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Nigeria: Islam is on the Attack against Christians

John 16:2b, “… the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing a holy service for God.”

Matthew 10:22, “And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”

 “The Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram is allegedly planning to declare holy war on Southern Nigeria, where most Christians are concentrated, and might use food poisoning tactics to kill as many as possible, according to the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

‘We have information and documents to show that this is a Jihad being sponsored and we have our documents to show where they have dispatched 2,000 people to prepare for Jihad to South East, 2,500 to South-South and about 2,000 to South West,’ said Bishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, CAN Chairman and Anglican Bishop of Enugu Diocese.

The organization also warned that Boko Haram, responsible for killing hundreds of Christians since 2011 with church bombings and shootings, is planning to lace meat in these southern areas with poisonous powder. CAN specifically warned residents to be careful about eating suya, which is a shish kebab-type food that can be made with various types of meats.

According to a report from Vangard, Bishop Chukwuma said: ‘We are warning our people to be careful of suya because we have now heard that they will start poisoning people through suya. They know the suya they give themselves in the North and suya they give to the people in the South. So people should be careful of suya.

‘That is part of the information available to us now. There is a powder that is now being imported which they will spread on suya and after two weeks it will start eating your liver and other organs. We have gotten that information also.’

Boko Haram directly admitted in a recent statement to wanting to wipe out Christians from Nigeria and establish Islamist rule.”

Revelation 13:15, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.”

Acts 14:22b, “… ‘We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.’”

ICC – “International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that members of the Nigerian Islamic group, Boko Haram, plan to make the month of June ‘the bloodiest month yet’ in terms of attacks on Christians and promise more bloody attacks on Christians in the coming days.

The Islamists revealed their plan in their statement to Sahara Reporters, a New York based online news agency yesterday. In the past three weeks alone, more than 100 people have been killed in suicide bomb attacks by Boko Haram and the ensuing clashes between Christians and Muslims.

‘I can’t dismiss the rumor and I can’t 100 percent accept that it will happen. But because of the trend of events, there is every possibility that something like that will happen,’ said Rev. Lawi P. Pokti in an interview with ICC. Rev. Pokti is the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Bauchi state.

‘We should pray and watch. We should also remember that Jesus said in the world there is tribulation but with Him there is peace,’ said Rev. Pokti in his message to Christians in Nigeria.

Addressing the Nigerian security officials, Rev. Pokti said, ‘My message for Nigerian security is that they are called to serve the Nigerian nation so they should do it without religious bias. They should defend the nation irrespective of one’s religion so that peace will prevail in the nation.’

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Jonathan Racho, said, ‘This latest threat by Boko Haram to mass murder Christians is extremely alarming. The Nigerian government has utterly failed to protect its citizens from attacks by Boko Haram. It has been years since Boko Haram declared war against unarmed Christians. Where is the Nigerian government when the country is descending into a devastating civil war? It is high time for Nigeria to deploy all its military forces to crush Boko Haram. Boko Haram must be destroyed before it is allowed to destroy Nigeria. We also call upon our supporters to call Nigerian government officials and strongly urge them to prevent the attacks by Boko Haram.’

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3678

Russia, China, Iran plan to stage in Syria “biggest Mid East maneuver”

 

Middle East military tensions around Syria shot up again Monday, June 18, with the news reported by the semi-official Iranian news agency Fars that a joint Russian-Chinese-Iranian exercise is to take place in Syria.

It was described as “the biggest of its kind ever staged in the Middle East” with 90,000 personnel, 400 air planes and 900 tanks taking part.
As part of its preparations, Beijing is reported to have asked Egyptian authorities to permit the passage through the Suez Canal in late June of 12 naval ships heading for the Syrian port of Tartus, where Moscow maintains a naval and marine base. debkafile reported earlier this week that Russian naval vessels with marines on board were heading for Tartus. The Iranian media did not itemize their contribution to the joint exercise.
debkafile stresses that this would be the first time that substantial Russian and Chinese military strength has ever been deployed in Syria or anywhere else in the Middle East. It means that the two powers are prepared to parade their unabashed partnership with the Iranian and Syrian armies for the shared purpose of obstructing US-European-Arab military intervention in Syria. A large-scale Russian and Chinese military presence in the embattled country would expect to deter the United States from leading a military operation against Bashar Assad and his regime.
No date was attached to the report but the exercise may possibly take place before the end of the month

The large-scale maneuver was announced in Tehran on the first day of the nuclear crisis talks in Moscow between Iran and the six world powers, their third attempt to resolve the crisis by diplomacy. However, Russian and Iranian sources close to the talks were pessimistic about progress. An Iranian delegation member complained the atmosphere was harsh and unconstructive. A Russian source saw no way of bridging US-led Western differences with Tehran when the parties reconvene Monday.
debkafile also notes that the big joint Russian-Chinese-Iranian exercise “at sea, air and land on Syrian soil,” ws released for publication shortly before US President Barack Obama was due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G-20 summit in Mexico.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3674

Church in the End Times: Apostasy and Cultism

I am attaching a great article by Dr. David Reagan from Lamb and Lion ministries. We are the Last Days church. Part is Philadelphia and the other is Laodecia. Enjoy!

There is much talk going around these days about how unified, triumphant and glorious the Church will be in the end times right before the return of Jesus. This pollyanna image of the Church is certainly attractive, but it does not correspond with what the Bible prophesies.

 Apostasy

 The picture of the Church in the end times that is portrayed in the Bible is not a very pretty one. For one thing, the Bible prophecies that the Church will be racked by apostasy. Jesus prophesied that “many will fall away” (Matt. 24:10). Likewise, Paul said the Anti-Christ cannot be revealed until “the great apostasy” takes place (II Thess. 2:3).

 Paul reveals the source of the apostasy in II Timothy 3:5 — “Men will hold to form of religion but will deny its power.” The fulfillment of this prophecy began in the 1920’s with the ascendancy of the German School of Higher Criticism. This school of thought, which quickly swept American seminaries, advocated that the Bible should be approached like any other piece of literature — with a critical eye. The concepts of the special inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible were rejected. The Bible came to be viewed as Man’s search for God rather than God’s revelation to Man. As a human product, it was considered to be full of myth, legend, and superstition.

