Archive for October, 2009

Philippines Typhoon and Updates

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana in Manila, Late September 2009


Another deadly storm hit the Philippines:

Death toll mounts as Philippines hit by third typhoon in a month

More than 100,000 evacuated as floodwaters rise in unusually late and harsh storm season

Jonathan Watts in Manila
The Observer, Sunday 1 November 2009

The typhoon death toll in the Philippines rose yesterday as the third storm in a month tore across the main island, destroying homes and sweeping away at least six people in flash floods.

More than 100,000 people were moved out of their homes ahead of the landfall of Typhoon Mirinae, the most recent of an unusually late and intense burst of storms to hit the archipelago.

Many of those who moved to emergency shelters in schools and other public buildings had only just returned to their homes after escaping an earlier typhoon, which dumped a month’s rain on the islands in one day at the end of September.

The two cyclones followed similar paths, but yesterday’s storm fortunately weakened before it hit Manila, a sprawling capital of 12 million people…

In Santa Cruz, in the centre of the country, floods sent residents clambering on to roofs. “We cannot move, this is no joke,” the mayor, Ariel Magcalas, told a radio station. “The water is high. We need help.” In Taytay township, further north, the lakeside shanty homes of about 2,000 people were destroyed by strong winds, said mayor Joric Gacula. Elsewhere trees were uprooted and power supplies cut as the typhoon made its way off the island and weakened on its way across the sea towards Vietnam.

In today’s update, LCG provided the following information on the previous storms:

Dayrell Tanner reports: I have just spoken to Mr. Osillos regarding how the brethren are coping in the Luzon area after the severe typhoons and flooding. He reports that approximately 11 families in the metro-Manila area were directly affected by the flooding there, some to a greater degree than others. Disaster relief funds have been distributed to most of these brethren for their immediate needs, but there will be a need for some additional assistance for some of them to repair their homes, motor vehicles, and damaged household goods. In one case, one of the brethren had his “Sari-Sari Store” (corner store) and all his stock, including 15 liquid gas tanks, completely washed away by the raging waters. This store is the major source of income for him. However, all the immediate needs of the brethren in metro-Manila have been covered, and they are getting back to the business of picking themselves up, and getting on with their lives. The brethren are so thankful for the fast response from the Church in sending assistance for them to quickly cover their basic needs, and get back on their feet.

Mr. Osillos will be travelling to Northern Luzon next week with Deacon Tito dela Cruz to assess the needs of the brethren there, who were seriously affected by the last typhoon that ripped through their areas…. This will require a lengthy journey by bus… he will be passing by his beloved city of the pines, Baguio City, where the Feast in Luzon was held, and this time, I hope, clear blue skies will greet him. The brethren in Mindanao were not affected by the typhoons, and their Feast was one in which they enjoyed pleasant sunny weather. We have a dedicated ministry, and dedicated brethren in the Philippines, who are used to hardship in their everyday lives, and as such they are very resilient, able to bounce back after setbacks. But they cry with great fervor, “Thy Kingdom Come!”….  Mr. Tyler and I will be going over there sometime in early December to follow up on the disaster relief, to complete work on new office arrangements, to visit the ministry in the Mindanao area and to plan ahead for next year’s Feast sites.

Additional report by elder Jes Puzon: Here is good news after the Feast of Tabernacles 2009 flood in Baguio City! Noah’s first act after surviving the Flood was to express thanks to God by offering a sacrifice (Genesis 8:20). And God was pleased. Similarly, Living Church of God brethren (around 54 of us) who were riding  the “Genesis” bus in the morning of Tuesday, October 13, 2009 would like to offer God “the sacrifice of praise” (Hebrews 13:15) and “the sacrifice of  thanksgiving” (Psalm 116:17). The “Genesis” bus we were riding was the first bus to be allowed to pass through the landslide road-cut at Taloy, Marcos highway, when going down from Baguio after the recent FOT 2009 flood (we were the first bus allowed to pass through, since our bus name was Genesis). God’s timing was perfect—our scheduled trip at 5:00 a.m. was delayed for an hour, since the bus dispatcher was still taking a shower and then he found out that the door at his office was locked with the door key left inside.  Due to that delay, the brethren no longer had to go through the trouble of walking through the road-cut at Taloy with the heavy load of suitcases. We rejoice in what God has done (the brethren in the bus applauded for joy after our bus was allowed to pass through!) and glorify Him with Thanksgiving (Psalm 69:30-31).  We hope to always please our God!

It has been a rough typhoon season for the Philippines and other parts of Asia and the South Pacific this year.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Islands and Bible Prophecy What’s ahead for islands? What does the Bible prophesy about them?
Asia in Prophecy What is Ahead for Asia? Who are the “Kings of the East”? What will happen to nearly all the Asian?  Who has the 200,000,000 man army related to Armageddon?

