Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Full text of Netanyahu's U.N. Speech

September 29, 2009: Here is the text of the speech delivered to the United nations General Assembly by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu five days ago. I know this has been posted by others and there are numerous video links available. However, I believe this speech will prove to have enormous historical value, even if only for the relative short-term. I have highlighted portions of the text which I believe reveal the underlying resolve of this Israeli leader to do what is necessary to prevent another holocaust of the Jews from occurring at the hands of a nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Iran or the Arab nations. For this reason alone I decided this transcript must be a part of the Eschatology Today account of these "last days" prior to the return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland. I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.

The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth.

Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.

Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.

Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews.

Is this a lie?

A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?

This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?

One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife's grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie? Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency? A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!

Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You're wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.

This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.

In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.

The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death. The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.

Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.

What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come. We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.

I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.

But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.

That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?

Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood? Will the international community thwart the world's most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism? Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?

The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging. Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.

For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.

We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one. In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis. We didn't get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.

You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent. Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded? Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country's civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II.

During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.

That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances. Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave.

Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy's civilian population from harm's way. Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel. A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.

By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth! What a perversion of justice!Delegates of the United Nations, will you accept this farce? Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.

If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity. And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace. Here's why. When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.

What legitimacy? What self-defense?

The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country - of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty!

Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists? We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow. Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.

Ladies and Gentlemen, all of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace.

We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein. And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace. In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state.

The Jews accepted that resolution. The Arabs rejected it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state. Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. This is the land of our forefathers.

Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more." These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city - in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem. We are not strangers to this land. It is our homeland.

As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity. But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.

That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don't want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.

We want peace.

I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order. The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.

Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the "confirmed unteachability of mankind," the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.

Churchill bemoaned what he called the "want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”

I speak here today in the hope that Churchill's assessment of the "unteachability of mankind" is for once proven wrong. I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history -- that we can prevent danger in time.

In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

All these things be fulfilled… Part I and Part II

21 September 2009: So said the Lord Jesus Christ in His Olivet Discourse as recorded in Matthew 24:34 (in the Greek language): “Amen lego hymin, houtos genea ou me parerchomai an heos pas tauta ginomai.” An English transliteration of what our Lord said was, “Truly I say to you, this generation shall not pass whatsoever until each and all [of] these things be fulfilled.”

This was the final qualification and timing element to all of the signs which Christ told His disciples when the signs would occur indicating His coming again at the full end of the age. The key phrases stand out in this sentence are this generation … each and all these things be fulfilled.

The absolute truth of this statement, aside from the fact that it was uttered by our Lord God incarnate, is reinforced in the prophetic truth of what our Lord had said just moments before to the Scribes and the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:1-35 Jesus lays out in detail how all of the offenses committed over many years and the innocent blood spilled from the murder of Abel to their murder of Zacharias will come upon them in the following explicit way: “Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.”

The generation of which Jesus spoke was living in the period from 66 to 136 AD when the Jews' three wars against the Roman Empire occurred, and with each war came more disaster, Diaspora and death upon the Jews, exactly as Jesus had foretold. The first Jewish-Roman war was also known as the Great Revolt which began in 66 AD, saw the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the city and the sanctuary at the hands of three Roman legions as prophesied by Daniel and culminated in the fall of Masada in 73 AD. The second Roman Jewish war was also known as the Kitos war and occurred throughout the Roman Empire between 115-117 AD. The third and final war is known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt from circa 132 to 136 AD. The sum total of years between 66 and 136 AD, consistent with Jesus declaration of “this generation,” was precisely 70 years in duration.

Psalm 90:10a defines for us the maximum duration of a generation:

The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years…”

A generation is 70 years nominally, or 80 if there is strength.

Jesus also spoke in the Olivet Discourse about how one of the key signs would be the reemergence of the state of Israel, and for which He used the metaphor of a blossoming fig tree. In a recent poll by Lamb and Lion Ministries’ Christ in Prophecy Journal, the re-emergence of the State of Israel is the overwhelming factor (nearly 70% of respondents) identified as the “most important modern prophetic development.” Indeed, this is without question the truth of the matter.

