When Pelt Bears a Resemblance to Fleece: A Strong Delusion

Much of the world is awaking, emerging from spiritual slumber and, with help from the Spirit, extricating itself from worldly quagmire. While I avoid more sensationalist views (and productions), preferring to seek and hear from the humble and the lowly, the times call for an occasional embrace of more polished productions.

While the Antichrist, a persona I consider equivalent to the Old Testament King of the North, is yet to be revealed, the False Prophet—yes, there are many False Prophets and Antichrists—of the Book of Revelation persists in parading, for eyes to see, many years now.

I believe the Church must show love and understanding to all—the Bible calls that mercy—but that should not be confused with acquiescence to, support for, or the embracing of ways of life that directly and perpetually controvert the Word of God. For instance, some of the language used in this video is less than exemplary. But I am willing to suffer such smaller indiscretion (for now) for the sake of spreading the Good News and in the hope of saving even one.

The understanding of faith and works is often misconstrued. We are not so much saved or justified by works. Faith alone saves, but faith—by its very nature—brings good works. Salvation is based on Romans 10:9.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

By confessing AND believing Jesus is Lord and that god raised Him from the Dead, you are saved. But the faith that brings salvation, also brings (good) works as fruits of the Spirit. Salvation is based on Jesus. Reward is based on works.

It is heartening to see more mainstream productions now calling it for what it is, referring to it by its rightful biblical name. But lest we get haughty and supercilious, before we begin to boast, realise that most Protestant churches fare little better. So much so that the same Book of Revelation—the Revelation of Jesus Christ, mind you, given to him by God:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John.

Revelation 1:1 (KJV)

—opens by rebuke of the Churches of Asia. Our present-day churches reverberate the ills of those seven churches. Let us then reconsider our own ways, to come with appropriate humility before the Lord.

Let No One Deceive You: Yet To Be Revealed is The Man of Sin, But The Falling Away IS Here

With Israel quickly and firmly re-establishing itself in the Middle East, a nation born in a day, few people, secular or sacred, remain willing to bet against now as the End of Days. There remain a few foolhardy souls, but increasingly everyone is coming to terms with the end of an epoch. This epoch is the end of the 2000-year-long Church Age. But exactly where on the timeline do we stand? Could we be in the Last Hours rather than Last Days? Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles, warns that the second advent and Day of the Lord will not come until certain preconditions are met.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of [b]sin is revealed, the son of perdition.

2 Thessalonians 2:3

Israel is a Nation and the Falling Away Is Here. The Psalm 83 War is well underway. Hours or Days?

Eternal Life: The Old City and Its Eastern Gate

Israel’s territory immediately west of the Jordan river, known as the West Bank, a part of the Ottoman Empire for 400 years (1517-1917), includes the significant historical and cultural centers of East Jerusalem, in which is situated the Old City, but also parts of the littoral western Dead Sea. This region, officially referred to by Israel now as Judea and Samaria, occupies more than one-fifth of the former Mandatory Palestine; then under occupation and administration of Jordan, since the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, before its formal annexation in 1950.

Though a small part of the Israeli economy, the West bank represents a sizeable portion of Jordanian Gross National Product. Jordan is obviously keen to hang onto land afforded them from partition of the Ottoman Empire by a Sykes-Picot agreement, between the United Kingdom and France, during WW1.

The Six-Day War changed everything.

Since, the international community has considered East Jerusalem as occupied by Israel. Certainly, Israel gained some long-lost territory as well as an improved hand in negotiations. For afterwards, Israel allowed Jordan to retain authority over the Temple Mount through the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf: a Jordanian-led Islamic trust for administration of the compound, with Israel responsible for security outside it. Importantly, only Muslims would be allowed to pray at the site.

But one or other form of waqf has governed access to the Temple Mount since Muslim reconquest of Jerusalem in 1187. 

There are, however, now incredible claims that it was only the rare very recent chance at Arab-Israeli rapprochement, manifest in the 13 August 2020 compact with the United Arab Emirates, that averted annexation of the West Bank by Israel. and all that that might entail in these heady days; an annexation alleged to have otherwise been planned for July 1st.

However incredible that claim may seem (if taken at face value, a crisis averted for now, it seems), the point is that the Middle East is currently at a tipping point not seen since 1967. 