Czech President May Sign Lisbon Treaty by December 1

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Vaclav Klaus President of the Czech Republic and for calendar year 2009, the EU President


The Lisbon Treaty is getting closer to being signed according the the EU Observer:

EU treaty closer to ratification after Czech deal agreed

EUobserver – Oct 30, 2009   excerpt…

BRUSSELS – The EU came a step closer to full ratification of the Lisbon Treaty after it managed to agree to a sensitive demand by the Czech Republic on the new institutional rules without upsetting other member states.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus…His signature cannot take place before Tuesday when the Czech Constitutional Court is due to rule on the treaty’s compatibility with national law. But the court is widely expected to approve the treaty.

If Mr Klaus signs the treaty in November, it could come into force on 1 December.

With the last hurdle to ratification apparently out of the way, the discussions on what implementing the treaty will mean can begin in earnest. The most prominent of these issues is the new posts it creates, including a president of the European Council and a new foreign minister.

Ultimately, the Bible shows that a stronger agreement giving power to a dictator (that the Bible calls the Beast) will be in place in Europe:

12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast (Revelation 17:11-13).

The Lisbon Treaty has thus far been a step towards that fulfillment.  And will be even more so if the Czech President signs it (he has expressed reservations about the EU’s direction in the past, see  Next EU President a Eurosceptic).

All need to heed Jesus’ admonitions and “watch” (Matthew 24:42; 25:13; Mark 13:33-37; Luke 21:36) world events as they head towards the fulfillment of biblical prophecy.  The ultimate outcome of the Lisbon Treaty will somehow feed into end time events.

Several articles of possibly related interest may include:

Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?
End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something? There is a Mayan calendar prediction for change in 2012. 2012 changes were also centuries ago predicted by the Hopi Native Americans (the Hindus may have some predictions for the next decade as well). Do these Mayan/Hindu/Hopi prophecies have any value? Why might Satan have inspired this date? Does the Dresden codex show destruction of the earth by flood? Can the great tribulation start before 2012?
Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? What is ahead for Europe?

ICG on US Dollar and Iran

Saturday, October 31st, 2009


In his latest update, ICG’s Mark Armstrong wrote the following:

The bank/insurance/auto industry bailout/stimulus spending of the past year has increased our national money supply by some 120%! Economic theory and practice is an admittedly complex and dark subject that few seem to fully grasp. But the shear enormity of current national spending projections, coupled with the obvious concern expressed by our nation’s creditors is causing extreme apprehension in many quarters. Trillions of dollars are casually projected to be the cost of “national healthcare”, and the mind-boggling bureaucracy it will require. The price tag for Cap and Trade policy is incalculable. More national “change” waits in the wings while the UN and its member nations concoct yet more international laws and agencies with enforcement powers here in the United States.

The future of our dollar is bleak, regardless of politicians’ intentions, purportedly to promote general welfare, help the poor, save the planet or whatever their selling this week. There are warning signs everywhere, with the exception of the mainstream media and occasionally they even creep in there, but only if you’re paying very close attention. We are blessed by one aspect of the information age that has made vast quantities of information available for now, but that may be changing as well if the central planners get their way. No doubt somebody’s political ox will be gored by this characterization of the present reality. We simply cannot close our eyes to the road we’re being driven down, nor the historical precedents of such policies wherever in the world they’ve been implemented.

Europe is in the midst of a change of direction, trying to dig their way out of the socialist quagmire that has kept them economically stagnant over recent decades while the United States prospered. The United States is rapidly embracing policies that have been all but fatal to prosperity in the UK and in Europe.

Iran, the foremost threat to Israel’s survival and to world security including that of the United States, has just allowed UN inspectors to visit the nuclear facility they claimed didn’t exist. According to a report issued by Debkafile last week, “Some sources in Washington take the existence of this hidden plant as evidence that Iran has got several more secret facilities running – and not just for enrichment but possibly even for covertly constructing nuclear bombs and warheads.” Additionally, there is a report that Iran is supplying Syria with “various forms of weapons of mass destruction” including missiles and midget submarines. Syria has been obstinate in its refusal to participate in any U.S. sponsored diplomacy.

The Bible is clear that in the time of the end, the highly indebted will be doomed.  Notice the following:

3 For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry…
6 “Will not all these take up a proverb against him, And a taunting riddle against him, and say, ‘Woe to him who increases
What is not his–how long? And to him who loads himself with many pledges’? 7 Will not your creditors rise up suddenly? Will they not awaken who oppress you? And you will become their booty. 8 Because you have plundered many nations, All the remnant of the people shall plunder you (Habakkuk 2:3,6-8).

