-And the LORD answered me, and said,
             Write the vision,and make it plain upon tables,
                    that he may run that readeth it. 
                   - (Hab 2:2)


Prophetic Page


Eight Souls
In the age when men lived to be nearly a thousand years old, wickedness became so great that God only saved eight people.

The Power Of The Blood
The power of the blood of Christ to cleanse us from all sin.

Power Of Prayer
A look at prayer and and its great importance to a genuine Christian.

Trials And Tribulations
A look at our trials as Christians, why we go through them and how to do so successfully.

God's Protection In Times Of Trial

Thinking The Unthinkable
A look at the possibility of Nuclear War

Pole Shift: A Brief Speculative Look

The Day Of The Lord

Prayer: Standing In The Gap

The Sufficiency Of Christ

Standing In The Gap

Discerning The Times

Truth Averse

An Open Letter To Black Lives Matter:
How to avoid being ensnared in the ongoing Federal operation 'Ni∓∓er Catcher' and 'Black Snare', run out of the US intelligence community and certain sections of Law Enforcement. These operations do exist, though naturally not with those pejorative titles. They are not legal, nor are they officially recognized but key people in high positions run these operations that specifically target Black Americans and certain White Americans who seek justice, truth and use their rights to bring these things back to our once great nation. The impetus comes from the US Intelligence community - LE does the footwork. This is what they did to so many civil rights leaders back in the 60's and 70's. They have honed their skills for the technology of the 21st century.

The Harvest

An Open Letter To Senator Mikulski And The Senate Select Committee On Intelligence


Christ, Family and Persecution

Obadiah: Divine Geopolitics
- Is the Lord concerned about geopolitics?


Other Resources
(most are in PDF format)

Select Congressional Committee Investigating Illegal Practices In The Abortion Industry

Congressional Report On STOPPING TERROR FINANCE:

Congress Faced with Critical Acquisition Decisions

Iran: Ministry Of Intelligence And Internal Security - LOC

Global Trends 2030 - NIE

High Unemployment And GDP - CRS

Internet Governance and the Domain Name System: Issues for Congress

DOJ Lethal Force Justification Against US Citizens

Global Trends 2030

US Vulnerabilities To Money Laundering, Drugs And Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History
- US Senate

Intelligence Committee Report On Huawei

Major Arms Transfers - CRS

The Crisis In Mali - CRS

The Crisis In Syria - CRS

Posse Comitatus - CRS

Iran: Nuclear Intentions And Capabilities

State Department Report On Religious Persecution

State Department Report On Religious Persecution (Constitutional Review for OIC) - 2012

US Naval Modifications For China's Rise - CRS

UAE: US Policy Issues - CRS

Senate Report On Counterfeit Parts In DOD Supply Chain

2012 Annual Report To Congress On Chinese Military - DOD

Water Security - CIA/NIC

Syria's Phase Of Radicalization - ICG

Oil Imports And Exports - CRS

Pivot To The Pacific - CRS

Official US Military Report On Nazi Germany's IG Farben- DOD

Chinese Naval Modernization - CRS

Isreal's Possible strike On Iran - CRS

Iran Policy Concerns - CRS

Food Aid To NK - CRS

Aid To Pakistan

(Senate Hearing)

DOD Missing Trillions

(official audit)

GAO's Audit of the FED Report


Chinese Naval Modernization - CRS

Human Rights In China - CRS

US-China Trade Issues - CRS

US-China Miliary Contacts - CRS

US- Taiwan Arms Sales - CRS

China's Currency: Analysis Of Issues - CRS

The Debt Limit; Gov't Operations - CRS

China's Acquisition of US Technology - Congress

Secret Law And the Threat To Democracy - Senate Judiciary Comm.

Links I Like
From all over the Christian spectrum!

Last Days Of The Age
The Endtime Pilgrim
The First Trumpet
The Last Trumpet

Spirit Daily

(Catholic... great news links)

Orthodox Today
(A look at today from an Orthodox Perspective)
The Assyrian News Agency
(A look at events in Iraq)
The Barnabas Fund
China Aid
(A look at events inside China, from a Christian Perspective)
Gay Christian Movement Watch
(A hard-hitting blog talking about the growing sin of Homosexuality inside the Church)
Independent Catholic News
Jihad Watch
(Not Christian, but gets into important trends in the Islamic world)
Compass Direct
(Persecution news)

Babylon Today


Last Updated
21 Aug 2019


For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words,
of him shall the Son of man be ashamed,
when he shall come in his own glory,
and in his Father's, and of the holy angels.
(Luk 9:26)

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand,
I shall not be moved.
(Psa 16:8)


Mark can be reached here.

21 Aug

Persecution News

In Somaliland a Woman was beaten and then divorced for having Bible. Morning Star News reports
“There and then he took our two daughters away from me and divorced me,” she told Morning Star News. “He gave me a stern warning that I should not come close to the children, and that if I do, he will take the Bible to the Islamic court and I will be killed by stoning for becoming an apostate.”
Somalia’s constitution establishes Islam as the state religion and prohibits the propagation of any other religion, according to the U.S. State Department. It also requires that laws comply with sharia (Islamic law) principles, with no exceptions in application for non-Muslims." - Story Continues At MorningStar News

In Turkey the ICC talks about the nation's disappearing Christian leadership. It is a story of a lack of leaders and the deportation of foreign pastors by the government. Gatestone Institute has a great story on the Extinction of Christians in the Middle East, a problem that seems to be of little real interest to a world more interested in wealth accumulation, interest rates, gay sex and hot button political issues than right and wrong.

Faithwire asks where is the media coverage on the horrible events in Nigeria. In Mexico, a Pastor was shot dead in his Pulpit, according to the Christian Post. While they are not sure of the motive, Christians have been under attack in this part of Mexico.

... then there are stories like this.

What did our Lord tell us?

These things have I spoken unto you,
that ye should not be offended.
They shall put you out of the synagogues:
 yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you
will think that he doeth God service.
And these things will they do unto you,
because they have not known the Father,
 nor me.
(Joh 16:1-3)

Let none of the things we see in this wicked world shock us brothers, we are going to be hated by all men for his names sake, but he that endures to the end, the same shall be saved.

How many were saved in Noah's day? Eight Souls.

20 Aug

Habakkuk Part VIII

Behold, is it not of the LORD of hosts
that the people shall labour in the very fire,
and the people shall weary themselves
for very vanity?
(Hab 2:13)

This passage appears to refer to many of the great works that emperors and tyrants made. People worked and sweated to build those huge monuments to mankind's arrogance. Powerful men, overseers and slaves built them, but the Lord calls their work 'very vanity'; something empty and having no purpose. The reference to fire however, may mean that it is by fire that their work is destined (Barnes). Probably as a judgment on the bloody city (Gill). I think of the modern day skyscrapers and massive towers and even artificial islands that men often build as a monument to himself as a kind of modern day equivalent. Though back in the days of Habakkuk, a very harsh form of slavery was present.

The Preachers Homiletical makes this point in one of this chapter headings - that the city was being built with the wrong materials (blood) and was established in iniquity and would be dealt with by God. .

For the earth shall be filled with the
knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
as the waters cover the sea.
(Hab 2:14)

In contrast to the cities of blood and monuments to men, the prophet here contrasts that with a word that the whole earth shall one day be filled with the knowledge of the Lord. Which is based, not bloodshed and gain or on the backs of slaves, but on holiness, righteousness, justice and peace. A total contrast from the afore mentioned city. This passage I think is referring to the final return of the Messiah in Glory.
Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink,
that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also,
 that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
Thou art filled with shame for glory: drink thou also,
and let thy foreskin be uncovered: the cup of the LORD'S
right hand shall be turned unto thee, and shameful
spewing shall be on thy glory.
(Hab 2:15-16)

Here the drunkards are lambasted. Not just for getting drunk, but getting their neighbors drunk as well, just so they can look upon their nakedness. Mathew Henry makes the observation that this was the sin of Belshazzar, who was drunken at a party. A party where he drank before a thousand people (Dan 5:1). The passage may also be allegorical - where a king who is drunken with power and lust for goods brings both his victim, his ally and himself to shame.

For the violence of Lebanon shall cover thee,
 and the spoil of beasts, which made them afraid,
because of men's blood, and for the violence of the land,
of the city, and of all that dwell therein.
(Hab 2:17)

This passage is not clear as to what is meant by violence of Lebanon, weather it be the actual violence of the people or the violence done to them by a conquering army. Also, what exactly is referred to as beasts is debated by many commentaries. I won't get into it here, but rather concentrate on the reasons for this judgment on the people. It was because of men's blood and because of violence in both the land and in the city and all that dwell there in.

God hates violence. The cities of those days were clearly marked out for a significant amount of it and this is what the prophet is speaking about. Let us remember his earlier complaints to the Lord.

O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear!
even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou
wilt not save!
(Hab 1:2)

Yes, violence is something that will surely win the ire of the Lord.

We will continue our look at Habakkuk as time and God permits!!

Brother Mark

15 Aug

KAZAKHSTAN: Officials try to force registration signature withdrawals

Forum18 - Officials harassing founders of religious communities, possibly trying to block applications to exist. In May 2019 police began harassing Oskemen's New Life Church founders as it sought re-registration. Officers visited several late at night, threatening one woman in her late 70s. Aktau's Hare Krishna community has faced similar harassment. - Story Continues at Forum18

Gabbard Takes 2 Weeks Off From Prez Campaign

Why? To report for active duty in a military exercise overseas. The Hill reports.

She is very much a pro-peace candidate but she understands that freedom is not free.

I too love peace for in my view there are only two kinds of Americans who love war - the mentally unstable and those who have never been in one and just don't have a clue what a war really means.

Not the Hollywood version of war, sitting in a comfortable chair with a mouthful of popcorn watching the pyrotechnics on a silver screen, but the 'I lost a leg, my kids and have to live in this refugee camp with barely enough to eat because of war' version of war.

It's why I listen to people like Gabbard (who is a veteran) and not to other politico's who never came close to military service or war but sure love to do their best to drive us into them, time and time again.

Saint News

US Christian Churches See Little Need To Repent Of Racist Past
Christian Post reports in the link above. Missing from the piece is how many Churches in the past were part and parcel of the racist problem, particularly in the South. If you did not know, the old KKK required its members to be white, male but also required them to be 'christian'. What did these so called Christians do? They went out and persecuted, lynched and killed Black folks and Jews.

No, some kind of real understanding and repentance of what went on back then needs to be dealt with because of the rising tide of hate and violent White Supremacy that is sweeping the land. In the minds of many who know not the history, both Christianity and White Nationalism are being linked in their minds.

Yes, the American Church needs to really come to terms on this and a whole range of issues in its past.

Nineveh Plains Report On Persecution
The report from Persecution.org looks at events, including the resurgence of ISIS in Mesopotamia.

In other persecution news, in Burma (Myanmar) christian villagers were released after six months of captivity. As tensions heat up in Kashmir, Christians are concerned that the political dynamics will bring in persecution, so reports one EU Christian news site.

In Algeria, authorities closed a Church during services. In China, Xi's anti-Christ agenda is picking up steam, he has removed all Christian references to Children's classics, there are many stories recently posted on the web outlining just what Chian is up to on this. Where is Xi taking China? The cult of personality coupled with labor camps, mass censorship and surveillance and rising militarism. His policies, like the aforementioned despots have the stench of death about them. Who else in the past had policies like that?

I say these things not to denigrate China, its people or even its government officials, many of whom are not wild about many of these new policies, but to outline that major fundamental shift now going on in China under this dangerous new leader. Yet, let us all pray for President Xi as we are enjoined to do in scripture, that he relents on these policies and shifts things in a way more acceptable to both Christians and the Chinese people.

In India, Modi may move to prevent any and all Religious Conversions in a new bill. While I don't spend much time outlining Muslim Persecution, this is one story that should cause us all concern. Reports are that Ethnic Uighurs being sent from Turkey to China via Tajikistan - perhaps after being drugged. Will this be in the future for many Christians as well?

In the US, a 41 year old Chaldean Catholic died in Iraq after having been deported by the US to that country, where his safety was clearly in serious question. His name was Jimmy Al-Daoud. Reports are that after his deportation, he was homeless.

In Nepal, it is still a crime to convert as this man found out.

On a much more positive note, Christianity in Iran is reportedly exploding. People are coming to Christ, according to this Canadian site.

Lots of things happening to the world's Christians. Let us always remember our brothers and sisters in Christ in our prayers.

