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Nov 15

Are ‘Mitochondrial Eve’ and ‘Y-Chromosomal Adam’ Science’s Confirmation of Creation?

Could have told them!

By Yehezkel Laing November 10, 2017 , 7:30 am

“The man named his wife Chava, because she was the mother of all the living.” Genesis 3:20 (The Israel Bible™)

Following the recent trend of congruence between science and Bible in different fields, fresh genetic research suggests that all females are descended from a single female and all males from a single male – corresponding with the Biblical account of Adam and Eve.

For many years the multiregional hypothesis, suggesting multiple origins for humanity, was predominant in genetic research. But new studies suggest that all of humanity has a common origin.

“The Torah has always claimed one common ancestor to all humanity as well as creation ex-nilo,” Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman told Breaking Israel News in response to the finding. “Recent discoveries in these fields seem to confirm these truths.”

The theory was first developed in 1987, when leading science journal Nature published a study investigating humanity’s origins. The study researched mitochondrial DNA, which is passed down from mother to both daughter and son. Because mitochondrial DNA is only passed on by the mother and never the father, it reveals maternal lineage.

Knowing this, the researchers were able to determine that every human being alive today can trace their ancestry back to a single woman now referred to as “Mitochondrial Eve.”  The original research placed Eve somewhere in East Africa between 140,000 and 200,000 years ago. More recent research suggests she may have lived less than 100,000 years ago.

The study was quickly attacked by other researchers, but subsequent studies confirmed the original findings and the theory is now generally accepted in the scientific community.

Professor Karl Skorecki, an expert on DNA and the discoverer of the “Cohen Gene”, which identifies members of the Jewish priestly caste through genetic testing, explained to Breaking Israel News  how the findings harmonize with the Biblical account.

“Analysis of mitochondrial DNA of all contemporary humans sampled today indicates that all of the different variations in the sequence of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) trace back, or converge to an original sequence in a given woman,” he explained.

“That woman, Mitochondrial Eve, transmitted her mtDNA sequence to her offspring, and over generations slight variations in sequence occurred and accumulated, leading to the diversity of existent sequences in men and women populating the earth today.”

Professor Skorecki said that while the findings confirm a single mother to all humanity, they do not suggest she was the only woman of her time. But this, he pointed out, is harmonious with the Bible, which identifies other human populations at the time of Eve.

Ancestral Adam was found in 1995, when a separate study on male ancestry examined the Y-chromosome, passed directly from father to son. Science published the results of a study in which a segment of the Y-chromosome from 38 men from different ethnic groups were analyzed for variation.

Their conclusion was that every man alive today actually descended from a single man whom scientists now refer to as “Y-Chromosomal Adam.”

“The last fifty years of science, especially in the fields of cosmology and quantum physics, have brought Torah and science together as never before,” Rabbi Trugman noted. “Perhaps now the same will occur within anthropology and Torah.”

“Although the Torah is not a science, history, anthropology, philosophy, or cosmology book in the common sense, it is actually all of these and much more,” he added.

The first studies concluded that “Eve” lived much later than “Adam” – some 140,000 years later. But recent studies indicate that Mitochondrial Eve and Y-Chromosomal Adam may indeed have lived around the same time.

End-times expert Rabbi Pinchas Winston took the comparison even further than confirming the Biblical account, explaining how he sees the confluence between the scientific view of Eve and the Biblical account as a signal of redemption.

“During the exile there was great Hester Panim – a hiding of God’s face. As a result the Bible became relegated to the back of man’s consciousness,” he said. “At the same time, science at first seemed to diverge from religion.

“But since the Torah is the basic fabric of reality it cannot be hidden forever. As the redemption moves forward and the Jews return home, the Bible is coming back to the forefront of man’s consciousness. Along with this we see a growing harmony between science and the Bible. We have even gotten the point where science is now borrowing concepts from the Bible – such as with Mitochondrial Eve.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8826

Nov 15

Catharsis On The Mall’ Brings Burning Man Spirit To Washington DC For Weekend Of Paganism And Gaia Worship

The massive metal dragon, known as Abraxas, is itself a Burning Man veteran and will roll through the streets around the Capitol during a protest march at dawn Sunday. On Saturday night, a small wooden temple will be set ablaze under the close eye of fire marshals. The burning of the temple is at the heart of the catharsis concept that provides the event’s name. Visitors will be encouraged to leave notes or pictures in the temple that symbolize traumas or pains — the burn will symbolize the release of that trauma.

by Geoffrey Grider November 10, 2017

Coming today to the National Mall: a 70-foot-long metal dragon on wheels that doubles as a stage. A wooden temple that will be set ablaze. And events called “cascading into compassion” and the “consciousness hacking meet-up.”

“And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” Revelation 9:20,21 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: We years now, we’ve been telling you about the world’s largest pagan gathering called Burning Man in the Nevada desert. This weekend, a scaled-down version of that New Age demon worship will be on display at the National Mall in Washington, DC. The centerpiece of the celebration will be a massive red metal dragon called Abraxas that breathes fire from his mouth. Astute students of the Bible will immediately make the connection in Revelation 13 where Satan is revealed to be a 7-headed red dragon. Other celebration “highlights” include the Rainbow Portal tribute to transsexuals and the LGBTQP, the Graphic Sex Project, the Sacred Water Pyramid, and the Donald Dance Floor for mocking our president. Read the full list here. But just so there’s no doubt in your mind, this is classic idol worship mentioned and warned about so often in the Bible in both Testaments including Paul’s epistles for the Church Age. It is also the main structure of what will be the One World Religion during the time of Jacob’s Trouble after the Rapture of the Church

That’s the vision for Catharsis on the Mall , a three-day event that seeks to bring a small slice of the famed Burning Man festival to the foot of the Washington Monument. The event starts Friday afternoon and will continue round-the-clock through Sunday with seminars, events and performances in tents, stages and camps.