 This assault on the integrity of God’s Word opened the floodgates of apostasy. Before long Christian theologians and ministers were laughing about the virgin birth of Jesus, discounting His miracles, casting doubt on His resurrection, and flatly denying His second coming.

 As the uniqueness of Jesus was downplayed, many denominations began to embrace the damnable doctrine of Universalism. And that is where we are today, caught up in the midst of a gross apostasy which says, “Believe what you want. The important thing is to be sincere. There are many roads to God.” All of which makes a liar of Jesus who said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:16). The result is that there are a lot of sincere people who are sincerely going to Hell.

 Cultism

 A second set of prophecies warn that the Church will be assaulted by cultic deception in the end times. Jesus emphasized this point repeatedly in His Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24:5, 11 & 24). And Paul underlined it in the strongest possible language when he wrote: “The Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons” (I Tim. 4:1).

 The fulfillment of these prophecies began in the 19th Century with the rise of Mormonism and its demonic teaching that Jesus is the brother of Lucifer, one of thousands of Gods created by the super god, Adam, an exalted man. The Jehovah’s Witnesses were next on the scene with their perverted teaching that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.

 This century has witnessed the rapid multiplication of the cults, just as prophesied. Today, lifelong Christians who do not know why they believe what they profess to believe are being sucked into the cults by the tens of thousands.

 Equally appalling is the direct penetration of the Church by cultic doctrine. Well known Christian leaders are advocating the ancient Shamanistic practice of visualization as the key to prayer. Others are teaching one of Satan’s oldest lies — that those who have been born again are “little gods.”

 The latest cultic fad is the concept of Satanic salvation; namely, that we do not owe our salvation to the blood Jesus shed on the Cross but rather to some imaginary torment which He suffered at the hands of Satan for three days in Hell. And then, of course, there is Masonry, the oldest form of cultic penetration of the Church, with its secret blood oaths, its works salvation, and its Universalism.

 The degree of cultic penetration into the Church is perhaps best illustrated by two recent events.

 Church in the End Times: Confusion and Worldliness

 Confusion

 A third group of prophecies indicate that in the end times the Church will be assailed by doctrinal error. These are doctrines that do not damn the soul but which confuse and weaken the spirit.

 In II Timothy 4:3-4, Paul says: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.” There are many popular myths in Christendom today that either rob people of the power of their faith or else deceive them into practicing a presumptuous faith.

 The winds of doctrine (Eph. 4:14) are blowing through the Church at gale force and believers are being tossed here and there by the waves, all in the fulfillment of prophecy.

 Worldliness

 A fourth characteristic prophesied about the Church in the end times is that it will be compromised and corrupted by worldliness. The prophetic picture of this worldly church is found in Revelation 3:14-22, where the church at Laodicea is described.

 The seven churches depicted in Revelation 2 and 3 are symbolic of seven periods of church history. The church at Laodicea, the last to be presented, is representative of the type of church that will prevail in Christendom at the end of the Church Age.

 The picture is a pathetic one. The Church is apathetic, neither hot nor cold. The apathy is a product of the Church’s adoption of a worldly attitude expressed in the words, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing.” Jesus responds with a scathing rebuke: “You do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

 In fulfillment of this prophecy, our churches today are filled with cultural Christians who have accepted Jesus as Savior but not as Lord. They are schizophrenic Christians who walk with one foot in the Church and the other in the world. They are carnal Christians who shout “Hallelujah!” on the weekend but who live like pagans during the week. They are greedy Christians in pursuit of health, wealth, and power. The Cross and its message of sacrifice is as offensive to them as it is to the world.

 Judgment

 Because of the apostasy, heresy, cultism, and worldliness that the Bible says will characterize the end time Church, the Bible prophesies that the Church will come under judgment. In Revelation 3:19 Jesus says to the church at Laodicea, “Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline.”

 The glitzy, overindulgent church of the last few decades is now tasting the judgment of God. Sin is being exposed. Religious empires are being dismantled. The Lord is calling us from the Cadillac to the Cross. Through discipline, the Spirit is motivating us to humility, righteousness and holiness.

 Judgment has begun in the House of the Lord, where it always begins (Ezek. 9:6 and I Peter 4:17). The Lord is disciplining His Church as a prelude to the pouring out of His wrath upon the world.

 Church in the End Times: Hope and Exhortation

 The Latter Rain

 Is there any good news about the Church in prophecy? Yes, there is. The incredibly good news is that the Bible prophesies a great pouring out of God’s Spirit in the end times to empower those who are receptive to stand against the onslaught of Satan.

 The prophecy is found in Joel 2:28-30. Because this prophecy was quoted by Peter in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost to explain the phenomenon of tongues (Acts 2:14-21), many have assumed that it was fulfilled on that day. That assumption is erroneous.

 The context before the passage (verses 18-27) makes it clear that there will be two outpourings of the Spirit (the “early and latter rain”) and that the final outpouring will occur after the Jews are regathered to their land and re-established as a nation. Also, the context after the passage (verses 31 & 32) indicates clearly that the ultimate fulfillment of the prophecy will occur at the time of the Second Coming.

 We have been in the period of the “latter rain” ever since the re-establishment of the state of Israel on May 14, 1948. The Spirit is being poured out, and the gifts of the spirit are being manifest in a way unparalleled since the First Century. The praise and worship of the Tabernacle of David are also being restored to the Church to further empower it for spiritual warfare.

 This great anointing of the Spirit is producing a remnant that is immersed in the Word, committed to righteousness, crucified to self, dedicate to prayer, surrendered in worship, zealous for evangelism and yearning for the soon return of Jesus. It is this remnant that will usher in the Lord’s return on a cloud of praise.

  A Modern Day Prophecy Concerning the Church

 Printed below is an excerpt from a prophecy given by the late Stanley Frodsham, former editor of the Pentecostal Evangel. The prophecy was delivered at the Elim Bible Institute Summer Camp Meeting in 1965.

 “When I visit My people in mighty revival power, it is to prepare them for the darkness ahead…Take heed to yourselves lest you be puffed up and think that you have arrived. Many shall be puffed up as in the olden days…

 Listen to the messengers, but do not hold men’s persons in admiration. For many whom I shall anoint mightily, with signs and miracles, shall become lifted up and shall fall by the wayside. I do not do this willingly; I have made provision that they might stand. I call many into this ministry and equip them; but remember that many shall fall. They shall be like bright lights, and people shall delight in them. But they shall be taken over by deceiving spirits and shall lead many of My people away.

