Scott's Blog - 1/31/07
The media are still scratching their heads over the
"Soldiers of Heaven" battle that took place outside of
Najaf, Iraq last weekend. Why would a group of a thousand
men, women and children go head to head with Iraqi and US armed
forces and think they had the slightest chance of victory? Why
would they believe a 40 year old from Dawaniya, Iraq was the
Moslem messiah, the Imam Mahdi? As Iraq's national security
minister put it, "No sane person could believe it."
Or could they?
In this world you can always count on the law of cause and
effect. Things just don't happen for no reason. And in the case
of Mahdi-mania there was a compelling cause. Consider this
article filed a day before the tragic events outside of
prepares people for 'messiah miracles'
broadcasts series on imminent appearance of apocalyptic Islamic
January 27, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
Iranian radio has completed broadcasting a lengthy series on the
imminent appearance of a messianic figure who will defeat
Islam's enemies and impose Islamic Shiite rule over the entire
world – even speculating on specific dates the so-called
"Mahdi" will be revealed.
transcripts of "The World Toward Illumination"
programs can be found on the website of IRIB, a public broadcast
arm of Tehran.
joyous my heart, miracles of the Messiah will soon be
here," reads a poem used to conclude the first broadcast.
"The scent of breaths of the One we know comes from near.
Grieve not of sorrow and melancholy, as assured I was … last
night that a Savior will come, it's clear."
the coming of the 12th imam, or Mahdi, "liberal democratic
civilization" will be found only in "history
museums," explained the program.
to the views of western theoreticians, who usually depict an
ambiguous and dark future for mankind, Muslim experts believe
human history, despite its many ups and downs, has a very
auspicious fate," explained the program. "Muslims
believe hopes for the realization of such a happy ending for the
world are called 'Awaiting Redemption,' and means waiting for
man's problems to be solved by the Savior at the end of time.
This awaiting influences many, and inspired them with activity
and enthusiasm in confronting darkness and oppression for
changing the existing situation. …"
messianic figure will be a direct descendant of Muhammad,
according to the broadcasts.
short, when he reappears, peace, justice and security will
overcome oppression and deceit and one global government, the
most perfect ever, will be established," it said.
Mahdi will appear suddenly, according to the report, in Mecca.
Though no one can know the day, Shiites believe, the report
actually suggests possibilities in the Muslim calendar.
Mahdi will lead a cataclysmic battle against a descendant of
Muhammad's archenemy, Abu Sofyan, culminating in the cities of
Kufa and Najaf. His enemy, though, is destroyed later in
beautiful moment of the Savior's appearance is the coming down
of Prophet Jesus (PBUH) from heaven," says the report.
"Hazrat Mahdi receives him courteously and asks him to lead
the prayers. But Jesus says you are more qualified for this than
me. We read in the book Tazkarat ol-Olia, 'the Mahdi will come
with Jesus son of Mary accompanying him.' This indicates that
these two great men are (sic) complement each other. Imam Mahdi
will be the leader while Prophet Jesus will act as his
lieutenant in the struggle against oppression and establishment
of justice in the world. Jesus had himself given the tidings of
the coming of God's last messenger and will see Mohammad's
ideals materialize in the time of the Mahdi."
Again, this article was posted on Saturday. On Sunday, the
invasion of Najaf, lead by a wanna-be Mahdi commences. Could it
be this self destructive act was a logical progression from the
propaganda pieces portrayed on Iranian television? The old
saying, "Sow a thought, reap a belief. Sow a belief, reap
an action. Sow an action, reap a consequence." was vividly
But even more fascinating for students of Bible prophecy is
the Last Days scenario being presented. A supernatural figure
arises on the scene to bring a new world order of peace and
justice. The enemies of Islam (read Jews and Christians) are
wiped out. This "savior" has a lieutenant who is
subservient to him - Jesus.
The parallels to Revelation 13 are striking.
And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven
heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his
heads a blasphemous name. Now the beast which I saw was
like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear,
and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his
power, his throne, and great authority. And I saw
one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his
deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed
the beast. So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to
the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is
like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?”
And he was given a mouth speaking great things and
blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for
forty-two months. Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against
God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell
in heaven. It was granted to him to make war with the
saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over
every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will
worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of
Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
If anyone has an ear, let him hear. He who leads
into captivity shall go into captivity; he who kills with the
sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and
the faith of the saints. Then I saw another beast coming up out
of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a
dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first
beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell
in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was
healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes
fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of
men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth by those
signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast,
telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the
beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. (Revelation
A supernaturally empowered last days ruler. A spiritual protégé
who assists this new messiah and defers to his leadership. A
message so potent that 1,000 men, women and children tried to
make it happen in Najaf last weekend at the cost of over 200
Some have scoffed at the Bible's predictions of a last days
world dominating dictator. The idea that all the world would
worship this beast and persecute those who refused seemed not so
long ago a bit far fetched.
Now, not so much.
A third of the world is being prepared for just such a pair
of personalities to take their place.
The last days stage is certainly being set in a number of
Scott's Blog - 1/30/07
As Long As You Are Sincere?
I will never forget reading a Peanuts comic strip back in the
early 70's. The security blanket toting Linus was being mocked
for his belief in the Great Pumpkin. Linus believed that the
Great Pumpkin would arise out of the most sincere pumpkin patch
on Halloween and give toys to all children who believed in him.
As you can imagine, this twist on the traditional Santie Claus
motif didn't go over very well with the other kids. Linus
declared, "It doesn't matter what you believe as long as
I have no idea whether Peanuts creator Charles Schultz was
advocating or mocking that position, but it sure caught on.
Before long there were greeting cards and posters available with
this bold declaration of faith in faith emblazoned upon
It's a funny thing. This very same philosophy is still doing
land office business in our day. People strongly favor spiritual
experience over spiritual content. "As long as it works for
you, go with it!"
But does this nice sounding point of view rally work in real
cautionary tale that was played out on the battle
fields of Iraq last weekend.
Iraqi cult leader killed in Najaf battle
By Khaled Farhan Mon
Jan 29, 10:41 AM ET
NAJAF, Iraq (Reuters) - The leader of an Iraqi cult
who claimed to be the Mahdi, a messiah-like figure in Islam,
was killed in a battle on Sunday near Najaf with hundreds of
his followers Iraq's
national security minister said on Monday.
Women and children who joined 600-700 of his
"Soldiers of Heaven" on the outskirts of the
Shi'ite holy city may be among the casualties, Shirwan al-Waeli
told Reuters. All those people not killed were in detention,
many of them wounded.
Iraqi troops, backed by U.S. forces, confronted the
group after learning it was planning an attack on the
Shi'ite clerical establishment in Najaf on Monday.
"One of the signs of the coming of the Mahdi was
to be the killing of the Ulema (hierarchy) in Najaf,"
Waeli said. "This was a perverse claim. No sane person
could believe it."
Authorities have been on alert for days as hundreds of
thousands of Shi'ite Muslims massed in the area to
commemorate Ashura, the highpoint of their religious
calendar, amid fears of attacks by Sunni Arab insurgents
linked to al Qaeda.
But Sunday's battle involved a group of a different
sort, a cult which Iraqi officials said included both Sunni
and Shi'ite Muslims as well as foreigners.
"He claimed to be the Mahdi," Waeli said of
the cult's leader, adding that he had used the full name
Mahdi bin Ali bin Ali bin Abi Taleb, claiming descent from
the Prophet Mohammad.
He was believed to be a 40-year-old from the nearby
Shi'ite city of Diwaniya: "He was killed," Waeli
"SOLDIERS OF HEAVEN"
The U.S. military declined to provide details. It
officially handed over responsibility for Najaf province, in
southern Iraq, to Iraqi security forces last month and
withdrew most U.S. troops, to be recalled only to help in
A government statement said the group was planning
"a dangerous criminal act" in Najaf.
"An ideologically perverted group ... tried to
insult an Islamic holy symbol, the Imam Mahdi, and use him
as an ideological base to recruit followers," the
Waeli said the death toll among Iraqi forces was
around 10 soldiers and police. Najaf's police chief was
wounded, he said.
Two U.S. soldiers were killed when their attack
helicopter came down during the fighting, the U.S. military
said. Iraqi officials and witnesses said it appeared to have
been shot down.
Some of the fighters wore headbands describing
themselves as "Soldiers of Heaven," Iraqi
officials said. It was not clear how many women and children
were present: "It is very sad to bring families onto
the battlefield," Waeli said.
When police first approached the camp and tried to
call on the group to leave, their leader replied: "I am
the Mahdi and I want you to join me," Waeli said,
adding: "Today was supposed to be the day of his
Other Iraqi officials said on Sunday that a man named
Ahmed Hassani al-Yemeni, who had been working from an office
in Najaf until it was closed down earlier this month, had
assembled the group, claiming to be the messenger of the
Among previous violent instances of people saying they
were the Mahdi were an opposition movement to British
imperial forces in Sudan in the 1880s and a group of several
hundred, including women, that took over the Grand Mosque in
Mecca in 1979.
The "Soldiers of Heaven" could be criticized on a
number of fronts. Militarily they were inept. Doctrinally they
were considered "ideologically perverted" (Not the
kind of endorsement you would want to lead with on your
recruiting brochures). But you can't question their sincerity.
To bring your wife and children with you onto the battlefield
to face vastly superior arms you must be sincere. They fully
believed that they were following the Moslem messiah. But the
"Soldiers of Heaven" were wrong.
The apostle Paul warned of the dangers of a disconnect
between spiritual feelings and spiritual content.
For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God,
but not in accordance with knowledge. (Romans 10:2)
This incident raises a question that hits pretty close to
home. Why do we put our faith in Jesus? I have talked to many
people whose faith in Christ is founded on nothing more than
feelings, or the fact that they seem to enjoy the company of
people in a particular fellowship. The problem with that kind of
faith is that when it no longer feels good to be a Christian,
many will fall away. If being a believer is all about belonging
to a group we enjoy, what happens when people let us down?
Jesus said there was only one foundation that wouldn't fail
us. Not feelings. Not fellowship. Not faith in our faith. But
faith in the timeless promises of God, practically applied in
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does
them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the
rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds
blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was
founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do
them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the
sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds
blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its
fall." (Matthew 7:24-27)
Where are you building your house today?
Scott's Blog - 1/29/07
Hand Geometry and the Mark of the Beast?
