Monday, July 31, 2006

Yahoo News - China church demolition leads to clash
AP reports, "Police clashed with 3,000 Christians protesting the forced demolition of a partially built church in eastern China, leaving four people with serious injuries, a human rights group said Monday. [...] The clash appears to have been one of the largest-scale confrontations in recent years between police and Christian worshippers." [Believers Persecuted, Matthew 24:8]
Jerusalem Post - IDF prepared for attack by Syria
JPost reports, "While Israel is not interested in opening a front against Syria, the IDF will respond harshly and with its full might if President Bashar Assad decides to attack Israel, a high-raking IDF officer in the Northern Command told The Jerusalem Post Sunday." [Doomed Damascus, Isaiah 17:1]

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Al-Qaida's No. 2 Leader Threatens Attacks
AP reports, "Al-Qaida's No. 2 leader called Thursday for Muslims to unite in a holy war against Israel and to join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza until Islam reigns from `Spain to Iraq.'[...] Addressing the world's `downtrodden,' al-Zawahri said non-Muslims should join Islamic militants in the battle against `tyrannical Western civilization and its leader, America.'" [Wars and Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Bird flu kills Thai youth amid new outbreaks
Reuters reports, "A 17-year-old Thai has died of the H5N1 bird flu virus, the country's 15th death since the virus swept across parts of Asia in late 2003, a senior health official said on Wednesday." [Pestilence, Luke 21:11]

Monday, July 24, 2006

Oxfam: Emergency food aid failing Africa
AP reports, "Governments and aid groups are failing Africa by giving emergency food donations instead of addressing the causes of hunger crises, Oxfam said in a report released Monday.[...] This year, a prolonged drought in East Africa is causing millions to go hungry." [Famine, Matthew 24:7]

Friday, July 21, 2006

Yahoo News - U.S. missionaries ministered to captors
AP reports, "Two U.S. missionaries held hostage for five days in Haiti spent their captivity in a sweltering makeshift cell praying and even ministering to their kidnappers, one of the men said Friday." [Gospel Preached to All Nations, Matthew 24:14]
3,000 Americans emigrate--to Israel!

Any other people would be fleeing a war-torn country like Israel. But 3,000 American Jews are perfoming the exercise known as making aliyah, which literally means "going up" in Hebrew. Add to it that casualties from the rocket barrages have been miraculously light (yes, it is indeed a miracle) and you have yet another sign that the Final Week of Daniel will soon begin.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Yahoo News - Israel preparing Lebanon ground offensive
AP reports, "Israel has decided air power alone will not be enough to drive Hezbollah back from the Israeli-Lebanon border and that a ground force will be needed to establish a zone that is at least 20 miles deep, senior military officials said Thursday."

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Yahoo News - Syria isolated but busy with refugees
AP reports on the latest from Damascus (Isaiah 17:1):
Damascus ignored President Bush's expression of disgust with its regime — overheard by accident at the G-8 summit. The quiet masks Syria's role at the heart of the flare-up in Mideast violence. Its alliance with Iran and both countries' strong backing for Hezbollah pit them sharply against much of the West and also their Arab neighbors.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

If you are looking for a quick update on the situation in the Middle East, I suggest Mideast Conflict Full Coverage on Yahoo! News for a great list of links to news, commentary and analysis.
Yahoo News - Iran's Hizbollah says ready to attack US, Israel
Reuters reports:
Iran's Hizbollah, which claims links to the Lebanese group of the same name, said on Tuesday it stood ready to attack Israeli and U.S. interests worldwide. [...] Iran's Hizbollah (Party of God) says it is spiritually bound to Shi'ite Muslim guerrillas in Lebanon but its command structure and funding are unclear. [Iran/Persia, Ezekiel 38:5; Wars and Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]

Monday, July 17, 2006

Yahoo News - Tsunami kills at least 86 on Java island
AP reports that an earthquake (Matthew 24:6) unleashed a tsunami (Luke 21:25) in Indonesia today that killed over 80 people:
A tsunami crashed into beach resorts and fishing villages on Java island Monday, killing at least 86 people and leaving scores missing after bulletins failed to reach the region because no warning system was in place. The coastal area was spared by the devastating Asian tsunami of 2004, but many residents recognized the danger when they saw the sea recede.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Yahoo! News - Rockets Hit Upper Nazareth, Israelis Say

JERUSALEM - Rockets fired from Lebanon exploded in the Israeli town of Afula and Upper Nazareth late Sunday, the military said, showing a range farther south than previous barrages.