 Hearken diligently concerning these things, for in the last days shall come seducing spirits that shall turn many of My anointed ones away. Many shall fall through divers lusts and because of sin abounding…

 I warn you to search the Scriptures diligently concerning these last days, for the things that are written shall indeed be made manifest. There shall come deceivers among My people in increasing numbers who shall speak for the truth and shall gain the favor of the people. For the people shall examine the Scriptures and say, ‘What these men say is true.’ Then when they have gained the hearts of the people, then and then only shall they bring out these wrong doctrines. Therefore, I say that you should not give your hearts to men, nor hold people’s persons in admiration. For by these very persons shall Satan enter into My people. Watch for seducers!

 Be not deceived, for the deceiver will first work to gain the hearts of many, and then he shall bring forth his insidious doctrines. You cannot discern those that are of Me and those that are not of Me when they start to preach. But seek Me constantly, and then when these doctrines are brought out you shall have a witness in your heart that these are not of Me.

 The minister of righteousness shall be on this wise: his life shall agree with the word and his lips shall give forth that which is wholly true, and it will be no mixture. When the mixture appears, then you will know he is not a minister of righteousness. The deceivers speak first the truth and then error to cover their own sins which they love…

 I desire you to be firmly established in My Word and not in the personalities of men that you will not be moved as so many shall be moved… Diligently inquire of Me when you hear something that you have not seen in the Word, and do not hold people’s persons in admiration, for it is by this very method that Satan will destroy many of My people.”

 An interesting thing about this prophecy is that it was published in Jimmy Swaggart’s magazine, The Evangelist, in October 1987. Later on, the problems encountered in his life and ministries were to serve as a partial fulfillment of the prophecy.

 The message is clear. We must all be on guard spiritually. None of us is immune to deception. Everything must be tested by the Word. If a doctrine fails the test of Scripture, it is to be rejected, regardless of who is teaching it. Our trust is to be placed in the Word and not in men.

 We must stop chasing after men and miracles. A fixation on either will result in deception. False teachers can appear as angels of light. Miracles can be performed by the power of Satan. Our eyes are to be fixed on Jesus, and Him only. Our authority in all things is to be His Word.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3668

DISTRACTIONS IN THE HOLY PLACE

DISTRACTIONS IN THE   HOLY PLACE

by David   Wilkerson | June 14, 2012

[May 19, 1931 –   April 27, 2011]

 

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“Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:7-8)

I want to talk to you about mental distractions during prayer and worship, especially in the house of God. Jesus called people hypocrites who came into His presence mouthing words of praise, but whose minds and hearts were preoccupied. He spoke directly to them, saying, “You give Me your mouth and your lips but your mind is somewhere else. Your heart is nowhere near Me!”

What about you? Most likely, you are present in God’s house for an hour every week. Your body is in church but where is your mind? Your mouth says, “I worship You, Lord,” but is your heart a thousand miles away? Where do your thoughts take you during worship and praise?

Do you become preoccupied with family concerns or a business matter that’s been hounding you? How distracted do you get during that hour in church as the congregation draws near to God’s majesty?

It is dangerous to come into God’s house and enter into His presence lightly. “Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified” (Leviticus 10:3). The Lord said to Aaron, “I will not be treated as an ordinary person. If you’re going to come into My presence, you must come before Me sanctified. All who approach My holiness must do so with carefulness and thoughtfulness because of My glory and majesty.”

If your heart is not engaged during worship and your thoughts are not captive to the obedience of Christ, you might as well put a straw man in your seat. At least that is more honest than coming into God’s house with no mind and no heart.

The reason many Christians do not worship with power, excitement and zeal is because they have no intimacy with Jesus at home. Those who have learned to worship and focus privately bring their own fire — a fire ignited in the secret closet of prayer. True worshipers can’t wait to get to church to praise the Lord among His people.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3665

Israel Is In Secret Talks with the Vatican Over Jerusalem: Prophetic?

A special meeting was held at the Pope’s palace in Rome on Tuesday, attended by delegations from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Vatican. During the meeting, the sides discussed some of the unresolved issues between them.

At the conclusion of the meeting, which was led by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the Foreign Ministry released a statement saying, “The talks took place in an open, balanced and constructive environment, during which significant progress was made towards an agreement.”

There have been disagreements between the Vatican and Israel on several economic issues and on the status of the Church and priests in Israel. Among the economic issues for which a solution has yet to be found is the question of property tax of churches and land owned by the Church, especially around the Kinneret, the tax status of churches and more?

Another controversial issue between the two sides is the Vatican’s request that Israel give it sovereignty over King David’s Tomb in Jerusalem. The Catholic Church has claimed ownership of a room in the compound, in which it says the “Last Supper” occurred. Ayalon has promised in the past he would defend Israel’s sovereignty there.

Bahij Mansour, director of the department for religious affairs in the Foreign Ministry who has been responsible for the talks with the Vatican for the past two years, confirmed in a conversation with Arutz Sheva on Tuesday that the two sides are nearing an agreement. He added, however, that for the time being the parties have agreed not to make public any information regarding the understandings reached.

Asked by Arutz Sheva whether the issue of King David’s Tomb would be included in the agreement, the Foreign Ministry said that the issue will indeed be included but would not reveal exact details.

“The details do not matter at the moment, but the subject of the room of the Last Supper will be included in the agreements,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Mansour told Arutz Sheva that both sides made gestures and concessions in order to reach an agreement.

“At this time there are almost no differences. There was great openness between the parties and we are ahead of signing an agreement,” he said, adding that the sides will meet again in six months.

In a speech in the Knesset a few weeks ago, Ayalon said that Israel does not intend to give up its sovereignty over King David’s Tomb. His remarks came in response to a question by Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev, who said that the Foreign Ministry is holding talks over giving up its sovereignty. Ayalon, in turn, said this “never happened,” but agreed to a request by Ze’ev to bring the issue up for discussion in one of the Knesset’s committees.