One of the most intriguing prophecies regarding the Last Days
is the description of the technology that will allow the
Anti-Christ to maintain an iron grip on the world.
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free
and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their
foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has
the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the
number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is
666. (Revelation 13:15-18)
On SRL we often get questions from callers concerned that a
new breakthrough in technology might actually be the mark of the
beast. We need to understand that this kind of speculation has
been with us for awhile. Since I first read Hal Lindsey's The
Late Great Planet Earth in 1973 I have heard everything from
credit cards, ATM cards, debit cards, interstate banking,
grocery store bar codes and the world wide web put forth as a
potential fulfillment of this prophecy.
And let's face it, if the goal of the beast's program is to
develop a system that can control the world's population by
regulating who can participate in the global economy, there
certainly have been some
significant steps in that direction.
And one doesn't have to be a student of prophecy to be
concerned about the trend.
N.Y. scanners spark union cries of "geoslavery"
By Michelle Nichols
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Every morning Dennis Colson, a
surveyor at New York City's Department of Design and
Construction, begins his work day by placing his hand on a
scanner to log his time and attendance at the office.
The use of hand geometry and other biometric data, like
facial and iris recognition, is not new -- the University of
Georgia pioneered the use of hand geometry when it installed
scanners in its student dining hall in 1974.
But the planned roll-out of hand geometry scanners in all
New York City government agencies has sparked union cries of
"geoslavery" and assertions that technology developed
for security will be used to track, label and control
"It's frustrating, it's kind of an insult,"
Colson, 53, told Reuters. "They are talking about going to
voice and retina scanners and that's an invasion of privacy in
that they can track you wherever you go."
Jon Forster, of the Civil Service Technical Guild, which
represents Department of Design and Construction workers, said
the biometric systems gave the city a license to obtain
personal, uniquely identifiable data to track workers.
"It's really a matter of this kind of technology
having far outstripped any legislation or even case law in the
United States in terms of what are the restrictions,"
Forster told Reuters.
"On the one hand I think people might all agree that
if you put a GPS system in ambulances then that's a good thing.
On the other hand you have an employer in Ohio who has demanded
that two of his employees have chips implanted in their
Let's add to our file under Disturbing Descriptions of
Technology - "Hand Geometry" and
Developments like this certainly do raise the question - Are
we seeing the arrival of the mark of the beast?
The answer? Yes and no.
There is no doubt that these kind of breakthroughs could
easily be a part of implementing just the kind of Last Days
economic system described in Revelation 13. But is GPS or
"Hand Geometry" or a Retinal Scan the mark itself?
The mark will be inextricably tied to the worship of the
Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud
voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and
receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he
himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which
is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation.
Unless your boss insists on your bowing down before an image
of a world dominating dictator who had a fatal sword wound
miraculously healed as a part of a new employee monitoring
program, I think you are safe.
But these developments certainly do set the stage for the
events predicted in the Bible. As technology advances it is
fascinating to me how the potential for the literal fulfillment
of some predictions has come into place - predictions that
seemed like a real stretch even a few years ago.
So how are we to maintain a Biblical perspective on these
kinds of events?
First, don't go the "Chicken Little" route. Jesus
said that many prophetically significant things will happen "but
the end is not yet." (Matthew 24:6)
Second, don't go to sleep.
Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up
your heads, because your redemption draws near." (Luke
Let's make it our business to be both watchful and wise as we
live in the light of Jesus' promise to return.
Scott's Blog - 1/26/07
Why God Smiled on Smyrna
When asked about the state of the church from a prophetic
point of view, most commentators are prone to point to
Revelation 3:14-22. There we see the sad story of the church at
Laodicea, a fellowship who had everything going for it but a
relationship with God. Luke warm, self satisfied and spiritually
indifferent, it was a fellowship sleepwalking through the world.
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness,
the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that
you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
16 So then, because
you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[ I will
vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have
become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know
that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— I
counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you
may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that
the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your
eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I
rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I
stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens
the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with
Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My
throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches.” (Revelation 3:15-22)
Two things are really disturbing about Laodicea. First, Jesus
hasn't a single word of commendation for them. Second, their
condition sounds more than vaguely familiar. Consider these
disheartening findings from the Barna Group.
Study: Most 'Evangelicals' Do Not Meet
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jan. 17 2007 10:30 AM ET
A relatively substantial number of people label themselves as
evangelicals. But new research by The Barna Group found a much
smaller number of people actually fit the criteria.
For two decades, The Barna Group has been measuring the
characteristics of evangelicals based on a 9-question set of
criteria. In its latest study, the research group names them
On a general note, 38 percent of the population accepts the
label of evangelical. When The Barna Group measured them using
its nine questions to categorize evangelicals, only eight
percent of the adult population fit the criteria.
Applied to the entire adult population, the difference is
"staggering," the report stated. Self-proclaimed
evangelicals would number 84 million versus 18 million 9-point
Moreover, the study found that 86 percent of the 9-point
evangelicals also call themselves evangelicals while only 19
percent of self-proclaimed evangelicals meets the research
On another note, the study found that 27 percent of those
who say they are evangelicals are not born again, based upon
their beliefs, The Barna Group reported, and they are also
less likely to read their Bible and attend church during a
I have always wondered why those who identify with the title
"evangelical" rarely evangelize. Mind you, those who
do consider themselves evangelical probably represent
people with a more highly developed desire for the things of God
than the average bear. Yet if evangelicals are clueless
concerning such basics of belief as "Is Jesus God?",
"Is the Bible God's Word?" or "Are we saved by
grace or good works?", what do we really have to share? If
our faith is more about comfort than conviction, well, it's no
wonder "Laodiceanism" seems to be on the rise.
At least on this side of the proverbial pond.
Consider this report
of an almost polar opposite reality taking place in one of the
least likely locations we could imagine.
Christians added daily in China
undefeated by beatings, arrests, confiscations and
destruction of churches
Posted: January 18, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
China's mission fie
services are being broken up by baton-wielding police
officers, participants arrested, Bibles confiscated and
Christian church buildings demolished. But still, an
estimated 3,000 people every day come to a
knowledge of Jesus Christ in China.
report comes from Voice
of the Martyrs, a U.S.-based Christian group that
works specifically to help those members of the
persecuted Christian church worldwide.
most recent arrests happened just a few days ago, when a
house church meeting in Henan province was broken up and
11 people arrested, the organization said.
from Yongfeng township police station in Xiuwu
county, Henan province, raided a Christian
meeting in a home in Chencun village. Eleven
Christians were arrested, two were released the
next day and nine remain in jail," the
broke in and proclaimed the gathering a cultic
and illegal activity," the report said.
and financial help is being provided to those
people during their detention.
VOM said that a more than 50-year campaign to
eradicate Christianity from China has left that
nation with the equivalent of a new mega-church
being added each day.
Mao Zedong declared the Peoples Republic of
China in 1949 and quickly sought to purge
society of anything religious, causing China's
people to endure great hardship ever
since," a VOM analysis of the nation said.
"Mao's Great Leap Forward in the late '50s
and the Cultural Revolution in the '60s and '70s
left millions of his countrymen dead or
with its policies of forced abortion and
sterilization, China's human rights record is
one of the worst in the world. Authorities
reportedly sell the organs of executed prisoners
to meet the demand for transplants. Its system
of 're-education through labor' detains hundreds
of thousands each year in work camps without
even a court hearing. China's 'strike-hard'
policy, presented as a crackdown on criminals,
is hardest on Christians, putting more believers
in prison or under detention than in any other
country. The confiscation of church property and
Bibles continues – even Bibles officially
printed by the government," the report
the church grows: an estimated 3,000 Chinese
come to Christ each day. China's house church
movement, which comprises approximately 90
percent of China's Christians, endures
unimaginable persecution, yet stands on its
commitment to preach the gospel no matter the
of the people in the latest raid by police were
released a day later, but nine remained in jail,
according to VOM and China Aid Association,
which also reported on the arrests.
those still being held in detention for
worshiping in the home were Ju Xiang, 48; Liu
Xiaoduo, 42; Wang Shegin, 40; Fu Juyi, 36; Hong
Xia, 37; Xue Xianghuo, 49; and Xue Xiaona, 34,
said the persecution is having little effect on
the desire to know more about Christ. "In
the past year, we received more requests for
Bibles and Christian books from Chinese
believers because they wanted to share the
gospel with others," a VOM source within
the restrictive nation said. "The Communist
government of China does not see Christ as the
most important person in an individual's life.
Christians count it a privilege to believe in
and suffer for Jesus Christ."
contact said Christians simply adjust to the
persecution at hand – including arrests,
demolished buildings and confiscated materials.
currently is supplying Bibles and copies of
other Christian books, including "Tortured
for Christ" by VOM founder Richard
Wurmbrand, to Christians in China.
Christians have also mailed more than 107,310
New Testaments to China through Bibles Unbound
(www.BiblesUnbound.com)," VOM said.
"Pray God will protect believers in China
and give them strength and courage to continue
their faith in him."
Here we see another prophetically charged situation. The
situation in China is remarkably similar to that of the
church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:8-11.
“And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write,
‘These things says the First and the Last, who was dead,
and came to life: “I know your works, tribulation, and
poverty (but you are rich); and I know the blasphemy
of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a
synagogue of Satan. Do not fear any of those things which
you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw
some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and
you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death,
and I will give you the crown of life.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit
says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by
the second death.”(Revelation 2:8-11)
Did you notice a contrast? In Laodicea they had
everything materially. In Smyrna they knew grinding poverty.
In Laodicea they were concerned about comfort. In Smyrna
they were concerned about connecting with Christ. In
Laodicea there was not a word of commendation. In Smyrna
there was not a single word of correction. The brevity of
the letter almost gives us the idea that Jesus was saying,
"Don't let Me interrupt. Keep at it guys!"
One fellowship was jaded. The other joyful.
Which one would you have liked to been a part of?
In this world we will find examples of all seven churches
addressed in Revelation. The secret o' life seems to be to
"go to school" on the churches that got it right
in the eyes of Jesus. The gravity of this world pulls us
naturally toward Laodicea. The power of the Spirit can cause
us to rise above. When we put the "evangelize"
back in evangelical, we can be smiled upon by God, just like
Scott's Blog - 1/25/07
A Blast From the Past?
Have you ever heard of an "oxymoron"? It's a word
that describes two terms that seem to contradict themselves -
like "political solutions", "military
intelligence" or "government assistance".
