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Large US Marine force lands in Aqaba to deploy on Jordanian-Syrian border

A large American military force disembarked Tuesday, June 4, at the southern Jordanian port of Aqaba – ready for deployment on the kingdom’s Syrian border, debkafile’s exclusive military sources report. The force made its way north along the Aqaba-Jerash-Ajilon mountain road bisecting Jordan from south to north, under heavy Jordanian military escort.
Our sources disclose that this American force numbers 1,000 troops, the largest to land in Jordan since the Syrian civil war erupted in March 2012. They are members of the 24th Marine Expeditionary Force carried aboard the USS Kearsage amphibious assault ship, which has been anchored off neighboring Israeli Eilat since mid-May. Upon landing, the marines took to the road in a convoy of armored vehicles including Hummers.

Washington and Amman have imposed a blackout on their arrival. The Pentagon has only let it be known that the annual joint US-Jordanian “Eager Lion 2013” military exercise is due to begin later in June and last two months, with the participation of US F-16 fighter jets and Patriot missile defense systems.
According to our US sources, the arrival of the US force in Jordan was not directly related to the regular exercise but decided on at an emergency meeting at the Pentagon on May 31, which was attended by top military and civilian Defense Department officials. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who is away from Washington, took part by video conference.

The meeting decided that the military situation evolving in Syria and threats it posed to Jordan – including widening evidence of chemical weapons use in Syria – were urgent enough to warrant the dispatch of extra American military strength to Jordan, over and above the contingents participating in the joint exercise. The Israeli Air Force will provide air cover for the force until the F-16 jets are in place for the drill.

The US Central Command spokesman Lt. Col. T.G. Taylor in a statement to the US media said only: “In order to enhance the defensive posture and capacity of Jordan, some of these assets may remain beyond the exercise at the request of the government of Jordan.”

That request, according to our sources, was for the US to leave behind when the exercise ended and the troops departed – not just some of the weapons systems but all of the equipment which arrived with the marines Wednesday, as well as the F-16 fighters and Patriot missiles.
There is no official word about Washington’s response to this request. However, the Obama administration is not expected to turn it down

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5284

PA Arabs Fete ‘New Mahdi,” Establishment of Caliphate

Thousands of PA Arabs participated in a mass rally in Ramallah earlier this week calling for the establishment of the Muslim Caliphate – the worldwide Islamist government that will “bring the coming of the Mahdi.” the Muslim messiah.

The Caliphate is essentially a union of Muslim countries under the spiritual and political leadership of a single individual, the Caliph. It has been an Islamic concept since the days of Muhammad, when it was established by several of his disciples. The office of “official Caliph” has been disputed at times, with rival would-be Caliphs battling each other for the title.

The last official Caliph was Abdülmecid II, who lost the office in the aftermath of the defeat of Ottoman Turkey in World War I. The best-known Caliph in the West was Suleiman the Great, an early Ottoman sultan who, in the 16th  century, conquered most of the Middle East and the Persian Gulf, even conquering parts of Europe, until he was stopped at “the Gates of Vienna.”

With many Muslim states politically and religiously divided, and dependent on the West for support, radical Islamists have been pushing for the reestablishment of the Caliphate – this time to be led by the all-powerful Mahdi, who will unite all Muslims and establish Islam as the dominant religion in the world, ruling for several years before the “Day of Judgment”. Although the identity of the Mahdi is a secret, many Islamists believe that he is alive now, and several individuals have claimed the title. Many Islamists were said to have believed that Osama Bin-Laden was the Mahdi, or his right-hand man, until he was killed several years ago by U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The Ramallah rally included many students from Bir-Zeit University, the PA’s most prestigious university located north of Jerusalem and a major recipient of economic funding from the EU and the United States. Marchers gathered at a large mosque in El Bireh, a suburb of Ramallah, and marched to Manara Square, a large gathering place in central Ramallah. Speakers at the rally urged believers to “have faith” in the future, to give up their Western ways, and to do more to fulfill the tenets of Islam.

The rally was sponsored by Ḥizb at-Taḥrir (Party of Liberation), which has its own Mahdi candidate – organization leader Ata Abu Rashta, born in Mandatory Palestine and a long-time resident of a refugee camp near Hevron. Speakers at the rally said that Abu Rashta, as Mahdi, would unify Muslims and establish Sharia law in countries around the world. In addition, the speakers called for unity among all Muslims in order to ensure “victory in Syria,” the “liberation of Palestine from the hated Jews,” and the “freeing of mankind from the chains of capitalism.”

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5280

Part 1: If Mystery Babylon Is Not Rome, Then Who Is It?