The above prophecy will be fulfilled at the time of the end for major economic powers. It makes little sense, for example, that it would be directed towards the modern nation of Israel as it does not have enemy creditors. It must be directed towards a nation or group of nations with some prominence.  It is the the United States and its Anglo-allies that have loaded pledges of debt in these end times in unprecedented levels (that they really do not expect to pay back, other than in currency that will be worth much less than it now is). In that respect they have recently plundered many nations.  And unless national repentance occurs, the USA, UK, and their Anglo-allies are doomed for destruction probably next decade.

Now, I should add that while Iran is an issue of concern, I disagree with Mark Armstrong that it is the “foremost threat…to world security including that of the United States”.  However, the situation with Iran may be the spark that will lead to the fulfillment of other prophecies (it could spark the “need” for the deal in Daniel 9:26-27, for example).

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

Anglo – America in Prophecy & the Lost Tribes of Israel Are the Americans, Canadians, British, Scottish, Welsh, Australians, Anglo-Southern Africans, and New Zealanders descendants of Joseph? Where are the lost ten-tribes of Israel? Who are the lost tribes of Israel? Will God punish the U.S.A., Canada, United Kingdom, and other Anglo nations? Why might God allow them to be punished first?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?
Is There A Future King of the South? Some no longer believe there needs to be. Might Egypt, Islam, Iran, Arabs, or Ethiopia be involved? What does the Bible say?
Prophecies of Barack Obama? Eight reasons why Barack Obama is apocalyptic and eight reasons why Barack Obama is not the Antichrist. This article includes many biblical and non-biblical prophecies, from around the world, that seem to discuss Barack Obama. Did Nostradamus predict Barack Obama dealing with the Antichrist?  Might Barack Obama set the stage for the kings of the North and South as at least one Shiite prophecy suggests?  This is the longest and most complete article on this page on Barack Obama prophecies. Read it and decide for yourself if President Obama seems to be fulfilling various prophecies.
Barack Obama, Prophecy, and the Destruction of the United States Some claim that Barack Obama is the prophesied “son of Kenya”, based up an early 20th century writing.

Vatican Condemns Halloween as Anti-Christian

Friday, October 30th, 2009

St. Peter’s Basilica


While we in the Living Church of God have always condemned Halloween as a pagan, non-Christian, holiday, the Vatican has been hesitant in the past to do so.  But now the Vatican is taking a position closer to LCG:

Vatican condemns Hallowe’en as anti-Christian
The Vatican has condemned Hallowe’en as anti-Christian, saying it is based on a sinister and dangerous “undercurrent of occultism”.
Telegraph – Oct 30, 2009

The Holy See has warned that parents should not allow their children to dress up as ghosts and ghouls on Saturday, calling Hallowe’en a pagan celebration of “terror, fear and death”.

The Roman Catholic Church has become alarmed in recent years by the spread of Hallowe’en traditions from the US to other countries around the world.

As in Britain, it is only in recent years that Italian children have dressed up in costumes, played trick or treat on their neighbours and made lanterns out of hollowed out pumpkins.

The Vatican issued the warning through its official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, in an article headlined “Hallowe’en’s Dangerous Messages”.

The paper quoted a liturgical expert, Joan Maria Canals, who said: “Hallowe’en has an undercurrent of occultism and is absolutely anti-Christian.”

Parents should “be aware of this and try to direct the meaning of the feast towards wholesomeness and beauty rather than terror, fear and death,” said Father Canals, a member of a Spanish commission on church rites.

Last year a newspaper controlled by the Italian bishops, Avvenire, called for a boycott of Hallowe’en, calling it a “dangerous celebration of horror and the macabre” which could encourage “pitiless [Satanic] sects without scruples”.

Earlier this week the Catholic Church in Spain also condemned the growing popularity of Halloween….

It is good that religious leaders discourage those who profess Christ from observing pagan holidays.

Hopefully the announcement from the Vatican will dissuade Catholics from defending Halloween as a “Catholic holiday” as the following author did in the past:

It should be noted that Halloween is a Catholic holiday. Pope Gregory IV in 835 made it the universal practice in the Roman Catholic Church to celebrate All Saints’ Day on Nov. 1. All Souls’ Day follows the next day as the commemoration of all of the faithful who have departed.

“All Hallows’ Even” as the evening before All Hallows’ Day — All Saints’ Day – eventually became shortened to Halloween. Hallow, as in “hallowed be thy name” in the Lord’s Prayer, is an older form of the word “holy.”

It was the Protestant Reformation that rejected the universal practice of devotion to the dead (Martin Luther dropped any references to praying for the dead from his Bible). This Catholic holiday was attacked, much like the church as a whole, for being pagan and evil. Hence I wouldn’t be surprised if this cloud of suspicion hovering over Halloween originated from the spirit of anti-Catholicism.

But Nov. 1st was the day of the Celtic Summer’s End feast of Samhain, the day when the dead returned to the earth. We have retained some of these pagan elements to Halloween, as is true of Christmas and Easter.

