Issue 100 Summer 2011
|100th Issue of Trumpet Sounds
The Muslim Brotherhood
The King James version
Signs of the end of the age 4 – All the nations.
Euro bailed out with Islamic Finance
100th Issue of Trumpet Sounds [PW]
In the first of these circular newsletters my father commented on how difficult it was to interest churches in the prophetic themes. He had found that renewed churches were too busy with the now, to be concerned about the future. This he considered to be a mistake as Christian hope is one of the three abiding elements of the gospel. Dead churches are largely ignorant of such teaching and therefore have no interest in it. He thought that teaching on prophecy could be the spark to bring a church back to life.
Many Ministers and Pastors although believing in the return of Christ have been put off by numerous interpretations and cranks that specialise in adding confusion. But this is denying their flock what is an important subject in the word of God and a vital element of the Christian faith. He asked readers, that if they believed that their church would benefit from teaching on prophetic themes, to work and pray to that end.
One hundred issues later we continue to hold the view that the teaching of prophecy is essential for the health of the Christian church. Many false teachings would be readily eliminated if Christians had a clear grasp of why and how our Lord is going to intervene in this world’s affairs. That He is going to return is a certainty. The belief that He may return very soon has a strong Scriptural basis.
The principle which guides the views put forward in Trumpet Sounds is that the correct meaning of Scripture is the natural and obvious meaning. This allows the reader to check or even challenge what has been written. If you consider that a simpler and more obvious interpretation exists please let us know. We do not claim infallibility. We trust that by adhering to this principle Trumpet Sounds will bring understanding rather than confusion.
Informed not Ignorant
My father did not have a mission statement. If he had I think that it would be summed up in the need to inform the church about the three things with regard to which our Lord does not want us to be ignorant.
1. God’s Plan for the Jews Romans 11: 25
2. The use of Spiritual Gifts 1 Corinthians 12: 1
3. The Second Coming 1 Thessalonians 4: 13
These are three areas about which the church in general is very ignorant. All are of great importance as we approach the end of this age.
The Muslim Brotherhood [PW]
In the last edition of Trumpet Sounds we looked at the background and aspirations of the Muslim Brotherhood. Three months having passed it looks more likely that the outcome of the Arab Spring will be to hand more power to the Brotherhood. There are two places where the Brotherhood has already come to power. One is Gaza through its protégé Hamas. The other is Turkey.
During February 2011 the world’s attention was focused on the demonstrations in Egypt. While the media was distracted the Brotherhood in Turkey was taking steps to consolidate its power.
An Islamic Turkey
On 12th February the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported ‘163 PEOPLE ARRESTED. Those arrested included a number of senior military officers including former heads of the Army, Navy and Air force. They had been present in court during a pre hearing to determine if they were to be tried on charges of plotting to overthrow the government. Contrary to the constitution the judges ruled that the accused must be jailed pending the outcome of their trial. Security forces immediately sealed all the courthouse doors and detained the defendants.
This action followed a referendum in September 2010 which strengthened the government’s control over the courts and army. Under Prime Minister Erdogan the constitutional controls on absolute power have been reduced.
Modern Turkey was created from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. It was established as a secular state in the 1920’s by Kemil Ataturk. The Army was given the role of guardians of the secular constitution. What happened in February was the army’s recompense for successfully preventing past attempts to return the nation to Islamic rule.
Erdogan’s, Justice and Development Party the AKP was born out of the Welfare Party the RP. Both have their roots in the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. In 1996 RP came to power as part of a coalition government. The RP was known as being anti-Western, anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli, anti-European, anti-democratic and anti-secular. In government it started to implement an Islamist agenda but was opposed by business and the military and removed from power a year later.
The RP re emerged as the AKP in 2001. It had rebranded itself as reformed, jettisoning the six elements of RP policy. The rebranding worked convincing many both inside the country and in the West that its previous religious extremism had been abandoned. In 2002 the AKP gained a majority in the Turkish parliament and Erdogan became Prime Minister.