One phrase I've heard more and more of lately that I would
add to our list is "living fossil". It is used to
describe certain creatures that the scientific community agrees
died off millions of years ago, that have the bad manners to
make an appearance in our day and age.
Presented for your consideration, the frilled
Rare primitive shark captured on film
Last updated at 08:47am on 25th January
A species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural
habitat is 600 metres (2,000 ft) or more under the sea was
captured on film by staff at a Japanese marine park this week.
The Awashima Marine Park in Shizuoka, south of Tokyo, was
alerted by a fisherman at a nearby port on Sunday that he had
spotted an odd-looking eel-like creature with a mouthful of
Marine park staff caught the 1.6 metre (5 ft) long
creature, which they identified as a female frilled shark,
sometimes referred to as a "living fossil" because it
is a primitive species that has changed little since prehistoric
The shark appeared to be in poor condition when park staff
moved it to a seawater pool where they filmed it swimming and
opening its jaws.
"We believe moving pictures of a live specimen are
extremely rare," said an official at the park. "They
live between 600 and 1,000 metres under the water, which is
deeper than humans can go."
"We think it may have come close to the surface
because it was sick, or else it was weakened because it was in
shallow waters," the official said.
The shark died a few hours after being caught. Frilled
sharks, which feed on other sharks and sea creatures, are
sometimes caught in the nets of trawlers but are rarely seen
Not exactly the prettiest creature I've ever seen, but a
moment for a question - why is the frilly shark considered
It isn't primitive chronologically. This one was happily
participating in the food chain last week.
It isn't primitive biologically. It is pretty good at what it
does or it would starve to death.
It isn't primitive functionally. You try living at 1,800 to
3,000 feet below the surface and see how long you last.
What makes it primitive? It looks strangely like one of the
usual suspects we meet in the dreaded Chart O' Evolution of the
Fish. I think Mr. Frilly has also made an appearance or two on
those computer animated "When Computer Graphic Artists With
Vivid Imaginations"...err..I mean, "When Dinosaurs
Ruled The World" specials.
Frilly is clunky. Frilly is chunky. Frilly isn't as sleek and
sophisticated as a Mako or a Blue or a Great White. Therefore
Frilly must be a prototype - something that filled a niche in
the primordial seas until time and evolution could make the
necessary accidental upgrades. Frilly's fossilized remains tell
us that this species couldn't compete and was rendered obsolete,
except to remind us of a bizzarre time millions of years ago
when funky first drafts swam the seas, marking time before Shark
2.0 came off the assembly line.
The problem is, Frilly didn't get the memo. He continues to
do his deep sea thing just as he was designed to do. Right here.
Right now. Today.
This Frilly story is an important reminder that so called
"origins science" is loaded with speculation and
inference based on the unproven assumption of evolution. When we
hear the term "living fossil" what we are really being
told is, "Uh, by our philosophy, this creature shouldn't be
swimming off Japan. It should have made a graceful exit a few
million years ago. Go about your business. Nothing to see
But the stubborn consistency of creation as typified by so
called "living fossils" (or even dinosaur bones that
contain preserved muscle tissue) points to a far more satisfying
explanation concerning our origins.
God created the great sea monsters and every living creature
that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and
every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
For more on "living fossils" see Answers in Genesis
Scott's Blog - 1/24/07
Tom Cruise: A Sign of the Times?
Back in the '90's I had the opportunity to serve on staff at
Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, California. Since over 40,000
people considered it their church home, you'd better believe
that the opportunities to meet, well, "interesting"
people were many. During my three years as an associate pastor I
had the chance to talk with the deranged, drug addled, and even
the demon possessed. I had to explain to a picketer who was
dressed up as a nun with fishnet stockings that he had every
right to protest, but couldn't block the parking lot entrances.
One conversation took place with a young man who was pointing a
.44 in my face while explaining he had been doing crack for
twenty straight days and was either going to come to church or
end it all.
Never a dull moment.
But one of the most interesting aspects of the position was
what we came to call "counseling with celebrities".
This would happen when a person would come up after a service
and announce that they were Moses, or Elijah. Sometimes even
someone claiming to be Jesus would make their way into the
It would happen more often than you would think. So much so
that one night after a college and career group meeting a man
introduced himself to me by saying, "You probably won't
believe this, but I am Moses!"
I replied, "Did you know you are the third Moses I've
met this month?"
He looked a bit flustered and then sputtered out, "Yeah!
But I'm the real one!"
I gently told him that if he could go out and part the waters
of the fountain out front we could talk further.
Believe it or not, this very phenomenon is something that
Jesus told us to watch for as a sign of the times.
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the
Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs
and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to
deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you
beforehand." (Matthew 24:23-24)
In the last few years we have seen no shortage of applicants
for the position of false messiah of the month. Some have even
managed to gain quite a following. Jim Jones in Guyana, Bhagwan
Sri Rashneesh in Oregon , Benjamin Creme's "Lord Matreya",
"Bo and Peep" and the Heaven's Gate cult have all
grabbed quite a bit of attention, done their damage and passed
from the scene.
But what we may now see in the offing is a variation on the
theme of the
false Christ with a decidedly Hollywood twist.
Cruise 'is Christ' of Scientology
By EMILY SMITH
January 23, 2007
TOM Cruise is the new “Christ” of Scientology, according
to leaders of the cult-like religion.
The Mission: Impossible star has been told he has been
“chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the
And leader David Miscavige believes that in future,
Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise
awareness of the religion.
A source close to the actor, who has risen to one of the
church’s top levels, said: “Tom has been told he is
Scientology’s Christ-like figure.
“Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But
future generations will realise he was right.”
Cruise joined the Church of Scientology in the ’80s.
Leader L Ron Hubbard claimed humans bear traces of an ancient
Cruise has certainly raised some eyebrows with his heated
debates with Brooke Shields and Matt Lauer on the value of
psychiatric treatments for post partum depression.
His advocacy of Scientology, a religion that ultimately
teaches Sci-fi novelist L. Ron Hubbard is God, is well known.
How much he has bought into the role of being a
"Christ-like figure" remains to be seen.
But Jesus' words of warning seem more relevant than ever. If
we look to Tom Cruise of Scientology or Tom Hanks of The DaVinci
Code for our spiritual guidance we will end up following those
just as limited in perspective as we are.
But if we follow Jesus Christ we will never be lead astray.
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light
of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but
have the light of life." (John 8:12)
Scott's Blog - 1/23/07
Israel On the Edge
Students of Biblical prophecy know that the leading indicator
of where we stand in God's plan for the Last Days is the nation
of Israel. A living, breathing example of fulfilled prophecy,
Israel is also in essence God's time piece. As we have mentioned
in this space, there are a number of key prophetic events that
will directly take place in and effect the Jewish nation.
The Physical Restoration of the Land - (Ezekiel 36)
The Physical Re-gathering of the Jewish People to the Land
- (Ezekiel 37)
The Spiritual Revival of the Jewish People in the Land -
(Ezekiel 37:13-14, Zechariah 12:10-14)
The Political Solution Granting Security to the Jewish
People in the Land - (Isaiah 28:14-15, Daniel 9:27 )
The Rebuilding of the Jewish Temple in the Land - (Ezekiel
40-45, Revelation 11:1-3)
The Invasion of the Land by the Coalition of Nations Lead
by Magog (Russia with Iran as a key ally) - (Ezekiel 38)
The Supernatural Destruction of the Armies of the Magog
Coalition in the Land (Ezekiel 38-39)
The Persecution of the Jewish People By the Anti-Christ in
the Land (Revelation 12)
The Return of Jesus to Deliver the Jewish People in the
Land (Revelation 19, Zechariah 14)
When we understand these nine key events, we can gain
tremendous insight into even the most baffling and disconcerting
events that emerge out of this ultimate hot spot in world
Consider this recent
dispatch from Joel Rosenberg following his most recent trip to
DISPATCH FROM JERUSALEM: Bush speech seen
as preparing for war with Iran
(Jerusalem, Israel) – “Our
best case scenario is for missiles to be hitting us in the
next year or two. Either the West goes to war to stop Iran
from going nuclear, and Iran fires conventional missiles at us
in retaliation, or the West waits too long and Iran launches a
nuclear first strike at us. Either way, a terrible war is
coming. It cannot be avoided.”
That’s the sobering assessment a senior Israeli political
leader shared with me over breakfast this week.
In that context, President Bush’s recalibrated
Mideast strategy is resonating positively here. The
combination of 20,000
more U.S. troops in Iraq, a second U.S.
nuclear-powered aircraft carrier headed towards the Persian
Gulf, the buildup of more anti-missile batteries near Iran,
and a flat out rejection
of appeasement talks with Iran and Syria indicates
that the White House is not only serious about defeating the
forces of radical Islam in and around Baghdad, but may
in fact be gearing up for a military showdown with
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his fanatic disciples in 2007.
Secretary of State Condi Rice, here in the region this week,
downplayed that view somewhat, saying
in Jerusalem that "the U.S. is simply
responding to Iranian activities that have been going on for a
while now that … endanger our forces." But there is no
question that the Arab
and Iranian press are interpreting the President's
moves as a step towards war.
I’ve been in Israel for the past ten days filming an EPICENTER
documentary for network broadcast and nationwide release later
this year. Picking up on the themes from the book, the film
will focus on the urgency of the Iranian nuclear threat; how
Shiite eschatology is driving Iranian foreign policy; why
Russia is selling Iran missiles, submarines and nuclear
technology; the differences between Islamic conceptions of end
times prophecy and Judeo-Christian expectations of the last
days; and how evangelical Christians and Israeli Jews can work
together in light of this common enemy.
Exclusive interviews this week included:
* Benjamin Netanyahu, former Prime Minister
and current Likud leader
* Natan Sharansky, former Deputy Prime
Minister and founder of OneJerusalem.org
* Moshe Yaalon, former Israeli Defense Forces
chief of staff
* Dore Gold, former Israeli Ambassador to the
United Nations, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public
Affairs, and author of the forthcoming book, THE
FIGHT FOR JERUSALEM
I asked Netanyahu how much time the West has to stop
Ahmadinejad. “Not much,” he said, noting that when he was
Prime Minister both India and Pakistan tested nuclear weapons
to the shock of all Western intelligence agencies and that
Iran could be much closer to getting the Bomb than anyone
realizes. “Nothing else matters – not Iraq, not the peace
process with the Palestinians – if Iran is allowed to obtain
nuclear weapons. They must be stopped.”