Why would a pope put the Catholic celebration of the dead on top of the pagans’ celebrations of the dead? Because the Catholic feasts are in continuity and fulfill the meaning of the pagan ones…

So what about the indulgence in the spooky and scary? Skeletons are spooky, but they are also very Catholic. In fact, one couldn’t find a better haunted house for a Halloween pilgrimage than the various “chapel of bones” that can be found across Europe (Killian Brian. Halloween, as autumn celebration, reminder God’s name is hallowed. Catholic Online International News. 10/31/06.

The reality is that Halloween is NOT a Christian holiday and should not be observed by those who claim Jesus Christ as Savior.

It is nice that the Vatican is starting to realize some of the dangers associated with holidays containing pagan practices.

For more details, from biblical and other sources, please see the following article:

Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.

The Vatican, the Anglicans, and the Celibacy Issue

Friday, October 30th, 2009

COGwriter (The National Catholic Register), which describes itself as “America’s ‘most complete’ Catholic newsweekly” reported yesterday:

Celibacy Issue Holds Up Apostolic Constitution


The delay in publishing the apostolic constitution, which will allow large numbers of Anglicans to be received into the Catholic Church, is due not so much to translation problems as the more weighty issue of priestly celibacy.

According to two reliably informed Italian newspapers, Il Giornale and Il Foglio, canon lawyers are continuing to define what has been a particularly unclear aspect of the new provision: whether married Anglicans could train as seminarians.

Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale reports that over the last few days, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts has been working to clarify this point. He writes that “everything suggests” seminarians in these future Anglo-Catholic communities “will have to be celibate like all their colleagues in the Latin Catholic Church.”

Is it true that “everything suggests” celibacy for the clergy?

No, not everything.

Andrea Tornielli seems not to remember is that early Christian leaders, including the original apostles, including Peter (Matthew 8:14) were almost all married.

Furthermore, the Bible indicates that bishops and elders were supposed to have a wife and children to demonstrate they could handle a church as Paul wrote (Roman Catholic approved Rheims New Testament):

1.FAITHFUL saying. If a man desire a Bishops office, he desireth a good work.
2. It behoveth therefore a Bishop to be irreprehensible, the husband of one wife,
sober, wise, comely, chaste, a man of hospitality, a teacher,
3. Not given to wine, no fighter, but modest, no quarreler, not covetous,
4. Well ruling his own house, chaving his children subject with all charity.
5. But if a man know not to rule his own house: how shall he have care of the Church of God? (1 Timothy 3:1-5).

5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest reform the things that are wanting, and shouldst ordain priests by cities, as I also appointed thee:
6. If any be without crime, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not in the accusations of riot, or not obedient.
7. For a Bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not angry, nor given to wine, no striker, nor covetous of filthy lucre (Titus 1:5-7).

Now that the term translated as priest in verse 4, presbyter, simply means elder. Also notice that the Bishop is also allowed to be married. In Eastern Orthodox circles, while their priests are allowed to be married, their bishops are not.

Even The Catholic Encyclopedia acknowledges that from the beginning, celibacy was not a requirement for church leaders:

Turning now to the historical development of the present law of celibacy, we must necessarily begin with St. Paul’s direction (1 Timothy 3:2, 12, and Titus 1:6) that a bishop or a deacon should be “the husband of one wife”. These passages seem fatal to any contention that celibacy was made obligatory upon the clergy from the beginning (Thurston H. Transcribed by Christine J. Murray. Celibacy of the Clergy. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume III. Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, November 1, 1908. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Celibacy became an ideal for the clergy in the East gradually, as it did in the West. In the fourth century we still find St. Gregory Nazianzen’s father, who was Bishop of Nanzianzos, living with his wife, without scandal. But very soon after that the present Eastern rule obtained. It is less strict than in the West. No one can marry after he has been ordained priest (Paphnutius at the first Council of Nicaea maintains this; the first Canon of the Synod of Neocaesarea in 314 or 325, and Can. Apost., xxvi. The Synod of Elvira about 300 had decreed absolute celibacy for all clerks in the West, Can. xxxiii, ib., pp. 238-239); priests already married may keep their wives (the same law applied to deacons and subdeacons: Can. vi of the Synod in Trullo, 692), but bishops must be celibate. As nearly all secular priests were married this meant that, as a general rule, bishops were chosen from the monasteries, and so these became, as they still are, the road through advancement may be attained (Fortesque A. Transcribed by Marie Jutras. Eastern Monasticism. The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume X. Copyright © 1911 by Robert Appleton Company. Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight. Nihil Obstat, October 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York).

Thus, the celibacy requirement for clergy did not occur until the fourth century.