Organizers envision a scaled-down version of Burning Man, the raucous festival in the Nevada desert that draws thousands each year and features outlandish costumes and the burning of a massive wooden figure. However, they say the Catharsis event is designed to be more of a political protest and spiritual vigil than the controlled chaos of Burning Man.

“There’s a deeply spiritual side to what we’re trying to do,” said Adam Eidinger, a local activist who has helped organize Catharsis events in Washington for the past three years. “Having sacred fire on the mall is a very religious thing.”

The massive metal dragon, known as Abraxas, is itself a Burning Man veteran and will roll through the streets around the Capitol during a protest march at dawn Sunday. On Saturday night, a small wooden temple will be set ablaze under the close eye of fire marshals.

The burning of the temple is at the heart of the catharsis concept that provides the event’s name. Visitors will be encouraged to leave notes or pictures in the temple that symbolize traumas or pains — the burn will symbolize the release of that trauma.

This year, the event carries feminist themes and a focus on women’s issues in general. One emphasis will be on the Equal Rights Amendment, the proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing equal treatment under the law regardless of gender. It was approved by Congress in 1972, but never ratified by the necessary 38 states. The ratification deadline expired in 1982, but activists hope to revive it.

One aspect that won’t be part of the event is R-Evolution, a 47-foot-high sculpture of a nude woman in a yoga pose that was featured at this year’s Burning Man. Organizers worked with the National Park Service on the issue for months and in September received permission to erect the sculpture and leave it up for about four months. However, the Interior Department abruptly reversed course and in an Oct. 25 letter the Park Service rejected the sculpture, saying the permission had been “issued to you in error.”

The rejection letter said the sculpture could damage the National Mall’s grass and was “likely to have an adverse effect on the aesthetics, including the cultural identity, of the area.”

Organizers believe their plans were rejected for political reasons. They say early publicity may have hurt them: An artist’s rendering of the statue that was widely printed in the media depicted a sculpture that looked to be nearly half the height of the 550-foot Washington Monument.

National Park Service spokesman Michael Litterst said that “a number of new facts and circumstances” were brought to the attention of the NPS, resulting in a “reconsideration of the initial approval.”

Litterst, in an email to The Associated Press, said the sculpture was deemed to be larger than originally proposed and the crane that would be used to erect it judged to be “significantly heavier than originally proposed” and likely to damage both the grass and the concrete near the Washington Monument.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8824

Nov 15

Pope Francis Gathering World Leaders For Global Peace Conference At Vatican To Save World From Nuclear Disaster

Russia is sending a top nuclear expert, and NATO’s deputy secretary general, Rose Gottemoeller, is scheduled to speak. China and North Korea have been invited, but organisers said they do not know if the countries would send representatives as they do not have diplomatic relations.

 

by Geoffrey Grider November 9, 2017

The Pope is gathering officials and peaceniks as he tries to save the world from nuclear disaster amid the West’s standoff with North Korea. The “holyman” will address a conference at the Vatican tomorrow to try to temper the war of words between Donald Trump and despotic Kim Jong-un.

“And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Revelation 17:5 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pope Francis likes to act like a king more than he likes being a pope, and it’s no wonder. Revelation says that the beast of the ‘whore of Babylon’ will indeed be a global king, albeit for only a short time. 

The US President, currently on a tour of Asia, said this week that the North Korean regime should “never underestimate” America’s military might by continuing in its drive for a vast nuclear arsenal. Among those attending the meeting are UN and NATO officials — as well as 11 Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Monsignor Silvano Tomasi, a conference organiser, admitted foreign policy analysts believe it is “pie in the sky” to think it could have an impact. But he added: “I think it’s very important to alert public opinion that the presence in the world of thousands of atomic bombs doesn’t guarantee the security of anyone.”

Pope urges mediation to end North Korea crisis:

In July, 122 countries approved a new UN treaty calling for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons — but none of the nuclear powers and no NATO members signed on.

George Lopez, who advised the UN Security Council on North Korea sanctions, said the Vatican conference “draws attention to and underscores the treaty and the Nobel prize, and says, ‘This is serious stuff’.”

Praising Pope Francis, he added that he is “keeping the issue alive and adding a new dimension”.

The United States is set to be represented at the conference by its deputy ambassador to the Holy See.  New ambassador Calista Gingrich hasn’t presented her credentials yet and can’t participate in official Vatican events.

Russia is sending a top nuclear expert, and NATO’s deputy secretary general, Rose Gottemoeller, is scheduled to speak. China and North Korea have been invited, but organisers said they do not know if the countries would send representatives as they do not have diplomatic relations.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8822

Nov 13

Does New Evidence of Ancient Desert Structures Strengthen ‘Sinai in Saudi Arabia’ Theory of Exodus?

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz November 8, 2017 , 12:30 pm

“For the Israelites had traveled in the wilderness forty years, until the entire nation—the men of military age who had left Egypt—had perished; because they had not obeyed Hashem.” Joshua 5:6 (The Israel Bible™)

The mysterious structures are visible from above in the Saudi Arabian desert. (Google Earth)

An archaeologist using Google Earth imagery to investigate areas of the Saudi Arabian desert revealed evidence of structures not visible from ground level that some believe are signs the Children of Israel strayed far from the Sinai after leaving Egypt.

