Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.
Mark 10:28 Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee.
Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.
Mark 10:31 But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
WITH GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE
QUESTION: I have a question about Mark 10:17-31. Not only what Jesus said to the rich man but also everything else He said to his disciples after. It seems like He is saying unless we are sure we are sacrificing everything to follow Him we will not enter the Kingdom. I keep wondering if I’m doing enough to deserve eternal life? What if I’m not giving up enough to be accepted?
ANSWER: By telling the rich young man to sell everything and give to the poor, Jesus made the him realize that he loved his wealth more than he loved eternal life. That’s why he went away sad (Mark 10:22). But the key to understanding Mark 10:17-31 lies in verse 27 where Jesus said that it’s impossible for us to save ourselves, but it’s not impossible for God to save us. All things are possible with God.
Then Peter said, “We’ve left everything everything to follow you!” Jesus assured the disciples (and us) that such a sacrifice will not go unrewarded. But He warned us to be careful, because those who start thinking they should be first because of what they’ve done could wind up being last (Mark 10:28-31).
So by two contrasting examples, one who was unwilling to give up his worldly wealth, and another who had given up everything, the Lord made His point. Every attempt to gain entry into the Kingdom based on achievement or merit will be futile no matter how impressive it is in man’s sight. Our wealth can’t buy our place in eternity and our self sacrifice can’t earn it. Only complete reliance on the Grace of God is sufficient.
WHAT MAKES THE NARROW PATH HARD? FOLLOW UP
QUESTION: The recent question “what makes the narrow path hard?” brings up an interesting issue for me. If someone is saved by understanding only God’s Grace can make it possible for them to be saved, then falls into the grace/works mindset that is so common in today’s Church, have they left the narrow way, and will they end up being lost?
ANSWER: If that ever happened, it would violate a central provision of OSAS. According to 2 Cor. 1:21-22 when we’re saved, it is God who makes us stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set His seal of ownership on us, and put His spirit in our hearts as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
If the person in your example was really saved, his salvation would have been guaranteed at the moment of belief (Ephesians 1:13-14). If he fell into a grace / works mindset the Lord would go after him and bring Him back, like a shepherd retrieves a wandering sheep. If not, then departing from the narrow way wouldn’t matter because he wouldn’t have been saved in the first place.
(CLICK ON) LATEST DAILY NEWS CLIPS:
News Clips Obtained From Many Sources – Including
HEADLINES FROM TRACKING BIBLE PROPHECY
Rapture Ready News
Main News Channels
Other Christian Sites 16/02/2018
WORLD TERRORISM – WARS
GENERAL WORLD NEWS:
- The director of the FBI says the whole of Chinese society is a threat to the US – and that Americans must step up to defend themselves
- The director of the FBI says the whole of Chinese society is a threat to the US – and Americans must step up as a society to defend themselves
- Liberal group with ties to Obama, Hillary calls to restrict overseas U.S. military voting to improve cybersecurity
MASSIVE EARTH CHANGES/EARTHQUAKES/VOLCANOES ETC:
- Winter Olympics 2018: Shaun White makes history with third gold medal but sexual misconduct claim tarnishes win
- California’s drought restrictions on wasteful water habits could be coming back – this time they’ll be permanent
- Harvey Weinstein lawsuit: attorney general says ‘we have never seen anything as despicable’ – experts say: ‘They’ll bring him down’
CHRISTIAN WORLD NEWS:
- Stella Parton: Country music industry ‘a bunch of Southern Baptist hypocrites’ when it comes to following up on sex abuse allegations
EXTRA WORLD – ALTERNATIVE NEWS:
- Website selling children based on hair, eye color sends shockwaves across Egypt; SQ-ANY GUESSES WHERE THIS WILL LEAD TO? The prices vary on the basis of gender, skin color, heath conditions, eye and hair color, in addition to an array of other physical char
- The Chinese Military Is Surpassing the American Forces SQ-THANKS TO ALL THE TRAITORS,SUCH AS CLINTON AND BUSH CARTELS-LOOK UP ‘LORAL SATELLITES’ -‘GB SENIOR GAVE NEUTRON BOMB TO CHINESE,ACCORDING TO ITS INVENTOR!
