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Archive for August, 2009

Solana and the Middle East

Here’s part three of the Javier Solana series,  To read the others, please click on the Politics – Europe category in the sidebar.

Solana and the Middle East

By Meshawn Senior

Previously in the article “The Many Faces of Javier Solana,” we learned why this very powerful European leader is referred to as “Mr. Europe.” We discussed the positions he presently holds in the European Union (EU), the Western European Union (WEU), and the European Defense Agency (EDA). In this segment of the series, we will see how Javier Solana has become a major player in the ongoing Middle East peace process.

His involvement began back in 2001 when former U.S. President Bill Clinton asked former Senator George Mitchell (who is now President Obama’s special envoy to the Middle East) to head up a committee to stop violence between Israel and the Palestinians during the al-Aqsa intifada in September of 2000. This uprising was the result of failed Camp David peace talks a few months earlier.

At that time, President Clinton asked Solana to be a part of Mitchell’s committee, which concluded that Israel was equally to blame for the violence. However, the truth that the Palestinians started the violence was completely ignored along with the fact that it continued under the leadership of Yasser Arafat. The members of the committee also called for a freeze on new Israeli settlements.

In 2004, the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was developed under the direction of Solana. Its main purpose was to procure peace and security around the EU Neighbourhood, which the European Commission’s website explains “applies to the EU’s immediate neighbours by land or sea – Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territory, Syria, Tunisia and Ukraine.” The website goes on to say that “although Russia is also a neighbour of the EU, our relations are instead developed through a Strategic Partnership covering four ‘common spaces’.”

Hence, this policy, developed by Solana, directly involves Israel and the “Occupied Palestinian Territory” as well as other Middle Eastern countries. Let’s see what other involvement he has had since the implementation of this ENP. Here are just some of the accounts:

  • In July of 2006, he met with Israel’s then Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni during the 2nd Lebanon war. Solana urged Israeli restraint in its retaliation against Lebanon.
  • In September of 2007, he met separately with then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
  • Also in September of 2007, he met with Jordanian Foreign Minister Abdelelah Al-Khatib regarding the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
  • A headline from Haaretz.com on October 21, 2007 reads “Solana and Iran’s new top nuclear official to meet next week.”
  • On November 27, 2007, he attended the Annapolis Middle East Summit held in Annapolis, Maryland.
  • In June of 2008, he handed over a package to Iran proposing that Tehran suspend its uranium enrichment.
  • In June of 2009, he held talks with a chief Hezbollah official. This was the first time an EU diplomat had ever held talks with this group, which the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization.
  • And just a few weeks ago, on July 11, 2009, Solana called for a deadline on the establishment of a Palestinian state, which Israel quickly rejected.

Javier Solana’s tenacity in trying to affect the peace process in the Middle East has made many biblical prophecy enthusiasts take notice. Some even wonder if he could fit the description of the Antichrist spoken of in the prophetic book of Daniel. In the last installment of this series, we will discuss why some believe this is at least a possibility.

Once again, stay tuned …

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For Many will Come in My Name

by Meshawn Senior

In the last article, “Take Heed that No One Deceives You,” we expounded on verse 4 of Matthew 24.  We emphasized the importance of being careful to sift through the barrage of ideas being put out there by all the many “voices” in this world. They can’t all be right, and it is vitally important for us to discern between truth and deception.  In this segment, we’ll look at Matthew 24:5, which states, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”

Let’s start with a little background on the title of “Christ.”  It comes from the Greek word “Khristos” which means “anointed.”  It is equivalent to the Hebrew word “Meshiach” or, as English speakers will recognize, “Messiah.”  The word has the connotation of “the One who will be the Savior of mankind.”

After the fall of man, God promised to send a Savior into the world to deliver human beings from the results of Satan’s trickery in the Garden of Eden.  This promise was given in Genesis 3:15, which states, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

The following is a quote by John MacArthur commenting on this verse:

“God had made one great promise and the promise was that Satan would be at enmity with the woman and that her seed would engage in battle against his seed and her seed would triumph by bruising Satan on the head and Satan would only be able to bruise her seed on the heel.  God promised then that the woman would have a child and that out of the loins of that woman would come one who would defeat Satan, literally crush Satan’s head.  That is the first promise of a Savior.”  (The Promise of Redemption – Part Two)

So we see that this idea of a Savior was promised to the first man and woman in order to defeat Satan and undo the damage that he caused.  If the Messiah did not come, then the human race would eventually cease to exist because evil would grow and abound until “no flesh would be saved.” (Matthew 24:22) It can be deduced that this is Satan’s ultimate plan.