In the Lord’s prophecy about the reemergence of Israel we have a sign and a starting date with which our Lord defined to the disciples the generation which would witness each and all of the signs He foretold would be fulfilled. The question I have prayerfully pondered and raised up to the Lord is whether our generation is one of 70 years, or if we have strength to last the maximum of 80 years. By sheer reckoning of the actual calendar and the prophetic timeline yet to be fulfilled, we may well be an 80-year generation. This number of years respective to our calendar is arrived at by adding eighty years to 1948 and summing to the year 2028. We now live in the nineteenth year prior to the expiration of this 80-year generation as will now be examined.

Now that Israel has begun the year 5770 and we conclude the year 2009 AD, a look back at the time since the rebirth of Israel is probably in order. There is no doubt that we are in the season of His return, the leaves of the fig tree are in full bloom.

The first twenty years of Israel’s rebirth began in late 1947 with the initial battles of Israel’s War of Independence. In May 1948, Israel was officially reborn into the modern community of the nations of the earth. The conclusion of those twenty years in 1967 saw Israel re-capture by military conquest the whole of Jerusalem. Israel controlled its holiest ground against all odds and the combined military might of many Arab countries for the first time in 1,897 years. So of the maximum possible eighty years, just sixty remained of this generation circa 1968 AD.

The next forty years were marked by a series of wars and rumors of wars, exactly as this year marks itself with the similar rumors of imminent if not existential war involving the State of Israel and its inner and outer ring of enemies. This forty-year period saw the nearly-nuclear Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Lebanon War of 1980, the Osirak Iraq preemptive nuclear strike of 1981, the continual state of Arab-Islamic terrorism, the Intifada of 2000, the Hezbollah War of 2006, and the incessant rocket and mortar attacks from HAMAS in 2008. Of the final sixty years of the eighty years just twenty remained as we entered 2009 AD.

The final 20 years began with the Israel-HAMAS War also known as Operation Cast Lead. This war resolved nothing except to all but guarantee another larger war in the south of Israel. This year also began with an American administration coming into power which clearly does not have the interests or blessing of Israel existent within its agenda. This year began with the election of Israeli conservative Bibi Netanyahu as the Prime Minister, and the spectre of the necessity of a pre-emptive strike against the nuclear weapons ambitions of the theocratic dictatorship of the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as the potential for another war against Hezbollah and Syria. The next wars will be wars that almost certainly include the previously unthinkable use of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

Part II:

The coming war which will resolve once and for all the Israel-Arab conflict of the past 60+ years is, as you no doubt have guessed by now, is described in part by the prophet Isaiah in the 17th chapter of the book which bears his name, and in the prophetic words of Asaph in Psalm 83. It is Psalm 83 that I've spent some time now digging into thanks to Bill Salus' book "Isralestine." Here are some things which I believe my Biblical data mining research may have brought to the surface. I lift this research up for your peer review.

Asaph begins his Pslam by noting that the identified enemies of Israel which comprise the modern-day "inner ring" Arab-Islamic countries which are arrayed in a new moon crescent from Lebanon to Egypt are populated by ancient tribes and peoples who are not only roaring enemies of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob/Israel, but hate Him. The word used by Asaph for "head" at the end of verse 2 is ro'sh. Rosh. This is the same ro'sh used by Ezekiel in chapters 38 and 39. Coincidence? I think not. Russia has been the principle ally and military supplier of these "inner ring" Arab-Islamic states for the past 60 years - and according to Ezekiel will be the leader of the "outer ring" nations who come against Israel after the Psalm 83 war. The word which precedes ro'sh in verse 2 is nasa' meaning to lift up, bear, carry, support or sustain. How appropriate to see this word right next to ro'sh in this prophetic Psalm.

In verse 3 these enemies are said to have consulted (ya'ats) against the Lord's hidden ones (tsaphan), from which the meaning can be taken that these "inner ring" enemies counsel, purpose, devise,or plan with one another with respect to the Lord's hidden treasures. Does anyone not think Israel's enemies plot against Israel and have the newly discovered and vast reserves of natural gas and other deeply hidden treasures eyed as a spoil with which to compensate themselves after a successful military campaign designed to wipe Israel off the map? Is this not also the stated intent of the Gog/Magog "outer ring" military confederation? Talk about a unity of purpose!