12 Aug

Nehemiah XXXIX

And the priest the son of Aaron shall be with the Levites, when the Levites take tithes:
 and the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes unto the house of our God,
 to the chambers, into the treasure house. For the children of Israel and the children of
Levi shall bring the offering of the corn, of the new wine, and the oil, unto the chambers,
 where are the vessels of the sanctuary, and the priests that minister, and the porters,
and the singers: and we will not forsake the house of our God.
(Neh 10:38-39)

We pick up here as the passage continues on with the duties of the Priesthood, this after the obligations of the people to support their religious worship were outlined. Today, we don't do that, not to the degree as we should. Now one of the things I have respected about Islam is that they put money into their religion and religious system as well as religious education. The rich men of Islam put millions of dollars into their religion. The ordinary Muslim does the same thing. But in this nation, with Christians too often Churches go under because the people don't give and support the Church and the minister who serves them. They have other priorities, a newer car when the one they have is only two years old, an expensive vacation, the third, $15k kitchen remodeling over the last 10 years. These are more important to far too many of the average American Christian than their religion and the Christ they claim (key word) to adore. Many of those will be among those who say "Lord, Lord...." (Luk 7:21ff)  or will be as the unwise steward (Matt 25:14). Each group were cast into the outer darkness.

The Temple was the center of their lives in Israel. Christ Jesus should be the center of ours. If he really is, it will show in how we treat those who minister for the Lord. The evangelist, the preacher, the teacher, the prophet and the layperson who does charity work for the Kingdom.

In the Old testament the principle of the tithe (10%) was fully in force. Verse 38 appears to show that the Levites had to give of their own tithes unto the work of God. So according to some, the Levites were not exempt from tithing. But the passage has caused many to comment a bit differently. K&D gives us some of that debate here.

These offerings of first-fruits were to be brought into the chambers of the house of God, where they were to be kept in store, and distributed to the priests for their support. “And the tithes of our ground (will we bring) to the Levites; and they, the Levites, receive the tithes in all our country towns. (Neh_10:39) And a priest, a son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites take tithes; and the Levites shall bring the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, into the chambers of the treasury.” The parenthetical sentences in these verses, הַֽמְעַשְׂרִים הַֽלְוִיִּם וְהֵם and הַֽלְוִיִּם בַּעְשֵׂר, have been variously understood. עָשַׂר in the Piel and Hiphil meaning elsewhere to pay tithe, comp. Deu_14:22; Deu_26:12; Gen_28:22, many expositors adhere to this meaning in these passages also, and translate Neh_10:38 : for they, the Levites, must give again the tenth (to the priests); and Neh_10:39 : when the Levites give the tenth; while the lxx, Vulgate, Syriac, Rashi, Aben Ezra, Clericus, Bertheau, and others, take עִשֵּׂר and הֶעֱשִׂיר in these sentences as signifying to collect tithe.

We prefer the latter view, as giving a more suitable sense. For the remark that the Levites must give back the tenth (Neh_10:38) does not present so appropriate a motive for the demand that the tithes should be paid, as that the tithes are due to the Levites. Still less does the addition, in our agricultural towns, suit the sentence: the Levites must give back the tithe to the priests. Again, the fact that it is not said till Neh_10:39 that the Levites have to give the tenth of the tenth to the priests, speaks still more against this view. A priest is to be present when the Levites take the tenth, so that the share of the priests may not be lessened. On “the tenth of the tenth,” comp. Num_18:26. Hezekiah had provided store-chambers in the temple, in which to deposit the tithes, 2Ch_31:11. - K & D Commentary

The passage as we see was not clear among scholars of the time of the writing of that commentary (both authors died in the late 1800's). The debate is an interesting one that probably has little real spiritual application, except for perhaps those who minister the gospel today.

But you now what? I find it of note here that Christ when he was here made it plain that his people had a duty both to Caesar and to God. Even Christ paid taxes but that did not absolve us of our godly obligations, which in Christ's time, was a tithe of all. I am often asked about my views on tithing. Many pastors demand it and say it is scriptural, making plain that the tithes should go to their Church. I cannot help but note a small but of self interest in that view. The fact is, the word tithe is not mentioned in relation to the Christian Church as a direct commandment. However, the clear implication is that a similar source of income for Christ's ministers is to come from the congregation.
Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach
the gospel should live of the gospel
(I Cor 9:13-14 [KJV])

God's gracious gift of salvation and his love for us should elicit in us that giving and generous spirit to the Lord's ministers, wherever they work. In the mission fields of Africa, to the refugee camps of Syria, to the Homeless shelters of Chicago, to the small country Church in Colorado. The passage above in Nehemiah (vs. 38) may imply for Christian ministers that they are not exempt from giving offerings, even though they earn their living from the gospel.

This may all seem like a bit of a digression, but I assure you it is not. Keep in mind the whole setting of the passage here in Nehemiah. They were coming back to the Lord and did not want to go astray again. These were all issues that the Priests knew had to be accomplished if they were to be acceptable to the Lord God, YHWH. In short, their obligations, or rather lack thereof to their religious duties to the priests and the Temple were part of the reason they fell away. Then they started showing respect to the gods of the nations around them and took after their ways and abominations.

As with most great sins, they get started with just a little thing, they stopped giving as much as they should to the the Lord. In our own lives this is how backsliding starts; little things. We don't give to ministers, we stop going to the Church's or fellowships that God has ordained we go to. Mind you many if not most of America's Churches are not teaching the whole counsel of God and many have gone after the ways of Sodom, Masonry and other forms of apostasy. Under no circumstances should we give to that. But for those of you fortunate enough to have found a pastor, preacher or teacher who is not ashamed of the whole word of God and teaches and gives good Godly counsel and teachings, honor the work he is  doing for the kingdom.

If you want to know what happens when people stop giving to the Church, take a look at Europe. Note that Muslims give to their religion, many Christians simply won't. Often it is not because of a lack of means, they just are not going to do it... other priorities. But after a while, if they really belong to Christ, he will send them leanness, financial and otherwise to remind them. A person with a high paying job may suddenly lose it. A good retirement check may suddenly stop as is happening all over the nation right now. A sudden illness that drains the bank account. God knows how to get a message to his wayward sheep who forget who the source of all their blessings is. Sometimes that reminder can be rather uncomfortable. The key is this - for Israel and to us - we must give to the kingdom and do so with a generous spirit. But my own personal word of advise to you all is this -  today, there is a lot of fraud and deception out there - pray earnestly first - there are no perfect ministers and ministries. but there are those who are doing their very best they can (within our fallen human capabilities) to serve the Lord honorably and to fulfill the task of their specific calling - give to those whom the Lord so directs and may God bless each of you with a seven-fold blessing who does this faithfully month after month.

This chapter ends with with a powerful word - We will not forsake the House of our God. This was one of the great stumbling blocks of the past. Forsaking the worship of God. The Temple was really to be the center of life in Israel. Before King David, remember, they had no King. The center of life in Israel was to be God. But the people in their lust to be like the nations around them did not want that any longer and wanted to be like the heathen around them. God, in his anger and disappointment gave them exactly what they wanted. What did they get? Exactly what they asked for. They became just like the the nations around them, so full of sin and iniquity that God threw them off the land that they had so thoroughly polluted (Eze 36:18).

Selah.. let us pause and consider

We will continue this study in Nehemiah next week, God willing!

Brother Mark

2 Aug

Summer Break!

Updates Will Return On The Week Of 12 Aug, God willing!

Yes, its summer break time and I'll be taking a much needed break from writing.

30 July

Habakkuk Part VII

Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house,
 that he may set his nest on high,
that he may be delivered from
the power of evil!
(Hab 2:9)

If there is any passage in the prophets that describes the geopolitical disease of our times, that one is probably one of the best. But not just politics, the whole 'greed is good' tenor of our troubled times. Let us remember, the first part of Habakkuk's answer was directed at the Chaldeans, this second part does not mention them. A great wrong is being committed here. First, it is trusting in riches, wickedly obtained to protect a person or in this case nation, from the evil he fears.

The passage certainly applies to Nebuchadnezzar, but also to any future 'Beast' system, who uses its power to devour resources for itself and its 'security'. This is one way to look at any 'beast' system, a large, strong system (or empire) that devours others when it is hungry... and it is always hungry for more.

The idea of setting ones nest on high, seems to be a reference to such security. The idea high towers or even skyscrapers that we have today, comes to mind. The rich corporate executives sit on high, deciding the fate of others, looking down on people on the street like so many insects. They often get a 'godlike' complex, thinking that they cannot be touched. Those who sit up on high and rob others thinking they are impregnable have a false sense of security and one that God has marked for rebuke and judgment.

 Thou hast consulted shame to thy house
by cutting off many people,
and hast sinned against thy soul.
(Hab 2:10)

The prophet goes on to outline the national sin. They cut off many people. The word cut off also has the connotation of to destroy (H7096). Nations and powerful men don't think God see's their sins and wickedness. But these actions will not bring glory and honor to those who do such things, but shame and contempt. The word consult here could mean to advise or to resolve or to deliberate. The meaning here is not 100% clear. But I think the Biblical Illustrator has a very insightful comment.
He includes in the word “consult” all the industry, diligence, skill, care, and labour displayed by the avaricious. We indeed see how very sagacious they are; for if they smell any gain at a distance, they draw it to themselves, night and day they form new designs, that they may circumvent this person and plunder that person and accumulate into their heap whatever money they can find, and also that they may join fields to fields, build great palaces, and secure great revenues. This is the reason why the prophet says that they “consult shame. - Biblical Illustrator
You know, I get the impression of a king with all of these counselors and consultants around him trying to help him find the most successful way of plundering a people or nation. Or a even a very powerful corporate executive or controller of a major cartel - how he can take over this or that company or shred his competition in any way they can. In America today, such consultants are very, very wealthy.

What they don't know is that they are sinning against their own souls. What does this mean? Their own souls will be forfeit because of what they do. There is a time when all men must give full account of deeds done in the body. How was it put in the book of Daniel?

 And many of them that sleep
in the dust of the earth shall awake,
some to everlasting life,
and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
(Daniel 12:2)

So it is with such men and what it means to sin against one's own soul for there are two resurrections. One before the Millennium reign of Christ, another after - let the reader understand.
For the stone shall cry out of the wall,
and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
(Hab 2:11)

This is an interesting passage. What is the prophet saying here? He is saying that the testimony, the witness of their wickedness will be told by the very stones that were used to build their palaces on high. The wall shall cry out about his crimes and the beams in the ceilings will answer, bear witness and recall as well. The very monuments they built unto themselves will be a key witness against them and cry an accusation of bloodshed.

Woe to him that buildeth a town with blood,
and stablisheth a city by iniquity!
(Hab 2:12)

Here the Lord speaks against the way cities are built by this 'beast' system; any beast system, ancient or modern.

The Barnes commentary marks this verse with a comment on how Nebuchadnezzar built his city with enormous security arrangements along with works of beauty. But do we not see the same things today? Nations even now are creating new security programs, surveillance camera's and underground bunkers (that they don't tell the people about because they are only for the rich and powerful) and other things to secure their respective nations. What about outer space, a place on high (Obadiah 1:4)? Bloodshed and cities built on it? Have you ever considered the history of NYC and how America's commerce center came to be what it is today? Its Mafiosi, its gangs and tongs? These woe's we must remember in this section are not directed to any one in particular and apply to any city or people who engage in such things in general. The work of their hands, those things they thought would bring them fame and security will cry out in accusation against them.

When Cain slew Able, what did the Lord say about it?

And he said, What hast thou done?
the voice of thy brother's blood crieth
unto me from the ground.
(Gen 4:10)

There is a testimony or perhaps we would call it 'incontrovertible evidence' that the Lord will use against such men when they stand before the Great White Throne judgment and must give account when the victims, stones, beams, cement shoes, bullet ridden corpses, bombed out hospitals, Churches and schools all stand and make their case against them.

We will continue our look at Habakkuk soon, God willing!!

26 July

Iran: Court Hearing For Converts Postponed After Judge Refuses Lawyer

(MEConcern) Iranian Christians request prayer for nine Christian converts associated with the “Church of Iran” who attended an aborted court hearing on 24 July.

The men were arrested in raids on house churches earlier this year. Seven of them were released on bail, the two exceptions being Pastor Matthias Haghnejad and Shahrooz Eslamdous.

