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Jesus appears in Visions to Muslims

Luke 21:16-17, “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of me.”

 “A former member of an Islamic extremist group in Uganda who converted to Christianity after claiming to see visions of Jesus is hiding in Kenya, his movements severely restricted following threats to kill him.

Hassan Sharif Lubenga, 54, was a sheikh and said to be member of Buk Haram, a violent group of Islamists whose name suggests the Bible is corrupt and therefore forbidden (not to be confused with the more well-known Boko Haram extremist group). Originally from Chengera, seven kilometers from Kampala, the husband to four wives began his conversion process four years ago; in June 2011, he said, after various dreams and visions in which Jesus appeared to him, he made a full commitment to follow Christ.

Lubenga fled to Kenya last July 10 after hostilities peaked, and upon returning to Uganda in September he received messages on his cell phone from mujahidin – Islamic fighters – threatening to kill him, he said. He reported the threats to Chengera police, who told him they would investigate, but in October a friend told him that he’d heard in a Chengera mosque that his former colleagues were enraged and planning to kill him.

‘My heart got troubled, but the voice of Jesus continued whispering to me to witness for Jesus without fear,’ Lubenga said.

When Lubenga felt like giving up on his new faith, he said, he received a call from Bishop Umar Mulinde, his former pastor at Gospel Life Church International who was scarred in a Christmas Eve acid attack by Muslim extremists. Mulinde told him the church was praying for him, and Lubenga was deeply heartened, he said.

‘All my family members have deserted me,’ he said by telephone. ‘The Muslims are looking to kill me. I need protection and help.’

The Islamic extremists who had declared war on ‘infidels’ such as Lubenga had been threatening him since 2007, when he first began to speak of dreams and visions of Christ. Dangers peaked in 2010, when he was seen visiting a church in Uganda. By April 2010, one of his four wives had poisoned him because of his budding faith in Christ, leaving him unconscious, he said. After his recovery, he fled Chengera to a village 25 kilometers from Kampala, Kiwangala.

In 2007, he said, he told his jihadist friends that he had seen Jesus in a dream. He said they had warned him, ‘Do not make such a mistake again – we are ready to help you. If you continue with this move, then we will destroy you. You know that you are a sheikh.’”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3018

The Last Trump

Bill Koenig commentary on the Last Trumpet for the Rapture. Keep looking up!

Countdown to Rosh Hashanah 2012

I’m launching an annual countdown to Rosh Hashanah (the biblical/Jewish New Year). This year will be Countdown to Rosh Hashanah 2012. Next year, it will be Countdown to Rosh Hashanah 2013 and so on.

With so many biblically significant events occurring at a breathtaking pace, I have developed a list of events (below) that we will be following closely until Rosh Hashanah 2012.

This year’s Rosh Hashanah will begin at sundown on Sept. 16 and end at sundown on Sept. 18.

Rosh Hashanah is the festival that marks the head of the year” and is observed for two days each year. 1 Tishrei is the first day of the Jewish New Year.

Chabad wrote: “It is the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, and their first actions toward the realization of mankind’s role in God’s world.”

The central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram’s horn, which also represents the trumpet blast of a people’s coronation of their king. The cry of the shofar is also a call to repentance.

The Feast of Trumpets Chuck Missler

http://www.khouse.org/articles/1995/105

Observed on the First and Second of Tishri, the celebration actually begins 29 days earlier: a series of over 90 trumpet blasts accrue for a final blowing of blasts on the climax of the celebration, the Teki’ah Gedolah, the Great Blowing.

In the rabbinical literature, there are many details that are quite provocative. Among the most significant is the use of the shofar, the ram’s horn, instead of the usual silver Temple trumpets. (If you visit the Temple Institute in Jerusalem, you can see the silver trumpets that have been fashioned for use in the coming Temple.)

The shofar is associated with the Akedah, Abraham’s offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah, as detailed in Genesis 22. Rabbinical tradition associates the left horn of the ram as the “first trump” and the right horn as the “last trump.”

A distinguishing feature of the celebration is the last, climactic blast, the Teki’at Shofar. This is not the usual series of short bursts, signaling alarm or bad news. Rather, it is a long blast, signaling victory or good news. It is this last blast that is referred to as the last trump.

Paul’s Mystery

In Paul’s Resurrection Chapter, I Corinthians 15, he describes that strange event which has now become known as “The Rapture” of the Church:

Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

What did he mean, “the last trump”?

Some have tried to link this phrase to the Seventh Trumpet Judgment in Revelation, but there is no basis for it. The Seventh Trumpet Judgment is not the final trumpet: for a thousand years (at least) there will be subsequent trumpets in services performed in the Millennial Temple.

So, just what is this “last trump”?Since Paul was of Pharisaical background, it has been suggested that he was alluding to the climactic trumpet of the Feast of Trumpets and that, perhaps, this feast is prophetic of the call of God’s people (which he also refers to in Romans 11:2-5). Possibly. But there are other possibilities as well.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2975

Ottoman Empire Movement

Two stories over the weekend bring to light the possibility that the Ottoman/Turk empire could be trying to reform. In Turkey you will see from the attached article that the Erdogan government is trying to remove the Ataturk secular government structure and make it more of an Islamic government and from the second article you will see one of the Stan’s making it’s move toward a purer for of Islam.

Keep looking up!

Turkey: Govt eyes secular events, opposition

Secularity eroded,CHP. ‘Christians intimidated’, Protestants

18 January, 18:38

(ANSAmed) – ANKARA, JANUARY 18 – In a Turkey with a secular constitution and a government and population of the Muslim faith, the social-democrat opposition has denounced an attack by the government and the presidency on the tradition of Ataturk festivities, symbol of the state’s secular nature. The alarm has come on a day in which a daily paper provided details on a report by the Association of Protestant Christian Churches noting numerous ”attacks” on Christian communities. As concerns celebrations linked to the acts of Mustafa Kemal (known as Ataturk, ‘Father of the Turks’), the founder of modern Turkey after World War I resulted in closer ties to the West of the country created from the dissolved Ottoman Empire, a high level representative of the People’s Republican Party (CNP) has denounced an initiative by Head of State Abdullah Gul to place under review celebrations for national festivities. The move is an attempt by the moderate Islamic party AKP under Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to erode Turkey’s secular tradition and that of its founding father, said CHP vice president Birgul Ayman Guler in a statement released yesterday.