Then Asaph sets about the task of naming these enemies. This aspect has been well covered, there are the "inner ring" enemies noted elsewhere and above. I would only note here that the mention of Asshur appears to be in reference to its providing assistance to these "inner ring' enemies in the form of political or military support.

Immediately after this naming of the "inner ring' enemies we come to the "do unto" (`asah) meaning of something for the Lord to accomplish against these enemies. First among them is the historical reference to the Midianites (Midyan), the Arabians -the Arabs, who come against Israel as Sisera, meaning in battle array, and as Jabin at the brook of Kishon (Qiyshown), which is central Israel via the West Bank.

It is interesting to note here that this location was also the site where Elijah had his confrontation with the false god Baal. It would appear that Asaph is prophetically invoking what was recorded in 1 Kings 18:17-40 where judgment is visited against a false god ("allah") and a false prophet (Muhammed) in the manner of an irresistible force. It's as if All of Islam comes against Yisra'el and the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and is subsequently consumed in totality by the flaming pyre of an animal sacrifice. I cannot help but come away from these verses thinking that Asaph is prophetically telling us that history will once again repeat itself and that the defeat of the newest false god of the Arabs ("allah") will begin with the battle that erupts here. Yes, it appear to me that the defeat inflicted here upon the Arabs and their false god/false religion is as total as the destruction that was inflicted upon Israel's enemies at Endor; and they were left as nothing more than "dung for the ground."

Asaph then discusses the leadership of this Arab confederation. First among them is Oreb, which is synonymous with a rock east of the Jordan River, in what today is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Zeeb appears to be a reference to Israel making prey of these enemies as wolves take prey in the evening hours. Zebah is a reference to a failed invasion of Israel where the invaders found themselves deprived of any defensive protection and were massacred like helpless animals. Zalumunna invokes the same prophetic image where the invaders of Israel find no place to hid or take refuge in the face of the Israeli counter-attack.

Then in verse 15 two words come up which have modern equivalents in the inventory of the Israel Defense Forces. These enemies are to be persectued (radaph), meaning put to flight, by a tempest (ca'ar) and terrified by a storm (cuwphah). The modern equivalents of these words are Sa'ar, the Israeli Navy's extremely capable corvette missile ship, and the Sufa, the Israeli Air Force's deadly F-16I extended-range strike aircraft. Either of the modern weapons platforms can reach anywhere and rain death upon the territories of the "inner ring" enemies and beyond. This is the sense I get in reading verses 13 and 14 where these enemies are rolled back as "stubble before the wind," and "as flame (lehabah) sets the hills on fire." I note here that the word lehabah not only means flame, but also the tip of a weapon, a point, or the head of a spear. Terminology like this can mean only one thing - an overwhelming military force brought to bear upon an enemy which cannot defend itself on the battlefield, has nowhere to run and hide, whose destruction is complete and total.

Some Additional Thoughts on "Debunking the European Antichrist" by Rodrigo Silva

Update 22 September 2009: For the obvious reasons Ray Gano at Prophezine.com has re-published Rodrigo Silva's "Debuking the Eurpoean Antichrist" article which first appeared back in January of this year. Not only did Rogrigo Silva's article utterly fail to refute Dr. David Reagan's (.pdf link) "Will the Antichrist be a Muslim?" article, but his erroneous ideas have also been thoroughly refuted by Nathan Jones, Bill Salus and Don Koenig. In the same vein, Jacob Prasch also exposed the similarly "shallow, wobbly and hollow foundation" of Joel Richarson's "The Islamic Antichrist." Within this blog and in addition to this rebuttal of Silva's article I have posted others which are similarly themed: Assyria Destroyed, Philistia Destroyed, Legion Ten Fretensis Fulfills Bible Prophecy, and "Debunking the Islamic Antichrist."