Dr. David Kennedy, an archaeologist at the University of Western Australia, has been flying over the lava fields in the Jordan desert for the last 40 years, studying remains of structures visible only from the air. He long suspected many more of these existed in the Saudi Arabian desert but government restrictions prevented him from conducting aerial searches.

“We tend to think of Saudi Arabia as desert, but in practice there’s a huge archaeological treasure trove out there and it needs to be identified and mapped,” Dr. Kennedy said. “You can’t see them very well from the ground level, but once you get up a few hundred feet, or with a satellite even higher, they stand out beautifully.”

Dr. Kennedy believes these 400 or so structures he refers to as “gates” may have been built by nomadic tribes at least 2,000 years ago and maybe as far back as 9,000 years ago.

Patterns of Evidence, a website that investigates archaeology in a Biblical context, considered whether this new find could be brought as proof for the theory that the Children of Israel spent some time in the Saudi Arabian desert after leaving Egypt. This theory also maintains that Mount Sinai is located in located in northwest Saudi Arabia, which was the ancient land of Midian where Moses lived after fleeing Egypt.

Though neither Dr. Kennedy nor Dr. Al-Saeed suggested any possible connection between the discovery and the Biblical Exodus, Patterns of Evidence noted that there has been conjecture from other sources that these structures were made by the Children of Israel in their 40-year desert sojourn. In fact, the exact route of the Exodus and the location of Mount Sinai is the focus of an ongoing debate among scholars.

One theory is that the 40-year wandering did pass through Saudi Arabia and Mount Sinai is there, possibly a mountain called Jebel al-Lawz (mountain of almonds) or Jabal Maqla (burnt mountain), one of the tallest mountains in the Arabian peninsula and notable for its blackened peak, both located in northwestern Saudi Arabia on the border with Jordan. Access to these mountains is restricted by the government and it is forbidden to photograph them.

The theory is based on the premise that Mount Horeb and Mount Sinai are synonymous, and Moses’ first encounter with the God of Israel was at the same location where the Children of Israel later received the Torah.

Now Moshe, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, drove the flock into the wilderness, and came to Horeb, the mountain of Hashem. Exodus 3:1

There is a dispute among Biblical scholars as to whether the two mountains are indeed one and the same. This would place Mount Sinai in Midian, i.e. the Saudi Arabian Peninsula, a premise which seems to be supported later in the Bible.

Hashem our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying: You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Deuteronomy 1:6

Flavius Josephus, a first-century Roman-Jewish scholar, wrote that Sinai “was the highest of mountains in the city of Midian”, which is just outside the town of Al Bad in northwestern Saudi Arabia, seeming to support the Saudi Arabian Sinai theory.

David Rohl, an Egyptologist who worked with Patterns of Evidence to prove an earlier timeline for the Exodus, discounted the possibility that the sites in Saudi Arabia were connected to the Israelites’ desert journey.

“The walls discovered by the archaeologist belong to the late Neolithic when the Arabian peninsula had a much wetter climate, the Neolithic Wet Phase,” Rohl told Breaking Israel News.”These are agricultural or cattle enclosures from much earlier than the time of Moses.”

As an Egyptologist, Rohl prefers a version of the Exodus that more closely resembles the Biblical narrative.

Simcha Jacobovici, an Emmy-winning investigative journalist who has made several documentaries on Biblical archaeology, also discounted any connection between the new find and the Exodus from Egypt.

“This is absolutely not connected to the Children of Israel in the Desert,” Jacobovici said unequivocally to Breaking Israel News. “I think the exit from Egypt happened precisely where the Bible says it happened, and the path did not lead to Saudi Arabia. It simply makes no sense.”

When confronted by the theory that the Exodus passed through Saudi Arabia, making the location of Mount Sinai in closer proximity to Mecca than Israel, Jacobovici responded simply, “By definition, Mount Sinai has to be in the Sinai, or it’s not Mount Sinai.”

The story behind the discovery is as compelling as the discovery itself. In 2004, Dr. Abdullah Al-Saeed, a neurologist and amateur archaeologist in Saudi Arabia, explored a lava field known as Harrat Khaybar. He noted the loose stones stacked three feet high in long straight lines but without the essential aerial views, he couldn’t understand their significance and his investigation stalled.

In 2008, Dr. Al-Saeed was viewing the same sites on updated Google Earth Images and was shocked by what he saw: clearly defined rectangular enclosures. He launched an expedition and studied the site extensively, then sent his data to Dr. Kennedy for consideration.

“The question we always discuss while investigating them is, why here? Why in this stony, frightful, rugged land?” Dr. Al-Saeed wrote in his letter to Dr. Kennedy. While Dr. Kennedy was intrigued, he could not offer an answer to his colleague’s questions.

“We would have loved to fly across into Saudi Arabia to take images. But you never get the permission,” Dr. Kennedy said in an interview with the New York Times. “And then along comes Google Earth.”

Using this readily available technology, Dr. Kennedy was able to identify 400 previously undocumented stone structures in the Saudi Arabian desert. Though the investigation into the mystery of these structures is just beginning and is hampered by political realities, the existence and quantity of these structures paints a very different picture of the region in ancient times, indicating a substantial population in a region that is now uninhabitable desert.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8819

Nov 13

Iranian Government Reveals It Plans To Utterly “Wipe Saudi Arabia Out Of Existence”

By Walid Shoebat on September 28, 2016 in Featured, General

While Obama failed to protect Saudi Arabia today with his Veto, now Iranian government reveals that it plans to “utterly wipe Saudi Arabia out of existence”. Also learn about the Iranian Sejjil, a prophecy by Iran to destroy Mecca hidden in the tip of its favorite missile it designated for Mecca. So lets start:

What circulates the Middle Eastern media has not yet been reported by western media. Special Adviser to the commander of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Hassan Firuz Abadi on Tuesday threatened to “erase Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabis from existence” if Riyadh committed “any stupid moves”.