The point of the Six-Day War, in 1967, was to recapture the Old City.

The Old City of Jerusalem is currently divided into four regions according to prevailing ethnicity of its inhabitants. The Old City has: a Christian Quarter; an Armenian Quarter; a Muslim Quarter, by far the largest quarter but beyond the main thoroughfares of which it is not considered safe for Jews or Christians to roam; and, of course, a Jewish Quarter.¹ The holiest of holy parts of the Old City (if you will), the Temple Mount, straddles the two eastern Quarters, the Muslim and the Jewish.

Eleven city gates were originally spread about the perimeter of this one-square kilometre of land, only eight of which now remain and one of which is closed. Located above ground level but below the Temple Mount, visible only from without the city, one of these, is The Golden Gate; the gate Jews anticipate as point of entry for the coming Messiah when he enters Jerusalem. Two gates lead into the Old City’s Jewish Quarter itself. Just beyond the Western Wall, a lasting stronghold after Roman destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, is The Dung Gate. In antiquity, refuse was dumped just outside this gate where prevailing winds would carry the odour away from the city.

And I went out by night through the Valley Gate to the Serpent Well and the Refuse Gate, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem which were broken down and its gates which were burned with fire.

Nehemiah 2:13 (NKJV)

The other entrance to the Jewish Quarter is the Zion gate, named after the nearby mount.

Israel claims sovereignty over East Jerusalem, affording Palestinians administrative authority over the Old City’s Muslim and Christian Quarters. In 2007, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert circumvented the issue proposing instead a temporary international trusteeship administered by Israel, the Palestinian state, the US, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

In contrast to Jews, most Arabs enter the city through the Damascus Gate straight into the souk (bazaars) and below which stands Hadrian’s Arch, built in 135 AD as main entrance to the city the Roman Emperor called Aelia Capitolina. As the Arch indicates, the Muslim Quarter is home to more than just articles of interest to those of Islamic faith. For all Christians who have visited the Holy City know that The Via Dolorosa, and most of the Way of the Cross, are in the city’s Muslim Quarter. More recently, and rather provocatively, despite its history as a place Jews have lived for decades, there is also a return by some Jews back into this part of the city.

Just up from the Western Wall plaza is the 40-acre plateau dominated by two shrines from the seventh century, the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa mosque. This plateau, the Temple Mount or Haram es-Sharif (Arabic: “Noble Enclosure”) confirms Jerusalem as the “Remote Place” of the Koran, third only in importance to Mecca and Medina.³ But Jews remain divided about walking up onto the Temple Mount for fear of defiling the place where forefathers once offered sacrifice, while others avoid so doing for fear of provoking Muslims. Tensions are always—always—high on the Mount.

Nonetheless, one of Christianity’s most holy places does indeed stand within the Christian Quarter. Christian reverence for the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as site of death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ, is however based on the conviction of Helena, mother of fourth-century Roman Emperor Constantine. Unsurprisingly, the site is zealously guarded by different Christian denominations: Greek Orthodox; Roman Catholic; Armenian; and Coptic. Yet just such disputes, in the twelfth-century, led Arab conqueror Saladin to entrust the keys to the Sepulcher to Muslims.

Eight centuries later and the 10-inch metal key is still safeguarded in the house of the Joudeh family. Every morning at dawn, Wajeeh Nuseibeh, who took over the job of doorkeeper from his father 20 years ago, picks up the key and opens the massive wooden church doors. Every night at 8:00 p.m. he returns to shut and lock them.¹

Of the Armenian and smallest of the quartet, established in the fourteenth century, two-thirds is taken up by The St. James Monastery. With room for only one Armenian church, Syrian, Maronite Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Anglican denominations all boast churches in this part of the city. Armenians claim a presence in Jerusalem since a first-century battalion fought under Roman emperor Titus, remaining ensconced in Jerusalem for the last 1,700 years and not infrequently caught in its crossfire.¹ Armenians are renowned for so readily adopting Christianity as their official religion in 286 CE, well before even the Romans.

