John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded by Herod Antipas (Mark 6:14-29; Matt. 14:1-12). The territory of Antipas included the Trans-Jordan district where was located the famous fortress called “Machaerus.” It was here that John was imprisoned, according to Josephus (Antiquities 18:116-119). Eusebius, a later Christian historian, corroborates the location.
The fortress of Machaerus (Greek word meaning “sword”) was originally built by the Hasmonean Alexander Jannaeus in 90 B.C., destroyed by the Roman general Gabinius in 57 B.C., transformed into a royal palace and city by King Herod the Great in 30 B.C., and destroyed by the Nabatean king Aretas IV in AD 36.A post-Herodian fortress was reconstructed by Judean rebels during their final war with Rome.
The fortress was located on a hilltop east of the Dead Sea, providing a panoramic view all the way to Jericho and the Temple of Jerusalem, Masada to the south, and even to a well north of Jericho overlooking the Jordan Valley.
Machaerus was said to be the second most fortified place in Israel in the time of Christ, only behind Jerusalem. Destroyed by the Romans in the winter of 71/72 A.D., the post-Herodian Machaerus disappeared from the maps for nearly two millennia.
The fascinating element of this biblical site is that its ruins have been excavated by archaeologists for the past fifty years. Its once magnificent 7,000 square-foot royal courtyard complete with a throne-niche, where once sat Herod the Great as well as Antipas, has now seen the light of day. With the assistance of modern technology that is able to trace and even project the figures of the buildings, it is almost as if one is stepping back into a 2,000-year-old time capsule.
Biblical figures come to life. Herod the Great, his son Tetrarch Herod Antipas and his second wife, Princess Herodias, her daughter Princess Salome, and of course, the one and only John the Baptist. Remarkable reconstruction models are found in Biblical Archaeology Review.
An amazing irony is observed in one’s choice to live a life of denial. It is personally satisfying to ignore reality and believe the convenient. It is easier to excuse personal duty when you refuse to admit reality. It is tempting to sit back and “wait” for someone else to “fix” the problem. It is soothing to say, “Well let’s just pray about it and not say anything!” What is actually being said by that ridiculous comment is that if we close our eyes and refuse to listen to facts, then it will all “go away.” But…reality will not go away!
This article is asking the question, do you refuse reality OR do you realize reality?
Buchenwald was one of the largest concentration camps in the German Democratic Socialist governing system. It was the first camp to be liberated by American troops. Just outside the barbed-wire fence was a thriving town (Weimar, Germany) whose population went about its daily schedule and never noticed the horrors that they saw. General Eisenhower forced the town citizens to march through the camp’s horrors and look at what they had permitted.
The citizens of Weimar, Germany lived a life of reality’s denial. Their denial brought catastrophic results and, frighteningly, these catastrophes lay in the immediate future of our nation.
Scripture stresses that mankind must accept and confront reality so God’s Law is honored. Look at a few of the many verses:
• Exodus 32: 25, 26, “Moses saw that the people were out of control…then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!”
• 1 Chronicles 26:14, “Zechariah, a counselor with insight”
• Ezra 8:18, Sherebiah “a man of insight of the sons of Mahli”
• Proverbs 12:8, “A man will be praised according to his insight”
My personal favorite is 1 Chronicles 12:32, “The sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.”
This is reality today…your nation is perched precariously on the precipice of catastrophe. Our nation needs an unquestioned majority of those mimicking the sons of Issachar “who understand the times and with knowledge of what the USA should do!” This is the reality that YOU must either refuse or realize.
Two personality types deal with reality. These are life’s perspective in opposite ways. You are one or the other.
The first is “Pollyanna.” The term is from Eleanor H. Porter’s 1913 novel. This novel focuses on an orphan named Pollyanna. She has an unrealistic optimistic attitude. It is an entertaining and escapist read BUT it is a totally banal possibility for reality. It refers to a person who is excessively and blindly optimistic person. Thus, it identifies one who is unreasonable and illogically optimistic. Such a person is a fool, an idiot and a coward.
Modern psychology has identified the Pollyanna syndrome as “an excessively or blindly optimistic person who refuses to accept reality.” They say “Well things are not so bad.” These refuse to look at reality. The syndrome describes the difference between an ineffective and an effective approach to problem solving; the difference between escaping responsibilities from delusionary optimism and being realistic about personal duty to challenge reality.
The “Pollyannas” of this world threaten responsible living. Such offers no specific counsel but only generalities that can be understood in various ways. These remain silent “but prayerful.” They utilize “prayer” as a convenient amulet or talisman for dismissing the “bad situation” being discussed. These profess confidence in God BUT they fail to put faith into practice—they fail to uphold and bind God’s Laws. James asks this group, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” (2:14). If you have faith that God will overcome then you will be active in that belief and aggressively seek God’s righteousness in reality (James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself”).