These ”shameful acts”, which Erdogan and Gul’s party call ”updating”, are in reality – said the politician – an ”attempt to discredit and sweep away what remains of Ataturk.” Implying that the festivities are mass events that bear little relevance to present times, events redolent of the 1930s or of a dictatorial nation, the presidency confirmed that they are carrying out an ”update”. Heated debate on the matter has been underway for almost a week, when a ministerial circular was issued that (according to a journalistic summary) restricts May 19 student celebrations – a holiday celebrating the day in 1919 on which Ataturk reached Samsun in Anatolia and gave rise to the war of independence – to those held on school property, excluding those in stadiums and in central Ankara. The reason cited for the semi-cancellation of the ceremonies in remembrance of the beginning of the Turkish war of independence is a risk of mishaps and loss of lessons. However, the teachers union has announced an appeal, denouncing an attack on the secular nature of the state, and the CNP have followed in their footsteps in speaking out against it. The cult of Ataturk, and with it the secular nature of the state, is embodied in the enormous mausoleum in Ankara; in an anti-insult law for which journalists remembering him as a dictator are placed under investigation; in omnipresent portraits and in sirens which ring out at 9:05am on November 10, the date of his death in 1938 from cirrhosis of the liver. The cult does, however, come under harsh criticism in political-media debates on the mass killings which occurred during his time as leader (such as those of the Dersim separatists) and requests to change the name of an Istanbul airport dedicated to his adoptive daughter, the war pilot (who engaged in the bombing of Dersim) Sabiha Gokcen.

The attention on the erosion of the legacy of the ultra-secular Ataturk runs parallel to that of the advance of Islam in the country’s politics and society. It is within this context that the opposition paper Milliyet reports on a dossier in which Protestant churches noted a bomb attack in May 2011 on one of their places of worship in Bursa, and shots fired at a Smyrna church in April during religious services. Also noted are access denied to places of worship, missionaries described as security threats in a textbook and numerous rejections of requests for exemption from Islam classes in schools, with the case of a teacher who was not punished in any way after beating a student who did not want to say the the declaration of Muslim belief.

Kazakhstan: Fall of Soviet Union Gives Birth to Islamic Religious Revival in Former Soviet Republic, and the Rise of Islamic Terror

01/19/2012 ICA Leave a comment

By Jacob Zenn – “After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the people of Kazakhstan, like those in the rest of the former Soviet Republics, experienced a revival in religious affiliation.

In some sectors of Kazakh society, the repression of spiritual life in the Soviet days was reversed when Kazakhstan became independent in December of that year. Previously non-existent elements of Salafism crept to the surface in Kazakhstan and are now apparent, especially in the southern and western regions of the country located near the Caspian Sea and the volatile North Caucasus.

Salafism is a reform movement of Islam in which followers believe that the life of their Prophet Mohammad and the earliest Muslim community constitutes a universal paradigm for interpreting world events and history…

‘Jihadi-Salafists’ see historical evolution as the unfolding of a single contest: the struggle of Good (true Islam) versus Evil (false Islam and Disbelief)…

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2971

The Powerful Delusion

Great article from Jack Kelley of Grace Thru Faith. Enjoy!

The Powerful Delusion

 


 

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (2 Thes. 2:9-12)

 

It’s no secret that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  is preoccupied with the coming of a Shiite Islamic messiah figure, al Mahdi.  This continues to raise concern that a nuclear-armed Iran would create the kind of global chaos he believes will be necessary to set the stage for the Mahdi’s return.  Recent events  seem to confirm this.  For example, after years of promising that their nuclear ambitions are purely peaceful, Iran just announced their intention to test a 1 kiloton nuclear warhead this year. Iran’s Supreme Leader is thought to favor announcing Iran’s nuclear capability as an accomplished fact as soon as possible.

Iran  has also made repeated threats to close the Straights of Hormuz, blocking over 35% of the world’s ship borne oil supply, and they’ve warned the US not to send it’s recently departed aircraft carrier back into the Persian Gulf. The US has responded by reversing the carrier’s departure course and ordering an additional carrier into the vicinity, which entered the Persian Gulf  this week.  In addition to the thousands of  troops the US recently stationed in Israel and Jordan in case of trouble in Syria,  15,000 more have now been stationed  in Kuwait in case of trouble in Iran.  It’s widely assumed that some kind of military showdown between the US and Iran is imminent.

Al Mahdi, which means the guided one,  is said to have gone into “occlusion” (disappeared) in the year 941 AD, at the age of five.  Shiite Moslems believe he will reappear at the end of the Age. They say his reappearance will be preceded by chaos, war and bloodshed. When he comes he’ll establish a world wide Islamic caliphate, and following a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness that lasts 7 years, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace.

This is obviously similar to Christian eschatology of the anti-Christ. Indeed, the Hidden Imam, as he’s also called, is expected to return in the company of Jesus.  Iran’s “Twelver” sect of Islam  believes the Mahdi is Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant, of the Prophet Mohammad. Both the Ayatollah Khamanei and Pres. Ahmadinejad claim to have communicated with him.

As he has has publicly explained, Ahmadinejad believes he’s been called to “pave the path for the glorious reappearance of Imam Mahdi, may Allah hasten his reappearance.” To some, this means creating the chaos necessary to bring al Mahdi back.

He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing of the temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.(Daniel 9:27)

 

The Prophet Daniel spoke of a seven-year rule by one who brings about Earth’s final judgment over 1000 years before Mohammed fashioned the religion we know as Islam. And as is the case with Shiite beliefs, Daniel’s ruler will rise to power on the heels of a great battle between the forces of good and evil as well. How else would he be able to use the promise of peace to deceive the world? (Daniel 8:25)

According to Revelation 13, this ruler and his false prophet will force the world into a common religion, killing all who resist. Shiites agree.  They insist the religion will be Islam, and that in the process all the Jews and Romans (Christians) who don’t convert will be put to death.

Good News And Bad News

Please understand, I’m not trying to give these Islamic beliefs about al Mahdi any legitimacy.  I’m only trying to show how similar they are to Biblical prophecies of the anti-Christ.  In fact the only discernible difference lies in one fact. Whereas Daniel and other Biblical figures who prophesied of this coming ruler viewed him as the ultimate expression of evil, eventually indwelt by Satan himself, Shiites see him as a force for good, ushering in a glorious age of worldwide Islamic rule. The two perceptions couldn’t be more opposite.

I think this difference is the sprouting seed of the powerful delusion Paul spoke of in 2 Thes. 2:11. During the Great Tribulation the world will experience a total reversal of perception from that of its Judeo-Christian past. Consider these two passages from the Revelation as confirmation.

Men worshiped the dragon because he had given authority to the beast, and they also worshiped the beast and asked, “Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?”(Rev. 13:4) The dragon is Satan and the beast is the anti-Christ.