In reviewing once again the "tortuous logic" propagated by the likes of Shoebat, Richardson and Silva, an item which I had at first overlooked in Silva's article jumped out at me. This item is in the beginning of the article where Silva accuses Dr. Reagan of dogmatism, insufficiently examined premises, and arrogance. And what was the object of Silva's unwarranted scorn of his brother in Christ? I'll quote Dr. Reagan verbatim, the last sentence of which I hightlight as it is key and absolutely correct per the Gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded by Matthew:
"Shoebat and Richardson argue that the Roman legions that carried out the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 AD were composed primarily of Arabs, mainly Syrians and Turks. They therefore conclude that the Antichrist will arise from the Syrians or Turks and will be a Muslim. This is really grasping at straws in the wind! It doesn’t matter whether or not the legions were composed of Australian Aborigines, it was the Roman government that decided to destroy Jerusalem, it was the Roman government that gave the orders, and it was Roman generals who carried out the destruction. Rome was the rod of God’s judgment and it is from the Roman people that the Antichrist will arise."
Rodrigo, these are not arrogant words. On the contrary, Dr Reagan has restated what our Lord Jesus Christ stated in His condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23. I noted this specific item in my latest article "All these things be fulfilled..." which I repeat for emphasis in support of Dr. Reagan and to reprove, refute and exhort Rodrigo Silva, et. al, regarding Rome and Daniel's identification of the Antichrist's origin in Chapter 9, verse 26:
The absolute truth of this statement, aside from the fact that it was uttered by our Lord God incarnate, is reinforced in the prophetic truth of what our Lord had said just moments before to the Scribes and the Pharisees. In Matthew 23:1-35 Jesus lays out in detail how all of the offenses committed over many years and the innocent blood spilled from the murder of Abel to their murder of Zacharias will come upon them [Israel] in the following explicit way: “Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon [tautÄ“ genea] this generation.” (Matthew 23:36)

The generation of which Jesus spoke was living in the period from 66 to 136 AD when the Jews' three wars against the Roman Empire occurred, and with each war came more disaster, Diaspora and death upon the Jews, exactly as Jesus had foretold. The first Jewish-Roman war was also known as the Great Revolt which began in 66 AD, saw the siege of Jerusalem and the destruction of the city and the sanctuary at the hands of three Roman legions as prophesied by Daniel and culminated in the fall of Masada in 73 AD. The second Roman Jewish war was also known as the Kitos war and occurred throughout the Roman Empire between 115-117 AD. The third and final war is known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt from circa 132 to 136 AD. The sum total of years between 66 and 136 AD, consistent with Jesus declaration of “this generation,” was precisely 70 years in duration.
There is no question that the Roman Empire was indeed was "rod of God's judgment upon Israel." This rod of judgement was used by the Lord on three distinct occasions between 66 and 136 AD, the sum total of which amounted to 70 literal years, or according to Psalm 90:10, a generation without strength. It is with great dismay that I must note the error of my bretheren in being ignorant of these explicitly prophetic words of our Messiah.

"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching." 2 Timothy 4:2 (NKJV)

UPDATED 11 February 2009: Bill Salus has a new entry directly related to this subject on his PROPHECY DEPOT blog. The entry is titled "IS THE EUROPEAN ANTICHRIST A SATANIC MYTH?" A comment I submitted to Bill's entry is also included in the comments below.

2 February 2009 (UPDATED with additional data 9 February): I was reading the above named article by Rodrigo Silva at raptureready.com and came away with some items on what I think are inadvertant admissions that count against the argument he is attempting to make, interpretive or historical errors, and one clear faux pas.

By no means is this an all-inclusive review of Silva's article, but just items I'm going to present as insights which may initiate further thought and analysis on this topic.

Silva wrote:
"Now, the fact that the Roman legions that destroyed the city and the Temple (mainly legion X Fretensis) comprised of Syrian soldiers lead us to identify the people of the Antichrist as Syrians, therefore the Antichrist must be a Syrian."