The two towns are about 25 miles south of the Lebanese border, about the same distance as Haifa, which was hit earlier Sunday with a rocket that killed eight people.

The military said Migdal Haemek, Givat Ella and Nahalal were also hit in the latest barrage. The military said there were no immediate reports of casualties.

Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town next to historical Nazareth, the boyhood home of Jesus. The population of Nazareth is made up of Muslim and Christian Arabs who are Israeli citizens.
Yahoo! News - Religious Valedictorian Sues Nevada school

By RYAN NAKASHIMA, Associated Press Writer Fri Jul 14, 4:20 AM ET
LAS VEGAS - A high school valedictorian who had the plug pulled on her microphone as she gave an address referring to Jesus Christ has filed a lawsuit against school officials, claiming her rights to religious freedom and free speech were trampled.

Brittany McComb, 18, said she was giving her June 15 commencement address to some 400 graduates of Foothill High School and their family members when the sound was cut.

"God's love is so great that he gave his only son up," she said, before the microphone went dead. She continued without amplification, " an excruciating death on a cross so his blood would cover all our shortcomings and provide for us a way to heaven in accepting this grace."

McComb's lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Nevada, names the principal, assistant principal and the employee of the school in Henderson who allegedly pulled the plug.

McComb said she was warned that her speech would be cut off if she did not follow an approved script that deleted references to Christ and invitations for others to join the faith. But she memorized the deleted parts and said them anyway.

"In my heart I couldn't say the edited version because it wasn't what I wanted to say," she told The Associated Press. "I wanted to say why I was successful, and what inspired me to keep going and what motivated me. It involved Jesus Christ for me, period."

The lawsuit asks the court to declare that school officials deprived McComb of her rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, The Rutherford Institute, the conservative legal group backing the lawsuit, said in a news release.

Clark County School District spokesman Dave Sheehan said district lawyers had not seen the lawsuit and were unable to comment on it.

School District lawyer Bill Hoffman has said previously that the school was following 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rulings that have obligated districts to censor student speeches for proselytizing.

Allen Lichtenstein, lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada, said the school appropriately followed the appeals court's decisions.

"Proselytizing is improper in school-sponsored speech at valedictorian graduations," he said, adding the ACLU had sued in the past to ensure proselytizing was prevented at school-sponsored events.

John Whitehead, president of the Charlottesville, Va.-based Rutherford Institute, said this case differed from others involving the vetting of valedictorian speeches because the microphone plug was pulled as McComb veered into unapproved text. Students in other cases had accepted editing of religious content, he said.

"What makes a great constitutional case? Great facts," he said. "Just what happened here is going to drive this case forward."

Yahoo! News - Insurers to Test Implantable Biochips

By THERESA AGOVINO, AP Business Writer Fri Jul 14, 5:34 PM ET
NEW YORK - In a new test program, Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey plans to implant patients suffering from chronic diseases with a microchip that will give emergency room staff access to their medical information and help avoid costly or serious medical errors, the insurer said on Friday.

Horizon plans to announce on Monday that it is teaming up with Hackensack University Medical Center in a pilot program where 280 patients regularly treated at the hospital will be implanted with a chip containing a code. The chip would allow emergency room personnel to retrieve a patient's medical record if the individual can't communicate.

The rice-sized microchip is implanted in a patient's right arm above the elbow and can be detected using equipment at the hospital.

The hope is that the chips will help doctors avoid medical errors like duplicating medical tests, dangerous drug interactions and bad diagnoses.