During the last nine years the AKP has improved Turkey's infrastructure: roads, the railway system, hospitals, schools and power plants. Over this period per capita income has trebled. In the last issue we commented that the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity is built on charitable works, opposition to corruption and a fair distribution of wealth. These policies led to the AKP increasing its representation in parliament following the 2011 elections.
Besides the welfare reforms the AKP have used the last nine years to strengthen its grip on power. They have filled the judiciary with Islamist leaning judges and infiltrated the police. The army once guardian of a secular constitution has been rendered powerless. There is increasing censorship of any journalism which is critical of the government. There are more journalists in prison in Turkey than in any other country in the world including China and Iran. As with Hamas in Gaza, a Muslim Brotherhood inspired political party, once in power, removes all effective opposition rendering the Western concept of democracy meaningless.
Turkey is making a bid for leadership in this new Islamic world. One way to increase its standing is to be more openly anti Israel. The other way will be support for those within the Muslim world who want to overthrow the existing powers and build a united Muslim nation under the Caliph.
The Arab Spring will with Turkish support lead on to a renewed Islam centred on a revived Caliphate.
The King James version [KK]
This year we celebrate to 400th anniversary of the publication of the King James translation of the Bible.
The Bible provides absolutely sublime content treating all aspects of human life – the Bible tells us about the world in which we live in all its complexity & turmoil but it concentrates on what God has done through his Son to redeem mankind. It’s a book about Jesus – the new is in the old contained, the old is in the new explained. Jesus is there in almost every book in the OT – how many know that the phrase in the popular song ‘here I am to worship’ that calls Jesus ‘altogether lovely’ comes from the profound poem about the lover in the Song of Solomon?
But what distinguishes the KJ version of the Bible is that it is written in English that fully lives up to the majesty and scope of the content. Thomas Babington Macaulay – one of the finest writers of English prose, says "The English Bible – is a book which, if everything else in our language should perish, would alone suffice to show the whole extent of its beauty and power."
James Naughtie the Radio 4 newsman says it remains one of the great glories of the English language. ‘No other book, or indeed any piece of culture, seems to have influenced the English language as much as the King James Bible. Its turns of phrase have permeated the everyday language of English speakers, whether or not they've ever opened a copy.’
The origins of the KJV
It’s quoted amazingly often in everyday life by people who have no idea where the phrases that they use come from. How did it come into being?
The KJV was suggested to the king by one John Reynolds [who was born at Pinhoe Exeter] - a Puritan with an outstanding reputation as a Bible scholar who was President of Corpus Christi college Oxford - as a possible unifying factor following his accession to the throne following Queen Elizabeth I whose reign had been an age of turmoil that had left the country dominated by two groups – the Church and State Party which supported the regent and the Puritans [who were fiercely anti-Catholic].
In earlier times when England was Catholic the Bible was only available in Latin. With the ascendancy of the Protestants three Bibles came in English.
The first was the Great Bible  written by Thomas Cranmer.- sanctioned by the King Henry VIII. The second was the Geneva Bible  – produced by English Protestants in exile in Geneva – there are no references to kings & queens and it has marginal notes which were strongly anti-monarchist. It was the Bible that Shakespeare and Marlow read. The Bishop’s Bible of 1568 was a revision of the Great Bible – Queen Elizabeth wanted a translation to counter the anti-monarchist stance of the Geneva Bible.
But the most profound influence however was the Bible translated by William Tyndale, who is said to have observed to a pompous Catholic prelate "If God spare my life, ‘ere many years, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough to know more of the scriptures than thou dost’.
He was a young & immensely erudite scholar who knew exactly what he was doing and risked his life in the task. Tyndale was executed as a heretic in Holland in 1536 at the age of 44. His Bible was translated directly from the original Hebrew & Greek texts. One estimate suggests the King James New Testament is 83.7 % Tyndale's and the Old Testament 75.7 %.
The amazing thing is that the KJV was the product of a committee. There were in fact three committees composed of 54 of the most prominent Hebrew & Greek scholars of the day. Each member was given passages of scripture to translate, though the king made it clear that they were to use such documents as already existed and to "only change what was necessary’.
