Richard T. Ritenbaugh: The online free encyclopedia, Wikipedia, keeps a “List of terror incidents” by month and by year. ...
Joe Baity reminds us that we live in a world divided, as seen in the impending implosions of the two major political parties, the fragmentation of the European ‘Union,’ fratricide among the Islamic factions, race wars, gender wars, class wars, and bitter vitriol, anger, and resentment rule the day. People are no longer hearing one another, but only their own amplified, distorted, and poisoned perceptions they carry of others. Babylon is blinded with bitterness. The Church of God has not escaped the poison of resentment and bitterness following the death of Herbert W. Armstrong, leading to the wholesale apostasy and diaspora which followed. Our ability to discern falsehood is directly related to our ability to recognize truth and act on it. Emotions such as pride, stubbornness, resentment, and envy (a root of bitterness influenced by the culture around them) have split congregations, dividing brethren more than doctrinal disputes. We are implored to seek and pursue peace with everyone. Resentment unresolved can make us physically and spiritual sick. Carrie Fisher contends that “Resentment is the poison you swallow hoping the other person will die.” When resentment goes underground, it raises havoc with our nervous system as well as jeopardizes our salvation. It is okay to get angry—just as long as we do not stay there. As God’s called-out ones, we must learn how to take the hit and turn the other shoulder.
Ronny Graham, citing statistics from the non-profit organization Open Doors, asserts that persecution against Christians is rampant and dramatic, escalating in many parts of the world in which professing Christians suffer governmental harassment, torture, and death. In North Korea, owning a Bible is a capital offence, bringing death or a life sentence in a gruesome labor camp. Iraq and Nigeria are prime examples in which hostility and persecution against Christians seem to be tipping culture and society into extreme chaos. World Watch Monitor has warned that the persecution of Christians is a harbinger of discord in the world society. In the United States, Christian liberties are eroding in the wake of the destruction of constitutional liberties. Liberty Institute claims that governmental (largely federal) agencies are trying to push Christian expression out the door, with pompous federal judges condemning public prayer, the mention of God's name, actively meddling in the hiring and firing of rabbis and ministers, and actively editing high school valedictorians commencement speeches. While not as extreme as North Korea or Nigeria, persecution is here in America and the free world, with anarchy and chaos following closely behind. In this evil time, it is necessary to exercise prudence, caution, judgment, and common sense. We should not bring about needless persecution on ourselves or on the body of Christ because of our foolish texting, posting, tweeting, or e-mailing.It is high time to exercise prudence and to keep silent.
It was not all that long ago that news outlets and pundits wrestled with the fact that the United States was the world's superpower and policeman. Today, however, due to the Obama administration's policies, new powers are rising to fill the power vacuum created by America's retreat. Richard Ritenbaugh discusses five emerging empires that threaten world peace.
Lately, the eyes of the world have been riveted on the Levant, the area of the Middle East that includes Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Israel. The entity that is attracting attention is what is commonly known as ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda terrorist group that is growing into a state. Richard Ritenbaugh describes its rise and its expansive aims.
With one look at American activity on the world scene, an observer is struck by the lack of coherence of this administration's foreign policy. Richard Ritenbaugh offers three examples of major foreign policy blunders over the past five years, asserting that they point to the diminished quality of leadership in high places—and perhaps they are a sign of America's fall from greatness.
Even before the 2010 Israeli commando raid on a Gaza blockade-running Turkish ship, relations between Israel and Turkey were at a low ebb. Recently, positive signs of a reconciliation have appeared, although nothing is certain. Richard Ritenbaugh provides proof that, despite the on-again, off-again nature of their ties, both nations could use a friend in the region.
Over the past year and a half, the "Arab Spring" that swept through the Middle East and North Africa has been an enduring source of worry for the state of Israel. David Grabbe argues that, despite the instability of its neighbors, Egypt and Syria in particular, Israel's greatest threat is an internal problem: its relationship with God.
Since its founding in 1948, the State of Israel has been backed up against the Mediterranean Sea, facing a hostile Arab world in every direction. David Grabbe describes its current situation as even more dire, as the "Arab Spring" has turned some of Israel's recent allies and non-belligerant neighbors in the region into enemies.
One of the greatest honors a man can achieve is to be called 'father of his country.' Esau was prophesied to be the father of a nation, Edom, and as Richard Ritenbaugh details, the Bible gives us plenty of clues about the character of his descendants.
Most Westerners tend to simplify their perception of the situation in the Middle East by using dichotomies: Israel vs. Arabs, Jew vs. Muslim, Western vs. Islamic, etc. However, as David Grabbe explains, it is not that simple, particularly on the Muslim side, where multiple factions exist.
Richard Ritenbaugh suggests that religious and cultural differences, especially the raging Western-Islamic conflict, will become the fault lines of dangerous conflicts and clashes of civilizations. The King of the South (Daniel 11:40) might be a confederation of Arab nations continually at war with the people of Israel. Psalm 83 identifies such a confederation that continually harasses Israel'events that appear in today‚s headlines. The Bible's characterization of Ishmael, Esau, Amalek, Moab, and Ammon fit the national traits of present-day, anti-Western Arab peoples. Numerous prophecies (including Nahum, Zephaniah, and Amos) predict the eventual demise of their evil efforts. Throughout history, the Kings of the North and the South, always reckoned from the viewpoint of Jerusalem, have changed identities, but the principal players of the conflict exist today in the bitter conflict between militant Islam fundamentalism and the West.
A major news item over the past month has been the riots over the publishing of cartoons depicting Islam's prophet, Mohammad. David Grabbe ponders the rather belated reaction of the Muslim street, asking, "Why all the sound and fury?"
The State of Israel has come to a point in its history when it must take a hard look at where it wants to go in the next few years. Whatever it decides, it will likely lead to the events of the end of the age!