Within the next 30 days, Horizon will start sending letters to patients with chronic diseases explaining the new program and inviting them to participate. The program is voluntary and won't cost the patient any money to participate.

Patients with chronic conditions are the program's target because they are more likely to have serious medical problems that could leave them unable to communicate when they are at the emergency room, said Dr. Richard Popiel, vice president and chief medical officer at Horizon. For example, diabetics with low blood sugar may become confused or unconscious.

He said Horizon will test the program for two years to see if it warrants expansion.

VeriChip Corp. makes the chips and detection equipment. Hackensack already had the equipment because it was part of VeriChip's development program.

(Revelations 13:16-18)
Syria vows to respond directly to any Israel strike
by Roueida Mabardi Sun Jul 16, 12:14 PM ET
DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria has warned it would respond directly and by all means necessary to any Israeli attack on its territory, in its first official reaction to Israel's offensive on neighboring Lebanon.

The warning coincided Sunday with a similar threat by Damascus's key ally Iran, and came amid rising fears that the Middle East is being dragged deeper into the spiraling conflict sparked by the capture of Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon and militants linked to Hamas in Gaza.

"Any Israeli attack against Syria will provoke an unlimited, direct and firm response using all means necessary," Information Minister Mohsen Bilal told the official SANA news agency.
Bilal accused Israel of "state terrorism" and "operating above the law ... ignoring UN Security Council resolutions" and sabotaging efforts toward Middle East peace, as he vowed Syria's support for Lebanon's Shiite Hezbollah movement.

"Syria supports the national Lebanese resistance against Israeli aggression. The resistance will triumph and Israel will be conquered," he said, using a term that refers to Hezbollah.

"Resistance is a legitimate and sacred right," he added, saying it was necessary to "make a distinction between resistance and terrorism".

A coalition of Syrian political parties led by the ruling Baath party echoed Bilal's comments and announced a series of measures aimed at "supporting the Lebanese people's resistance" against Israel.

Damascus will arrange "facilities" for those Lebanese who wish to reside in Syria or pass through the country, send medical and food aid to Lebanon and "contribute to the reconstruction of infrastructure destroyed by the barbaric Israeli raids", the National Progressive Front said.
Tehran also warned arch-enemy Israel of "unimaginable losses" if it makes "the mistake of attacking Syria" and vowed that it was standing by the Syrian people.

Israel said one of the rockets fired Sunday by Hezbollah guerrillas on Israel's third-largest city of Haifa, killing eight people, may have been Syrian-made.

"There is a possibility that one of the rockets was made in Syria," a senior military official told reporters following the deadliest cross-border attack in decades.

"Maybe Hezbollah wants to involve Syria in this mess," he said. "It could be a big advantage for Hezbollah to open a third front against Israel."

Israel had said a day earlier that Syria was not a target in its offensive, after firing rockets on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

Damascus denied its territory had actually been hit.

The escalating Middle East conflict is central to discussions at a G8 summit of world leaders in Saint Petersburg, and Russia has warned of a "real threat" that the Middle East crisis could widen.

Syria's official media on Sunday denounced "the silence" of Arab countries amid the deadly Israeli offensive in Lebanon, launched Wednesday after two soldiers were captured by militants from Hezbollah.

"Silence has become the ideal reaction for Arab regimes when they find nothing to say that will satisfy their grand masters," the state daily Ath-Thawra said.

"Those who have expressed doubts over the actions of the resistance are in one way or another implicated in the (Israeli) aggression against Beirut and Gaza."

The newspaper was referring to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan which indirectly criticized Hezbollah for "adventurism" in provoking Israel's onslaught on Lebanon and putting all Arab nations at risk.

Another Syrian government daily, Tishrin, accused Israel and the United States of waging war in order to gain total control over the region.

"After having achieved Iraq's destruction and sabotaged all efforts to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict and find a just peace in the region, the US administration has given its green light to the Israeli government of (Prime Minister) Ehud Olmert to burn down the region beginning with Gaza and Lebanon," Tishrin said.