The Iranian FARS news agency quoted Firuz Abadi as saying that:

“We’re not going to war against any Muslim country, but Saudi Arabia is an exception. If it commits any stupid move they’ll get a penalty, that is erasing Arabia and Wahhabism out of existence, and if the defense necessitated an attack, we will attack and if we attacked the enemy, it certainly will be a reply to whatever we consider an attack, but it will not be a pre-emptive attack”. (translated by Shoebat.com)

In other words, Iran is telling Saudi Arabia that they will attack even if unprovoked and that such an attack will not even have to be pre-emptive where Saudi Arabia must show real aggression towards Iran.

Abadi pointed out that “even the U.S. recently admitted, Iran has missile deterrent capabilities. World powers admits that Iran can accurately perform a missile attack.”

While Iranian forces are no match technologically for Riyadh’s lavishly equipped military, Iran’s air force is mostly comprised of obsolete airframes, Tehran can use what equipment and troops it does have in clever ways to offset that advantage.

Iran has a host of missiles at its disposal including the liquid-fueled Emad, which has a 1,000-mile range. It also has the Shahab family of ballistic missiles. The latest variant, the developmental Shabab-4, could have a range as great as 2,400 miles.

But the most capable Iranian missiles are the solid-fuel, two-stage road-mobile Sejjil series ballistic missiles—which are very difficult to hunt down. They also have very quick reaction times.

“The Sejjil 3 would reportedly have three stages, a maximum range of 4,000 km, and a launch weight of 38,000 kg,” according to the Claremont & George C. Marshall Institute’s Missile Threat project.

What most do not consider is the name of the missile “Sejjil” which tells the whole story since it stems from the Quran. No ‘expert’ is even linking its prophetic symbolism. Sejjil stems from the history just prior to Muhammad’s birth: Year of the Elephant (Āmu l-Fīl), 570 AD, where according to Islamic tradition, it was in this year that Muhammad was born. The year is the story of Sejjil, the fiery missiles from Allah and Ababeel, the heavenly birds that delivered them and Abraha Al-Ashram‘s elephants, the tanks of the day  destroyed by Allah’s Sejjil.

Sejjil is the name of Iran’s baby pet missile. Sejjil stems from when Abraha was a zealous Christian ruler of Yemen, which was subject to the Kingdom of Aksum of Ethiopia, marched upon the Kaaba with a large army, which included war elephants, intending to demolish the Kaaba. However, the Muslim legend by the Arabs has the story that the lead elephant, known as Mahmud, is said to have stopped at the boundary around Mecca, and refused to enter. It has been theorized by historians that an epidemic such as by smallpox could have caused such a failed invasion of Mecca.

Abraha’s army had complete war equipment, armour, and the elephants to knock down the Kaaba. Abraha was convinced that he will easily be able to destroy the Kaaba. But what happens next, according to Muslim legend in the Quran, was that Allah’s help arrived according to the Koran in Sura Al-Fil (The Elephant) where Allah sent “Birds of Ababeel to throw stones of Sejjil” on the elephants and the army, which led to their defeat and destruction.

The war was launched as a campaign to destroy Makkah in Arabia and end the pilgrim to the Kaaba and divert Arab worshippers instead towards Christian Yemen at the time, which had a large church built by Abraha.

This forced replacement of holy places is similar to what Iran wants to do proclaiming Karbala over Mecca. In essence, Iran’s naming this missile, Sejjil, is to succeed where Abraha failed to destroy the Kaaba, here now comes Iran’s Sejjil. It is a prophetic message from Iran to Arabia that your Kaaba will be no more and that they will fulfill where Abraha failed.

This Sejjil rock thrown by the Ababeel birds, became a symbol of Arabia’s pride. For example, one Saudi man on a hunting trip in the rugged mountains near the border with Yemen stumbled across a little dark stone, which according to him he instantly recognized as “Sejjil” mentioned in the Koran. A year later, he was offered $four million for the stone but he refused.

After all, this is what was sent by the Almighty Allah carried by the “Ababeel birds to throw Sejjil stones” (pebbles of hell) to destroy an army led by Yemen’s warlord Abraha just before the advent of Islam to knock down the Kaaba. While the story of Abraha’s campaign probably had some truth, the Sejjil part of it was simply an Islamic legend.

And today, Saudi Arabia is cornered, not just by Iran, but by the U.S. Just a few hours ago, in a stinging blow to President Barack Obama, the Senate voted Wednesday to override his veto of a bill to let 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged role in the terrorist attacks. The U.S. has not forgotten Saudi Arabia’s men who knocked down their handsome Twin Towers. It’s the first time a chamber of Congress has had the votes to overrule Obama on a veto. Not even Saudi’s African slave, messenger of peace, was able to pull it off, Saudi Arabia’s money will not find a safe haven in the U.S. due to all the coming lawsuits.

War analysts presume that if a war ignites between Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Saudi planes will have to make numerous sorties against Iranian targets. This will expose Arabia since the Iranians would launch as many missiles as possible, potentially eliminating much of the Saudi air force and rendering bases unusable. The Saudis would have to flee and the war is over with Iran’s victory.

