Issue 98 Winter 2011
Loving greetings in Yeshua’s name. We rejoice that as we enter a
New Year there is one glorious certainty that we can hold on to as we
live in a rapidly changing world. It is set down in the old
testament in Mal 3:6 – ‘I am the Lord – I do not change’, and in the
New Testament in the words of Heb 13:8 ‘Jesus Christ is the same
yesterday, today, and forever.’ We have the confident assurance
that our God remains the same.
The Holy Spirit and the call of God
A Date for your Diary
Signs of the end of the age 2 – Jerusalem
Stuxnet still out of control
Natural Gas Find
Where next for Europe?
An extraordinary Story from the Wall Street Journal in November
The Fig Tree
Muslims urged to “conquer the word” through halal
A salutary thought
The Holy Spirit and the call of God [KK]
In scripture God calls a wide variety of people to carry out His will – from the most able to the least – but in every case He never does so without providing all the spiritual & material resources needed for the call to be obeyed. Nothing is left to chance or to your own devices.
Think of the words of Jesus to his disciples just before he ascends to heaven: He tells them that they are to be His witnesses but they are to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit, who will clothe them with power from on high. The Holy Spirit is the agent God uses to get His will done.
Recall the angel appearing to Mary the mother of Jesus – he tells her she is to bear a child who would be the promised Messiah – an astonishing thing to say to a young unmarried teenager. When she asks ‘how shall this be, since I do not know a man?’ the angel replies with the answer to all our hows – ‘the Holy Spirit will come upon you’.
Let’s take some biblical examples of men called by God. In Judges 6 Gideon is threshing wheat in his winepress to hide it from the marauding Midianites when he Is greeted by an angel calling him a ‘mighty man of valour’. At once Gideon responds by saying his family is poor among his tribe and he is the least in his father’s house. But the angel brushes this aside and says ‘go in the strength that you have and you will save Israel’. He says effectively you have all the resources that you will need. And in Judges 6:24 we read how this equipment was given: ‘the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon.’ And with the help of the Spirit he accomplished what he had been called to do.
The prophet Jeremiah has a bad press as a gloomy mournful man with a long beard as shown in Michelangelo’s picture in the Sistine chapel. But nothing could be further from the truth. He is a young man of deep convictions whom God calls to speak to the grossly disobedient men of his day with a message of God’s anger & the threatened punishment of deportation to Babylon. Faced with this prospect Jeremiah pleads inadequacy –‘Ah my Lord I cannot speak for I am only a child.’ But the Lord says I have chosen you from your mother’s womb and I will put my words in your mouth. I will give you the what to say & the how to say it. And for nearly thirty years he brings the Lord’s word to the people.
The same feeling of inadequacy was shown by Israel’s first king Saul, who when he is called tries to hide among the baggage. Yet he accomplished much in the Lord’s will for him – how did he do it? We read in 1 Samuel 11:6, Then the Spirit of God came upon Saul. Again the Holy Spirit was his enabler.
His namesake in the New Testament has a blinding revelation of the Lord Jesus on the Damascus road and when the reluctant Ananias Acts 9:17, ’went his way and entered the house; and laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’ And Saul became Paul, one of the most able & gifted of the Lord’s servants who was mightily used by God under the power of the Holy Spirit.
Two more examples to make the point – one was Joseph interpreting Pharaoh’s dream and hearing the bewildered ruler offering him the job of being in charge of all the arrangements to deal with the famine in Gen 41:38 “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?”
We have a similar scene in Nebuchadnezzar’s court when Daniel interprets his second dream about a great tree The king says ‘But at last Daniel came before me: in him is the Spirit of the Holy God’
Both these men were recognised by heathen rulers as having something which was not of this world and they called it the Spirit of God.
A final example is seen in the life of Isaiah the prophet. Isaiah was called by God in a vision of the Lord himself in glory, and his response to the question ‘whom shall I send and who will go for us’ he responds immediately ‘here am I send me ‘ and so he accepts the Lord’s commission to speak His word to His people and he is given the words to speak. The Holy Spirit was at work in Isaiah’s life as Paul tells the Jews at the end of Acts 28 “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers’.
The example of Jesus
The best example of a man under God’s call enabled by the Holy Spirit is of course our Lord Jesus.