Ze’ev told Arutz Sheva on Tuesday he knows for a fact that there are indeed negotiations over the Vatican’s demands for sovereignty of King David’s Tomb, despite the fact that historians and archaeologists have stated that without any doubt, there is no evidence to suggest that the compound was in place 2,000 years ago or even half that time, a fact that nullifies the Church’s claims.

Ze’ev said that he believes the Church would allow the State to nationalize some of the land it owns around the Kinneret in exchange for obtaining sovereignty of the compound in question. It is not known how accurate Ze’ev’s claims are since, for the time being, both parties are being careful not to disclose any information regarding the agreement being worked out.

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3661

Greatest Church Soon To Be Mega Mosque?

 

Though ostensibly dealing with a building, a recent report demonstrates how Turkey’s populace—once deemed the most secular and liberal in the Muslim world—is reverting to its Islamic heritage, complete with animosity for the infidel West and dreams of Islam’s glory days of jihad and conquest.  According to Reuters:

Thousands of devout Muslims prayed outside Turkey’s historic Hagia Sophia museum on Saturday [May 23] to protest a 1934 law that bars religious services at the former church and mosque.    Worshippers shouted, “Break the chains, let Hagia Sophia Mosque open,” and “God is great” [the notorious “Allahu Akbar”] before kneeling in prayer as tourists looked on.  Turkey’s secular laws prevent Muslims and Christians from formal worship within the 6th-century monument, the world’s greatest cathedral for almost a millennium before invading Ottomans converted it into a mosque in the 15th century.

In fact, Hagia Sophia—Greek for “Holy Wisdom”—was Christendom’s greatest cathedral.  Built in Constantinople, the heart of the Christian empire, it was also a stalwart symbol of defiance against an ever encroaching Islam from the east.  After parrying centuries of jihadi thrusts, Constantinople was finally sacked by Ottoman Turks in 1453.  Its crosses desecrated and icons defaced, Hagia Sophia—as well as thousands of other churches—was immediately converted into a mosque, the tall minarets of Islam surrounding it in triumph.  Then, after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, as part of several reforms, Ataturk transformed Hagia Sophia into a “neutral” museum in 1934—a gesture of goodwill to the then triumphant West from a then crestfallen Turkey.

Even though Hagia Sophia is a Christian center under Islamic domination, several Christian authorities are content seeing it remain a museum, including the Ecumenical Patriarchate, spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians: “We want it to remain a museum in line with the Republic of Turkey’s principles.  If it were to become a mosque, Christians wouldn’t be able to pray there, and if it became a church it would be chaos.”

True enough; one need only recall how back in 2006, when Pope Benedict was scheduled to visit Hagia Sophia, Muslims were outraged.  Then, Turkey’s independent paper Vatan wrote: “The risk is that Benedict will send Turkey’s Muslims and much of the Islamic world into paroxysms of fury if there is any perception that the Pope is trying to re-appropriate a Christian center that fell to Muslims.” Before the Pope’s visit, a gang of Turks stormed and occupied Hagia Sophia, screaming “Allahu Akbar!” and warning “Pope! Don’t make a mistake; don’t wear out our patience.” On the day of the Pope’s visit, another throng of Islamists waved banners saying “Pope get out of Turkey” while chanting Hagia Sophia “is Turkish and will remain Turkish.”

All this is yet another reminder of the Islamic world’s double standards: when Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories, such as Constantinople and its churches—through fire and steel, with all the attendant human suffering and misery—the descendents of those conquered are not to expect any apologies or concessions.  However, once the same Muslims who would never concede one inch of Islam’s conquests are on the short end of the stick—Palestinians vis-à-vis Israel, for example—then they resort to the United Nations and the court of public opinion, demanding justice, restitutions, rights, and so forth.  (See this 2006 LA Times Op-Ed for more on this theme.)

Even in the brief Reuter’s report, evidence of such “passive-aggressive” behavior emerges.  First, this is not about Muslims wanting to pray; it’s about Muslims wanting to revel in the glory days of Islamic jihad and conquest: Muslims “staged the prayers ahead of celebrations next week marking the 559th anniversary of the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet’s conquest of Byzantine Constantinople. According to Salih Turhan, a spokesman quoted by Reuters, “As the grandchildren of Mehmet the Conqueror, seeking the re-opening Hagia Sophia as a mosque is our legitimate right.”

Sultan Mehmet was the scourge of European Christendom, whose Islamic hordes seized and ravished Constantinople, forcibly turning it Islamic.  Openly idolizing him, as many Turks do, is tantamount to their saying “We are proud of our ancestors who killed and stole the lands of Christians.” And yet, despite such militant overtones, Turhan, whose position is echoed by many Turks, still manages to blame the West:  “Keeping Hagia Sophia Mosque closed is an insult to our mostly Muslim population of 75 million. It symbolizes our ill-treatment by the West.”

If merely keeping a historically Christian/Western building—that was stolen by Islamic jihad—as a neutral museum is seen as “ill-treatment by the West,” on what basis can Muslims and non-Muslims ever “dialogue”?

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3645

CHARIOTS IN RED SEA: ‘IRREFUTABLE EVIDENCE’

Chariots in Red Sea: ‘Irrefutable evidence’

‘Horse and human remains strewn like battlefield wreckage’

Published: 15 hours ago

by Joe Kovacs

Coral-encrusted object in Red Sea could be ancient Egyptian chariot wheels

A news report that stunned the world nine years ago about the discovery of possible ancient chariot wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea is suddenly gaining fresh attention with new video claiming “irrefutable evidence” that corroborates the find.

In June 2003, WND interviewed Bible enthusiasts who dove the waters of the Red Sea, alleging they found and photographed parts of chariots that may be the actual remains of the catastrophe brought upon the Egyptian army which pursued the Israelites, according to the Book of Exodus in the Bible.

“I am 99.9 percent sure I picked up a chariot wheel,” said Peter Elmer, a forklift mechanic from Keynsham, England, who made two diving trips to the Gulf of Aqaba branch of the sea. “It was covered in coral.”

“I believe I actually sat in an ancient chariot cab,” he told WND at the time, referring to his time exploring a submerged item in the underwater junkyard. “Without question, it is most definitely the remains of the Egyptian army.”