Here is a great article by Walid Shoebat that everyone needs to read in full. As we all know, Satan does everything in his power to counterfeit, corrupt and conceal truth. As noted in my Mark of the Beast article, the Church of God — the assembly of His people — is called the “Ekklesia” in Scripture and in terms of location is identified with Jerusalem, the epicenter of the Judeo-Christian faith. If the “Bride” of Christ is identified and associated with the city of “Jerusalem” (Rev. 21:9-10, “… I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife… and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God”) then it only stands to reason that Satan’s counterfeit of the Church — the “Babylonian Harlot” — would also be associated with a city of her own. From the preponderance of the evidence that we are given throughout Scripture, the desert “harlot” identified by John in Revelation 17 is associated with the epicenter of Islam itself. Whereas the Judeo-Christian faith arose out of and looks toward Jerusalem, Islam arose out of and looks toward the city of Mecca, the spiritual homestead of the “Ummah” (the Muslim world). And if the “Judeo-Christian Bride” of Scripture is also defined as the “Body of Christ”, whose body does the antithetical “Babylonian Harlot” make? …

Revelation 17:1, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters …’”

                        By Walid Shoebat – “When it comes to Mystery Babylon, the common tendency amongst many Protestant theologians is to liken it to Rome. According to them, Rome is the city of seven hills. Others even equate it with Iraq, since this was home to the original Babylon. Years ago, many books were written about Saddam Hussein, who was allegedly hard at work, rebuilding Babylon. Christians gobbled up the books without truly examining the evidence. Saddam was simply rebuilding a tourist attraction where Nineveh once stood, the project was later abandoned and Saddam died on the gallows along with the prophecy books that included his name.

But when presenting a multitude of biblical evidence, people still angrily deny this interpretation because they have etched in their minds a verse or two insisting it’s still Rome, while adhering to a centuries-old theory initiated by Martin Luther. That plus today’s Catholics do not bite. In fact, a clue to the real Babylon was just presented in an article by Aaron Klein when he stated this week that:

“Forces in the Persian Gulf and Arab intelligence services have noted the establishment of Iranian missile launch sites aimed in the direction of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, according to Egyptian and Jordanian intelligence officials speaking to WND.”

Yet, no one in the prophecy arena has even raised a single red flag about the significance of this report; Iran (biblical Elam) must destroy Arabia. In Isaiah 21:9, Isaiah levels a prophetic oracle against Babylon using the same announcement in Revelation 18:1-2 and Revelation 14:8: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen”:

“The burden against Dumah” (Isaiah 21:11)
“The burden against Arabia” (Isaiah 21:13)
“All the glory of Kedar will fail” (Isaiah 21:16)

These are all in Arabia, which is destroyed by Iran “Elam” (Isaiah 21:2)

There has been an immense oversight by many in the field of biblical eschatology; that when it comes to the destruction of end-days Babylon, Scripture makes no mention of any of the ancient Babylonian cities: Nineveh, Ur, Babel, Erech, Accad, Sumer, Assur, Calneh, Mari, Karana, Ellpi, Eridu, Kish, or Tikrit. All of the literal references in Scripture are in Arabia.

The use ‘MOTHER OF HARLOTS’, while it is commonly attributed to the Vatican’s Mariology with the worship of Ishtar, history records that the worship of Ishtar ‘Kilili’, or ‘Queen of Harlots’ [1] originated from Arabia, not Rome. In fact, when Muslims roam roundabout the black stone, it is a throwback to the worship of Ishtar, whom they called Athtar and Allat.

When it comes to the Harlot woman, the Kaaba is a perfect match. The black tarp is considered by Muslims to be a woman’s dress (Kiswa) as Edward Gibbons elaborated:

“…the kuswa of the magnificent Kaaba, is what is used for clothing of a [virtuous] covering, on top of it, it is written, the Kaaba’s dressing, meaning ‘we have dressed her her dress.” [2]

Everything that the harlot is described it fits the Ka’ba; dress, pearls, jewels, gold, silver and even the blasphemies etched in silver threads with golden inlays across her attire. Just the doors of the Ka’ba alone has 280 kilograms of pure gold.

The reference to a prostitute in Revelation 17 regarding the ‘Whore of Babylon’ is no coincidence:

“And the woman (whore) was arrayed in purple and scarlet color” (v. 17)…

…resembles the near copulating with the Ka’ba’s Black Stone, which historically was dedicated to Aphrodite, the prostitute goddess that was called ‘Aphrodite Porne’ (Aphrodite the Prostitute), ‘the goddess adorned in purple’, similar to the depictions given in Revelation 17:4, which the Ka’ba has a scarlet-colored inner garment. John of Damascus notes:

“After the Hajj was preformed by Muhammad, the ‘rubbing and kissing the [of the Black Stone]…was extremely passionate.’”

Muslim tradition even perpetuates the blasphemy that:

“Abraham had sexual intercourse with Hagar on it” (Sahas. Heresy, Pages 88-89).

Francis Burton writes regarding the Ka’ba:

“the part of the cover (Kiswa), covering the door, is called [a Burka] just like the veil the Arabic women are wearing in front of their face…in fact, Arab mystics even compare the Ka’ba to a virgin, adorned with her finest wedding dress.” (Vol 3, page 295)

Even today during their Hajj pilgrimage, Muslims kiss, rub and caress the Black Rock.

Furthermore, it is impossible to even consider that Isaiah 21 was referring to an historic battle between Persia and ancient Babylon since the multiple references throughout are not connected to ancient Iraq but to Kedar, Tema, Dedan and Dumah, which are all in Saudi Arabia near Yathrib (Medina), and today is known as ‘Dumat el-Jandal.’ Dumah, one of the sons of Ishmael, is also associated with Edom and Seir in Isaiah 21:11. It is believed by many that Kedar, Ishmael’s son, is the line from which Muhammad descended.