When the subject came up in the fourth century, a Greco-Roman bishop denounced it:

Paphnutius then was bishop of one of the cities in Upper Thebes: he was a man of such eminent piety, that extraordinary miraclas were done by him. In the time of the persecution he had been deprived of one of his eyes. The emperor honoured this man exceedingly, and often sent for him to the palace, and kissed the part where the eye had been torn out. So devout was the emperor Constantine. Having noticed this circumstance respecting Paphnutius, I shall explain. another thing which was wisely ordered in consequence of his advice, both for the good of the church and the honour of the clergy. It seemed fit to the bishops to introduce a new law into the church, that those who were in holy orders, I speak of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, should have no conjugal intercourse with the wives which they had married prior to their ordination. And when it was proposed to deliberate on this matter, Paphnutius having arisen in the midst of the assembly of bishops, earnestly entreated them not to impose so heavy a yoke on the ministers of religion: asserting that ” marriage is honourable among all, and the nuptial bed undefiled;” so that they ought not to injure the church by too stringent restrictions. ” For all men,” said he, ” cannot bear the practice of rigid continence ; neither perhaps would the chastity of each of their wives be preserved.” He termed the intercourse of a man with his lawful wife chastity. It would be sufficient, he thought, that such as had previously entered on their sacred calling should abjure matrimony, according to the ancient tradition of the church: but that none should be separated from her to whom, while yet unordained, he had been legally united…The whole assembly of the clergy assented to the reasoning of Paphnutius (Socrates Scholasticus.  Book 1, Chapter XI. A History of the Church in Seven Books: From the Accession of Constantine, A.D. 305, to the 38th Year of Theodosius II, Inluding a Period of 140 Years. Published by S. Bagster, 1844.  Original from Harvard University, pp. 53-54)

So as late as the early fourth century, the idea of required celibacy was opposed by most of the clergy.

In the 21st century, the Church of Rome has admitted that celibacy was not the original position of the Apostles and that it might change back:

Pope Benedict XVI’s choice as the church’s top official for priests has said that celibacy “is not a dogma,” and that the Catholic church “can reflect” on the subject.

The explosive character of the issue, however, was reflected in a “clarification” issued in the name of the cardinal by the Vatican Press Office Dec. 4.

Cardinal Claudio Hummes, 72, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, was nominated prefect of the Congregation for Clergy Oct. 31. He made the comments as he left for Rome in an interview with the Brazilian publication Estado de Sao Paulo.

“Even if celibates are part of our history and of Catholic culture, the church can reflect on the question of celibacy, because it’s not a dogma but a disciplinary norm,” Hummes said.

Hummes, a Franciscan, recalled that several apostles were married, and that the discipline of priestly celibacy in the Western church developed several centuries after the institution of the priesthood itself…”In the church, it has always been clear that the obligation of celibacy for priests is not a dogma, but a disciplinary norm. It is also clear that this is true for the Latin church, but not for the Oriental rites, where it is normal that priests are married in the communities in union with the Catholic church…” (Allen JL. Curial cardinal says celibacy can be discussed. National Catholic Reporter, Dec 15, 2006).

So, if the Vatican allows current and future priests of Anglican backgrounds to be married, it does have reason to allow it.

Whether or not the Vatican will allow those who wish to be in the clergy in the future to be married is, however, an open question.

Some articles of possibly related interest include the following:

Was Celibacy Required for Early Bishops or Presbyters? Some religions suggest this, but what does the Bible teach? What was the practice of the early church?
Did the Early Christian Church Practice Monasticism? Does God expect or endorse living in a monastery or nunnery?
Were the Early Duties of Elders/Pastors Mainly Sacramental? What was there Dress? Were the duties of the clergy primarily pastoral or sacramental? Did the clergy dress with special liturgical vestments? Can “bishops” be disqualified as ministers of Christ based on their head coverings?
The History of Early Christianity Are you aware that what most people believe is not what truly happened to the true Christian church? Do you know where the early church was based? Do you know what were the doctrines of the early church? Is your faith really based upon the truth or compromise?

Tony Blair Out of the Running?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom


Tony Blair is currently looking less likely to be the EU’s first full-time president:

Brussels outcry puts Blair presidency in doubt
Financial Times – Oct 29, 2009

Tony Blair’s chances of becoming the European Union’s first full-time president were in serious trouble late on Thursday as a Brussels summit opened with a chorus of criticism from his own supposed centre-left allies.

British officials said the “jungle drums” also suggested support for the former prime minister was on the wane in some European capitals, including crucially Paris and Berlin.

But as Mr Blair’s hopes faded, Brussels was awash with speculation that David Miliband, foreign secretary, could emerge as the EU’s new foreign policy chief. Mr Miliband, 44, has denied wanting the job, but he is among the most credible centre-left candidates; France’s Le Monde on Thursday declared him “young and brilliant”.

The two-day EU summit was supposed to focus on climate change and the Lisbon treaty, but corridor talk was dominated by the looming carve-up of the union’s top jobs.

