Monday, May 29, 2006

Iran’s Letter to President Bush

A few weeks ago, Iranian President Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad sent a letter to President Bush as the latest in the continuing political struggle over Iran’s attempt to obtain nuclear capability. Mr. Ahmadi-Najad’s vitriol towards the West, America and Israel in particular has been well chronicled since his ascendancy to the Presidency of Iraq last year. Additionally, his cultural animosity to the Jews combined with his belligerency towards the Jewish state, has significantly raised the stakes in this increasingly tense political standoff with nuclear overtones.

Given this backdrop, it is very easy to dismiss this letter to President Bush, as nothing more than a calculated political stunt aimed at manipulating gullible world opinion in advance of the military stand-offs that are likely to come. This may very well end up being the case, however, as I was had the opportunity to read a transcript of Mr. Ahmadi-Najad letter, I was struck by the occasional scriptural prose of the document, and how much closer to biblical theology the rhetoric appeared, despite ultimately falling completely short of God’s true mark because of the letter’s ultimate denial of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who was slain for the sins of the world.

Mr President,
According to divine verses, we have all been called upon to worship one God and follow the teachings of divine prophets. “To worship a God which is above all powers in the world and can do all He pleases.” “The Lord which knows that which is hidden and visible, the past and the future, knows what goes on in the Hearts of His servants and records their deeds.”
- Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad
In spiritual content however, much of the letter’s spiritual rhetoric is quite valid and well stated.

“The Lord who is the possessor of the heavens and the earth and all universe is His court” “planning for the universe is done by His hands, and gives His servants the glad tidings of mercy and forgiveness of sins”. “He is the companion of the oppressed and the enemy of oppressors”. “He is the Compassionate, the Merciful”. “He is the recourse of the faithful and guides them towards the light from darkness”. “He is witness to the actions of His servants”, “He calls on servants to be faithful and do good deeds, and asks them to stay on the path of righteousness and remain steadfast”. - Mahmood Ahmadi-Najad

Can you imagine the outcry if an American or British politician had authored such a statement (regardless of the intended audience)?

The irony to me, is that it would be left to an apparent despot like Mr. Ahmadi-Najad to willingly wrap himself in such spiritual prose, while the erstwhile political leaders of the West cowardly avoid any accommodations of such language, supposedly as befitting leaders of “greater sensibilities”. As a result, what you are left with are maniacal Muslim leaders who appear more willing and perhaps capable of capturing some Godly truth while simultaneously perverting God’s true purposes. On the other hand in America and virtually all of the West, you have “professional” politicians who scurry about “tail between their legs” not daring to utter the name of Jesus in public for fear of alienating their voters. Yet, you can be sure that when the inevitable clash comes between Iran and the West, you are sure to hear these same hypocritical Western leaders rhetorically raising the virtue of their godly duty as a basis to resist Mr. Ahmadi-Najad’s aggression. For those who love our Lord Jesus Christ, what a choice to choose from.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Westboro Baptist Church - Powered by God's Enemy

I happen to come across this picture this week of an Iraq war protestor. It has to be one of the most absurd and telling images I have seen in a while. The man appears to be "thanking God" for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) which the terrorists in Iraq have used with successful frequency during the course of the war to kill hundreds of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians. Additionally, the gentleman apparently also believes that God is our enemy. I wonder if it was the same God that he was thanking for the IEDs?

In the picture we see the lush green grass in which this man stands, the large tree that is behind him, the beautiful blue sky that gives him warmth; the strength in his body that allows him to be raising his hand. All provided by the same God whom he proclaims is his enemy. The irony of people like this is that God’s Bible (as is His custom) references their predictable absurdity long before He decided to breathe breath into their bodies. Take the case of God’s response to Job (a far more righteous man than this) when Job questioned God with far more righteous motivations than our present day Mr. IED: "Listen to this, Job; stop and consider God's wonders. Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised, those wonders of him who is perfect in knowledge? (Job 37:14-16 NIV); Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said…"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone(Job 38:1, 4-6 NIV) God goes on to ask: Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you set up God's dominion over the earth? "Can you raise your voice to the clouds and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way? Do they report to you, `Here we are'? (Job 38:33-35 NIV)

This man as extreme as he may appear to some is actually quite representative of large swaths of our society. They rail against God in sneering defiance, while at the same time enjoying the gifts, which God alone provides to them. You see them everyday…getting their tans from God’s sun, while they bask on God’s sand, enjoying the wondrous beauty of God’s sea waves. To them God may ask: "Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place, when I said, `This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt'? (Job 38:8-11 NIV).