Men gnawed their tongues in agony and cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, but they refused to repent of what they had done. (Rev 16:10-11)

As they clearly show, the End Times world will worship Satan and curse God.

Amazingly, this reversal of perception is also the basis of a New Age heresy called the Luciferian Doctrine. Simply put it holds that Lucifer, the angel of light (in Latin, Lucifer means light bearer) is desperately trying to bring mankind through the final, spiritual phase of human evolution, into the Utopian world man longs for.   But Lucifer is being thwarted in his efforts by the evil Adonay (from the Hebrew Adonai, which means Lord) who wants to destroy man. As you can see, it’s also the opposite of the truth, just like Paul warned (2 Thes. 2:9-12), and just like prophecies of al Mahdi appear to be.

By whatever name, this doctrine will permeate the One World religion of Daniel’s 70th Week. Because of the dramatic manifestations of supernatural signs and wonders during that time, the last vestiges of the godless secular humanism will finally die. Satan, who during our age has been content with giving anyone but God credit for the Creation of Earth and Man, will begin demanding credit for himself. And having refused to love the truth, man, who needs to believe in someone greater than himself, will be fair game for this lie.

The Luciferian Doctrine explains the difference between the Shiite view and Bible Prophecy and could be the powerful delusion Paul spoke of.  The god of Islam is not the God of the Bible, after all, and besides man there’s only one other created being who aspires to be God.

“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Amos 8:11)

 

The man who doesn’t stand for something will fall for anything, the saying goes, so after the church disappears and the famine of God’s word prophesied by Amos takes hold, there will be a real longing for something to believe in on Earth. The Luciferian Doctrine will fit the bill nicely, especially when its two leading proponents, the anti-Christ and the False Prophet, will seem to have such supernatural power.

Mahmoud The Zealot

The introduction of religious zeal, counterfeit though it may be, into world events is the most dramatic proof since 1948 of the nearness of the end. In the final days of Communism, when some folks thought Gorbachev was the anti-Christ, they overlooked the absence of this critical component. Coming from the perspective of the Modern Rationalism of the 50′s, when God wasn’t thought to be real anymore, the godless Soviet enemy seemed sufficient to fulfill end times prophecy. And yet, the Bible speaks of powerful spiritual contention at the end of the age. After all the final battle is fought and won in the spiritual realm. It just takes place on Earth. It’s clear that events at the end of the age will include powerful, opposing, spiritual forces.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a religious zealot of the first magnitude. By his statements, it’s clear that he believes his Mahdi is coming soon, and that he has been chosen to have his country ready to receive him. An old Islamic saying goes, “When the students are ready, the teacher will come.” And he himself has declared, “We don’t shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world.” A man with that kind of zeal, given the kind of power he has, will not hesitate to plunge the world into chaos to hasten the day of his lord.

For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way (2 Thes 2:7).  But remember this, my friends. Before the powerful delusion can truly take hold, the truth has to disappear. The repository for truth in this age is the church, so when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).  If you listen closely, you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2967

False Prophets and False Doctrine

We need to be alert as we have prominent Christian leaders like Joel Osteen, who is pastor of the largest church in America, saying that Mormons believe the same thing Christians do in regard to Christ. This is simply not the case. And now we need to really be in prayerful consideration in regard to how we vote if in fact Mitt Romney, a senior Mormon leader – Bishop at one time, becomes the Republican nominee for president.

These two articles should help in that consideration set!

January 16, 2012 9:40 AM

Osteen: Romney “believer in Christ, like me”

Play CBS News Video

(CBS News) 

Pastor Joel Osteen, one of America’s most popular religious figures, said on “CBS This Morning” that GOP candidate Mitt Romney believes in Jesus like he does.

“What I see about Governor Romney is that he says, ‘I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God, he’s raised from the dead and he’s my savior.’ I see him as being a believer in Christ, like me.”

Charlie Rose said, “That’s enough for you?”

“That’s enough for me,” Osteen said. “There’s differences in all religion. I realize Mormonism is different from Christianity, but you know what, he’s a man of faith and values. And to me, that’s strong.”

 

The Theological Differences Behind Evangelical Unease With Romney

 

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

 

Published: January 14, 2012

 

The Rev. R. Philip Roberts, the president of a Southern Baptist seminary in Kansas City, Mo., is an evangelist with a particular goal: countering Mormon beliefs.

 

Mr. Roberts has traveled throughout the United States, and to some countries abroad, preaching that Mormonism is heretical to Christianity. His message is a theological one, but theology is about to land squarely in the middle of the Republican presidential primary campaign.

 

As the Republican voting moves South, with primaries in South Carolina on Saturday and in Florida on Jan. 31, the religion of Mitt Romney, the front-runner, may be an inescapable issue in many voters’ minds. In South Carolina, where about 60 percent of Republican voters are evangelical Christians, Mr. Romney, a devout Mormon and a former bishop in the church, faces an electorate that has been exposed over the years to preachers like Mr. Roberts who teach that the Mormon faith is apostasy.

 

Many evangelicals have numerous reasons, other than religion, for objecting to Mr. Romney. But to understand just how hard it is for some to coalesce around his candidacy, it is important to understand the gravity of their theological qualms.

 

“I don’t have any concerns about Mitt Romney using his position as either a candidate or as president of the United States to push Mormonism,” said Mr. Roberts, an author of “Mormonism Unmasked” and president of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, who said he had no plans to travel to South Carolina before the voting. “The concern among evangelicals is that the Mormon Church will use his position around the world as a calling card for legitimizing their church and proselytizing people.”

 

Mormons consider themselves Christians — as denoted in the church’s name, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Yet the theological differences between Mormonism and traditional Christianity are so fundamental, experts in both say, that they encompass the very understanding of God and Jesus, what counts as Scripture and what happens when people die.

 

“Mormonism is a distinctive religion,” David Campbell, a Mormon and an associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame who specializes in religion and politics. “It’s not the same as Presbyterianism or Methodism. But at the same time, there have been efforts on the part of the church to emphasize the commonality with other Christian faiths, and that’s a tricky balance to strike for the church.”

 

On the most fundamental issue, traditional Christians believe in the Trinity: that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit all rolled into one.

 

Mormons reject this as a non-biblical creed that emerged in the fourth and fifth centuries. They believe that God the Father and Jesus are separate physical beings, and that God has a wife whom they call Heavenly Mother.

 

It is not only evangelical Christians who object to these ideas.

 

“That’s just not Christian,” said the Rev. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary, a liberal Protestant seminary in New York City. “God and Jesus are not separate physical beings. That would be anathema. At the end of the day, all the other stuff doesn’t matter except the divinity of Jesus.”

