Aqsa movement announced.

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem was the site of the two Jewish Holy Temples, the first of which was built by King Solomon in the year 832 BCE, close to 1,500 years before Islam was founded. For most of the next 1,000 years, Holy Temples stood on the site, until the Romans conquered the entire land and destroyed the Second Temple. Though the area came under the control of the Romans, Byzantines, Moslems, Christians, Turks, British and others over the coming centuries, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were always the focus of Jewish religious and national yearnings and continued to be the Jews’ “capital in exile.” In the Six Day War of 1967, the modern state of Israel liberated the Temple Mount area, placing all of Jerusalem under Jewish control once again after a hiatus of 1,900 years.

Israel, however, never actualized its sovereignty over the holy Temple Mount site, but rather granted the Moslem Waqf nearly total control. Jews, in fact, have not been allowed to pray there ever since then-Chief IDF Rabbi Shlomo Goren led a prayer service there on the first Tisha B’Av after the liberation.

As Arutz-7 reported nearly two months ago, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) is preparing a plan for the construction of a synagogue on the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount. The plan must be approved by the Jerusalem municipality’s planning committee – an unlikely eventuality – and Ariel is set to meet with rabbis and public figures on the issue later this week.

MK Ariel notes that such a building would “rectify a historic injustice,” and that every Supreme Court ruling on the issue has recognized the right of every Jew to pray on the Temple Mount.

“The synagogue will not interfere with believing Moslems who wish to pray at the Al-Aksa Mosque,” Ariel said. “On the contrary, this is an opportunity for the Moslem world to demonstrate and prove that it is tolerant enough.”

The “Moslem world” is not jumping at said opportunity. The announcement by Sheikh Salah’s organization states, “We hereby warn aloud about the existence of a Jewish national consensus that is trying to build the Holy Temple at the expense of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. We warn that similar plans were submitted to Ariel Sharon and Ehud Barak and their publication led to violence, the ramifications of which have not ended to this day.”

“The timing of the publication [of this plan] is not coincidental,” the Islamic Movement states, “and it jibes with the increased calls for expulsion [of Arabs], the implementation of the policy of religious persecution and national discrimination, and the giving of a green light to the construction of the Third Temple.”

“We remind, for the 1,000th time, that the entire Al-Aqsa mosque, including all of its area and alleys above the ground and under it, is exclusive and absolute Moslem property, and no one else has any rights to even one grain of earth in it.”

“We remind the Israeli establishment, which stands behind these plans, that the problem of Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem is not just a Palestinian problem, but a Palestinian, Arab and Islamic problem. The day the Al-Aqsa Mosque is harmed, Heaven forbid, all the Arab and Islamic nations will call to prevent this damage. Watch out! Beware of merely the thought of hurting or desecrating the mosque.”

Original Link.

Israel Gay Pride Will Not Be Cancelled

Monday, November 6th, 2006

JERUSALEM – Israel’s attorney general refused to ban a gay pride parade in Jerusalem despite threats of violence from ultra-Orthodox Jews, instructing police and gay activists to try to work out a compromise, the police commander said Sunday.

A Justice Ministry statement said Attorney General Meni Mazuz ordered police to meet with gay activists “to work out a reasonable alternative proposal” for the march, set for Friday on a route through the middle of the city. The meeting is to take place Monday, gay activists said, and a compromise was likely.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rioted in Jerusalem nearly every night over the past week, burning garbage cans, blocking roads and assaulting police officers in an attempt to get the authorities to call off the march, approved months ago by the Supreme Court. Many religious Jews, Muslims and Christians see homosexuality as a sin and the march as an affront to the sanctity of the holy city.

Police said Sunday that the danger of violence was too great to allow the march to proceed, but left the final decision to Mazuz.

“We understand that the potential danger to life and bloodshed is greater than that to free speech,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Original Link

Disabled Newborns in UK May Face Death Sentence

Monday, November 6th, 2006

A leading Brittish medical college is asking that euthenasia be considered for severely disabled newborns. So, if a child is born with a severe handicap then the parents would have the option to kill him/her. First abortion, then killing disabled babies, then what? Anyone who believes that legalizing abortion has no effect on society, you are wrong. This issue is just in the “talking” stage, but if society is quick to kill innocent, healthy babies, then why would not disabled babies? God help us.