Even Muslims recognize when they read Isaiah 21, they see Isaiah 21:14-15 as the story of Muhammad when the Muslims emigrated from Mecca to Medina (Tema) in which they were fed and rescued from the sword. No westerner was able to interpret:

“The inhabitants of the land of Tema brought water to him that was thirsty, they prevented with their bread him that fled. For they fled from the swords, from the drawn sword, and from the bent bow, and from the grievousness of war.” (Isaiah 21:14-15)

The Bible depicts that in this time, it will not be like the time when Muhammad fled; all Arabia – including the Glory of Kedar (Mecca) – will be destroyed. How else can anyone interpret:

“No Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there” (Isaiah 13:20)

Arabs pitch tents in Arabia, not Rome. The ultimate fulfillment of this verse is the destruction of the Last-Days Babylon. We know this because the passage speaks about: ‘the day of the Lord’ (v. 9) with the ‘heavens not giving light’ (v. 10). This is not historical, but End-Times related.

Then we have the Red Sea:

“The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, at the cry the noise thereof was heard in the Red sea.” (Jeremiah 49:21)

The Red Sea is a geographic indicator as to where the Last-Days Babylon will be located. Look at Mecca on any map and you will see that it sits near the Red Sea. Some may object, saying that Jeremiah 49 is speaking about Edom, which was primarily located in modern day Jordan. Yet, in Ezekiel 25, ‘Edom’ stretches from Teman (Yemen) to Dedan (Saudi Arabia)” (v. 13). Greater Edom included all of the west coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

Notice the description of her destruction:

“‘As Sodom and Gomorrah were overthrown, along with their neighboring towns,’ says the LORD, ‘so no one will live there; no man will dwell in it,’” (Jeremiah 49:18).

It is no surprise that Iran is focused on Saudi Arabia, since the Bible predicted that the harlot is destroyed by the beast she rides, that is, the nations she deceieved with her spiritual harlotry—Islam.

This is the first installment in a two-part (maybe more) series about prophecy.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5276

The Demise of Middle East Borders

A common theme running through much of the leading commentary on the Syrian crisis is the idea that the principal borders of the modern Middle East, created by the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement, are about to be fundamentally altered if not erased completely. In mid-March, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu gave a university speech in which he said that the political order in the Middle East created by the Sykes-Picot Agreement was coming to an end. He envisioned Turkey’s influence returning to those areas which were once under its sovereignty but were lost to the European colonial powers.

It seems that everyone is talking about the end of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. In mid-May, David Ignatius of The Washington Post warned the Russians that they would suffer most from “the dissolution of the Sykes-Picot boundaries in the Middle East.” At the same time, Elliot Abrams, who served as the deputy national security adviser under former U.S. President George W. Bush wrote about “the unraveling” of the Sykes-Picot agreement. Several weeks earlier, one of France’s leading commentators in the Middle East, Antoine Basbous, wrote in Le Figaro on April 21 that the “artificial boundaries” established by Sykes-Picot were about to receive their final blow from what he called “the Arab tsunami and its aftershocks.”

It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this change should it transpire. In October 1916, during World War I, Sir Mark Sykes, representing Britain, and Charles Francois Georges-Picot, representing France, reached a secret understanding dividing the Asian territories of the Ottoman Empire into spheres of influence that would be dominated by both countries. When the League of Nations established mandates over the former Ottoman territories that the allies subsequently captured, the mandate for Syria and Lebanon went to France while the mandate for Iraq went to Britain. These mandatory regimes in the years that followed led to the empowerment of the Alawite minority over the Sunni majority in Syria and the establishment of the domination of the Sunni minority in Iraq over the Shiites.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement also separated what would become British mandatory Palestine, which had been known among its Arab residents prior to WWI as Surya al-Janubiyya (Southern Syria) from French mandatory Syria to its north. In 1916, Russia, still under the Czar, supported the Sykes-Picot agreement in exchange for its territorial demands being recognized by the British and the French in what became Turkey. Thus the borders of at least five Middle Eastern states would eventually be determined by the original Sykes-Picot Agreement.

Presently, the Middle Eastern border that most observers are focusing on is the 600 kilometer (370 mile) border separating Syria from Iraq. On the Syrian side, important newspapers, like the Financial Times, have been writing this week about the “disintegration of Syria.” Similarly, The New York Times asserted that the Syrian state is “breaking up.” It suggested that at least three different Syrias are now emerging: one loyal to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, another loyal to the opposition, and a Kurdish Syria with ties to Northern Iraq and Kurdish groups in Turkey.

Particularly accelerating the demise of the Sykes-Picot borders are events on the Iraqi side of the border. Incidents during the last year point in the direction of the eventual breakup of the Iraqi state. This coming September, a new pipeline carrying Kurdish oil through Turkey, will link Iraqi Kurdistan to its Turkish market instead of to the rest of Iraq. This development is seen in the West as the first step toward the independence of Kurdistan. Indeed, the Kurds are cutting separate deals with international oil companies and circumventing the central Iraqi government in Baghdad. A spokesman for U.S. President Barack Obama’s National Security Council has stated on the record that the U.S. opposes oil exports from any part of Iraq “without the appropriate approval of the Iraqi federal government.” Washington opposes Kurdish economic initiatives that could lead to the dissolution of Iraq into at least three states: Kurdish, Shiite, and Sunni.

