The above caption headed an article by  Geoffrey Wheatcroft in The New Republic  which was re-printed in The Australian  19/8/10. Geoffrey Wheatcroft wrote: “Whether  cause or effect is hard to say, but political Islam  has revived in Turkey. The Prime Minister, Recep  Erdogan has said the EU must either ‘show  political maturity and become a global power or  it will end up a Christian club’”. Indeed the EU  is “a Christian club” with very strong Roman  Catholic influence and Revelation 17 is clear on  the role the Roman Church will play in the time of  the end. “… I saw a woman [the Roman Church]  sit upon a scarlet coloured beast [the EU/Catholic  Europe] …” (17:3)

Catholic, ‘christian’ Europe has no place for  a nation such as Turkey where Islam is a major  force. The presidents of both France and Germany,  Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel have made no  secret of their disapproval of Turkey’s bid for EU  membership and these two powerful nations wield  very strong influence in EU affairs. Besides, Daniel  11:40 reveals that in the time of the end the king  of the North (Russia) will “come against him [the  occupier of Istanbul, Turkey] like a whirlwind”  and to my way of thinking this would not seem a  likely scenario if Turkey was part of the EU with  strong links to Gog.

“Hubble spots a galaxy from the dawn of time”

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the  earth” (Gen 1:1). So the Scriptures introduce us to God and His creative power. When was “the beginning” before the Edenic six day creation?  No-one can tell, but an article in The Australian  22/10/10 says that the US orbital space telescope  Hubble last year spotted light from the galaxy  UDFy-38135539 which scientists believe has  taken 13.1 billion years travelling at 300,000km  per second, to arrive on earth! The mind boggles at  the vastness of the universe created by God’s power and (if true) the enormous time periods involved.

Surely such scientific details and measurements can only make us wonder all the more at God’s handiwork and yet also His care and concern for  lowly man who is but a speck in the vastness of  time and space: “When I consider thy heavens,  the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars,  which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou  art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou  visitest him?” (Psa 8:3,4).

Yes, our God is more than just a power – He  is a loving and caring God towards those who put their trust in Him. “For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.  Today if ye will hear his voice …” (Psa 95:7).

Ahmadinejad “shakes his fist” at Israel

In mid-October 2010 Iranian President Mahmoud  Ahmadinejad on a State visit to Lebanon travelled  the closest he has ever been to the State of Israel –  within 4km of the northern Israeli border. There in a belligerent manner he told a rally of supporters  that Israel was “destined to disappear”. This is the  same leader who a while back vowed to “wipe  Israel off the map” and denies the Holocaust of  WWII. It is interesting that the Hezbollah leader  Sheik Hassan Nasrallah did not appear beside  Ahmadinejad. Convinced that Israel will try to assassinate him, he rarely appears in public. So  much for Ahmadinejad’s protection and arming of  Hezbollah – their supreme leader was too afraid to come to the border!!

The threatening stance adopted by Ahmadinejad  reminds us of another time some 2,700 years ago  when the might of Assyria was on the march  southward through the promised land. Sennacherib  likewise was determined to “wipe Israel off the  map”. Isaiah 10:28–32 graphically portrays the  presumed unstoppable march of the Assyrian. At  Nob just north of Jerusalem Sennacherib defiantly  “shake(s) his hand [fist] against the mount of the  daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem” (v32).

But we all know what happened to the might  of Assyria – “Behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts,  shall lop the bough with terror: and the high ones of  stature shall be hewn down, and the haughty shall be humbled. And he shall cut down the thickets of  the forest with iron, and Lebanon shall fall by a  mighty one” (v33,34). And the same shall happen  to Ahmadinejad and Iran. Despite their position of  so-called strength bolstered by their nuclear bomb  programme and seen in their threats against Israel,  Iran and the northern confederacy “shall come to  (their) end and none shall help (them)” (Dan 11:45).  Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu responded to Ahmadinejad’s border visit saying: “We heard  today the cursing and invectives from the Lebanese  border. The best answer to the deriders was given  here 62 years ago – the State [of Israel] and all  that we’ve built and created since” (The Advertiser  16/10/10).

