Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
USA & Babylon/USA in Prophecy: Is It Really There? - By Ron Ferguson - https://www.raptureready.com/2020/08/19/usa-babylon-usa-in-prophecy-is-it-really-there-by-ron-ferguson/
Before you read this, I need to explain that I am not American but an outsider about 13/14,000 km away, but for 60 years I have tried to study the USA and what happens there. Don't be too hard on me!
American Christians are concerned about the morality cliff over which the nation is plunging, and seek to identify with something biblical to explain what they see around them. The decline in the United States is on all fronts - church attendances are declining; lawlessness is becoming unstoppable; the rise of anarchists and radicals is most alarming; there is a breakdown in co-operative government; financial problems are escalating; Hollywood produces social agenda garbage; the quality of education and the curriculum are in freefall; crime rates are increasing; people are beginning to lose faith in and respect for the judiciary.
How do the United States Christians identify with that? In fairness, those problems are not just confined to the United States these days, but are symptomatic of our times in all but authoritarian nations.
With recognition of what the country has become, there is fear as to where it is heading. People want answers. Christians want answers. They look to the Bible for these, and the desire to "find it in the Bible" is great. However, the danger is to write into the Bible what it never intended, and then from silence, to develop a systematic platform for resolving the place of America in the world of the Bible. That then gets hooked into a biblical prophetic distortion that must include the United States at all costs. How rational is all this when considered against the accepted and proper exegesis of scripture? Does the USA really feature in the prophecy of the Bible?
I will seek to answer all this, for I find it unacceptable that Christians would distort scripture to make the square peg fit the round hole. I was very surprised to find that some of those accepted views on the United States and prophecy are quite common. I did not think it was until I did Google searches, and there seems just so much. Why would this be?
To begin with, I want to say something that is going to brand me badly, I feel, but remember I am an outsider, an observer who has reacted with Americans for over 60 years in a lesser way, but sufficient to form some subjective opinions.
In my nation, many consider the average American to be quite parochial, that is, very much absorbed nationally with not too much knowledge of the outside world. In other words, the United States is everything, and all must conform to the United States standard. Not too much leeway is granted for the opinions and attitudes of those outside the United States. I cite franchises here that, when they operate in other nations, they must conform to the very inch how the buildings are constructed (McDonald's, Subway, KFC, Wendy's, etc.) and to the exact style and colors of uniforms, etc. That gives the message, "We know what is best for everyone else."
I don't want to be misunderstood here. I want to say that it can breed a subtle impression that "We are the best," and "We are right."
When you believe you are the world leader (probably justifiably so), then the next step is to think you are important enough for God to take note and include you in the prophecy of the Bible. If that is so, then why did God not do the same for the great Empire of Spain or Britain or France or China? What is so special about the United States that it must have specific prophecy relating just to it?
I must be honest here. Every one of these specific prophecies I have seen mentioned by people when they claim them for the United States has been taken out of context, and that makes a distorted exegesis and does harm to the Bible.
It is in the same boat as those who take Ezekiel chapter 1 and build into it a doctrine of alien visitation.
Why would God speak of the United States or put secret things in the Bible that the educated find and make a connection to the United States? It just makes no logical sense.
Prophecy must be logical and must be interconnected. That is why the entire body of prophetic writings is integrated into a network that is entire, WITH ISRAEL AT THE CENTER. What connection did China have with Israel in the days of the prophets? What connection did the United States have with Israel 2 and 3 thousand years ago?
The answer is obvious and is why all nations outside of the biblical references are not included in any specific prophecy. God is consistent about that. Many HOPE the United States is in prophecy because they think their country is too important not to be there. That, though, does not make it work.
I have covered two reasons why the United States is omitted from prophecy. In summary -
All biblical prophecy that is specific and not general is related to the nations of the biblical times. That is why so much centers around the promises for Israel, the armies of the invaders, the future Tribulation and restoration of Israel, and the downfall of so many of the idolatrous nations surrounding Israel.
There are a few general prophecies also, the best ones being the ones related to "In the last days" as in Timothy, and the Rapture in 1 Cor 15 and 1 Thess 4. In none of these is any country mentioned or alluded to.
Prophecy connected with the nations had a connection with Israel. Canada never did. Australia never did. Thailand never did. The United States never did, and that is why all those nations do not feature in any way with specific prophecies for them. Do not make it do so. It is wrong and dishonoring to do it.
There are very few instances where more widespread nations have the slightest mention. These are not actually named nations, but generalities. I will give a few (all NASB):
Psalm 97:1 "The LORD reigns. Let the earth rejoice. Let the many islands be glad."
Isaiah 49:1 "Listen to Me, O islands, and pay attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called Me from the womb, from the body of My mother He named Me." ("Islands" - often distant countries)
Jeremiah 6:22 "Thus says the LORD, 'Behold, a people is coming from the north land, and a great nation will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth." (Reference to Babylon).
Ezekiel 38:6 "Gomer with all its troops; Beth-togarmah from the remote parts of the north with all its troops - many peoples with you." (It really means the far remote places, way up north.)
Zechariah 12:3 "And it will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.
Zechariah 14:2 "For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city will be captured."
Gentile nations are ONLY EVER mentioned if they had a connection with Israel in biblical times, either with war or blessing or destruction. The United States can only be included where I have underlined above.
So why do people desire for the United States to be included in specific prophecy?
Is it for a sense of fulfillment?
Is it for a sense of pride? Is it that God just possibly could not have overlooked the United States? I think that is a question that should be examined.
Khomeini called the United States the great Satan. Mao Zedong called it a paper tiger, but God has called it nothing. It does not make the Bible record. The United States is a nation that has done a lot of good in the world (promotion of Christian material, evangelists, saving Australia in WW2, protecting free nations of the world), and still does a lot of good, but also produced a lot of evil (Hollywood, the porn industry, greed).