A Pollyannaish character embraces compromise that leads to disaster. Such people are unreasonable, illogical and subversive to reality. These are NOT the characters you want by your side in war. Victory is assured to those who are boldly confident and aggressively active in their faith in the Almighty God. This brings us to the next personality…
The second is Phinehas. He was the son of Eleazer and the grandson of Aaron. This is a man of heroic statute. When God’s enemies tried to compromise Israel and bring the nation to ruin, they first hired Baalam to curse the nation. But God turned Baalam’s curses into blessings. Baalam was dismissed but as he left, he advised how Israel could be compromised. The narrative states, “the people began to play the harlot with the daughters of Moab. For they invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So, Israel joined themselves to Baal of Peor, and the Lord was angry against Israel” (Numbers 25:1-3).
The compromise of Israel at Peor was devastating. The flagrant anarchy was shocking. No authority was respected. The population was in chaos. The existence of Israel as a nation was “hanging by a thread.”
There was consternation in the nation. People were upset at what was happening. Numbers 25:6 describes a large group standing at the Tabernacle. They were witnessing the disintegration of their society. Their culture was unraveling before their eyes. They were weeping. They were whining. They were asking “What is happening! What can we do!” They were wringing their hands in nervous anxiety and shaking their heads in dismay. Even Moses was present but inactive. No one was trying to correct the issue. The only action was crying, wringing hands, shaking heads, perplexing words and an overwhelming sense of defeat.
In the midst of the anarchy and hopelessness, “when Phinehas the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, saw it, he arose from the midst of the congregation and took a spear in his hand, and he went after the man of Israel into the tent and pierced both of them through, the man of Israel and the woman, through the body. So the plague on the sons of Israel was checked” (Numbers 25:7-8).
Phinehas realized the reality of his situation. His faith prodded him to confront reality. His heroic faith saved his nation and glorified God.
He was aggressive; he was realistic; he was bold; he refused to cower to the prevailing actions; he refused to be intimidated by the compromised majority. He was steadfast in his faith in the Almighty God. This faith refused to be intimidated or silenced.
He took the initiative.
Phinehas understood that he must recognize reality. He did not seek a comfortable excuse to avoid being involved. He did not hide behind a Pollyanna optimism that God will suddenly pop up and put an end to the anarchy.
Phinehas took the initiative, realized the reality of his nation’s sin and anarchy, and acted with bold aggression. Because of this he is held in great esteem throughout the Scripture. He is a hero NOT because he was timid and nice BUT because he was upholding God’s righteous Law.
Here is how Inspiration memorializes this hero, “Phinehas stood up and interposed, and so the plague was stayed. And it was reckoned to him for righteousness, to all generations forever” (Psalm 106:30-31). Phineas saved his nation not by being “nice” to the anarchists but by upholding God’s righteousness.
The United States of America needs citizens who are like Phinehas NOT as Pollyanna. Our nation desperately needs citizens aggressively standing for God’s righteousness. Our nation needs voices boldly proclaiming and defending biblical truth. Our nation seeks the heroic hearts that are more concerned about upholding righteous morality and individual freedom instead of being “nice” and ignoring flagrant blasphemy that is known to them.
The presence of a Pollyanna is entertaining and it is an escape from reality. It is comfortable and convenient. It is “nice.” But you cannot survive in such a delusional existence. The Pollyannaish perspective is criminal; it is inhumane; it is ungodly; it is cowardly. During the horrors of the German National Socialist governing the general population lived in a Pollyannaish delusion. They refused to look at the reality of the evil surrounding them. As the daily purging of the “deplorables” continued, the residents of Weimer, Germany awoke each day to milk their cows, till their gardens, work their jobs and enjoy their families. Within easy eyesight were the walls of Buchenwald that held unfathomable horrors. They would hear rumors but conveniently dismissed these saying “Oh where is your proof? You are always looking at the negative. You are not being nice.” But they could not escape reality for very long with such Pollyannaish dismissals.
The real issue asks, “Are YOU a Phinehas or a Pollyanna?”
As you consider the points above, I ask, “Where are YOU with the reality of our nation today? Are you more concerned with being ‘nice’ and silent or are you striving to teach God’s righteousness? As you observe family, friends, and associates whose behavior, words and attitudes are contrary to God’s righteousness, do you respond as Pollyanna or Phinehas?”
This is YOUR reality…your nation is being decimated; morality is nonexistent; politicians refuse to condemn violence, rioting, looting and murder. YOU have family, friends and associates who have thrown away God’s righteousness to accept a personal anarchy. You cannot casually dismiss their behavior and be excused just as Weimar’s population could never excuse their silent approval of Buchenwald.
Are you a Pollyanna or a Phinehas?
Exactly what will Inspiration say about the way you refused reality or realized reality?
This is where YOU are today…your nation is perched precariously on the precipice of catastrophe. Current polls have the Dems winning both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. I pray the polls are significantly wrong and that God’s Providence will provide for us to continue as “one nation under God.”
Our nation needs an unquestioned majority of those mimicking the sons of Issachar “who understand the times and with knowledge of what the USA should do!” This is the reality that YOU must choose so that Inspiration will memorialize your life with the same compliment earned by Phinehas.
