Archive for January, 2024

Wooden Horses

According to ancient Greek history, the Trojan Horse allowed the war-weary Greeks to enter the city of Troy and finally win the Trojan war. Legend has it that the massive wooden horse was built at the behest of Odysseus, who hid inside its structure along with several other soldiers to ultimately emerge once taken into the city and lay siege to the city, and open the gates to the city.

While visiting the Dardanelles in Turkey I saw a replica of the Trojan Horse. The story, if fiction is a brilliant myth, and if true a genius military tactic.

There is a similar story about the army laying siege to the ancient city of Joppa now in Israel. They placed large ornate baskets outside the city gates. When taken in the city soldiers inside the baskets overwhelmed the gatekeepers and allowed the army to conquer the city.

America, are you listening?

We may very well have altered the story. We opened the gate ourselves and let in a force that may have made us vulnerable.

There is one word that may lead to tragedy for America the beautiful. It is “inclusion.” It started off as a desire to let Black Americans become more engaging in all of American society, education, politics, government, business, entertainment, etc. That was a good idea that may have gone awry.

It now includes foreigners who do not have the same standards, ethics, morals, historical or political views. Admirable examples of some who have brought with them a good work ethic and other virtues have unintentionally opened the gate a bit wider.

Opening our borders is an example of an excessive and obsessive act. While many have been a blessing an undocumented hoard is sure to have ushered in some who are not only undesirable but some who pose a threat. That threat may not be a terrorist threat, but a cultural erosion of values.

Some members of Congress are an example of this. Not only has our current President opened the gate widely, but some presidents before him did. Obama allowed in what has proven to be a voting colony and they have sent a delegate to Congress. That is an example of what inclusion can do.

Big hearted, open minded, benevolent, progressive are some words used in defense of inclusion. The late Thomas Sowell, said many people today confuse feeling with thinking. We need to think correctly and clearly first, and let our feelings follow.

When inclusion is aligned with equity and diversity they make another open gate. It has even gotten into our military. Think about it, in combat, would you rather have a person in command because they meet the EDI standard or one who has rank because of being trained and is most qualified?

It is beginning to manifest itself in the medical community. Same principle, which do you want, the EDI doctor or the best trained and qualified?

How about athletics? Who do you want on your team, the best player or one who is there because of EDI. Come to think about it if EDI is to be the basis of playing time, that will shuffle some football and basketball rosters.

The problems caused by EDI are the result of it being challenged more and more. Now that the problems it causes are known can we step back, think about it, and make some changes. Concede, it is hard to get a wooden horse out.

Jerusalem the Contested City

“And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it”
Zechariah 12: 3.

The Israeli/Hamas War is complex. It is a contest between two people and two religions. Here I propose to give an elementary overview of the center of the contest.

The Arab peoples surrounding Jerusalem have a passion for possessing the city that is not justified by history. Muslims claim Jerusalem as their third-holiest city, but Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran. In addition, “During the centuries when Jerusalem was under complete Arab control, no Arab ruler or Islamic leader ever made it the object of a religious pilgrimage – again a strange indifference toward a city which is now considered to be the third-holiest religious site in Islam after Mecca and Medina”.

Jerusalem’s importance to Muslims comes from the belief that in the Dome of the Rock shrine there is a rock where two significant things happened – where Abraham intended to offer Isaac as a sacrifice, and where Mohammed allegedly ascended into heaven. Though this tradition is firmly in the Muslim mind, it is of recent origin. It was invented by Yasser Arafat’s uncle – Haj Amin el-Husseini, who was the past Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. He promoted this concept in the 1920’s and 1930’s to arouse Arab passions against the growing Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

The Dome of the Rock was built not because of the Koran, but because the Muslim ruler Abdal-Malik wanted to gain revenue from pilgrims and worshipers, and because he wanted to prevent the rebuilding of a Jewish Temple.

I have visited the Dome of the Rock many times having even been beneath the sacred stone into the Well of Souls which is no longer allowed. It is an impressive place.

That is the Arab side which I hope Muslims will agree is historically correct though the commentary is likely offensive.

Now the Jewish perspective. Jewish claim to the city is based on Scripture. The very fact that Jerusalem is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible makes it worthy of special attention. This unique city is the only one upon which God has bestowed His distinctive blessing and protection (Ps 132:13-14), and the only city for whose peace we are commanded to pray (Ps 122:6). God says He has chosen Jerusalem as the place where He has put His name forever (2 Chr 6:6; 33:7; Ps 46:4; 48:1-8; 87:3).

After the Six Day War in which Jews conquered the Holy Mountain on which the Dome stands they gave it back to the Arabs in an effort to achieve peace. It is one place contested by two people. I have friends of both faiths. We are friends knowing our disagreement.

I have relied heavily on the commentary of David for some of these insights.

Conduct for End Times

Within most cultures is a strata of citizens known as Christians. Within this body there is hope regarding the end of the ages. Strongly held within this group there is the belief the Messiah is coming as a prelude to the end of the ages. Against that background of thoughts the question is asked are current events in the Israeli/Hamas War a sign of the end times? This writing is offered with the hope it will introduce those who are not Christians to the Christian perspective and that Christians should be encouraged by it.

I am not a date fixer. No person knows the time.

I believe in the imminent, not the immediate, return of Jesus Christ. Imminent means near at hand; impending. It may be immediate or may not be, but that it is fast approaching.