 

The Mormon Church says that in the early 1800s, its first prophet, Joseph Smith, had revelations that restored Christianity to its true path, a course correction necessary because previous Christian churches had corrupted the faith. Smith bequeathed to his church volumes of revelations contained in scripture used only by Mormons: “The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ,” “The Doctrine and Covenants” and “Pearl of Great Price.”

 

Traditional Christians do not recognize any of those as Scripture.

 

Another big sticking point concerns the afterlife. Early Mormon apostles gave talks asserting that human beings would become like gods and inherit their own planets — language now regularly held up to ridicule by critics of Mormonism.

 

But Kathleen Flake, a Mormon who is a professor of American religious history at Vanderbilt Divinity School, explained that the planets notion had been de-emphasized in modern times in favor of a less concrete explanation: people who die embark on an “eternal progression” that allows them “to partake in God’s glory.”

 

“Mormons think of God as a parent,” she said. “God makes the world in order to give that world to his children. It’s like sending your child to Harvard — God gives his children every possible opportunity to progress towards this higher life that God possesses. When Mormons say ‘Heavenly Father,’ they mean it. It’s not a metaphor.”

 

It is the blurring of the lines between God, Jesus and human beings that is hard for evangelicals to swallow, said Richard J. Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, an evangelical school in Pasadena, Calif., who has been involved in a dialogue group between evangelicals and Mormons for 12 years and has a deep understanding of theology as Mormons see it.

 

“Both Christians and Jews, on the basis of our common Scriptures, we’d all agree that God is God and we are not,” Mr. Mouw said. “There’s a huge ontological gap between the Creator and the creature. So any religious perspective that reduces that gap, you think, oh, wow, that could never be called Christian.”

 

Mormons tend to explain the doctrinal differences more gently. Lane Williams, a Mormon and a professor of communications at Brigham Young University-Idaho, a Mormon institution, said the way he understands it, “it’s not a ‘we’re right and they’re wrong’ kind of approach. But it’s as though we feel we have a broader circle of truth.

 

“My daily life tries to be about Jesus Christ,” he said. “And in that way, I don’t think I’m much different from my Protestant friends.”

 

In a Pew poll released in late November, about two-thirds of mainline Protestants and Catholics said Mormonism is Christian, compared with only about a third of white evangelicals. By contrast, 97 percent of Mormons said their religion is Christian in a different Pew poll released this month.

 

Mr. Mouw said that only a month ago he was called to Salt Lake City to mediate a theological discussion about Mormonism among four evangelical leaders who had collaborated with Mormon leaders to pass the Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage in California. After two and a half days of discussions, the group was divided on Mormon theology, Mr. Mouw said.

 

“Two concluded that while Mormons are good people, they don’t worship the same God,” Mr. Mouw said. “Two concluded that Mormons love Jesus just as the evangelicals do, and they accepted the Mormons as brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

“That’s the split,” Mr. Mouw said, “and it’s very basic.”

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2948

Signs of the Times: Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21

Here is a collection of stories showing just how close we really are to the return of Jesus! All the signs He tells us in Scripture, the Birth Pains, are happening all around us. Keep looking up!

25 Volcanoes Showing Abnormal Activity: Presidential Aide
January 15, 2012

 

Padang, West Sumatra. Twenty-five volcanoes in Indonesia are now showing abnormal activity or have been put on alert or watch status, presidential special aide Andi Arief said here on Saturday.

“According to official data, 25 volcanoes are now under alert or watch status and they must be given priority with regard to disaster mitigation planning at district or city levels,” he said at a workshop on journalists’ role in disaster management.

He said in West Sumatra there were two volcanoes that need to be closely watched, namely Mount Marapi and Mount Talang, as they are still under alert status.

Mount Marapi is located in Agam and Tanahdatar districts and rises 2891 meters above sea level, and Mount Talang (2597 meters above sea level) in Solok district was located around 40 kilometers from the provincial capital Padang.

Apart from the two volcanoes, the government and regional disaster management agencies were also giving priority attention to Mount Papandayan in West Java, Mount Karangetan and Lokon in North Sulawesi, Mount Ijen in East Java, Mount Gamalama in North Maluku, Mount Krakatau in Banten and Lampung and Mount Lewoloto in East Nusa Tenggara.

He said “it is not impossible that volcanoes that are now still normal could change to become abnormal due to earthquakes that have happened to trigger magma in the mountains to increase their activity, and therefore alertness and readiness of the people must continue to be maintained.”

Andi said earthquakes below five on the Richter Scale could trigger magma in the volcanoes to rise and so people must not only be alert over big but also small tremors.

The 4.4 magnitude earthquake like the one in Singkawang, West Kalimantan, is one of the examples, where people had never predicted before that it could happen there, he said.

“The small magnitude quake is now being studied by researchers with regard to minimizing the damage in case an eruption happens in the country as there are a lot of volcanoes in Indonesia,” he said.

“Totally drug-resistant” tuberculosis strain worries Indian doctors

(CBS/AP) Totally drug-resistant tuberculosis? That’s what doctors are calling the long-feared and virtually untreatable form of the killer lung disease that’s striking people in India.

It’s not the first time highly resistant cases like this have been seen. Since 2003, patients have been documented in Italy and Iran. It has mostly been limited to impoverished areas, and has not spread widely. But experts believe there could be many undocumented cases.

The airborne disease is mainly transmitted through close personal contact and isn’t nearly as contagious as the flu. Most cases of this “drug-resistant” TB have not been from person-to-person infection but mutations that have occurred in poorly treated patients. No one expects the Indian TB strains to rapidly spread elsewhere.

Is this particular disease actually drug-resistant? There is still debate within the public health community – the World Health Organization hasn’t accepted the term, calling the cases “extensively drug-resistant TB,” or XDR. But Dr. Paul Nunn, a coordinator at the WHO’s Stop TB Department in Geneva, said there is ample proof that these virtually untreatable cases do exist.

“It is concerning,” said Dr. Kenneth Castro, director of the CDC’s Division of Tuberculosis Elimination. “Anytime we see something like this, we better get on top of it before it becomes a more widespread problem.”

Ordinary TB is cured easily with six to nine months of antibiotics. But if that treatment is interrupted or if the dose is cut down, the stubborn bacteria battle back and mutate into a tougher strain that can no longer be killed by standard drugs, making the disease both more difficult and more expensive to treat.

Doctors in Mumbai have reported a total of 12 patients who failed initial treatment and also didn’t respond to other medication given over an average of two to three years. One doctor, Zarir Udwadia, said in a phone interview that there is little hope for the surviving nine patients, all poor slum dwellers living in the community. He criticized the testing and treatment methods of the Indian government’s TB program, saying, “It was a given that this would happen. They have had no help from the Indian TB system. They are the untouchables, so no one is making a fuss. They don’t have the power to vocalize. There’s going to be more family contacts. It’s going to spread for sure.”