While the current saber rattling between Iran and Saudi is still in the status of “rumors of wars,” the war scenario is no legend but is daily becoming a reality. Isaiah 21 clearly declares that Persia will destroy Arabia. God predicted it and it will come to pass where Iran will soon mount Mecca with the magnificent thrust force of an elephant and a Sejjil for a suppository.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8817

Nov 13

Saudi Arabia And Iran On The Brink Of War After Rebel Missile Attack From Yemen Hit Targets In Riyadh

On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the “right to respond” to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a “blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war”. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

by Geoffrey Grider November 6, 2017

Saudi Arabia and Iran traded fierce accusations over Yemen on Monday, with Riyadh saying a rebel missile attack “may amount to an act of war” and Tehran accusing its rival of war crimes.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The tensions between the Saudi kingdom and the terror-state of Iran have gotten to the brink very quickly. Iranian-backed rebels in Yemen fired a SCUD missile well in the Saudi airspace and hit near their airport in Riyadh. What has the Saudi’s so upset is that this is the farthest-traveling missile they have ever fired, and the Saudis know they need to send a message. Because if they don’t, the next missile could very well be nuclear.

Tensions have been rising between Sunni-ruled Saudi Arabia and predominantly Shiite Iran, which are opposed in disputes and conflicts across the Middle East from Yemen and Syria to Qatar and Lebanon.

On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the “right to respond” to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a “blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war”. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

“Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighbouring countries and affect international peace and security. We will not allow any infringement on our national security,” Jubeir tweeted.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued dismissive tweets over the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response.

Saudi Arabia blames Iran for missile attack:

“KSA bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing 1000s of innocents including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but of course blames Iran,” he wrote. “KSA is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilising behaviour & risky provocations. It blames Iran for the consequences.”

Saudi forces on Saturday intercepted and destroyed the ballistic missile near Riyadh’s international airport after it was reportedly fired by Shiite Huthi rebels from Yemen. It was the first attempted missile strike by the rebels to reach Riyadh and threaten air traffic, underscoring the growing threat posed by the conflict on Saudi Arabia’s southern border.

The coalition on Monday sealed off air, sea and land borders in Yemen, where it has been battling rebels in support of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognised government since 2015.

An Iranian foreign ministry statement quoted spokesman Bahram Ghassemi as saying the accusations by the coalition were “unjust, irresponsible, destructive and provocative”. Ghassemi said the missile was fired by the Huthis in response “to war crimes and several years of aggression by the Saudis”.

The missile attack, he said, was “an independent action in response to this aggression,” and Iran had nothing to do with it.

Repeated attempts to bring about a negotiated settlement to the conflict have failed, including a series of UN-backed peace talks. Saudi Arabia has blamed the Huthis for the failed efforts, and on Monday offered rewards totalling $440 million for information on 40 senior officials among the rebels.

Topping the list, with a $30-million reward for tips leading to his capture, was the group’s leader Abdulmalik al-Huthi. The Huthis, allied with Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh in the conflict, have captured the capital Sanaa, forcing Hadi’s government to operate from the southern city of Aden.

Analysts said it was unclear how far Saudi Arabia would be willing to go in the escalating confrontation.

The kingdom is in the midst of an unprecedented purge of its upper ranks, with dozens of senior figures arrested at the weekend, as 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidates his hold on power.

Prince Mohammed, who is also defence minister, is seen as a key supporter of the intervention in Yemen.

Analyst Randa Slim of the Middle East Institute said it was unclear whether the Saudi leadership had “thought through an escalation of the scale they’re hinting at”. Compounding concerns of an escalation, she said, is that US President Donald Trump’s administration has also taken a hard line against Iran “and may not send a deterrent message to Saudi”.

The Saudi-Iran rivalry also played out this weekend in the resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister Saad Hariri, a protege of Riyadh who said he was stepping down because of the “grip” of Iran and its ally Hezbollah on the country.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah hit back on Sunday, saying Hariri’s resignation had been “imposed” by Saudi Arabia.

Iran rejected Hariri’s words as “baseless” and said his resignation was “designed to create tensions in Lebanon and in the region”. Hariri, who announced his resignation in Riyadh, on Monday met Saudi King Salman and “reviewed the situation in Lebanon”, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8815

Nov 13

‘Last days Babylon’ now on drawing board

Joel Richardson urges keeping close eye on Saudi ‘mega-city’

Published: 2 days ago

Mecca, Saudi Arabia is the spiritual home of Islam

It is planned to extend over multiple nations and to dwarf New York City at 33 times its size. The costs are expected to be hundreds of billions of dollars, and it is already attracting investments from some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the world.

It’s Neom, the new mega-city planned by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salmon.

Located on the Red Sea coast, the city will have a special legal status within Saudi Arabia and will supposedly be fully automated, with robots outnumbering humans.

The city is also supposed to be powered entirely by renewable energy sources, feature free high-speed Internet and will extend over 10,231 square miles, crossing the Egyptian and Jordanian borders. The crown prince also spoke of the kingdom’s willingness to embrace what he called a “normal” life, promoting a form of Islam that “translates to tolerance, to our traditions of kindness.”

Saudi Arabia has debuted a flashy promotional video intended to attract foreign investment, vowing to build a center for global culture with “nothing to hold you back.”

“No set ways of thinking, no restrictions, no divisions, no excuses,” claims the narrator, speaking in a British accent. “Just endless potential. This is the blank page you need to write humanity’s next chapter. Neom … a part of the world set aside for those who want to change the world.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8813

Nov 13

Future Saudi king tightens grip on power with arrests including Prince Alwaleed

Stephen Kalin, Katie Paul

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s future king has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who is one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen.

Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king and owner of investment firm Kingdom Holding, invests in firms such as Citigroup and Twitter. He was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, three senior officials told Reuters on Sunday.

The purge against the kingdom’s political and business elite also targeted the head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf.

