Archive for June 23rd, 2009

Hope in the LORD

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

But those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;

Soar on Wings Like Eagles

they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (New International Version)

“Democracy, Middle East Style” by Todd Strandberg

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Iran’s Interior Ministry announced Saturday that hard-line incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had won 63.29% of the vote in the country’s presidential election—hooray, a landslide. But there is one problem: Right before the election, the pro-reform candidate, Mir Hossein Mousavi, had a huge lead in opinion polls.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told tens of thousands of people at a Friday prayer service at Tehran University that the balloting had not been rigged, and he sided with Ahmadinejad. If you can’t trust the words of a holy man, who can you trust?

Actually, 63 percent is a rather dismal showing for the head of one of George W. Bush’s “axis of evil” nations. The other two members, Iraq and North Korea, have done much better. Before being ousted by American-led forces, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein won 100 percent of votes in a 2002 referendum for a new term in office. The following year, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il also received 100 percent support when the Supreme People’s Assembly voted him back in office. Just this March, Kim was re-elected with yet another 100 percent of the vote.

Perhaps my western bias is blinding me from seeing how Ahmadinejad could pull out such a stunning upset. The fact that there has been massive rioting in the streets of Iran tells me that a large number of people in Iran expected Hossein Mousavi to win. Here are some red flags that help raise suspicion.

The election was run totally by the Interior Ministry. There were no independent election observers in Iran.Just before voting ended, text-messaging and pro-Mousavi websites were blocked.

Ahmadinejad was declared the winner three hours before some of the polls closed.

All of the ballots were paper. It would be have been impossible to announce a definitive result so soon after the polls closed.

According to official figures, Ahmadinejad handily beat Mousavi in Mousavi’s hometown of Tabriz — a shocking result, given the candidate’s popularity in his own region.

Ahmadinejad beat Mousavi in the big cities, even though Iran’s very limited polling and anecdotal evidence indicate that Mousavi is far more popular than the President in cities.

The number of votes counted in seventy districts was higher than the population in those districts.

Iran’s economy is a mess, and people are unhappy about a raft of everyday issues, from the price of food to joblessness.

The election in Iran was obviously a sham. What we have here is another demonstration of the demonic arrogance that comes with political power. If Ahmadinejad were a sane man, he would have settled for a narrow margin of victory. Because all autocratic rulers typically have the nature of Satan, he chose to give himself the vast majority of the vote.

I am very encouraged by how the Internet has proven to be a useful tool by the protesters. The Iranian government has completely failed in its effort to block images and reports from being posted and accessed on social networking sites.

Three weeks after his landmark address in Cairo, President Barack Obama finds himself in a bit of conundrum. Having just reached out to Ahmadinejad, Obama now finds himself in danger of legitimizing a government that is clearly based on fraud. If he endorses the opposition, the Iranian hardliners will point to it as the “Great Satan” meddling in Iran’s internal affairs.

Little would change if Mir Hossein Mousavi were to emerge as the winner of this power struggle. The Supreme Leader picks all the candidates, so only conservative and like-minded Islamic fundamentalists can win office. Mousavi may be called the pro-reform candidate, but he still supports Iran’s nuclear program and the policy of wiping Israel off the map.

The election crisis could be a huge boom for Bible prophecy. If Ahmadinejad manages to stay in power, he will be looking to distract the Iranian population away from domestic troubles. Few people realize that Ahmadinejad has an apocalyptic death wish where he would gladly sacrifice the lives of his fellow citizens to bring about the return of the fabled Twelfth Imam. With thousands of demonstrators marching in the street with signs that read “Down with the Dictator,” he has less reason to be hesitant.

— Todd

Original Link.

Can Third Temple be Built Without Destroying Dome of the Rock?

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Interesting idea. The Muslims will never allow the Temple to be built anywhere, but we’ll have to see what God thinks about it.

A new Jewish interfaith initiative launched last week argues building the Third Jewish Temple in Jerusalem would not necessitate the destruction of the Dome of the Rock.

“God’s Holy Mountain Vision” project hopes to defuse religious strife by showing that Jews’ end-of-days vision could harmoniously accommodate Islam’s present architectural hegemony on the Temple Mount.

“This vision of religious shrines in peaceful proximity can transform the Temple Mount from a place of contention to its original sacred role as a place of worship shared by Jews, Muslims and Christians,” said Yoav Frankel, director of the initiative.

The Interfaith Encounter Association at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim’s Konrad Adenauer Conference Center in Jerusalem is sponsoring the program, which includes interfaith study and other educational projects.

According to Islamic tradition, the Dome of the Rock, built in 691, marks the spot where Muhammed ascended to Heaven.

