Issue 72 Summer 2004
Greetings in the Lord. We always welcome comments, and the last issue produced a number. One of them is given a considered reply by Philip Wren. Another correspondent has criticised my favourable remarks about "The Passion of the Christ". They were made prematurely in ignorance of the film’s disturbing catholic bias, which articles by Jacob Prasch and Tony Pearce make clear, and I am happy to defer to these authoritative sources. This issue contains a look at the danger in which we find ourselves by our collective blindness in church and state, and an article by Philip on the way in which oil will be a major factor in the world scene in the foreseeable future. We wish all our readers a blessed and restful summer.
A Moral Check Up
Spiritual blindness (KK)
Spiritual blindness takes many forms. There is the blindness that has in part happened to Israel (Rom 11:25) so that the Gentiles may be saved, who otherwise are in their own darkness (Eph 4:18). A current major work of the enemy in blinding minds (2 Cor 4:4) accounts for the widespread popularity of the occult (Harry Potter), false spirituality (New Age) and the fascination with paganism (the fastest-growing ‘religion’). His strategy is to present such God-forbidden dabblings as harmless. Christians have the true supernatural, and need to show that they have.
An equally insidious device is to exploit gullibility and ignorance. The prophet Hosea records God’s lament ‘My people are destroyed through lack of knowledge’ (discernment, understanding, wisdom), surely a word to Britain and the church for today.
1. We do not know what is done in our name
How many people living in this country know that every month the European Union sends 10 million euros of aid to the Palestinian Authority (PA), yet the World Bank tells us that 60% of the Palestinians live on less than $2 a day! The PA one of the most favoured organisations, many relief agencies pouring in millions of dollars which never reach the real needy. The EU contributions are given to support welfare, hospitals, schools, infrastructure etc, worthy causes to which no one would object. There is much evidence this laudable enterprise is going (a) into the personal bank accounts of Yasser Arafat, his wife, and other leaders of the PA, (b) to the funding of continued acts of violence and terrorism and (c) to fund school textbooks containing hate-filled propaganda against Israel. The doctrine of jihad and the glorification of martyrdom among the young will be familiar to any who have seen ‘Lest we forget’. Attempts by pro-Israel members of the European Parliament to look into these matters have met with only limited success: while Mr Chris Patten has admitted that he cannot account for every last euro, he is unwilling to face the volume of facts that point to this misappropriation of funds by the PA.
2. We are blind to the threat of Islam
Islam in the media (and in Parliament) is portrayed as a wholesome religion, the word
itself meaning peace. As we have pointed out in previous editions it means ‘submission’ to Allah, who is NOT the same as Jehovah, the God of Jews and Christians. The Koran says nothing about love, forgiveness or peace (for unbelievers), and their god never calls himself ‘Father’. Salvation and entrance into heaven are at the will of Allah.
To the Muslim the world as composed of two ‘houses’, the house of peace (dar al Islam, the Muslim states) and the house of war (dar al harb, infidels or unbelievers). Islam controls every aspect of a Muslim’s life, and to them there is no separation between church and state. The integration of Muslims into an alien society is unthinkable.
The doctrine of ‘Holy War’ or ‘jihad’ is a fundamental part of Islamic thinking, and the conquest of the unbelieving world, by voluntary submission or by war, is always on the Muslim agenda. There are more than 150 verses in the Koran that mention war, some of them grotesquely anti-Semitic. Yet Britain allows the building of numerous mosques, from some of which flagrant anti-Zionism is preached every Friday. We even allow known agitators to enter the country. Someone should ask why there is still no church in Saudi Arabia, or why extreme anti-conversion laws are widespread in the Muslim world. One wonders what they are afraid of (the truth??). Would an equivalent to the ‘Muslim Council of Great Britain’ be allowed to function in Pakistan?