The allegations against Prince Alwaleed include money laundering, bribery and extorting officials, one official told Reuters, while Prince Miteb is accused of embezzlement, hiring ghost employees and awarding contracts to his own companies including a $10 billion deal for walkie talkies and bulletproof military gear worth billions of Saudi riyals.

The allegations could not be independently verified and members of the families of those detained could not be reached.

News of the purge came soon after King Salman decreed late on Saturday the creation of an anti-corruption committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, his 32-year-old favorite son who has amassed power since rising from obscurity three years ago.

The new body was given broad powers to investigate cases, issue arrest warrants and travel restrictions, and seize assets.

“The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable,” the royal decree said.

Analysts said the arrests were another pre-emptive measure by the crown prince to remove powerful figures as he exerts control over the world’s leading oil exporter.

The roundup recalls the palace coup in June through which he ousted his elder cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne and interior minister.

MbS, as he is known, was expected to follow at least by removing Prince Miteb from leadership of the National Guard, a pivotal power base rooted in the kingdom’s tribes.

Over the past year, MbS has become the ultimate decision-maker for the kingdom’s military, foreign, economic and social policies, causing resentment among parts of the Al Saud dynasty frustrated by his meteoric rise.

Saudi Arabia’s stock index was dragged down briefly but recovered to close higher as some investors bet the crackdown could bolster reforms in the long run.

The royal decree said the arrests were in response to “exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, in order to, illicitly, accrue money.”

REFORM AGENDA

The line between public funds and royal money is not always clear in Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy ruled by an Islamic system in which most law is not systematically codified and no elected parliament exists.

WikiLeaks cables have detailed the huge monthly stipends that every Saudi royal receives as well as various money-making schemes some have used to finance lavish lifestyles.

Analysts said the purge aimed to go beyond corruption and aimed to remove potential opposition to Prince Mohammed’s ambitious reform agenda, which is widely popular with Saudi Arabia’s burgeoning youth population but faces resistance from some of the old guard more comfortable with the kingdom’s traditions of incremental change and rule by consensus.

In September, the king announced that a ban on women driving would be lifted, while Prince Mohammed is trying to break decades of conservative tradition by promoting public entertainment and visits by foreign tourists.

The crown prince has also slashed state spending in some areas and plans a big sale of state assets, including floating part of state oil giant Saudi Aramco [IPO-ARMO.SE] on international markets.

FILE PHOTO – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

Prince Mohammed has also led Saudi Arabia into a two-year-old war in Yemen, where the government says it is fighting Iran-aligned militants, and a row with neighboring Qatar, which it accuses of backing terrorists, a charge Doha denies. Detractors of the crown prince say both moves are dangerous adventurism.

The most recent crackdown breaks with the tradition of consensus within the ruling family, wrote James Dorsey, a senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.

“Prince Mohammed, rather than forging alliances, is extending his iron grip to the ruling family, the military, and the National Guard to counter what appears to be more widespread opposition within the family as well as the military to his reforms and the Yemen war,” he said.

Scholar Joseph Kechichian said the interests of the Al Saud dynasty, however, would remain protected.

“Both King Salman and heir apparent Mohammed bin Salman are fully committed to them. What they wish to instill, and seem determined to execute, is to modernize the ruling establishment, not just for the 2030 horizon but beyond it too,” he said.

Many ordinary Saudis praised the crackdown as long-awaited.

OPULENT HOTEL

A Saudi official said former Riyadh Governor Prince Turki bin Abdullah was detained on accusations of corruption in the Riyadh Metro project and taking advantage of his influence to award contracts to his own companies.

Former Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf, a board member of national oil giant Saudi Aramco, was also detained, accused of embezzlement related to the expansion of Mecca’s Grand Mosque and taking advantage of his position and inside information to purchase lands, the official added.

Other detainees include ousted Economy Minister Adel Fakieh, who once played a major role in drafting MbS’ reforms, and Khalid al-Tuwaijiri, who headed the Royal Court under the late King Abdullah.

People on Twitter applauded the arrests of certain ministers, with some comparing them to “the night of the long knives”, a violent purge of political leaders in Nazi Germany in 1934.

Bakr bin Laden, chairman of the big Saudi Binladin construction group, and Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, owner of the MBC television network, were also detained.

At least some of the detainees were held at the opulent Ritz-Carlton hotel in the diplomatic quarter of Riyadh, said sources in contact with the government and guests whose plans had been disrupted.

The hotel’s exterior gate was shuttered on Sunday morning and guards turned away a Reuters reporter, saying it had been closed for security reasons, although private cars and ambulances were seen entering through a rear entrance.

The hotel and an adjacent facility were the site of an international conference promoting Saudi Arabia as an investment destination just 10 days ago attended by at least one of those now being held for questioning.

The detentions follow a crackdown in September on political opponents of Saudi Arabia’s rulers that saw some 30 clerics, intellectuals and activists detained.

Prince Alwaleed, a flamboyant character, has sometimes used his prominence as an investor to aim barbs at the kingdom’s rulers.

In December 2015, he called then-U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump a “disgrace to all America” and demanded on Twitter that he withdraw from the election.

Trump responded by tweeting: “Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.”

His father, Prince Talal, is considered one of the most vocal supporters of reform in the Al Saud family, having pressed for a constitutional monarchy decades ago.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8811

Nov 08

Ex-bishops’ doctrine chief says darkness coming to light under Francis

Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, has written Pope Francis to say the pontiff is causing “chronic confusion,” appointing bishops who “scandalize” the faithful, and prompting ordinary Catholics to “lose confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

A former chief of staff for the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, has written Pope Francis to say that his pontificate “has given those who hold harmful theological and pastoral views the license and confidence to come into the light and expose their previously hidden darkness,” which, one day, will have to be corrected.