Now, Michael Rood, a Hebrew-roots teacher, has produced a video proffering evidence Elmer is absolutely correct.

His DVD, titled “The Red Sea Crossing,” documents the work of numerous researchers from the U.S. and overseas who have probed an underwater land bridge between a beachhead at Nuweiba, Egypt, and what is today Saudi Arabia.

“What they found strewn across the bottom of the reed sea has shaken the religious and scientific community,” says Rood. “Cameras, mounted on remote-controlled submarines, revealed coral-encrusted chariot parts, horse and human remains strewn like battlefield wreckage on the bottom of the reed sea.”

He uses the term “reed sea” instead of Red Sea, as that’s the literal translation of the words “yam suph” in Holy Scripture, referring to the body of water God miraculously opened for the ancient Israelites to cross on dry land, before drowning the Egyptians in hot pursuit.

“Even a novice can readily see that these are not natural coral formations,” Rood said, showing a variety of circular shapes he insists are chariot wheels, some with axles still intact.

He gave special attention to a single gold-veneered, four-spoked chariot wheel that was photographed and buried in place with a marker buoy nearby.

“Because coral does not attach to gold or silver, this priceless specimen remains untarnished by time,” he said, calling it “strong evidence that this is actually one of the two chariot wheels that the pharaoh rode to his death.”

Rood also explained giant pillars have been found on both sides of the crossing to mark the event. One was discovered eroded on the Egyptian shore by the late American archaeologist Ron Wyatt. Later, another was located on the Arabian side with “the legible remains of ancient paleo-Hebrew inscriptions.”

He says the words for pharaoh, death, Egypt, King Solomon and the sacred name of God, YHWH, are all present on the second pillar.

“King Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, knew exactly where the children of Israel made their escape just 500 years before, and so he established pillars to memorialize the yam suph crossing,” said Rood.

He points out the depth of water of would make it impossible for a crossing to have taken place anywhere with the exception of the shallow land bridge at Nuweiba.

“If the water were to be removed, it would still be impossible to cross this chasm which is as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon in Arizona,” Rood said.

“But,” he added, “at the beach where Israel camped, an underwater land bridge gently slopes at a 6-degree angle, levels out at about 900 feet, and then gradually rises to meet the western shore of Midian.”

For hundreds of years, many have been under the impression that Mount Sinai, the place at which Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, was located on the Sinai peninsula of Egypt. It was Helena, the mother of 4th century Roman emperor Constantine, who made the declaration of its position when she established two churches there.

But if Rood and the other researchers are correct, the real Mount Sinai is actually in Arabia on the eastern side of the Gulf of Aqaba. The New Testament apostle Paul even refers to “Mount Sinai in Arabia” in Galatians 4:25.

“What is so difficult about determining the body of water that Moshe (Moses) crossed?” asks Rood.

“The Bible gives us just one choice, and this is it! I know that Constantine would have you dismembered for implying that his mother picked out the wrong site for Mount Sinai. But Constantine is dead! And so are the traditions that have enslaved our minds to such idiocy that we cannot even read the plain text of the Bible and think for ourselves.”

A well-known Swedish scientist who is among the Red Sea researchers believes the waters of Aqaba were indeed split supernaturally.

Lennart Moller of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm told WND there are no natural, scientific explanations for the parting miracle described in Scripture.

“The wind did not separate the water,” he said. “No person could be in that wind and survive. … If God has created all the Earth, it’s no problem for Him to separate the water for a while.”

Rood says for many people, finding the genuine crossing site is bad news because, “Blissful ignorance has died, and you recognize that the Creator has revealed himself through His people and His prophets. But this is good news to those who truly believe in the God of Israel and obey His commandments.

“Here on the bottom of the [reed sea] rests the evidence that the Creator has acted on behalf of His people in the past, proof that you can count on His promise that in the last days, He will perform a miracle that will make the parting of the reed sea pale by comparison.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3635

Sounds out of Heaven?

Interesting phenomena is happening across the globe as mysterious noises are occurring and happening. The sounds are authentic and are not a fake. Gary Stearman from Prophecy in the News writes this great article! Keep looking up!

Sounds Out of Heaven?

By Gary Stearman on June 1, 2012

Among the many strange phenomena we’re watching, a new development has emerged. There is a mystery afoot. Around the world, people have begun to hear strange sounds … bone-chilling, unexplainable, echoing, resonating, harmonic, crashing, metallic clamoring racket. It has forced many to think again about the coming apocalypse.

All over the world, people are experiencing strange music and noise from the earth and the firmament above. Sometimes, it comes from the sky as droning trumpets that sound notes in the lower to middle registers, but are nevertheless musical in nature. Invariably, as they moan out their somber blasts, people are swept into a state of emotion. Some reports have them thinking of the end of the world … Judgment Day! Others tell of various listeners swept into a state of foreboding.

That’s not all.There are growing numbers of reports on sounds of an entirely different type. These are explosions that come without any warning, are heard for a few days, then fall silent once again. Sometimes, they appear to come from underground. Often, they seem to come from just outside a living room or bedroom wall … reported to resemble the sound that might result from the head-on crash of two speeding locomotives. They come at so high a volume that they should be heard over long distances. But this is not always the case. Furthermore, though unbelievably loud to the immediate hearers they seldom, if ever, register traces on local seismographs.

Imagine a thud, a roar and the clanking of metal at unbelievably high volume. Residents rush outside, but discover nothing out of the ordinary, nothing at all.

This is an emerging mystery. But it is far more than a simple mystery; it portends a threat of some sort. Aerial trumpets remind one of nothing quite so much as the sound of war. The trumpet, after all, has long been the sound that moves armies into battle. The shofar is the biblical call to judgment each year at Rosh HaShanah. And devastating explosions are, of course, the very essence of battle.

All the mysterious sounds have one thing in common: Sooner or later, listeners report that they find themselves contemplating things supernatural.

This isn’t the first time that such sounds have been heard. Particularly in the last three decades of the nineteenth century, strange sounds were reported in the heavens, ranging from explosions to metallic clanging and even “harplike” sounds.

In the current wave, some percipients have reported what sounds like the jumbled voices and music of a distant radio or television set. To date, scientists theorize about “distant sounds,” that might somehow be transported to faraway locations due to unusual meteorological conditions.