It is a nation God has blessed, and I think will continue to bless while it supports Israel with the current president.
However, we all know that the great sadness is that it is decaying from within (or, if you like, "coming apart" like a mix of iron and clay), but so is almost every nation of the world. The United States is a member of the world community and shares its destiny with the nations of the world. It has no prophetic links to Israel. Christians are not bad people, and the misguided views of the United States that some of them have, in a certain way, are understandable. "We want to find our destiny. We hope we are there in the Bible." Some Americans hope they are there. As nations, specifically, neither the whole of North and South America, nor Australia, nor sub-Equatorial Africa, nor SE Asia have specific prophecies attached to them.
Because the United States is or was so rich with trading and enterprises and in military hardware, then certain ones have looked on the United States as being Babylon, even Great Babylon, or Babylon of Revelation 17 and 18. Some want to relate the current move to apostasy in the United States to Babylon - a mixture of truth and utter confusion. It might be understandable that Americans would want to do this, but that again is problematic because of the introverted nature of the American psyche in a few, where SOME Christians think that their nation MUST be in scripture.
In the history of Babylon, we begin with Nimrod, who established Babel, a place of rebellion against God. He and his wife/mother Semiramis and son Tammuz (Read The Two Babylons by Alexander Hislop) created a commercial and religious organization that infiltrated the whole known world. It confused the true worship of Jehovah (Babel means confusion).
Babel grew into Babylon that eventually became a world power (the first and the finest [head of gold]) that had an impact on Israel. The Pharaoh dynasties did not really impact Israel as a world power as did Babylon, Media Persia, Greece, and Rome. Babylon conquered Judah around 597 BC under Nebuchadnezzar, and the Jews have never been a free and nationalized people since that time until 1947/48.
Of course, Babylon continues as Iraq generally today, though borders have come and gone. Assyria covered much of Syria and Iraq. However, I will distinguish between Babylon the nation, and Babylon the system. No more mention is made of Babylon as a nation in the Bible outside of the Old Testament, apart from passing references in Acts 7:43 and an improbable one in 1 Peter 5:13. It is not until Revelation that we read of Babylon, but what is the Babylon here?
In 312 AD Constantine the great had his great victory at the Milvian Bridge, which he attributed to a supernatural vision of a cross and words saying, "By this you shall conquer." He renounced paganism and allegedly became a Christian. Then he made all his soldiers to be baptized, and they joined (flooded into) the church. The problem there was that, in the main, they were unconverted, and they consequently brought all their pagan practices into the church. In time, some of the old Babylonian elements became incorporated in Christian doctrine; and over the centuries, they became absolute doctrine in the Roman Catholic church.
I won't try to give a comprehensive list of practices, but they include the adoration/worship of the Mother/Child deity, the doctrine of the Queen of Heaven, the wafer as a round symbol of the Sun god, and the wearing of vestments. The scholarly study of these, and a whole lot more, is found in The Two Babylons.
Now, what you have in the above is the functioning of the Babylonian system. This system has infiltrated all religions of the world and brought confusion and degeneracy of belief. The system is alive today.
What of the nation of present-day Iraq? There is no prophecy for that nation as a specific item, though no doubt it will become an adherent of the power base for the World Leader after the Rapture (the Antichrist, if you like). On the other hand, its system is energized and will form the basis of the Revelation Babylon.
Let us move to those Revelation references. There are 7 references: one in chapter 14 and the remainder in chapters 17 and 18. Chapter 17 is the destruction of religious Babylon, and chapter 18 is the downfall of commercial Babylon. The great question among scholars is what does Babylon represent here - an actual new construction of Babylon, or a site somewhere which assumes the name Babylon, or a religious and commercial system that follows the millennia confusion of this evil system? And - - - the United States?
The first question we ask is how and why would a new Babylon be built? There is no logical sense for this, for it would have to be absolutely huge. The timeframe is against it as this system operates through the Tribulation, and such a construction would take years. This notion was popularized by the Left Behind series of books. There is absolutely no reason for it except to satisfy a wrong understanding of Babylon in Revelation that some presume has to be a place or city. It makes no sense.
A site somewhere that assumes the name Babylon is likewise a silly notion. One can understand through a careful reading of Rev 18 that commercial Babylon is worldwide and totally comprehensive. That is way beyond the suggestion of a specific location.
The third option of it being a system is the one that has the only credibility.
Babylon is an octopus-strangling system that controls the whole world religion and commerce in the Tribulation.
The influence of Babylon is already in religion, but after the Rapture, its evil will be paramount. The study of Revelation shows clearly that the worship under the False Prophet will be a satanic, drug-induced, evil system. That is more in fitting with a Babylonian system than a particular city with that name. It means functionality and interactive trade made rich by the evil of the Antichrist and False Prophet and favoritism, until the Antichrist and False Prophet turn on Babylon at the end.
There is an interesting verse in Rev 17:9; "Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits." We have here a twofold possibility. "Mountain" in prophecy means a kingdom/nation as in Isaiah 2:2; "Now it will come about that In the last days, the mountain of the house of the LORD will be established as the chief of the mountains and will be raised above the hills, and all the nations will stream to it." However, it has been noted since the time of the early Church fathers that Rome is the city of the seven hills - The seven hills are Aventine Hill, Caelian Hill, Capitoline Hill, Esquiline Hill, Palatine Hill, Quirinal Hill, Viminal Hill.
This has caused some commentators to say that Mystery Babylon of the Tribulation will be the Roman Catholic church as the Vatican is in Rome.