Rather than get involved in complex signs I want to share what should be our personal conduct in order to be ready personally in the event the greatly hoped for return is immediate. These thoughts are found in the Bible book of I Peter chapter 4.

“The end of all things is at hand; be you therefore sober…” The Greek word for sober means to have self-disciplined, sober thought. As used it is not restricted to alcohol. If a person feels civilization is on the cusp of the abyss they should be living their best, self-controlled.

Second, “The end of all things is at hand… Watch unto prayer.” This is instruction to be vigilant in prayer looking for occasions to pray. This is advantageous for our war-weary and peace-deprived society.

Third, “The end of all things is at hand… Have fervent love.” People hunger for love. Those who do love are fulfilled and rewarded in the very act. Earlier in the book of I Peter are explicit instructions for Christians to love one another. Later there is an instruction to love all others. As Christians we should not parade the faults and sins of one another. We should extol one anothers virtues and encourage their devotion to the Lord.

Fourth, “The end of all things is at hand… Use hospitality one toward another, without grudging.” Forced hospitality is not fulfilling. We are to use our God given talents and give of our discretionary resources to aid worthy causes and meritorious individuals.

Fifth, “The end of all things is at hand… If any man suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God.” The Apostles are an example of doing this. When they were beaten for their faith they went away considering it a joy that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Lord.

The world might think it strange that believers do not agree with their profligate actions and as a result belittle the faithful, even cut them off. Among world gloom, persecution has become the unwanted experience of many, even causing some to lose their lives.

Sixth, “The end of all things is at hand… Judgment must begin at the house of God.” This is because Christians, the church that is, is intended to be an example to the world. It should be self-purging.

Seventh, “The end of all things is at hand… Commit the keeping of (your) souls to the Lord.” These are days when we must encourage ourselves in the joy of the Lord. These steps encourage it.

A War on Four Fronts

Pray for Israel, yes, but for America also.

While there is concern about a second front in Israel with Hezbollah threatening in the north of Israel we may be watching the wrong front. There is also concern Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon might get involved. That would cause us to get involved with missile support. Thus, a third front. However it would not be in Israel.

China might get involved in Taiwan, or North Korea in the South, thus opening a major third front for us involving Israel, Ukraine, and one or both of those. This would greatly over stress our defense resources. There is no way we can supply enough missiles for a third front with Russia and China gleefully watching.

Compounding this is a fourth front. It is one we might very well expose ourselves to within our own overrun border. Hopefully there are not terror cells within that have developed by illegal immigrants coming in.

Pray for America. This all seems ominously threatening, and it is.

We have no adequate way of defending ourselves – – – other than our often  overlooked ally, the Lord God of heaven. He is described as: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint” Isaiah 40: 28 – 30. Call on Him NOW.

Thomas Jefferson opined: “Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it may become probable by supernatural interference!”

“Supernatural interference” is needed not that we may continue on the carnal road on which we are traveling, but that we may recognize our profligate way and turn from it to the God of our fathers who saw His supernatural interference on several occasions.

The fact that God has intervened on our behalf means He can do so again, but that does not mean He will do so again. I, too, tremble for our nation as did Jefferson.

The Lord intervened in August 1776 when British General Howe engaged, outflanked and smashed Washington at the Battle of Long Island. With the river to his rear and Howe at his front Washington was in an impossible position. Inexplicably Howe paused and did not deliver the crushing blow. Overnight an unseasonable fog covered the area. Under the cover of night and the fog Washington rushed to ferry his forces across the river. At the break of day the fog lifted as the last boat distanced itself from the range of the guns of Howe and survived to win the War of Independence.

The God who provided the fog is the same God awaiting our current response.

WAKE UP AMERICA. There is a great civil war of values being waged and we dare not sleep through it. If we attempt to, we will die in our sleep.

A Holy War

“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,” declares the Lord. “I will keep a watchful eye over Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. the Lord Almighty is their God” Zechariah 12:2 – 5 (NIV)

In light of current global unrest that is one of the most significant texts for the hour. If you didn’t read it, go back and read it before going further.

What Israel is doing in Gaza is horrible.

The Islamic Resistance Movement, known as Hamas, first released their Covenant August 18, 1988. It is a comprehensive manifesto consisting of 36 separate articles which actively promotes the annihilation of Israel by means of Jihad, a holy war.

The preamble of the Covenant is unequivocal in its declaration of the destruction saying, “Israel exists and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it.”

Article eight of the Covenant serves as a slogan for Hamas, “Jihad is its path.” Further resolve is contained in the Covenant: “There is no solution for the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.” (Article 13)

Yes, again I say what Israel is doing in Gaza is horrible. But, in light of the Covenant what is Israel to do, wait until Hamas complies with the intent of its covenant and does to Israel what Israel is having to do in Gaza in order to preempt being annihilated?

The above text has several aspects. Nations will aggressively come against Israel posing an ominous threat. God will supernaturally intervene. He will stupify the nations that come against Israel. What He can do is substantiate earlier in the text by identifying Him as the creator of all things. If He could create the universe surely He is sufficient to act?

Whether this text applies to this war or not might be debatable. However, conditions are ripe for the fulfillment. Read the entire 12th chapter of Zechariah to see the followup.

What are we to do? Hamas has declared this is Jihad, a holy war. We are to do what the Lord God, Jehovah has commanded and “to pray for the peace of Jerusalem” (Psalm 122:6).