Rodrigo Silva has done those supporting the traditional Antichrist exegesis a superb favor by citing as "fact that the Roman legions destroyed the city and the Temple." This is a key admission. Silva confirms the longstanding view which indentified Legio X Fretensis (LXF hereater) as one of the primary Roman legions involved in the destruction of the city and the sanctuary, and supports a literal fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy concerning the origin of the future Antichrist in declaration of "the prince of the people who will come"

However, Rodrigo Silva's most blatant error is found in his description of the legionaires of LXF as "Syrians." This error is non-exegetical because there are no detailed Biblical texts to interpret regarding the Roman citizen-soldiers in LXF. Secular historical records and sources, such as that of the non-Biblical Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, are all that exist to research the subject.

The sum my research of these sources is as follows.

Gaius Octavius Thurinus was born in Rome, the Roman Republic, on 23 September 63 BC. In September 45 BC, Octavius was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar and immediately took the name Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. It was just six months later, in March of 44 BC, that Julius Caesar was assassinated by the Roman senatorial mob. It was during 41-40 BC between the age of 22 and 23-years old that Gaius Octavianus founded the LXF in the region of Calabria and Sicily, Italy. It is this region from which the name Fretensis, meaning 'of the sea straits' was derived according to the great German historian Theodor Mommsen (1817-1903). In 31 BC, after Gaius Octavianus defeated the forces of Marc Antony at the Battle of Actium, the final battle of a Roman civil war, he became Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar.

After Actium LXF was sent to Cremona in northern Italy where many of the Calabrian and Sicilian legionaire veterans were pensioned and discharged. Legio X was then re-staffed by nortern Italians from the colony in Venice. Legio X was then re-deployed into the Balkans and then to its new base at Cyrrhus in extreme northern part ofthe Roman province of Syria.

Cyrrhus had been founded as a Greek colony by Seleucus (Seleucus I Nicator) circa 300 BC, a couple of decades after having receiving his portion of Alexander the Great's empire, exactly as prophecied by Daniel in chapter 11, verses 2-4. Seleucus was one of Alexander's principal Macedonian generals and may have even been his cousin. Cyrrhus is a Macedonian name and had been populated by Macedonians, Greeks and eventually Romans for over 300 years by the time LXF arrived there in garrison.

Cyrrhus was selected as LXF's base of operations for this very reason - it was a distinctly Macedonian/Greek (i.e. European) colony as were many others in the area (i.e. Antioch, Seleucia, Laodicea and Apamea) which were almost exclusively populated by ethnic Greeks, Macedonians and Romans. LXF stayed encamped in Cyrrhus until it was redeployed to Judea which had been an administrative part of the Roman province of Syria since 6 AD. Thus was the core of LXF manned and commanded by European stock, the "people of the prince who is to come."

Silva wrote:
"In fact, the opposite is true. In his work, "The Wars of the Jews," book 6 chapter 4, Josephus who most likely was an eyewitness to these events says that the Roman government DID NOT want the Temple to be destroyed. The Roman soldiers did it out of disobedience to the Roman government simply because they hated the Jews."

No, the opposite is not true by any means. Firstly, there's no 'most likely' about it, Flavius Josephus was present at the siege, taking and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. In one instance in the run-up to the taking of Jerusalem, Josephus was a direct participant in beseeching his fellow Jews to stand down in their rebellion against Rome. Josephus wasn't able to witness the entirety of that epic struggle with the same battlespace awareness of our modern warfighting observation capabilites within electronic command and control. However, he was able to view specific events at specific locations, and as any good historian was able to seamlessly blend his experiences with the eyewitness accounts of others in different parts of the city over the entire duration of the siege, capture and destruction. I would argue that Flavius Josephus makes this abundantly clear in his narrative.

Secondly, the Roman soldiers hated the Jewish defenders for a couple of reasons. One reason, as Josephus reported, was that the rebellious Jews had routed a small garrisoning contengent of LXF in Jerusalem. This is the same LXF contingent which just 30 years earlier had been in direct contact with the Lord Jesus Christ, had been the enforcers of what little taxation they could extract from Judea and the basis for the Lord's comment to "render unto Caesar (Tiberius) what is Caesar's, and unto God what is His," had whipped and ridiculed a captive Jesus with a crown of thorns, crucified him, and finally, gambled for His garment. All of this was done by the Roman soldiers of the LXF. During all of this activity there is not one mention in God's Word that these Roman soldiers were "Syrians" or "Arabs". They were Roman soldiers, period.