Iranian Christians request prayer that:

a. The Lord will strengthen the faith of those detained and comfort their families
b. The defendants will have wisdom in dealing with the Iranian authorities
c. At the hearing on Sunday, the judge will be merciful towards the defendants and pay careful attention to their defence on 28 July
d.  Adopting a new belief will not be seen as a threat to national security in Iran and that converts from Islam will no longer be persecuted on account of their religious beliefs


Middle East Concern

URL for this prayer request: https://meconcern.org/2019/07/25/iran-court-hearing-for-converts-postponed-after-judge-refuses-lawyer/

Pregnant Mother Among Slain Christians in Nigeria

JOS, Nigeria (Morning Star News) – A pregnant mother of two children was among three Christians killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in north-central Nigeria the night of July 14 and morning of July 15, sources said.
Margaret Wakili, a 27-year-old member of the Baptist Church in Ancha village, Plateau state, was slain on her farm at about 10 a.m. on July 15, area residents told Morning Star News.

The herdsmen attacked the Christian communities of Ancha, Tafigana, Kperie, Hukke and Rikwechongu, killing the three Christians and burning down 75 houses and two church buildings, according to area residents Patience Moses, Zongo Lawrence and Chinge Dodo Ayuba. - Continues at MorningStar News Service

Cuba Prevented Pastors From Attending Religious Freedom Event In US

USCIRF Issues a statement about it.

24 July

Nehemiah XXXVIII

And that we would not give our daughters unto the people of the land,
nor take their daughters for our sons: And if the people of the land bring ware or any victuals on the sabbath day to sell, that we would not buy it of them on the sabbath, or on the holy day: and that we would leave the seventh year, and the exaction of every debt.

(Neh 10:30-31)

We left of last time with the people and their nobles joining themselves into an oath for both themselves and their offspring to observe the Mosaic law. That law had many specific prohibitions that they apparently, at least for some out of ignorance, were not observing. They were not doing right and now they had all decided in unison and in the presence of witnesses to begin to observe. One of the first things that needed to be done and something that Ezra was a stickler about was foreign marriages. The Lord did not like it and it was expressly forbidden.
Unwise, unholy and ungodly relationships are not a good thing brothers, God knew what would happen once Israel began to get foreign wives. Look at what happened to Solomon.  That was a real tragedy, when the wisest of the wise behaved most foolishly.

 But king Solomon loved many strange women,
 together with the daughter of Pharaoh,

women of the Moabites, Ammonites,
 Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites;
Of the nations
concerning which the LORD
said unto the children of Israel,
Ye shall not go in to them,
neither shall they come in unto you:
 for surely they will turn away your

heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love.
And he had seven
hundred wives, princesses,
and three hundred concubines: and his wives
away his heart.For it came to pass, when Solomon was old,
 that his
wives turned away his heart after other gods:
and his heart was not perfect
with the LORD his God,
as was the heart of David his father.
For Solomon
went after Ashtoreth the goddess
of the Zidonians, and after Milcom
abomination of the Ammonites.
And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD,
and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.
 Then did Solomon
build an high place for Chemosh,
 the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is

before Jerusalem, and for Molech,
the abomination of the children of Ammon.

And likewise did he for all his strange wives,
which burnt incense and sacrificed
their gods. And the LORD was angry with Solomon,
because his heart was
turned from the LORD God of Israel,
 which had appeared unto him twice,
And had commanded him concerning this thing,
that he should not go after other gods:
but he kept not that which the Lord commanded.
(I Kings 11:1-10 [KJV])

Often, I just don't think people realize how badly Solomon apostatized from the Lord. The saddest part is that there was no sign of repentance in him. Moreover it was as a direct result of Solomon's abominations, that Israel, once a single nation was split and became two. This is all relevant because we must remember that the people had gathered here to follow the covenant that Solomon and most of the kings who followed him so wickedly forsook.

 And the man Jeroboam was a mighty man of valour:
and Solomon seeing the
young man that he was industrious,
he made him ruler over all the charge
of the house of Joseph.
 And it came to pass at that time when Jeroboam
went out of Jerusalem, that the prophet
Ahijah the Shilonite found him in the way;

and he had clad himself with a new garment;
and they two were alone in the field:
And Ahijah caught the new garment that was on him,
and rent it in twelve pieces:
And he said to Jeroboam,
Take thee ten pieces: for thus saith the LORD,
God of Israel, Behold, I will rend the kingdom
out of the hand of Solomon,
and will give ten tribes to thee:
 (But he shall have one tribe for my servant
David’s sake,
and for Jerusalem’s sake, the city which
I have chosen out of
all the tribes of Israel:)
Because that they have forsaken me,
and have worshipped
Ashtoreth the goddess
 of the Zidonians, Chemosh the god of the Moabites,

and Milcom the god of the children of Ammon,
 and have not walked in my ways,

to do that which is right in mine eyes,
and to keep my statutes and my judgments,

as did David his father. Howbeit I will not take
the whole kingdom out of his hand:

but I will make him prince all the days of his life
for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose,

because he kept my commandments
and my statutes:

(I Kings 11:28-34 [KJV])
So here we see what was the cause of the kingdom's split. Israel went after these abominable gods and did great wickedness. It started with this - one man, one king who got himself involved with foreign women, ungodly relationships and unholy associations. Almost always we can find the root of larger sins have their beginnings with seemingly smaller sins. He got married to these women and he turned his heart from the God who gave him such remarkable and unmatched splendor in his time. So this promise and resolution coming first by this great assembly may not have been seen as such a big thing then, but it has a key and most important spiritual significance.

Let us never forget that whole concept of marriage and covenant were strongly related throughout the Old and New Testament with relation to God and his people. Today, we Christians need to really take heed to this. There are many Christian men and women who get involved with lost souls, unsaved 'significant others' and I can tell you this, the story will end the same as long as you keep your Christian faith. They, far more often than not, will one day turn you. against the Lord or turn on you. This is why there are so many admonitions against being unequally yoked with unbelievers.

Me? I always look at the deeper spiritual side of these things. When you get yourself involved with those who are not of the kingdom of God, you are linking yourself in an unwise way to the kingdom of this world and the prince thereof.  You have just given him an 'in' and a weapon he will one day try and use against you. Those who are not God's children, unbeknownst to themselves, are children of darkness. Sooner or later that darkness will appear and make itself plain. I know this from several personal experiences. Sooner or later the devil's kids will show themselves to be just that, the devil's kids. It may take awhile but the true face of people will eventually show itself. When Christ chose the 12 apostles he knew one of them was a devil and eventually the actions of that devil betrayed his true sonship.

Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve,
and one of you is a devil
He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon:

for he it was that should betray him,
being one of the twelve.
(John 6:70-71)

Bad relationships can really send us down a path from which few ever return. So those of you who are dating unbelievers, thinking about investing a lot of money going into business with unbelievers or doing anything that requires a lot of integrity and trust with those who know not God. Godly advice is simple, think twice. Sure, most don't take that advice...

... like Solomon.

Then there is the Sabbath. The Lord had commanded Israel to keep the sabbath and it was a law that fell out of favor over the years. Now as a result of the exile they were re-dedicated to keeping it. Keep in mind that the Sabbath was a pivotal part of the Law of Moses. Then there was the forgiving of debts. A set number of years was the rule and then the Jubilee was to happen, the forgiveness of debts. Keep in mind the earlier passages we went over about the heavy burden of debts many of the returnee's were under. One can understand how those with money, who had taken land for debts and other sundry wealthy men probably were behind Israel forgetting this commandment in years gone by.

Also we made ordinances for us,
to charge ourselves yearly with the third part of

a shekel for the service of the house of our God;
For the shewbread,
and for the continual meat offering,
and for the continual burnt offering,
of the sabbaths,
of the new moons, for the set feasts,
 and for the holy things,
and for the sin offerings
 to make an atonement for Israel,
and for all the work of the house of our God.

(Neh 10:32-33)

Now came the ordinances for the Temple and Priesthood. The Law made specific provision for those dedicated to the Lord's Service. Clearly this was one of the things that either they did not know or was not kept. In years gone by and certainly by virtue of the mass idolatry that was being practiced to varying degree's in the kingdom, the Priests of the Lord probably were not able to do the things required of them.

Moreover I think this needs to be said. Giving is Godly. A person who gives, demonstrates his godly nature. Christ taught us all us about giving. Giving to godly purposes, Churches, missions, evangelists is what we all quite frankly had better be doing with our increase. If not, God knows how to take that increase away.

The money we have and how we use it show us what kind of stewards we are. A good one or a wicked one. We have all heard the parable of the 10 talents. Each was given some money. What they did with that money decided not just how much more the Lord would give them, but even if they were eventually saved (Matt 25:25-30). All of these things seem to us today who are not under the Mosaic law may seem like 'ritualistic' things that the people promised to do. But each has far deeper spiritual implications that our Lord made plain during his ministry. Little sins lead to bigger ones and even bigger ones lead to apostasy.

 And we cast the lots among the priests, the Levites, and the people,
for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, after
the houses of our fathers, at times appointed year by year, to burn upon
the altar of the LORD our God, as it is written in the law:And to bring the
firstfruits of our ground, and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees,
 year by year, unto the house of the LORD: Also the firstborn of our sons,
and of our cattle, as it is written in the law, and the firstlings of our herds
and of our flocks, to bring to the house of our God, unto the priests that minister
in the house of our God: And that we should bring the firstfruits of our dough,
and our offerings, and the fruit of all manner of trees, of wine and of oil, unto the
priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and the tithes of our ground
unto the Levites, that the same Levites might have the tithes in all the cities of our tillage.
(Nehemiah 10:34-37 [KJV])

Here, just in case it was not clear, God is not asking of them to bring in the leavings, leftovers and castoff things or the goods we would give to the Salvation Army. He was looking at the first part, the best, the most choice part to give to his TRUE ministers, those whom he had anointed. While no such admonitions are given to us directly in the NT, the case of Ananias and Sapphira should give us all cause as to just how serious God looks upon his people giving support to Christian ministry and just what God thinks about those who try and defraud him (Acts 5:1ff).

Weather it is in the OT or NT, God demands that we all give to Christ's ministers, to ministry and the work of the Kingdom. But I think this whole exercise in giving does something else, it helps give us perspective on money and what it's true uses are. It tells the world where our heart lies -  with Luxury Car, McMansion and a trip to the Caribbean, or with Christ, Peter, Paul and our brothers around the world, many of whom are in deep need. The early church clearly had collections and it was to  be to the saints and for the work of the Kingdom (1Cor 16:1-2).

Today, brothers, there is tremendous need by Christians around the world. Give brothers and sisters give Our primary (but not sole) responsibility is to God's people and other Christians.

In closing because it is relevant, Here is how the JFB talks about the collection for the saints in 1Cor. I6:1ff. I post this as food for thought in these most troubled times with so many people becoming refugee's and many of them Christians.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given
order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first
 day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store,
as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when
 I come. And when I come, whomsoever ye shall approve
by your letters, them will I send to bring your liberality unto Jerusalem.
(I Corinthians 16:1-3 [KJV])

collection for the saints—at Jerusalem (Ro 15:26) and in Judea (Ac 11:29, 30; 24:17; compare 2Co 8:4; 9:1, 12). He says "saints" rather than "the poor," to remind the Corinthians that in giving, it is to the Lord's people, their own brethren in the faith. Towards the close of the national existence of the Jews, Judea and Jerusalem were harassed with various troubles, which in part affected the Jewish Christians. The community of goods which existed among them for a time gave temporary relief but tended ultimately to impoverish all by paralyzing individual exertion (Ac 2:44), and hence was soon discontinued. A beautiful fruit of grace it was, that he who had by persecutions robbed many of their all (Ac 26:10), should become the foremost in exertions for their relief.

as I have given—rather, "gave order," namely, during my journey through Galatia, that mentioned in Ac 18:23. The churches of Galatia and Phrygia were the last which Paul visited before writing this Epistle. He was now at Ephesus, and came thither immediately from visiting them (Ac 18:23; 19:1). That he had not been silent in Galatia on contributions for the poor, appears from the hint let fall in his Epistle to that church (Ga 2:10): an undesigned coincidence and mark of genuineness [PALEY, Horæ Paulinæ]. He proposes the Galatians as an example to the Corinthians, the Corinthians to the Macedonians, the Corinthians and Macedonians to the Romans (Ro 15:26, 27; 2Co 9:2). There is great force in example.
- JFB Commentary

Let's all give, but give wisely and do it so that we further the goals of the Kingdom, not just for a tax break!