3. The church is blind to God’s plan for Israel
I was astonished to hear from a pulpit recently that the bible does not justify Zionism. One wonders what bible that is!! Many of our readers are not sitting under ‘restoration theology’ (the church is going to set up the kingdom of God on earth and present it to Jesus on His return) or ‘replacement theology’ (God has finished with the Jews, and all the promises made to them apply to the church) and for that we give glory to God. For those who are not so blessed, here are a few incontrovertible scriptural truths as presented at a PFI meeting in Sidmouth in July.
a. God promised the land of Israel to Abraham and his posterity eternally (‘for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever’ Gen 13:15) and later explains that the land stretches from the Nile to the Euphrates (‘to your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates’ Gen 15:18).
b. God makes clear that Abraham’s posterity is to be through Isaac (‘in Isaac your seed shall be called’ Gen 21:12) and confirms it twice in the new Testament in the same words (Rom 9:7, Heb 11:18)
c. God never revokes His promises (‘For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.’ Rom 11:29). The Amplified Version adds [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.].
d. God says that He will bless both Isaac and Ishmael, but it is Isaac who is the ‘son of the promise’. (‘And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac’ Gen 17:20-21)
e. We are seeing in our day the fulfilment of Amos 9:13-15: ‘I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.’
It is vital to understand clearly that God’s purpose in establishing Israel again in our day, in fulfilment of His word, also includes the repossession of their ancient land, whatever the PA, EU, Arab League or the United Nations may say to the contrary.
On the issue of God casting away of Israel, the Lord makes it quite clear in Rom 11:1 and 11 by an emphatic Greek construction that this is by no means permanent.
In the spring issue of Trumpet Sounds we published an article on Eurabia. The article described how the oil rich Arab states of the Middle East have gained a hold over Europe. They have used Europe’s dependency on Arab oil to bring about the pro-Islamic policies of many European governments. Recently (May) oil prices were in the news once again. Terrorism in Saudia Arabia and instability in the Middle East had caused prices to rise sharply. The world looked to OPEC (The Organisation of Oil Producing and Exporting Countries) to see if they would agree to increase production in order to stabilise prices. OPEC agreed to produce an additional 2 million barrels a day, which in the short term has had the desired affect.
OPEC is an organisation with ten members. According to their own statistics they have between them, 75% of the worlds confirmed oil reserves, and currently provide 40% of the worlds oil production. A simple conclusion to be drawn is that the countries that are not part of OPEC only control 25% of the World’s oil reserves but provide 60% of the production. Therefore they are going to run out of oil before the OPEC States.
For many this is not an issue. At present levels of production OPEC reserves will last at least 70 or 80 years. They have always been willing to provide oil to the world in the past, why should they not be willing in the future. These nations understand that it is in their common interest not to push the world economy into recession. In the longer term there is the potential of moving to a less oil dependant economy by developing biological based energy sources: for instance the engine which Rudolf Diesel exhibited at the Paris Exhibition of 1900 ran on peanut oil. Also there are potential oil fields in many parts of the world that can be brought into production in the future.
A Potential Crisis
The belief that we are in the last days and that at the very end of this age ten kings will arise in the Middle East who will, for a very short period of time, gain world power causes me to question this confidence. It would appear that large scale production of bio alternatives to make up shortfalls in oils supplies are at least 20 years away. The potential oil fields are generally very deep under the sea and therefore expensive to extract. This brings us back to considering the remaining non-OPEC oil reserves and how long they will last. There are 27 other countries with some oil reserves. Of these Russia followed by Libya have nearly half of the non-OPEC reserves of crude oil. Canada has substantial reserves of tar sand from which oil can be extracted. With the exception of these three countries, at present rates of production, the known, non-OPEC oil reserves will have run out in about 10 years time. This will leave the world much more dependant on OPEC oil than it is today.
Playing for Time
In the order of their reserves of oil, the ten countries who make up OPEC are as follows: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, Qatar, Algeria and Indonesia. Eight of these member states are Muslim. Nigeria is half Muslim; Venezuela is predominately Roman Catholic. The composition of OPEC could well change in the near future. Indonesia has nearly exhausted its oil reserves and therefore will probably cease to be an oil exporter. Libya now that it is no longer isolated could seek admission to the club. From several sources I have heard that Muslims believe that they can win this country for Islam by 2014. Although Islam is advancing fast in our nation, it will not win this country by conversion in that space of time. Therefore, if that is their thinking, they must be looking to other factors which will bring this nation into submission to Islam. One factor could be the window of opportunity that oil power will bring them. For a decade from 2014 onwards the world will become dependent on Middle East oil.
Six of the OPEC nations, with 85% of the oil reserves, are to be found within an area once ruled by the Roman Empire. If Libya is admitted to the club that will become seven nations. Islam seeks world domination. Muslims are called to bring the whole world into submission to Allah, and the Arab nations have proved themselves capable of using their power to further the objectives of Islam. Their refusal to resettle Palestinian refugees has, in the long term, had the desired affect of poisoning the world against Israel. These nations have already used the dependence of Europe on its oil to win favourable political policies and help the spread of Islam in Europe.