Sharansky warned that action needs to be taken in 2007, or it
could be too late. Ambassador Gold told me that
Ahmadinejad’s cult of “Twelvers” – Shiites feverishly
preparing for the coming of the Twelfth Imam, or the
“Mahdi” – recently claimed to have pre-positioned
sleeper cells of Mahdi warriors in Jerusalem and that
Messianic fever is sweeping the Shiite crescent from Iran and
southern Iraq to Lebanon.
Doesn't look good, does it?
Without a proper prophetic perspective, we could find
ourselves making one of two key errors in processing these
developments. Some will opt for a fear based reaction and say,
"If we leave Israel to their enemies, their enemies won't
bother us!" This is a disastrously wrong point of view. We
have to remember that God promised he would bless those who
blessed His people, and curse those who curse them (Genesis
12:3). Whenever I hear people speak of trying to win favor with
the Muslim world by abandoning the only Western style democracy
in the region, I am reminded of Winston Churchill's famous
analogy, "An appeaser is one who feeds the crocodile hoping
it will eat him last."WINSTON CHURCHILL (on Appeasement, Leftists, Islam, Socialism, etc.)
Israel wouldn't exist without divine intervention. Israel
will continue to exist because of divine intervention. Those who
are wise will not ask the question, "Is God on our
side?" Instead they will decide to make it their business
to be on God's side. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem!
Scott's Blog - 1/22/07
The Truth About Altruism
What makes people go out of their way to help others? The
question is at least as old as one of the most famous parables
Jesus ever taught.
And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him,
saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your
reading of it?”
So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your
God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your
strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor
And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and
you will live.”
But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is
Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down
from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped
him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him
half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road.
And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a
Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and
passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he
journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had
compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds,
pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal,
brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day,
when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to
the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and
whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’
So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who
fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise." (Luke
So what made the difference between the people in this
parable who passed by a man in desperate need and the unlikely
individual that got personally involved?
A team of research scientists believes they may have found an
Are you a giver? Brain scan finds the truth
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Sun
Jan 21, 1:02 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Altruism, one of the most
difficult human behaviors to define, can be detected in
brain scans, U.S. researchers reported on Sunday.
They found activity in a specific area of the brain
could predict altruistic behavior -- and people's own
reports of how selfish or giving they are.
"Although understanding the function of this
brain region may not necessarily identify what drives people
like Mother Theresa, it may give clues to the origins of
important social behaviors like altruism," said Scott
Huettel, a neuroscientist at Duke University in North
Carolina who led the study.
They set up an experiment in which they put 45 college
students into a functional magnetic resonance imaging
scanner, which can take real-time images of brain activity.
The researchers had their subjects play a game which rewarded
helping others. They then correlated the selfless acts with the
MRI scans of the players' brains. The results were interesting
"This area we saw was the posterior superior temporal
cortex," Huettel said. "It's part of the parietal
lobe. What this brain area seems to be involved in is extracting
meaning from things you see."
"If you see a rock move because someone picked it up,
you can recognize that they have a goal. That would activate
this region. If you saw a leaf fluttering in the wind, there is
no intention in that leaf." And this brain region would not
"We think altruism might help others understand the
intentions of others," Huettel said.
His team asked the students how altruistic they were, and
found the test strongly correlated with their own reports of
unselfish activity, such as helping a stranger or comforting a
The significant insight? Giving to others, selflessness,
altruism were associated with the parts of the brain that are
linked to a sense of purpose. How interesting that the Bible
tells us the very same thing.
So let each one give as he purposes
in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a
cheerful giver. (II Corinthians 9:7)
What made the difference between the Good Samaritan and the
others who passed by? The Samaritan certainly wasn't as well
versed on the Old Testament as a priest or a temple worker, but
he did understand the purpose of God's Law.
How interesting that the neuroscientist confessed not being
able to identify what drives people like Mother Teresa. One
doesn't need to run a brain scan to find the answer to
that question. When asked why she devoted herself to working
with the poorest of the poor in the slums of Calcutta she provided
a profound answer.
Mother Theresa was asked
how she could continue
day after day after day,
visiting the terminally ill:
feeding them, touching them,
wiping their brows,
giving them comfort
as they lay dying.
And she said,
"It's not hard,
because in each one
I see the face of Christ
in one of His more
We give because the ultimate
Giver of every good and perfect gift has given us the gift of
His Son. What higher form of praise can we give than to walk in
His footsteps in acts of purposeful generosity to others?
It seems when we understand the why of
giving, the what and how will take care of themselves.
Scott's Blog - 1/19/07
Visa, MasterCard and the Return of Jesus?
Let's open up the SRL mailbag and see how heavenly hope can
make a difference in how we handle our finances!
Dear Pastor Scott,
The return of the Lord Jesus
would seem to be very close at hand. My
if the Bible says "owe no man anything", is it
possible that the Lord would
tarry because many Christians are in financial debt to
It would seem almost impossible
to avoid being in debt in order to survive in this life.
I am concerned about this
matter because I've heard preachers encourage their
congregations to get out of debt. What does the
Bible say in
regards to this matter?
Yours truly, living in a
Danny G. in
Thanks, Danny for raising such important issues for us to
understand. As for your first question, the Lord has the time of
His return well in hand. The disciples themselves had the same
issue heavy on their minds following Jesus' resurrection.
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him,
saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to
Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know
times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.
Jesus' return will happen precisely at the moment already
decided by the Father. When you stop to think about it, if the
presence of some spiritual fault among God's people could
prevent the return of Christ, He would literally never be able
to come back again!
Although the financial practices of God's people won't
prevent Jesus from returning, the Bible tells us that
stewardship of the material blessings God gives to us is an
important issue. Let's look at the verse you sited in your
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who
loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You
shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You
shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false
witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is
any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying,
namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the
fulfillment of the law. And do this, knowing the time,
that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now
our salvation is nearer than when we first
believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore
let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the
armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in
revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife
and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no
provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
The point of this verse is to remind us that love needs to be
our first priority as believers in Christ. If our financial
practices have so tied us up in debt that we no longer are able
to give to help those around us in need, then we need to
reconsider how we are spending our money.
Having said this, we also need to realize that there are
certain financial commitments we can make, such as buying a
house, that will require us to enter into an area of debt. A
believer can do this in good conscience as building up equity in
a home is a good way of getting a return on the money we would
spend on putting a roof over our heads. Using the money we spend
on shelter to eventually lead us to own our home, rather than
seeing it all go to the benefit of a land lord is good
Credit card debt is something we should try to avoid as much
as possible. It is much better for us to set spending guidelines
and patiently save for some of the things we might like to have
(but are really luxuries) than to "buy now and pay
forever". Financial experts tell us if we accumulate more
than $10,000 in credit card debt at rates that can run as high
as 21% we will never pay it off. That means a certain amount of
time each month we are working for Mr. Visa instead of our own
families! And that sounds like slavery rather than freedom.
It is important to remember that God promises to meet our
needs, but not our "greeds". The Lord is concerned
that we learn to be content with what we have, instead of
worrying about what we don't have. If we are responsible with
what we have, using it to meet the needs of our family and to be
a blessing to others, He will add to our resources.
Keep these words of the Apostle Paul in mind and I know God
will give you wisdom in honoring God with your finances.
I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I
know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and
in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry,
both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through
Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13)
For more solid information on how to honor the Lord with your
financial decisions visit Crown Financial Ministries
Scott's Blog - 1/18/07
Next Stop: Laodicea?
One of the most intriguing stretches of Biblical
prophecy is found in Revelation chapters 2-3. The seven churches
that Jesus addresses are significant not only because their
troubles and triumphs are timeless, but also because they
represent a sequential breakdown of the condition of the church
from the time of the apostles (Ephesus) to the church at the
time of the Rapture. Over the last fifty years or so we
have seen conditions remarkably similar to the church at
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write,
‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, “He
who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts,
and shuts and no one opens”: “I know your
works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can
shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and
have not denied My name. Indeed I will make those of the
synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but
lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet,
and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept
My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of
trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who
dwell on the earth. Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast
what you have, that no one may take your crown. He who
overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and
he shall go out no more. I will write on him the name of My God
and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which
comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him
My new name.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches.”' (Revelation 3:7-13)
The remarkable thing about the Philadelphian church was that
Jesus has not a single word of correction for them. They were
invested in outreach, steadfast in the face of persecution, and
eagerly looking for the return of Jesus. This simplicity of
devotion to Christ earned them a heavenly two thumbs up.
Unfortunately, the next church we find Jesus addressing has
not one word of commendation given to it.
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,
‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness,
the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that
you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot.
So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I
will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich,
have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not
know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you
may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that
the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your
eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I
rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I
stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens
the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with
Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My
throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the
churches.”’" (Revelation 3:14-22)
The church at Laodicea was powered by self sufficiency rather
than the Spirit. They made comfort not commitment to Christ
their top priority. They also made Jesus feel sick! They had
everything but a real relationship with God.
The sad fact is that the church age will end, not with a bang
but a whimper.
Which raises an important question - Are we beginning to see
the rise of the Laodicean age of the church in our day?
year end trends in the life and belief of the
North American church as tallied by the Barna Group.
- Although large majorities of the public claim to be
"deeply spiritual" and say that their religious
faith is "very important" in their life, only
15% of those who regularly attend a Christian church ranked
their relationship with God as the top priority in their
life. As alarming as that finding was, its
significance was magnified by research showing that on
average pastors believe that 70% of the adults in their
congregation consider their relationship with God to be
their highest priority in life.
- Three out of every four teenagers have engaged in
at least one type of psychic or witchcraft-related activity.
Among the most common of those endeavors are using a Ouija
board, reading books about witchcraft or Wicca, playing
games involving sorcery or witchcraft, having a
"professional" do a palm reading or having their
fortune told. Conversely, during the past year fewer than
three out of every ten churched teenagers had received any
teaching from their church about elements of the
- The notion of personal holiness has slipped out of
the consciousness of the vast majority of Christians.
While just 21% of adults consider themselves to be holy, by
their own admission large numbers have no idea what
"holiness" means and only one out of every three
(35%) believe that God expects people to become holy.
The question is raised, "If this is the prophetic path
that God has foreseen for the church, what can we do about
The answer is, plenty.
And it begins with what we could call the Philadelphia
Prescription for Laodicean Lethargy.