Each man brought his work to the local Committee [in Oxford, Cambridge or Westminster] where it was subjected to an immensely scrupulous & detailed examination. The Committee revised orally as the text was read out. When they had agreed upon a version it was then passed on to the central revision committee meeting at Stationers’ Hall in London. This concentration on how the words would sound when read in Church - which would provide most people’s only contact with the scriptures - leads to a resulting text in which ‘the resonance of the words is in wonderful synergy with the content.’
They took seven years over the enterprise. It’s amazing to think that they were full-time academics or clerics. The result was the KJ version we have today with such memorable phrases as-
“lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”, “in the twinkling of an eye”, “seek and ye shall find”, “let there be light”, “the powers that be”, “my brother's keeper”, “the salt of the earth”, “a law unto themselves”, “the skin of my teeth”, “the signs of the times”, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”, “fight the good fight”.
Everyone has their own favourite instances – mine are “Turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6], “God forbid” Romans 3:4, “Filthy lucre” [1 Tim 3:3], “No peace for the wicked” [Isaiah 57: 21], “a fly in the ointment” [Eccl 10:1], “Wheels within wheels” [from Ezek 10:10], “The blind leading the blind” [Matt 15:14], “Feet of clay” [Dan 2:33]
A Durham academic has found that there are 257 common phrases in everyday use that come directly from the KJ Bible. One commentator speaking of the diction of the KJV says: It has the qualities of majesty, clarity, directness, beauty & a deep musicality in the language.
There is above all a startling simplicity of language – consider Psalm 23. This is almost a word-for-word translation of the original Hebrew. Of the 118 words in this Psalm, only 24 have more than one syllable and only 5 have three. That makes 80% that are one-syllable.
Consider also a NT example: the Parable of the Rich Man in Luke 12:15-21. Of the 157 English words in this passage, 86% of the words are single syllables.
“The entire KJV averages 1.31 syllables and just under 4 letters per word. This word length puts the KJV in the same readability category as children’s books” (D.A. Waite, Jr., The Comparative Readability of the Authorized Version, Bible for Today, Collingswood, NJ, 1996).
Another amazing statistic shows that while Shakespeare used a vocabulary of roughly 21,000 English words, the vocabulary of the King James Bible is composed of only 6,000 (Albert Cook, The Authorized Version of the Bible and Its Influence, 1910). This compares favorably with the vocabulary of the Hebrew Old Testament, which is 5,642 words, and the vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, which is about 4,800 words.
Memorable in form
But in conclusion to pass on to what for me explains the enduring appeal of the KJV Bible – and that is that it was designed for an audience that very largely could not read and their only experience of the Scriptures was when they were read out in church. Hence the KJV gives us the scriptures in a very memorable form. .
One commentator talks about ‘a deep musicality in the language.’
Music consists of single notes of different pitches, with each note having a different time signature. But what gives music its appeal is the juxtaposition of the notes into a sequence and the rhythms thus engendered. In the same way we may consider words, instead of notes, which have different meanings with an intrinsic time signature. These are then combined in different ways so that they flow together making a lovely and memorable pattern.
Consider Eve’s excuse for her act of disobedience - ‘The serpent beguiled me and I did eat’ – so perfect an iambic pentameter that John Milton uses it exactly in his Paradise lost.
Other translations keep the same meaning but express it in different ways
"The serpent deceived me, and I ate." [NIV & New American Standard Bible] "The serpent deceived me," she replied. "That's why I ate it." [New Living Translation] "The snake deceived me, and I ate," the woman answered. [GOD'S WORD® Translation]I was tricked by the deceit of the snake and I took it. [Bible in Basic English]. None of these match the KJV in memorability.
So there you have it – a glorious expression of most profound truths. One of the most glittering examples of the use of the KJ text is in the libretto for Handel’s Messiah – and when one hears “Comfort ye my people’, ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed’, ‘there were shepherds abiding in the fields’ and the hallelujah chorus followed by ‘Worthy is the Lamb’ you hear a masterpiece which must be divinely inspired – it has been a blessing to millions of people as has been the KJV Bible far outselling any other work of literature.