- Syria’s War Is Fueling Three More Conflicts: As ISIS evaporates, the buffer zones between armed combatants of several opposing groups and nations have disappeared SQ;WHAT A SOFT SELL UNDERSTATEMENT- WW3 IS UNDERWAY-‘NO SWORDS BEING BEATEN INTO PLOWSHARES’
- Iran, Russia, and China’s Central Role in the Venezuela Crisis: Strong evidence suggest that Venezuela used its immigration agency to provide Venezuelan identities and documents to several hundred, if not thousands, of Middle Easterners.
- Series Of Catastrophic FBI And Social Media Failures Have Enabled Mass Shooters To Slaughter Americans While They Pursued Fake Russia Collusion Narrative And Stifling Conservatives
- GRAPHIC VIDEO: Islamic/Antifa links of Florida Mass Shooter; The mass murderer was immersed in Islamic and leftwing hate. SQ: ALL THE GOVERNMENT COVER UPS LEAD TO ONE CONCLUSION,THESE ARE ALL ORCHESTRATED TO TAKE AWAY THE GUNS-TOTAL DE-STABILIZATION!
- Russia Successfully Tests New Missile Defense Interceptor; In its turn, Russia has equipped its ICBMs and SLBMs with countermeasure systems. They are able to outmaneuver any missile-defense system. The US has no effective measures in place against decoys.
- This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it’s leaking :Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean
- SOUTH AFRICA; What’s Actually Behind Cape Town’s Water Crisis Blame austerity-obsessed technocrats, irresponsible development, and willful ignorance.
- Central Banks Will Let The Next Crash Happen –The Federal Reserve is going to let markets crumble in 2018. They are going to continue raising interest rates and reducing their balance sheet faster than originally expected
- Mixing Magic and Medicine: New Study Shows Mesopotamian Doctors Had to Battle Demons. The ancient healer was expected to exorcise demons, ward off witchcraft, and appease the gods. SQ-DEMONIC INFESTATIONS ARE ACCELERATING WORLDWIDE!
- Thousands Of Invasive 20-Pound Rodents Are Invading California SQ-JUST HOOKING UP WITH THEIR ‘HELLY–WOOD,TWO LEGGED PALS’!WATCH EVERY FORM OF PESTILENCE ,PLAGUE AND DISEASE BURST FORTH AS THE DAYS AHEAD WILL NOT BE GOOD!
- US schools to pick up on the UK trend to ban the term ‘best friends?’ SQ-THIS IS TOTAL BRAINWASHING AND ISOLATING THE INDIVIDUAL,TO DESTROY HUMAN INTERACTION-WELCOME TO THE EVIL FRUITS OF VIRTUAL REALITY AND ‘AI CONTROL’!
PROPHETIC NEWS ARTICLES:
MIDDLE EAST WAR LOOMING THE BUILD UP TO PSALM 83 AND GOG OF MAGOG WARS EZEKIEL 38:
RELATED NEWS ON ISRAEL WAR:
IRAN ISRAEL WAR
A day after Israeli, Syrian, and Iranian forces were involved in a major military confrontation—that left an Israeli F-16 shot down, along with an Iranian drone, and multiple Syrian air defenses destroyed—the dust has begun to settle and the bigger picture is emerging.
The escalation is the latest in an epic struggle building between Iran, which is trying to turn Syria into a forward Iranian military base, and Israel, which is determined to prevent this from happening at all costs. Iran is now trying to set new ‘rules of the game,’ and limit Israeli defensive operations in Syria.
For years, according to international media reports, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) has conducted a massive number of low-profile military operations, targeting Iranian installations in Syria, as well as Iran’s smuggling of missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon, via Syria.
Israel’s campaign has generally taken place away from the media spotlight. Israeli defense planners call this campaign the ‘War Between Wars.’
An alliance of state and non-state actors
To make sense of this picture, it is important to recognize that Israel is not fighting against traditional enemy states, but rather, against a regional axis comprised of state and non-state actors.
The head of this axis is the Islamic Republic of Iran. The members of Iran’s coalition include the Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, Lebanese Hezbollah, and other Shi’ite militias, deployed across the Middle East, including in Iraq and Yemen.
This radical coalition controls most of Syria today, largely thanks to an alliance with Russia, which acts as the air force of the Iranian axis.