India’s Health Ministry did not respond to phone calls and written requests for comment Monday and last week.

“For there to be another report coming out from India is no surprise at all. Indeed, in a sense, it’s surprising it’s taken so long,” said WHO’s Nunn. This is “yet another alarm call for countries and others engaged in TB control to do their jobs properly.”

In 2003, two Italian women died of  highly resistant tuberculosis and there were 15 cases reported from Iran in 2009. That same year, The Associated Press reported on a case of a Peruvian teenager who was infected at home but diagnosed while visiting Florida. He was successfully treated for a year and a half with experimental high doses of medicines not typically used for TB, costing about $500,000.

Tuberculosis is an age-old scourge that lies dormant in an estimated 1 in 3 people. About 10 percent of those people eventually develop active TB, which kills roughly 2 million a year, according to WHO. Each victim infects an average of 10 to 15 others every year, typically through sneezing or coughing.

 

At least 20 dolphins found dead in Cape Cod area

 

By Dominique Debucquoy-Dodley, CNN

 

January 17, 2012 — Updated 0626 GMT (1426 HKT)

 

 Between 40 and 50 dolphins have been found stranded close to shore near Cape Cod since Thursday.

 

 (CNN) — At least 20 dolphins have died after washing up near several Cape Cod towns, an International Fund for Animal Welfare spokeswoman said Monday.

 

Between 40 and 50 common and Atlantic white-sided dolphins have been found stranded close to the shore since Thursday, and the number will likely rise, said IFAW spokeswoman Kerry Branon. Some animals were released Monday near Provincetown, bringing the total number of animals saved to 19.

 

“It may not sound like a high success rate, but when you consider that 27 were alive when they washed up, I think we’re doing pretty well.” The remaining eight that were stranded alive died.

 

Stranded living animals are given full health assessments, including ultrasounds and hearing tests; dead animals are given CT scans and necropsies, Branon said. Five released dolphins have been equipped with satellite tags on their dorsal fins to track their location and to see if they’re surviving.

 

Despite January-April being “high season” for dolphin stranding near Cape Cod, IFAW experts aren’t exactly sure why so many dolphins are appearing now.

 

One theory is that the animals get caught in currents when they come close to land to feed. Another theory is that, as social animals, if one dolphin is sick or injured, the whole group will stay with that animal. Finally, the topography of Cape Cod may create areas where the dolphins can get stuck.

 

Katie Moore, a Cape Cod dolphin rescue veteran of 15 years, says that this is only the second time she has seen this many dolphins washing ashore.

 

“Sometimes they come up one at a time, other times we see them 10 at a time,” said Moore, manager of IFAW’s rescue team.

 

The six-member rescue team is on-call 24/7 and will continue searching this week.

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2944

Hybrids

Christ Himself tells us in Matthew 24 that the days before His return will be like the days of Noah. So we need to ask ourselves what was that world like and why did the flood come? Read Genesis chapter 6 for your answer. There were giants and mighty men of reknown walking the earth. The perversion attempt by Satan to stop Mewssiah from coming. The fallen angels. Read the attached for an interesting perspective.

Hybrids – Ron Graham – twotug@embarqmail.com

 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. Humanity is moving through a period of increasingly deteriorating moral behavior. Today wickedness among earth’s inhabitants has grown to a fever pitch. When we study our Bibles what becomes evident is the fact that between the antediluvian world, known as the days of Noah, and our present world there is a shocking similarity unfolding before us.

 The news of late has been replete with unimaginable stories of brutality. Most people are mystified, even horrified, at the extremity and the frequency of the cold hearted and brutal acts of senseless aggression, perpetrated mostly on the aged, in various sectors around America. What is it that we are witnessing? This seemingly new form of insanity invading America is actuality a worldwide phenomenon, and it’s burgeoning.

 A new breed of criminal has emerged on the scene – younger, stronger, completely lacking remorse. Oh, and cold hearted would be a gross understatement. Nothing witnessed by generations upon generations can prepare humanity for this emerging wickedness. They are many, their numbers are growing, and they all seem to have one thing in common, they lack any semblance of a human soul. Their purpose seems to be that of mayhem, confusion, and to inflict as much pain as possible, even to the point of death of the victim. They’re being manipulated to perform like robots, and to attack like well trained attack dogs. Their trainer, who we should all recognize as a manipulator, yes, he’s Satan and he has only wickedness on his mind.

 Who are they? Where have they come from? Are these marauding bands of seemingly soulless bodies even human? Has there been some tampering going on with the DNA of a segment of earthlings creating beings void of human emotion? What would need to be done to a person to negate the traits that provide us with feeling love, kindness, and even remorse? Is it possible to change the genome through DNA manipulation to void a person’s soul? The manipulation of human and animal DNA being performed in medical labs today is astounding. Most of society today hasn’t a clue about what’s being created in these labs. Genetic engineering is in well advanced stages in what can now be seen as man taking over for God; man has now become the manipulator/creator of new forms of life. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Daniel 12:4. Can there be any doubt in the minds of those who take God’s word seriously that knowledge has increased exponentially and that we are now at the end?

 On the horizon are DNA microchips able to analyze more than a thousand traits at once, those linked not just to a child’s health but to enhancements – genes that influence height, intelligence, hair, skin and eye colour and athletic ability. Source – The Globe and Mail 

 I am getting to a point here with all these questions. I believe the Bible has the answer. We’re informed, by Jesus Christ Himself, in Matthew 24 that there would be some distinguishing factors associated with the last days on planet earth that would set those particular days significantly apart from all other periods of time in human history, save one. Jesus tells us what time period in man’s past best fits as a comparison of what will be witnessed in the last days just prior to His return. He was enlightening us while attempting to elevate our sense of perception at the same time. Jesus is telling us what’s coming and He’s not being elusive. Jesus’ warning had to allude to something completely different than what humanity would consider normal.