I think of the last of TS Eliot’s 4 quartets that speaks about great literature in which …. every phrase and sentence that is right (where every word is at home, Taking its place to support the others, The word neither diffident nor ostentatious, An easy commerce of the old and the new, The common word exact without vulgarity, The formal word precise but not pedantic, The complete consort dancing together) we have a summary of the writing of the KJV – for which to God be the glory.
Book Review [Leonie Wren]
The Bible Myth or Message by Michael Penny
If you are not an academic, but consider yourself an ordinary person like me, then may I recommend this book to you. Michael Penny has done the research for you. In this book he has sought to objectively present the facts in a way that can be readily understood. This convincing evidence reinforces our belief and trust in the Bible as the authoritative and inspired Word of God. It will prove a useful tool whenever the Bible comes under attack.
The Bible Myth or Message. price £8.50, is available from the Open Bible Trust, Fordland Mount, Upper Basildon, Reading, RG8 8LU, or visit the website www.obt.org.uk
Signs of the end of the age 4 – All the nations. [PW]
The establishment of Israel as a state in the Middle East has from the start been controversial. The Arabs opposed it. Britain washed its hands of it. The United Nations was divided over it but eventually the required two thirds majority in favour was achieved.
Although Israel is recognised by most nations it has, throughout its existence, been the subject of critical resolutions in the UN. The United States has regularly had to veto the resolutions to prevent them taking effect. Despite having diplomatic relations there are few countries which Israel can regard as real friends. Surprisingly in public opinion polls it is India not the USA which heads the list of supporters. Nearly 60% of Indians support Israel. In the UK similar polls record about 30% support.
In the early 21st Century the limited goodwill that existed for Israel has been eroded by a campaign which labels it as an apartheid state. The comparison with apartheid in South Africa breaks down on many points but it is the sort of easily understood, catchy word bite which sticks.
One of the criteria used to assess whether Israel operates a form of apartheid is the amount of suffering caused. Under this assessment the suffering of the Arab population of the West Bank and Gaza is reminiscent of the conditions of black people in South Africa under apartheid. But the causes of the suffering are entirely different. Responsibility for the suffering largely rests with the Arabs themselves. The corruption and intransigence of their leaders, which adds significantly to the distress, is ignored.
Building on the success of this apartheid campaign, there is a move for the UN to recognise a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. This will create an immense security problem for Israel which will in time demand a firm response. Whenever Israel defends itself the world condemns its actions.
Hated by the nations
In the previous article we listed the reawakening in the surrounding nations of an ancient hatred toward Israel as the third sign that the end of the present age is approaching. In the chapter in Joel which describes the surrounding nations coming against Israel there is also mention of all the nations.
"For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, I will gather all the nations, and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.” Joel 3: 1,2
Scriptural phrases such as ‘all the nations’, do not necessarily convey a 21st century global meaning. In the Bible ‘all the nations’ can be limited in its scope. Daniel chapter 2, describes Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom as extending to wherever the sons of men dwell. Also the third kingdom that arises is said to rule over all the earth. We know that both these empires were limited to the Middle East. Even in the New Testament all the inhabited earth is used as a reference to the Roman Empire. But Rome did not rule the whole earth as we know it. To the East of Israel was the Parthian Empire. They were the enemies of Rome and certainly not under Rome’s rule.
In the immediate context of Joel chapter 3 it would be reasonable to understand ‘all the nations’ as referring to the surrounding nations. Therefore the nations which will be judged could be limited to the Middle East. In the broader context of the whole of scripture we find that all the nations has a more inclusive meaning.
The gathering of the nations is repeated in Zechariah.
“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.” Zech 12: 3
“I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it ........ then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations as He fights in the day of battle.” Zech 14:2
As in Joel we could read these verses as referring only to the nations of the Middle East. However if we are to be consistent the reign of the Lord over all the earth in Zech 14:9 would then also be limited to the Middle East.
Revelation picks up the theme of the gathering of the nations for judgement.