There is an important fact about our Lord’s early life. He lived in a small town on the northern outskirts of a land at the edge of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known. For thirty years he worked with his hands as a carpenter. Then one day he left Nazareth and went down into the Jordan to be baptised by John. Then he begins His ministry around the northern shores of Galilee. There is a sudden explosion of power of utterance and gifts of healing & deliverance, news of which must have reached his home village some 20 miles away. When he returns there after a few months you might expect the local paper to have banner headlines ‘local boy makes good’ - ’come & hear the exciting young rabbi’.
But what do we hear instead – ‘who does He think He is – we know His family, He’s the carpenter’s son – what is this that has been given to him?’ If they had followed Him since He had left home they would have learned the answer. After His baptism we read that the Holy Spirit descended from heaven like a dove and rested upon him. It was not until He received the gift of the Holy Spirit that his ministry could begin. Then he could teach with divine authority & wisdom, and heal & deliver with power.
Shift the scene now to the end of Jesus’ life after his resurrection – He appears to the disciples through the closed door and says to them – ‘As the Father has sent me even so send I you’. There is an emphasis in the original Greek of the passage ‘in exactly the same way as the Father sent me I’m sending you’. And before He leaves them in the ascension story He tells them to wait for the coming of the Spirit whom He calls ‘the gift my Father promised’. He will enable them to speak and testify in a way which they could not in their natural selves.
Anyone feeling inadequate or ineffective in their Christian life? Here’s the remedy – the Holy Spirit.
John Wesley had worked for God by his own efforts for 35 years when he returned from America a broken & disillusioned man. Then in 1738 he had his wonderful experience in a Moravian church in Aldergate street in which Wesley had ‘his heart strangely warmed, and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and set me free from the law of sin and death’. It sounds suspiciously like a meeting with the Holy Spirit of God!! Thereafter he began a ministry that was to last for over fifty years and that had a profound effect this country.
It is a pity that the church he founded has strayed so far from the example of its creator.
A Date for your Diary [PW]
In the USA, the founder of the family radio network, Harold Camping, has launched a billboard campaign announcing the date of the rapture.
Camping predicts the rapture will happen exactly 7,000 years from the date that God first warned people about the flood. He bases his prediction on the flood happening in 4990 B.C., on what he says would have been May 21 in the modern calendar.
Camping says that God gave Noah one week of warning, and since the Bible says that for God a day is like 1,000 years, Camping predicts there will be a 7,000-year interval between the flood and rapture: May 21, 2011.
What perplexes me about such predictions is the spurious basis on which they are made. Where in scripture is there any pointer to a 7000 time lapse between the flood and the return of Christ? Even if such a connection can be found is anyone sufficiently certain about the date of the flood to make such a prediction?
Jesus said that we are to “keep watch for you do not know on what day your Lord will come.”
To watch and understand the signs is to obey the command of Jesus. To speculate about dates is to disobey. Speculation brings the study of prophecy into disrepute. It is to work hand in glove with Satan to negate the vital teachings of Jesus which were given to prepare His church for the close of this age.
Another ministry in America has invited Mr Camping to prove his convictions by signing over the assets of Family Radio to that ministry. After all on the 22nd May they are not going to still need them!
Signs of the end of the age 2 – Jerusalem [PW]
Zechariah is listed in Nehemiah 12 as one of the priests who made the journey back to Jerusalem after the exile in Babylon. The party returned to a city in ruins. Soon an attempt was made to rebuild the Temple. We read in the book of Ezra how the people living around Jerusalem discouraged the Jews in an attempt to stop them building. Failing in that attempt, they appeal to the king of Persia and obtain a royal warrant to stop the building.
Construction is delayed 20 years until the prophets Haggai and Zechariah encourage the people to try again (Zechariah 5). Under Zerubbabel’s direction the building restarts. The Governor of the province tries to stop the rebuilding work. When the Jews refuse he sends a petition to Darius King of Persia. In the second year of Darius permission is received to resume building. The Temple was rededicated in 516 BC, the 6th year of Darius. This was 70 years after the destruction of the first temple in 586 BC. At the time of the destruction Jeremiah had prophesied that the desolation would last 70 years (2 Chronicles 36: 21).
Zechariah dates his prophecies to these years when construction of the Temple had resumed. The prophecies start with a word of encouragement to the people to return to the Lord (Zech 1:3). They end with a vision of the Lord reigning over all the earth (Zech 14:9). At that time all the nations will come up to Jerusalem to worship (Zech 14:16). In between, Zechariah’s prophecies contain both words of encouragement and warnings.