In Old Testament times, God required the sacrifices of animals to provide temporary forgiveness of sins.  “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”  (Hebrews 9:22) Because no human being before Jesus Christ was without sin, innocent animals were used as a substitution to provide the necessary blood atonement for the sins of mankind.  This statement leads to the conclusion that Jesus Christ was born without sin.  In fact, this is a basic tenet of Christianity.  We will now discuss why this belief is held.

The Bible says that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin.  This was predicted by Isaiah the prophet hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth.  Isaiah 7:14 reads, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Hebrew prophets had known to watch for this particular sign for centuries; however, when it was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus, most people chose to turn a blind eye.

Not only was Jesus born of a virgin, but He also had no earthly father.  Jesus’ mother, Mary, was visited by an angel while she was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph.  Luke 1:35 records this conversation:  “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Proverbs 30:4 is an interesting passage of scripture that most have overlooked.  It actually alludes to the fact that God does have a Son.   It reads, “Who has ascended into heaven, or descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has bound the waters in a garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, If you know?”

Some theologians believe that the sin of mankind is passed down only through the father, not the mother.  Taking this into consideration, since Jesus had no earthly father, He also did not have the sin of Adam passed down to Him.  This is explained in the following quote:

“First, we must acknowledge that if God can do whatever He pleases, then He could certainly have miraculously protected Jesus from being polluted by sin while He was inside Mary’s womb.1

Second, we must consider carefully Romans 5:12. Notice that the verse says that “through one man sin entered the world” and so death spread to “all men.” The verse does not say through “one man and one woman” sin entered the world. Sin entered the world through Adam, not through Eve. It was Adam, not Eve, who passed sin on to their descendents.2 Perhaps this is why in Genesis 3:15, God promises that the One who will bruise (literally “crush”) Satan on the head will be One who comes from the seed of woman, not from the seed of man.

It is a known fact that certain traits, disorders, and diseases are transmitted only by fathers, or only by mothers.3 Similarly, it is possible that sin (the power of sin, not the act of sin) is passed down from generation to generation to every person through the father, not the mother. In the case of Jesus, through a miraculous conception by the power of the Spirit, God was His Father, and so Jesus was without sin. Despite what some religions teach, this would explain why Mary did not have to be sinless in order for Jesus to be born sinless. As a woman, her sin would not have been passed on. The Bible says that every person that has ever lived has sin (Romans 3:23, Romans 3:10)…except Jesus! ( 2 Corinthians 5:21, 1 John 3:5, Hebrews 4:15).”  (The Hope Study Guide, “How Could Jesus Be Without Sin?”, Chapter 8 – Lesson 42)

All of the above is a preface to the main point of this particular article, which is:  Even though many men may have claimed to be the Christ… the Messiah…the Savior of mankind, only one person can rightfully hold this title.  This person would have to be sinless – without blemish – in order to lawfully atone for the sins of mankind so that they are forgiven.

The original plan while writing this article was to list different people who have claimed to be the Messiah, as well as those who some believe are expected to appear in the near future as the Messiah.  However, this is not necessary.  It is quite clear that there can only be one Savior of mankind.  There can only be one Messiah.  There can only be one Christ.   And that is the God-Man Jesus Christ.  He alone fits the qualifications of the Savior of mankind.

He came the first time as a suffering servant, a perfect “Lamb of God,” who took away the sins of the world by shedding His blood on Calvary.  He was buried and arose three days later, and now sits at the right hand of God the Father, awaiting the day when He will return to crush Satan the devil and his followers.

Jesus, Himself, warned us, “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before.  Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.” For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24:23-27)

In the next installment, we’ll look at verse 6 of Matthew 24:  “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for allthese things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

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Next installment in the series:
If you have not read the previous installments in this series, they are listed below in chronological order:
  1. Are We Living in the End Times?
  2. Take Heed that No One Deceives You

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by Meshawn Senior

As I began writing part two of “Are We Living in the End Times,” I realized that I could not thoroughly go through each of the verses from Matthew 24:4-14 in just one short installment of an article.  This would take several pages to do.  So, I’ve decided to break each installment down verse by verse.  The first one that will be discussed is verse 4, which says:  “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.”

Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, our archenemy, Satan the devil, has been dangling carrots of deception before our noses.  We have to be so very careful not to fall for his crafty and cunning tricks.   This is why the Bible warns us to “put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11) Another passage admonishes, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (I Peter 5:8)

Satan loves it when people say that “there’s no such thing as a devil.”  He loves it when we believe that he doesn’t exist, because then he can continue to deceive us, just as he did Eve.  Satan asked Eve, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?” Eve answered, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'” Satan then told his first lie to a human being as he replied, “You will not surely die.” Eve believed this lie and ate of the forbidden fruit and even gave some to her husband, Adam; and he ate also.  Ever since then, humans have been dying because of Satan’s success in this one deception.