Kurdistan may be ready to become independent. What about the rest? The Shiite areas of Iraq south of Baghdad to the Kuwaiti border will be dominated one way or another by Iran. But what will happen to the Sunni sectors of Iraq, like the al-Anbar Province? In the last year, the Sunni Arab tribes in Iraq that span the Syrian-Iraqi border have joined the war against the Assad regime. Tribes like the Shammar, who migrated from the Arabian Peninsula to the Jazira plain between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in the 17th century, have been regularly crossing the Iraqi-Syrian border back and forth for many years.

The prospect that their Sunni cousins in Syria will eventually defeat the Assad regime, or at least take over part of the Syrian state, has energized the Sunni Arabs of Iraq, who felt previously that the 2003 Iraq War had led to the defeat of their Sunni-dominated regime under Saddam Hussein and a victory for Iraq’s Shiite majority. Now, they sense they can take back their autonomy from Baghdad.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker (serving between 2007 and 2009) wrote in The Washington Post on May 1 that al-Qaida-Iraq has re-established itself in areas in which it was defeated by U.S. and Iraqi forces over the last five years. It should come as no surprise that Crocker defines the leading jihadist force fighting Assad’s army, Jabhat al-Nusra, as a front group for al-Qaida in Iraq. In March, the executions of eleven Syrian soldiers in a public square in the town of al-Raqqa, inside northern Syria, were carried out under the flag of Iraqi al-Qaida. The old Sykes-Picot border was clearly meaningless for affiliates of al-Qaida. An Iraqi commentator noted that since 2011, there have been religious calls for erasing the old Iraqi-Syrian border and unifying the Sunni regions on both sides.

Should the fragmentation of Syria combine with the Balkanization of Iraq, what will the Middle East look like? The Sunni Arabs are the likely candidates to look for mergers with their neighbors. If they are politically dominated by the same branch of al-Qaida, then the emergence of a new Afghanistan in the heart of the Arab world might be the result. If more moderate forces among the Iraqi Sunnis emerge, then it should not be ruled out that they might consider some federal ties with their western Sunni neighbor, Jordan, which would give them an outlet to the Red Sea.

But however the political systems in Syria and Iraq evolve, it is clear that the map of the Middle East is likely to be very different from the map that the colonial powers fixed during World War I and which has endured for roughly 97 years since British and French officials first put it on paper. The only boundary in the Middle East that Western diplomats have become rigidly obsessed with, despite the far more profound changes that are occurring across the region, is not even formally an international border under international law, but only an armistice line from 1949 – what is inappropriately called the 1967 border. While a solution to this territorial dispute must be addressed, the final borders drawn between Israel and it’s neighbors will have to take into account the current dramatic strategic shifts.

MEGGIDOMAPNICE

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5270

Mosque in Maryland moves prophecy clock forward

The Muslim Brotherhood plan to revive the Caliphate and takeover the United States got a boost with the dedication of a $100 million Islamic center paid for by a country that figures prominently in end time prophecy. With the blessing of the White House, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, along with Maryland officials and MB representatives dedicated the five building mosque complex on 15 acres in Lanham beneath the Turkish and American flags flying at equal levels. The complex is a reminder of Biblical prophecies of the antichrist arising from lands currently in Turkey, and how America is firmly in the orbit of prophecy–as a satellite of the end time Beast government.

Evidence in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial indicated a Muslim Brotherhood plan to take over North America. The plan, written in 1991, calls for Islamists to colonize America with Islamic Centers, schools, elected officials and court cases. It seeks to establish a “Civilization-Jihadist Process.” It outlines how “work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house…” The MB was formed after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey. Erdogan’s AKP political party and the MB have close ties. The Islamic center in Maryland funded by Turkey is in lock step with the MB plan for North America. So is the White House.

Istanbul Analytics reported in November 2012 that “Ankara and Washington are now walking in lockstep…The essence of the new relationship is one where Turkey is more empowered, and more crucial to the US because of its leverage.” The online report said that Turkish and US diplomats claim they cannot remember a time when the US and Turkey have been closer, citing that the man who occupies the Oval Office “called Turkey’s prime minister more than any other leader except Britain’s prime minister in 2011.” The policies of the US government in aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and, now, in allowing Turkey to build this colonization mosque near the nation’s capital all play into the prophetic end times.

This Administration’s ongoing support of the Muslim Brotherhood and all of its trimmings, and the close relationship of the occupant to Turkey’s prime minister is prophetically significant. The US has done more in the past ten years to support Islamic expansion than ever before. This has been exponentially accelerated in the past four years. There are numerous accounts in the Bible where the Lord identifies the antichrist as Assyrian (Isaiah 10, 14, 31, 52; Hosea 11; Micah 5 to name a few). For example, Isaiah 14:25 says, “That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot.” Assyria is in part of modern day Turkey. Watch and pray.

First, there is this from the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News:

The groundbreaking ceremony for Istanbul’s controversial $3 billion third bridge over the Bosphorus was held yesterday, on the 560th anniversary of Istanbul’s conquest by the Ottomans. The ceremony was attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and the name of the bridge has been announced as “Yavuz Sultan Selim,” one of the most prominent sultans in Ottoman history. “We thought a lot about which name should be given to the third bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, and we have decided on Yavuz Sultan Selim,” Gül said at the ceremony.