"This is part of an Israeli-American plan for total hegemony in the region."
Syria, which backs but denies arming Hezbollah, which is also Iranian-backed, was the long-time powerbroker in Lebanon until an international outcry over the assassination of five-time premier Rafiq Hariri forced it to withdraw its troops last year.

(Ezekiel 38 & 39)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yahoo News - Israel tightens noose around Lebanon
AP reports on the latest developments in the Hezbollah War:
Waves of warplanes thundering through the darkness bombed Beirut's southern suburbs for hours early Sunday, a day after Israel stepped up its air strikes and tightened a noose around this reeling nation.The Israeli air force on Saturday hit strongholds of the Hezbollah Shiite Muslim guerrilla group, bombed central Beirut for the first time, and pounded seaports and a key bridge. Then, after midnight and until 2:30 a.m., about 18 powerful explosions rocked southern Beirut, where Hezbollah is headquartered and much of the air assault has been aimed since cross-border hostilities erupted Wednesday.
Israeli airstrikes were followed by more rockets attacks by Hezbollah, no doubt a cycle that will become increaasingly familiar over the next few days and weeks. Rockets hit as far south as Tiberias near the Sea of Galilee, much farther south than most expected and an ominous development.
Yahoo News - Indonesian man dies from bird flu
AP reports, "A 44-year-old man died of bird flu in Indonesia, a senior health official said Sunday, putting the country on the cusp of being the world's hardest hit by the disease." [Pestilence, Luke 21:11]
Yahoo News/Reuters - Syria says fully backs Hizbollah against Israel:
Syria will support Hizbollah and Lebanon against Israel's attacks on the country, the ruling Baath Party said on Friday, defying the Jewish state and its chief ally Washington. "The Syrian people are ready to extend full support to the Lebanese people and their heroic resistance to remain steadfast and confront the barbaric Israeli aggression and its crimes," said a communiqué from the party's national command issued after a meeting.
Let's keep a close eye on Damascus (Isaiah 17:1). Syria and Iran have a mutual defense pact and Iran seems to be offering a lot of encouragement to Syria, this could well prompt Syria to make a costly mistake.
Yahoo News/ AFP - Hezbollah declares open war on Israel:
Israel is keeping up its blistering offensive against Lebanon after Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah declared open war in a conflict that appears to be spiralling dangerously out of control despite international calls for restraint. Combat jets bombarded Lebanon in a series of dawn raids, slamming missiles into bridges and petrol stations and killing four people on the fourth day of fighting that has so far claimed the lives of around 90 people on both sides. Emerging unscathed after Israeli air strikes late Friday on his home and office in Hezbollah's southern suburbs, Nasrallah warned: "You wanted an open war, you will get an open war." And in a dramatic new development, Nasrallah boasted that Hezbollah struck an Israeli warship patrolling off the coast of Lebanon, telling his supporters to "watch it burning."

Friday, July 14, 2006

Missile Tech
Given all the talk about missiles raining down on Israel from Lebanon, you may be wondering what kind of missiles they are, what their range is, and what kind of payload they can carry. Check out the Federation of American Scientists website for an overview of the many different kinds of missiles that are out there.
Yahoo News - Iran warns Israel against extending conflict
AFP reports, "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad boasted that Israel is not powerful enough to take on Iran after warning the Jewish state not to attack regional ally Syria. [...] He was speaking as Israel continued its offensive in Lebanon sparked by the capture Wednesday by Iran- and Syria-backed Hezbollah militiamen of two Israeli soldiers and the killing of eight others." [Iran/Persia, Ezekiel 38:5]
Wars and Rumors of wars....

