Issue 96 Summer 2010
Greetings in the precious name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob. We live at a time which is critical in the history of this country & of Israel. We are grateful to all who comment on these productions: most tell us how needful it is in these days to spread the truth. In this production I include articles on the Gaza flotilla incident and some reflections on how the Lord is blessing Israel. Philip writes on ‘the end of the age’ and alerts us to a dangerous movement.
The Gaza Flotilla
Signs of the end of the age
The Lord is blessing Israel
Anyone with any spiritual alertness can see work of the enemy in the Gaza flotilla raid at the end of May. The Lord tells us that he comes to ‘steal, kill and destroy’ – and we see his hand in these days behind the terrorist organisations whose motives are to liquidate Israel. This is of course no new thing – as Psalm 83:4 says ‘They have said, “Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation, that the name of Israel may be remembered no more.”’ And throughout her history Israel has faced threats of annihilation, from Haman to Hitler to Ahmadinejad and many points in between.
The flotilla consisted of six ships that left Cyprus with the intention of breaching the blockade that Israel had imposed to prevent the smuggling of arms by sea, mainly from Iran. When talking about the blockade it must be noted that humanitarian aid is not being stopped, contrary to worldwide opinion – many container loads of aid go through daily by land.
It appears that the organizers of the flotilla scorned Israel’s efforts to prevent the vessels from reaching Gaza, via diplomatic dialogue, announcements in advance and declarations over the radio. They similarly rejected Israel’s offer to transfer the aid on board directly to Gaza via Israel, thereby attesting that their goal was to “break the blockade.” ‘
The vessels were intercepted by the Israeli navy, and in obedience to an instruction to take their cargo to Ashdod, five of the ships, under protest, obeyed, offering no violence. They were indeed true ‘peace activists’.
However, one of the six vessels that left Cyprus failed to comply with the Israeli’s request. This ship, the Mavi Marmara, had a complement of 581 (around 400 Turkish) and it was organised by the IHH. This organisation, outwardly a Turkish based charity, is in fact a supporter of terrorists and of extremist action. When the Israeli IDF commandos boarded the ship they were surprised to meet violent and well-prepared resistance.
The IDF commandos were attacked by a well-trained group of mercenaries, most of whom were found without IDs but with thousands of dollars in their pockets. They carried no guns as this would have led to them being classed as terrorists. It appears that the so-called ‘peace flotilla’ contained many pro-Palestinian activists who in their own words were seeking martyrdom and came armed with knives, clubs and other offensive weapons. Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu observed dryly that ‘it was not a love boat’.
In the ensuing violent struggle the Israeli forces fired on the demonstrators when it became clear that their lives were in danger.
This Israeli action unleashed a barrage of fury against Israel, which was denigrated and vilified almost universally: hardly a day had passed before the media descended like vultures on a carcase. The rush to judgement was amazing.
The BBC on 31 May published a blow by blow account of what was happening throughout the world [mainly from nations hostile to Israel]. The Guardian was full of condemnation – it began an article by Robert Booth on 31 May dramatically ‘They came by sea and air, shattering the peace of a Mediterranean night.’ The Amnesty website contained a draft letter which readers were urged to send as a protest to persons of influence. CNN in Jerusalem showed its hand with the inflammatory observation that ‘Israeli commandos rappelled down to an aid flotilla sailing to thwart a Gaza blockade on Monday, clashing with pro-Palestinian activists on the lead ship in a botched raid that left at least nine passengers dead.’
Reuters doctored their pictures to remove any weapons in the hands of the passengers: they later admitted this but said that this was attributable to an editing error!! Reuters also have a series of pictures on their web site of distressed Palestinians.
Experienced photographer and imagery analyst David Katz is of the opinion that ‘While he agreed that the photos were excellent quality he said that they "capture exactly what the Hamas propaganda machine wants the world to see". Referring to the lack of press freedom in Gaza, he added: "after all, they have to, or the photographer wouldn't be allowed there in the first place."!!