But what about aerial harps … or the continuous droning of trumpets? That, of course, would require conditions not known to exist. Nor are there any substantiating seismic events, explosions or head-on collisions. The sounds seem to come out of nowhere.

Trumpet Chorus of Kiev

The trumpets first gained attention on August 11th, 2011, when a video from the apartment district of Kiev, Ukraine, was uploaded to the popular website, YouTube. It was a home video 11 minutes and 28 seconds long, showing the city and the sky. As the camera vainly searched for a source, an eerie trumpet ensemble moaned and blasted an inscrutable message. Its notes range from baritone to bass, repeated in a sighing chorus. It echoed throughout the landscape in a way that suggested origination high above the Earth’s surface. Absolutely nothing was observed at any time as the source of the bizarre sounds. As might be expected, the sounds quickly caught the public imagination. Phrases like “end of the world,” “Judgment Day” and “the Apocalypse” were quickly heard. Many were reminded of the Seven Trumpets of Revelation, saying that they had never been so frightened in their lives.

Throughout Eastern Europe, similar sounds began to be heard. After that, a week or so later, the western hemisphere began to take part in the chorus. On January 12th, 2012, the sounds were recorded in central Chili. They seemed to play variations on the calls made by the first trumpets.

On January 19th, in Olive Branch, Mississippi, newspaper delivery man William Wilson Smith heard what he called a “chorus of trumpets” that seemed to come from every direction, and to consist of “6 or 7 frequencies.” As a part-time audio engineer, he marvelled at their preternatural quality. Like many others, he couldn’t help feeling that Judgment Day had arrived, or that Gabriel was blowing his legendary horn, even though that precise expression doesn’t occur in Scripture. He remarked that the sounds had made him review his lifestyle.

Then, on Sunday evening, January 22nd, another video surfaced on YouTube, again featuring the mysterious baleful, droning trumpets, this time in the city of Mönchengladbach, Germany. As a young couple playfully took videos of their dog in their living room, they heard the sounds and finally followed them outdoors, after first believing that they were vibrating pipes in the walls. The trumpets were both loud and completely out of the ordinary. Most importantly, the video showed all the signs of being absolutely authentic.

This is very significant, because when any phenomenon goes viral on YouTube, there are instant imitative hoaxes launched by attention seekers. Predictably, these were soon being launched by the dozens. Legitimate recordings of the trumpets were dubbed into faked scenarios by would-be video stars, taking advantage of the natural curiosity that emanates from the strange phenomenon. But serious observers could discern the authentic originals.

Then the phenomenon seemed to move westward into various parts of Canada and the northwestern United States. Canadian lumberjacks and urban residents of Vancouver recorded them, as did citizens in Washington and Oregon.

Still, authentic recordings continued to come from Czechoslovakia, Hungary and other European locations, including England. They were all variations of the original strange trumpets. This latter point is important, because for a time, the fake recordings seemed to outnumber the originals. Then, normal, everyday citizens living in a variety of locations recorded several additional choruses of horns, each emanating slightly different musical patterns. They lived in a variety of locations, including Topeka, Kansas and Los Angeles, California.

That, however, was only the beginning. The trumpet choruses began to be blended with other strange sounds, including several reports of mingled conversation and metallic noises, resembling television sets being run at high volume, yet at a great distance. Voices and music could be heard, but not distinguished clearly.

Big Bangs Everywhere

Finally, and continuing at this writing, a new series of spectacular sounds came into being. It consists of loud bangs, booms and explosions. Some are dull thuds; some are tympanic resonations, others are metallic crashes described as sounding exactly like two cars, trucks or even trains colliding head-on.

On March 6th, southeastern Georgia and Birmingham, Alabama residents heard these sounds. No cause was found. March 15th, witnessed another series of loud, crashing sounds. Then they blasted Montello, Wicsonsin.

On March 18th, the city of Clintonville, Wisconsin made the national news when a series of booms with metallic, clanging overtones began to be heard by most of its population. The whole city was upset, as municipal workers scoured the water, sewer and gas systems. All was found to be in perfect condition. Experts were puzzled, then frustrated as all their investigations showed nothing out of order, in spite of the extreme intensity of the sounds.

On March 19th, emergency crews were summoned again as a new round of percussive sounds plagued the city. The booming, clanging sounds took place in the early morning hours, then ceased at daybreak, leaving everyone puzzled. The mystery of these sounds deepened further, when it was discovered that seismic readings remained normal in the area. National media featured their experiences on the evening news. For two weeks, the little town was torn apart by the sounds. Every professional assessment was summarily dismissed for lack of evidence. Earthquakes were eliminated as a cause.

One thing is certain, there is a uniform belief among those who experience the strange hums, choruses and blasts, that they portend some great disaster that is about to befall them. Is there any precedent for such strange happenings? Are people right to expect that these sounds carry a message?

Heavenly Battles

More to the point, can we expect heavenly sounds of various kinds as we approach the day when the Lord finally judges this world? The answer from Scripture comes in a remarkable series of decisive historical events. A good example is found in David’s significant victory over the Philistines:

And the Philistines yet again spread themselves abroad in the valley. Therefore David inquired again of God; and God said unto him, Go not up after them; turn away from them, and come upon them over against the mulberry trees. And it shall be, when thou shalt hear a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt go out to battle: for God is gone forth before thee to smite the host of the Philistines. David therefore did as God commanded him: and they smote the host of the Philistines from Gibeon even to Gazer” (I Chr. 14:13-16).

Actually, both Scripture and history are replete with examples of the Lord’s voice being associated with judgment. The prophet Jeremiah spoke about a classic “Day of the Lord” prophecy. Here, in no uncertain terms, we find supernatural sounds from on high associated with the Lord’s judgment:

“For, lo, I begin to bring evil on the city which is called by my name, and should ye be utterly unpunished? Ye shall not be unpunished: for I will call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, saith the LORD of hosts. Therefore prophesy thou against them all these words, and say unto them, The LORD shall roar from on high, and utter his voice from his holy habitation; he shall mightily roar upon his habitation; he shall give a shout, as they that tread the grapes, against all the inhabitants of the earth. A noise shall come even to the ends of the earth; for the LORD hath a controversy with the nations, he will plead with all flesh; he will give them that are wicked to the sword, saith the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the LORD shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other endoftheearth:theyshallnotbelamented, neither gathered, nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground” (Jer. 25:29-33).