We certainly could say “amen” to those words.  Israel are God’s witnesses and the formation of the  Jewish State of Israel in 1948 is one of the greatest  modern day signs that God’s purpose, not just with  Israel but with the world, is being fulfilled. Israel  are in the promised land to stay and despite a final  great day of trouble yet to come upon the nation,  they will through Yahweh’s mercy survive. “Israel  shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world  with fruit” (Isa 27:6).

US confirms US$60bn Saudi arms deal

The northern confederacy of Ezekiel 38 is clearly taking shape. At the same time the “southern  confederacy” of “Sheba and Dedan, and the  merchants of Tarshish” is also coming together  and strengthening. This is a wonderful impetus to our faith.

An article from BBC News 20/10/10 advised  that, if completed, the Saudi arms deal will be the most lucrative arms deal in US history. “The state department said Israel, traditionally wary of arms  deals involving Arab states, was not expected to  raise objections.” This is a significant shift in the  Middle East scene.

We are all aware that in 1948, 1967 and in 1973,  all of Israel’s Arab neighbours were united in their  determination to destroy Israel. Since then both  Egypt and Jordan have signed peace agreements with Israel and now Saudi Arabia has come to realise that they have more to fear from Iran than  Israel. Hence Israel’s lack of concern about the  Saudi arms deal.

In recent times reports have filtered through  the media that Israel and Saudi Arabia with US knowledge have conducted secret discussions over  their common concern about Iran’s Middle East  intentions and nuclear programme, even to the point  of the Saudis agreeing to Israel establishing an air  transit base in northern Saudi Arabia to assist in  any possible Israeli air strike against Iran’s nuclear  facilities.

The Arab Persian Gulf States are also fully  behind strengthening Saudi Arabia’s position –  naturally, because of their very close proximity to  Iran, although none of these States at this stage will  openly come out and say that they agree with any  Saudi/Israeli discussions. Privately they are more  than happy to have the US and a nuclear armed  Israel on their side.

“The package [Saudi arms deal] reflects a  convergence of the strategic concerns of the US,  Israel and conservative Arab states about Iran’s  nuclear ambitions and bid for regional influence”  (The Australian Financial Review 15/9/10).

So the stage is gradually being set up for the  ‘final showdown’, Armageddon, as depicted in detail in Ezekiel 38.

“Israel outraged by Vatican statement on the  Promised Land”

In October 2010 there was a meeting at the Vatican  of Catholic Bishops from the Middle East. At  the close of the two week meeting on October  24th, chaired by Pope Benedict XVI, a number of  extremely critical remarks against Israel were made  by the bishops.

The official statements from the bishops  included the following:

  • “The concept of the Promised Land cannot be used as a basis to justify the return of the Jews to Israel and the displacement of the  Palestinians.”
  • “For Christians, one can no longer talk of the land promised to the Jewish people. There is no longer a chosen people. All men and  women of all countries have become the  chosen people – the ‘promise’ was abolished  by the presence of Christ.”
  • “Recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable.”

The synod’s concluding message repeated a “which reflects its particular character” as a city  sacred to the three great monotheistic religions  – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. These are astounding comments from such so-called “learned  divines” of the Church.

Whilst of course we accept the fact that the gospel is open to all, and all who accept God’s way of salvation become “His chosen”, this in no way negates the position of the Jews in God’s sight.  They are still His chosen people and the promises  made to the fathers of Israel regarding the promised land are just as valid today as in the day they were  made centuries ago.

Appropriating the words of Christ addressed to the religious leaders of his day and now addressing the Catholic bishops we could say, “Have ye never  read …?” “I say then, Hath God cast away his  people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of  the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God  hath not cast away his people which he foreknew”  (Rom 11:1,2). “I will take the children of Israel from  among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will  gather them on every side, and bring them into their  own land” (Ezek 37:21). “And so all Israel shall be  saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion  the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from  Jacob” (Rom 11:26).

Aren’t we so privileged and glad, brothers  and sisters, that we have the Truth and understand  the Hope of Israel in contrast to the darkness that  covers the minds of people, leaders and followers  alike. We look to the glorious time when God “will  destroy in this mountain the face of the covering  cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over  all nations” (Isa 25:7).