So they put a lot of thought into choosing the name of the bridge. And as such, they chose a Sultan who was known not only for greatly expanding the Ottoman Empire, but also for making it illegal to be a Christian within the empire. In other words, they chose an extremist, expansionist, Islamist Sultan. Certainly not the kind of individual you would wish to honor if you were seeking to build a positive and tolerant image abroad. The ceremony was concluded by prayerfully celebrating the conquest of Istanbul and memorializing the “martyrs” of that conquest:

The Turkish government has already worked on seven big projects worth $150 billion in Istanbul, which is known as the “city on the seven hills,” like Rome, [Turkish Transport Minister] Yıldırım said yesterday. In addition to these seven projects, such as the third bridge and the third airport, the prime minister announced new projects to be held… The ceremony ended with collective prayers both to commemorate martyrs and to celebrate the 560th anniversary of the conquest of Istanbul.

And then there is this:

The government of Turkey is building a 15-acre, $100 million mega-mosque in Lanham, Maryland. Turkey’s Prime Minister Erdogan visited the site on May 15 as part of his official visit to the U.S. The state of Maryland was officially represented at the event by its Secretary of State John McDonough. The event was also attended by the leaders of two U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entities. The mega-mosque is called the Turkish American Culture and Civilization Center and, according to the Muslim Link, it “will likely become the largest and most striking examples of Islamic architecture in the western hemisphere” when it is finished in 2014. The Muslim Link explicitly says it is “a project of the government of Turkey.”

Someone still has certainly has a very strong sense of cultural confidence, but it certainly is not the US. Welcome to the age of Turkish ascendancy.

turki

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5261

In His Hands

 

Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.

-Revelation 12:11

How important it is for us to know that our lives belong to God. God decides the day of our birth, and God decides the day of our death. But we have everything to do with the dash in the middle.

In Revelation 12:11, we read of the saints during the Tribulation who “overcame [the devil] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.”

They did not love their lives to the death. These believers knew their lives belonged to God. They knew that as followers of Jesus during the Tribulation period, they could lose their lives. They also knew their times were in God’s hands. Thus, they spoke up for their faith in Christ and, whatever the consequences were, they were ready to face them.

A story is told from the pages of Christian history about a believer who was brought before one of the Caesars. He was told to renounce his faith and give glory to Caesar. The man would not do it. So the emperor said to him, “Give up Christ, or I will banish you.”

The Christian said, “You can’t banish me from Christ, for God says, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ ”

The emperor said, “I will confiscate your property.”

The Christian replied, “My treasures are laid up in heaven. You can’t touch them.”

The emperor said, “I will kill you.”

The Christian answered, “I have been dead to this world in Christ for 40 years. My life is hidden with Christ in God. You can’t touch it.”

The emperor turned to some of the members of his court and said, in complete disgust, “What can you do with such a fanatic?”

May God give us more Christians like this.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5255

Russia? What is going on?

Two articles attached below. Is Gog of Ezekiel 38 & 39 making it’s move?

 

Cold War? Russia seeks to replace U.S.

Pressures Egypt to cancel weapons deals with America

Published: 17 hours ago

Aaron Klein

TEL AVIV  Russia has been exerting pressure on Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to cancel weapons deals with the U.S. and instead sign with Moscow at cheaper prices, according to an informed Egyptian security official.

The official said Russia is also attempting to exert its influence at the expense of the U.S. throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Western Asia, including in Turkey.

Currently, Russia is urging Egypt to sign a deal for the creation of a 155-mm guided shell for U.S.-provided M-109 howitzers, which are being used on tanks sold to the Egyptian army by the U.S.

Moscow officials told Egyptian leaders that Russia is interested in replacing the U.S. as the Middle Eastern country’s main weapons dealer, the Egyptian official said.

Similar messages were sent to Turkey, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia and other countries, the official said.

“Russia is trying to more heavily infiltrate the Middle East and other countries to check against the United States,” said the official.

Already in Turkey, Russia offered the joint development of a surface-to-air missile based on the advanced Russian S-300V Antey-2500 system in addition to the sale of other missile and artillery systems at better prices than those offered by the U.S. President Obama has worked to cultivate a close relationship with Turkey.

Currently, Russia is a main backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Syria is facing an insurgency led by rebels who are reportedly being armed with Turkish and Arab money.

The Obama administration is reportedly leading in the weapons coordination efforts to the rebels while Russia has been supplying vast quantities of arms to Assad.

The U.S. arming efforts is considered controversial since the rebels fighting in Syria consist in large part of jihadists, including al-Qaida organizations.