Russia has its own interests in intervening in Syria, and has tried to douse the flames of war between the Iranian axis and Israel, since a wider war could undo Russia’s efforts to keep Assad in power. But Russia’s influence has proven to be limited, while Iran is determined to spread its hegemony.
Iran has invested heavily in helping the Assad regime defeat Sunni rebels, in what is currently the world’s bloodiest conflict. With more than half a million casualties in Syria, the Shi’ite axis has emerged victorious over the Sunnis. Tehran now seeks the next phase of its strategy: turning Syria into an Iranian province.
Israel’s red lines
It seems likely that Iran seeks to send military divisions and brigades into Syria, establish air and naval bases, and flood Syria with more armed proxies and weapons. In this scenario, Iran’s goal would be to create a large armed force under its full command, which it can use to threaten Israel.
Israel has no intention of letting this happen. The Jewish State has drawn clear red lines, and enforced them with military actions. These red lines ban the entrance of Iranian military forces and weapons into Syria. The red lines also place a ban on the production and transfer of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Brig.-Gen. Amnon Ein Dar, the head of the Training and Doctrine Division in the IAF, provided a clue about the extent of this struggle, when he told Ynet on Sunday that Israel has conducted “thousands of operations” in Syria in the past year alone.
Enforcing these red lines requires advanced military capabilities, and coordination across the Israeli defense establishment, with the air force, navy, and intelligence units all working in concert.
Iran’s victory in Syria
Now, with the Iranian-led axis approaching a victory against Sunni rebels in the Syrian war, Iranians are losing patience with Israel’s campaign to stop their takeover of Syria. Iranian officials have recently warned that Israel will no longer be able to operate freely over Syrian airspace. Israel has shrugged these statements off.
Last week, according to media reports, Israel struck a major weapons production center near Damascus, likely used by Hezbollah and Iran. By sending the drone into Israeli airspace, the Iranians decided that the time had come to respond. Iran wanted to get its drone deep into Israeli airspace to prove that it can extract a price for IAF operations.
Hezbollah on standby
Until now, Hezbollah, deployed across Lebanon and Syria, has stayed out of this fight. But if Iran decides to again challenge Israel directly, it could order Hezbollah, armed with 130,000 projectiles, to join the action. Such an escalation could snowball into a dangerous regional conflict.
This is a scenario that no side seems interested in at the moment. While Iran wants to threaten Israel from Syria and Lebanon, the Islamic Republic also wishes to buy enough time—likely eight to ten years—to try and develop nuclear weapons.
Iran therefore has an interest in warding off a full-blown conflict that would threaten Iran’s Syrian and Lebanese projects before it can break out to a nuclear bomb.
The Israeli Air Force has been working on an ability to strike several thousand targets in just 24 hours. If the situation escalates, Israel can use this level of unprecedented firepower to place the Assad regime in existential danger—the very regime that the Iranians have worked so hard to save.
This same level of firepower, guided by high-level intelligence, can similarly be directed against the rest of the Iranian axis.
Who won the battle?
Iran’s drone was shot down within 90 seconds over Israeli airspace, likely disappointing the Iranians, who wanted to send it deep into Israel. And while Syria downed an Israeli F-16, the IDF is investigating to determine what appears to be an unusual sequence of events that led to the jet becoming vulnerable to enemy fire.
Israel had the final word on Saturday, because it inflicted a heavy price on the Iranian axis. The operators of the Iranian drone were likely killed in their caravan, though this cannot be confirmed. Up to half of Syria’s air defenses and four Iranian military sites were destroyed.
The number of casualties suffered by Syria or Iranian Quds forces remains unknown. While celebrating the downing of the Israeli F16 as a major military accomplishment, Iran and Syria are attempting to downplay the scope of damage that they sustained.
The destruction of significant Syrian air defense systems is a painful blow, and a message regarding what might come next in the event of another escalation.
The Israeli strikes hinted at an ability to do far more significant damage, should Iran decide to escalate further. Iran has no assurances that its own territory would remain immune to Israeli firepower in the event of a future conflict. The stakes of this struggle remain very high. Iran will have to decide if it will again try to challenge Israel’s freedom to operate over Syrian airspace.
The situation remains explosive. Israel does not seek war, but the signals coming out of Jerusalem indicate that it has no intention of backing down from its red lines.