Jerusalem a cup of Reeling
“The burden of the word of the Lord against Israel. Thus says the Lord, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: Behold I will make Jerusalem a cup of reeling to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege to Jerusalem. And it will happen on 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 the nations of the earth are gathered against it.” Zechariah 12: 1 – 3. In this prophecy a time is foreseen when Jerusalem becomes a cup of reeling for the surrounding nations and a heavy stone for all peoples.
Has that time already been fulfilled? It is said of Jerusalem that she, the city of peace, has never known a day’s peace in her history.
At the time when Zechariah prophesied, the Persians ruled Israel. After the Persians came the Greeks. Under Greek rule Jerusalem was caught in a conflict between the King of the North and the King of the South. The conflict which lasted for two centuries is prophetically described in Daniel 11. Greek rule was thrown off by the Maccabees. Then in 63 BC the Romans conquered Israel. Throughout their rule there were periods of Jewish resistance. Major rebellions occurred in 67 to 70 AD and 132 to 135 AD. Following the crushing of the rebellion in 135 BC the Romans removed all the Jews from Israel and founded a city named Aelia Capitolina on the ruins of Jerusalem. Over the following centuries Jerusalem continued as a centre of conflict. For a short time the Parthians ruled the city then the Muslims came. The Crusaders came and went. Various Islamic factions fought over the city. Finally the Ottomans took the city in 1517 ushering in a period of relative peace. The only time Jerusalem changed hands without a fight was in 1917 when General Allenby walked into Jerusalem to accept the surrender of the Turks.
Despite all this conflict we do not believe that the prophecy that Jerusalem will be a cup of reeling for the surrounding nations and a heavy stone for all peoples has been fulfilled. The reason is that the time prophesied by Zechariah ends with the coming of the Messiah. “They will look on me who they pierced” Zech 12:10. At the time our Lord returns Jerusalem will not be at peace but will be the centre of conflict.
In 1947 the United Nations agreed to partition Palestine. There were to be separate Jewish and Arab homelands. At that time the future of Jerusalem was placed on hold. Further talks were planned to decide the future administration of the city.
In the war of independence of 1948 the fledgling Jewish state was attacked by the surrounding nations. The war decided for a time the status of Jerusalem. The old city was captured by Jordan and remained in their possession until 1967. During that time Jews were forbidden entry and denied the right to worship at the Western wall. The Jordanian occupation was illegal and the denial of access by Jews to the city contrary to the United Nations resolution, but drew little protest.
The Focus of World attention
In the six day war of 1967 Israel captured the old city form Jordan. From 1967 onward Jerusalem has become a cup of reeling for all the surrounding peoples and a heavy stone for all the nations of the world. The surrounding nations want to see the city restored to Arab rule. The world sees Jerusalem as the greatest obstacle to world peace. Never before in history could it be said that all the peoples of this world see Jerusalem as a heavy stone. The prophecy of Zechariah is being fulfilled today and is a sign that the time of the Messiah’s return is drawing near.
“And Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled.” Luke 21: 24. The times of the Gentiles will be fulfilled when as Paul says in Roman’s 11: 25, “the fullness of the Gentiles has come in”. It will continue until the harvest among the Gentile nations is complete. Then Jesus will return.
Although Israel has sovereignty over the city, it is still trampled. The holy mountain of the Lord is defiled by a temple to a false antichrist religion. The temple carries the repeated declaration that God has no son. In denying the Father and the Son it is an abomination to God.
There is coming a time when Jerusalem will no longer be trampled. It will become the throne of the King of Kings. That Jerusalem has become in our days cup of reeling to the surrounding nations and a heavy stone for all peoples is the second sign that the end of this present age is drawing near.
Stuxnet still out of control [PW]
According to a report in December on the Fox News website the Stuxnet computer virus is still infecting Iran’s nuclear programme. After months of denials, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad admitted that the worm had penetrated Iran's nuclear sites, but he said it was detected and controlled. This claim has been contradicted by cybersecurity experts in Europe and the US.
The Stuxnet worm, named after initials found in its code, is the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever created. Examination of the worm shows it was a cybermissile designed to penetrate advanced security systems. It was equipped with a warhead that targeted and took over the controls of the centrifuge systems at Iran’s uranium processing centre in Natanz, and it had a second warhead that targeted the massive turbine at the nuclear reactor in Bashehr.
At one large American web company which offers advice on how to eliminate the worm, traffic from Iran has swamped that of its largest user the Unites States. Another company reported that two years ago American users of the site site outnumbered Iranians by 100 to 1. Today Iranians are close to a majority of users.” This is not due to ordinary Iranians suffering problems with the virus. It is targeted to only affect the Iranian nuclear programme and does not cause problems to other computers.