“And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; for they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of God, the Almighty. ……….. And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called HarMagedon”. Revelation 16: 13 - 16
These verses are a much clearer reference to a universal gathering of the nations to the land of Israel. The outcome of this battle is already decided. We read in Revelation 19: 19 -21 that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords will destroy His enemies.
There is an objection which could be raised to the above verses describing the same event. Three locations are identified, the Valley of Jehoshaphat, HarMagedon and Jerusalem. In answer to the objection, it is probable that the first two are intended as symbolic not geographical locations.
The Valley of Jehoshaphat is only mentioned in Joel 3. Jehoshaphat means Jehovah judges. In the early centuries AD it became identified with the Kidron and Hinom valleys but that is not a scriptural location. It is more probable that the prophet is referring his readers back to the story recorded in 2 Chronicle 20. A victory was won over Amon, Moab and Edom without King Jehoshaphat and his army having to fight. The chapter contains the wonderful words, “stand and see the salvation of the Lord”. A similar victory will be won on behalf of Israel when the Lord returns.
Likewise HarMagedon means the mountain of Megiddo. Revelation 16 is the only place in the Bible it is mentioned. But Megiddo is situated in a plane. There is no mountain in the plain. To the North of Megiddo is the Carmel mountain range. It is possible that the prophecy is reminding us of the events which took place on that mountain. On that mountain God through Elijah worked a victory over the prophets of Baal. Elijah is short for God Jehovah. There will come a day when Elijah Jesus will win another great victory over the assembled forces of darkness.
The specific locations may be symbolic but the general location is without doubt the land of Israel.
The nations deceived
In Revelation 16 three unclean spirits are sent out to gather the kings of the whole world together for the war on the great day of God, the Almighty. A story is recorded in 2 Chronicle 18 of how Jehoshaphat allies himself with Ahab to recover Ramoth-gilead. The prophets of Baal assure the kings that victory is certain. At Jehoshaphat’s insistence a prophet of the Lord is summoned. It is Micaiah, who warns that Israel will be defeated and scattered. He adds that he saw in a vision that a deceiving spirit was sent into the mouth of the prophets. The deceiving spirit would entice Ahab to go into battle to bring about disaster.
In the same way the unclean spirits described in Revelation 16, go out into the world to spread lies and to deceive. They are used by God to gather the nations to war and judgement. Although these prophecies are about future events we see the beginnings of the fulfilment already coming about.
An example of how lies are used is the Goldstone report into Israel’s 2008/2009 offensive against Hamas in Gaza. In his report Goldstone said that there was evidence of potential war crimes and possible crimes against humanity by both Israel and Hamas. Writing in the Washington Post 2nd April 2011, he accepted that there was no evidence of Israel targeting civilians, whereas Hamas purposefully and indiscriminately targeted civilians. He also accepted that while Israel was thoroughly investigating allegations regarding individual soldiers, Hamas made no effort to investigate similar accusations. In the Washington Post Goldstone writes, “If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.” The problem is it is too late to admit that he got it wrong. The accusations of war crimes have been made and contribute to the ongoing delegitimisation of Israel.
The lies and rising universal hatred of Israel is the fourth sign that we are approaching the end of this age.
Euro bailed out with Islamic Finance [PW]
We are unlikely to see the above headline. But it could be the reality facing Europe.
The Eurozone is in crisis. As I write the leaders of the Eurozone economies have just agreed a response to the Greek debt crisis. The package includes a mixture of loans, guarantees and a selective default on her debts. This means that Greece will force private lenders to accept a 30 year payback period on 10 year bonds. The package will give Greece some short term relief.
With other member states in trouble due to the accumulation of debt the Eurozone nations cannot afford to keep propping up the weaker economies.
In the longer term if Greece does not get her government spending down the next crisis will be far worse. It will be virtually impossible for her to borrow money to keep the government afloat. Without Eurozone support Greece will face economic collapse.