ISRAEL IS FIGHTING A FIVE-FRONT WAR
By Yochanan Visser/Arutz Sheva
Yochanan Visser is an independent journalist/analyst who worked for many years as Middle East correspondent for Western Journalism.com in Arizona and was a frequent publicist for the main Dutch paper De Volkskrant. He authored a book in the Dutch language about the cognitive war against Israel and now lives in Gush Etzion. He writes a twice weekly analysis of current issues for Arutz Sheva Israelis used to talk about the “next war” and are familiar with warnings about imminent threats to the existence of the Jewish state or, alternately, theories which offer a “solution” to our hundred-year-old conflict with the Arabs.
Often, the various theories are based on wishful thinking or on Einstein”s definition of insanity. If Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was to hold a “State of the Nation” address in the Knesset today, he would most likely say Israel is strong, thriving and flourishing. He would add that he has managed to keep Israel out of the Middle Eastern quagmire once called “The Arab Spring” which has devastated countries and contributed to the rise of ISIS and Iran in the region. In short, Israel appears enjoying a “quiet” period, that”s the general line of thinking.
There”s more than meets the eye, however, and an assessment of the reality on the ground shows a very different picture and makes clear that Israel is already engaged in a war, a covert one. One could call it a “low-intensity conflict” but the fact is no day passes by without news which supports the conclusion that the IDF is fighting an asymmetrical war against implacable foes on five fronts. Over the last year we have witnessed the heating up of the northern border in both Syria and Lebanon, an uptick in Palestinian terror attacks, a renewal of rocket fire from Gaza, continuing attempts to infiltrate Israel via so-called terror tunnels and most recently a sharp increase in attempts to attack the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
For example, in Gush Etzion, the largest bloc of Jewish communities in Judea, there were three attempts by Arabs to infiltrate the city of Efrat and Carmei Tzur, a small Jewish village along Road 60 to Hevron, this over the past month alone. In all cases, local security and emergency teams managed to foil the terror attacks, but it is an indication that terrorists are heeding Fatah”s recent call to attack “settlers”, meaning Jews living in Judea and Samaria, the biblical heartland of Israel. Then there is Gaza, where Hamas again allows rocket fire against villages and towns in southern Israel and continues to organize infiltration attempts via tunnels and the security fence surrounding the enclave.
The worsening of the humanitarian situation in Gaza could easily spark a new conflict with Israel according to Israeli security experts, and Hamas is reportedly again preparing for war as a way-out of its self-created Gazan swamp. Over the past few days, Hamas-leader Yahya Sinwar has raised the level of alert among the various Palestinian terror groups in the Gaza Strip and has moved the command echelon to underground facilities. He thinks Israel intends to launch a pre-emptive assault on Gaza within the next few days. Sinwar ordered the measures after the IDF stepped up its retaliatory attacks against Hamas targets in the Gaza strip and because he mistook a joint American-Israeli drill and an exercise by the IDF”s Paratroopers Brigade as preparation for imminent war.
In reality, the joint American-Israeli drill, dubbed Juniper Cobra, is a biennial exercise which will this year focus on missile defense in a two-front scenario, while the Paratrooper drill could be a preparation for military action against Iran and its proxies. Another front where Israel is fighting a covert war is the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt where Wilayat Sinai, the local ISIS branch, continues to pose a serious threat not only to the regime of President el-Sisi but also to the Jewish State. The New York Times reported on Saturday that Israel has carried out airstrikes on positions of Wilayat Sinai a hundred times. The Israeli intervention in Sinai was coordinated with the el-Sisi regime, according to the NYT, and started after the ISIS affiliate downed a Russian civilian plane in northern Sinai in 2015, killing all aboard.
The Israeli Air Force (IAF) uses drones and unmarked helicopters and warplanes in the campaign against Wilayat Sinai, which formerly operated under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. The NYT report, which was based on intelligence obtained from unnamed American officials, formed the first concrete evidence of the changing relationship between moderate Arab countries and Israel. This relationship is now based on the idea of the “enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Most attention in Israel, however, went to developments along the two northern fronts last week. On the Syrian Golan Heights, the Iranian-Russian-backed pro-Assad coalition launched an offensive against the ISIS-affiliated Jaysh Khaled bin al-Walid militia, which still controls a pocket of territory near the Yarmouk river. According to citizen-reporters in the area and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the IDF was also involved in the battle and launched rockets at the ISIS affiliate. SOHR later erased the report about Israel”s intervention.