According to Flavius Josephus, the Jewish revolt against Rome began in 66 AD in Caesarea and quickly spread to Jerusalem. The son of the Temple Kohen Ha-Gadol (i.e. the high priest), a man named Eleazar ben Simon, led the rebellious Jewish troops in their driving of the LXF Jerusalem garrison out of the city. This eviction of Roman power from Jerusalem continued in a northward progression and led to the complete annihilation of the newly arrived Roman 12th Legion Fulminata (LXIIF) under the command of Gaius Cestus Gallus by the same Jewish force under Eleazar ben Simon's command at the Battle of Beth Horon. The defeat of LXF, and the annihilation of LXIIF, was a tremendous blow to the pride and prestige of the Roman Empire, and resonated badly all the way to Rome itself, even into Caesar Nero's private chambers. The Romans were uniformly determined to make a strong, violent example of the Jews in their upcoming retribuition campaign; the retaking of Judea would be an example for all other restless provinces to seriously consider prior to embarking on similar acts of folly - particularly those in Egypt who would have been Rome's target had not the Jews rebelled first, humiliated the LXF, destoyed LXIIF and had re-taken not only Jerusalem but virtually all of Judea.

LXF was permitted the 'honor' when it came time after the siege to storm the city. It's position of encampment on the Mount of Olives laid the Temple before them as a shining strategic target they were determined to achieve. Once the fortress of Antonia was breeched and the city taken there was an ensuing rampage of the LXF and individual Roman soldiers identified by name in Josephus' account. The Temple was razed exactly as Jesus had predicted it would be 30 years earlier, and all arguments related to this not being the desire of General Titus are rendered moot.

Silva wrote
"Then did Caesar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire... And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers...And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Caesar's approbation... It is pretty clear that Titus and Caesar as the rulers of the Roman government did not want to Temple to be destroyed and actually gave the order to stop the fire so the Temple would not be destroyed."

Rodrigo Silva has made here a silly faux pas in that he has promoted General Titus Flavuius Vespasianus to Caesar, a postition held his father, Titus Flavius Caesar Vespasianus Augustus, who was in Rome at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem and the 2nd Temple. Titus would not become Emperor of Rome until 79 AD upon the death of his father. What Rodrigo Silva does not realize in his reading of Josephus is that Josephus was actually quoting General Titus, who would become Caesar at a point some 9 full years into the future, in 79 AD, and upon the death of his father Caesar Vespasian Augustus. The obvious conclusion is that Josephus, or others unknown, wrote or edited this account of the Jerusalem siege and Temple destruction at a point no earlier than 79 AD when General Titus Flavius Vespasianus succeeded to the Roman throne after the death of his father and became Caesar himself. Thus the references to words spoken by "Caesar" in Josephus account were actually words spoken by Titus, but attributed to him with the honorific titile of "Caesar."

Silva wrote:
"How could Paul having been born in Tarsus in Asia Minor be a Roman? The answer is simple. When the Roman Empire conquered a region, it established Roman law and required that from that time on, some privileged ones and those who served for a number of years be considered Roman citizens."

Incorrect. Saul of Tarsus (later Paul the Apostle) was born to his father, an Israelite of the tribe of Benjamin, a Pharisee, in the city of Tarsus, Roman province of Cilicia. Paul the Apostle did not directly make the claim of Roman citizenship, but it is recorded that he made this citizenship claim by the author of Acts 21 and 22. In this the Acts author states that the Roman Tribune informed Paul that he had paid a great sum to obtain his Roman citzenship (*), to which Paul replied that he was a natural born Roman citizen. This very strongly implies that Paul's citizenship was (a) due to his father's having purchased it, or (b) that the family has previously rendered outstanding service to Rome and were awarded their citizenship, or (c) the family was actually a part of the Herodian family descended from Antipater (Herod the Great's father).