We will continue Nehemiah next week, God willing!!

May God bless and keep all who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.


22 July

Habakkuk Part VI

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him:
but the just shall live by his faith. Yea also,
 because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man,
 neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell,
 and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth
unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:
(Hab 2:4-5)

Last time we left off, the Prophet was getting his word from the Lord. God told him to wait for the vision as it would tarry. We spent a bit of time on just two versus, but they help give the passage some context. This vision is for an appointed time... probably meaning at least partially, the time of the end.

What is interesting about this prophecy, that I believe follows on with the previous passages on waiting for fulfillment, is that while it is generally accepted that the prophecy was for the Babylonians of Habakkuk's day, it is not directly mentioned. Note that this prophecy appears at least at first to be directed at a person, 'His soul is lifted up' - he is a proud man and not a good one. But while the prophet begins his words against this dark prophetic figure, he gives a word of exhortation to the reader, which certainly gives us a clue as to when it should be fulfilled; it is at time when the just man lives by faith. We Christians know that faith is a key element of the Church age. Faith, the word alone is mentioned in 229 verses in the King James version. It is only mentioned twice in the Old Testament. Yes, this is a powerful exhortation, but also perhaps is a clue as to when its ultimate fulfillment will be and how God's people will live and overcome in those times.

While I believe this is primarily an end time prophecy, it is also quite befitting to the Chaldeans who were to come much closer to Habakkuk's time. King Nebuchadnezzar was such a man. He was an exceedingly proud man and one time his pride and arrogance drove him insane. The king had a dream and it was a warning to him. Daniel, troubled by it and ready to interpret the dream, prefaced it with "...My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. (Dan 4:19b)"

He was warned to break off his sins and iniquities. But a year later, he was back to his old patterns and said...

At the end of twelve months he walked
in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
The king spake, and said, Is not this great
 Babylon, that I have built for the house of
the kingdom by the might of my power,
and for the honour of my majesty?
While the word was in the king's mouth,
 there fell a voice from heaven, saying,
 O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken;
The kingdom is departed from thee.
(Dan 4:29-31)

Yes, Nebuchadnezzar was indeed a rather arrogant fellow. Then he went out of his mind for seven years, for when God warns, all should take heed. The king clearly did not heed the warning. Yet God had mercy on him. A proud man is a delusional one. He does not know that he came from the dust and to the dust he shall return. Our lives are little more than a puff of smoke blown in a wind.

Nebuchadnezzar also heaped up nations to himself as he was known as a great conquerer. The Assyrians, Egyptians, Judah, Nineveh... they all fell before the dread king. He was indeed by virtue of his miliary prowess and power to able to accomplish the heaping of nations unto himself.

He likes to drink and we know about the Royal Court of his days and the party atmosphere that was prevalent. We saw this in his successor Belshazzar who like is predecessor, was also warned by God. The prophet then goes on to describe him as being like the grave - full, yet always wanting and ready for more - insatiable.

Now we begin the section of the 'five Woes' of this coming ruler. I will highlight the Woe's as they come.

Shall not all these take up a parable against him,
 and a taunting proverb against him, and say,
 Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his!
 how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay!
(Hab 2:6)

The prophet foretells of a time when people, apparently those whom he victimized, will have a proverb, a saying they will use against and about him. It will be a taunt, not one of praise. The proverb will refer to the conqueror's systematic thievery and looting as he goes into nations and takes what he wants from them. How long will it continue, the proverb asks? The reference to thick clay appears to be one of precious things out of the earth. The word is not a simple one (H5671) and can mean clay or it can mean something pawned. The Word English Bible (WEB) likens this to and translated the word and idea as extortion. But the idea of a debtor, as the WEB translates verse seven is also intriguing in that in order to make war and pay armies, Kings often have to go into debt and sell things or pledge them as security.
Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee,
 and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt
be for booties unto them? Because thou
hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant
of the people shall spoil thee; because of men's blood,
and for the violence of the land, of the city,
and of all that dwell therein.
(Hab 2:7-8)
As it usually is with the wicked, their destruction is sudden and unexpected. Again, the WEB translation makes this verse synonymous with creditors or userers. The idea may be that suddenly, the King's debts become due and he has got a major problem. The other way to look at debtors and creditors are those whom he has stolen from are now seeking redress, spiritual and material redress. This is how Gill looks at the passage.

Shall not they rise up suddenly that shall bite thee,.... Or, "thy usurers", or "creditors" (d), as some render it; the Christians, whose money, goods, and substance, they had spoiled them of, but now should be repaid with great usury and gain; these, that is, their princes and emperors, as Constantine and Theodosius, rose up suddenly, and conquered the heathen emperors, and took away their power and authority from them, and their wealth and riches, and gave them to the Christians, what they and those under them had plundered them of: - Gill
The main thrust of the passage is sudden retribution. The tables are turned and then he, rather than they are now the booty. Barnes remarks that it was the

“The Medes and Persians who were before subject to the Babylonian empire, and whose kings were subject to Nebuchudnezzar and his successors, rose up and awaked, i. e., stirred themselves up in the days of Belshazzar to rebel against the successors of Nebuchadnezzar which sat on his throne, like a man who awaketh from sleep.” - Barnes
The prophecy makes clear that the remnant of the people will spoil him and moreover he tells why. Because of the bloodshed and the violence in both the land and the city. The passage is not clear as to which land or city this bloodshed is noted, but probably its vagueness was meant to refer to all conquered lands and it may even refer to Babylon herself. Let us keep in mind that violence was a key part of Babylon, she was called the hammer of the earth and end times Babylon is drunken with the blood of the saints.

Let us all remember that the spiritual stronghold behind Babylon is Satan. We see this in the OT and in the New, where the dragon fits in prominently in chapter Revelation chapter 13.

In the OT there is a dirge not dissimilar to this in Isaiah Chapter 14:4ff and moreover the very same section, like that in Rev 13 links this King with Lucifer (14:12) - proud, pompous and violent.

We will continue our look at Habakkuk as God wills!

19 July

FMR Nigerian President Warns Nigeria At Dangerous Tipping Point

The problem with the Fulani is not just an issue that effects Christians, it is threatening the stability of one of African's most important nations. The CFR reports in the above link.

Sudan’s Military Council and Protesters Officially Sign Deal 

Constitutional Talks to Take Place on Friday, July 19

07/18/2019 - Washington, D.C. (International Christian Concern) – International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that the Sudanese Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the protesters’ organization, Forces of Freedom and Change (FFC), have officially signed a power-sharing agreement in Khartoum, Sudan. This deal was signed on July 17, 2019, and states that there will be a new governmental body called the sovereign council. However, it is still unclear whether this council will hold true power, or if it will be more of a ceremonial body.

The council will be made up of roughly half civilians and half military leaders, though reports vary regarding whether the council will have 11 or 12 members. Despite these inconsistencies, it is known that the council will be led by a chairman, who will be from the military for the first 21 months, and then switch to a civilian for the following 18 months leading up to the elections in three years.

When asked about the climate in Khartoum, a local pastor, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “The civil protests have really affected the Church socially, emotionally, and financially. We have been tied for months because of the running battles, extrajudicial killings, failed peace talks, and many people, including our church members, must skip work due to instability. In such an environment where Islam is the main religion, anger and retaliation always fall back to the churches. Many churches have been forced to close down during Sunday worship as a sign of showing support for the unrest."

Sudan has long been a persecutor of Christians. Though there was initially hope that freedom of religion would increase with the fall of Omar al-Bashir, this has yet to happen. The pastor continued, “Today’s political agreement is a roadmap towards constitutional review talks that are planned for Friday, [July 19], and we hope that this positive start will bring relative calm, open an environment of coexistence between all the people of Sudan and a wider space of freedom of worship.” 

His hope for the future is that the Church would “be allowed to evangelize freely in the urban streets and also in the countryside. Missionary work and Bible distribution have been greatly affected in the recent past. We are asking for more tolerance.”

ICC’s Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, stated, “This could very well be a historic change for the country of Sudan and for its suffering Christian population. Now that the deal has been signed, it is time for the people of Sudan to ensure that the freedoms that they are calling for guarantee freedom for all, and not just some. If the new constitution does not guarantee freedom of religion for all, removing sharia as the guiding force, I fear that Christians will continue to live under tyranny and persecution.”
About ICC
International Christian Concern is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) charitable organization focused on human rights, religious freedom and assisting the persecuted Christian Church around the world.

International Christian Concern
2020 Pennsylvania Ave. NW #941, Washington, D.C. 20006
www.persecution.org | E-mail: icc@persecution.org

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You are free to disseminate this news story. We request that you reference International Christian Concern (ICC) and include our web address, www.persecution.org.

WHO Declares Emergency Over Congo Ebola

This follows the detection of the virus in the city of Goma.

18 July

Greetings to all of you who come by Watson's Web!

Some of you have asked what happened to many of the older files. The simple fact  is many are gone. Some will come back, others will not - a couple will be updated and reworked. This is being done for many reasons. This site has been here 19 years. It will be 20 in February. Many of the files were old, out of date, no longer relevant, etc. Secondly I am going to keep less material as archive going forward on the public page. The internet is changing maturing and as such this site needs to stay up to date on a whole range of issues, not just news and end times. From here on, I will keep the focus on the public page more on spiritual issues and go into depth on other issues privately.

Second, we are entering into the 2020 political season. The political gutter snipes will be out in force doing what they can to silence voices they don't like. One of the issues I had back in 2014-15 was the fact that many inside our 'deep state' did not like my views, so they tried to set me up. I don't think that is going to happen again here, but I have to focus on what is important here. Presidential politics is important, but there are a million-and-one talking heads out there taking about them and I prefer to stay out of that. Issues facing the nation I will deal with, but partisan politics I will not. Yes, I will continue to give my views, but the informed posts will remain for insiders - a small group of older, more mature Christians who read, understand and PRAY, not just recite and repost while in their 20 minute daily political rage.

But one thing I will continue to do is to occasionally write posts for policy makers whom I know many have come by here in the past to hear what the 'religious lunatic from Maryland' has to say(!)... and yes, I have been called that and was even jokingly referred to as eating locusts and wearing a hairshirt by some of the nations most powerful politicians. But you know what? Some listened... they really did so I will post some things along those lines from time to time right here on the public page.

That is why I am going to repost something I wrote for insiders a few weeks ago here now. It is a big issue. It may not seem like it, but how the government deals with this can have long range and enormous ramifications for everyone, from major corporations, to small creators, engineers, military contractors... anyone who does not want their work and significant investment in what they do for a living stolen. It is one key reason people encrypt things. It is essential.

End To End Encryption:

Trump Holds Closed Door Meeting
This is still a debate even if we are not hearing much about it.

End to End Encryption is a major problem for law enforcement. This is because they really cannot read information on hard drives or in the cloud that is stored in an encrypted format. This is why the FBI director is so adamant about this and getting at this kind of data. And in this respect he is correct, there should not be a place that is beyond the law or its duly appointed investigatory and enforcement powers. I won't get into the legitimate need for encryption. I think most reasonable people fully understand why it is essential in our world today. No, the problem is getting access to encrypted files in the process of a criminal investigation that the suspect won't or cannot turn over or if asking/demanding keys would compromise the investigation in progress.

In a perfect world, we could give LE some kind of secret backdoor into encrypted systems. But this is hardly a perfect world. Tools like that will almost certainly be abused and stolen by criminals or the nations enemies. The NSA lost a host of cybertools and so did the CIA. It is not a stretch to assume that the FBI would do the same in fairly short order. This is not a slam at the FBI, rather it is to acknowledge the skill of America's adversaries and their ability to obtain key secrets in the nation. A capability that has been demonstrated time and again.

What about a major firm who has spend millions patenting a new technology? They spent a sizable amount of time developing their product and suddenly because there was a backdoor to their servers put in by the government, it was stolen buy a state actor and put to market before they could even patent the tech. What about a journalist is about to do an exposè of people and nations involved in human and child sex trafficking? They have kept their data secret but those who know about the journalists work are going to try and get that information with names, pictures, bank transfers, etc. That journalist needs to be protected, not have a backdoor to their work so that others can destroy it or steal it. It opens the door to a lot of cybercrime that is difficult today because of encryption, once those tools are stolen.