A MEMRI [Middle East Media Research Institute] report showed that many of the participants had expressed willingness to die before embarking on their journey to Gaza, and several had written their wills.
Two of the passengers were Egyptian members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a group banned in Egypt over its support for terrorism, though it is allowed to maintain a parliamentary block. One of the two, Mohammed al-Baltaji, said just weeks before the flotilla set sail, “A nation that excels at dying will be blessed by Allah with a life of dignity and with eternal paradise.”
A report Thursday in the PA paper Al-Hayyat al-Jedida indicated that at least four of those killed in the clash had expressed a wish to die fighting Israel. “He regularly prayed to Allah to grant him 'shahada' [martyrdom],” recalled the wife of one of the deceased.
The friend of another of those killed, a 55-year-old from Ankara, reported that his friend “always wanted to be a martyr.” The brother-in-law of another dead Turkish passenger stated, “He was a good man. That's why he merited the honor of martyrdom. Allah granted him the death he longed for.”
One of the participants said "We are now waiting for one of two good things – either to achieve martyrdom, or to reach Gaza."
It is horrifying that in 2010 there should be folk willing to say such things and believe in them passionately.
The question no-one is asking is how should Israel react when it is being subjected to rocket attacks from Gaza with weapons smuggled in illegally [mainly from Iran]? That is the reason why Israel has set up the blockade, while allowing in goods, medicines and humanitarian equipment.
A video which explains what went on is available at http://vimeo.com/12555636: it throws much light on what happened.
The ‘honestreporting’ website can be relied upon for a balanced opinion. This reports that still more evidence is emerging of the violent intentions of those behind the Gaza flotilla.
‘The videotaped statements of two Mavi Marmara crew members show that preparations for a violent confrontation with IDF forces were put in motion about two hours before the boarding began, when the Israeli Navy hailed the ship and told it to halt.
According to the statements, the atmosphere aboard the Mavi Marmara was tense and the crew noticed a gathering on the main deck. When they checked the upper deck they discovered that IHH operatives were cutting the ship’s railings with metal disks they had brought with them into lengths suitable to be used as clubs. The crew members said the activities worried them and that they tried to stop the operatives but were unsuccessful.’
It is a very sad and tragic situation for the inhabitants of Gaza. Both the Hamas and Fatah regimes in their charters publicly deny Israel’s right to exist and strive to accomplish her annihilation. It is hard to see any prospect of peace until Israel’s enemies recognise her as a legitimate state in the region.
There has been much international outcry over the supposed illegality of the Gaza blockade. Ryan Jones in July edition of Israel Today writes that ‘this is simply not true’. Israel also has the legal right to intercept ships on the high seas under the law of a blockade. Israel cannot allow ships to enter Gaza because ‘that would enable Hamas to rearm with rockets & missiles’. He adds that blockade is a legitimate method of naval warfare’. ‘The legality of the blockade in response to acts of war is not subject to serious doubt’ [e.g. the blockade of Cuba by the USA in October 62 in response to photographic evidence that Soviet missile bases were under construction].
The following are some quotes from the Avaaz.org web site:
“Avaaz—meaning "voice" in several European, Middle Eastern and Asian languages—was launched in January 2007 with a simple democratic mission: organize citizens everywhere to help close the gap between the world we have and the world most people want.”
“In 3 years, Avaaz has grown to 5.5 million members from every country on earth, becoming the largest global web movement in history.”
“Avaaz's command of the tools of online organising, and its ability to simultaneously field them in every part of the world, is unique.”
“Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown says Avaaz "has driven forward the idealism of the world." Al Gore says "Avaaz is inspiring… it has already made a significant difference.” Zainab Bangura, the foreign minister of Sierra Leone, describes Avaaz as "an ally, and a rallying place, for disadvantaged people everywhere to help create real change.”