Given the example of these verses, those who have recently been driven to frightened self-examination have had every reason to do so. When God moves in judgment, it is apparently an acoustic event of fearful proportions.

The Law and the Temple

And so it has been from ancient days. At the giving of the Law, the Lord came down upon the top of Mt. Horeb. The gravity of the event is recorded forever, characterizing the voice of the Lord as a gigantic trumpet:

There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said unto the people, Be ready against the third day: come not at your wives. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice” (Ex. 19:13-19).

Fourteen hundred years later, in the first century, the historian Flavius Josephus wrote of many supernatural disturbances that took place around the time that the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in AD 70. A “star resembling a sword” was seen over Jerusalem. It remained in the sky for an entire year.

About a week before Passover, a brilliant light shone down upon the Temple Mount, making it as bright as day. The Temple’s huge inner eastern gate, so heavy that it took twenty men to move them, opened of its own accord. Following Passover, the following event was noted:

“Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one-and-twentieth day of the month Artemisius [Iyar], a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appears; I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not the events that followed it of so considerable nature as to deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into the inner court of the

temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said, that, in the first place, they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, ‘Let us remove hence.’” [Josephus, Wars of the Jews Book VI., v., 2]

In this quote of a famous passage, Josephus reported what we would interpret as angelic activity taking place at the destruction of the Temple. Note that these strange events feature an unusual star and soldiers running to battle in their chariots. One can only imagine the sounds that must have accompanied this battle in the heavens. As the day neared for the Temple’s final destruction, the priests there heard something. We’re not told exactly what it was, but it was loud, and accompanied by voices of warning.

We know that there is an ongoing war in heaven. Perhaps at critical moments of history, the battle bleeds over into our dimension.

The Barisal Guns

Approaching the modern era of history, we find that there have been several periods of sounds emanating from the heavens. One such was called “The Barisal Guns.” In India, Barisal is a small seaport at the mouth of the Ganges River, on the north shore of the Bay of Bengal. In the decade of the 1870s, there were long periods when residents there heard sounds that they described as the firing of distant cannons. No cannons were being fired.

Over a long period of time, these explosions in the heavens sounded with some regularity, and residents became convinced that they were definitely not associated with ordinary, earthly cannon fire. Sometimes they were loud, and at other times, muffled and distant. But they continued for years.

And these sounds weren’t the only nineteenth-century reports. Others came from Ireland, the Florida Keys and Australia. All the reports seem to suggest sounds like distant cannons or thunder.

But the current rash of incidents, many of them recorded and replayed, are something entirely different. They are deafening booms described as only a few feet away. Nor are they simple explosions. They are described as complex metallic clanging and crashing, sounding exactly like the crushing destruction of glass and metal.

But who can explain the airborne trumpets? The only precedent for these sounds is found in the Bible, where climactic events are accompanied by the trumpet sounds that are eagerly awaited by many Christians. The resurrection of the righteous dead is signaled by the call of a trumpet:

“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” (I Cor. 15:52).

And this is no ordinary trumpet. It is literally the voice of God, as can be seen from another description of the rapture, also written by Paul:

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I Thess. 4:16).

Everywhere, Bible-believing Christians are eagerly awaiting the sound of the trumpet. Others display an innate knowledge that the sound of the trumpet portends God’s judgment. Both beliefs are true. After the departure of the Church, judgment will surely come … accompanied among other things, by the sound of trumpets. Seven angels will sound them from the heavens.

Perhaps we’re now hearing the warm-up chorus … the rehearsal for the big day. One can only hope that this is the case!

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3628

Israel gas finds launch navy into troubled waters

 They come to take a spoil! Ezekiel 38 & 39

When Israeli economists contemplate their country’s untapped natural gas finds far out in the Mediterranean, they dream of energy independence and lucrative export deals.

Those charged with Israel’s defense, however, worry that the navy – small and long a middling priority in budgets – may be hard put to protect the multinational drilling platforms and rigs out at sea.

“We will do our best, but without a major boost to our capabilities, our best will not be enough,” a senior military planner said in one of a series of Reuters interviews with Israeli decision-makers on the subject.

That all spoke on condition of anonymity indicates concern that such doubts over security might scare off investors and, perhaps, even encourage sea-borne attacks by Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese guerrilla movement hostile to Israel and to its exploration of gas fields also claimed by Beirut.

There are internal political considerations, too. With Middle East instability spiraling, Israel’s Finance Ministry is poring over an unwieldy plan for fiscal cuts combined with new spending on national security. The navy is lobbying for cash but is loath to challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly.

Maps and other dry facts speak amply.

The huge gas fields centered 130 km (80 miles) from the port of Haifa in northern Israel, along with Yam Thetis, the existing gas-production rig just off Ashkelon in the south, make for a body of water covering 23,000 square km (9,000 square miles) – more than Israel’s territory on land.

Guerrilla raids from the north appear the main threat, with Palestinian Hamas militants penned in Gaza to the south and rumbling discontent from the Lebanese government over Israel’s drawing of a maritime border unlikely to take a military turn.

Providing rapid response in an emergency would strain the Israeli fleet of three corvettes – which have a crew of about 70 and can carry helicopters – 10 other missile boats and fast patrol vessels, and three diesel submarines, not least given their existing roles of enforcing the Gaza Strip blockade and the occasional foray through the Suez Canal to the Red Sea.

“You would need to have at least two missile boats in the vicinity of the rigs at all time,” said a senior officer.

Another declined to give a specific number, saying only the navy required “several” new vessels to meet future missions.

TALL ORDER

That would mean major expansion of the fleet – a tall order, not least as Israel bought another submarine for $335 million in March.

Visiting Israeli joint defense headquarters in Tel Aviv reveals the navy’s junior status, its cramped command centre overshadowed by the marbled tower of the well-funded air force.

The navy also faces skepticism from an Israeli cabinet stiff with former army generals and a finance minister, Yuval Steinitz, who is a civilian expert on maritime security.