I wish I had a good solution. But I think a 'go slow', approach may be best. Something along these lines. First of all, I think the German's may have it just about right. Rather than trying to get cooperation of others to decrypt, perhaps a legal cyber hacking capability should be developed to be used only under a warrant issued by a Judge, narrowly focused, of a short as duration needed.

How do you prevent those tools from being stolen? That is a hard one. But perhaps keeping the tools in 3-5 different agencies in parts that only make them useful when all the 'parts' are assembled, with a Federal Court (cleared Judge) having one of the parts. None of the parts can work alone and all must be assembled and the courts must approve a bona-fide warrant or the tools simply will not work. This may be a serious technological feat. But remember, once such tools are created, getting at that toolbox is going to be a major priority for foreign intelligence services. They are going to try very hard to get them. But now they have a harder task in getting to all the key people involved in each of the respective agencies Thus it will take more time for adversaries and probably be easier for counterintelligence people to spot attempts and develop countermeasures. Additionally these tools I think at first should only go for certain categories of crimes - National Security investigations (espionage/treason) as well as threats to critical infrastructure (banking government infrastructure, etc). Perhaps after the bugs get worked out, a very slow expansion can be tested to other kinds of serious crimes. Congress may authorize some of these things on a short term, renewable basis if the need were clearly explained to them and a way to reverse things quickly should problems forseen or unforeseen arise.

I am very much opposed to ways to break encryption. I don't like the idea. But recognize that cyberspace should not provide a haven for serious crimes and criminals. The government needs tools to deal with this but not violate the privacy of ordinary people, put their communications and work at risk and destroy businesses in a poorly conceptualized, sweeping attempt to capture low level criminals.

This is a problem and certainly not one that is easy to solve. Doing nothing is not an answer, and given the uncertainty on how best to go about this, a slow careful, narrow approach to the most serious crimes is probably the best way to go forward. Legal hacking (under judicial oversight) on a narrow, case by case basis should be considered with the greatest of care provided this is indeed technically possible.
Food for thought.

16 July

Intercessory Prayer Part II

These days, I am most careful about lifting up prayers for others. I do it and do it regularly, but there have been times I have not done so, when asked and other times I have done so, knew I would regret it and to this day deeply regret having prayed for some....... (part II begins here) Yes, there would be many people alive today if I had not prayed for certain people in life threatening situations. I kick myself daily, for it. In fact, I almost feel a bit of responsibility for those deaths that took place because this person used his time remaining on earth to bring so much trouble partially because I interceded for this person. I say these things not to rake up old matters, but to give you all something very important to consider when you pray.

Even with Abraham, he got his desire but at what cost? God was getting ready to do something that would deeply effect Abraham emotionally.

And the LORD said,
Shall I hide from Abraham that thing
which I do;
(Gen 18:17 [KJVA])

The result? Lot may have been saved, but he had incest with his daughters and their offspring became the Moabites and the Ammonites, two long time enemies of Israel. But the Lord really wants to grant our requests and in the case of Abraham, he did even despite these long range unintended consequences.

My point here is an important one on two fronts. First, God will hear us and earnestly desires that we come to him so he can grant our requests. But that we must be careful about what we are praying for, because again, there are sometimes unintended consequences for the things we ask God for.

When I pray, I am most careful and cautious, when I intercede for others. If I don't feel led to, I won't. I am not going to waste the Lord's time. I do this knowing that God will move and answer when I pray. I am not going to pray that Mr. Smith gets a promotion at his company if I know Mr. Smith has a deep integrity problem or has other issues that would make him undesirable as a boss. He may ask me to, but I won't do it. There are some folks who have forsaken the faith and taken to mocking God and his people - I will only pray that if possible they can repent and not lose their souls but beyond that, I don't even want such people in close proximity to me and I mean that most sincerely. They can go and take the demonic hordes that led them away from Christ as far away from me as humanly possible.

My point is an important one. Our prayers must be full of love for others, but that love for others must take into account all others effected by our prayers. Like the company Mr. Smith now wants to run. Sure it may be a sign of 'love' on some level that we want to see him do well, but what about the company and the people who work there and the clients who may be swindled by the person we have been asked to pray for? We must consider them as well.

I know this is a hard thing, but the sooner we get these concepts down the better we will be in the prayer closet. We are in a battle and no warrior keeps his enemy by his side or at his back. When folks make the clear and unmistakable 'demonic choice', other than a prayer for salvation, we should step back and let them have their way and focus our prayer energies on more productive matters.

Prayer for others must be done with some consideration as to what we are asking of God. But we must remember that even in Prayer there are limits as to what God will do. When Abraham prayed, he bargained with the Lord on the number, realizing there were some things God was going to do and some things, he was not going to do. There are limits to God's forbearance and forgiveness. God was only going to put up with so much of Sodom's misbehavior. This too we must always consider when we begin to pray in an intercessory fashion for unsaved institutions, cities, countries, etc.

There are times when God forbids intercessory prayer.

Therefore pray not thou for this people,
 neither lift up cry nor prayer for them,
neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. 
Seest thou not what they do in the
cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 
The children gather wood, and the fathers
kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough,
to make cakes to the queen of heaven,
and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods,
that they may provoke me to anger. 
Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD:
 do they not provoke themselves to the confusion
 of their own faces?
(Jeremiah 7:16-19 [KJVA])

Yes, there does come a time when our prayers for others will do no good and may even rile the Lord up enough to earn a rebuke from him for having done so. If the Lord commands that we do not pray for something, it is a sin for us to do so as we are directly disobeying his commandment.

Another intercessory prayer in the Bible? My favorite is the one Daniel made when he lifted up his supplication before God about the sins of his people.

Daniel, was a student of Bible Prophecy. Yes, he was though you may not have heard it phrased just that way before. During his studies, he came across some things in the prophet Jeremiah that sent him down on his knees in supplication before God.

In the first year of his reign
I Daniel understood by books the number of the years,
whereof the word of the LORD came
 to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would
accomplish seventy years in the
desolations of Jerusalem. And I set my face
unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and
supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth,
 and ashes: And I prayed unto the LORD
my God, and made my confession, and said,
O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping
the covenant and mercy to them that love him,
and to them that keep his commandments;
(Dan 9:2-4)

Daniel understood the prophecy and moreover, unlike those who went before him, he believed God (faith) and his word and took what the prophets said with deep seriousness. God does not raise up prophets as a hobby. They have a job to do and theirs is an important one, and woe to the person who ignores a true one or tries to harm him!

That was the mistake the ancient Israelite's made. It was not one Daniel made. He went back and studied those prophecies. What did he do when done? He got on his knees and prayed and interceded for his people to his God. I will not repost the whole prayer here, but do want to point out that God heard Daniel, who had diligently sought out the prophecies, believed them and fell on his face before God in prayer. He did these things and got an answer.

The answer came in the form of a heavenly visitor named Gabriel. But if we note something in the passage, he came swiftly. The word however has a slightly different meaning than just swift. The Hebrew word is.

From H3286; fatigue (adverbially utterly exhausted): - swiftly.

So he got there in a hurry and was apparently rather tired and exhausted when he arrived. This is important and amplifies a point I made earlier, when we pray, let us keep in mind that many things in the spiritual realm will begin to happen when we do. This is why we should pause and consider what it is we are asking of the Lord before we come before his throne with a supplication.

Brothers, I write this today, to spur you all on to effectual, fervent prayers on the things that are on your heart. Are you concerned for orphans? The Homeless? Does the plight of refugee's trouble you? Brothers, these are all things that we can bring before our God in prayer. Does the state of the Western Church deeply trouble you? Pray!

When we pray for those who have no way to know we prayed for them, have no way to pay us back, God knows our concern is out of love and this is something that pleases him very much, that we show love towards others, particularly the brethren and the less fortunate.

May God grant each of you the desires of your heart as you lift up the problems and concerns of others!!

11 July

Intercessory Prayer

Part I

Today, we are going to take a break from the news and look at a key issue that is of great importance to Christians of any age, but of particular importance in these end times.

Intercessory prayer are prayers that are offered up to God on behalf of another person, institution, city or situation. It is to intercede on behalf of another before God's holy throne. Too often when we pray, we pray for ourselves, our problems, our situations, disappointments and trials. There is nothing wrong with such prayers, but these self-centered supplications are not intercessory prayer. 

Intercessory prayer is when we see a situation that needs prayer and we are driven to our knee's about it. I have interceded many times for many people and situations. I know almost all genuine Christians have as well. It may have been for family members, your place of employment, a friend, your pastor or the country as a whole. Some of you have taken some of the stories posted here on persecution and prayed for the persecuted. Can you imagine living in a lonely cold cell, week end and week out, month in and month out, with only a pittance to eat, dirty water, having to relieve yourself in bundle of straw in the corner with no reasonable hope you will ever be released, at times being taken out to be interrogated even tortured? All of this only because of your faith in Christ? Having considered such a person and do you not think he or she could use some intercessory prayer? Yes, I know most of you have and God will mark such a person who lifts up a prayer for his children who are persecuted for the name of Jesus Christ. Intercessory prayer for the persecuted is something that should be very high on all mature Christians prayer lists, particularly in light of the events today.

But do you know what Intercessory prayer does for us? It prepares us for an important role God has for us as saints, that being a priest before God.

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house,
 an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
 (I Peter 2:5 [KJVA])

Yes, that is one of our key functions, to be a priest before God. What is a primary role of a priest? To be a mediator between God and man. What is intercessory prayer? It is to intercede on behalf of men to God. So when we intercede before God, we are taking on a role as a kind of Priest before him and bring the case of another before his holy throne.

There are many examples of intercessory prayer in our Bibles. In fact, the very first extended prayer in the Bible is an intercessory prayer. It was the prayer of Abraham when he prayed about the 'Sodom Crisis' in the book of Genesis.

As you all know, Sodom was an exceedingly wicked city that the Lord was getting ready to judge. But Abraham had some relations there and clearly wanted to save them. So he called out to the Lord and 'bargained' with him on saving lives and perhaps the city. He was trying to stay God's hand. Finally, at the end of the day, Lot was saved, but Sodom was not to be spared.

Successful intercessory prayer must be unselfish. I mean there is nothing directly 'in it' for us personally, but the supplication is offered up solely for the benefit of others. Intercessory prayer, or rather a pattern of it in our prayer life demonstrates just how far we have come spiritually. A mature Christian knows the power and responsibility he has in the prayer closet and uses it accordingly, to the benefit of others and more importantly to the Glory of God. Do you intercede regularly for others, Christians, pastors, cities, relatives and other institutions? Then take heart, it is a sure sign of spiritual maturity!

We must be bold when we come before God with our requests. Mind you I do not mean arrogance, but to go in not afraid to take our requests to him (Heb 4:16). We should not come before him like some shrinking violet, but like a man standing before a God who wants to hear what we have to say! Imagine a scene in heaven with you standing before his throne and he says to the heavenly host, "Be silent, I wish to hear what my servant (insert your name here) has to say!"

But we must also expect God to answer us. That means we need to be careful about what we are asking him as though he is going to move heaven and earth to fulfill our supplications. Know that when he gets a request and is ready to answer it, he is going to set things in motion, Angels will get orders, God will move people into position and things will begin to happen when God moves. We must be mindful of this when we come before him and make our request. I will give an example of this a little later.

These days, I am most careful about lifting up prayers for others. I do it and do it regularly, but there have been times I have not done so, when asked and other times I have done so, knew I would regret it and to this day deeply regret having prayed for some....

Part II will continue as God wills!

Nehemiah  XXXVII

Now those that sealed were, Nehemiah, the Tirshatha, the son of Hachaliah,
 and Zidkijah, Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, Pashur, Amariah, Malchijah, Hattush,
Shebaniah, Malluch, Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch,
 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah: these were the priests.
 And the Levites: both Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad,
 Kadmiel; And their brethren, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, Micha,
 Rehob, Hashabiah, Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, Hodijah, Bani, Beninu.
The chief of the people; Parosh, Pahathmoab, Elam, Zatthu, Bani, Bunni,
Azgad, Bebai, Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, Ater, Hizkijah, Azzur, Hodijah, Hashum,
Bezai, Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, Meshezabeel,
Zadok, Jaddua, Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, Hoshea, Hananiah, Hashub, Hallohesh,
Pileha, Shobek, Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, And Ahijah, Hanan, Anan, Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
(Neh 10:1-27)

The recounting of Israel's history, and God's faithfulness to Israel as well as Israel's rebellion was for a reason. It was to let them understand how their fathers messed up their covenant with a faithful God. A God who is faithful in executing all the terms of the covenant, the good and the bad, depending wholly on their their consistent behavior - good or evil. The prayer and the history lesson were now over, now it was time to seal the covenant. Chapter 10 deals with this signing. The above list of names are the prominent people in Israel at the time who were there to do just that. This was a document that had to be sealed. This had the legal force of a contract, but was a bit more solemn.  The Hebrew word is this one.