While expressing loyalty to Francis as the “Vicar of Christ on earth, the shepherd of his flock,” Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy nevertheless charges that the pope is:

  • Fostering “chronic confusion.”
  • “Demeaning” the importance of doctrine.
  • Appointing bishops who “scandalize” believers with dubious “teaching and pastoral practice.”
  • Giving prelates who object the impression they’ll be “marginalized or worse” if they speak out.
  • Causing faithful Catholics to “lose confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

“In recognizing this darkness, the Church will humbly need to renew itself, and so continue to grow in holiness,” Weinandy wrote in the letter, which is dated July 31, the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the pope’s Jesuit order.

While covering some of the same ground, Weinandy distanced himself from a recent “filial correction” of Pope Francis issued by a group of scholars and theologians over what signatories described as “heretical positions” that they claimed the pope has “effectively upheld.”

Weinandy said he was not invited to sign the letter, had only “heard rumors” of it, and would not have signed if asked.

“I don’t think it was theologically helpful, or presented in an effective manner,” he said.

Although the concerns in Weinandy’s letter are broadly familiar, his background affords him a degree of prominence.

He served as Executive Director of the Secretariat for Doctrine and Pastoral Practices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 2005 until 2013. Among other things, Weinandy played a key role in a controversial March 2011 bishops’ review of Fordham theologian Elizabeth Johnson, which led to a finding that her book Quest for the Living God “does not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.”

In 2014, Weinandy was named to the International Theological Commission, the main advisory body to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by Francis, who also gave him the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal in recognition of service to the Church in 2013.

In comments to Crux, Weinandy insisted that he did not write his letter in any official capacity, and he alone is responsible for it.

“I don’t think anyone can, or should, associate my letter with the USCCB or the American bishops,” he said. “Neither was involved in my writing the letter, and its publication will be news to them.”

After receiving a brief reply in mid-October from Italian Archbishop Angelo Becciu, the “substitute” or number two official in the Secretariat of State, dated Sept. 7 and confirming that Weinandy’s letter had been placed before the pope, Weinandy provided the text to Crux and other media outlets.

In the three-page missive, Weinandy makes five basic points.

First, he tells Francis that in his document on the family, Amoris Laetitia, “your guidance at times seems intentionally ambiguous, thus inviting both a traditional interpretation of Catholic teaching on marriage and divorce as well as one that might imply a change in that teaching.”

“To teach with such an intentional lack of clarity inevitably risks sinning against the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of truth,” Weinandy wrote.

Weinandy also complains that Francis seems “to censor and even mock” those with traditional positions on marriage, styling them as “Pharisaic stone-throwers who embody a merciless rigorism.”

“This kind of calumny is alien to the Petrine ministry,” he said.

Second, Weinandy objects that Francis too often portrays doctrine as “dead and bookish,” and accuses those concerned with upholding doctrine of turning it into an “ideology.”

“But it is precisely Christian doctrine … that frees people from worldly ideologies and assures them they are actually preaching and teaching the authentic, life-giving Gospel,” he wrote.

Third, Weinandy charges, faithful Catholics are “disconcerted” by the appointment of bishops “who seem not merely open to those who hold views counter to Christian belief, but who support and even defend them.”

Faithful Catholics are also demoralized, Weinandy said, when Francis seems “silent” in the face of the “teaching and pastoral practice” of those bishops, whom he does not name, saying such Catholics “are losing confidence in their supreme shepherd.”

Fourth, Weinandy asserts, the kind of decentralization being pushed by Francis undercuts the Church’s unity.

“Encouraging a form of ‘synodality’ that allows and promotes various doctrinal and moral options within the Church can only lead to more theological and pastoral confusion,” he said.

Finally, Weinandy tells Francis he’s stifling legitimate criticism.

“Bishops are quick learners,” he wrote, “and what many have learned from your pontificate is not that you are open to criticism, but that you resent it,” claiming that many bishops don’t speak out publicly for fear they will be “marginalized or worse.”

In an interview with Crux, Weinandy said his decision to write the letter was not easy, and resulted from what he regards as a moment of inspiration.

It came last May, he said, when he was in Rome for a meeting of the International Theological Commission. He said he spent two different sessions in prayer at St. Peter’s Eucharistic Chapel, struggling to decide if he should speak up. In the middle of a sleepless night, he said, he basically gave God an ultimatum.

“If you want me to write something, you have to give me a clear sign,” Weinandy recalls saying. “Tomorrow morning, I’m going to Saint Mary Major’s to pray, and then I am going to Saint John Lateran.  After that, I’m coming back to Saint Peter’s to have lunch with a seminary friend of mine.”

“During that interval, I must meet someone that I know but have not seen in a very long time, and would never expect to see in Rome at this time.  That person cannot be from the United States, Canada or Great Britain.  Moreover, that person has to say to me, ‘Keep up the good writing’.”

Sure enough, Weinandy said, exactly that happened the next day, in a chance meeting with an archbishop he’d known a long time ago but not seen for over twenty years, who congratulated him for a book on the Incarnation and then said the right words, “Keep up the good writing.”

“There was no longer any doubt in my mind that Jesus wanted me to write something,” Weinandy said.  “I also think it significant that it was an Archbishop that Jesus used.  I considered it an apostolic mandate.”

Weinandy is aware that might sound a little pretentious, but says it’s important to illustrate his motives.

“I wanted to assure myself that if I wrote something, it was not simply because I had concerns, concerns that may be unfounded.  If I did write something, I wanted it to be of help to Pope Francis, to the Church, and to the faithful,” he said.

