The fragile plight of this earth and its nations came shattering into the headlines this week as bombings in both Baghdad and Jerusalem continued the downward spiral of terror.
The attack on a so-called “soft” target in Baghdad now stands as the worst directed at the U.N. in its history. A leading and respected U.N. representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello (55), was among the many dead. According to USA Today, “At least 20 U.N. workers and Iraqis were killed… and 100 were wounded.”
After a very short respite, Jerusalem witnessed another unspeakable incident of carnage on Wednesday as some 20 people were killed, and about hundred were injured, nearly reaching the same numbers of deaths and injuries as those in Baghdad. There was an edge in the Israeli response that portends of reprisals that may well take on shocking proportions. As USA Today reported on Thursday, “Israel killed a senior Hamas political leader [Ismail Abu Shanab] in a missile strike Thursday, retaliating for a suicide bombing of a bus in which 20 people died including six children. Hamas vowed revenge and, along with Islamic Jihad, formally abandoned a truce declared eight weeks ago.” The newspaper continued, “Abu Shanab was widely regarded as a moderate in the group, and served as a liaison with [Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud] Abbas during the prime minister’s efforts to persuade Hamas to halt attacks.”
The suicide bombing in Jerusalem followed an Israeli announcement on Tuesday that “it would press on with construction of a barrier through the West Bank, confiscating Palestinian property near Jerusalem for a project that has drawn harsh criticism from the United States,” according to USA Today. The article continued: “Israel plans a series of massive cement walls, electronic fencing, barbed wire and trenches between the West Bank and Israel to prevent suicide bombers from launching attacks. The plan, which already has seen sections built in Jerusalem and the West Bank, has outraged Palestinians, and President Bush has called it ‘a problem.’ But Israel’s defense minister was adamant Tuesday that the project had already prevented attacks and would go ahead at full-speed.”
In the meantime, as reported by the Associated Press, “Pope John Paul prayed Wednesday that world leaders find wisdom to end a ‘woeful spiral of hatred’ after deadly bombings in Baghdad and Jerusalem.”
Jeremiah conveys warnings from God about a future time when people would talk about peace and resolution of problems, but this peace would not materialize into anything lasting: “They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, Saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is NO PEACE” (Jeremiah 6:14).
Those who look to God must realize that true peace, lasting peace, will not be brought about between people who hate each other. Rather, Jesus Christ will return and ESTABLISH PEACE–with great power! At that time peace will become the order of the day, and no longer will there be wars or senseless, hate-filled bombings and reprisals that destroy lives. It might be timely to once again review our booklet, “The Gospel of the Kingdom of God.” The only time when mankind can truly proclaim, “Peace, peace!,” is when that Kingdom and God’s perfect government are established on the earth! It is then that Matthew 6:10 will find its fulfillment: ” ‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.’ “
THE GREAT DARKNESS
“The largest blackout in American history prompted new calls Friday for overhauling the nation’s electricity system even as investigators searched for clues to what might have triggered the power outrages from New England to Michigan,” according to USA Today. “The early confusion underscored the bedeviling complexity woven into the North American electricity network in recent decades, the boom in cross-border power trading, and the interdependence of the many parts and partners multiplied by energy deregulation… ‘We’re the world’s greatest superpower, but we have a Third World electricity grid,’ said former Energy Secretary Bill Richardson, now governor of New Mexico.” In a follow-up article, USA Today stated, “The electric power grid might be more vulnerable to a cyperattack today than it was on September 11, 2001.”
Der Spiegel Online published an article on August 18, 2003, titled, “The great darkness.” It pointed out: “America between appearance and reality. The collapse of the power grid in the Northeast revealed the weaknesses of the superpower’s infrastructure.” It continued, “All of this because of a faulty fuse? Is it that easy to tie down the muscle-bound Gulliver, to cripple his massive force? What can terrorists learn from this amazingly banal weakness of the hated USA? In Europe, especially in the ‘old’ part bordering the ‘new’ NATO member states of Eastern Europe…, people were rubbing their eyes in disbelief. This could not be true. The Americans… can’t even provide electricity to a large portion of their population?”
According to Bild Online, a similar blackout is presently not a threat for Europe. However, unless 30 billion Euros are spent within the next ten years to invest in the electricity system and network, a similar blackout could occur by then.
HEATWAVE IN FRANCE
USA Today reported on Thursday, August 21, that “some 10,000 people had died” from the recent heat wave in France. Bild Online pointed out that this “unique national catastrophe” has created additional problems relating to the disposal all the corpses. The government of France is blamed for “insufficiencies” in the health care system, and that it did “too little, too late in the face of the heat wave and the scores of deaths it caused,” according to USA Today.
WHY GERMANY NEEDS EUROPE
According to Hanns Maull, Chairman for Foreign Policy and International Relations at the University of Trier, Germany needs to chose France, Europe, and supranationalism over America, NATO, and transatlantic cooperation. In an article, titled, “Why Germany Needs to Chose Europe Over America,” published by www.deutsche-aussenpolitik.de, he also stated, “A European Union which seriously moved towards a Defence Union would enable security co-operation to be re-equilibrated from one-sided dependence towards a meaningful division of labour. This would no doubt require duplication in military assets — yet American objections to that ultimately reflect a desire to keep the European allies on a leash… Europe and the transatlantic community both need a stronger, more purposeful European Union, including a European Defence Union.”