 “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark” Matthew 24:37-38. Obviously those of Noah’s day were eating and drinking to sustain themselves, although we’re not told what they were eating and drinking. Some in-depth study I’ve done shows a corruption even in their diet. But my question here is – why would Jesus speak of marriage or giving in marriage during those days? To the casual reader marrying and giving in marriage is seen here as simply going about business as usual, they see nothing out of the ordinary about this verse. But to the studied reader what Jesus is alluding to is that just prior to His return to earth the world will be experiencing an all consuming evil corruption of the genes of humans through the cohabitation of fallen angels and human women just like the people of Noah’s day were, which was the reason God destroyed the antediluvians with a worldwide flood. Think about it this way, who in their right mind will be thinking about their white wedding dress or their black tuxedo at a time when the world will be crumbling around them? The world, just prior to His return, will be filled with the violence, wickedness, and mayhem that Noah witnessed in his day. Jesus lays out precisely for His disciples the full picture of those last days. Jesus wasn’t referring to normal marriage plans, but to very abnormal and abominable copulations between two distinct groups of beings. If we misinterpret the verses in Genesis 6 most of the rest of the Bible will never make sense.

 Keep in mind that Jesus was referring to similarities between the antediluvian era and the last days before His return. Remember, the reason God (Jesus) sent the deluge was because of all the abominable unions (marriages) between fallen angels and human women, and the progeny these unions brought forth. Evil was spread over the antediluvian world exactly the way it’s overtaking ours today. Jesus referred to marriage in those days before the flood because that’s exactly what we read in the Genesis 6 account. “That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” Genesis 6:2 (emphases mine). Jesus isn’t being coy; He’s laying out the future. One that involves the worst possible scenario, the re-incursion of fallen angels into our space/time continuum for one purpose, the corruption/destruction of the human race – just as they did in the days of Noah.

 “And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men:” Daniel 2:43. Daniel is revealing a message given in a dream to king Nebuchadnezzar by God. But we see something very strange in this verse. “…they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men”. Again, for the casual reader there is nothing out of the ordinary in this verse, but for those of us who study prophecy with a desire to fully understand what God has in store for His creation there’s something in that verse that should give us reason to pause and delve deeper. Who are “they”? Whoever “they” are they’re mingling themselves with the seed (offspring) of men (daughters). This is a prophecy of the last days. There was a corruption of the genome in Noah’s day perpetrated by fallen angels. We’re told by God Himself that there will be a resurgence of this same corruption in the days just prior to Christ’s return. Here in Daniel chapter 2 we’re given confirmation that in the last days “they”, fallen angels, will again procreate with human women to produce offspring (hybrids/Nephilim). The question is – are these hybrids already dwelling among us?

 The birth pangs that Jesus refers to in His “Olivet Discourse” lesson are upon us – only the foolish will deny it. “…all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” Matthew 24:6b. Jesus is about to call His disciple’s attention to numerous birth pangs which will begin just a few years before His return. It is significant that the verse above mentions that all these things must come to pass. Everything Jesus lays out will happen – some of them are happening now. Jesus continues describing just what these things entail. Although Jesus is speaking to the Nation of Israel, of those folks who will still be alive at the end of the “Great Tribulation” just prior to His return, I believe the birth pangs He speaks about are a warning sign for all who will believe and trust Him. In the next verse you will see why I believe the birth pangs have begun.

 “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” Matthew 24:12. If I were to restate his verse so that the meaning would be even clearer than how it’s written above, I would state it thusly: “When lawlessness thrives and is coupled with extreme wickedness, and as this scenario becomes more and more pervasive on the world scene, then what humanity has enjoyed in the past in regards to kindness, affection, benevolence, charity, and brotherly love will be nonexistent. Then the new breed of human (the hybrid) filled with hate, malice, wickedness, and cruelty takes over” (please understand that these are my words, I’m not attempting to put my words in the Bible – only to provide a more clear understanding). If we look into the original Greek words my explanation above would be pretty close to what Jesus was telling His disciples. The period of time Jesus refers to will be extremely frightening, and there is every indication that that period of time has arrived.

 The closer we get to the time of Christ’s return the more improbable will be the sights that we see and even sounds that we hear. Improbable in that they will consist of what we’ve always been taught as being that of the realm of myth (supernatural). My wife and I heard a sound the other day that was completely abnormal. It was a noise that seemed to come out of nowhere and grew louder and louder, similar to an approaching train. We had walked down the rural road we live on to our mailbox, about an eighth of a mile. As we were just about to the mailbox, the sound started. There was a slight breeze but not really enough of a wind that would create a loud howling noise. No planes in the air above us, and no approaching automobiles on the main road. We were perplexed to say the least. What was it? I have no idea, it simply stopped. But the dimension of the malevolent supernatural is invading our world and they are becoming more and more brazen with their antics, allowing many people to see things they don’t want to see, or hear things no human can explain.

 UFO’s are reported every ten minutes somewhere on planet earth. That’s a lot of sightings by many people, people from every walk of life. The beings that operate these craft are, at times, allowing themselves to be seen, and for the most part they are described as creatures with no resemblance to human beings. The investigative data that I’ve studied points to these beings as inter-dimensional not extraterrestrial. They’re not traveling from distant galaxies to interact benevolently with earthlings. They are appearing and disappearing as though popping in and out of other dimensions. Why are they coming? I believe it is to create an atmosphere of fear and confusion. The beings that traverse dimensions can be benevolent or malevolent and we should be keenly aware of the current incursion by many malevolent beings in these last days. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matthew 24:37.    

 I believe Satan’s goal is to build an army that he can fully control, thus command to fight at the last war which the Bible refers to as Armageddon. He’s not just content with readying this horde for battle with the Lord, but while the Lord tarries, Satan will be focused on inflicting a world of hurt on humanity in ways we would never have conceived, all to create an atmosphere of fear and confusion. He’s done it before, and he’s prophesied to do it again in the last days. The stories of these marauding bands of soulless misfits exploding on the scene today are from various news releases I’ve read over the past few months. I’m sure most of you have been privy to these same articles but perhaps had not connected the dots. 

 I mentioned birth pangs earlier and I was alluding to a gradual but burgeoning set of conditions. As the birth pangs Jesus speaks of run the gamut from minute to extreme, the church can be seen at the beginning of those birth pangs. But as they become more and more severe, without warning, in the twinkling of an eye, the church disappears and the only people remaining to experience all the mayhem and misery created by these fallen angels and their soulless hybrids are the Christ rejecters. If you’ve never said yes to Jesus Christ, and you remain in that state of mind, then those extremely harsh birth pangs are going to be yours to experience.

 I’ve done my own research and am convinced humanity is in its last stage. I would hope that everyone who reads this commentary will be motivated to explore the plethora of research data on the subject of a post-human world, the world of the genetically modified human. God will not allow this corruption of His creation to go much further. As I’ve stated, the research has progressed to the stage that scientists are convinced that it’s time to alter the genome of humans. We are in the last days, and Jesus is on His way.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2941

Gog’s Evil Thought

Interesting article from Terry James of Rapture Ready.com. Enjoy!