The Syrian army offensive against the Jihadists on the southern Golan comes after Assad”s forces re-conquered an area adjacent to the Druse town of Khader and the demilitarized zone near Mount Hermon in northwest Israel. The fifth front were Israel is facing huge challenges is Lebanon, as became apparent last week when Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman warned that Lebanese residents of Beirut would spend a lot of time in bomb shelters whenever Hezbollah and its allies dared to launch rockets at Tel Aviv and other Israeli population centers. Liberman made his remarks after Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow to discuss the growing Iranian threat via Hezbollah in Lebanon with Russian president Vladimir Putin. Netanyahu reportedly shared intelligence with Putin which proved Iran is building missile production facilities in Lebanon, and works on the production of advanced missile guidance systems which can convert crude rockets into precision weapons.
These guided missiles form a strategic threat to Israel, and this is the reason the government in Jerusalem embarked on yet another diplomatic offensive to draw attention to the growing Iranian threat against the Jewish state from Lebanon and Syria. The urgency of the matter was further underlined by a rather unusual action by IDF spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis who wrote an open letter to the Lebanese people. In the letter, he warned of danger to the entire future of Lebanon because of “the takeover of those who take their orders from Tehran.” The latest diplomatic offensive by the Netanyahu government to draw international attention to Iran”s encroachment on Israel”s northern border via Hezbollah and Shiite militias in Syria which operate under the command of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), is doomed to fail. While the Americans recently targeted Hezbollah by imposing new sanctions on the terror organization, they still support the Lebanese army despite evidence it has become another Iranian division controlled by Hezbollah.
The European countries are even worse and in the main, still view Hezbollah as an umbrella organization with a banned military arm and a legitimate political division. As a result, Hezbollah is able to operate freely in most European countries, recruiting new members and raising funds. Israeli experts such as Dr. Ely Karmon of the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya now advocate another approach, in which Israel takes Iran directly to task about its belligerent activities in Syria and Lebanon.
Karmon says Israel”s deterrence policy in Lebanon is not working because Iran and Hezbollah are not impressed by threats to destroy Lebanon”s infrastructure or the prospect Lebanese citizens will have to spend time in shelters in a possible future conflict. Karmon recalled how Iran finally gave in during the eight years it was at war with Iraq. ”It should be remembered that the decision of Ayatollah Khomeini to accept the end of the eight-year Iraq-Iran war in 1988 came only after a wave of deadly missile bombings of Iran”s capital,” Karmon said. ”Israel should threaten Tehran directly,” he asserted.
ESTIMATING RISKS OF AN ISRAEL-IRAN NUCLEAR WAR
By Louis Rene Beres –http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2018
“For By Wise Counsel, Thou Shalt Make Thy War.” – Proverbs, 24,6
For the moment, an Israel-Iran nuclear war is logically out of the question. After all, Iran is not yet an operational nuclear power, and there is no point in presuming any possibilities for a scientific investigation. Nonetheless, in national survival matters, prudence should take innovative forms, and the July 14, 2015 Vienna Pact (JCPOA) concerning Iranian nuclear weapons will not constrain Tehran indefinitely.
Jerusalem will have to plan accordingly.
This conclusion is especially compelling because a tactically successful preemption against Iranian weapons and infrastructures is no longer plausible. Even back in 2003, when my own Project Daniel Group had offered an early report on Iranian nuclearization to then-Israeli PM Ariel Sharon, Iranian targets were already more daunting than was Iraq’s Osiraq reactor on June 7, 1981.
To the limited extent that they may even be estimated, the risks of a future Israel-Iran nuclear war would ultimately depend upon whether such a conflict was intentional, unintentional, or accidental. Apart from applying this critical three-part distinction, there could be no good reason to expect any systematic strategic assessments from Tel Aviv. Once applied, however, Israeli planners must always understand that their complex subject is markedly unique and without precedent.