The praise heaped on Avaaz by both politicians and the media are enough to warn us that Avaaz has nothing to do with being a real voice of the people. It has a great deal to do with manipulating public opinion to follow the globalist agenda. Avaaz states that it aims to “ensure that the views and values of the world’s people shape global decisions”. It appears that its real aim is, to ensure that the views and values of the global decision makers mould the opinions of the people.
An illustration of the danger of such manipulation of public opinion is a short video clip posted on the site. It carries the following title.
Middle East Peace – the Real Story
The clip is about the injustice suffered by the Palestinians and their need to be given their own state. After a number of factually inaccurate statements and praise heaped on Obama’s two state solution, the video closes with these final words:
“But powerful extremists in the Middle East (background photos of President Ahmadinejad and Ismail Haniya the Hamas Prime minister) and Washington (background photos of John Hagee and Prime minister Netanyahu) are doing all they can to destroy this chance for change. Only an unprecedented global movement can put an end to decades of violence and injustice. The time is now. Join the campaign for peace at Avaaz.org”.
There you have it. A Christian Zionist and the Prime Minister of the only true democracy in the Middle East are lumped in with fanatics and terrorists. To the globalist mindset the Christian is as much a problem as the fanatic because neither fit their utopian vision of the future. Public opinion is to be mobilised against such extremists. Yes, the evangelical Christian who believes that God has a purpose in bringing the Jews back to their land is an extremist to be exposed to the condemnation of public opinion. The night will come before the dawn, but what a dawn.
I recently gave a series of talks on the signs which convince me that we are living in the closing years of the present age. Someone who couldn’t be present asked if they would be serialised in Trumpet Sounds. My intention is to assemble the talks into a booklet but in the meantime I summarise the first talk below.
A memorable event for any Christian is the first time they have the privilege of standing on the Mount of Olives and look out over Jerusalem. If we were brought up in a Christian home, from our childhood we will have heard so much about the place. Jerusalem is not just part of the Jews history. It is our history.
The Mount of Olives is very special for another reason. It is the place where one day Jesus Christ will return to this earth. I may not be able to tell you the day or hour of His return but within a few hundred yards I can tell you where. Jesus will come back to this earth as a man and stand upon the Mount of Olives. He will come as a glorified man with an appearance like that described by John at the beginning of the book of Revelation, but still a man.
The question arises, why does He need to come back to this earth?
To accomplish much of what is prophesied there is no need for Him to set foot again on this planet.
He does not need to set foot on the earth for the church. My assurance is that one day Jesus will appear and gather His church up into the clouds 1Thess 4:17.
It is not to pour out His wrath on a rebellious world. We understand from Revelation that these judgements are poured out from heaven.
It is not to renew creation. When Jesus returns He will restore creation, but our ultimate hope is a new heaven and a new earth.
It is not to judge the wicked. That judgement takes place before the throne of God when neither heaven nor earth are present.
The only reason that I know of for Jesus to return to this earth is because He has unfinished business with Israel. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary he said that the child that she would bear would one day be given the throne of David. Jesus must come back to reign. He will come at a time when Israel is facing her greatest ever calamity. He will fight for them as their king. At that time all Israel will recognise Him as their Messiah and cry out, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”
It is for this reason we recognise that when considering the end of the present age our focus needs to be on Israel and Jerusalem. In these last days Satan will do all in his power to frustrate the purpose of the Father to establish his King in Jerusalem.
Almost from its inception the church has suffered from those who have predicted the date of the Second Coming. I know of literally hundreds of predictions. Nearly all are based on mathematical calculations of one form or another. Speculating on the day or hour seems to be doing exactly what Jesus warned us no to do.
We are not to predict dates, but Jesus did encourage us to look for signs. One example is the statement in Matthew’s gospel, “for where the carcass is, there will the vultures be gathered”. This imagery would have been readily understood by what was a largely agricultural community. The circling vultures would tell a shepherd where his lost sheep had died.