George Osborne and others have suggested that the European Central Bank consolidates member state's borrowing by creating 'euro bonds' as a way of shoring up the most indebted nations. This will push up the cost of borrowing for the richer nations but allow the indebted nations to borrow from the European Central Bank at lower interest rates than they are currently being charged.
For a euro bond to become a permanent part of the European Union, it needs German backing. Germany is refusing to commit to a permanent common European bond market until there is a mechanism to enforce budget compliance in member states. Without budget compliance by the poorer nations the cost of borrowing for Germany would become unsustainable.
Across the Atlantic American officials are watching closely. On the global stage, U.S. treasury bonds are the unrivalled debt marketplace in terms of volume and liquidity. Consequently, the dollar is used as the world’s reserve currency. This reserve currency status is why America can have such low interest rates, why it is so easy for Americans to get loans, and why the Federal Reserve can get away with creating money out of thin air so that Congress can spend money it does not have. It is a big factor supporting America’s debt-based economic model and consequently its standard of living.
US bonds hold their position because there has not up to now been an alternative. If Euro Bonds are adopted as the way out of the euro crisis, for the first time, U.S. treasury bonds will have a real and potentially lethal competitor, and the world will finally have a true alternative to the dollar for a reserve currency. As soon as investors see a safer place for their money they will flee the USA leaving it with a mountain of debt it cannot pay. Greece will be saved but the USA will fall.
There is another solution at hand. It’s called Sharia finance. Under Sharia interest is not paid against a loan. Instead assets are sold to the lender. The Sharia agreement sets a price at which the borrower will buy back the asset after a fixed time. The buyback price will be the equivalent of the compound interest added to the initial sum over the period. If the borrower is unable to buy back the asset it will belong to the lender. This is exactly the same system as that operated by a Pawn Broker.
The Pawn Broker was the place of last resort for the poor. The rates charged were exorbitant leaving the poor even poorer. Desperate politicians facing angry populations will take desperate measures. Sharia finance provides a source of ready finance without the immediate burden of interest rates and leaves the problem of repayment to successor governments. If the repayment is not made the assets will be forfeited. Entering such an arrangement requires financial discipline. It was the lack of financial discipline which got Europe into this mess. Spending wins votes. How many politicians can resist the temptation to use a breathing space to appease public demands?
I believe that the Revelation 18 prophecy about Babylon the Great is fulfilled in the Western world. ‘Christian’ Europe is the fulfilment of the harlot kingdom of this world. Islam is rising as the beast empire. In Revelation the beast strips the harlot Babylon the Great of her wealth. As governments fall for the easy money of Sharia loans, Islam will have created the perfect vehicle for ravaging the West and leaving it impoverished fulfilling Revelation 17: 16.
Ivory Coast [PW]
The June edition of ‘Evangelicals Now’ published an article by a senior Christian Leader from the Ivory Coast. He outlined the ongoing suffering of the Christian population on the country and the background of the recent civil war. The supporters of the new President Quattara, a Muslim, have taken widespread revenge on the supporters of previous President Laurent Gbagbo who is an Evangelical Christian.
Because Ivory Coast was wealthy in comparison to the surrounding nations it has for 50 years received many mainly Muslim migrants. This has changed the ethnic makeup of the population. The Christian south has tried to maintain a non Muslim profile for the nation by not granting citizenship to the Muslim migrants.
The result of last year’s election was disputed. The Constitutional Council supported the incumbent President Gbagbo’s claim that there was wide spread electoral fraud in the Northern [Islamic] part of the country. The international community decided to support Gbagbo’s opponent Alassane Quattara a former International Monetary Fund executive.
President Sarkozy of France has said that supporting Muslim Quattara against Christian Gbagbo was proof that France was favourable to Islam. The UK probably supported Quattara for similar reasons. Our favouring of Islam against those who seek to stand against its advance is yet another reason why I believe the Lord will use Islam to Judge the United Kingdom.
This quarterly newsletter has been circulated for the past 25 years. It provides an update on worlds events seen in the light of scripture prophecy and is prepared by Ken Kite and Philip Wren. We seek to help Christians prepare for the final turbulant years which will preceed the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He is coming soon, hallelujah.
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