I reject that. I do think it is most likely the headquarters of the Tribulation apostate church. This Mother of Harlots will be in Rome, and the Vatican will play a part, as will the apostate elements of all of Christendom and all other world religions. The Roman Catholic church may be "babylonian" in some beliefs and practices, but it is not THE religious Babylon of Rev 17.
The fourth option some promote is that the United States now is the Babylon of the future post-Rapture. That is just wrong. The timeframe is wrong; the concept is wrong; why not make it China, as that nation is a match for the United States in commercialization, but more cunning and more apostate than the USA. To claim the United States as the great whore or the commercial Babylon of Rev 18 is just another parochial introspection to try to force the nation into biblical prophecy when it is not there. If the United States was a righteous and clean nation, then students would not be making the Babylon claims.
It is likely that commercial Babylon will have an operations base somewhere in the world, as does the UN with its headquarters in Brussels, but if that is the case, then I'd expect it to be in Europe (a lesser possibility is the Middle East), considering that will be the powerbase of the Revived Roman Empire.
What is the backbone of the United States at present? It is not its military might; it is not its innovation; it is not its Constitution; it is not its capitalistic enterprises... it is the Christians. The morality of Christians and God's good hand on the nation is only because of its Christian confession. Once you remove that at the Rapture, then the nation sinks into the moral abyss that will be the feature of all the nations of the world post-Rapture. The world becomes a morality mess, out of which will rise a satanic worship system to be known as "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH," in God's eyes (Rev 17), and also "Babylon the great which has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird" (Rev 18) as the world plies its trading.
There is an especially errant internet site that tries to defend America as Babylon. People who do this will go to great lengths to strain scripture through the eye of a needle, and that is what this site does. As proof that America is the great Babylon, it proposes these reasons, all developed from Revelation 17 and 18:
Proof #1: Deep Sea Water Port - Because of the mention of ships and the sea in Rev 18:17-19, then America qualifies.
Proof #2: Top Financial/Military Power Rev 17:9, 18 and 18:18; has to be America as it is the chief economic power of the world and the greatest importer and (infamously) consumer of goods and resources in the world per capita.
Proof #3: Babylon Must Have A Recognizable Mother Country. "Unlike all the
other countries named" [by the site], America has a clearly recognizable mother country. Yes, Great Britain is the "Mother Babylon" of Jeremiah 50:12, which "Daughter Babylon" came from. Great Britain will watch as her closest and most powerful ally is destroyed in a single day, a single hour. (Putin boasted once that he could destroy America in half that time.)"
Then it goes on to talk about the eagle wings describing Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel and the American eagle. This is the type of distorted interpretation these advocates of America = Babylon contrive, attempting to prove a delusion unsupported by the Bible. I have just read an interesting article from a site called "Feed the Hunger" in Burlington, NC, and would like to add some quotes from it:
[Let's look at some aspects of Babylon the Great that are mentioned in Revelation. It is easy to see how America has brought prosperity to the earth, yet has caused the world to get drunk on her adulteries (Rev. 18:3). It also has a vast shoreline that would put its destruction in plain view (verses 17-18). There are several other compelling similarities. However, our country has not yet come even remotely close to persecuting and killing Christians (17:6 & 18:24). Currently in America, there are only rare cases of persecution, and they pale in comparison to what millions of believers in other countries have endured and continue to endure on a daily basis.
Another problem I have with the "America-equals-Babylon" viewpoint is that I sense there are strong and deeply rooted hints of nationalistic pride in the hearts of some of those who believe our country is God's best, yet also worst creation ever. God is not sitting on his throne draped in our flag and speaking English, but He does deeply care for every soul.
Lastly, my main hurdle with staking a vehement claim that America is now Babylon the Great is that it means you have to completely ignore the Middle Eastern context of the Bible. Yes, Revelation is perhaps the main book in God's Word that speaks of what happens to the whole earth, and America could be Babylon. But, in my opinion, this cannot be proven until all of the events of Revelation have taken place.
My bottom line: At the very least, America has the spirit of Babylon the Great, and that is enough for me to have grave concern for our country's future. What's worse, the main cause of this spirit, in my mind, is the failure of the American Church. The Body of Christ has made the downward progression from being the driving force at our nation's founding to being (spiritually) anemic and lazy pew sitters who don't live different from the country's non-believing population. We've turned a blind eye to sin and actually built our "faith" around self-indulgence, believing that God owes us whatever we ask.]
The United States is not featured in biblical prophecy. It had no relationship to biblical events or lands or conflicts or prophetic promises that connect it with Israel. It has no more relevance to prophecy than has China, Japan, Mexico or Canada.
The United States is not Babylon or the Great whore or Mystery Babylon. In one way, it is becoming "babylon" in the sense of confusion, the meaning of the word, but so is every other western country.
Are Turkey and Greece Heading for War? - by Uzay Bulut -
The Greek Armed Forces are on high alert on land, sea and air, closely monitoring Turkish movements in the Eastern Mediterranean, according to Greek media. After Turkey last month restarted prospecting for oil and gas in an area overlapping Greece's continental shelf, Greece deployed warships between the islands of Cyprus and Crete. Since then, tensions have run high between Turkey and Greece.
On August 12, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned about the possibility of an "accident" in the Eastern Mediterranean. Greek and Turkish naval forces deployed in the area after Ankara sent a vessel to conduct seismic research south of Kastellorizo.
"The risk of an accident lurks when so many naval forces gather in a limited area, and responsibility in such a case will be borne by the one who causes these conditions," Mitsotakis said in a televised address.
Turkey has threatened to invade the Greek islands in the Aegean since at least 2018. A recent Egyptian-Greek maritime deal appears to have escalated Turkey's regional aggression.