A primitive root; to close up; especially to seal: - make an end, mark, seal (up), stop.

There were key Priests, Princes and Levites all listed above. Remember the last verse of chapter 9 said this "And because of all this we make a sure covenant, and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests, seal unto it." (Neh 9:38). The list above is the list of those who sealed it.

I am not going to go into all the names and bore you all as many are unknown to us today. But let's point out a couple of things. The first is the omission of Ezra. His name is not listed here. Ezra missing name is of note, I think perhaps of greater note that the commentary (below) makes of it. It is not clear why this is so, but his  apparently uncompromising attitude towards foreign wives and offspring may have kept him from sealing it. There may have been some holdouts that Nehemiah does not give us in his narration. Those who did not separate themselves from their foreign wives may have thought twice about coming to the ceremony. The list is interesting.

The key here to remember is this. The key nobility stood before the Lord and rededicated the nation back to the God they had so wickedly forsaken. That there may have been some hold outs for various reasons, (illness, out of the area, unsure if God was in this move) the key was that the nation of Israel after a long exile and the troubles that went with it, came back to God after their travails to rededicate their lives and nation back to him.

And the rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the porters,
the singers, the Nethinims, and all they that had separated themselves
from the people of the lands unto the law of God, their wives, their sons,
 and their daughters, every one having knowledge, and having understanding;
They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse,
and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the LORD our Lord,
and his judgments and his statutes;
(Neh 10:28-29)

So the people who had separated themselves were all in this too. Even the door men and singers. The door men also served as janitors and watchmen. They also probably had a job of being the temple security. As stated before, these were kind of like the Security Guards of the Temple. They only let in those who were authorized. Watson's Bible and Theological Dictionary (no relation to me) has what their job was here
Even the singers were present. Yes, God looks about those who sing godly tunes with great favor, then and now. Think on David. The people as they say stood with their leaders on this with that careful qualification - those who separated themselves from the foreign wives and heard and fully understood what they were signing. These were of one mind, they were all going to join into the covenant and serve the Lord.

Now today, we are not allowed to say pronounce curses upon our promises (vows)  as these did back then. Christ told us to let our yes be yes and are no be no. Christ spent a little time on this subject.

Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time,
 Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne:
Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem;
for it is the city of the great King. Neither shalt thou swear by thy head,
 because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
(Mat 5:33-37)

But back in those days, this was one way to solemnize ones word. This is what they were doing and for them, back then it was not evil but customary. For us today, it is evil.

The covenant was resealed between God and his once wayward flock. Today, Christians are also sealed, but with one from Heaven, with the Holy Spirit. 

 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ,
who was preached among you by us,
even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus,
was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
  For all the promises of God in him are yea,
and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ,
and hath anointed us, is God;
  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest
of the Spirit in our hearts.
(2Cor 1:19-22 [KJVA])

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God,
 whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
 (Eph 4:30 [KJVA])

We will continue on with Nehemiah soon, the good Lord willing!

Brother Mark

2 July

Brothers, I wish I had more encouraging news. Mind you, there are still a lot of good people out there and many American and westerners who are deeply concerned about what is happening to the world and western world in particular. So all hope is not lost, but clearly the western world is on a moral, spiritual descent that is now starting to show itself in our major metropolitan areas.

It's an old story and one that has been told in our history books time and again. It's a story of great empires and systems that became wealthy, prosperous and forgot about the God who brought them great blessings and turned to pleasure seeking, sexual licentiousness, greed, violence, arrogance and a coldness and contempt towards the victims of its own rapaciousness.

What is happening in the west is a spiritual issue. God who blessed the west as it based its systems on Christianity is slowly removing his hand of protection and blessing on us as the west turns from him to other systems of belief and non-belief. When God leaves a nation, the devil will always move in, using whatever name is most pleasing to those who have turned on God.

 The wicked shall be turned into hell,
and all the nations that forget God. 
For the needy shall not alway be forgotten:
the expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever.
(Psalms 9:17-18 [KJVA])

Let us keep this in mind as well. In the west, for the vast majority of people, we are not dealing with people who have never heard the gospel, but with people who have heard it and rejected it. This is why this moral slide is so scary today. We are dealing with people who have rejected the gospel as well as nations and systems that have done the same thing. A revival I don't think is going to change anything for the trajectory of the nation, though God knows we need one for the entity that calls itself the Church in the west.

I think the west is rattling downhill on a trolley car without breaks and headed right for a cliff. Its moral slide will only pick up speed as it heads further downhill.
The people may be shouting and laughing and having a good time as though they are on a roller coaster, but they don't know that when it stops, it is at the bottom of a cliff with a thousand foot drop.

27 Jun

Habakkuk Part V

We left off last time and Habakkuk had made a second complaint to the Lord about what he was seeing. The prophet was not pleased. After he made is complaint he waited to be reproved by the Lord for his words. Nevertheless, he was not going to abandon his post as watchman (2:1).

But Habakkuk's complaints are so relevant to our times. We all see so much cruelty and injustice in our world today, unrighteous men who sit in power, wars, hunger and man-made famine. It can be frustrating for all of us to see these things and be powerless to stop them and we often seek God to move. This is where the prophet was at.

One of the hardest lessons we must learn is that God's judgment - before Judgment day - is that at times, quite selective and done for his purposes, not ours. Think on Ananias and Sapphira. The Lord struck them dead in the assembly. The kinds of dishonesty that they perpetrated - it is done all the time and far, far worse today. Yet God does not strike fake ministers and phony televangelists dead, nor people who defraud the church of the offerings due. No he does not, but in the case of Ananias and Sapphira, an example was needed to an early Church and their actions provided it for the congregation. God had his reason for judging one now, and waiting to deal with the rest later.

His understanding, not ours this is how we must try and understand God's seeming inaction at times. He see's things that we do not and cannot and at times, he will use a more wicked nation to judge a less wicked one - not because he approves of either, but because it suits his eternal (rather than man's temporal) purposes.

And the LORD answered me, and said,
Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables,
that he may run that readeth it.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time,
but at the end it shall speak, and not lie:
though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come,
it will not tarry.
(Hab 2:2-3)
After the prophet vents his frustration to the Lord about the injustices he has seen and the Lord's apparent inaction, the Lord finally answers his prophet. Though he waited for a rebuke from God, he did not get one. No, he got an answer and one that he was told to share with others. How? He was told to write the vision on tables, this is another form of tablet. The Hebrew word is this one.
loo'-akh, loo'-akh
From a primitive root; probably meaning to glisten; a tablet (as polished), of stone, wood or metal: - board, plate, table.

Basically it is a stone tablet, something that cannot be erased. Barnes notes that it was to be written in large, lasting characters in order to make it easy for anyone to read it. Why should they run? As the Targum says "write the prophecy, and explain it in the book of the law, that he may hasten to obtain wisdom, whoever he is that reads in it.'' (ed noted in Gill's commentary). This is apparently the meaning of this phrase - God wants people to run to make haste to observe what the Lord is going to do and perhaps change their ways to avoid the punishment that is to come. Adam Clarke however makes an interesting point that the person pursues the warnings in the prophecy may speed to save his life and soul from the coming storm. He also adds that this is not meant to imply that he should write the letters so large that a man running could read them (like a billboard), no this is a prophetic word with a prophetic meaning that those who heed what God is saying will make haste to correct themselves and seek God's mercy to avoid the coming calamity.
He that reads, studies, meditates, and prays, shall understand every portion of this sacred book that relates immediately to his own salvation. But no trifler can understand it. - Adam Clarke
This appears to be the best way to understand 'that he may run that readeth it.'

Verse three gives us some context for the vision. It is for an appointed time. This is one thing that living 60 years and serving the Lord has taught me - there is a time for everything. Timing can be essential in ways we never understand. Sometimes we go rushing ahead to take care of things and God says, wait. We may never know why he tells us to. But let me give you totally theoretical happenstance.

Jane Noname has a disabled child. She is really struggling to make ends meet. She hears about a new government program that could help her and her child get assistance. Jane quickly fills out the paperwork but finds it confusing and some sections not as clear as it should be. She has to submit forms that seem to have no relevance, she calls for help to the agency and cannot get clear answers. So she spends several weeks gathering the information. Instead the Lord says... 'wait'. Why, she asks? 'Wait, says the Lord'.

It turns out that two months later the agency streamlined the process, made it easier and she can get her benefits within 4 weeks and do it all online. But those who submitted by paper have to wait 16 weeks for a review and those that were first, had to deal with some real bureaucratic shenanigans. Moreover those that submitted forms got flagged for a tax audit by State authorities. It was those complaints that forced the streamline. Jane did better by waiting as the Lord said.

Timing is important with God and for us mortals, so is waiting. We must learn to wait on God to fulfill his purpose in his good time. This is one of those issues. The prophet and those who are waiting on God, must wait for the appointed time.

This is not a lying vision or a prophecy that is conjured up by some false prophet or delusional person. No, but God is making it clear. It is going to take a long time, you are going to have to wait, but at the end, it will speak and when it does, there will be no more waiting. I get the sense here that the vision is going to take a long time to come to fulfillment, but when the time comes, it will all happen like flood. That is the sense I get from it. Some however have imputed this to a prophecy about the coming Messiah (Gill). This is because the 'it' can be rendered 'he', according to Gill.

The phrase time of the end? Well, I think that this is one of those enigmatic phrases that tells us that it may have a dual fulfillment, one that happened way back in the days of Ancient Israel and another one in the end times. Since this prophecy is directed at the Chaldean's (Babylon) it may be important to keep this strong possibility in mind as we go through the next few passages (Chaldean's are Babylonians). Some of you may think I am reading too much into it, I don't think so. Let's take a look at what K &D Commentary says about this phrase. It is rather long,
The prophecy is לַמּוֹעֵד, for the appointed time; i.e., it relates to the period fixed by God for its realization, which was then still (עוֹד) far off. לְ denotes direction towards a certain point either of place or time. The vision had a direction towards a point, which, when looked at from the present, was still in the future. This goal was the end (הַקֵּץ towards which it hastened, i.e., the “last time” (מוֹעֵד קֵץ, Dan_8:19; and עַת קַץ, Dan_8:17; Dan_11:35), the Messianic times, in which the judgment would fall upon the power of the world. יָפֵחַ לַקֵּץ, it pants for the end, inhiat fini, i.e., it strives to reach the end, to which it refers.

“True prophecy is inspired, as it were, by an impulse to fulfil itself” (Hitzig). יָפֵחַ is not an adjective, as in Psa_27:12, but the third pers. imperf. hiphil of pūăch; and the contracted form (יָפֵחַ for יָפִיחַ), without a voluntative meaning, is the same as we frequently meet with in the loftier style of composition. וְלֹא יְכַזֵּב, “and does not deceive,” i.e., will assuredly take place. If it (the vision) tarry, i.e., be not fulfilled immediately, wait for it, for it will surely take place (the inf. abs. בּוֹא to add force, and בּוֹא applying to the fulfilment of the prophecy, as in 1Sa_9:6 and Jer_28:9), will not fail; אִחֵר, to remain behind, not to arrive (Jdg_5:28; 2Sa_20:5). - K & D
Well, I post that old comment from the mid 1800's to show you that I am not trying to read too much into this word. The very enigmatic way it is phrased should tell us that there is something special about the timing of it and the 'end' for which it refers.

We will continue our look at Habakkuk soon, God willing!!

25 Jun

Tech Bytes II

Note: This was written in March o f 2018 for Insiders and may be just a bit dated. Many tech vulnerabilities have indeed been fixed or mitigated. Others are still in the wild. But I do think anyone who spends time on the internet will get some value out of this brief piece, particularly as regulating big tech is now a major issue in Congress. If you think no one is spying on you and it won't have a significant effect on you personally (like where you can work, live, travel to, what you pay for services) you are living in a fools paradise.

Pastors, evangelists and other ministers of the Gospel. I warn you in the name of the Lord - you have enemies all over the world and they are looking for ways to get at you. Any way they can. Many of them are well trained in intelligence gathering and criminal methods of threatening you, trying to get you to 'front' (via blackmail, bribery or threats) for them (making you an 'asset' of others) and or subverting the message of Christ so that other religious systems prevail.  These forces have deep pockets and access to vast treasure troves of data - BEWARE.