Report: Syrians shoot at Israel
Lebanese sources predict provocation from Damascus
Posted: July 14, 20061:35 p.m. Eastern
By Aaron Klein© 2006
AL-ZAURA REGION, Golan Heights – While Israeli military sources in the Golan Heights are reporting Syrian military gunfire directed inside the Jewish state, Lebanese political sources are telling WND they expect a provocation of some kind from Damascus.
Israeli Defense Forces are attempting to determine the exact source of the gunfire. If the source cannot be determined, sources say, Israel may choose to ignore or officially deny it occurred in an effort to avoid widening what is rapidly becoming a regional conflict.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Yahoo News - Iran warns Israel not to attack Syria
Reuters reports, "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday an Israeli strike on Syria would be considered an attack on the whole Islamic world that would bring a 'fierce response,' state television reported." [Doomed Damascus, Isaiah 17:1]
Yahoo News - Israel blasts Beirut's airport,highways
AP reports, "Israel unleashed a furious military campaign on Lebanon's main airport, highways, military bases and other targets Thursday, retaliating for scores of Hezbollah guerrilla rockets that rained down on Israel and reached as far as Haifa, its third-largest city, for the first time."
European Missile Shield?
The EUobserver reports, "NATO headquarters have been warming up to the idea of a Europe-wide missile defence system, with the alliance's ambassadors set to debate a report arguing in favour of such a scheme."

I wonder if they might cover Israel under their missile shield under certain circumstances?
Yahoo News - Agency hacking said to originate in Asia
AP reports on a rumor of war (Matthew 24:6) or rather, cyber-war: Computer break-ins at the State Department that caused broad disruptions in recent weeks apparently originated in the East Asia-Pacific region, a department spokesman said Wednesday.
WaPo - Cyber-Savvy Pastors Blog When the Spirit Moves Them
The Washington Post reports on how some churches and pastors are using the latest internet technology to share the gospel (Matthew 24:14):
Reaching out to younger generations has long been one of the major challenges for ministers, but hundreds think they have found an answer in blogging. A growing number are taking the Gospel to the Web hoping to get people thinking daily about faith. Many pastors say blogging has become an increasingly integral part of their ministry as they attempt to reverse the decline in church attendance by people in their twenties and thirties.
Pajamas blog offers a great roundup of links related to events in the Mideast.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

CNN - Israel sends tanks into Lebanon after Hezbollah attack:
Hezbollah guerrillas killed seven Israeli soldiers and captured two more Wednesday, prompting Israeli airstrikes and military raids inside southern Lebanon, Israeli officials said [...] Hezbollah is designated a terrorist group by the United States and Israel but is a significant player in Lebanon's fractious politics.
This is a very serious matter, when one state attacks another, I hope Lebanon is prepared for the consequences of this attack. Labanon was only recently freed from the yoke of Syrian occupation, it would be a shame for them to lose lives or territory because of the work of terrorist agents operating from within their country.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Russia & Bible Prophecy
As Russia assumes a leadership role at the upcoming G8 Summit, UPI takes a look at the enigma of Russian power (SpaceWar - Is Russia Strong Or Weak?):
"Russia is never as strong as she looks; Russia is never as weak as she looks." This quotation, or ones similar to it, have been attributed to Talleyrand, Metternich, and Churchill. In May 2002, Putin pronounced a modified version of it (which he attributed to Churchill): "Russia was never so strong as it wants to be and never so weak as it is thought to be."
Our interest in Russia stems from the popular identification of Russia as the King of the North found in Ezekiel 38:3 and Daniel 11:40. Students of military history and more recent history will note that Russia is not in a position to invade Chechnya, much less Israel, so we expect these prophecies to be fulfilled at some future date after the fortunes of Russia have been revived. For this reason I place the Ezekiel invasion at some point after the middle of the Tribulation and not at the start, which is another popular scenario you may already be familiar with. Of course, we could all be wrong about Russia, so it remains wise to monitor any military developments to the north of Jerusalem.