The maritime deal, which was signed on August 6, set the Mediterranean Sea boundary between Egypt and Greece. It also demarcated an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) for oil and gas drilling rights. The Egyptian-Greek move was widely seen as a response to a disputed agreement between Turkey and Libya's Tripoli-based administration, according to the newspaper Kathimerini.
Meanwhile, Turkey has been systematically violating the territorial waters of Cyprus and Greece. In May, the foreign ministers of Egypt, France, Cyprus, Greece and the UAE issued a joint declaration "denouncing the ongoing Turkish illegal activities in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone and its territorial waters, as they represent a clear violation of international law as reflected in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea."
On May 15, the European Union announced that it "condemned the escalation of Turkey's violations of Greek national airspace, including overflights of inhabited areas, and territorial sea, in violation of international law." But the condemnation has not stopped the violations by Turkey. On August 5, for instance, eight Turkish military airplanes carried out a total of 33 violations of Greece's national airspace over the course of one day, Greek military authorities said.
After the deal between Greece and Egypt, Turkey again deployed a seismic research vessel to prospect for potential oil and gas reserves within Greece's continental shelf. Greece has again placed its armed forces on high alert. Warships were sent to the spot between Crete and Cyprus, demanding the vessel's withdrawal.
Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, continues defying Greece and Cyprus. On August 14, referring to Greece and other Western states, Erdogan said:
"They sent all terrorist organizations against us. We gave our response to these attacks in the language they understand through our operations in northern Iraq, Syria, Libya, and the Eastern Mediterranean. We gave [an answer] today too! We told them, 'Look, don't attack our Oruç Reis vessel. If you attack it, you will pay a heavy price'. And today they got the first answer."
"No colonialist power," Erdogan said on August 19, "can deprive our country of the rich oil and gas resources estimated to exist in this region."
Turkey is a colonialist power that has been occupying Northern Cyprus since 1974. The Turkish government does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus as a state, and claims 44% of the Cypriot exclusive economic zone (EEZ) as its own. Another sizable section of that zone is claimed by the so-called "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus" in the island's occupied north -- recognized only by Turkey.
"Turkey has adopted a revisionist policy in the Eastern Mediterranean," Dr. Giorgos Kentas, Associate Professor of International Politics and Governance at the University of Nicosia, said in an interview with Gatestone.
"Turkey's policy is part and parcel of a broader strategy to expand Turkey's influence in the Middle East, the Gulf, and Africa. The aim is to impose geopolitical dominion: an undisputed regional hegemonic regime whereby Turkey is be able to determine big and important developments. That revisionist policy is pursued by a mixture of soft and hard power instruments.
"With regard to Greece and Cyprus, Turkey clearly maintains an offensive posture. It appears willing to use military force in order to impose its revisionist plans. For almost two decades now, Turkey (under the leadership of Erdogan) has been developing a strategy to dominate over large maritime zones. [This] strategy is known as the 'blue homeland'. It begins from the Black Sea and extends through the Aegean Sea towards the maritime zones of Libya, Egypt, Israel, and Syria. Turkey believes that Cyprus and Greece must voluntarily submit to the parameters of the blue homeland, otherwise they must face the consequences of its military might. Turkey plans against Greece and Cyprus under a strategic doctrine of a unified front.
"As of the early 2010s, Turkey started an illegitimate program of seismic surveys in the maritime zones of Cyprus, supported by considerable aeronautic forces. In May 2019, Turkey launched an offshore drilling program in Cyprus' EEZ. So far it started and/or completed 7 drillings, at least one in Cyprus' territorial waters. Turkey has actually de facto extended its military occupation of Cyprus from the land it occupies as of 1974 to island's maritime zones. All that went mostly unanswered with the exception of some statements by third states and some symbolic sanctions by the EU.
"Turkey is currently attempting a similar policy of revisionism against Greece. The aim is to impose a hegemonic regime over Greece's maritime zones and/or maritime zones that Greece claims in Eastern Mediterranean.
"Turkey has developed the military might, and acquired the means, to challenge and revise the geopolitical momentum created by a series of delimitation agreements between Cyprus, Egypt, Lebanon and Israel. [Turkey] also undermines the hydrocarbon program of Cyprus. Greece now tops the agenda of Ankara in the framework of the blue homeland dominium."
According to Harris Samaras, an expert on the Cypriot EEZ and chairman of the international investment banking firm Pytheas, Turkey's foreign policy in eastern Mediterranean is largely an extension of its Islamist domestic policies.
"Turkey is an authoritarian country increasingly shaped by ultranationalist and Islamist forces," Samaras told Gatestone.
"Inspired by the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have pursued policies that furthered the Islamization of the country, promoting religion, fundamentalism, and limiting individual freedoms and rights. Turkey globally supports Islamism and jihadism as in the cases of ISIS, Hamas, Boko Haram, al Qaeda and the Iranian regime, among others. It is thus accurate to state that Turkey is today among the most anti-American and anti-European countries in the world. It operates as a polarized engine of religious radicalism with a global reach."
According to Samaras, there are three main causes of Turkey's aggression towards Greece and the general Turkish jingoistic behavior in the Eastern Mediterranean:
"1. Erdogan desires to lead the Islamic world, a project aimed at fulfilling his ambitions - and better regional supremacy complexes - to seize the Muslim world's political leadership legitimated by consciously assuming the mantle as successor of the 'glorious' history of the Ottoman empire. 'Turkey', as Erdogan has repetitively stated, 'is a continuation of the Ottoman Empire'. This infers that as its leader, Erdogan is analogous to the Caliph. Note here the similarities with statements by ISIS leaders.
"2. While the vast majority of European and US leaders from all parties, including the intelligence community and the Pentagon, recognize the reality of Turkey, certain EU leaders, US diplomats and appointees continue to apologize for and rationalize Turkish behavior. They dilute measures to hold Turkey to account. Their denial of evidence about Turkey's regional malfeasance not only weakens the West and its credibility, but also benefits Russia, Iran and terrorism.