Providing fortifications for the city, at some 40-feet tall, the Old City walls were built between 1537 and 1541 under orders of Ottoman Emperor, Suleiman. The Zion Gate was the last of the gates constructed, in 1540. The Zion Gate provides access to Jewish-Quarter sites like the Tower of David and to the apparent resting place of King David’s himself. Here also is the Cenacle, considered site of the Last Supper.  

The present-day Jewish Quarter dates to antiquity, remains of the upper city of the Herodian period (37 BC–70 AD). Testament to Ottoman prohibition of Jewish and Christian buildings reaching higher than Muslim structures, the Jewish Quarter boasts 400-year-old synagogues that sit below street level. More conventionally, however, as the Old City’s second oldest active synagogue, founded in 1267, the Ramban Synagogue stands  in honour of Rabbi Moshe Ben-Nahman (Ramban) who helped rejuvenate Jerusalem’s Jewish community after it had been wiped out by Crusaders

Up on the east wall of the Temple Mount, dating to 1541, the Golden Gate is oldest of eight gates of present-day Jerusalem and the only one that opens—if it were open—onto the Temple Mount.² During the First (Solomon’s) Temple period (c.1000–586 BCE), an eastern Gate was also main entrance into the Temple area but it was farther south and at lower level than its rebuilt successor. This lower originary eastern gate was used by Jesus on his original entrance to Jerusalem in 30 AD. The rebuilt eastern Gate was main entrance to the Second Temple area, the gate of the Lord’s triumphal entry on Palm Sunday (c. 33 AD).

Fittingly called also the Gate of Eternal Life, the outer aspect to this Golden Gate, perhaps equally fittingly, faces the Mount of Olives—where Jesus is believed to have given his Sermon on the Mount—and the Jewish cemetery. The gate is, in fact, made of two now sealed archways: the southern Gate of Mercy and the northern Gate of Repentance. Rather than at the pejoratively called “Wailing Wall,” an appellation from outsiders regarding modern-day Western-Wall Jewish prayer and vigil, Jews of yesteryear prayed opposite this eastern gate, facing the Temple. As Paula Lawlor at Magdalene Publishing says, “they began praying at the Gate of Repentance before proceeding to the Gate of Mercy;” moved to repent before asking God for mercy. As Lawlor notes, Christians later named this the Golden Gate, a gate that, according to the Koran, the just will pass through on the Day of Judgment.³

Closed by the Muslims in 810, reopened in 1102 by Crusaders, the Golden gate was walled off by Saladin, first sultan of Egypt, after regaining Jerusalem in 1137. The gate has been closed ever since. Not satisfied, in 1530 the paranoid Ottomans piled great stones atop the gate before placing a cemetery right at its front thinking that the Jewish Messiah would not set foot in a cemetery. Unbeknown to them, however, Muslims were merely fulfilling Hebraic prophesy of more than 1000 years earlier:

And the LORD said to me, “This gate shall be shut; it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter by it, because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it; therefore it shall be shut.

Ezekiel 44:2 (NKJV)

Though Suleiman rebuilt the Eastern Gate together with the ruined walls of the Old City, in 1535, he nonetheless sealed the new gate shut. To prevent Messiah from coming, he sealed the Golden Gate—the only one of the eight extant of an original eleven gates that remains walled off. 

No man shall enter by it. Because the LORD God of Israel has entered by it.


References

  1. Jerusalem: The Old City. Jewish Virtual Library. Available at https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jerusalem-the-old-city.
  2. Zion Gate. Expedia. Available at https://www.expedia.co.in/Zion-Gate-Old-City.d508392.Attraction.
  3. Jerusalem’s Golden Gate History & Prophecy. Magdalene Publishing. Available at http://www.magdalenepublishing.org/blog/jerusalems-golden-gate-history-prophecy/.

Articles of Interest

Aelia Capitolina. Land of the Bible. Available at https://www.land-of-the-bible.com/Aelia_Capitolina.

Greenwald, Glenn. “With the World Focused on the Pandemic, Israel Prepares to Annex Large Swaths of the West Bank.” The Intercept. June 19, 2020. Available at https://theintercept.com/2020/06/18/with-the-world-focused-on-the-pandemic-israel-prepares-to-annex-large-swaths-of-the-west-bank/.

The Six-Day War (June 1967). Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2013. Available at https://mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/history/pages/the%20six-day%20war%20-%20june%201967.aspx.