In the spirit of what Israelis mordantly call their “ad-hocracy”, an unwillingness to spend on things that seem less pressing, the government may not agree with naval commanders about the urgency of protecting gas fields which are years away from being fully exploited and operational.

One of the handful of gas development projects under way, Tamar, has finished a well 70 km (45 miles) from Haifa. An underwater pipeline will run from there to a production rig that will be erected next to Yam Thetis, 25 km (15 miles) from Israel’s southern coast, by July 2013.

Another project, Leviathan, is 130 km (80 miles) off Haifa – a remoteness from shore that would itself appear to provide protection from guerrilla raids – and is not expected to produce gas before 2017. A number of firms hope to find undersea oil reserves, as well as the gas.

Robin Mills, head of consulting at Manaar Energy in Dubai, predicted an eventual increase in such activity off Israel and Cyprus, with several new exploration wells supported by supply ships and pipe-laying vessels.

“It won’t be like the North Sea, but not a negligible presence either,” Mills said. “I wouldn’t say the security discussion is premature.”

Asked about prospects for protecting the gas fields, a senior Finance Ministry official said only: “This is one among the Israel Defence Forces’ various missions. We are confident that the IDF will successfully rise to it.”

MISSILES, DIVERS, DRONES

Like its foreign counterparts, Israel’s navy prides itself on a spit-and-polish proficiency, especially in carrying out missions of strategic importance. The officers who spoke to Reuters chafed at the idea that, in a fix, they might be forced to call on NATO powers which sail the Mediterranean, such as the United States.

The Israeli navy has fended off a variety of threats over the decades, including at long range. Last year it captured anti-ship missiles which Israel said were destined for Palestinian guerrillas in the Gaza Strip. From there, the weapons could potentially have been used to blow up Yam Thetis.

Citing intelligence assessments, the navy fears Hezbollah guerrillas in boats could fire similar missiles against Israeli targets in the northern gas fields. Other scenarios include remote-controlled flying bombs crashing into rigs, or miniature submarines striking from below. A separate possibility is of gunmen approaching the platforms in civilian vessels or with divers’ gear, then storming aboard to kill or capture the crews.

“We designated these kinds of attack as having a ‘reasonable likelihood’ of occurring,” one Israeli officer said.

Anthony Skinner, Middle East analyst at London political risk consultancy Maplecroft, voiced doubt about the imminence of any such incident. He argued Hezbollah has a role as a reserve reprisal arm of its patron Iran, should the latter’s controversial nuclear facilities be bombed by the Israelis.

“Were Hezbollah to target gas platform and production rigs, such an attack would likely provoke a robust response from Israeli forces, which may in turn precipitate a broader conflict. One of Iran’s key cards against Israel would be removed from the table,” Skinner said.

But merely menacing the energy assets could have value in the eyes of Hezbollah and its allies: “It is altogether conceivable that Hezbollah will seek to deter or frustrate Israeli extraction. Iran too does not want Israel to be able to exploit massive oil and gas wealth in the Mediterranean,” Skinner said.

MUTUAL DETERRENCE?

Though outgunned by Israel, Hezbollah guerrillas fought its army to a standstill in a border war in 2006 and have since maintained a tense standoff while making clear they are honing their military capabilities for any new conflict.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, indicated in a speech last July that any attack on Israeli offshore gas facilities would be in retaliation for an attack on Lebanon.

Israel’s navy says that in addition to enhancing its own fleet it expects stepped-up air force patrols of the gas fields and espionage further abroad.

“If there is a Hezbollah guy training in South America to attack a gas platform, we want to know about it,” an Israeli officer said, speaking hypothetically.

There is hope for stop-gap measures such as unmanned, machinegun-equipped naval patrol boats that can travel long distances and remotely challenge suspect vessels. Navy officers also hint at the development of electronic counter-measures that would allow gas rigs to block incoming guided missiles.

“The IDF knows how to provide a response for all of Israel’s military needs,” said Ohad Marani, a former Finance Ministry director-general and now CEO of ILD Energy, which plans to begin drilling the first of two new offshore wells in June.

Texas-based Noble Energy, the main foreign company developing the gas fields with Israel and its maritime neighbor Cyprus, declined to discuss security measures for the platforms.

One of the Israeli officers said the rigs had private guards who coordinate closely with the navy. But they have not yet held sufficient joint emergency drills, the officer said, citing reluctance to disrupt work that costs around $1 million a day.

“Noble was the only company crazy enough to work with us,” the officer said. “We don’t want to be inconsiderate.”

That leaves the hope that Hezbollah will shrink from the geographical, and geopolitical, hurdles of strikes at sea.

“The targets are so distant, and if they miss, then they hit the water and get no effect whatsoever,” an Israeli officer said, channeling Hezbollah thinking. “And if they do get the target, then they hurt Americans and Filipino crewmen rather than just Jews. So maybe they’ll think it’s not worth it.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3603

Netanyahu: ‘Fatal mistake’ to concede sacred sites

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday it would be a “fatal mistake” ever to give up control over Jerusalem’s holy sites.

His remarks, in a parliamentary speech, went a little further than Israel’s longtime policy of viewing Jerusalem, a city at the heart of Middle East conflict, as its “indivisible capital”.

Addressing a debate marking 45 years since Israel captured and annexed the city’s eastern sector, in a move never recognized internationally, Netanyahu said:

“Whoever proposes we take the heart of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and take it out of our hands, and that this would bring about peace, I say not only is this a mistake but a fatal mistake.”

Netanyahu said that sites holy to Judaism, Islam and Christianity enjoyed a “wonder of inter-religious peace that is maintained thanks to Jerusalem’s unity under Israeli sovereignty.”

“The Temple Mount is in our hands and … it shall remain in our hands,” Netanyahu added.

The Temple Mount, a site in Jerusalem’s old walled city, is revered by Jews as the place where two biblical temples once stood. The area also houses two of Islam’s holiest shrines, the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock.

Palestinians want east Jerusalem as capital of a future state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, territory Israel also captured in a 1967 war.

Western-sponsored negotiations hit deadlock months ago in a dispute over Jewish settlement building in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

In a related development, Israel’s parliament passed a law on Monday granting tax incentives to organizations seen as encouraging settlement in Israel and occupied territory, in addition to tax breaks already offered to settlers in the past.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3581