"Furthermore, and over and above, those elements who intentionally turn a blind eye to Turkey's violations of the Rule of Law not only encourage Erdogan to intensify his bullying and jingoistic policies, but also pressurize Greece (like they do with Cyprus) to strike an energy and sovereignty 'sale' deal. This is contrary to international law and an attempt to delaying to convicting Turkey, eventually justifying its atrocities.
"3. Erdogan's (and his AKP) popularity has slumped to the lowest level ever since his autocratic reign. This is a result of his systematic power grabbing, nepotism and corruption. The economy for one is in dire straits. Theatrics like the one with Hagia Sophia and the gunboat diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean, as well as bursts about the 'tyrannical' EU and Israel, are 'required' to direct the interests of his polarized compatriots elsewhere and away from the misery his foul administration has inflicted. Wrapping himself in a cloak of patriotism is part of Erdogan's agenda and his regime's propaganda narrative.
"Erdogan, however, is now anticipating that Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, his best ally and in many ways his 'accomplice', will compel Greece into discussions. He is hoping that under Germany's pressure Greece will 'conform' to selling part of its sovereignty. However, the Western world has to face and address the Turkish reality, the strategic reality that any possibility of a Western-leaning Turkey is gone."
Meanwhile, the US State Department has issued a statement concerning Turkey's activities in the region. "The United States is aware that Turkey has issued a notification to other ships of survey activity in the Eastern Mediterranean. We urge Turkish authorities to halt any such plans for operations and to and to avoid steps that raise tensions in the region," a State Department spokesperson said on August 10.
"Turkish aggression against Greece is really nothing new," Anna Koukkides-Procopiou, a Senior Fellow and Member of Advisory Board of the Center for European and International Affairs of the University of Nicosia, told Gatestone.
"For example, there have been myriads of air space violations in recent years. Turkey is just taking everything to a different level nowadays. This gradual tension spiral, first, aimed at testing the waters, both literally and metaphorically. But Greece has proven it will not go quietly, despite Turkey trying hard to set a maximalist agenda on its own terms, before negotiations ensue at some point. Turkey considers her use of force both a carrot and a stick for Greece to succumb to its claims.
"Second, there is no doubt that all the neo-Ottoman, anti-Lausanne rhetoric which Erdogan and his ministers have been making good use of should be taken seriously. It is part and parcel of a hegemonic bid to master regional leadership, as well as an attempt to woo audiences at home. An authoritarian ruler reigns by bread and games. Bread seems to be running out in Turkey at the moment, so there also needs to be a focus on games."
As for what the Europe and the US should do in the face of continued Turkish aggression, Procopiou said:
"There has been enough talk and little action. If Europe and the US are serious about halting Turkey's aggression, they need to show that they mean business. Europe keeps feeding Erdogan money while he is making a spectacle of democracy, international law and human rights. [These are] fundamental values which the European Union supposedly stands for.
"In essence, Erdogan has been ridiculing the EU, NATO and the US with zero consequences. Why should he stop? If the only reaction he gets is a shamble of a sanctions list in Europe - with only two inconsequential individuals' names on that list - and no enforcement of the American CAATSA [The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act], he is taking everyone for a ride. So, we could begin at least with that. The Turkish economy found itself on its knees last time US President Donald Trump cared to send Erdogan a message over the arrest of American Pastor Andrew Brunson. What is keeping President Trump from doing that now?"
What's Coming Next? - By Rob Pue -
I think we all knew that 2020 was going to be a very tumultuous year for our country. But I don't think any of us were prepared for just how dramatic the tyranny and violence would be - not just here in America, but worldwide.
I certainly had no idea that things would change so rapidly and so drastically in just a few months. Today, we have 34 states that mandate the wearing of face masks in public. Some are even "strongly recommending" we wear them while sequestered in our own homes. This for a "virus" with more than a 99% survival rate... and a virus that's been reported by government and health officials, aided by their allies in the mainstream media with enormously inflated case numbers - and many outright lies, designed to instill great fear and panic among the people.
Perhaps most alarming is that the vast majority of people are happy to go along with these mandates - even with evidence of a massive hoax plainly visible for all to see if only they would look. And the mask-wearers are even proud to wear their masks - it's a badge of "virtue" to them. It's as if they "strut" pridefully out in public, wearing their designer masks while looking down their noses at those who don't wear one. It's like another world out there now, altogether.
We also saw months of "lockdowns," where businesses were forced to close their doors, and people were not allowed to go to work unless somehow they were deemed "essential workers." Interestingly, the "essential" businesses and workers included "big box" stores like Walmart, (perhaps the country's largest retailer of Chinese-made products), liquor stores, smoke shops and marijuana dispensaries. Christian churches were ordered to close across the country. Those allowed to open again have been commanded that there be no singing praises to God allowed.
Then came the "race riots," with massive violence, looting, and unbelievable destruction of property, while police were ordered by mayors and city councils to "stand down" and let the rioters destroy. We even learned that bricks and rocks were conveniently placed in these devastated neighborhoods, stacked along the streets or piled in bins on the sidewalks - even BEFORE the George Floyd incident ever happened.
Then we saw the conquering of American cities by ANTIFA and the Marxist Black Lives Matter movement. Black people forcing white people to get down on their knees, kiss their feet and apologize for their "white privilege." The demand for the defunding of police departments; a street in DC renamed "Black Lives Matter Plaza," within just a matter of DAYS; the words "Defund Police" and "Black Lives Matter" painted in 60ft tall letters on the streets leading to statehouses and even the US Capitol. Conveniently, most of the rioters were wearing masks - like the rest of the country - so most could not be identified. But that didn't really matter, since most of them were never arrested anyway... they were allowed - indeed - even encouraged in some areas to wreak as much havoc as possible by the leadership there.