Today, we are going to spend some time talking a little bit about tech and spend some time on VPN's. If you are not using one and you spend a lot of time on the internet, you would be wise to invest a few dollars a month and getting one. With the demise of net neutrality and the coming of Mad Max as top cop cyberspace, protecting your privacy data, bank accounts and other information is going to be 100% YOUR responsibility.

No one else is looking out for you. Now that the big ISP's are free to spy on us all, throttle our surfing and perhaps one day deciding where we can surf and where we cannot, I really hope you take what I say here seriously. Selling your data to people whom you don't even know is very big business. Let the de-bunkers lie all they want to. They get paid for lying. The reality is that these people are out there and most Americans don't even know they exist.

So what you need to be aware of is that buying and selling all the information they can collect about you is not a conspiracy theory. It is big business and when this much money is involved it means that political power is also behind it. Considerable political power. For most readers of this site, you have a much better idea of how the world really works. You are not caught up in fake news and fairy tales that are put out into our Cable News networks by powerful forces whose sole job it is is to keep people dumb and in the dark. So what we will talk today about is a few issues on this and ways to protect yourself.

As you can see not all nor even most of the reasons that companies use this data is nefarious. Most of it is not. But some of it can have tremendous 'life impact' on a person. Think about things like insurance and hiring. You may never know that your surfing habits were a major consideration when you applied for that job as a technician and 'XYZ-CAB Industries' (a fictional company). But they got hold of a treasure trove of information from a databroker on you and they did not like the sites you visited. An Alex Jones fan? We don't need that here! Your application was dutifully filed in the wastebasket. And keep this in mind, what your ISP can collect is specific to your surfing habits and your online viewing habits. So internet privacy is about a lot more than just shielding a person's from embarrassment. It is about many of the same things that China is now doing to its citizens with the whole idea of Social Credit. Xi plans on using this as a tool to maintain loyalty to the Communist party and his personal growing dictatorship.

The Social Credit System is a proposed Chinese government initiative for developing a national reputation system. It has been reported to be intended to assign a "social credit" rating to every citizen based on government data regarding their economic and social status. It works as a mass surveillance tool and uses the big data analysis technology.In addition, it is also meant to rate businesses operating on the Chinese market. Wikipedia
This is in reality a total surveillance system and while the plans are still in its infancy, portions of it already appear to have been implemented particularly with regards to internet behavior.

Got too much debt? Travel bans could come here. This will be the future here in the US too if we cannot get better leaders. But in order to get better leaders we have to have better citizens. I think at this point in time this is a social, political and genetic impossibility. The mentality of Americas more and more seem to be devolving into silly political diatribes, childish sometimes violent anger, brain destruction via recreational chemicals and selfish pleasure seeking.

Such people can rarely think beyond their next high, meal or orgasm. So this piece is not being written to put a stop or the brakes on these trends. Too much money will make sure that all you see in China will come here. America will just take a different route to the same total surveillance destination. But a total surveillance society in one form or another is I think a technological certainty. right here in America.

They key difference for us here in the US is that we still can take some control over what these entities collect on us. No, we cannot stop public records from being public, or credit reports are there for anyone who needs them and other key data that you have let go into the wild of cyberspace is gone and can never be retrieved. One key way you can protect your data is via a VPN. This protects your surfing habits and depending on who you are and how valuable a target some may view you, it can prevent cyber-stalking (knowing where you are at a given time and establishing patterns of locational awareness on the target).

Cyber-stalking is no joke. It was done to me. It can be done to anyone. So keep this in mind going ahead. Unscrupulous people (read criminals, extortionists, blackmailers, gangs, etc) who can find out how much you are worth, where your kids go to school, who your buddies are and your weaknesses can do a lot of harm to you and you will never know how they did it unless you understand some basics.

1. When you are using your phone, turn the GPS off when not using it. Turning off your internet connection also helps, but soon the 'Always On' devices will be the new thing and it is not clear if with these devices you will ever be able to fully disconnect from the internet. The key is that they want to follow you at all times everywhere you go. ALWAYS. Keep this in mind too. With many modern devices there seems to be some indication that even if you turn your wifi off and your GPS off. What I will tell you is that probably the best way to look at your phone contract is that once you sign a contract for a smart phone and for some smart devices, it is not a contract so much for you to buy a few gigabytes of data from them as it is a contract for them to collect personal data on you.

2. This is key. Use a VPN. Get one and keep using it at all times. Now, when I am home and pay my bills, that is about the only time I disconnect from the VPN these days. If you try and pay some bills online with a VPN there is often extra authentication they want and even then, they may or may not let you sign in.

VPN's are great for when you surf and when you want to chat securely with others using a SECURE chat client. Intercepting Communications with others using the internet is something that big brother uses and has abused. When you can, you should try and communicate securely. Those big corporate Silicon Valley chat rooms/clients... I don't trust them.

But using a VPN can be tricky. A lot of them are easy to buy and set up, but if one only leaves the app in its default form, many other problems exist that make using a VPN just about moot. If you are going to spend a monthly bill to have a VPN use it correctly, otherwise save your money!

The first thing to do is make sure you are connected and that your connection is encrypted. The best way to do that is to view the traffic. The way to do that is with a packet catcher. The one I use is Wireshark. Now this is a bit technical and I am not going to burden you with a bunch of technobabble. What I will tell you is that your connection should be going out over either port 443 or 1194.

The actual traffic should look like gibberish. If you right click on any one of the packets (using Wireshark) above and then choose 'follow UDP stream', it should look like this.

This way you can see if it really is encrypted. This usually is not a problem, but some of you may need to be sure and this is the best way to do that.

DNS leaks.

One way to check your DNS security is with this tool.


If the DNS resolver says your ISP (Comcast Verizon, etc), when you are using your VPN -  you are leaking.

Many VPN clients will leak your DNS queries. That being every time you go to a site, the DNS in your OS will query the number translation for the site you visit but not with your VPN, but with your ISP.

If the VPN resolves your DNS queries it should be OK (we will talk about that later) but if you have it incorrectly set up, your ISP will be snooping on your surfing habits EVEN WHEN USING YOUR ENCRYPTED CONNECTION. You want to make sure that does not happen.

If you can find a VPN that offers multi-hoping (chaining your connection) that too is even better. It makes snooping more difficult. Some VPN's do offer this as a given, though you will probably have to set it up.

Another major problem is browser fingerprinting. This takes time and often cannot be done right away, but after all the logs are gathered and collated, the fingerprint of a browser can easily identify you with our without your VPN. There are many ways to do it and they have become increasingly high tech in their methods. It does mot matter if your cookies or storage settings are turned off, they can still find out who you are by fingerprinting. There are many tools online that show you how it is done and what your fingerprint looks like. things that really are bad are.

The EFF has a tool here.

Some ways this is done are below.
Using the same useragent all the time. - bad
Having Webrtc enabled - bad
Having WegGL enabled - bad
Not taking countermeasures with Canvas Finterprinting - bad
Running Javascript on all sites you visit - bad
No adblocker running - bad
Flash enabled - bad
There are other bad things that people do, like allowing your referrer to work, keep a big cache,

We Americans still can use VPN's.  The Chinese cannot. This is a key tool that can be used to protect yourself from the surveillance state. However there are two words of caution here. The first is what I talked about a couple of years ago. You cannot always be sure who is running your VPN. Also, Keep the jurisdiction of your exit node in mind. Some nations are better than others at snooping on your connections and data and you never know if someone can get to the VPN server. For most people, this is not an issue, for politically incorrect bloggers like me, journalists, Christian ministers and those who have enemies inside the deep state (like me) they would like nothing better than to hear the dirt rattle down on my coffin after it has been lowered into the ground, I have to be more than a little careful. They snooped on my VPN connections before and are likely to try again when the political winds allow them to. You would not think this little site could engender so much satanic hatred and targeting, but it has and probably still does. No site, no Facebook page, no chat group or twitter account is too small to target if it runs consistently counter narrative to the devil and his imps.

For you and me? Well I foresee a day when people who vote a certain way may be harassed at work, those who are Christians being 'set upon' in the digital world. Certain groups not able to rent a hotel room via online tools (this has already happened) and the likes.

The idea of Social Credit in China will not so much apply to government but to business and corporations who will be able to digitally and economically exclude you from doing business because you are Black, a Christian, a Democrat, a Republican, White, Gay, Blog or don't have a Facebook account. This to me is the real goal of removing Net Neutrality, it is to remove the protections that you and I have so far taken for granted.

No, this will not happen right away. This will take a little time. But I do see a day when people will be denied a job (legally) simply because of their politics, their religion, the fact that they watch certain TV shows, etc. They will build profiles on what they view as a 'threat' and what one does and does not do. These new profiles will decide if you should be allowed to participate in society or not.

What will happen to those who do not or cannot participate? What did Hitler do do the Jews whom he carefully and systematically excluded from the German economy and society?

He enslaved them.

He performed hideous Medical experiments on them

And then he killed them.

No we are not anywhere near that point in time. But just as surely as these methods of control are honed and deployed and the press of people in the demographic explosion that our world is now undergoing grows and the jobs that people can do that have not been replaced by Robots and AI dwindle, such a day frankly, given the importance economics plays in our world, is to some degree a foregone conclusion.

Men have always killed and done away with those who pose an economic threat and a mass of unemployed people who have been systematically marginalized by a technocratic society will pose a potent threat to the have's of the future. I foresee a day in the future when the have's go after the have-not's so that they 'live-not'.

But think about it for just a second. Is not participation in the future dependent on submission to the political religious order? Is this not exactly what our Bible tells us? Read it carefully.

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast,
that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause
that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
And that no man might buy or sel
l, save he that had the mark,
or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding
count the number of the beast: for it is the
number of a man; and his number is
Six hundred threescore and six.

(Rev 13:15-18)

The Power to give life? Could this be some kind of Artificial Intelligence? Worship the beast? Loyalty to a political/religious entity? Getting rid of the political and socially undesirable? The method is described - economic exclusion and then death.

We as Christians cannot escape what is coming, unless the Lord directs it. If we are here when this system arises, and I think many of us will be, they will not have much trouble getting to us if we live in the developed world. In other parts of the world where there is considerably less development, it may not be so bad or hard to escape the devil's minions. But those of us destined for the sword must steel our souls, it is by the sword we must fall.

So what I am describing to you is a system that will arise and that this methodology - surveillance and determining your political, economic, entertainment, sexual and personal habits is being actively monitored by people whose names you are not allowed to know.

Let those of you who are wise among you consider carefully what I have laid out for you.

Don't give the devil any more ammo against you than he already has. He does not need to know anything about you. Whatever he knows, be assured he is going to try and use it against you.

Be wise brothers.

I will not recommend a VPN but there are a lot of them out there with some good prices.  Read their logging policies most carefully and read between the lines too. Get one that has as many different servers as possible in as many different countries. Switch servers often. Always check for DNS leaks (every time you logon). Keep whatever you do LEGAL. DO NOT BREAK THE LAW. Many VPN's have a direct line to LE and don't need to bother with Warrants to hand over data. Be aware I say once again. DO NOT BREAK THE LAW. VPN's are not a safe haven for criminal activity. If you are breaking the law, they will eventually catch you.

20 Jun

Nehemiah XXXVI

Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God,
who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee,
that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests,
and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time
of the kings of Assyria unto this day.
Howbeit thou art just in all that is brought upon us;
for thou hast done right, but we have done wickedly:

(Neh 9:32-33)

The priests continue their prayer that recounts key parts of Israel's history and how they were guided, protected and helped by God and later repaid him with various sins, rebellions and blasphemies. But this section changes the tone of this historical narration. It begins with an acknowledgement of God's mercy as well as the powerful and mighty nature of God. The world 'terrible' is this one in Hebrew.

A primitive root; to fear; morally to revere; causatively to frighten: - affright, be (make) afraid, dread (-ful), (put in) fear (-ful, -fully, -ing). (be had in) reverence (-end), X see, terrible (act, -ness, thing).