 

 

Russia: Our missile sale to Assad will deter ‘hotheads’ from intervening

Israeli minister says Ben Gurion Airport would be in range of S-300s, can’t fathom why Moscow aiding brutal Assad regime; defense minister says Israel ‘will know what to do’ if weapons reach Damascus

By Raphael Ahren and AP May 28, 2013, 5:41 pm

Russia’s deputy foreign minister said Tuesday Moscow would deliver advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, as planned, in order to deter unnamed “hotheads” from turning the civil war there into an international conflict.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov made the comments two weeks after Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Russia to implore President Vladimir Putin to cancel the sale, and reportedly that it risk pushing the region towards war. Delivery of the weapons “is likely to draw us into a response, and could send the region deteriorating into war,” the prime minister was quoted as saying. Putin reportedly responded by warning Netanyahu that any further Israeli airstrikes in Syria could have the same result.

“We consider these supplies a stabilizing factor,” Ryabkov said, “and believe such steps will deter some hotheads from considering scenarios that would turn the conflict international with the involvement of outside forces.”

Earlier Tuesday, one top Israeli minister condemned Russia’s declared intention to deliver the advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, and another senior minister said Israel would “know what to do” if the weapons were delivered.

Using unusually harsh language, Minister of Intelligence, International Relations and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz told reporters the Russian decision to press on with the deal was an “odd” and unjustifiable move, which he said was “totally wrong” on moral and strategic grounds.

Speaking at conference organized by The Israel Project, Steinitz confirmed reports that Moscow still intended to sell the advanced S-300 missile defense system to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, despite Israel’s best efforts to dissuade Putin.

“We’re very concerned. We don’t understand — we think this behavior of supplying such arms to Damascus, to Assad, in this crucial time of terrible civil war, we think that this is totally wrong,” he said.

Steinitz rebutted the claim that the S-300 missiles are purely defensive, saying that, for Israel, they are also “offensive.”

 “Why? Because with range of up to 200 or 300 kilometers, you can attack all places, also the Ben Gurion Airport.” Jerusalem also worries about the missiles falling into the hands of Hezbollah or Iran, he said.

“It’s odd, because clearly supplying such kind of advanced weapons to Assad, in the middle of this brutal civil war, while he is slaughtering his own people… on a daily basis, this is some kind of encouragement, a kind of support to this brutal regime, that is totally wrong, also from a moral point of view.” Steinitz said. “One cannot understand and one cannot justify such a behavior.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon also spoke against the planned transfer of the advanced weapons to Damascus. “The missiles are a threat,” he said, adding that at the moment the deal was moving at a slow pace. He said he knew for a fact that the missile systems had not yet been delivered, and “let’s hope it doesn’t happen. But if it does, we’ll know what to do.”

Earlier this month, Netanyahu and officials including Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin flew to Russia to dissuade Putin from going ahead with the deal.

Ryabkov wouldn’t say whether Russia has shipped any of the long-range S-300 air defense missile systems, but added that Moscow isn’t going to abandon the deal despite strong Western and Israeli criticism.

Ryabkov’s statement came a day after the European Union’s decision to lift an arms embargo to the Syrian opposition.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5253

Pope Francis Says Atheists Who Do Good Are Redeemed, Not Just Catholics

Pope Francis rocked some religious and atheist minds today when he declared that everyone was redeemed through Jesus, including atheists.

During his homily at Wednesday Mass in Rome, Francis emphasized the importance of “doing good” as a principle that unites all humanity, and a “culture of encounter” to support peace.

Using scripture from the Gospel of Mark, Francis explained how upset Jesus’ disciples were that someone outside their group was doing good, according to a report from Vatican Radio.

“They complain,” the Pope said in his homily, because they say, “If he is not one of us, he cannot do good. If he is not of our party, he cannot do good.” And Jesus corrects them: “Do not hinder him, he says, let him do good.” The disciples, Pope Francis explains, “were a little intolerant,” closed off by the idea of ​​possessing the truth, convinced that “those who do not have the truth, cannot do good.” “This was wrong . . . Jesus broadens the horizon.” Pope Francis said, “The root of this possibility of doing good – that we all have – is in creation”

Pope Francis went further in his sermon to say:

“The Lord created us in His image and likeness, and we are the image of the Lord, and He does good and all of us have this commandment at heart: do good and do not do evil. All of us. ‘But, Father, this is not Catholic! He cannot do good.’ Yes, he can… “The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone!”.. We must meet one another doing good. ‘But I don’t believe, Father, I am an atheist!’ But do good: we will meet one another there.”

Responding to the leader of the Roman Catholic church’s homily, Father James Martin, S.J. wrote in an email to The Huffington Post:

“Pope Francis is saying, more clearly than ever before, that Christ offered himself as a sacrifice for everyone. That’s always been a Christian belief. You can find St. Paul saying in the First Letter to Timothy that Jesus gave himself as a “ransom for all.” But rarely do you hear it said by Catholics so forcefully, and with such evident joy. And in this era of religious controversies, it’s a timely reminder that God cannot be confined to our narrow categories.”

Of course, not all Christians believe that those who don’t believe will be redeemed, and the Pope’s words may spark memories of the deep divisions from the Protestant reformation over the belief in redemption through grace versus redemption through works.

The pope’s comment has also struck a chord on Reddit, where it is the second most-shared piece.

More from Reuters:

Atheists should be seen as good people if they do good, Pope Francis said on Wednesday in his latest urging that people of all religions – or no religion – work together.

The leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics made his comments in the homily of his morning Mass in his residence, a daily event where he speaks without prepared comments.

He told the story of a Catholic who asked a priest if even atheists had been redeemed by Jesus.