In Minneapolis, the city council voted unanimously - (in a veto-proof vote) - to not only defund the police but to disband the police department altogether, replacing it with "Community Organizers" - led by the radical "Nation of Islam." I should also mention the countless statues and monuments either destroyed or censored from view all around the country, essentially removing the memorials of our nation's history. This in a land where the vast majority of our young people are already nearly completely ignorant when it comes to history. That's a subject most were never taught in the public schools and colleges, and if they were, it was a "skewed" history - a re-written type of history, where everything American was taught as evil and oppressive. It's no wonder our young people hate their country today.
If you think I'm exaggerating, just ask someone in their teens or 20s what happened on December 7th, 1941. There's a greater than 90% chance you'll get nothing more than a blank stare. We also saw the desecration of countless veterans' cemeteries across the country - the final resting places of those who fought, bled and died for the cause of freedom... not just American freedom, but the freedom of people living under tyranny and oppression the world over.
What's coming next? It's very plain to see that the end goal of all this is a tyrannical, totalitarian New World Order, but that cannot be fully accomplished until America is vanquished, utterly in ruins. And the New World Order cannot run efficiently unless every person on earth has been marked with a digital microchip implant, which will be delivered through a mandatory vaccine - a vaccine that, I believe, will prove so deadly that many will die quickly after taking it, not from any virus or other pestilence, but from the vaccine itself. That's partially what it's designed for. And I don't think it's going to be long before we see this all come to pass.
It's not just America. I received an email this past weekend from someone in Australia who read one of my previous commentaries. He emailed to affirm what I had asserted in my message: that Australia is currently, for all practical purposes, under communistic rule. The lockdown there is so severe that police are stopping vehicles, smashing car windows and pulling people out to be arrested, if they're even just suspected of violating the lockdown rules. Great Britain is much the same.
Jesus spoke of the last days in Matthew 24 and stated that IN the last days, "...because lawlessness shall abound, the love of many will grow cold." We've certainly witnessed that recently, haven't we?
Common citizens attacking one another for not obeying mask mandates. Neighbors "snitching" on neighbors. It appears that the devil and all his minions are raging. Have you heard about the recent murder of 5-year-old Cannon Hinnant? The North Carolina boy was outside, riding his bike in his yard, when his next-door neighbor, a black man named Darius Sessoms - (a repeat offender, multiple felon, who has served multiple prison sentences and has two pending felony drug charges) - walked over and shot the boy point-blank in the head. Later, Sessoms boasted on social media about killing the boy, stating he had (quote) "blown his 'white privileged' brains right out of his head." This incident received almost no coverage in the mainstream press, so if you know about it, you most likely didn't find it there.
And are you aware that the violent attacks and rioting we've been seeing in the major cities are NOW coming to suburbs, small towns and even rural areas?
Recently, BLM marched through a Seattle suburb, demanding white people vacate their homes and GIVE them to black people. ANTIFA has threatened to destroy fields of crops and kill cattle in farming states.
For those who don't believe this, or think I'm some sort of tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorist or simply just don't want to hear anything "negative," you can choose to continue to wear your blinders (along with your 'mandatory' face masks) if you like... but all this will soon be coming to YOUR front door. What will you do then? Beg the government to protect you and happily jump aboard the buses to the FEMA camps, I suppose.
Black Lives Matter. Yes.
ALL life matters. But we've had the wool pulled over our eyes yet again by the Leftist propaganda of the mainstream media. Do your research and you'll find that everything Black Lives Matters stands for is absolutely antithetical to everything good and Godly, everything American and everything freedom-related. This is a demonic group of Marxists and Communists MANIPULATING and taking advantage of black people to systematically destroy all of Western Civilization, with an emphasis on destroying the United States. This is an invention of Barack Obama, George Soros, the Clintons and others who quite frankly should all be sitting in Gitmo right now on charges of treason and sedition.
Yet, like the LGBT movement - ALSO bent on our ultimate destruction - BLM is being richly funded to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars, not only by our domestic and foreign enemies, but even happily and proudly by our major corporations.
Google has donated $12 million. Facebook and Amazon are donating $10 million each. Apple Corporation is in for $100 million dollars. Walmart just announced it's donating another $100 million. Target stores: $10 million; Home Depot: $1 million.
These are just a few. There are MANY more donors to the BLM movement - because it SOUNDS good; because so many are so deceived, they believe BLM is a GOOD thing; because the mainstream press has fed it to us that way. Again, we only see what they WANT us to see, and they've played this strategy well, tugging on the emotional heartstrings of the populace. These corporations want to appear righteous and benevolent, so they are funding the very organization that intends to completely destroy capitalism and the free market economy that has allowed them to thrive.
Those within the Deep State of Leftist politics have also been recruiting Christian church leadership as their "useful idiots." So far, they've recruited 28,000 clergy to be part of their "Clergy Response Team." Their job is to tailor their sermons, in the midst of all this present darkness, to brainwash their congregations to obey government authorities through the deliberate misinterpretation of Romans 13.
Perhaps the pastors don't know any better, but they're now all on board, acting as "sleeper cells," if you will, ready to support the unconstitutional dictates of their government "masters" through agencies like FEMA and Homeland Security whenever called upon. They've been instructed to teach "government obedience," for such things as turning in firearms, re-locating to 'FEMA Camps,' submitting to mandatory vaccinations and more. They've already willingly closed their churches, forced face masks and social distancing when ordered to do so, so if you think this is "farfetched," think again. This is right out of the Nazi' playbook.' And I wonder - is YOUR pastor part of the Clergy Response Team? Do you even know? Would he even tell you if you asked?