But according to Jewish tradition, Mount Moriah, now under the Dome of the Rock, is where the Temple’s Holy of Holies was situated.

Until now Jewish tradition has assumed that destruction of the Dome of the Rock was a precondition for the building of the third and last Temple.

However, in an article that appeared in 2007 in Tehumin, an influential journal of Jewish law, Frankel, a young scholar, presented a different option.

His main argument is that Jewish doctrine regarding the rebuilding of the Temple emphasizes the role of a prophet.

This prophet would have extraordinary authority, including the discretion to specify the Temple’s precise location, regardless of any diverging Jewish traditions.

Frankel considers the scenario of a holy revelation given to an authentic prophet that the Temple be rebuilt on the current or an extended Temple Mount in peaceful proximity to the dome and other houses of prayer such as the Aksa Mosque and nearby Christian shrines.

However, both Muslims and Jews have expressed opposition to the initiative.

Sheikh Abdulla Nimar Darwish, founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel, said it was pointless to talk about what would happen when the mahdi, the Muslim equivalent of the messiah, would reveal himself.

“Why are we taking upon ourselves the responsibility to decide such things?” Darwish said in a telephone interview with The Jerusalem Post. “Even Jews believe that it is prohibited to rebuild the Temple until the messiah comes. So what is there to talk about.

“The mahdi will decide whether or not to rebuild the Temple. If he decides that it should be rebuilt, I will go out to the Temple Mount and help carry the rocks.”

Darwish warned against any attempt to rebuild the Temple before the coming of the mahdi.

“As long as there is a Muslim alive, no Jewish Temple will be built on Al-Haram Al-Sharif [the Temple Mount]. The status quo must be maintained, otherwise there will be bloodshed.”

In contrast, Baruch Ben-Yosef, chairman of the Movement to Restore the Temple, made it clear that the Temple had to be built where the Dome of the Rock presently stands.

“Anybody who says anything else simply does not know what he is talking about,” he said. “A prophet does not have the power to change the law which explicitly states the location of the Temple.”

Ben-Yosef also rejected the idea that rebuilding of the Temple had to be done by a prophet.

“All you need is a Sanhedrin,” he said.

Mainstream Orthodox rabbis have opposed attempts to rebuild the Temple since the Mount came under Israeli control in 1967.

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel even issued a decree prohibiting Jews from entering the area due to ritual purity issues.

However, several grassroots organizations such as the Movement to Restore the Temple, and maverick rabbis, including Rabbi Israel Ariel, head of the capital’s Temple Institute and a leading member of the revived Sanhedrin led by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz, have called to take steps to renew the sacrifices on the Temple Mount and rebuild the Temple.

Original Link.

Senator Boxer: Call Me “Senator” NOT “Ma’am”

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

It’s always nice when the “Liberal Elite” reminds us just how “elite” they think they are.

In case you forgot, Barbara Boxer is a senator.

The feisty California lawmaker felt the need to remind an Army brigadier general of that fact Tuesday during a hearing before her Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, where the military officer testifying had the apparent gall to call Boxer “ma’am.”

Brig. Gen. Michael Walsh, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was testifying on the Louisiana coastal restoration process in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He began to answer one of Boxer’s questions with “ma’am” when Boxer immediately cut him off.

“You know, do me a favor,” an irritated Boxer said. “Could say ‘senator’ instead of ‘ma’am?'”

“Yes, ma’am,” Walsh interjected.

“It’s just a thing, I worked so hard to get that title, so I’d appreciate it, yes, thank you,” she said.

“Yes, senator,” he responded.

However, Walsh surely meant no disrespect, as military protocol advises that officers may use “sir” or “ma’am” when addressing anybody higher than them on the chain of command.

“We would call them ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am’ or ‘senator such-and-such’,” Army spokesman Lt. Col. Nathan Banks said. Banks said any of those terms would be “appropriate” when addressing a senator.

According to one guide, the Navy and Coast Guard typically use “mister” or “miss” to address officers below the rank of commander, and “sir” or “ma’am,” or a specific title, to address anyone at that rank or higher.

“You can never go wrong by using ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am,’ but it is a nice touch if you can properly address a senior officer,” says the guide, Military Protocol: Uniformed Services.

Original Link.

Cancer Update

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

We met with the oncologist yesterday. The surgery appears to have gotten all the cancer. The oncologist wants to give me three weeks of radiation treatments in order to make sure that all of the cancer cells have been destroyed.
I have a CT scan tomorrow to look for enlarged lymph nodes. I’ll start the radiation in July.
Thanks again for all the thoughts and prayers.
-Steve