“Even them, everyone,” the pope answered, according to Vatican Radio. “We all have the duty to do good,” he said.

“Just do good and we’ll find a meeting point,” the pope said in a hypothetical conversation in which someone told a priest: “But I don’t believe. I’m an atheist.”

Francis’s reaching out to atheists and people who belong to no religion is a marked contrast to the attitude of former Pope Benedict, who sometimes left non-Catholics feeling that he saw them as second-class believers.

 

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Changing Before Our Eyes’: Israel Warns Of Potential ‘Surprise War’ With Surrounding Islamic Nations

Joel 3:11-12, “Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, And gather yourselves there. Bring down, O LORD, Your mighty ones. Let the nations be aroused And come up to the valley of Jehoshaphat, For there I will sit to judge All the surrounding nations.”

The Jerusalem Post – “The threat of a conflict suddenly erupting between Israel and its enemies is very real, Israel Air Force chief Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel warned on Wednesday.

The advanced S-300 Russian air defense system is ‘on the way to Syria,’ he added.

The IDF chief of staff, Lt.- Gen. Benny Gantz, echoed Eshel’s message. The chance of a multi-arena conflict breaking out are ‘substantial,’ he said.

Eshel, addressing a national security conference held by the Fisher Brothers Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies in Herzliya, said that ‘the Assad regime has invested much to achieve the best air defenses that it could buy,’ including the SA-17, SA-22, SA-24 and the S-300 platforms.

‘These systems are not only an operational threat.

They also lead to an increased sense of security that can lead states to do things they would not otherwise do. This is a totally different generation of weapons, which does not resemble anything in the past. But there’s no system that has no solution. The question is only the price,’ the air force commander said.

Syria is ‘changing before our eyes. If it collapses tomorrow, we could find its vast arsenal dispersed and pointed at us,’ he said.

The threat of a war erupting is ‘many times more relevant today. A surprise war could be born today in many forms. Lone incidents can escalate very quickly and obligate us to be prepared within hours to act to the edge of the spectrum… meaning using the full abilities of the Israel Air Force,’ Eshel said.

‘If during the Second Lebanon War [in 2006] we used only a small amount of these capabilities, in the next war we will have to give 100 percent so that our activities will be swift and very powerful,’ he warned.”

In a future war, the air force will pave a path for the ground forces by carrying out very heavy bombings that will make a ground offensive far easier and faster. The IAF must be the central component in ground maneuvers, and is spending a great deal of time preparing for this, he said.

Also on Wednesday, Gantz spoke to graduates of the IDF Command and Staff College, telling them that the military is at “a significant point on the axis of time, in light of the developing security threats and instability around us.”

The IDF is facing the substantial threat of a multi-arena conflict, he warned.

“We must work in a joined manner, coordinated, and with maximum efficiency to ensure our ability to win quickly in every confrontation, and to win every future war,” the chief of staff said.

Ground maneuvers remain “important and relevant” for the IDF’s ability to secure a victory, Gantz said, adding that “it’s clear that we must strengthen our ability for an offensive maneuver” that will be made up of components such as intelligence, firepower, logistics and teleprocessing.

These should ensure a flexible, swift, deadly ground maneuver, Gantz said.

On Tuesday, Gantz warned President Bashar Assad that he would “bear the consequences” if Syria escalated its attacks on the IDF on the Golan Heights.

The warning came hours after a Syrian army position opened fire on an IDF jeep, lightly damaging it. The IDF opened fire in response, destroying the Syrian position. Channel 2 said three Syrian soldiers were killed in the exchange.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry warned that Western governments are ready to increase support to Assad’s opponents if he rejects a political solution to Syria’s civil war.

Kerry said recent military gains by Assad’s forces were only temporary, and that if the Syrian leader believed the counteroffensives against the rebels would be decisive, “then he is miscalculating.”

Kerry was speaking in Amman before a meeting of the Friends of Syria group of nations – mainly Western and Arab opponents of Assad – trying to pave the way for a US-Russian proposed peace conference to end Syria’s twoyear conflict, in which more than 80,000 people have been killed.

The conference aims to build on last year’s international accord discussed in Geneva that set out plans for a transition of power in Syria but broke down over disagreements about Assad’s role.

“In the event that we can’t find that way forward, in the event that the Assad regime is unwilling to negotiate Geneva 1 in good faith, we will also talk about our continued support and growing support for the opposition, in order to permit them to continue to be able to fight for the freedom of their country,” Kerry told a news conference.

He said several thousand fighters from the Lebanese group Hezbollah were taking part in the Syrian conflict, with active Iranian support on the ground.

“Just last week, obviously, Hezbollah intervened very, very significantly,” Kerry said. “There are several thousands of Hezbollah militia forces on the ground in Syria who are contributing to this violence, and we condemn that.”

Also speaking at the Fisher Brothers Institute conference, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said that despite recent gains against the Syrian rebels by Assad and Hezbollah forces, the regime was in decline.

Assad is “losing Syria,” Ya’alon insisted. “Even if he is projecting confidence recently, this has no link to reality.

“There is a sense that he is charging ahead because of the Russian support, but [the civil war] is not over. It could end suddenly or continue for years as a bloody civil war.