The church at Philadelphia had three things going for it.
They had "a little strength". I believe this is a
reference to the power of the Holy Spirit working in the lives
of the people. Remember "Holy" isn't the Spirit's
first name. it's what he does in our lives.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the
Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with
unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,
are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory,
just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (II Corinthians 3:17-18)
The church at Philadelphia also "kept (Jesus')
Word". This means they loved the Word of God so much that
keeping it, that is putting it into practice in daily life was a
top priority. But keeping Jesus Word also means to keep it front
and center in terms of the priorities and perspective we have on
the issues of life.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving
yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a
doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what
kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of
liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful
hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what
he does. (James 1:22-25)
The church at Philadelphia also had "not denied (Jesus')
name. This runs far deeper than merely standing up and
courageously confessing Christ in a persecution style setting.
To act "in the name" of another carries the idea of
accurately and faithfully representing their interests while
they are absent. When we follow Jesus and represent Him in our
contacts and interactions with others we also will be those who
have "not denied My name."
And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
The time of Jesus' return is nearer today than ever before.
If we are living in the times I believe we are in, this
Laodicean spirit will continue to become more and more
pronounced. When I hear about churches holding "Beer
Evangelism Nights" at local watering holes, or read the
latest article about the raging success of churches promoting a
pastoral personality or a program rather than Jesus, it makes me
sad. But the good news is we can chose to rise above and make it
our top priority to be found faithful when the Lord returns.
What choices have you made today?
Scott's Blog - 1/17/07
One of the supposed "facts" that are often used to
attempt to discredit the historicity of the Bible is the
dinosaur. We are told it is beyond dispute that dinosaurs died
out 65 million years ago and never shared this earth with
But as we have seen, the facts seem to keep getting in the
way of this widely accepted pronouncement. (See Scott's Blog
Another real problem for the millions of years set is the
annoying habit of stunningly detailed likenesses
of dinosaurs showing up in ancient art.
Evidence of dinosaurs at Angkor
January 15, 2007
There are many references in creationist literature to
historical evidence of dinosaurs
and man living together, such as the petroglyph in Natural
Bridges National Monument, Utah, legends and stories of dragons
in Europe, and frequent use of the dragon motif by the Chinese.1
But one striking physical and historical evidence in Asia is
rarely mentioned: the bas-relief picture of a dinosaur in the
ruins of Angkor outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia.
Angkor is a collection of ruins from the ancient Khmer
civilization that lived and ruled in Southeast Asia from the end
of the ninth century to the end of the twelfth century. The
ruins are composed of temples, palaces, libraries, monasteries,
and other buildings built by the various kings and rulers of the
Khmer people. These ruins now lie in an area designated as the
“Angkor Archaeological Park” in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Many of these ruins have been restored over the years.2
A photo of the stegosaurus-like bas-relief.
One collection of ruins, known as Angkor Thom, has purposely
not been restored. The original edifices were either constructed
during the reign of King Jayavarman VII or commissioned by him
(AD 1181 – ca. 1210). The most significant of the buildings of
Angkor Thom is the great temple-monastery of Ta Prohm. Today,
the ruins lie majestically entwined with large jungle vines and
the roots of towering tropical strangler fig trees, a decision
the Angkor Conservancy took to give tourists a more adventurous,
Most of the great Angkor ruins have vast displays of
bas-relief depicting the various gods, goddesses, and
other-worldly beings from the mythological stories and epic
poems of ancient Hinduism (modified by centuries of Buddhism).
Mingled with these images are actual known animals, like
elephants, snakes, fish, and monkeys, in addition to dragon-like
creatures that look like the stylized, elongated serpents (with
feet and claws) found in Chinese art.
Author next to Angkor ruin dated ca.
twelfth century AD
But among the ruins of Ta Prohm, near a huge stone entrance,
one can see that the “roundels on pilasters on the south side
of the west entrance are unusual in design.”4
What one sees are roundels depicting various common
animals—pigs, monkeys, water buffaloes, roosters, snakes—and
what appears to be a dinosaur! There are no mythological figures
among the roundels, so one can reasonably conclude that these
figures depict the animals that were commonly seen by the
ancient Khmer people in the twelfth century. That means that
only a little over 800 years ago, some dinosaurs were likely
still living in the region of Cambodia! Of course this is no
surprise to biblical creationists, because we know from Genesis
1 that land animals (such as dinosaurs) and humans were
living together in the beginning, and that representatives of
the land animals (e.g., dinosaurs) were saved on the Ark to
repopulate the earth after the Flood only 4,300 years ago. [Ed.
note: Some have questioned the authenticity of the relief.
However, even if the relief is found to be fraudulent, the
position that man and dinosaurs lived together just thousands of
years ago does not rest on this one evidence—it is based on
the unchanging Word of God. Further, there are many other
petroglyphs and legends that support the true history of the
Bible (see Get
Great Dinosaur Mystery Solved! (Green Forest,
Arkansas: Master Books, 1998), pp. 31–52; Dinosaurs
of Eden (Green Forest, Arkansas: Master Books,
2001), pp. 35–39. Return.
- Claude Jacques and Michael Freeman, Angkor
Cities and Temples (Bangkok: River Books, 1997) p. 203. Return.
- Ibid., p. 205. Return.
- Ibid., p. 213. Return.
When we see that the Bible makes mention of creatures that
correspond to two different species of dinosaurs in the book of
Job 40-41 (written around the time of Abraham, 2100 BC), and
that the Bible tells us that land animals and man were both
created on Day Six of Creation Week, phenomena like the carving
at Angkor should be no surprise. But if people are so committed
to a philosophy (naturalism) that even dinosaur meat and even
dino-dioramas won't change their minds, it is no surprise when
they reject the Scriptures as well.
Scott's Blog - 1/16/07
A Womb With A View?
In the files under "Science Catches Up With the
Bible", consider these remarkable pictures.
DRUDGE REPORT 2007®
A portrait from a nursery? In a manner of speaking. These
triplets had their picture taken with new scanning image
technology while in their mother's womb.
Twins appear to kiss in the womb
A crowded womb
A twin leans over and kisses the cheek of her sister in a
heart-warming picture that would not be out of place in any
Yet these siblings are a not even born and the astonishing
images have been captured on a new 'four-dimensional' ultrasound
scan of the womb.
The scans are a highly developed form of traditional
ultrasound where very high frequency sound waves are used to
produce images of what is inside the body.
As with older forms of ultra-sound, sound waves a emitted
from a transducer, or probe, which is placed on the mother's
abdomen and then moved to 'look at' areas in the uterus. These
sound waves bounce back off the foetus, helping to create a
'picture' of the child on a screen.
The new 4D scan uses the same frequency of sound waves as
in a normal ultrasound. But the sound waves are directed from
many more angles,
producing a 'real-time' video of the foetus as it moves
and allowing scientists to say the images are in four
This advanced technology has allowed scientists to capture
the development of foetuses like never before, including twins
and triplets jostling for space in the womb while grasping each
other's hands and even faces.
A stunningly vivid illustration of a timeless Scriptural
For You formed my inward parts;
covered me in my mother’s womb.
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and
are Your works,
my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was
made in secret,
skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
Your book they all were written,
fashioned for me,
yet there were none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)
These pictures were taken at the twenty week mark of
pregnancy. You may want to keep them handy the next time an ill
informed person makes a pronouncement that abortion is not about
taking a human life.
Scott's Blog - 1/15/07
Will Jesus Return This Year? Let's Go To The Polls!
Have you ever wondered what future generations will think of
the times we live in? What will people conclude about us if all
that remains of our culture is a Britney Spears video and a
thousand lost golf balls?
If any of the product of our media survives I am convinced
that future archeologists may conclude that our times saw the
birth of a brand new form of government - the "Poll-ocracy".
It seems that if you really want to make a difference in our
country, commission a poll, have it lead on the cable network
news and watch Washington scramble to catch up.
Don't get me wrong, polls do have their place. It is always
instructive to gain an insight into the national mood. But polls
do have their limits. They may reflect belief, but we find
ourselves on shaky ground when they create belief.
I caught a classic example of the importance of maintaining
this distinction in an
intriguing poll by the Ipsos research group.
Some Americans Expect Jesus' Second
Coming in 2007
Christian Post Reporter
Wed, Jan. 03 2007 01:58 PM ET
One in four Americans anticipates the second coming of
Christ in 2007. This is one several predictions made by
Americans in a recent poll for the new year.
A poll by Ipsos, an international polling firm, found that
11 percent of respondents said it is "very likely"
that Jesus will return to Earth this year and 14 percent said
it was "somewhat likely."
Among white evangelical Christians, 46 percent said it's at
least somewhat likely that Jesus will return in 2007 compared
to 17 percent of Catholics and 10 percent of those with no
Overall, 25 percent said it was "not too likely"
that Jesus will make his second coming this year and 42
percent said it was "not at all likely."
Other predictions Americans made for the new year included
another terrorist attack and another major natural disaster
within the United States, according to the Associated Press.
The majority of respondents also expect worsening global
warming and that a biological or nuclear weapon will be
unleashed elsewhere in the world.
Notice what this poll can and can't show us. It can
tell us about what I consider a very encouraging trend. The
possibility of Jesus imminent return is on the minds of a
significant number of people in our society. This is an entirely
appropriate mind set according to Jesus Himself.
Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of
the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the
crowing of the rooster, or in the morning— lest, coming
suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to
all: Watch!" (Mark 13:36-37)
It is encouraging to see that more and more people are aware
of the promise of Jesus to return. No doubt the wildly popular
"Left Behind Series", the
signs of the times we live in, and individual Christians sharing
the Good News have contributed to these results. But notice what
this poll can't tell us. It can't fix a date for the Lord's
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the
angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were,
so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days
before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and
giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and
did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so
also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men
will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women
will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the
other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your
Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house
had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched
and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also
be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not
expect. (Matthew 24:36-44)
The return of Jesus will not be hastened or altered one bit
by whether the idea is popular or not.
I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all
things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good
confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep this
commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus
Christ’s appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He
who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and
Lord of lords (I Timothy 6:13-15)
Washington may alter policy based on the results of the
latest polls. But what a reassuring thing it is to know that
Heaven doesn't follow that same school of decision making!
Scott's Blog - 1/12/07
A Preview of Coming Attractions
Quick quiz: What is your first impression when you see
A. "Better load up the tranquilizer dart gun!"
B. "Better warm up the medivac helicopter!"
C. "Better read Isaiah chapter 11 again."
If you chose "C", congratulations!