Gordon Brown, prime minister, made an impassioned appeal at a private meeting with fellow socialists to back Mr Blair.

“You need to get real – this is a unique opportunity to get a strong progressive politician to be president of the council,” he said. But there was little backing for a man whose support for the Iraq war was divisive.

Other candidates could include Jan Peter Balkenende, Dutch prime minister; Jean-Claude Juncker, Luxembourg’s premier; and Paavo Liponnen, former Finnish prime minister.

Tony Blair converted to Roman Catholicism and, in my opinion, is not out of the running yet.  And even if he does not become EU President, he is likely to have some influence.

An article of related interest may include:

Is Tony Blair Apocalyptic? The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom converted to Catholicism shortly after leaving his office and has been active in European affairs. What role might he play?

Richard Ames: “Christians and Halloween”

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

Richard Ames


In his latest commentary, LCG evangelist Richard Ames wrote:

“Christians and Halloween”

By Richard F. Ames | Thursday, October 29, 2009

Is it “fun” to play at evil? Should we follow our neighbors, like proverbial lemmings, off the dangerous cliff of pagan practices? Most of society has accepted the lie that Halloween is “innocent fun” and eagerly train their children to take pleasure in symbols of pagan, and even Satanic, evil?

Is it “fun” to play at evil? Should we follow our neighbors, like proverbial lemmings, off the dangerous cliff of pagan practices? Most of society has accepted the lie that Halloween is “innocent fun” and eagerly train their children to take pleasure in symbols of pagan, and even Satanic, evil?

That’s right! When parents let their children dress as witches, demons, goblins or skeletons, they are teaching their children values that will last long after the costume comes off! Parents should have common sense, let alone basic values of right and wrong. Teaching our children to imitate evil is an abomination in God’s sight — and we will reap what we sow! By observing Halloween, we teach our children to make light of Satan the Devil — or even to think like him! Should we then be surprised when our children remain curious about evil — or even invite it — for the rest of the year.

In Luke 7:21, we find that our Savior cured many individuals who were plagued by evil spirits. “And that very hour He cured many of infirmities, afflictions, and evil spirits; and to many blind He gave sight.” Do we live contrary to our Savior’s example? Do we teach our children to attract and cultivate evil spirits at Halloween? Certainly, dressing up like a demon or a witch INVITES evil rather than opposes it!

The Apostle James advises us to resist evil, not entertain it! James 4:7, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” That is your Creator’s instruction to you! “Resist the devil!” Do NOT join the masses in celebrating the dark world of Satan and the occult!

The Bible plainly speaks of fallen angels called demons. The apostle Paul warns us about these “spiritual hosts of wickedness” in Ephesians the sixth chapter. Read this strong admonition starting in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

Some parents encourage their children to participate in the world of demons. Are some of you parents sacrificing your children to Satan and to wicked spirits? We MUST resist the world’s way of supporting the horrendous evil rampant about us. One can understand the blindness of non-Christians in participating in traditions of darkness. But for professing Christians to clothe themselves and their children with the outright symbols of evil is an affront to the name of Christ! Such practices are wicked, evil, and sinful! It’s time for such so-called Christians to repent of supporting the Devil and rebelling against Christ!

Parents also teach their children the concept of “trick or treat.” The child in essence tells an adult, “You had better give me some treat or I will trick you, or damage your property!” What kind of a Christian precept is that? It is definitely not Christian! It is teaching the “get” motive and intimidation! Jesus taught the way of life that emphasizes giving, NOT selfish getting! As the Apostle Paul stated in Acts 20:35, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”  Read more

It should also be noted that although Halloween is considered to be a “Catholic holiday”, it has been condemned by Roman Catholic leaders as well in the 21st century:

Mexico’s Roman Catholic church slammed Halloween as “damaging and against the faith” on Monday, as conservatives sought to stem celebration of the ghouls-and-goblins holiday and return to the country’s traditional Day of the Dead.

The U.S.-style holiday has made broad inroads in Mexico, with monster costumes almost as widely sold as the marigold flowers traditionally used to decorate relatives’ graves during Nov. 1-2 Day of the Dead ceremonies, when families build altars and leave food, drink and flowers for the dearly departed.

“Those who celebrate Halloween are worshipping a culture of death that is the product of a mix of pagan customs,” the Archdiocese of Mexico published…

Protestant groups tend to hold mixed feelings about Halloween, though many parents let/encourage their children observe it.

For details, please see the following article:

Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.

German-Israeli Relations Being Questioned

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009



Some Israelis are questioning Germany’s intents because of the following:

Why German media ignore Ashkenazi

Jerusalem Post – Oct 28, 2009

German media’s ignoring of IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi’s visit to Germany is a sign of the internal contradictions of the so-called German-Israeli “special relationship.”