Gog’s “Evil Thought”

By Terry James
One can sense the dark, coalescing thoughts that are going on within the 2012 presidential election cabals. No, I’m not talking about the U.S. presidential election smoke-filled, back-room wheeling and dealing. Rather, I refer to the intrigues that are no doubt presently taking place in the political chambers of Moscow. A very interesting Russian politician we all know about sits snugly ensconced within the seat of power at the Kremlin, despite the façade he and his fellows present that he is candidate for the Russian presidency. Mysterious doings revolve around this self-promoting, sixty-year-old former KGB officer with his ongoing macho performances, both actual and of questionable credibility.

We remember his photo ops on the shores of the Black Sea and other places where he proudly displayed his six-pack abs. Then, there is the story where he single-handedly dove into the depths of some body of water, then came up with hands full of treasure—treasure that no one, not even professional marine salvage crews were previously able to find.

Vladimir Putin, although officially in a secondary position within the Russian governmental system because of constitutional restrictions regarding succession, nonetheless moves ahead paying scant attention to the fact that he has not yet been elected once again to the nation’s top post. There is little observable opposition to his power-brokering and manipulations, either officially or unofficially. It is as if his is a predestined leadership imperative for his most prophetically significant nation.

One billionaire Russian accuses Putin of trying to reprise a system at least somewhat similar to the Soviet Union, and is opposing Putin’s campaign for the Russian presidency, but isn’t making much headway. One wonders just how long such opposition will be allowed, when considering the recent track records of those who opposed ol’ Vlad. Many of these are in gulag—or are no longer among the living.

A couple of recent news items piqued my interest regarding this man who so dominates the news coming out of the country that many of us who observe prophetic movement believe will be the nation that will lead the Gog-Magog attack of Ezekiel 38-39. Putin’s thinking about Russia’s future differs from the Soviet model in some significant ways, according to one of those articles. At the same time, I find Putin’s emphasis on economy particularly fascinating. His thought is not necessarily on taking over nations surrounding Russia, but in sucking those nations into an inescapable fiscal orbit. The news story explains:

Vladimir Putin has a vision for a Soviet Union-lite he hopes will become a new Moscow-led global powerhouse. But, his planned Eurasian Union won’t be grounded in ideology: This time it’s about trade.

The concept of regional economic integration may be losing some of its allure in Europe, where a debt crisis is threatening the existence of the eurozone. But some countries across the former Soviet Union, still struggling economically 20 years after becoming independent, are embracing Putin’s grand ambition…

In anticipation of a new six-year term as president, Putin has made forming a Eurasian Union by 2015 a foreign policy priority. He is promoting the union as necessary for Russia and its neighbors to compete in the modern global economy. His broader goal is to restore some of Moscow’s economic and political clout across former Soviet space and thus strengthen Russia’s position in the world… (Peter Leonard, Associated Press, ” Russia’s Putin Dreams of Sweeping Eurasian Union,” 1/3/12)

Mr. Putin’s thought, obviously, is to convince those he hopes to lure within his orbit that great economic gain is a possibility in such a coalition as he will put together once he is president of Russia. This kind of thinking, of course, might just be the nucleus around which could be built a much more ambitious and volatile plan of action. Might that plan include a future invasion to the south as outlined in the Ezekiel 38-39 prophecy?

Certainly, that prophecy indicates an ambitious and volatile plan of action following the Magog coalition leader’s “evil thought” of Ezekiel 38:10-12. Until relatively recently, Israel has had little prospect for great wealth of the sort indicated in this prophecy that would entice such a thought or action by enemies to the north. Oh, there has long been talk of great mineral wealth in the Dead Sea, which is within the territory of the tiny nation of Israel today. But there seems to be little interest of Israel’s enemies in those very uncertain riches. But, such wealth as would be sufficiently enticing to provoke that future “Gog” to think to attack Israel has appeared on the prophetic horizon—in my view, at least.

The second news item that caught my attention explains further:

As the liquid oil supply curve continues to drop on an international level, oil prices will only rise dramatically, necessitating the development of unconventional oil productions, IEI CEO Relik Shafir told The Jerusalem Post at a meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday. Creating oil from shale—a dark sedimentary rock containing hydrocarbons—is one such unconventional method, and resources are particularly robust in Israel, Jordan, North America, Russia, Mongolia, China and Australia, according to Shafir…

“Our vision is to allow Israel energy independence,” Shafir said. “This is the vision that brought Harold Vinegar to Israel to make aliya, and the vision of the company.”

In Israel’s case, the largest source of shale is in the Shfela basin region outside Jerusalem, where the hydrocarbons are located between 200 and 400 meters below the surface, beneath an impermeable layer of rock… (Sharon Udasin, “Shale: A Sound Way to Achieve Energy Independence,” Jerusalem Post, 1/3/12)

While the tables of world oil reserves continue to drop dramatically, will the genius that God has placed within the progeny of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob leap to the forefront of petroleum technology and produce the “spoil” that will provoke Gog to bring his coalition down over the mountains of Israel? This is a developing story to which every watchmen of Bible prophecy should pay attention.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2920

“Pure for God” Seal Found in Temple Mount Excavation

A rare seal certifying the ritual purity of an item to be used in the Second Temple in Jerusalem was discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority as part of excavations under the Robinson’s Arch right next to the Temple Mount.

A rare seal certifying the ritual purity of an item to be used in the Second Temple in Jerusalem was discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority as part of excavations under the Robinson’s Arch right next to the Temple Mount.

The find of the Aramaic inscription, “Pure for G-d”, occurred during an extensive sifting of soil removed from layers which were once part of a paved Herodian street serving as a main Jerusalem thoroughfare. The soil dates to the first century CE (late Second Temple period), just prior to – or maybe even during – the Maccabean rebellion celebrated during the holiday of Hanukkah.

The item is stamped with an Aramaic inscription consisting of two lines – in the upper line “דכא” (pure) and below it “ליה” (to G-d) – and is probably the kind of seal referred to in the Mishnah as a “seal (Tractate Shekalim 5:1-5), according to excavation directors and archaeologists Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time that such an object or anything similar to it was discovered in an archaeological excavation and it constitutes direct archaeological evidence of the activity on the Temple Mount and the workings of the Temple during the Second Temple period”, Shukron and Reich said.

Jerusalem District Archaeologist Dr. Yuval Baruch drew a connection between the find and Hanukkah. “It is written in the Gemara (Talmud Bavli, Tractate Shabbat 2:21) that the only cruse of oil that was discovered in the Temple after the victory of the Maccabees over the Greeks, “lay with the seal of the High Priest” – that is, the seal indicated that the oil is pure and can be used in the Temple. Remember, this cruse of oil was the basis for the miracle of Hanukkah that managed to keep the menorah lit for eight days”, Baruch noted.