The question still remains, What's Next? Dana Coverstone is a pastor in Burkesville, Kentucky. A couple months ago, he released a homemade video that went viral on social media. In the video, he is quick to point out that he does NOT claim to be a prophet, or to "speak for God" in any way. But he revealed a series of dreams he has had that are very disturbing. He felt the need to share them in order to sound a warning of what may be coming next, so God's people can prepare.
His first dream was in December of 2019. In this dream, he saw a calendar indicating the month of March. A finger underlined the word "March" and then "tapped" the calendar three times. He saw sickness, people wearing masks, and ambulances. Then, in his dream, the calendar moved forward to June. Again, a finger underlined the word "June" and then tapped it three times. He saw cities on fire and rioters in the streets and extreme rage. He heard the words: "Brace Yourself, Brace Yourself."
All these things came to pass, just as he saw in the dream.
Then later, he had another dream. In this dream, he again saw a calendar with the month of September highlighted. And again, a finger underlined the word "September," and tapped the calendar three times, indicating something significant coming in September. And then the calendar moved forward to November, but this time it was different. Instead of "tapping" the calendar, a giant FIST smashed the calendar to bits - and he saw the numbers representing the days of November "explode" into the air, even appearing to be 3D in shape. He saw fighting in the streets, businesses and schools closed, money being sucked out of banks, Washington DC in flames. He saw no sign of President Trump or any legislators in Washington. But he did see people hiding in their homes and churches, stores and homes burning.
And he again heard the words "Brace Yourself, Brace Yourself."
Also, within Pastor Coverstone's dreams, he saw the banks having no change, no coins. The US Mint was no longer producing currency. In his dream, the bank teller told him to "prepare for hyperinflation." And then again, he heard, "Brace Yourself, Brace Yourself."
I'm not sure what to make of this, and I've always been pretty skeptical when people have told me they have a "word from the Lord" for me or some special revelation.
But I'm reminded of the words of the prophet Joel, repeated in Acts, Chapter 2:
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved."
You can take the dreams of Pastor Coverstone with a grain of salt if you like. But I believe he very likely DID receive a warning from the Lord in his dreams, and as a watchman, sounded the warning for the rest of us. None of us knows what the rest of our days on this earth will hold. But we can certainly discern the signs of the times we are living in. And I believe we had BETTER be about our Father's business, occupying until He comes, standing strong in the faith, even as others fall away and deny Him all around us.
It's very likely our time is shorter than any of us realizes now. And whether that great and terrible Day of the Lord comes in our lifetime, or whether we go into captivity for the horrific sins we have allowed to continue and in our apathy have done nothing about, I do believe the righteous judgment of God Almighty is about to strike our wicked land very soon, because we've claimed the name of Christ, many have... we profess Him with our lips but our hearts are far from Him. We'd BETTER get right with God NOW. We'd better start studying and seeking and praying and repenting today. Because "tomorrow" you may find yourself standing before Him. What will you have to say for yourself then?
The Politicization Of Everything - Including The Church - Stan Guthrie - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=4244
Back in 1969, Americans were told that "the personal is political." The slogan, popularized by second-wave feminism, asserted that women's unequal treatment was caused not by individual circumstances but by a system of patriarchal oppression and power imbalances--and thus must be addressed politically. Fast forward to 2020, and now, according to New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, "everything is political."
Tragically, especially in this cruel year of COVID-19, police brutality, and urban looting and riots, "everything" most definitely includes the Church.
Christians, of course, have always been involved in the American political process--and rightly so. Jesus said His followers are to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, and in this country, that rendering includes our informed civic participation.
After all, if Christians shirk this duty, then the country will be at the mercy of pagan values (more than it already is). America needs us to continue to be salt and light in spotlighting the dignity of human life, equal justice for all, and other Christian worldview issues.
And when the political process is unresponsive, believers have a long track record of standing in the gap. Think of those who marched for civil rights with Martin Luther King Jr.... the women and men who daily reach out to women dealing with unplanned pregnancies...the ministries that share the gospel and provide practical help in neglected urban communities.
But in recent years, Christians have been accused of becoming too cozy with politicians, whether Bill Clinton and Barack Obama on the left or George W. Bush and Donald Trump on the right. Billy Graham became a confidant of Richard Nixon and later regretted the close, uncritical association. His son Franklin Graham now stands accused of a similar error.
Yet if the statement "everything is political" is anywhere close to reality in this increasingly acrimonious presidential election year, then electoral politics is far from the only danger area for our gospel witness. Researchers have been warning for decades about the weakening of Alexis de Tocqueville's "mediating institutions," including churches, civic organizations, and even families--groupings that give individuals space to flourish apart from government influence and control.
Now, with the decline of these institutions--exemplified by the loss of confidence in organized religion--more and more people are looking to government to provide meaning. As many have said, man is incurably religious.
In recent years, researchers and pundits of all stripes have noted the increasing politicization of everything from the U.S. military, to health care, to science, to sports, to the American judiciary, and so on. This political takeover of what used to be essentially neutral cultural space has gone into warp drive with the coming of the Trump administration and his adversaries.
One of the drivers of this worrisome trend has been the popularization and diffusion of Marxist thought. Antonio Gramsci and other theorists were able to expand the Marxist idea of class struggle into a general belief in a widespread battle between innumerable oppressed and oppressor groups. This has made political warfare in a nation that is increasingly bereft of mediating institutions a religiously charged, high-stakes game of winner take all.
Joseph Bottum argued in his 2014 book, An Anxious Age: The Post-Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of America, that the demise of traditional Protestantism has prompted many on the left to transfer their religious commitments to the political realm.