EUROPE AND THE POPE
USA Today reported this week that, according to Pope John Paul II, “Europe is suffering a crisis in values and expressed hope that the addition of 10 more countries in the European Union next year would be an occasion for the continent’s renewal. The pontiff in recent weeks has decried what he calls a movement away in Europe from its Christian roots. ‘You can’t deny, that in these times of ours, Europe is going through a crisis in values, and it is important that it recovers its true identity,’ John Paul told pilgrims and tourists… Of the 10 nations scheduled to join the European Union next year, some, like Malta, Slovakia and the pope’s native Poland, are heavily Roman Catholic. The Vatican has mounted a campaign to persuade EU leaders to include a reference to Christianity’s role in Europe in the Union’s new constitution, which is being prepared.”
In another bizarre twist of human deviation and depravity, “Scientists in China have for the first time used cloning techniques to create hybrid embryos that contain a mix of DNA from humans and rabbits,” according to “The Charlotte Observer” of August 14. “More than 100 of the hybrids made, by fusing human skin cells with rabbit eggs, were allowed to develop for several days before the scientists destroyed them… Although scientists in Massachusetts had previously mixed human cells and cow eggs in a similar attempt to make hybrid embryos for stem cells, those experiments were not successful… Some wondered what, exactly, such a creature would be if it were to develop to term… No one knows if such an embryo could develop into a viable fetus, though experiments with other species suggest it would not.”
As early as in the book of Genesis, God warns that “nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them” (Genesis 11:6). At that time, God stopped “human progress” by confusing their language and by scattering them abroad over the face of all the earth (vv. 7-9). May God intervene soon a second time, before man’s unlimited madness will actually be successful in creating such hybrids of animals and people.
WEST NILE CASES INCREASE IN COLORADO
USA Today stated on Wednesday that “Two Colorado counties declared public health emergencies and the state has requested federal money for mosquito spraying as the peak of West Nile season approaches. Colorado leads the nation with 392 human West Nile cases and seven deaths… Nationwide, the agency [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] has confirmed 536 West Nile cases and 11 deaths.” This last figure is undoubtedly too low, as the same agency had only confirmed 257 Colorado cases and only six deaths, according to the newspaper.
“CO” FACES MILITARY COURT
thestar.com reported on August 16 that a “Conscientious Objector” is the first American during the Iraq war to face possible court-martial for his refusal to serve. Stephen Funk, a 21-year-old gay marine reservist, admits that he missed 47 days of training but says that he was preparing his conscientious objector (CO) application. “To be approved as a CO by any of the forces involves a three-to 12-month investigation. ‘They have to prove conclusively, shortly after joining, that they have had this conviction, if you will,’ [according to] marine reserves spokesperson Capt. Patrick Kerr.” The article continued, “Funk explains he became opposed to military service after ‘Kill! Kill!’ orders during boot-camp drills… ‘I had figured out that war itself was immoral and could not be justified… Yet everyone told me it was futile to try to get out. We were trained to be subordinate in our thoughts, words and actions.’… After being called to join the Iraq war, he said,’ I could no longer just obey.'”
“Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore on Wednesday lost a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court to save a Ten Commandments monument he installed in a judicial building, clearing the way for its removal” (Associated Press). As USA Today reported, the monument “was walked off from public view Thursday.”
Over the past few weeks a legal battle has raged in Montgomery, Alabama, over a monument with at least a short form of the Ten Commandments. Yet, when examined closely, this current battle reflects the anti-God, anti-religion element in America, and it additionally shows how little impact signs and monuments of this nature actually have.
Note God’s view as recorded of His people in Isaiah 48:1-2: ” ‘Hear this, O house of Jacob, Who are called by the name of Israel, and have come forth from the wellsprings of Judah; Who swear by the name of the LORD, And make mention of the God of Israel, But not in truth or in righteousness; for they call themselves after the holy city, And lean on the God of Israel; The LORD of hosts is His name.’ “
Just how certain and true these words are is reflected in the fact that even the Supreme Court of the United States displays the Ten Commandments — the same court which rejects an appeal to uphold the freedom to retain God in public life. One of those commandments among the ten has something very specific to say about the Sabbath, while others forbid the worship of foreign gods or the creation of images of the true God, as well as adultery, killing, stealing, lying, or coveting. The point remains, it does very little good to post rules on conduct if those rules have no real bearing on how people actually live their lives! Looking at the removed monument from that standpoint, the practical difference whether it can be viewed or not may not be all that great.
There are currently over 800 fires burning in the Province of British Columbia. The closest one is only 6 kilometers away. We are in no immediate danger since the fires are burning on the other side of the lake. There are1000 homes on one hour evacuation notice affecting 3000 people. Some are located in East Kelowna and the rest in Naramata, a town north and east of Penticton. Today on the way home from work I could not see the mountains on the east side of the lake because of the smoke. The whole Okanagan valley is filled with smoke. I was working outside this morning and the smoke made the sun look red. It reminded me of the Scripture in Joel 2:31: “The sun becomes darkness and the moon as blood” (paraphrased). The smoke made the sun look red, a bit of a reminder of what lies ahead in the Great Tribulation. The fire has tripled in size in one day, so who knows what tomorrow will bring. –Rene Messier