Merry Birthpangs!

Okay, lousy title.  It’s been far too long since I’ve done this, so without further ado:

Accidents and Arson
As many of you doubtless know, fires have raged along Mt. Carmel and the surrounding area since December 2nd, destroying 40 sq. km. of forest and claiming at least 44 lives and forced the evacuation of 17,000 people.  Israeli police now believe that the cause of the fire was negligence rather than arson.  However, this apparent accident has spawned a spate of “copycat” arson by Islamic extremists:

While nearly all of Israel’s firefighters were battling the Carmel blaze, no fewer than 25 fires were purposely set in forested areas ranging from the northern town of Kiryat Shemonah to Jerusalem. The “Peace Forest” outside Jerusalem was targeted by arsonists at least 18 times over the past month.

Police officials told a reporter for Israel’s Ma’ariv newspaper that the acts of arson were purposely kept quiet “so as not to prompt into action more potential terrorists.” There was great fear that Israeli Arab elements sympathetic to the “Palestinian cause” would take advantage of the Carmel fire to overwhelm the country’s security and rescue forces.

This “arson intifada”–which is really an acceleration of the arson that Israel experiences all year long, and which has averaged two attempts per day for the last year–comes at the same time as an outpouring of support and aid to Israel:  “Aircraft from Turkey, Greece, Cyprus and Britain were dumping sea water and flame retardant over the area,” reports the Sydney Morning Herald.   The Jerusalem Post adds, “Both Egypt and Jordan have reached out, sending firefighters and equipment. Turkey’s willingness to send two firefighter airplanes has fueled speculation that relations between Jerusalem and Ankara might improve.”

We need to keep Israel in prayer always, but especially now.  Israel’s enemies have been emboldened by this tragedy, but it is interesting that many of Israel’s Muslim neighbors have been reaching out to her.

“And the Moon became as blood”
Last night, as many of you have heard, the moon underwent a full eclipse at about one in the morning, in the process seemingly changing into a dull red hue.  I know that there has been some talk about this possibly being one of the “signs in the heavens” that Scripture warns us about.  While such red moons are not uncommon, the fact that this year’s occurred on the Winter’s Solstice is thought by some to be an auspicious sign.

Be that as it may, I would like to state for the record that last night’s event is not the sign that Scripture speaks of when it describes the moon turning red as blood.  First of all, the sun did not turn black as sackcloth, and no stars (aster) fell from the skies.  Nor do I think that the sign will prove to be a lunar eclipse at all.  If, as Scripture seems to indicate, the Second Coming and Resurrection will occur during the Feast of Trumpets, they will happen during the New Moon, when the moon is beside the sun in the sky, not on the opposite side of the planet.

Something else very wonderous is going to happen then, and we can only conjecture until we reach that wonderful day . . .

The Red Cross has apparently banned its own symbol
“Staff have been ordered to take down decorations and to remove any other signs of the Christian festival because they could offend Moslems.  The charity’s politically-correct move triggered an avalanche of criticism and mockery last night – from Christians and Moslems.”

Well, duh.  Muslims may not believe that Yeshua is the Son of God or the atonement for their sins, but they do still believe that He is one of their most important prophets.  The only ones offended by Christmas are atheists, pagans . . . and some Messianics, sadly.

(For my part, I believe that Sukkot is when Yeshua was born, but I don’t begrudge those who have never heard of that possibility celebrating His birth in December.  Boaz Michael has written a rather scathing response to the “Christianity is Pagan” segment of the movement here.)

Building the Ministry of Truth
“Tomorrow morning the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will mark the winter solstice by taking an unprecedented step to expand government’s reach into the Internet by attempting to regulate its inner workings,” writes Robert McDowell in the WSJ.  “In doing so, the agency will circumvent Congress and disregard a recent court ruling.” 

The idea of “Net Neutrality” may sound nice to some:  Regulate the internet so that those who use it “excessively,” such as those who do a lot of bit-torrenting, don’t infringe on the bandwidth of “moderate” users.  The problem is that if we allow a government agency to take control of the ‘net–even assuming that it could, given how much of it is stored in servers in other countries–we are allowing those in power to take control of the flow of information.  In the name of “neutrality,” dissident views can be squelched easily.

Don’t believe me?  It’s happened before, with the FCC regulation of the airwaves.  Under the so-called Fairness Doctrine, if a radio station allowed a conservative to give his views, they had to let a liberal “balance” them.  The only real effect was to squelch the political conversation and force the vast majority to get their information and commentary from a very limited number of sources, like the Big Three television stations.  Once the Fairness Doctrine was revoked, political discourse on the airwaves flourished with a variety of different views having the opportunity to be heard and the market making its own corrections.

But aside from all this, do you really want the greatest source of information and commerce in the world today controlled by an unelected agency that blatantly ignores not just one, but two branches of the Federal government?  Me either.  I think the Republican House needs to make a point of defunding the FCC until they remember that they are not their own personal dictatorship.

Sadly, that won’t be enough.  The WikiLeaks scandal has given the UN the excuse it’s been looking for to try to exert its own power over the internet.  As IT News reports, “The United Nations is considering whether to set up an inter-governmental working group to harmonise global efforts by policy makers to regulate the internet.”  You might think that China would be the one spearheading this movement, but no, it’s Brazil.

Get all the info you can off the ‘net now, because it may not be here–at least not in it’s current wide-open form–tomorrow.

Shalom

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