As stated in previous articles, I believe that there are many scriptural reasons why we should be looking at the Middle East, not Europe, for the ten nations which will arise at the very end of this age to gain world power. I believe that these oil rich Arab nations will prove to be seven of the ten nations, which form the final coalition that brings the Antichrist to power. They will soon use their power to hold the world to ransom in order to bring about global submission to Islam. The next ten years will confirm whether I am right.
Note: In June 2004 the National Geographic magazine published an article on the future of oil supplies. The statistics used by the National Geographic are slightly different to the ones, on which I based the above article. However the conclusion with regard to the future availability of oil is similar. The production of oil in the World outside the Middle East will probably peak in around 2006. Some experts are more optimistic others believe that we have already reached the point where production has peaked and that oil will from now on become an increasingly scarce commodity.
Whether we listen to the optimists or pessimists it is clear that very soon the World will become even more dependent on the Middle East to quench its thirst for oil.
Judas Iscariot? (PW)
Following the last issue of Trumpet Sounds, a reader phoned me to say that as she read the article on the article on the Antichrist, Judas Iscariot kept coming into her mind. She asked, if the Antichrist will be Judas resurrected. At present I cannot give a definite answer to that question.
However A.W.Pink in his 1923 book ‘The Antichrist’, was emphatic that the Antichrist will be Judas reincarnated. He gave seven reasons for this view, which I summarise below:
1. Psalm 55 speaks of the Antichrists relation to Israel. His speech was smoother than butter, but his heart was war; his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords (v 22). The occasion of this sad plaint is given in the previous verse - He has put forth his hands against those who were at peace with him; he has violated his covenant. Read the whole Psalm with this in mind it will be seen that it speaks of the sorrows and sighings of the godly remnant during the End-Time.
Verses 11 to 14 have a double fulfilment. They describe the base treachery of Judas toward Christ and his treachery toward Israel. His relation to Israel will be the same as Judas to Christ, first posing as a friend then as a betrayer. "Hence we have here the first hint that the Antichrist will be Judas reincarnated".
2. Isaiah 28:18 refers to the people of Jerusalem making a covenant with ‘Death and Hell’. "This is the title of the Antichrist as ‘the Resurrection and the Life’ is true of Christ". "Now ‘Hell’ or ‘hades’ is the place which receives the souls of the dead and the fact that this awful name is here applied to the Antichrist intimates that he has come from there".
3. Matthew 12:41-43 refers to an unclean spirit who first dwells in man, is then cast out and later returns. Pink sets out in his book reasons for identifying the unclean spirit with the Antichrist. He concludes: "The Unclean Spirit, then, who has already been here, who is now away in a place where rest is not to be found, is to come back".
4. In John 6:70 Jesus said ‘one of you is a devil’. In no other passage is the word devil applied to any one but Satan himself. "Judas was the Devil incarnate, just as the Lord Jesus was God incarnate. Christ Himself said so, and we dare not doubt His word".
In John 17:12 Judas is termed by Christ the ‘the Son of Perdition’. 2 Thess 2:3 designates the Antichrist as the ‘Son of Perdition’. These are the only two places in the Bible where this name is used. "Judas was termed by Christ not ‘a son of perdition’ but ‘the son of perdition’, and the fact that the man of sin is so named prove that they are one and the same person. What other conclusion can the simple unprejudiced reader of the Bible come to?"
5. "In Revelation 11:7 we have the first reference to ‘the Beast’ in the Apocalypse: "the beast which ascendeth out of the bottomless pit"". The abyss is the place of incarceration and torment of lost spirits Luke 8:31, and Revelation 20:1-3. "The question naturally arises, how did he get there and when was he sent there? Acts 1:25 tells us that when Judas died he "might go to his own place". "Of no one else in the Bible is it said that at death he went to his own place. Put these two scriptures together: Judas went ‘to his own place’, the beast ascends out of the pit".
6. Pink develops the same arguments from Revelation 17 as were set out in my article. His reasoning concludes: "We learn then from this scripture that at the time the apocalypse was written the beast ‘was not’ then on earth, but that he had been on it formerly. Further, we learn that in John’s day the beast was then in the Bottomless Pit but should yet ascend out of it. Here then is further evidence that the Antichrist who is yet to appear has been on earth before".