The word has many connotations, but what I get from the word is like a dreaded emperor with enormous, unquestioned power, who sits on a throne surrounded by armed men and battle scarred warriors who awaits the command of the king to do his will. The king at times can be hard and uncompromising, but can often be entreated to show mercy if there is genuine contrition. Moreover there is no appeal should he decide not to show it. That is just how I see our God, our terrible, awesome and powerful God to those who consistently reject his mercy.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it,
from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;
and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great,
stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened,
which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things
which were written in the books, according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death
and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:
and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.
This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life
was cast into the lake of fire.
(Rev 20:11-15)

Brothers, this is the same God that the priests were appealing to in this public prayer, that God would continue to show mercy towards his people and forgive them. Remember, they had just felt the rod of the Lord in years of exile and national humiliation. They knew this other side of the Lord in an up front and personal way.

This is a side of God's character that is not preached in pulpits today. The emphasis today is on mercy and love; forgiveness and hope, as it should be. The bad part of that however is that people, particularly many Christians see God as the great pansy in the sky who forgives everyone, everything and has no moral or other demands to make on this race of fallen men to which we all belong. In this false doctrine God does not judge, his commandments are not to be taken seriously, his warnings are not to be believed and his word can always be re-interpreted to no effect, if you pay the right pastor or prophet. These are the kinds of errors that was a key part of what led Israel astray and put them into the position of having to rededicate their nation back to the God whom they so severely wronged after 70 years of woe.

I think this is one of the key lessons here that we can take away from this whole section. God is merciful and is willing to forgive, but under no circumstances will God be mocked or shown disrespect. Such that do that will see that 'dreaded emperor' side of God who will at that time, be in no mood to show mercy but will demand repayment for the insults made to him and his rulership.

But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them,
bring hither, and slay them before me.
(Luk 19:27)
Jesus Christ at the end of the Parable of the 10 Talents

I say this because words like 'Terrible God' don't line up with the fluffy gospel being preached today. But that is exactly what we serve, a God who is both to be loved and feared, honored and dreaded.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul:
but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
(Mat 10:28)

No, the western Church needs a reality check on who God really is. No, not all of the Church in the west, but large portions of it who are compromising with sin and sowing the seeds of doubt on God's commandments and requirements.

The priests here were reminding God with the congregation in earshot, who had just been smitten by the Lord that he is full of mercy. The Priest does not rail against God as somehow being unjust in what he did, or mean-spirited. No, the Priests make it plain that what God did to Israel was just. He makes clear in the last stanza that God was right and that it was they who had done wickedly.

I note that no one was immune to the harshness of God's judgments, the prophets and the priests as well were rebuked. Each who held those religious offices were not doing right, many were prophesying falsely and the priests as well had ceased to teach and preach right things. They too as the prophets warned, were destined for the sword.

The passage above from Nehemiah, also goes back not just to the exile that they had just experienced.

Neither have our kings, our princes, our priests, nor our fathers,
kept thy law, nor hearkened unto thy commandments and thy testimonies,
wherewith thou didst testify against them. For they have not served thee
in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness that thou gavest them,
and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them,
neither turned they from their wicked works.
(Neh 9:34-35)

Again we see the theme of the leaders not doing right, thus explaining why the elite class of Israel were all mentioned in Verse 32 as going into judgment or as the passage in verse 32 put it trouble. This is the word.

From H3811; distress: - travail, travel, trouble.
They did not listen, they rebelled and they got trouble. God gave them much and instead of praise and worship of God, they flipped him the spiritual 'bird' and went on about their business doing that which not only displeased the Lord, but greatly angered him. To add insult to injury, as we all know, despite multiple warnings over many decades, they simply refused to change their wicked ways.

For they have not served thee in their kingdom, and in thy great goodness
 that thou gavest them, and in the large and fat land which thou gavest before them,
 neither turned they from their wicked works. Behold, we are servants this day,
and for the land that thou gavest unto our fathers to eat the fruit thereof and
the good thereof, behold, we are servants in it: And it yieldeth much increase
 unto the kings whom thou hast set over us because of our sins: also they have
 dominion over our bodies, and over our cattle, at their pleasure,
and we are in great distress. And because of all this we make a sure covenant,
and write it; and our princes, Levites, and priests,
seal unto it.
(Neh 9:35-38)

Here the Priests cry out to God in their distress recognizing God's innate goodness. They acknowledge all he gave to their fathers, yet they did not serve the Lord. They acknowledge the rich land that God gave them, yet they committed great sin in it.

Then the priests complain to the Lord that they may be living on that land, but it is under the control and only at the Pleasure of a foreign king who ultimately holds legal claim to all of it. Remember who Nehemiah had gotten his charge to go down to Jerusalem from. They were 'in great distress'.

Feminine of H6862; tightness (that is, figuratively trouble); transitively a female rival: - adversary, adversity, affliction, anguish, distress, tribulation, trouble.

After remunerating their history and Israel's rebellion, acknowledging their errors before God and all, they come before him with their specific request --- help us, we are in trouble! We got a picture as to how bad the aristocracy was mistreating the inhabitants of the land (Chapter 5) and what kinds of economic extraction they were levying on the people.

It was only after 70 years of pain, suffering, exploitation and humiliation that the people finally got together and decided to rededicate their lives and land back to the Lord. They were going to do this thing and formalize it before all. This was a sure covenant they were going to write this one down and seal it. Today, we would sign it, in those days sealing was the finality of a contract.

One thing the Cambridge commentary brings about about this is that from this passage the office of the Priests appear to have been considerably elevated in the order of things.

[our princes, Levites, and priests] R.V. our princes, our Levites, and our priests. The position of the Levites between the ‘princes’ and the ‘priests’ deserves notice, as it illustrates the prominence of the Levites in the movement. - The Cambridge Bible For Schools And Colleges
I think it meet that I show you how this whole episode was really a fulfillment of a prophecy made by Isaiah, when he saw into the seeds of time when the Lord's fury would cease. I post the whole passage because I have always found this to be a personal encouragement.

Therefore the redeemed of the LORD shall return,
and come with singing unto Zion;

and everlasting joy shall be upon their head:
they shall obtain gladness and joy;

 and sorrow and mourning shall flee away. I, even
I, am he that comforteth you:

who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid
 of a man that shall die,

and of the son of man which shall be made as grass;
And forgettest the LORD thy maker,

that hath stretched forth the heavens,
and laid the foundations of the earth;

and hast feared continually every day
because of the fury of the oppressor,

as if he were ready to destroy?
and where is the fury of the oppressor?

The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed,
and that he should not die in the pit,
 nor that his bread should fail.
But I am the LORD thy God,

that divided the sea, whose waves roared:
The LORD of hosts is his name.

And I have put my words in thy mouth,
and I have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand,

that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth,
and say unto Zion, Thou art my people.
Awake, awake, stand up,
O Jerusalem, which hast drunk
at the hand of the LORD the cup of his fury;

 thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out.
 There is none to guide her among all the sons
whom she hath brought forth;

neither is there any that taketh her
by the hand of all the sons that

she hath brought up.
These two things are come unto thee;

who shall be sorry for thee? desolation,
and destruction, and the famine,

and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?
Thy sons have fainted,

they lie at the head of all the streets,
as a wild bull in a net: they

are full of the fury of the LORD,
the rebuke of thy God.
Therefore hear now this,

thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine:
Thus saith thy Lord the LORD,

and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people,
Behold, I have taken out of thine hand
the cup of trembling,

even the dregs of the cup of my fury;
thou shalt no more drink it again:

But I will put it into the hand of them that afflict thee;
which have said to thy soul,

 Bow down, that we may go over:
and thou hast laid thy body as the ground,

 and as the street, to them that went over.
(Isa 51:11-23)

The Lord did exactly as he said he was going to do.
We will get to the next section of Nehemiah, next week, God wiling!

14 Jun

Habakkuk Part IV

Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil,
and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest
 thou upon them that deal treacherously,
and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth
the man that is more righteous than he?
And makest men as the fishes of the sea, as the creeping things,
 that have no ruler over them?
(Hab 1:13-14)

We will continue the thought of verse 13 here. The prophet goes on to make it clear that he knows God's character and that he hates iniquity and treachery. He is not accusing God of being indifferent. He expounds God's ways as being far above men. When evil men eat up the righteous and takes them as in war, the prophet here expresses his dismay yet acknowledging God's holiness. This passage is probably a reference to his anticipation of the coming Chaldean, whom the prophet saw as being wholly unrighteous. As the wicked, so with this conquering army. They come and the men had no power against them.

Here the prophet not unlike Job saw so much evil and trouble in the world and how powerless man is.

Yet God does not tell us of his ways or reasons. He has his own reasons for doing things and except in the cases of those whom he calls friends, he does not reveal his councils. But in rare cases, he does let us know. He did this with Abraham when Lot was in severe danger.

And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham
 that thing which I do;
(Gen 18:17)

K&D commentary gives us I think the right voice here. Some commentators seem to think this refers to God treating men like fishes, but I think the voice here is ascribing it to the Chaldeans - their power when they comes upon a nation. Here is what that K&D commentary says.

This strange fact is depicted still further in Hab_1:14-16 in figures taken from the life of a fisherman. The men are like fishes, whom the Chaldaean collects together in his net, and then pays divine honour to his net, by which he has been so enriched...

... “No ruler,” to take the defenceless under his protection, and shelter and defend them against enemies. Then will Judah be taken prisoner and swallowed up by the Chaldaeans. God has given it helplessly up to the power of its foes, and has obviously ceased to be its king. - K&D

The Pulpit commentary has an interesting aside on Judgment on the Chaldeans which you may find of interest.

The prophet appeals movingly to God by showing the indignity with which the people are treated. As the fishes of the sea. Dumb and helpless, swept off by the fisherman. That have no ruler ever them. None to guide and protect them (comp. Pro_6:7; Pro_30:27). So the Jews seem to be deprived of God’s care, and left to be the prey of the spoiler, as if of little worth, and no longer having God for their King (comp. Isa_63:19, Revised Version). The "creeping things" are worms, or small fish (Psa_104:25). - The Pulpit Commentary

They take up all of them with the angle,
they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag:
 therefore they rejoice and are glad.
Therefore they sacrifice unto their net,
and burn incense unto their drag; because by
them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous.
 Shall they therefore empty their net,
and not spare continually to slay the nations?
(Hab 1:15-17)

Once the fish are caught in the net, they are dragged up. The fisherman are pleased with a good catch. This is how the Prophet describes the conquering Chaldeans. Then they do something rather perverse, they begin to worship the net that caught the fish. This apparently is their religion, the instruments of war as typified by the imagery of the fisherman's net. They are encouraged in their war and religion because of the spoil they get in it.

Thus the prophet ends his second complaint to the Lord. His concern is not an uncommon one. We all have seen horrible injustices committed by men drunk with power and violence. I know many of you feel just like Habakkuk at times. We see these things and cannot help but cry out and even complain to the Lord about them. Well, this is the second time Habakkuk has done this and he may be feeling just a bit guilty about it. Why do I say this? The next passage.

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower,
and will watch to see what he will say unto me,
 and what I shall answer when I am reproved.
(Hab 2:1)

So the prophet after he makes his complaint - he does not abandon his post, he does not walk away in rebellion or in a fit of rage, he continues on in his service to God as a watchman over his people. This is so important. I have learned this lesson after many years of doing this site. To continue on with whatever God has me (or you) doing. I know God has given me this rather unusual ministry. I never asked for it, but I know I have to do it.

In our times, real watchmen are rare and they are often viscously attacked by all manner of dark forces. Watchmen are so commanded to stay on watch, like any good soldier. The penalty for not doing so can be most severe. When God gives you a job to do, you would do well to do it! The tower is where the prophet is set. In a tower one can see a far off things not seen by those who are on the ground. The prophet has a unique perspective on things because he see's things differently - from a different vantage point. This is the role, job and burden of a watchman. Here is how Barnes describes this verse.
The prophet takes his stand, apart from people and the thoughts and cares of this world, on his lonely watch, as Moses on the rock, keeping himself and kept by God, and planted firm, so that nothing should move him, fenced around thought straitened in , as in a besieged camp committed to his ward, looking out from his lofty place what answer God would give as to times long distant, and what answer He should give first to himself, and to those to whom his office lay, God’s people.  - Barnes
Yet the passage seems to anticipate God's answer with a bit of trepidation. He is waiting for God to answer him. Note he is not worried that God won't answer him - this is not un-faith, No, he knows God will answer, yet he is not sure how the Lord is going to take his complaints and thus he fully expects to be reproved by the Lord for being so bold. Will he be? We will find out in the next section, God willing!

Blessings to you all in Christ!!!

Brother Mark



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