Ralph Langner, a German expert who was among the first to study and raise alarms about Stuxnet, said he was not surprised by the development. He raised the possibility that they may never succeed in eliminating it. “The Iranians don’t have the depth of knowledge to handle the worm or understand its complexity. Here is their problem. They should throw out every personal computer involved with the nuclear program and start over, but they can’t do that. Moreover, they are completely dependent on outside companies for the construction and maintenance of their nuclear facilities. They should throw out their computers as well. But they can’t, they will just continually re-infect themselves. With the best of expertise and equipment it would take another year for the plants to function normally again because it is so hard to get the worm out. It even hides in the back-up systems.”
Natural Gas Find [PW]
At the beginning of January another huge find of natural gas off the coast of Israel was reported. It is estimated that the new Leviathan field will yield 16 trillion cu feet of gas. This find is in addition to the 6 trillion cu feet of the previous Tamar field. If the temptation to export the gas is resisted the latest find could offer Israel 20 years of energy security.
Where next for Europe? [PW]
For 18 months or more there have been warnings that the debt crisis in Europe has not and possibly cannot be resolved. Nations within the Euro zone with levels of unsustainable debt include Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, France and Belgium. There are rumours that Greece will soon need another bailout. The problem is compounded by the host of new members from eastern Europe who are also on the verge of collapse.
Meanwhile Germany seeks to keep the Euro afloat by bailing out the rest of Europe, but for how long? At some point Germany will either be unwilling or unable to continuing rescuing the rest of the EU countries from the unsustainable mountains of debt that they have accumulated. When that moment arrives, it is going to throw world financial markets into turmoil.
In 2010, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared “The current crisis facing the euro is the biggest test Europe has faced for decades, even since the Treaty of Rome was signed in 1957.”
It is an historic crisis which will lead to one of two outcomes. Either the financial strain will prove too much and lead to the breakup of the EU, as nations are forced to revert to their own currencies or survival will require even greater integration. This integration will involve centralised taxation and budgetary policies.
Greater centralised control will be coupled with increased stringency over public spending leading to widespread civil unrest. The conditions will be ripe for the coming to power of a European dictator. At times of crisis people want a leader to give hope that a way can be found towards a better future.
An extraordinary Story from the Wall Street Journal in November [PW]
According to a story in the WSJ members of the Majlis, Iran’s parliament are seeking to impeach President Ahmadinejad. Apparently Ahmadinejad is accused of not being Muslim enough with a hidden anti-clerical agenda. He is also accused of being too liberal on women’s issues. The campaign appears to be led by the Speaker of the Majlis Ari Larijani and former president Rafsanjani. Because those opposed to Ahmadinejad claim to be more hard line, their victory could lead to an even more unpredictable and dangerous Iran.
The Fig Tree [PW]
In the last edition of Trumpet Sounds I wrote of Israel being a sign of the end of the age. One of the prophecies which support this is the use by Jesus of the parable of the fig tree putting out leaves. Rod Boggia has written a booklet which develops this theme. If you would like a copy please write to Rod at Sidcliffe, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 9QA, and enclose a payment of £3.00.
Muslims urged to “conquer the word” through halal (Barnabus Fund)
A leading European Muslim cleric has urged the international Muslim community to conquer the world through the halal movement.
Dr Mustafa Ceric, Grand Mufti of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Sanjak, Croatia and Slovenia, was speaking at a reception hosted by the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) as part of the first ever Global Halal Congress in Karachi, Pakistan, earlier this month.
He is reported to have said that the halal movement can enable Muslims to rule the global economy because its food and other services are the basic needs of every human being. He claimed halal means “pure and hygienic”, and that the non-Muslim world has no hesitation in accepting it.
His comments follow Operation Nehemiah’s report on a video produced by the World Halal Forum, which uses slick advertising and exploits commercial gain in a bid to sell halal as a global brand.
It is becoming apparent that halal is being used as an instrument of Islamic mission (dawa), bringing the oblivious non-Muslim world increasingly under the authority of sharia law.
Operation Nehemiah is greatly concerned about this insidious campaign and urges Christians to both sign and circulate our petition against the imposition of halal.
A salutary thought
“In many cases sheer fanaticism has been the result of exclusively dwelling on prophecy, and probably more men have gone mad on that subject than on any other religious question.”
Charles H. Spurgeon, The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 23:644
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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