31 July, 2006

The Rapture

I heard the most incredible thing on the news tonight. A commentator was discussing the relevance of current world events with prophecies from the book of Revelation. The news person outlined the main beliefs and went into a brief monlogue describing each of the terms mentioned (Armageddon, Revelation, etc.). When it came time to describe what the Rapture was, the commentator opened with these words: "Even though it's not found in Scripture..." and continued to explain who believed in the Rapture and why.

This leads to one of the most glaring questions in recent memory: If it isn't in Scripture, how on earth can it even be entertained as doctrine?

30 July, 2006

Making a Meal of Things

For someone who's taken on the lofty role of God's earthly representative, the Pope should really know better than to offer his voice on matters pertaining to in the Middle East.

Toronto Star - Pope Benedict XVI appealed Sunday for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East, hours after the deadliest attack in nearly three weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. "In the name of God, I appeal to all those responsible for this spiral of violence, so that they immediately put down their arms on all sides,"

The Pope "appeals to all those responsible". Hm. Isn't God the one responsible? In the grand scheme of things, the Israel-Lebanon conflict could very well be the tip of a much larger scenario, setting in motion events vital to the completion of prophecy. There are so many what-ifs. What if God doesn't intend for the conflict to end? What if the UN is supposed to have a military presence in Lebanon? What if Iran and Syria are supposed to get involved?

Instead, our role in matters should come in the form of fervant prayer, not taking sides one way or another, asking God to give us the strength and courage to recognize the signs of Christ's return, in whatever shape or form they may come in and that we may act accordingly should it be required.

17 July, 2006

Unwalled Villages

It's going to be very interesting to see how the events in the Middle East will turn out. Keeping in mind Ezekiel 38 and the idea that Christ will return "like a thief in the night" (1 Thes. 5:2), in that people won't be looking for his return, I'm wondering if peace, albeit a temporary one, will be one of the prerequisites to prophecy being fulfilled. Ezekiel 38 talks about an invading nation coming into a land of "unwalled villages" (Eze. 38:11). As this land can't be any other than Israel, it appears that Israel is living in a state of safety (hence the unwalled villages) immediately prior to being attacked. Secondly, if things in the Middle East were SO bad, wouldn't every Christian out there be looking for Christ's return (and defeating the idea of him returning unexpected)? Although perhaps because of the mainstream idea one's hope ultimately rests in heaven with God and not on earth with Christ in the Kingdom, prophecy and events in the Middle East and therefore the coming of Christ will ultimately be ignored until it's too late.

It's also worth noting 1 Thes 5:3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." The word "say" can also be translated "call" so that this verse can either mean people are living in peace and safety OR people are calling desperately for peace and safety (in that that have neither). Regardless, what better time for Christ to return then when there's relative saftey in the Middle East? Who would be expecting his return then...?

It's been said that "unwalled villages" can also refer to an agarian society as outlined in Leviticus 25:24-31 but I'm not entirely convinced that Israel will be a nation of which the main economy is farming immidiately prior to Christ's return. The second half of verse 11 wouldn't make sense otherwise. "...I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates." The emphasis here is on a perceived safety, not agriculture. It's worth noting that agriculture currently employs less than 5% of Israel's working population and contributes only 6% of the national income.

Finally, Israel has been building the controversial "Separation Barrier" for the past year or so, made up of large concrete walls and a series of barriers, erected between the West Bank and Israel. As of January 2006, approximately 31% has been constructed; another 16.5% is under construction; 43% has been approved and the remaining 9.5% requires final approval.

So, does this wall need to come down if Israel is to be the land of "unwalled villages"?
Is "safety" in Israel going to happen one way or another before Christ returns?
If not, how would Christ return like a "thief in the night" if people are expecting him due to the extreme violence and unrest in the area?

12 July, 2006

Israel, Gaza and now Lebanon

The news that Israel is attacking targets in Lebanon in response to the deaths and kidnappings of Israeli soldiers has been surprisingly subdued. Outside of Israel, I know of few other places on the earth where a country can bomb a neighbouring country and move tanks and troops in and out as it pleases all without it turning into an event demanding global intervention. "[The Israeli PM] called the latest hostage-taking "an act of war" and said he held the Lebanese government responsible, vowing that the Israeli response would be "restrained, but very, very, very painful". An act of war!!! Hello? Is this thing on??

"Israel sends tanks into Lebanon" is the CNN headline. This is a major world event and yet no one seems to be payng attention!! With tanks in Gaza and now in Lebanon and with daily growing resentment from Arab nations in the Middle East, there seems only the need for a single spark and the whole thing will go up in flames. Whether or not these events will play an integral part in Bible prophecy has yet to be seen of course but nonetheless, they should cause us all to pause and reflect and wonder if Christ's return is closer then we might have previously imagined...

07 July, 2006

Canada rejects UN council's censure of Israel

This one almost slipped under the wire...

"Canada rejects UN council's censure of Israel" (CBC News)

Canada voted against a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution Thursday that condemns Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip and dispatches a fact-finding team to the region. The resolution, which passed by a 29-11 vote, condemns Israel's military attacks against Palestinian ministries, power plants and bridges. The resolution, put forward to the council by the Organization of the Islamic Conference, demands that Israel end its military operations in Gaza...Terry Cormier, Canada's representative on the 47-member council, said Canada voted against the resolution because it did not provide a balanced perspective on events in Gaza. "This draft resolution focuses almost entirely on Israel while ignoring that party's legitimate security concerns," Cormier said. "It also fails to acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority has a responsibility to prevent the constant firing of rockets into Israel, to resolve the present hostage-taking crisis and to prevent the recurrence of such criminal acts."...Also Thursday, Arab states presented a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding Israel "immediately cease its aggression against the Palestinian civilian population." The draft also condemns the military operation and demands Israel release members of the Hamas-led government who were detained last week. The United States and France said the resolution was not balanced and would not be voted on any time soon."

Very interesting considering prophecy and signs of the coming of Christ as we know that Scriptuyre tells us there will be a small group of nations who ally themselves with Israel around the time the "king of the north" invades Israel (Eze. 38, Daniel 11). It isn't so interesting that Canada (along with the US and France) is mentioned in this article as it is that there are some nations vocally supporting Israel in the face of Islamic/Arab criticism. We read constantly of nations condemning Israel for this action or that action and individuals calling for the destruction of the Jewish race but rarely do we read about nations and people actually defending Israel.

Perhaps this is something we'll see more of as that great day approaches.