(*) This is also important. Only Roman citizens served in the Legions of Rome. The Auxilia formations were not Roman citizens. This detail goes a long way in refuting the claims of those who maintain a nationality of "Syrian" or "Arab" for the soldiers of the LXF. Had any "Syrians" or "Arabs" been members of the LXF they would also of necessity had to have purchased their Roman citizenships as did the Tribune who questioned Paul. Therefore they would be, by definition, Romans.

NOTE: Cyrrhus' ruins lie 14 km northwest near modern-day Kilis, Turkey which is on the present-day Syrian border.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Collecting and Connecting the Nuclear Dots

While most of us do not believe this to be new news, the report constitutes a significant and curious admission coming from the socialist Obama administration. However, what I find to be a more significant revelation in this report is the tacit admission that the Obama administration's policy of engagement with the Islamic Republic of Iran over its nuclear weapons program is an abject failure. Again, not new news for most of us, but interesting nonetheless.

And to those who've paid attention to the Northeast Intelligence Network's investigation of the faux Russian rescue of the covert cargo smuggling MV Arctic Sea, there is another tidbit of interest to note within this INN report:

"In what may be a related matter, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reportedly flew to Russia on Tuesday on a secret mission, apparently over Russian arms deals with Iran and Syria."

Hmmm. Interesting, no? I certainly think it is when one considers that PM Netanyahu and his security cabinet were briefed during an afternoon visit to Mossad HQ by Meir Dagan and his intelligence officers on Monday. Bottom line: within hours of the Mossad briefing Netanyahu is on a plane to Moscow for a secret meeting with Vladimir Putin. Add to this the fact that one month ago, in early August, PM Netanyahu visited the Dimona nuclear research facility along with Dan Meridor, the cabinet minister in charge of overseeing intelligence and nuclear research issues.

And what is the nexus of all these things? The nuclear weapons program of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Russia's supporting role. What might happen within the next 30 days or sooner should not be "news" to anyone, especially if you're collecting and connecting the continuing series of dots like these.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Perplexities Involving Iran and Israel in These Last Days

6 September 2009: "... and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity..." Here we have one of the most often overlooked descriptives provided by Jesus in his authoritative discourse on what will happen or be existent in these last days. In these few words tucked into the middle of Luke 21:25 the Lord provides us with a geopolitical and military snap shot depicting that the nations in existence in the period of time immediately preceeding His return will be in a state of synochē and aporia, which translate as being in distress or anguish and not knowing what to do or in doubt about what to do. I believe the Lord then, in His following two words, told us exactly where on planet earth the epicenter of this distress, anguish and perplexity of the nations would be extant. Jesus said "thalassa" meaning "the sea" or more precisely the Mediterranean, Red, Dead, Galilee and other seas of the Middle East, including the Persian Gulf. Does this not precisely describe the geopolitical and military situation in the Middle East today, from Libya to Iran and from Turkey to the Horn of Africa? Embedded smack dab in the middle of this international maelstrom is the State of Israel.

And on top all of this, I cannot help but to apply the prophecy of Isaiah 22, and particularly to verses 5 and 6 wherein the prophet speaks directly to the nations of Elam and Judah, or as we know them today, to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the State of Israel, the last days and the coming of the Lord. Certainly to the secular world at large, but also to the Jews and the Islamists, these are days of trouble. Israel is surrounded by enemies whose conspiratorial desire is to destroy her as a nation so that the name Israel be remembered no more. These "inner ring" enemies of Israel are clearly listed in Psalm 83, yet among them we find no mention or reference to Iran.

The issue of why Iran is omitted from Asaph's Psalm 83 prophecy has many Christians perplexed to the point that it has become a key issue many are continually asking eschatologists to address these days. We have discussed this issue previously within various entries on Eschatology Today, as have many others on their websites. Yet, the issue remains. Once again it is my distrinct pleasure to direct your attention to Israelestine author Bill Salus blog, Prophecy Depot, to read his latest article entitled "When Israel Dwells Securely Iran Intends to Invade" as it relates to Israel and Iran and the timing involved in the coming last days conflict between them.