The problem with past date predictions is that the scriptural signs were not present. Until the signs exist there is no point in looking for the return of Christ. (This point was picked up by C H Spurgeon who I quote in a later talk). But now that some of the major signs are present and the remaining ones could be fulfilled at any time we should be looking up in expectation.
But before we look at the signs, which we will do in future Issues of Trumpet Sounds, there is a question which needs to be answered. Does it matter?
Does it matter?
Does the ordinary Christian need to know whether or not we are living in the last days? Many would respond that it is unimportant. They would say that we need to keep living our Christian lives, witnessing where we can and leave the timing of the Lord’s return to Him. Jesus will come when He comes and there is nothing we can do about it. I suggest that this is naive thinking. I will give three very important reasons as to why we need to recognise that we are living at the close of the age.
1. To counter disillusionment
2. To be prepared
3. To pray
To counter disillusionment
In the UK over the last 40 years there have been many initiatives to counter the slide into a godless society. Christians have been encouraged again and again to campaign and pray in order to turn the nation around. Despite all our efforts the rejection of Christ has continued apace. Besides the initiatives there had been frequent false prophecies of imminent revival. Unfulfilled false hopes have discouraged, even demoralised many Christians. But what if God has already told us not to expect either a revival or restoration of our nation to faith in him?
An army may be given the order to attack or it may be ordered to hold its ground. These two orders require very different strategies.
By understanding the times we recognise we are heading towards the final end time rebellion against God. A counter offensive is coming which will sweep away all evil before it. But that offensive is not quite ready yet. For now we are here to hold the ground. We should battle to protect areas such as freedom of speech and stand with those suffering discrimination. We should seek to proclaim the gospel as long as the opportunity exists so that some will be saved. But we also recognise that in this hour we will lose many battles. There will come a time when open witness is impossible. A time when a false religion is promoted and the truth despised. We who recognise the times will not be discouraged. Victory will soon be ours when our king returns.
To be Prepared
I have covered this subject in my booklet ‘Watch’. Jesus stressed that in these last days we need to watch. As we study his teaching we understand that to watch means to be prepared. We are not to take for granted that we will stand in these last days. Only in His strength will we overcome the enemy.
What happens in the coming years can be influenced by prayer. Some teach prophecy as if the end time events will run according to a predetermined pattern. For them it is all mapped out in great detail. This is an error, because it fails to recognise the power of prayer.
In a parable Jesus praised the persistent widow (Luke 18: 1-8). The context of the story is the time of Christ’s return. The point is that we are to pray and not give up. For a time it will seem that God does not hear our prayers, even so we must not stop. When Jesus comes He will seek out those who have persisted in prayer. In Isaiah we are told to give the Lord no rest until He has made Jerusalem a praise in all the earth. We are to pray because not everything is predetermined. I believe that all prophecy will be fulfilled right down to the tiniest detail. There is not one scriptural prophecy which will not come to fruition. But the manner in which they are fulfilled is flexible.
By holding to rigid interpretations of prophecy both the priest and disciples failed to understand the nature of Jesus’ ministry. The danger of failing to recognise that Jesus may act in ways we do not expect also exists in these end times. There are many events where a range of outcomes will still perfectly fulfil prophecy.
In these final days when Satan’s power will reach its zenith we still possess a powerful weapon to use against him, it’s called prayer. But if we do not recognise the battle in which we are engaged it will be used ineffectively.
A short video from the isrelate website (see link below) illustrates some of the ways in which the Lord is blessing Israel despite the storm of anti-Israel propaganda in the world’s media.
This article covers much of the ground illustrated in the video.
Truly God is being good to Israel.
Jesus is now the Lord; He is enthroned at the right hand of God; He is reigning in His kingdom. But this is a Lordship and a kingly reign which is known only to believers. It must be confessed by faith. His Second Coming will mean nothing less than the Lordship which is His now will be visible to all the world. When we pray, "Thy kingdom come," this is what we are praying for: the effectual and universal rule of Christ in all the world, not only over believers
George Eldon Ladd - The Last Things (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans: 1978)
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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