Mary MacKillop – Australia’s first Catholic ‘saint’

Misunderstanding of the Jews’ relationship to God  is not the only matter of the Scriptures that the  Vatican has got wrong. On Sunday, October 17th  in Rome, Mary MacKillop was canonised by Pope  Benedict XV1 to become ‘Saint’ Mary MacKillop,  Australia’s first Catholic ‘saint’.

The canonisation was conducted with all the  pomp and ceremony associated with the Roman  Church before a vast crowd, including 8,000  Australians who made the special trip to Rome  for the occasion. It is a sad spectacle to consider  that billions of people worldwide down through  the centuries have been ‘hoodwinked’ by such  occasions, not realising of course that all true  believers in the gospel message are the real saints  chosen and sanctified by God’s Word for His  service.

The fact that it has taken 84 years after Mary MacKillop was set on the road to sainthood by the Roman Church for the canonisation to take place  seems not to have been considered strange by the  flock – as if God could ever be held up by the  machinations of men to accept someone as a saint.  The whole matter is quite distasteful to the true  saints of God and highlights for us the deceit and  iniquity of such a system of error.

Sadly the Apostle Paul puts his finger on the  system, one of deceit “whose coming is after the  working of Satan with all power and signs and  lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of  unrighteousness in them that perish; because they  received not the love of the truth, that they might  be saved” (2 Thess 2:9,10).

Let us all rejoice that we are not caught up in  such a system, but also recognise the need to stand  apart from the protestant “daughters” of the Roman  Church, who long ago have given up protesting  and now are happy to throw in their lot with the  “mother of harlots”.

Rupert Murdoch on anti-Semitism

A most interesting article appeared in The Weekend  Australian October 16–17, 2010 summarising a  speech given in New York USA to the Jewish Anti-  Defamation League by Rupert Murdoch, Chairman  of News Corp, publisher of The Australian. In  the speech Mr Murdoch detailed how that anti-  Semitism remains a real and far-reaching threat  today. The following comments on his speech are  taken mainly from Forbes magazine, 15/10/10.

Mr Murdoch outlined his two main worries:

  1. The disturbing new ‘home’ that anti- Semitism has found in polite society – especially in Europe.
  2. How violence and extremism are encouraged when the world sees Israel’s greatest ally (the US) distancing herself from the Jewish  state.

Whilst President Obama in recent times  appears now to be trying to reverse his  administration’s previous reserved stance  towards Israel, Mr Murdoch stressed the  importance of keeping America’s relationship  with Israel strong, particularly in the face of  terrorism. He warned of a foreign policy that  “encourages those who favour the gun over those  who favour negotiation”.

In his speech, Mr Murdoch detailed an “ongoing  war against the Jews” and a new “soft war” that  is attempting to de-legitimize the State of Israel  and make it into a pariah: “The result is the  curious situation we have today: Israel becomes  increasingly ostracized, while Iran – a nation that  has made no secret of wishing Israel’s destruction  – pursues nuclear weapons loudly, proudly, and  without apparent fear of rebuke”. Very revealing  words from one of the world’s most influential men  in the publishing world.

It is significant that The Australian’s foreign  editor, Greg Sheridan, has for a number of years  presented the nation of Israel in a positive light. It is  nice to see that Israel has some friends. How much  more thankful can we be that Israel has Yahweh,  the God of the covenants made to the fathers of  nations, as her friend!

And now a final word of warning.

“More than a million people drink just to feel normal”

The Lord Jesus Christ in warning of our times  said, “… take heed to yourselves, lest at any time  your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and  drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day  come upon you unawares” (Luke 21:34). Many  people in society today are quite overtaken with  the shallowness and frustrations of life and turn to  drink “to escape”.

“A new report into alcohol consumption  has found 4 million Australians ‘drink’ out of  habit, about 1.4 million of them drinking to ‘feel  normal’”. The Roy Morgan survey, conducted  for the Salvation Army, also showed 2.4 million  people, and one third of 18 to 24-year-olds, ‘drink’  specifically to get drunk” (The Sydney Morning  Herald 14/9/10).

We do well to heed the warnings of our Master  when he said, “For as a snare shall it come on all  them that dwell on the face of the whole earth”  (Luke 21:35). Far better to also take to heart the  wise counsel of Paul, “And be not drunk with wine,  wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”  (Eph 5:18).