Still, it is essential that competent Israeli strategic analysts soon do their best to examine all current and future nuclear risks from Iran. In this connection, it may be sensible to study what is currently happening between Washington and Pyongyang as a suitable “model” for ascertaining Israel’s long-term existential threats originating from Iran. To wit, in examining the more-or-less overheated rhetoric coming from both US President Trump and North Korean President Kim Jung-Un, it appears that neither leader is paying close attention to the particular risks of an unintentional or accidental nuclear war.
This means that both Trump and Kim now seem to assume the other’s complete rationality.
If no such mutual assumption existed, it simply would make no sense for either president to deliberately strike retaliatory fear in the heart of the other.
In the past, Mr. Trump has openly praised feigned irrationality as a US security strategy. But such a preference is not without assorted inherent dangers, and could rapidly become a double-edged sword. Most worrisome, perhaps, is that although neither side may actually want a war, either or both players could still commit catastrophic errors during their competitive searches for “escalation dominance.”
There are assorted “hidden messages” here for Israeli planners in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
An unintentional or inadvertent nuclear war between Washington and Pyongyang (or, in the future, between Jerusalem and Teheran) could take place not only as the result of misunderstandings or miscalculations between fully rational leaders, but also as the unintended consequence of mechanical, electrical, or computer malfunctions. This should now bring to mind a corollary distinction between unintentional/inadvertent nuclear war and an accidental nuclear war. Though all accidental nuclear war must be unintentional, not every unintentional nuclear war would necessarily occur by accident. Rather, an unintentional or inadvertent nuclear war could sometime be the result of certain fundamental misjudgments about enemy intentions.
“In war,” says Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz famously in his classic On War, “everything is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.”
In fashioning a successful “endgame” to any future nuclear confrontation with Iran, it would be vital for Israel’s leaders to understand that this sort of crisis is about more than maximizing any relative “correlation of forces” or missile-interception capabilities.
As a nuclear war has never been fought, what will be needed is more broadly intellectual guidance than Israel could ever reasonably expect from even its most senior and accomplished military officers.
There are no recognizable experts on fighting a nuclear war, not in Washington, not in Pyongyang, not in Jerusalem, not in Tehran.
There is one last point about any still-estimable risks of a future Israel-Iran nuclear war. From the standpoint of Jerusalem, the only truly successful outcome could be a crisis or confrontation that ends with a reduction of Iranian nuclear warfighting capabilities and intentions. Therefore, it would represent a grave mistake for Israel to ever settle for any bloated boasts of “victory” that were based only upon a one-time or singular avoidance of nuclear war. It follows that Israel ought never to be taking such existential risks with Tehran if the best outcome could only be a status quo ante bellum.
Providing for Israeli national security vis-à-vis a still-nuclearizing Iran ought never become a seat-of-the-pants “game” – that is, the sort of stance seemingly assumed by US President Donald Trump opposite North Korea. Without any suitably long-term, systematic and deeply-thoughtful plan in place for avoiding a future nuclear war with Iran, a nuclear conflict that is deliberate, unintentional or accidental could sometime ensue. And at every stage of its expected competition with Tehran, Jerusalem should never lose sight of the only rational “use” for its presumptive nuclear weapons and doctrine. That is stable deterrence.
RUSSIA’S SYRIAN CONUNDRUM
Last Saturday’s flare-up following the downing of an Iranian drone over Israeli territory brings Russia’s regional predicament into full view.
Moscow’s planes and air defenses did not take part in the fighting. Can Russian President Vladimir Putin remain neutral should another Iranian provocation lead to an additional, perhaps stronger Israeli response? Had Russia taken into consideration the long-range implications of its intervention in Syria?
On the one hand, Russia has reached its main objective-setting up naval and air bases on the Mediterranean, and regaining its position as a major world power rivaling the strength of the U.S. On the other hand, the Kremlin is floundering in the quagmire of Syria’s civil war.
The conflicting regional interests between Russia and Israel, despite the otherwise positive relations between Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is only one aspect of the problem.
Syria has become the playing field of major Muslim and Arab countries, such as Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who are all bent on furthering long-range strategic plans threatening the integrity and stability of Syria-and Russia’s continuing presence there. Iran is making an all-out effort to establish itself in the country, threaten Israel and pursue its dream of a Shi’a crescent in the Middle East.