LONDON — A leading British medical college has called on the health profession to consider euthanasia for seriously disabled newborns.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology has said that “active euthanasia” should be considered to spare parents the emotional and financial burdens of bringing up such children.
“A very disabled child can mean a disabled family,” it says in a formal submission. “If life-shortening and deliberate interventions to kill infants were available, they might have an impact on obstetric decision-making, even preventing some late abortions, as some parents would be more confident about continuing a pregnancy and taking a risk on outcome.”
The call comes in the college’s submission to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which is conducting an inquiry into the ethical issues raised by the policy of prolonging life in newborns.
The submission states: “We would like the working party to think more radically about non-resuscitation, withdrawal of treatment decisions, the best-interests test and active euthanasia as they are ways of widening the management of options available to the sickest of newborns.”

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Rabbis Call for Prayer Vigils to Counter ‘Abomination’ March

Monday, November 6th, 2006

The “in-your-face” attitude of the gay activist is standard operating procedure. I hope things are peaceful and that no one gets hurt. Pray for the people who will be protesting this event that they can make their point without becoming violent. To become violent only reduces Godly people to the same level as those we oppose.

Jerusalem (CNSNews.com) – Israel’s religious leaders are calling for a peaceful prayer protest on Friday to counter a homosexual parade scheduled to take place that same day in Jerusalem.

The parade, sponsored by Jerusalem Open House, the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender center, has infuriated the city’s religious Jews, Muslims and Christians.

Members of the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish community have been rioting in their neighborhoods for the last week, upset that the homosexual event will take place in a city that three major religions revere as holy.

Police on Sunday urged cancellation of the parade for security reasons. Police argued that in the circumstances, the potential danger to life outweighed freedom of expression.

But Israel’s Attorney General Menachem Mazuz ordered the parade to take place as planned.

Mazuz instructed police to discuss the possibility of another parade route, and he recommended that a “more modest” parade be held, but it’s not clear what he meant by that.

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate – the official religious leadership of the country — issued a statement on Monday calling on Israelis to hold peaceful prayer vigils at 10 a.m. Friday as a way of opposing the “abomination march in the Holy City.”

Other rabbis circulated a letter calling on Jerusalem residents to refrain from violence but expressing neither support nor opposition to the parade.

More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty in Jerusalem when the parade kicks off, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

Original Link.

“Signs of the Times” by Greg Laurie

Monday, November 6th, 2006

I don’t know about you, but I am beginning to distrust the weatherman. It seems like when they tell us it will be warm, it’s cold; when they tell us it will be rainy, it’s sunny. It seems like I could do just as good of a job of predicting the weather for the day by simply looking out of my window.

Jesus said, “You have a saying that goes, ‘Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning.’ You find it easy enough to forecast the weather – why can’t you read the signs of the times? (Matthew16:2-3 The Message)

In the same way, all you have to do is pick up your morning paper, watch the news on TV or read WorldNetDaily to see “signs of the times.” And what do these “signs” tell us? That Jesus Christ is coming back!

Jesus mentioned certain signs, or “birth pains,” that would indicate the time of His return and the end of the world:

Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. (Matthew 24:4-8)

Are we seeing evidence that these signs are appearing in greater and greater frequency in our generation? Let’s consider some of the facts.

No. 1 – The explosion of religious deception

In the Last Days, there will be an emergence of false teachers, false prophets, gurus and so forth who will “deceive many.” This will culminate in the emergence of the ultimate deceiver, the Antichrist.

For many years now, we have witnessed an explosion of cults, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons (also known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), the Christian Science Church, the Church of Scientology and other groups. Then there have been newer cults like the followers of Jim Jones who committed mass suicide in Guyana in 1978; the Branch Davidians and their leader, David Koresh, who died in a standoff with federal agents in Texas in 1993; and the Heaven’s Gate suicides in Southern California in 1997.

There also has been an explosion of New Age mysticism and spirituality in recent years. I find it interesting how many people today will say, “I am spiritual, but I am not into organized religion.” It is their way of saying that they want to have a belief system, but they want to live as they choose. So many people today talk about how they have found their own truth and their own path. I believe all of this is pointing to the emergence of the Antichrist and the beginning of the Tribulation period described in Revelation 6.