Samuel, Sigal. “How the Six-Day War Transformed Religion: Six perspectives on how the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict changed Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Mormonism.” The Atlantic. June 5, 2017. Available at https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/06/how-the-six-day-war-changed-religion/528981/.

Last Hours, Not Last days

Note that Jan Markell says, “We are in the last hours.” This adds credence to my suspicion that the world will end before 2021 does.

Will an emboldened Israel take full control of the Temple Mount—currently co-administered by Muslims through the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf which Israel has hitherto reluctantly agreed for the sake of keeping the peace in Jerusalem as the Mount is concurrent home also to Islamic edifices—and, by Passover (Easter), resume animal sacrifices at (presumably) a newly hurriedly-erected tabernacle in what will, unwittingly, amount to a vain attempt to assuage G-d?

Recall that Jesus says:

But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. Matthew 9:13 (KJV)

Resumption of animal sacrifice will outrage the world, lending apparent legitimacy to anti-Semitic, Islamist claims and thereby offering a convenient pretext to attack Israel. That Israel overlooks something Jesus says is hardly surprising. Less surprising, however, is their oversight of what Hosea, an eight century BC prophet of Israel, himself says:

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 (KJV)

I offer this not as judgement upon Israel, for we all stand to be judged, but as necessary exposition for the time at hand.

To that end—-i.e. the time at hand—the two witnesses might be the Church, before it’s raptured, and an 144,000 Messianic Jewish contingency, together lobbying both the world and Israel to repentance. It stands to reason, according to the Testament of Jesus himself in “The Book of Revelation.” For, ultimately, the two martyred witnesses are resurrected by God:

11 Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. 12 And [e]they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them. 13 In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven. 14 The second woe is past. Behold, the third woe is coming quickly.

Revelation 11:11-14

That sounds like rapture to me.

 

19 November 2021

For those with ears to here.

How To Be Saved.

Leviathan and the Levantine

A concern remains about Israel making any compacts, like the recent pact with the Emiratis. Is it wholly impractical and overtly spiritual to expect Israel to go it alone, remain completely self-sufficient, and look only to her covenant with God? Or does Israel rightly have to make earthly moves in parallel to moving also in the spiritual realm? Regardless, this video identifies relevant prevailing Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of the region, and their political implications, in the Levant.

The exclusive economic zone is an area beyond and adjacent to the territorial sea, subject to the specific legal regime established in this Part, under which the rights and jurisdiction of the coastal State and the rights and freedoms of other States are governed by the relevant provisions of this Convention.

Part V: Exclusive Economic Zone (Preamble to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea)

The January 2009 discovery of the Tamar prospect gives Israel a high purity gas field—four times the energy value per well-head than that of Saudi oil fields (and gas is a cleaner energy than oil)—the size of a probable 275 billion cubic meters (9.7 trillion cubic feet, or TCF) of natural gas reserves or about half of the entire EUs national consumption. In 2011 and just to Tamar’s west, a mammoth gas field estimated to contain the equivalent of the entire European Union consumes in a year, and named Leviathan, is discovered with many smaller finds also in the vicinity and within Israel’s EEZ.[2] Notably, large reserves have also been found within Cyprus’s EEZ and, moreover, an Eastern Mediterranean pipeline from the Israeli gas fields into Europe has been proposed. 

Economic Exclusion Zones in the Levant [Image: Daily Sabah]

A proposed Eastern Mediterranean pipeline would pump gas from Leviathan and Cypriot fields to southern Europe, bypassing Turkey, through Greece.

EastMed pipeline [Image: Aljazeera]

References / Reading

  1. The Geopolitics of Israel’s Offshore Gas Reserves, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  2. Chevron can lift Israel’s Leviathan gas field on to global stage, partner says, August 07, 2020

 

Do All Roads Lead to the Middle-East?

Take what experts say with a grain of salt because, though their expertise remains indelible, they necessarily tend to an overly narrow focus. But if you listen to enough experts in enough disciplines, you put together a picture of what’s really going on.