Turkey is determined to prevent the creation of a Kurdish autonomous zone in Syria, which would encourage Turkey’s PKK party to renew its quest for autonomy.
The war against Islamic State, meanwhile, is far from over. Though it was Russian firepower that turned the tide and saved President Bashar al-Assad’s regime from defeat in the civil war, recent political and military developments have shown that Russia can no longer guarantee the regime’s stability.
Nevertheless, Putin knows that he must keep on bolstering Assad, a man responsible for the death of half a million of his own people, and guilty of heinous war crimes such as using chemical weapons, in the dwindling hope of achieving an elusive political solution.
It must be remembered that it was President Barack Obama’s stated intent to disengage from the Middle East, and his refusal to arm and train opposition forces in the first stage of the Syrian Civil War that created the political vacuum which drew in other powers. Obama, bent on negotiating a nuclear deal with Tehran, turned a blind eye to Iran’s encroachments in Syria and even reneged on his pledge to intervene should Assad use chemical weapons.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia had been absent from the Middle East, and Putin seized the opportunity to make a comeback. Though he had significant successes, such as setting up air and naval bases, he may live to rue the day. He will be hard-pressed to boast of a victory in time for the March 18 Russian presidential election.
Successive efforts to draft the map of a new Syria have failed dismally. The Astana forum, convened with Turkey and Iran, aimed at bringing together Assad and opposition forces as well as acknowledging the hegemony of the convening powers.
It was a transparent effort to sideline the U.N., which had initiated the so-called Geneva process based on Security Council Resolution 2254 of December 2015. Despite opposition forces’ unhappiness with Turkish and Iranian involvement, an agreement was reached, and four de-escalation zones were established where no military operations would be permitted and civilian populations could return.
Opposition forces soon complained that Russian and Syrian forces, as well as Turkish troops, were blatantly violating the agreement, and they withdrew from the deal. In December 2017, at a new Astana meeting, Russia concluded that that track was dead and convened a “Congress of the Syrian People” in Sochi. Held from Jan. 29-30, it was another failure.
There was no representation of Sunni opposition groups among the 1,600 participants allegedly representing all political forces; nor were there Kurds present, since Turkey had launched an attack of their stronghold of Afrin.
Russia-which had allied itself with the Kurds as long as they were assisting Russian-Iranian-Turkish efforts in the fight against Islamic State-made no move to help. Sochi turned into a farce when opposition groups backed by Turkey, offended by huge posters glorifying Assad, refused to leave the airport and returned to Syria.
Only Assad’s supporters remained. Unwilling to admit that he found himself bereft of options, Putin invited Turkey and Iran to a tripartite meeting on a still unspecified date to decide “on their next steps.”
Meanwhile, Putin would be hard-pressed to make good on the promise to bring back most of his troops that he made last December on a visit to his Syrian Khmeimim air base. Not only is there no political deal in sight, but the military situation is degrading quickly. Rebel forces are still holding Idlib and Ghouta, though Russian and Syrian planes ceaselessly bomb civilian areas, at times using chemical weapons such as chlorine gas. Syrian ground forces, backed by their Hezbollah allies and by Iranian militias, are not progressing.
An attempt by Syrian troops to attack the Syrian Democratic Forces-comprised mainly of fighters from the YPG Kurdish militias-in the Deir ez-Zor area was met with a strong response. Planes of the American-led coalition killed at least a hundred soldiers.
Rebel opposition forces show no sign of weakening. In the last few weeks, they have downed a Russian Sukhoi plane and have sent drones to bomb the two Russian bases. The drones were shot down, but the battle is far from over.
In northern Syria the Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by America, has defeated Islamic State and now controls some 30,000 square kilometers from the Turkish to Iraqi borders. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated on Jan. 17 that there was no plan to end the American presence there and to return the area to the central Syrian government until a stable regime is formed.
With no clear political or military solution in sight, Russia has no choice but to continue backing Assad and keeping significant forces in Syria. It can neither drive Iran out of Syria nor stop Turkey’s offensive against the Kurds.
Russian planes helping Assad in his wholesale slaughter of fighters and civilians are fostering a deep-seated hatred that may trigger guerrilla operations against Russian troops, leading to growing dissatisfaction in Russia. And now, there is the added threat of a full-blown confrontation between Israel and Iran through its Syrian proxy.