7. Revelation 19:20, "gives the last word concerning the Antichrist". "Why is it that he shall not be cast into the Abyss at the return of Christ? It must be because he has already been there. Hence the judgement meted out to him is final and irrevocable, as will be that of the devil a thousand years later, see Rev 20:10".
I am in complete agreement with A. W. Pink that the simple interpretation of scripture leads to the conclusion that the Antichrist is a person who has previously dwelt on this earth. I am reasonably persuaded that he was correct on the identity of that person and yet cannot yet state that with complete certainty.
A moral check-up (KK)
In speaking on the commandment "you shall not steal" as part of a series on the ten commandments, I asked the congregation some of the following questions to test how moral we thought we were. In an era of moral slippage, this is one area in which we can shine as lights in a dark world.
1. On returning from the supermarket you find that you have been undercharged for your purchases by 40p. Do you (a) say that it compensates for the times you’ve been overcharged, (b) regard it as a trivial sum too small to bother about (c) give 40p to your favourite charity or (d) pay the sum back on your next visit.
2. You employ a workman to do a job in your home and he offers you a discount on the price for cash. Do you (a) accept his terms, (b) politely decline, refusing to be part of a small but illegal deception.
3. When you are completing an income tax form are you scrupulously honest in declaring all your income and outgoings?
4. Your employer allows you to claim expenses on a business trip. Do you claim the full amount allowed, even if you have paid less, knowing that your employer will not mind?
5. You work in a builder’s merchants or store where you have access to goods which you are tempted to "borrow": do you take small quantities on the understanding that they will never be missed and are really perks of the job?
6. Employed in a professional job in which your employer supplies you with stationery, do you use it for your own purposes?
7. How many articles (books, gardening or household equipment, videos and tapes) do you have in your possession to which you have no legal title (i.e. borrowed and not returned)?
Do you regard the ten commandments as old-fashioned and long-outdated?
I was asked to write this article following a visit to the Tate Gallery in St. Ives, Cornwall, with my parents, Frank and Evelyn. After viewing the contorted shapes and abstract forms the question came up, ‘what is the point of modern art’? I responded that, there is no point. It searches for meaning where there is no meaning and as such reflects the society in which we live.
This conclusion was set down in a book published 35 years ago, but is still as relevant today, ‘Modern Art and the Death of a Culture’ by Professor H.R.Rookmaaker. Early in the book Rookmaaker discusses a wonderful seascape by the seventeenth century Dutch artist Jan van Goyen. The beauty of a painting by a master, such as van Goyen, is that it tells a story, a story of human experience. At first sight it would appear to be similar to a photographic image. But as it is studied far more is revealed than any camera could ever capture.
Rookmaaker uses this picture to illustrate his first conclusion: "There is probably nothing more typical of a truly Protestant vision of realty than the painting by van Goyen we have been discussing. What is important is that he was painting out of a culture that had been re-orientated according to the Bible. Perhaps this is an illustration of the way in which a biblical Christianity can act as ‘salt’ in society. It is really a secondary fruit of the gospel. Individuals become Christians by accepting Jesus Christ as their Saviour and Lord. The fact that He comes to indwell them by His Spirit means that they will be bearing the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. This working in and through the world, leads to the secondary fruits in culture, the consensus of Christian biblical attitudes – to work, to money, to nature, to the whole of reality – which deeply influence the whole nation and is reflected in the nation’s art".
The book progresses through the history of art over the last three centuries until it reaches the twentieth century. From modern art Rookmaaker draws another conclusion: "Too many have bypassed modern art with a shrug of the shoulder, failing to see that it is one of the keys to an understanding of our times, for many of these works, particularly the more extravagant ones, are signs of the crisis of our culture. This art is the work of your neighbours, your contemporaries, human beings who are crying out in despair for the loss of their humanity, their values, groping in the dark for answers. It is already late, if not too late, but if we want to help our generation we must hear their cry. We must listen to them as they cry out from their prison, the prison of a universe which is aimless, meaningless, absurd".
Art reflects the culture in which it is created. If we find it absurd or uncomfortable then we need to ask ‘why’? Without consciously realising it, modern art has become one of the clearest expressions of the reality that a world without God becomes empty, meaningless, absurd.
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