African Lion Kisses, Hugs Woman Who Saved
People Shocked To See Affection Between
People in Cali, Colombia, are shocked to see the bond between a
large African lion and a woman who saved it from abuse,
involving long, affectionate kisses and hugs between the pair.
Ana Julia Torres, who runs the Villa Lorena animal shelter in
Cali, fed and nursed Jupiter the African lion back to health
years ago after it was found abused and emaciated in a traveling
"It is amazing to see an animal like that be so sweet
and affectionate," said Torres. "This hug is the most
sincere one that I have received in my life."
The Bible tells us there will come a day when animals as
fierce and predacious as a lion will have a dramatic change of
There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse,
And a Branch shall grow out
of his roots.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and
The Spirit of counsel and
The Spirit of knowledge and
of the fear of the LORD.
His delight is in
the fear of the LORD,
And He shall not judge by
the sight of His eyes,
Nor decide by the hearing of
righteousness He shall judge the poor,
And decide with equity for
the meek of the earth;
He shall strike the earth
with the rod of His mouth,
And with the breath of His
lips He shall slay the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the
belt of His loins,
And faithfulness the belt of
“ The wolf also shall
dwell with the lamb,
The leopard shall lie down
with the young goat,
The calf and the young lion
and the fatling together;
And a little child shall
The cow and the bear shall graze;
Their young ones shall lie
And the lion shall eat straw
like the ox.
The nursing child shall
play by the cobra’s hole,
And the weaned child shall
put his hand in the viper’s den.
They shall not hurt
nor destroy in all My holy mountain,
For the earth shall be full
of the knowledge of the LORD
As the waters cover the sea.
In our world today this description is almost unimaginable.
As Woody Allen once put it, "The lion will lay down with
the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep." But the Bible
tells there is a change coming.
What will cause this change? The presence of the Lord of
love. When Jesus returns the entire creation will be effected,
transformed, made right again.
Imagine the difference we can make if we allowed the presence
of the Lord, through His Holy Spirit, to impact our little
corner of the creation?
There might be a whole lot less growling and a little more
grace. And perhaps those we interact with will sit up and take
notice when the love of God creates miraculous changes in our
Maybe, like a grateful lion in Cali Columbia, we can be
a preview of coming attractions as well!
Scott's Blog - 1/11/07
Don't Let Progress Get In The Way of Politics
As we have detailed in this space, there are few more
impassioned debates in our day than the ethics of stem cell
research. Oppose the destruction of human embryos for research
that can only promise a potential for miracle cures and get
ready to be called a heartless ideologue who thinks the
paralyzed should learn to live with their condition. Support it
and be ready to be asked how you would enjoy being a subject of
human experimentation yourself.
That is why a
breaking news story from earlier this week was so wonderful.
OF LIFE AND DEATH
hail ethical source for stem cells
say amniotic fluid better than human embryos
Posted: January 10, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern
© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com
leaders from around the world are hailing the
announcement of a source for stem cells – and
their related medical research lines – without
obtaining them from aborted babies or from
lab-created-and-destroyed human embryos.
announcement in Nature Biotechnology said seven
years of research by scientists from Wake Forest
School of Medicine and Harvard University
concluded that stem
cell lines derived from amniotic fluid
actually have a greater potential for good than
stem cells from human embryos.
endorsements from Christian leaders whose
constituencies could be numbered in the hundreds
of millions have been coming in ever since, and
include a range from those heading a pro-life
action group in Wichita, Kan., to the Vatican.
story has become Page 1 news today because, to
this point, the media has not told the truth
about how promising non-embryonic stem
cell research is," said James Dobson,
founder of the Colorado
Springs-based Focus on the Family Action.
"Instead, they've chosen to put their
emphasis on promoting research that kills human
beings in their tiniest form.
the facts that were brought to the fore today
will influence members of the House of
Representatives to reject the expansion of
federal funding for embryonic stem-cell research
when the legislation comes up for a vote this
week," he continued. "There is now a
tremendous opportunity for those of us who hold
to pro-life views to call for uncompromising
support of research using sources that do not
imperil preborn life."
of the senior researchers on the project,
Anthony Atala, said his hope is that the cells
will provide a resource for tissue repair and
for "engineered organs."
has been known for decades that both the
placenta and amniotic fluid contain multiple
progenitor cell types from the developing
embryo, including fat, bone, and muscle. We
asked the question, 'Is there a possibility that
within this cell population we can capture true
stem cells?' The answer is yes."
issue of the medical research and potential
breakthroughs that might one day come from stem
cell research always has been used by abortion
industry supporters as a reason for those
activities, even though the current medical
treatments all come from adult stem cell
research, not embryonic stem cells. Stem cell
research proponents also routinely argue that
life begins at birth.
on the other side, have argued that life from
the moment of conception is sacred and must be
protected, even to the point of protecting human
embryos from destruction through research
study provides more evidence that there is no
need to destroy human embryos in order to treat
disease or otherwise benefit mankind,"
Dobson said. "In fact, there are no
clinical trials anywhere in the world where
embryonic stem cells are being used in
the contrary, at least 70 conditions already are
being treated with stem cells from bone marrow
and cord blood, and similar prospects are likely
for stem cells from amniotic fluid, he said.
announcement means that Congress has no need to
move forward when it votes tomorrow on expanding
federal funding for stem cell research that
kills human life.
urge all members of Congress to uphold respect
for life while maximizing the investment of
American tax dollars by investing in proven and
promising stem cell research that does not
violate the conscience of many Americans,"
said Dr. David Stevens, head of the Christian
bill pending in the House is similar to one
vetoed earlier by President Bush, who has
authorized and approves of federal funding for a
limited number of stem cell research lines.
have learned that the ethical route to stem
cells is also the most medically effective and
promising route to stem cells. Americans'
resources should be used for ethical, effective
and promising stem cell research that does not
violate ethical standards by killing human
embryos," Stevens said.
research announcing the availability of stem
cells from amniotic fluid noted that such stem
cells can be grown in large quantities, do not
require cells from live human embryos, do not
develop tumors as the embryonic stem cells do,
and estimated that a research line of 100,000
cells would satisfy 99 percent of all research
new science has been able to isolate every type
of stem cell needed for therapy and healing
medicine without the moral concern for loss of
innocent life that has alarmed Christians,"
said Troy Newman, the chief of Operation
Patrick Mahoney, of the Christian
Defense Coalition, noted that science now
can move forward – towards a better goal and
without the moral and ethical objections that
are associated with "live human embryonic
latest research on amniotic cells is further
evidence that we don't need to kill one life in
order to save another," said Wendy Wright,
the president of Concerned
Women for America.
research proves that the moral choice is also
the healthiest and most effective way to find
cures," she said.
This breakthrough discovery seems to end the argument. If
the point of supporting research is to provide stem cells so
that their amazing potential can be harnessed for cures, we
have found the perfect solution. The patient with the
incurable condition can rejoice in hope. The defender of
those most vulnerable and helpless among us can breathe a
sigh of relief, seeing our society take a step back from the
brink of the Dr. Mengele School of medicine.
So the theme music comes up, the credits roll, and we all
live happily ever after, right?
Uh, not quite.
hasn't got the memo.
Ampoules containing a medium for stem cell
storage are displayed in London, May 19, 2004
House backs broader embryonic stem cell research
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The new Democratic-led U.S. House of
Representatives voted on Thursday to lift
President George W. Bush's
restrictions on federal funding for human embryonic stem cell research.
The measure passed after an emotional debate in which
supporters touted the research as the best hope for
potential cures for ailments such as
disease, diabetes, Parkinson's disease and spinal
Opponents condemned it as unethical and immoral. Bush
restricted funding for the research in August 2001.
Bush, whose support base includes conservative Christian
voters who tend to oppose the use of stem cells taken from
human embryos, in July used the only veto of his presidency
to date to reject an identical measure.
The White House reiterated Bush's intention to use his
veto power, saying American taxpayers should not pay for
research involving the intentional destruction of human
The bill is part of a six-measure package that House
Democrats vowed to vote on during their "first 100
legislative hours" after winning control of Congress
from Bush's Republicans in November elections.
Already this week, the House passed two other bills in
the Democrats' legislative package, one to bolster U.S.
security and the other to raise the federal minimum wage.
The stem cell bill now goes to the Senate, where
supporters believe it will pass with a veto-proof two-thirds
The debate can transcend party politics, with some
anti-abortion Republicans strongly supporting the research.
Thirty-seven Republicans backed the bill on Thursday, while
16 Democrats opposed it.
SANCTITY OF LIFE
"I believe this legislation does not seek to destroy
life," said House Democratic leader Steny Hoyer (news,
record) of Maryland.
"It seeks to preserve and protect life," he
said. "We have a moral obligation to provide our
scientific community with the tools it needs to save
Many scientists view embryonic stem cells as the
potential raw material for a new era of regenerative
medicine, hoping to harness the unique qualities of the
cells to repair damaged tissue. Such therapies are seen as
years in the future.
Stem cells are a kind of master cell for the body,
capable of growing into various tissue and cell types. Those
taken from days-old embryos are especially malleable but
"adult" stem cells found in babies and adults also
have shown promise.
Rep. Christopher Smith (news,
record), a New Jersey Republican, favors research on
stem cells not taken from embryos but opposes the current
"Where will this all take us? If this bill were to
be passed and signed into law, we would see the demise --
the destruction -- over time ... of millions of
embryos," he said.
There is no U.S. law against human embryonic stem cell
research. Bush's 2001 policy limited federal funding to
research on the human embryonic stem cell colonies, or
lines, that existed at the time.
Some scientists say many of those roughly 20 lines are
deteriorating, contaminated or were developed through
obsolete methods, making them inadequate to determine the
potential therapeutic value of embryonic stem cells.
The bill would allow federal funding on research
involving stem cell lines derived from embryos created at
fertility clinics that would otherwise be thrown away
because they are not needed to implant in a woman to make a
The bill is sponsored by Reps. Mike Castle, a Delaware
Republican, and Diana DeGette (news,
record), a Colorado Democrat. Last year, the House
passed the bill 235-193 before Bush's veto.