“There are those who are trying to bring weapons systems into the area that are liable to harm our aerial and naval supremacy,” Ya’alon added, “and this must be prevented in a responsible and considered manner.”

He played down the prospect of anyone on the Syrian side starting a war with Israel, “because they understand the heavy price they would pay.”

Ya’alon said the Iranian threat remained number one, adding that Iran has a [military] corps in Lebanon, a corps in Syria, a corps in South America and more… To us it’s clear that for Iran to get nuclear weapons is a nightmare for the world. This has appeared on the global agenda today, but the leadership there [in Iran] is still not convinced that there is determination to go all the way.”

The Iranians believe Israel requires America’s green light to attack, while Hezbollah is preparing itself to respond if Iran is attacked, Ya’alon said.

“This is occurring without a nuclear umbrella. We must understand what would happen if there was such an umbrella, and we’ll do everything to make sure this won’t happen.”

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FOLLOWING IN ROME’S FOOTSTEPS

Robert Ringer

There has long been talk of America, like ancient Rome, destroying itself from within. Little wonder, considering that most Americans, like their Roman predecessors, show little concern for their country’s demise.

In addition, politicians and the media keep them distracted with a steady stream of manure-coated “news” – from the Benghazi cover-up to North Korea’s incessant huffing and puffing … from Fast and Furious to immigration “reform” (i.e., amnesty) … from the record Powerball lottery jackpot to the IRS’ targeting policies … the stream of manure-coated “news” has no end.

It’s true that every now and then we have a Pearl Harbor or 9/11, but in between, 99 percent of the stuff politicians and the media feed us is pure, unadulterated crap. And, make no mistake about it, the empty brain cavities wandering the streets of America are addicted to crap.

While these nonstop distractions have been going on for the past hundred years, America has continued to follow the paths taken by ancient Greece and Rome. By the standards of the day, Greek citizens once lived very well and enjoyed a great deal of freedom. Imagine the greatness of a republic that could produce the likes of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle? But today Greece, long ago stripped of its greatness, is pretty much a Third World country.

Rome, too, was a great republic. Roman citizenship was so prized that some people actually purchased it. But Rome allowed itself to become mired in politics and the allure of ever-higher taxes – which, as in America today, led to more and more government employees, ultimately reaching one-third of the adult population.

The result was a total collapse of the once great Roman Empire and the establishment of a dictatorship, which in turn led to the intellectual and economic decline of the Dark Ages. Imagine, nearly a thousand years of human stagnation brought about by coddled Roman citizens who chose security and a comfortable lifestyle over freedom. In the end, of course, they lost all three.

Right now, as a result of fake money, maxing out of our China credit card and massive redistribution-of-wealth policies, most Americans are still able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle and harbor a false sense of freedom and security. But thanks to our crumbling entitlement system and the advent of Obamacare, Americans, like the Romans before them, are on the verge of losing all three – freedom, security and a comfortable lifestyle.

History tells us that there is a natural evolution to democracies. In the early stages, people are hardworking, honest and independent. Paradoxically, these characteristics bring about prosperity, which tends to lead to decadence, laziness and dependence on government, which is a surefire formula for the emergence of a dictatorship.

The hard fact most people are unwilling to think about is that individual initiative and productivity are the keystones to freedom and prosperity. They cannot be replaced by collectivism or wealth transfer. On the contrary, the latter two will always destroy them.

Paper-tiger countries like North Korea and Iran are not threats to America. Nor are powerful countries like Russia and China. The threats from these countries are synthetically created by politicians and the media to distract Americans from the real enemy – themselves!

The greatest president of the last hundred years, Calvin Coolidge, summed up America’s true problems when he said:

“We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. It is on that side of life that it is desirable to put the emphasis at the present time. If that side is strengthened, the other side will take care of itself. It is that side which is the foundation of all else. If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand.”

Given that Coolidge spoke these words nearly a century ago, is it any wonder that America has finally succeeded in destroying itself? Our nation was fundamentally transformed long before the current presidential imposter was hustled into the White House by the media through a side door. Of course, America, as a nation, still exists, but its culture perished long ago.

Why did Americans abandon their puritanical ideals for lives of decadence and sloth? Why did they embrace a flawed system like socialism to replace individualism and self-sufficiency? Why did they allow the evolution of a complete role reversal whereby politicians are their masters?

The answers to these questions are to be found in Edward Gibbons’ 1787 classic, “The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” in which he sums up Rome’s demise:

  1. The      undermining of the dignity and sanctity of the home, which is the basis of      human society.
  2. Higher      and higher taxes and the spending of public monies for free bread and      circuses for the populace.
  3. The      mad craze for pleasure, sports becoming every year more and more exciting      and more brutal.
  4. The      building of gigantic armaments when the real enemy was within the      decadence of the people.
  5. The      decay of religion – faith fading into mere form, losing touch with life      and becoming impotent to warn and guide the people.

Is there any wonder why students of history have long compared America’s journey to the abyss to that of ancient Rome’s? Now, the question is, will our decline be the catalyst for a new dark ages? My guess is no, because other countries, most notably China and India, are moving toward becoming what we once were. The saving grace of modern civilization is that someone is always going in the right direction. Unfortunately for you and me, someone is always going in the wrong direction as well.

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