This analysis by Peter Zeihan, co-founder of the world’s pre-eminent geostrategic intelligence firm, Stratfor, fits snugly within the trajectory of the emergence of a multipolar world: a gradually more insular America; a massive Russia with significant energy reserves only gradually emerging economically; a mercantile China delimited by regional restraints. In this setting, importantly, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) will increasingly, though perhaps not exclusively, be left to fend for itself.
Saudi Arabia is not, however, powerful enough on its own to maintain regional hegemony. The more powerful Iran, meanwhile, suffers under sanctions. But if you count Turkey as a Mid-East nation, then Israel and Turkey are the regions emerging nations; with the latter slightly more powerful and somewhat more established. But Israel has found what Turkey lacks; energy reserves. The North African nations, meanwhile, though strategically positioned—Egypt’s Suez and Libyan oil—are only modest players: Egypt a mid-sized power, and Libya war-torn. Recently, to the chagrin of both Greece (geography and history) and France (history), the Turks, with a strategic eye for oil, sent troops to Libya, for whom French colonists once upon a time had eyes of their own. But quick in response, the Greeks forced a regional stale-mate through a trans-Mediterranean pact of their own, with Egypt; along with a show of solidarity from this formidable military power, and fellow EU member, France. In that, the Greeks countered Turkey’s move and backed it with equivalent (French) force.
Iran is Patient, Turkey Impulsive
The democratising, secularising tendencies of Kemal Ataturk now seem left far behind. Turkey is Sunni Muslim, of the Salafist kind. The reason Turks are impetuous and impulsive, apart from it reflecting the character of their leader, is that despite its military power, despite a criss-cross by gas pipelines on route to Europe from Eurasia, and despite being NATO member, Turkey has few energy resources of its own and, moreover, will slowly awake to find it has friends that are fewer still. In a recent podcast entitled “The State of the Middle East Amidst US-Iran Tensions”, and with Geopolitical Futures’ founder—and, incidentally, also Stratfor co-founder—George Friedman increasingly finding himself talking instead about Turkey, Caroline Rose ends perhaps with what might best be described as the prophetic version of a Freudian-slip when she says: “Well … you know you had a successful talk about the Middle East when you started with Iran and you end up in Turkey.”

Re-orientiation, 14 August

Telling it right

We need an urgent global reorient regarding just where we are at, rightly dividing the word of truth. To stop calling wrong, right. That means we need good guide-posts, both in secular as well as sacred circles. We need appropriate social cues. Regardless of our partisan stripes, such guides and cues come from others, howbeit different people at different times, who present appropriately sober reflections at just the right time.

From what position do people try to undermine the legitimacy of President Trump? It is both inappropriate and unfair to attempt to portray his rule as illegitimate. What other President, let alone what other person, would have stood the barrage of criticism and utter disrespect that President Trump endures? Perhaps it is his karma to be treated like that, I know not. What I do know is that people ought to show greater respect for the office he holds. If you cannot respect the office he holds then you no longer respect the nation in which you have made your home.

It’s pretty simple: Trump deniers are going to wake up at some point and realise that they are on the wrong side of history. (And if there is any time in history that you DO want to be on the right side, now, at the End of Days, is that time. You simply cannot afford to be on the wrong side here.) For in times of dire straits, under immense and unsurpassed pressure, he hangs on to a vestige of his humanity even as he is part-way in beginning to lose it. He’s real. Real. And in a fickle, fickle charlatan world, real is where it’s at.

President Trump is far from the model human. But he is human. He is less than erudite in so many ways. But he says what he means. He is at once blunt and yet full of nuance at the same time. What is clear to me is that he, himself, in his own fat-fingered way perhaps, yet still, respects the office he holds. He respects it greatly.

Perhaps the average American might respect it half as much. But for that I blame his [the President’s] innominate predecessor.

Sitrap Sojourn

In the world but not of it.

Licence to act out, to rebel, the very seeds of disobedience, were sown by President Trump’s predecessor. Following that unlawful precedent, President Trump, in bringing back law and order, is now portrayed as the problem.

The Book of Revelation confirms:

And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

Revelation 2:27

A rod of iron. Mashiach will rule with a rod of iron.

Not a rod of gold, or a rainbow-coloured, fruity-flavoured rod of sherbet candy.

Recall the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). Jesus is the hard taskmaster. Occupy till I come (Luke 19:13).