Monday, July 10, 2006

CBS News - Billy Graham's Final Sermon?
AP reports:
The Rev. Billy Graham preached his final crusade in New York a year ago, but he made a rare appearance in Baltimore on Sunday at a revival hosted by his son, the Rev. Franklin Graham [...] The 87-year-old evangelist said it may be the last time he has an opportunity to preach the gospel to such a large audience.
Comment: I really admire Billy Graham, he is probably the greatest living Christian evangelist. I think the secret to his success is that he never strayed from presenting the simple message of the gospel (Matthew 24:14). Times changed greatly over the course of his career, politics alternated between liberal and conservative extremes and culture wars raged, but he never allowed himself to get tripped up by any of that, he stayed on message and that message was always salvation through faith in Jesus.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Yahoo News - Israel rejects Hamas' bid for cease-fire
AP reports, "The head of the Hamas-led Palestinian government called Saturday for a truce to halt the Israeli offensive in Gaza, but Israel demanded that Hamas first free a captured Israeli soldier and halt rocket attacks on its southern towns."
Yahoo News - Iran president criticizes Israeli offensive
AP reports, "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told thousands of demonstrators gathered in the capital, Tehran, to condemn the strikes in the Gaza Strip that Israel's backers could be the target of revenge by Muslims." [Persia/Iran, Ezekiel 38:5]

Comment: Another rant by the Iranian leader against Israel and the West, I know this will surprise no one.
Yahoo News - No G-8 seat for China, other big economies
AP reports, "The G-8 summit that President Bush and seven other world leaders are attending next weekend in Russia is often billed as a gathering of the world's leading economic powers. It is not. Consider: China, now the world's fourth-largest economy and the nation with the most influence over renegade North Korea, is not a member." [ Rev 17:12-14]

Comment: Most Bible prophecy commentators view the ten kings of Rev 17 as a representation of the political power base of the first beast of Revelation and the consensus seems to be (based on Daniel) that this group arises from within the European Union as the latter day Roman Empire. However, I'm open to the possiblity that the ten could be a representation of some other political or economic alliance, and so I also pay attention to efforts to expand the G8 as well as the U.N. Security Council. I am the first to admit that I don't know how this prophecy will be fulfilled, only that after the fact we will be able to look back and find that it was fulfilled to the letter of prophetic scripture. Finally, note in your study of Rev 17 that the first beast does not have power (or kingship) in his own right but is given power by the ten and that this power is global in scope. This tells us that we are looking for a group that already has global power that they can then legitimately give to another.
Yahoo News - FBI thwarts terrorist plot against New York
AP reports, "A terrorist plot to flood lower Manhattan by attacking train tunnels under the Hudson River used by tens of thousands of commuters was thwarted before the conspirators could travel to the United States, authorities said Friday." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]

Friday, July 07, 2006

My Way News - Spain Confirms Its First Case of Bird Flu
AP reports, "Spain has recorded its first case of H5N1 bird flu, the Agriculture Ministry said Friday. The deadly strain was found in a water fowl in a marsh area outside the northern city of Vitoria." [Pestilence, Luke 21:11]
Yahoo News - Video: 2 London bombers al-Qaida trained
AP reports, "Two of the four suicide bombers who attacked London last July 7 spent time at an al-Qaida camp to prepare themselves for a suicide mission, the deputy leader of the terror network claimed in a video Friday." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]

Thursday, July 06, 2006

My Way News - EU Tones Down Criticism of Israel
AP reports, "The shift is subtle but unmistakable. European governments - long accused of being pro-Arab - have toned down criticism of Israel, left in shock by the rise to power of Islamic Hamas which they consider a terrorist outfit."

This is a positive trend, let's hope it continues. If it does, perhaps it's part of the Covenant With Many of Daniel 9:27.
My Way News - N. Korea Threatens to Fire More Missiles
AP reports, "North Korea angrily mocked international criticism of its multiple missile tests, threatening on Thursday to fire off more rockets." [Rumors of War, Matthew 24:6]

I don't want to hype this at all, this is nothing more than a dictator throwing a tantrum, it's not a serious "rumor of war" or a real international crisis, so please don't be alarmed by other reports that seek to sensationalize this. Keep your attention focused on Jerusalem and Damascus.