It’s so important to be grounded in the Word of God, which is the Bible.  I heard a pastor say once that the letters of the word “BIBLE” could be looked at as an acronym – Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.   If you think about it, it’s true.  God created human beings and He knows what we need to thrive.  He didn’t just make us and leave us here to wander around aimlessly.  Each of us has a purpose and our purpose can be found by studying our instruction manual, the Bible.

Let us return to the matter of being careful that no one deceives us.  There are so many voices in the world today – voices that tell us:

  • There are no absolutes.
  • Truth is relative.
  • There are many ways to heaven.
  • God doesn’t exist.
  • Hell doesn’t exist.
  • All religions worship the same God.
  • We are all gods.
  • God would never send anyone to hell.

And the list goes on and on … and on!  These are all deceptions put out there to undiscerning minds who then propagate these lies to the masses.  And the masses believe them – to their own peril.

It’s so important for each of us to seek God’s truth and inquire of Him to lead us and guide us down the right path.  Jesus made a profound statement in Matthew 7:13-14 when He said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it .”

Let us not fall for the lies of our enemy, Satan the devil.  He DOES exist and he IS putting lying thoughts and beliefs into the minds of unsuspecting people all over the world.  It’s our job to sift through the lies and discover “the road that leads to life” – not only for ourselves but for our children.

In the next installment, we’ll discuss in detail verse 5, which says:  “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.”

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Next installment in the series:
If you have not read the previous installment in this series, it is listed below:

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by Meshawn Senior

Is it possible that we are living in a period of time known as the “end times?”  Out of all the generations that have graced this planet over the 6,000 years of recorded history, could ours be the one that will see the end of all things as we know it?  Many people are asking these very questions.  Just turn on the television or surf the internet and one can find a plethora of stories about this subject, along with a wide array of cultural and religious bases for these beliefs.

Most of us have heard of the ancient Mayans and their prediction that the world will end on December 21, 2012.  Through the use of an intricate calendar, they mathematically figured out that the earth and sun will line up with the center of the Milky Way galaxy on this particular date.  Because of this, they believed that cataclysmic events would occur and bring worldwide havoc during this time.  Scientists have said that this planetary/solar alignment will take place on this date, but they aren’t sure what the effects will be.

The followers of Islam believe that their long awaited Imam al Mahdi will soon appear just before the Judgment Day.  However, they believe that this will be preceded by a time of unprecedented world chaos.  Some Islamic factions even go as far as trying to facilitate his return by actually instigating these kinds of conditions.

Judaism teaches that there will be a battle fought at the time of the end called the war of Gog and Magog, as found in Ezekiel 38 and 39.  This war will culminate with God supernaturally defeating Israel’s enemies.  The carnage will be so great that it will take seven months to bury all the dead.  The Jewish Messiah will then appear at an appointed time after this war.

Christianity, which stems from Judaism, also believes the above scenario, but infuses it with the teachings of Jesus which describe a time of global sorrow and tribulation (trial and testing) under the rule of a worldwide dictator known as the Antichrist.  The book of Revelation in the Bible gives a frightening scenario of end time events that are prophesied to come to pass before the Messiah, Jesus Christ, returns to the earth to conquer Satan the devil and his followers and to set up His earthly kingdom.

Even the ancient Book of Enoch (which was quoted by Jesus’ own brother, Jude, in the Bible) speaks of the time of the end.  In fact, the very first sentence of this book states that it was written for those who will be living in the tribulation period.  This sentence reads:  “The words of the blessing of Enoch, wherewith he blessed the elect and righteous, who will be living in the day of tribulation, when all the wicked and godless are to be removed.” (The Book of Enoch, Section 1, Chapter 1:1)

There are many other end time scenarios from different cultural and religious points of view.  In this article, we will discuss the view of the end times as taught in Christianity.

A question was posed to Jesus in the New Testament book of Matthew, Chapter 24, while speaking with His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.  They asked Him, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what [will be] the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) He then gave a very exhaustive reply which has come to be known as “The Olivet Discourse”.   The words of this discourse are quoted below from Matthew 24, verses 4 through 14:

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.

5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for allthese things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences,and earthquakes in various places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.

10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.

11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.

13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

There are many other verses in this discourse, but we will concentrate on these in this particular article.

In part two, we will discuss each of these points in detail and how they could relate to current events happening in the world today.

To be continued …

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Next installment in the series:

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“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.”

“I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

                                                                      ~ Jesus Christ

 

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