Other items discovered in the excavation included oil lamps, ceramic cooking pots and Hasmonean coins dating to kings Alexander Jannaeus and John Hyrcanus.

The findings were presented Sunday at a press conference attended by Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat and Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar at Ir David (the City of David).

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=2867

The Vatican Wants to Lay its Hands on Jerusalem

Peace negotiations in the Middle East must tackle the issue of the status of the holy sites of Jerusalem”, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, head of the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, declared several days ago in Rome.

The Vatican’s former foreign minister asked to place some Israeli holy places under Vatican authority, alluding to the Cenacle on Mount Zion and the garden of Gethsemane at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

The first site also houses what is referred to as King David’s tomb. 

“There will not be peace if the question of the holy sites is not adequately resolved”, Tauran said. “The part of Jerusalem within the walls – with the holy sites of the three religions – is humanity’s heritage. The sacred and unique character of the area must be safeguarded and it can only be done with a special, internationally-guaranteed statute”.

The Israeli government and the Vatican are deadlocked in discussions over the status of the religious sites. Vatican officials are now reiterating their demand for control over the religious sites in the ancient and holy city founded by King David as the capital of ancient Israel and now the capital of the reestablished Jewish state.

Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, declared that Israel might consider giving the Vatican “a greater role” in operating the sites. In the last weeks, the Roman Catholic Church’s authorities increased their political initiatives for Catholic control over some sites in Jerusalem.

The Vatican’s former arcibishop in Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, just promoted an appeal to the European Union and United States to “stop the Hebraization of Jerusalem”.

Two weeks ago Msgr. David-Maria Jaeger, who was recently appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to the Vatican’s highest court, talked in Washington about a current U.S. Supreme Court case over whether an American boy born in Jerusalem should add Israel after the name of the historic city on his U.S. passport. Jaeger said that the question about Jerusalem is not “whether it is the capital of Israel, it is a question of whether it is a part of a national territory”.

A few days earlier, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal, gave a speech to greet the bishops of Europe and North America during their annual pilgrimage in Israel, in which Twal denounced “the Israeli right wing invading more and more of Jerusalem and trying to transform it into an only Hebrew-Jewish city, excluding the other faiths”.

Claudette Habesch, the Caritas general-secretary in Jerusalem, a Vatican NGO that works in social activities, just released an interview to Zenit news agency, in which he “christianized” the Palestinian Intifada against “what we call the Checkpoint of Humiliation”.

In September, Patriarch of Jerusalem Twal was at the White House for a meeting with the American administration as well as to support the PA statehood bid at the UN. Twal repeated Benedict XVI’s speech of May 13, 2009 in the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, one of the most political speeches ever pronounced by Ratzinger during his pontificate. It was given in front of the most eloquent symbol of the conflict: the security wall between Israel and the PA areas.

On that day the Pope spoke specifically of an “independent Palestinian state”.

The Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, the Vatican’s powerful agency for worldwide pilgrimages, just organized a “marathon for peace” in Jerusalem to protest against the security fence near Bethlehem and to support “Palestinian political rights”. The march began on the Mount of Olives, “where the Last Supper took place”.

On December 1st, several Christian and Muslim dignitaries met in Beit Sahour for a conference on “How to live together in a future Palestinian state?”. Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem Michel Sabbah and Sheikh Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, also attended the event organized by Al-Liqa, a Vatican ecumenical center based in Bethlehem.

Sabbah said that “recourse to the UN for a Palestinian state is a step toward peace”. Last summer, Latin Patriarch Twal took part in a meeting in London with Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, in which the Vatican envoy denounced the “more than 550.000 Israelis living in East Jerusalem and the West Bank” and “the demography of Jerusalem changing rapidly with the sacred space being threatened”.

In 2006, then Israel’s Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, negotiated to give away the “holy basin” to the Vatican.

At the time, President Moshe Katzav, in the face of increasing public pressure, was forced to deny any plans to sign away the King David’s complex in Jerusalem.

It now appears that this option has once again surfaced. A major voice for the Vatican’s plan is Hanna Siniora, the elder statesman of Palestinian ‘peace’ activists, whose office is in the Vatican’s Tantur Institute for Ecumenical Studies in Jerusalem.

The site known as King David’s Tomb is the major target in the Vatican’s plan. It’s a complex of buildings of some 100,000 square feet where David and Solomon, and kings of Judea, are said to be buried, although this is disputed by historians.

The Upper Room, or Cenacle, as it is known, is on the second floor of the Crusader-era building. During his visit to Israel in 2000, Pope John Paul II held Mass there. The Roman Catholic Church has been fighting for more than 450 years to win back control over the sanctuary, which was seized from Franciscan monks during the Ottoman Empire’s rule around 1551.

The building was granted to the Diaspora Yeshiva over 40 years ago, and yeshiva heads fear that the Vatican wishes to turn it into a pilgrimage site for hundreds of thousands of Catholics and hold religious services there.

The Vatican wants Israel relinquishing sovereignty at the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. The Holy See uses the expression “Holy Basin”, which refers to the area of the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, Mount Zion and a variety of Christian holy sites which the administration of former U.S. President Bill Clinton began reccomending be administered under a “special regime”.

The Obama plan also calls for resolving the two thorniest issues in the conflict by sharing Jerusalem and settling Arab refugees in Arab countries or a future Palestinian state, but not in Israel. According to Obama, the Old City of Jerusalem would be designated an “international zone”.

Israel’s President Shimon Peres, who has no authority, also agreed to hand over to the Vatican the sovereignty of the holy sites.

Any Vatican claim to a seat at the negotiating table is undermined by the complicity of the Vatican between 1948 and 1967. During the Jordanian occupation, Judaism’s holiest sites were desecrated and Jews were barred from visiting these shrines. The Jordanians built a hotel and a road through the Jewish cemetery on Mount of Olives and they used the broken headstones to build the latrines in the construction of the Intercontintental Hotel, which likely rests on burial grounds.

As was its practice during the Holocaust under Pius XII, the Vatican then turned a deaf ear to these gross violations of Jewish human rights.

If Israel would cede Jewish sovereignty on the holy sites, it would mean returning to a time when Jerusalem was separated by a seven-kilometer wall, barbed wire, minefields and bunkers. A tourist visiting the holy city would have found signs warning “Danger – Frontier ahead!”, “Snipers nearby” and “shetah hahefker”, which in Hebrew means: No-Man’s Land. 

It would be Sarajevo, not the Holy City of Jerusalem. 

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