Bottum says that the new wokeness is distinctly religious, and dangerous. "It is an intense spiritual hunger that is manifesting itself more violently," he notes. "Because to the post-Protestants, the world is an outrage and we are all sinners."
The politicized conflicts have reached the churches, of course. Now the arguments are about everything from mask-wearing, to the postal service, and whether and how Christians may worship during the pandemic. And the debates are increasingly between sincere believers of the left and right who argue their positions remorselessly, canceling their opponents with theological certitude.
When it comes to mandated masking, for example, some in the church see it as an intolerable overreach by an overweening, even socialist government. Others, just as sincerely, see mask-wearing in every situation as a non-negotiable way of loving our neighbors.
John MacArthur's all-or-nothing stance on public worship against the State of California is one instance. Those who question the wisdom of his approach are dismissed as faithless compromisers, those who support it as fanatics. There is little effort on either side to reach a workable middle ground, much less real understanding.
Is it any wonder that the Church is seen as just another interest group grasping for government protection or power? As we tear down a brother or sister who disagrees with us, we tear down the Church.
There are certainly areas where compromise or accommodation is impossible--the deity of Christ, justification by faith alone, the freedom to evangelize, and so on. These are essentials that have been discarded, tragically, far too often to the applause of a world that does not love us.
But just as damning are the non-essential hills that we choose to die on. We are willing to ridicule fellow believers on social media and break fellowship over them. Is it any wonder that the Church has lost its standing in our culture?
Whatever happened to the famous dictum, "In essentials unity, in non-essentials, liberty, in all things, charity"? What happened to our charity? While the matters we debate in our culture are of varying levels of importance (some very important indeed), can we not learn to live with disagreements in the church?
Paul had much to say about caring for the souls of our "weaker brothers" by not always insisting on our way. Do we similarly care? He also urged us to "bear with one another in love." Can we manage this?
Or, God forbid, is that too much to ask?
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Wild Donkey Ride - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
All winter long, my dad had the stock truck tied up in what we called the "shed." The shed was actually one of the more modern buildings on the farm. Half of it was horse stalls and a hay loft, and the other half had a concrete floor with two bays where trucks, tractors, combines, whatever, could be worked on (and most of it needed repaired more often than not), and a massive tool bench where no one but Dad could find any specific tool in the pile. One bay during the winter of 1962 and spring of 1963 was occupied by my dad's creation of a camper built on the bed of the truck. Warren McCarthy, Dad's close friend, was renting his camper for the trip. But Dad, in typical penny-pinching Welsh Wilson fashion that I, too, inherited, decided to build his own.
With each day, the excitement built for our western excursion during the summer of 1963. The idea was to travel with the McCarthy's in campers throughout all the states west of the Mississippi during what amounted to almost a three-month tour. Brothers Larry and Chuck would handle the farm duties and Dad's fuel delivery business in his absence. This was an enormous opportunity for adventure! Even my second-grade teacher (and Dad's cousin) Elizabeth Richards gave me a travel journal to collect coins from each state and write about what we saw. It was a big deal. When we returned, we made the local Ravenna, Ohio Record Courier Community Page. There were so many things that we did and saw on that "Great Trip West."
From time to time, I will write about that trip in the Farm Chronicles, which could be a book in of itself. One of the stops along the way was in the Black Hills of South Dakota. In Custer State Park in 1963, you could see the herds of buffalo in the open range from afar as you were driving down the two-lane road. They looked small from a distance, but they were huge when you approached them, seemingly tame, but not something you would want to test. Then there were the donkeys. They were the highwaymen of the trip. Wandering purposely in the road, they curiously would stop any vehicle they could, even sticking their noses inside the windows, hoping for a carrot or some other food. They stubbornly would not move until they got what they wanted. Like any cowboy, and particularly an 8-year-old cowboy, I wanted to see if I could ride one of those donkeys.
Dad understood. He rode whatever animal he could, just to say he did it. I was the same way. We are hijacked on the road anyway by these sweet street outlaws, so why not try to ride one of them? No bridle. No saddle. No halter. Just me and the wild donkey. Mom was very skeptical. Dad cautiously lifted me up and I gently swung my leg over his withers. He just put his ears up and lowered his head, kind of posing for the picture. He was rewarded with an apple. Later, we found out that we weren't supposed to ride them. Psalm 104 begins with "Bless the Lord, O my soul." Verses 10-11 say, "He sends the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills. They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild donkeys quench their thirst." 'And God provides for those Black Hills road agents through riders of the sage like me.
Daily Jot: No Laughing Matter - by Greg Laurie -
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. -John 3:16
A lot of people say they don't believe in Hell, but they still seem to like using the word. But I think by using it so often to punctuate a sentence, people are admitting that deep down inside, they really believe that a place called Hell actually exists.
There is, by the way, a town in Michigan called Hell. How does a place end up with a name like that? There are several theories. One is that it was a swampy, undesirable area, and when someone asked George Reeves, an early settler there, what to name it, he reportedly said, "I don't care. You can name it Hell for all I care."
So, they did. Apparently, the residents have made it a bit of tourist destination with various events and business that play on the name.
But really, the subject of Hell isn't a joke at all.
Sometimes we don't want to talk about it, and sometimes people will acknowledge there could be a place like Hell for really, really bad people-for the Hitlers of the world. But we don't ever want to think that we could go there or that someone we know could go there.
Yet of the 40 parables that Jesus told, half of them relate to God's eternal judgment of sinners. As J. I. Packer pointed out, "An endless hell can no more be removed from the New Testament than can an endless heaven."
Jesus Christ bore our sins on the cross. He did that for us so we don't have to go to Hell. John 3:16 tells us, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (NKJV).
The gospel is a universal declaration that Hell is not God's desire for anyone.
FROM THE HEART
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