Dr. Alexander Brenner, a former head of the 12,000-member Berlin Jewish community and an ex-diplomat in Israel and the former Soviet Union, expressed disbelief on Tuesday about the feeble German coverage of Ashkenazi.

“Extremely strange” is how Brenner termed the paltry coverage.

That there was scant coverage in the German press on Tuesday after Ashkenazi’s robust speech the previous day defending the IDF at the Holocaust memorial located on platform 17 of the Grunewald train station suggests a lack of reception for his core message: “The IDF, the protector of the Jewish nation, is not a warmongering military, but a defensive military,” he said.

While Chancellor Angela Merkel has repeatedly stressed that Iran’s calls to obliterate Israel are a dire threat to the existence of the Jewish state, many German media outlets write that Iran’s statements are empty political rhetoric or the result of faulty translation.

A Forsa Institute poll earlier this year showed that during the IDF’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, roughly 50 percent of Germans considered Israel to be an “aggressive state.”…

A radical pacifist culture that developed after the defeat of Nazi Germany coupled with anti-Israeli sentiments because of contemporary anti-Semitism plays a role in the failure to understand Israel’s security interests. The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung daily devoted a two-page interview in mid-October with a young Israeli who refused to serve in the IDF.

Most of the large left-wing dailies show hardly any interest in examining the compelling need for Israel’s military forces. That might help to explain the dearth of coverage regarding Ashkenazi. Jews who flex their military muscles and are prepared to defend themselves are not a terribly attractive topic for many Germans who harbor a post-WWII aversion against the military and stick to a distorted, prejudicial view of Jews as a bunch of bookworms.

According to Israeli diplomats, the most pressing worry is the pooh-poohing of the Iranian threat. A telling example: The high-circulation, left-wing Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper frequently publishes articles from Katajun Amirpur, a German-Iranian writer, who argued in the paper that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did not say he plans “to wipe Israel off the map.”

Critics of the Iranian regime in Germany such as Nasrin Amirsedghi say that Amirpur and the Böll Foundation Iran specialist Bahman Nirumand downplay the Iranian threat toward Israel and the West. Nirumand writes for Die Tageszeitung, and works for the German Green Party-affiliated Böll Foundation, which carries currency in shaping public opinion about Iran.

While both Germany and Israel on the governmental level go to great lengths to stress their rock-solid military and political relationship, fault lines have repeatedly surfaced regarding Germany’s failure to rein in its booming trade relationship with Iran. Last week, an Israeli diplomat in Berlin issued an indirect rebuke of Germany’s refusal to follow Britain’s lead and ban trade with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines.

The Hamburg-based company Leonhardt & Blumberg chartered a ship to the shipping line that carried ammunition allegedly destined for Syria or Hizbullah.

The German-Iranian trade relationship and its impact on Israel’s security is relegated to a largely inferior status within German media coverage and the government. And the growing rift between German anti-Israeli public opinion and the Merkel’s administration’s commitment to the Germany-Israeli special relationship remains a thorny problem for bilateral relations.

Dr. Julius Schoeps, a German Jewish historian who head the Moses Mendelssohn Center in Potsdam, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that “Israel is increasingly moving outside of Germany’s interests.”He cited the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as foreign policy priorities for the German press.

The Bible indicates that a German-backed European leader (called prince in Daniel 9:26-27) will make some type of peace deal involving Israel, but that after about 3 1/2 years into it, he become the final “King of the North” and will violate it and invade Jerusalem.

For more information, please see the following articles:

Europa, the Beast, and Revelation Where did Europe get its name? What might Europe have to do with the Book of Revelation? What about “the Beast”? Is an emerging European power “the daughter of Babylon”? What is ahead for Europe?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2009, 2010, or 2011? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
Who is the King of the North? Is there one? Do biblical and Roman Catholic prophecies point to the same leader? Should he be followed? Who will be the King of the North discussed in Daniel 11? Is a nuclear attack prophesied to happen to the English-speaking peoples of the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand? When do the 1335 days, 1290 days, and 1260 days (the time, times, and half a time) of Daniel 12 begin? When does the Bible show that economic collapse will affect the United States?

LCG on Halloween Safety

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Halloween in Ireland


In his latest commentary, LCG’s Gary Ehman wrote:

“Why is a kid like you out on a night like this?”

By Gary F. Ehman | Tuesday, October 27, 2009
The headlines glaringly scream: “Sex Offenders See New Limits for Halloween”; “Plan Ahead and Avoid Halloween Violence”; “Halloween: A Very Dangerous Day for Children”; “Halloween Costumes Cause Pedestrian Accidents”; “Police Warn about Drugged Candy.”
It’s that time of the year again; pumpkins, witches, goblins, black cats, bats and vampires swirl around in the heads of children as they plan their annual assault on the neighborhood to get treats while threatening tricks.Parents nervously give into childish demands, driven by the economics of retail profiteering, expressed in the seasonal advertising blitz aimed at the kids who make the demands on the parents. Isn’t this just all a big bunch of fun? If so, why do we have the glaring, screaming headlines each year?