No. 2 – Wars and rumors of wars

This leads us to another sign pointing toward the Last Days, which will be “wars and rumors of wars” (see Matthew 24:6). Think of all the wars our planet has seen so far in its history. We know that more than 10 million people lost their lives in World War I, which was thought of as the war that would end all wars. But it took only 20 years for a new and even more terrible war to develop. During World War II, 50 million people died.

These wars, as horrible as they were, will not compare to the scale of war that will be unleashed by Satan during the Tribulation period. How it will happen we don’t know. It could be cataclysmic. We know that God could pour out His wrath on the earth. Then again, God could allow humanity to unleash all the weaponry that it has been amassing for years now.

To date, nations with nuclear weapons have been able to keep one another at bay. But now there are rogue nations that have gotten hold of nuclear weapons. Some terrorist organizations have been trying to obtain them for some time. It could be that, in this terrible war, all of that nuclear weaponry would be released. Such war would give an explanation as to the global famine and pestilence that will follow the emergence of the Antichrist.

No. 3 – Famines and pestilences

In addition to “wars and rumors of wars,” global famine and pestilence will be one of the signs of the last days (see Revelation 6:8). Contrary to what some may think, famine isn’t a problem of the past. According to the United Nations’ World Food Program, more than 800 million people go hungry every day, while 24,000 people die each day from hunger and hunger-related causes.

No. 4 – Earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis

Jesus said, “And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.” (Luke 21:11)

Consider the tsunami that struck Southeast Asia, Dec. 26, 2004. It was caused by the fourth most powerful undersea earthquake on record – an earthquake so powerful that it moved the entire island of Sumatra 100 feet southwest of its original position. Geologists said the tsunami was so powerful that it set the whole earth vibrating. It interfered with the earth’s rotation to the degree that time stopped for three microseconds.

No. 5 – Religious persecution

Another sign of the times will be persecution. Jesus said, “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. And you will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” (Mark 13:9-10)

We have seen persecution against the church for centuries. There was a martyr period in church history that extended from A.D. 100 to A.D. 314, where literally thousands and thousands of courageous men, women and children stood up for their faith with their blood. Many secular historians suggest there were 10 great persecutions intended to wipe out Christianity, beginning with Caesar Nero and ending with the Roman emperor Diocletian.

During this time, believers were fed alive to wild animals. They were killed in Roman arenas for sport. They were torn apart, tortured, burned at the stake and crucified. Diocletian felt that he had been so successful in eradicating Christianity from the face of the earth that he had a coin struck that read, “The Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the Roman gods are restored.” Needless to say, Diocletian was proved wrong. Instead of being destroyed by persecution, the church actually grew stronger.

We need to remember that if we are true followers of Jesus, we, too, will be persecuted. The Bible says, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12). In John 15, Jesus said:

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, “A servant is not greater than his master.” If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. (vv. 18-20)

When we stand up for our faith, it will make some people angry, especially when we declare that Jesus Christ is the only way to God (see John 14:6). In our pluralistic society of moral relativism, when someone makes a statement such as, “All roads don’t lead to God – only one road leads to God; all truth is not yours to choose – there is only one real truth, and Jesus Christ is the only way to God,” some people will not like it.

No. 6 – Jerusalem as an international focal point

Jerusalem, the city of David, has always had a central role in Scripture, and it figures prominently in prophecies about the Last Days in which God will “restore the fortunes” of Jerusalem (see Jeremiah 32:44; Danield 9:25; Joel 3:1). In Mark 13:28-29, Jesus said the rebirth of Israel will be a supersign of the last days: “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near – at the doors!”

On more than one occasion in Scripture, Israel is compared to a fig tree (see Judges 9:11; Hosea 9:10; Joel 1:7-8). I believe that Mark 13:28-29, along with many other Scripture passages, such as Ezekiel 37-39, speak of the rebirth of Israel – the regathering of God’s people. When the nation of Israel comes back into existence, Jesus was stating prophetically, it is a supersign that His coming is near.

Of course, we know that this prophecy was fulfilled not that long ago. On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion stood before the masses gathered in Tel Aviv and declared Israel’s independence. Israel announced to the world that she was once again to be a free state. Having lost 6 million Jews to Nazi concentration camps, the Jewish people began returning to the very land that God had given to them centuries before. It was unprecedented in human history for a nation to essentially cease to exist and then to come back into existence.

Original Link.