The most interesting aspect of this debate is how
revealing it is. If stem cells of a superior quality and
usability for research can be obtained without killing an
embryo, why doesn't congress recognize this and divert these
funds toward the avenue where it will do the most good? Or
are our leaders so locked in to this "It's just a
tissue blob! It's not a human being!" mindset, that
they fear backing away from this cause celebre will damage
their credentials with the pro abortion set?
For a Biblical point of view on this issue see
Blog - 8/25/06, Is The Stem Cell Debate Over?
Scott's Blog - 1/10/07
The Heat Is On
One of the most exciting discoveries I made early on in my
Christian life was the promise that Jesus was going to return.
When I was told that the Lord had a plan to rescue His people
from the coming time of Tribulation, I was so blessed. In fact
this event called the Rapture is called "the blessed hope!
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to
all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the
present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing
of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-13)
But it didn't take long to discover that not all believers
were unanimous in this excitement. Some would say, "Belief
in the Rapture is just escapism. If other believers had to
suffer for our faith down through time, why should we get the
get out of jail free card?"
So how do we respond to such a challenging argument?
First, we need to agree with the main point. The rapture is
a form of escape.
"Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be
counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to
pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36)
It is important to understand that the Tribulation will be a
time unlike any in the history of the church. It will not
primarily be a time of the wrath of Satan against believers, but
an outpouring of God's wrath against a God rejecting world.
And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men,
the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man,
hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains,
and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us
from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath
of the Lamb! For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is
able to stand?" (Revelation 6:15-17)
What a wonderful thing it is to know that Christians are not
destined for the experience of God's wrath. And if Jesus told us
to pray for escape, then escape is just what we should pray for!
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain
salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that
whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you
also are doing. (I Thessalonians 5:9-11)
But isn't this idea of being snatched out before the storm a
little unfair? Others have suffered for their faith. Why should
we get a pass?
The simple answer is, we haven't.
Those of us who live in this unusual spiritual environment we
call the United States can easily lose sight of the fact that
although generally speaking we don't experience persecution,
that doesn't mean the same is true for the vast majority of our
brothers and sisters around the world. Consider this eye opening
report from the Global Chinese Christian News Service.
250 Million Christians Will Be Persecuted in 2007
Around 250 million
Christians worldwide will face persecution in 2007, simply
for following Jesus Christ, according to persecution
watchdog Release International.
Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2007
Posted: 3:14:PM PST
LONDON – Around 250
million Christians worldwide will face persecution in
2007, simply for following Jesus Christ, according to
persecution watchdog Release International. In particular
the U.K.-based group found that persecution is growing the
fastest in the Muslim world.
According to Release,
most persecution takes place in four distinct
"zones": those of Islam, Communism, Hinduism and
Buddhism. But persecution is growing fastest of all in the
Governments in even moderate Muslim countries often fail
to safeguard the rights of their Christian minorities,
explained RI. Abuses suffered by Christians include
kidnapping, forced conversion, imprisonment, church
destruction, torture, rape and execution.
One of the world’s worst abusers of religious freedom is
Saudi Arabia, guardian of Islam’s holiest sites –
Mecca and Medina. Saudi Arabia forbids all other
religions. A Muslim found "guilty" of converting
to Christianity could face the death sentence for
apostasy. And anyone who leads a Muslim to Christ faces
jail, expulsion or execution.
"There’s a conspiracy of silence around
Saudi," said Release International’s CEO Andy
Dipper, "probably because the West wants their oil
and their money. But this is a government that hands out
the death sentence for its own citizens who want nothing
more than the freedom to choose their own faith. And while
Saudi bans all Christian literature, it spends billions of
dollars each year propagating Islam around the
But some of the most violent persecution in the Muslim
world is beyond government control. Since the terrorist
attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the world has been made
dramatically aware of extremist Islamist global networks.
Although the best known is Al Qaeda, there are others who
exploit religious tensions for their own political ends,
RI told U.K.-based Christian Today.
"A rising number of extremists interpret the call to
jihad as a call to violence. They seem to regard it as
their religious duty to force Christians and non-Muslims
to convert to Islam. Those who refuse must be driven out
or killed," said RI.
The persecution watchdog continued: "There is a
growing movement to impose Islamic Sharia law, which
results in increased pressure on Christians. In Nigeria,
militants have driven Christians from their homes to
remove political opposition and pave the way for Sharia
"Despite the spectacular collapse of communism in
Europe, persecution of Christians continues in China,
Cuba, Laos and Vietnam, while the dubious accolade of the
world’s worst persecutor of Christians goes to North
Communist governments remain ideologically opposed to
Christianity and have pursued systematic programs to
weaken and destroy the church. Some persecution also
continues under the "old guard" in the former
Soviet Union, and China – for all its economic openness
– continues to drive Christians underground.
"As China prepares for the Olympic Games, western
governments would do well to remember that China detains
more Christians than any other country," said Dipper.
"Believers and leaders who want nothing more than to
worship freely face imprisonment, torture and even
Persecution is a growing reality in this world. But this is
not the wrath of God. When the Rapture happens the unbelieving
world will certainly learn the difference. If we are to
understand the hope we have for the imminent return of Jesus, we
need to understand that distinction as well!
Scott's Blog - 1/09/07
Prophecy Update Part II: Signs of the Strong Covenant?
One of the most eye opening aspects of following the signs of
the times from a Biblical perspective is the phenomena of "birth
pains". In describing the series of signs that would
alert His people to the nearness of His return, Jesus said,
"But all these things are merely the beginning of birth
pangs." (Matthew 24:8) As any parent who has gone
through the process knows, birth pains increase in frequency and
intensity as the time of the big event draws near. They also
build to a fever pitch, and then for a time subside.
We may be on the uphill run to another birth pain stretch in
human history. It is fascinating to me how after writing
yesterday's entry on the prophetic significance of Israel's war
plans against Iran, I find myself compelled to share another
report out of Israel with potentially jaw dropping
Joint drill conducted by IDF and NATO navies in June
We need to be part of EU and NATO Jerusalem Post
The following is the first Jpost blog central post by
Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman. It is part of a
soon-to-be launched feature that provides prominent politicians from
across the political spectrum an opportunity to debate the
hot issues on their own personal blog.
In my very first political science lecture in the Hebrew
University in the early 1980s, I was taught that international
politics were governed by State interests. In all my years in
Israeli politics and as a third-time minister, I have yet to see
this theory implemented in Israel.
I believe it was Henry Kissinger who once said that Israel
has no foreign policy, only domestic. The sad reality of today
is that the State of Israel has never defined, and rarely acted
in accordance with its national interests. The few examples I
can think of include Israel going to war over the Egyptian
nationalization of the Suez Canal and restriction of Israeli
marine traffic in 1956, the 1981 attack against the Iraqi
nuclear facility and the 1995 peace agreement with the Hashemite
Kingdom of Jordan.
I have recently suggested that it is in Israel's national
interest to join the European Union and the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO). The world today is a less hospitable
place to our democracy. The second half of the twentieth century
witnessed a world divided over economic doctrines and political
thought. I myself was born in Moldova, a country taken over by
the Soviet Union in 1944, and spent my childhood under the rule
of a harsh totalitarian regime (until my family made aliya in
1978, when I was 20 years old).
Today's world is dividing over values. On the one side is
the free, democratic world, and on the other side is the
radical, fundamentalist world. We might have disagreements with
Europe and the international community over foreign policy, but
we share the same values system that is the target of the
radical, fundamentalist war against the West.
The great danger in this global conflict is that we are
facing non-rational players. Take Bin Laden for example - there
is nothing you can offer him to stop his war against the free
world - no amount of money, no piece of territory, no agreement
- his goal is to convert the entire world to Islam, or send all
infidels to heaven. There is no sense in rationalizing with this
kind of enemy.
Not a single Islamic leader - political or spiritual - has
condemned the death sentence against Salman Rushdie, and even
today he has to live in hiding between London and Paris. Not a
single Islamic leader has ever condemned the Taliban's
destruction of the Buddha sculptures in Afghanistan. The Muslim
world's reaction to cartoons about the prophet Muhammad and to
Pope Benedict XVI's speech are irrational.
My goal for Israel is to complete this global
re-positioning within the coming five years. This move will send
a strong message not only to our enemies, but also to our
friends and allies.
The seven year period of time prior to the return of
Jesus is known as the Tribulation. An amazing prophecy in
Daniel 9 tells us of an event that will initiate this final
Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week;
But in the middle of the
He shall bring an end to
sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of
abominations shall be one who makes desolate,
Even until the consummation,
which is determined,
Is poured out on the
desolate." (Daniel 9:27)
The Bible tells us that the Antichrist will bring about a
temporary peace in the Middle East. He will make a peace treaty
with many nations that will be hailed as the solution to this
conflict that keeps the world on edge. It will be a false peace,
lasting only three and a half years. At that time the Anti
christ will double cross Israel, go into the rebuilt temple in
Jerusalem and proclaim himself God.
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will
not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of
sin is revealed, the son of perdition, 4
who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or
that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God,
showing himself that he is God. (II Thessalonians 2:3-4)
Could this unprecedented suggestion of political and military
unification, not just with NATO but also the European Union be a
step toward this prophesied peace treaty? Stay tuned!
Scott's Blog - 1/08/07
Prophecy Update: Iran Goes Nuclear?
And probably not
in the way Ahmadinejhad dreams of.
The Sunday Times
January 07, 2007
Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran
ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy
Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities
with tactical nuclear weapons.
Two Israeli air force squadrons are training
to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield
nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several
Israeli military sources.
The attack would be the first with nuclear
weapons since 1945, when the United States
dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
The Israeli weapons would each have a force
equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.
Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would
open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would
then immediately be fired into a plant at
Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce
the risk of radioactive fallout.
“As soon as the green light is given, it
will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian
nuclear project will be demolished,” said one
of the sources.
The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last
week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli
intelligence service Mossad’s assessment
that Iran is on the verge of producing
enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons
within two years.
Israeli military commanders believe
conventional strikes may no longer be enough to
annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment
facilities. Several have been built beneath at
least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the
nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be
used only if a conventional attack was
ruled out and if the United States declined
to intervene, senior sources said.
Israeli and American officials have met
several times to consider military
action. Military analysts said the
disclosure of the plans could be intended to put
pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole
America into action or soften up world opinion
in advance of an Israeli attack.
Some analysts warned that Iranian retaliation
for such a strike could range from disruption of
oil supplies to the West to terrorist attacks
against Jewish targets around the world.