The absurdity of these kinds of people would be humorous if it wasn’t also so sad. What appalling lack of gratitude? Imagine how you would feel, if you invited some kids unto your property, allowed them use of your swimming pool, fixed and gave them a nice lunch, allowed them the run of your yard, only to have them sneer at you and call you their enemy. How absurd!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

DaVinci Code and the Ten Toes

It is not terribly surprising that the DaVinci Code is a runaway commercial hit throughout the mass media in the last few years. The Devil is always at work trying to undermine the work of Jesus Christ. We as people are mere pawns in his deceptive hands, as he beguiles us with his commands that we as people mistake as the product of our own creative abilities. That I believe is Dan Brown’s current condition. With the adulation of a fawning secular press, Mr. Brown’s book and movie stamps him as a “genius” of literary renown. Look, even an A-List actor such as Tom Hanks confirms Mr. Brown’s brilliance by agreeing to be a “star” in his movie.

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (modern day Iraq) was told indirectly of the Dan Browns of the world thousands of years ago by a humble Hebrew prophet by the name of Daniel. If you are a Christian, you may know the story told in the Book of Daniel, where King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream about a statue, that was in effect a foretelling by God of the future world kingdoms that were to come, with Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, being the first one. His Kingdom was to be followed chronologically by the Persians, the Greeks and the Romans. Daniel foretold it this way: "This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. "After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron--for iron breaks and smashes everything--and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. (Daniel 2: 36-43 NIV)

The DaVinci Code and all that goes with it is part of that fourth kingdom, specifically the toes (partly strong & partly brittle). The DaVinci Code is all about Rome. It is more about Rome than it is about Jesus Christ – of that you can be certain. The DaVinci Code tells lies about Jesus Christ, but indirectly screams truth about the Roman Empire of which Daniel spoke about thousands of years ago. The Catholic Church rightfully decries the DaVinci Code, and perhaps some people will heed their call. However, I submit that the influence of Rome based on centuries of attempting to usurp Jesus’ authority, is far more influential than the Pope’s current ability to reign in people’s fascination with the vestiges of DaVinci. That combined with the near biblical illiteracy of many Christians not to mention the ignorance of non-believers, creates the ease with which the Devil will use the DaVinci Code to further create biblical zombies of those who will absorb Dan Brown’s material as genuine fact.

Daniel’s point to King Nebuchadnezzar was that his kingdom and the three that were to come were simply no match for the true Kingdom that would put an end to them all. This was to be the Kingdom of Jesus Christ: "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. "The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy." (Daniel 2:44-45 NIV). Here Daniel clearly indicated that each of these world kingdoms were temporary. We are currently living within the last of these kingdoms (the Roman kingdom) prior to the establishment of the permanent kingdom of Jesus Christ. I am not one to speculate about date setting the time of Jesus’ return, however, this I believe is one of the most clear indicators within scripture that we are in fact in the latter stages of human history. All of the chronological phases of Nebuchadnezzar’s statue has come and gone except for the ten toes.

The DaVinci Code logo is a headshot of the Mona Lisa. It is dripping with the earthly credibility of religious Rome. Indirectly, that is why so many people have been drawn to the book and will be drawn to the movie – despite the protestation of the Vatican. Religious Rome is in God’s eyes the last of these four world kingdoms. Has been for several hundred years. It was no surprise that one year ago, the death of the Pope was headline news throughout the world for weeks! Daniel described the ten toes as partially strong and partially brittle. The strength could be seen in the headlines of a year ago. It is strength in its ability to galvanize people. Strength in numbers! The fuss about the DaVinci Code is proving that once again. What religious Rome has unleashed over hundreds of years cannot now be stopped ironically even by the protestations of the Pope. The Pope knows that this Dan Brown book is vile and toxic in its assault on God and Jesus Christ. Yet religious Rome and its intoxication of the people run roughshod over the Vatican’s cry for order! Perhaps if the Vatican had helped to teach people about God’s written word in the language of the common man, the masses would have been educated enough to know better. The weakness of religious Rome however is it’s inability to truly convey the glory of God. The glory of God as manifests in people can only be found with the presence of God’s Holy Spirit: The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV).

It is interesting to see King Nebuchadnezzar’s response once he was informed of God’s plan when Daniel finished telling him about the golden statue: Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery." (Daniel 2:46-47 NIV) We can only hope that as people are informed of this God of gods, they too will humble themselves before Him, and worship Him also in kind.

A God who sends people to Hell?