WILL ISLAM CONQUER THE WORLD?
Nathan Jones – www.lamblion.com
Islam, for all intents and purposes, appears poised to conquer the world.
Islam’s growth rate has risen 500% over the last 50 years as their birth rate dwarfs the birth rates of all other religions. Today’s 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22% of the world’s population and control 65 nations. Between the twin strategies of holy war (jihad) and immigration, Muslims are expected to exceed 50% of the world’s population and surpass Christianity as the largest religion by the end of the 21st Century.
By all indications and by every statistic, Islam will indeed conquer the world. Churches will eventually become mosques. Your children will eventually become Muslims, or die for refusing. That is the direction the world is plunging towards right now.
Or, is it?
I would argue, no. Praise the Lord! Islam has an end according to the Bible. The Bible foretells of three prophetic wars that are coming soon which I believe will absolutely end Islam as a viable religion in the end times.
1) The Psalm 83 War
The first end time war, the Psalm 83 War, strikes at the geographical heart of Islam. It’s a war in which Israel will have to deal with its hostile bordering neighbors: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Jordan. Israel and these nations repeatedly getting into skirmishes cannot last much longer. Israel needs to do something about living under the constant threat of missile attack. And, according to Psalm 83, when this prophecy is fulfilled, Israel will control those border nations and gain a brief peace.
2) The Gog-Magog War (Ezekiel 38-39)
The second war which follows is found in Ezekiel 38-39. The Gog-Magog War is one of the best described prophetic wars in all the Bible, covering two whole chapters. This exciting war will be a major world-changer.
The Gog-Magog War foretells how Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, all those ‘Stan nations, and the other countries that form an outer ring of Islamic nations will war against Israel. Israel appears undefeatable after the Psalm 83 War, and so all of those nations combine into a coalition in order to make an attempt to plunder and destroy Israel.
What happens? These hordes, these uncountable armies; well Israel has no chance of standing up against them. Israel appears doomed!
But, the Bible reveals that God will make His appearance back on the earth, not physically, but He Himself personally annihilates the invading hordes, so that there’s no denying God is behind this divine rescue. God intervenes using biblical types of judgments such as fire and brimstone, making the armies turn on each other, and being decimated by earthquakes. God even rains fire down on the homelands of these invading nations. The entire coalition of Islamic armies, along with Russia, are almost utterly destroyed.
For a religion that’s based on having to destroy one’s enemies for Allah’s honor, and then Allah loses every single last days war big time, I believe these end time wars are going to gut Islam before the Tribulation begins.
3) The Conventional War of the Tribulation (Revelation 6)
The third prophetic end time war should finally hammer the nail in the coffin of Islam.
Despite Islam’s might in the world today, there’s no mention of Islam during the Tribulation. Rather, we glean from the Bible that during the Tribulation four religions will exist. One, there will be Christianity made up of those Tribulation Saints who accepted Christ after the Rapture. Two, there’s Judaism. The Antichrist spends much of his time persecuting Tribulation Saints and Jews. Three, there’s the early Tribulation Harlot religion, made up of a conglomeration of world religions. At first she seems in charge, but the Antichrist is really just using her for his own ends. And four, halfway through the Tribulation, the Antichrist stomps out all competing religions and sets himself up as the sole object of worship.
Now, if you can’t have another religion competing with you, especially a militaristic religion like Islam which demands there are no other religions besides itself, what do you do with it? You have to annihilate it. And, the biggest populations of Muslims in the world, most don’t realize, live in Indonesia and Bangladesh and other eastern nations outside of the Middle East. So, more than likely, the Antichrist is going to spend the beginning of his reign annihilating Islam so that there’s no competitor to setting himself up as the true global ruler.
How tragic that 1.5 billion people will die from the Antichrist’s Conventional War. But after that war, the Islamic map should be wiped clean.
Looking at these three biblical end time wars, I can only conclude that Islam doesn’t have much of a future left to it. A Psalm 83 War could break out at any minute, along with the destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17). These world-shaking events could literally occur at any moment. The Gog-Magog alliance of nations already exists. Europe is so fragile that they are ready for a strong leader to take over. Everything has lined up and is in place.
And so, according to the Bible, Islam has very little time left to it.