Israel has identified three prime targets
south of Tehran which are believed to be
involved in Iran’s nuclear programme:
Natanz, where thousands of
centrifuges are being installed for uranium
A uranium conversion facility near Isfahan
where, according to a statement by an
Iranian vice-president last week, 250 tons of
gas for the enrichment process have been
stored in tunnels
A heavy water reactor at Arak, which
may in future produce enough plutonium for a
Israeli officials believe that
destroying all three sites would delay
Iran’s nuclear programme indefinitely
and prevent them from having to live in fear
of a “second Holocaust”.
The Israeli government has warned
repeatedly that it will never allow
nuclear weapons to be made in Iran, whose
president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has
declared that “Israel must be
wiped off the map”.
Will Israel follow through on this plan?
Stop and consider that this plan is no longer
If the Times of London was able to uncover this strategy,
we had better believe that the MOIS, the Iranian spy agency,
has been made well aware of such preparations months ago. It
is entirely possible that this is another step forward in the
global game of "chicken" between Iran and the West.
The message being sent is simple. "Mr. Ahmadinejhad, we
have the strategy and the support necessary to blast your
nuclear program to bits. We did it to Saddam, and we will do
it to you. Back off now, or suffer the consequences."
to the Israeli strike on Saddam's Osirak nuclear facility
Robert Gates, the new US defence secretary, has described
military action against Iran as a “last resort”, leading
Israeli officials to conclude that it will be left to them to
Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks
to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets.
Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over
Air force squadrons based at Hatzerim in the Negev desert
and Tel Nof, south of Tel Aviv, have trained to use Israel’s
tactical nuclear weapons on the mission. The preparations have
been overseen by Major General Eliezer Shkedi, commander of
the Israeli air force.
Sources close to the Pentagon said the United States was
highly unlikely to give approval for tactical nuclear weapons
to be used. One source said Israel would have to seek approval
“after the event”, as it did when it crippled Iraq’s
nuclear reactor at Osirak with air strikes in 1981.
In other words, if the world continues to dither, Israel
will act. As in 1981, it will be easier to ask for forgiveness
What light does Biblical prophecy shed on these
First, Israel will not be destroyed in 6 minutes by
an Iranian nuclear attack. Israel will continue to exist as a
nation until Christ returns. There is no doubt that the main
events of the last days, including the return of Jesus, will
take place in re-gathered, reborn national Israel.
Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to
Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall
dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s
children, forever; and My servant David shall be their
prince forever. Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with
them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I
will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My
sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall
be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My
people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify
Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
Second, Iran will have a role to play in the last days.
Ezekiel 38:5 identifies them as a supporting part of a
coalition of nations lead by Russia, that will invade Israel,
only to be supernaturally destroyed by God Himself. (See
Blog 12/13/06) Israel may very well de-fang Iran's
nuclear capability as it did to Iraq. But the Satanically
inspired hatred of the Jews will continue to grow until this prophesied
Third, the increasing political and military pressure of the
so-called Global War On Terror will continue to escalate.
The ante will be upped as more and more destructive weapons
become available to more and more unstable and suicidally
oriented movements. The world will be ready to welcome anyone
who will provide prosperity and peace at any price. The cry of
So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the
beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is
like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"
-will be made with more of a sigh of relief than religious
Although these developments are genuinely intimidating,
they should not be surprising. As believers in the One Who
holds the future and knows the end from the beginning, we
should take these events as another reason to look up for our
salvation draws nigh.
Scott's Blog - 1/2/07
While Scott is on vacation, let's review a question originally posted October 25, 2006.
Excellent Servants/Poor Masters
What role do our emotions play in our walk with the Lord?
Let's open the SRL Mailbag and deal with this issue before it
deals with us!
Hi Pastor Scott,
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God....."
To get right to the point, how do you do this? My desire more
anything in this world is to know God intimately. I want to feel
presence and have my life driven by the Holy Spirit. I've heard
on your broadcast that if we ask God to reveal Himself to us He
heard you say that the words of the Bible seem to leap off the
you. I feel like a second-class Christian. I don't hear from God
led by the Spirit. I have enough sense to know and believe that
problem does not lie with God but with me. So what am I doing
Here's what I think I'm doing right. I read God's Word every
Joshua 1:8 and the first Psalm says to do. I try to the best of
ability to live according to His Word. I pray that the Lord will
alive to me. I ask Him to reveal Himself to me and open the eyes
understanding with respect to His Word and truth. I long to know
good, acceptable, and perfect will for my life. I know I'm not
but I'm looking for His perfection to perfect me. So is there a
program" to this? There are times I tell myself that He
loves me and
everything will work out and I feel charged up. Then after a
while I get
exasperated and wonder what's going on. I know I'm the soil that
and then is glad momentarily but how do I obtain and maintain
that surpasses understanding? The last thing I want to do is
against God but I'm left with questions and (I can't believe I'm
this) He doesn't seem to want to answer. Again I know it has to
be me so
if you could shed some light or if any of your listeners has
this I would love to hear from them.
Thanks so much.....Roger
Thank you so much Roger for raising an issue that can make or
break our walk with the Lord!
I can't tell you how many believers I have met who live
their Christian lives on a proverbial roller coaster. In a
"Mountain Top" moment of praise and inspired worship
they claim to have felt so close to God they thought they could
touch Him. But the next day, after coming down with a case of
stomach flu, God seems 10,000 light years away, if He exists at
The issue comes down to this - how do we determine if God is
really in our lives? Is it by faith or by feelings?
Contrary to popular opinion, faith is not an emotion. It is a
decision. When we exercise faith in another person, we make
decisions based on something we cannot see. It is called
character. We can't see character itself, but we can certainly
see what it does. And when we see the consistent signs of
character demonstrated over time, we invest our faith in this
person, confident that this pattern will continue. This is
Trust is the highest and most sincere form of praise
possible. Show me what you are willing to trust someone with,
and I will show you just how highly you really think of them.
This investment of trust, what we call faith, is what a genuine
relationship with the Lord is all about.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace
with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2
through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in
which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3
And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations,
knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4
and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been
poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
Notice what sets off this cascade of blessings. It is not a
feeling, but a decision to trust God. That decision is something
we commit to because we have looked at the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus and have concluded He is worthy of our
trust. We believe that Jesus lives in us, not because of a
feeling, or an experience, but because we trust that He will do
as He says.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My
voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with
him, and he with Me. (Revelation 3:20)
Notice that Jesus didn't say, "If anyone hears My voice,
has an overwhelming emotional experience, and opens the door I
will come into him." We respond to His invitation by faith,
believing He will do exactly as He says.
When we walk by faith in His promises, as Romans 5: 1-5
reveals, wonderful emotional experiences of His nearness will
follow us. Our problem is we want to follow wonderful emotional
experiences and call that a relationship with the Lord.
It has been said our emotions are excellent servants.
They can tell us a lot about what is going on in our hearts.
They can show us areas where we are on thin ice spiritually.
They can refresh and encourage us to carry on in the Christian
But it has also been said that our emotions are poor
masters. Our feelings aren't necessarily good or bad. They
are just our feelings. It's what we do with our feelings that
ultimately counts. And I have become convinced that it is
precisely those times that we remain faithful in spite of our
feelings that will end up being of greatest glory and eternal
reward when we see our Savior.
For more on this crucial subject, follow the link to a talk I
recently gave at Calvary Chapel of Albuquerque. I think you will
find it a blessing.
Scott's Blog - 1/1/07
While Scott is on vacation, let's review a question originally posted September 7, 2006.
God's People and the Palestinians
"Can't we all just get along?"
Although that question was first asked following a
destructive riot in Los Angeles, it seems to be repeated often
these days, particularly when we look at the smoldering powder
keg that is the Middle East.
A question from the SRL mail bag raises the issue at the core
of this conflict that threatens to engulf the entire world.
I really enjoy listening to
your radio program on my way home from work. I have a
Christian friend/Co-worker. She told me in her spare time
lately that she has been doing a lot of reading on the fight in
Israel/Palestine. She said she is starting to believe that
the land really does belong to the Palestine. She asked me
where can I direct her in the Bible that states otherwise?
Thanks, Stephanie, for raising such a relevant question. To
get a grip on this issue we have to go all the way back to the
book of Genesis. The term "Promised Land" comes from a
blessing God gave to Abraham, the father of the Jewish people.
I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make
nations of you, and kings shall come from you. 7
And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your
descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting
covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you. 8
Also I give to you and your descendants after you the land in
which you are a stranger, all the land of Canaan, as an
everlasting possession; and I will be their God." (Genesis
This inherited home land is further defined in Deuteronomy
place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: from
the wilderness and Lebanon, from the river, the River Euphrates,
even to the Western Sea, shall be your territory.
Some have said that because of their disobedience and
rebellion against the Lord, Israel has forfeited the right to
the Promised Land. But God Himself tells us this is not the
the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 20
“Thus says the LORD: ‘If you can break My covenant with the
day and My covenant with the night, so that there will not be
day and night in their season, 21
then My covenant may also be broken with David My servant, so
that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne, and with
the Levites, the priests, My ministers. 22
As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, nor the sand of the
sea measured, so will I multiply the descendants of David My
servant and the Levites who minister to Me.’”
23 Moreover the word
of the LORD came to Jeremiah, saying, 24
“Have you not considered what these people have spoken,
saying, ‘The two families which the LORD has chosen, He has
also cast them off’? Thus they have despised My people, as if
they should no more be a nation before them.
25 “Thus says the
LORD: ‘If My covenant is not with day and night, and
if I have not appointed the ordinances of heaven and earth, 26
then I will cast away the descendants of Jacob and David My
servant, so that I will not take any of his
descendants to be rulers over the descendants of Abraham,
Isaac, and Jacob. For I will cause their captives to return, and
will have mercy on them.’" (Jeremiah 33:19-26)
What we are seeing now in our day is this promise being
fulfilled. The Jewish people, miraculously preserved after
nearly 1,800 years of exile, are a nation once more. The Bible
predicts difficult times ahead for Israel, with enemies seeking
their destruction from every side until Jesus returns. (see
Zechariah 12) But God will demonstrate His faithfulness to His
people and His promises.
An excellent overview
of the historical roots of the current conflict between the
Jewish people and the Palestinians can be found at Bible scholar
and former TRW board member Chuck Missler's Web Site Koinonia
I would also highly recommend a two CD audio set called
They Fight - The Story of the Arab/Israel Conflict" by
syndicated talk show host Michael Medved.