“So, in a sense, I wanted to gain God’s approval, and not simply rely on myself,” Weinandy said. “I feel the story shows that I’m attempting to be helpful.”

Despite what Weinandy told Francis about a fear of reprisals, he said he’s not alarmed about possible fallout for himself.

“I am more concerned about the good that my letter might do,” he said.

As to why he chose to go public, Weinandy said “the letter expresses the concerns of many more people than just me, ordinary people who’ve come to me with their questions and apprehensions,” and “I wanted them to know that I listened.”

Weinandy also said he has no plans to promote his criticism of Francis beyond the letter.

“I have done what I believe God wanted me to do,” he said.

It remains to be seen if Weinandy’s letter will trigger a similar reaction as the “filial correction.” In that case, critics suggested the theologians were overstepping their bounds.

Italian philosophy professor Rocco Buttiglione, who was a close friend and adviser of St. Pope John Paul II, charged the theologians were trying to stand as “judges over the pope,” while theologian Robert Fastiggi and author Dawn Eden Goldstein argued that the authors of the correction violated a 1990 Vatican document titled Donum Veritatis on the proper role of Catholic theologians, which says they should make reservations known only “in an evangelical spirit and a profound desire to resolve the difficulties.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8808

Nov 08

Major Rabbi: Texas Church Shooting Is Battle in “War on Prayer and God”

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz November 6, 2017 , 11:30 am

“The death of His faithful ones is grievous in Hashem’s sight.” Psalms 116:15 (The Israel Bible™)

The horrific mass shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 people while they were praying in their church on Sunday, brought death directly into a house of worship, waging what one rabbi called an “attack on prayer and the Creator.”

At 11:30, 26-year-old Devin Patrick Kelley approached the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and shot two people outside the church. He then entered the small building and, in the middle of their prayer service, opened fire with a Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle. At least 27 people were killed and 20 injured in the small church.

The victims ranged in age from five to 72 years old, with the pastor’s 14-year-old daughter and a pregnant woman reportedly among the dead. The shooting was the deadliest mass killing at a place of worship in modern American history, and the most fatal shooting in Texas.

Kelley was confronted by an armed civilian and fled the scene in a car. Two men drove in pursuit of Kelly until he veered off the road and stopped. When police arrived, they verified that Kelley was dead inside his car, though as of now it is unclear whether he committed suicide or was killed by those pursuing him.

Rabbi Yosef Berger noted that a mass murder in a church during prayer on this scale is unprecedented, indicating that the world is about to undergo a major transition.

“The world is entering a new period leading up to the Moshiach (Messiah) and the old rules no longer apply,” Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. “The laws of nature have been cancelled out and we are seeing a time when natural disasters are commonplace. Rules of how people act, even in the worst of circumstances, have changed.”

The rabbi said that the norms pertaining to bloodshed in the End of Days will change drastically. He cited Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, a Spanish Torah authority from the twelfth century known by the acronym Rambam.

“Rambam hinted at this when he wrote that in the days of the Messiah, three more cities of refuge will be added to Israel,” Rabbi Berger said.

The Torah commands the Jews to establish cities of refuge for those who kill inadvertently to escape revenge from the relatives of their victims. In later days, which Rabbi Berger understands to be those of the Messiah, Israel is commanded to add three new refuge cities.

If you faithfully observe all this Instruction that I enjoin upon you this day, to love Hashem your God and to walk in His ways at all times—then you shall add three more towns to those three. Deuteronomy 19:9

Rabbi Berger believes that this teaching has a direct relevance for the Texas shooting because it indicates that “killing, intentional and unintentional, will become far more commonplace in the days before Messiah.”

“The message is clear,” Rabbi Berger concluded. “We can no longer rely on the rules of man or even the rules of nature. We need to rely only on heaven above.”

Rabbi Chaim Amsalem, a former Knesset member for Shas, decried the act, saying that it cut across all boundaries of religion and was an assault on a basic universal tenet of humanity.

“Any murder is vile,” Rabbi Amsalem told Breaking Israel News. “But to kill people while they are praying to heaven, and it doesn’t matter if it is a church, mosque or synagogue, is an attack on the Creator they are praying to.

“To kill people while they are praying, while they are directing their hearts to God, it is an intentional attack on prayer and can only be done by someone who has no fear of God.”

The rabbi drew a Biblical parallel. “If people like that exist, the world cannot exist,” he explained. “That is precisely why God destroyed the world in the flood. The world before the flood could not go on because it was entirely full of violence and totally empty of God-fearing people.”

The investigation in Sutherland Springs is ongoing and officials are hard-pressed to find a possible motive. Kelley was a former U.S. Air Force member who, according to Defense Department records, was sentenced to a “bad-conduct discharge, 12 months confinement, and two reductions in rank to basic airman” after he was court-martialed in 2012.

With a dishonorable discharge and court martial in his record, it would be illegal for Devin Patrick Kelley to purchase or possess a firearm like an AR-15 in the United States, according to the Gun Trust Lawyer.

An outpouring of support came from Israel for those affected by the shooting.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted a condemnation of the “savagery” and pledged Israel’s spiritual support.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tweeted condolences from Spain.

Interfaith leader Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, condemned the killing and called for a response of religious unity.

“Terror that penetrates into a house of prayer is a cruel and terrible terror, a terror that seeks to cut down the faithful lives of innocent people,” said Rabbi Eckstein in a statement.

He emphasized the need for interfaith support at this time. “In such difficult moments, all members of the Jewish and Muslim faith must transcend the gaps and condemn any attack, in order to ensure that such shocking events will not recur again,” the rabbi added.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8806