A study by the University of Michigan states that traffic deaths among children are more than four times higher on Halloween. “On Halloween night, pedestrian fatalities among trick-or-treaters are about 4.5 times the levels of other nights … ‘This increase does not occur in daylight periods and it is primarily restricted to children 15 and under,’ said John Sullivan of UMTRI.”

He noted that this is a consequence of the special vulnerability of pedestrians at night, “along with the greater than usual numbers of children out on Halloween, increasing the opportunity for an accident.”

More “scary” than this is the report from the New York Times prior to Halloween last year that: “All across the country this year, local and state authorities are placing registered [sex] offenders under one-night curfews or other restrictions out of fear that in only a few days, costumed children asking for candy will be arriving on their doorsteps” (New York Times, Oct. 2006)…

Parents need to understand that teenage boys are often the target of random Halloween crimes just as much as girls are. Not surprisingly, boys have a higher risk, because many parents fear for the safety of girls and don’t allow them out as late as boys.

In the face of these risks, is it really worth taking a chance in this violent day and age? Is Halloween just harmless fun for youth and amusing entertainment for adults?

Not according to Penn State researcher, Cindy Dell Clark, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family. She says parents need to realize that scaring children this age isn’t necessarily a way to make them safe from fears of death and other things frightening.

“Halloween is a time when we expose kids to behavior that is not the norm. Children connect the holiday with death,” said Clark, whose study, titled, “Tricks of Festival: Halloween, Children and Enculturation” was published in the anthropological journal, Ethos (

Is there a real story behind Halloween and other holiday traditions that claim to be Christian? Read our revealing article “What Is Hidden by the Holidays?” It will open a new understanding to why you do the things that you do – traditionally.

Of course, it is not just physical safety that is the issue.  Spiritual safety, which the commentary alluded to, is even a more important issue.

To learn more please refer to the following article:

Is Halloween Holy Time for Christians? This article provides some historical and biblical insight on this question.

Swine Flu Emergency Declared

Monday, October 26th, 2009


By now, many of you probably have heard that US President Barack Obama declared a “swine flu emergency”:

Obama agenda: Swine-flu emergency

Posted: Monday, October 26, 2009 9:24 AM by Domenico Montanaro
Filed Under: Barack Obama

“Responding to a dramatic surge in the number of U.S. swine flu cases, President Barack Obama has signed a proclamation declaring H1N1 influenza a national emergency. The order by Mr. Obama, announced on the weekend, will speed the ability of hospitals and health authorities to take measures to fight the pandemic through such steps as setting up tents in hospital parking lots to establish extra emergency room care and creating health clinics in school gymnasiums or community centers.”

Normally in government declared emergencies, some administrative and/or constitutional protections for Americans are put aside to meet governmental objectives.  In this case, the US President apparently sincerely believes that the government needs to prepare for what some suspect will be a major outbreak of swine flu.

And certainly there may be a major outbreak of the swine flu.

It is true that the Bible warns of pestilences in the end-time (Matthew 24:7-8; Revelation 6:7-8) and many will likely die from the swine flu.  However, unless this particular strain of the flu lies dormant and possibly mutates, I do not believe that it will be the one that fulfills the ride of the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse, which ultimately (and probably through more than one pestilence combined with hunger and the sword) kills one quarter of humankind (Revelation 6:7-8).

It is simply a bit too early from a biblical perspective.

Some articles related to timing of end-time events and one even related to pork include:

Does God Have a 6,000 Year Plan? What Year Does the 6,000 Years End? Was a 6000 year time allowed for humans to rule followed by a literal thousand year reign of Christ on Earth taught by the early Christians? When does the six thousand years of human rule end?
Can the Great Tribulation Begin in 2009, 2010, or 2011? Can the Great Tribulation begin today? What happens before in the “beginning of sorrows”? What happens in the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord? When is the earliest that the Great Tribulation can begin? What is the Day of the Lord?
End of Mayan Calendar 2012–Might 2012 Mean Something? Are there Mayan calendar predictions for change in 2012? Changes were centuries ago predicted by the Hopi Native Americans. Do Mayan/Hindu/Hopi/Buddhist/New Age/Nostradamus prophecies have any value here? Why might Satan have inspired this date? Does the Dresden codex show destruction of the earth by flood?
The New Testament Church and Unclean Meats Are foods considered to have been unclean in the Old Testament considered to be food in the New Testament? This article discusses this from the perspective of the New Testament. It also has a list of clean and unclean animals. It also answers the question, is pork healthy or is pork dangerous?