Plutarch’s Parallel Lives records the history of a General Lucius Cornelius Sylla. His general appearance was foreboding. He was of unusual height, had piercing blue eyes, and his face’s complexion was described as “white with blotches of fiery red.” He was a commander who was followed by committed troops. He held a “vehement and implacable desire” to conquer Athens, and he did so. On one maneuver he prepared siege to a city. He directed his troops to divert the River Cephisus. The troops were obedient to the order but they really desired to attack the enemy. Sylla pointed them to the most difficult position that had to be taken and told them to show their valor by their actions. The spirit of the men and their devotion to their Commander carried them forward and in spite of the difficulties, the victory was won. The moral of that historic victory must not be lost in our current situation. A courageous spirit is half of the battle won and often the courageous wins unexpected successes! It is this heroic courage and unquestioned commitment to our Commander that identifies us as “Phinehas.” This illustrates well Inspiration’s words, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
John Kachelman, Jr.is a Christian patriot, preacher, and missionary for Jesus Christ to foreign countries. He lives in Montgomery, AL.
First century Israel was a mixing pot of a variety of cultures. Ever since the fourth century B.C. the nation had been engulfed by Hellenization brought about by the Macedonian general, Alexander the Great. This western culture was completely different from the Asian world.
One of the most shocking elements of that Greek culture was the building of a gymnasium in Jerusalem where athletes would perform in the nude. “So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to Gentile custom … They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil.” So wrote the Maccabees (1 Macc. 1:14-15).
Then in 63 B.C. the Roman general Pompey took over the old Seleucid Empire of Syria. He defeated the forces of Antioch and stormed down toward Jerusalem. Thus began the turbulent rule of Rome over Judea.
The Romans appointed John Hyrcanus II as High Priest—a sacrilege to the Old Testament that mandated a son of Aaron to be priest for life. They also confirmed Antipater, an Idumean, to be the royal official representing Rome. It was his son, Herod the Great, who killed all the babes of Bethlehem at the birth of Christ.
With an Idumean line of kings ruling over the nation and its lands; and Hellenization of customs, language, habits, foods, and entertainment; and Rome overseeing the entire with its standing army stationed throughout Israel, which was deeply resented by the Jews; the stage was set for a huge conflict of cultures.
The chaos that ensued is well-known. Wracked by differences so wide as to never hope for healing, the Jews themselves were practically exterminated by Rome at the holocaust of 70 A.D. Rome was tired of the constant inner struggles and civil unrest that seemed to be the hallmark of Israel.
America Rick Santorum, former candidate for president of the United States, related that his grandfather came from Fascist Italy to come to America to work in the coalmines of western Pennsylvania. Like most immigrants, he believed in the American ideal; that all men were created equal.
However, Santorum warns, “as a result of multicultural relativism, we fear seeing the American aspiration eroded, our common purpose lost, and the ‘re-appearing of tyranny and oppression’ that is not only poised against us abroad but is also pointing its dagger at us here at home.”
The real culprit here is the philosophy of multiculturalism. It threatens to destroy our once solid nation, just as it did Israel of old.
“The Master Principle” of our nation, as Dan Smoot wrote in 1994, is Christianity. The organic documents of our government—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, are based upon its presuppositions. Assimilation to these fundamental principles proved to be the glue that held diverse peoples and groups together.
Multiculturalism, however, which is being drummed into our students from elementary school through collegiate training, seeks to dissolve this glue by its flagrant teaching of relativism.
Charles A. Tesconi, dean of the College of Education at the University of Vermont, relates the following. “As a descriptor, multiculturalism points to a condition of numerous life-styles, values, and belief systems. By treating diverse cultural groups and ways of life as equally legitimate, by teaching about them in positive ways, legitimizing differences through various education policies and practices, self-understanding, self-esteem, intergroup understanding and harmony, and equal opportunity are promoted.”
As Alex Newman and Samuel Blumenfeld remark here, this “multicultural education embraces much more than mere cultural pluralism or ethnic diversity. It legitimizes different lifestyles and values systems, thereby legitimizing moral diversity—which is simply moral anarchy” (Crimes of the Educators, p. 229).
The concept of moral diversity “directly contradicts the biblical concept of moral absolutes based on the Ten Commandments, on which this nation was founded.”
As Newman and Blumenfeld state above, multiculturalism has led to anarchy. Lawlessness. And this itself, as if it is a legitimate philosophy, is being peddled in the university classroom. Liberal professorships across academia have routinely churned out young radical revolutionaries ready to revamp America.
Dr. Nathan Jun, for example, professor of Philosophy at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, TX, has specialized in Anarchist Studies. He has published numerous articles in Anarchist journals. Anarchist Studies, Radical Philosophy Review, and The Journal of Political Ideologies included among them. He is author of Anarchy and Political Modernity (2011).
He has written that “classical anarchism is arguably the first political postmodernism.” Postmodernism, of course, completely severs the concept of values and morality from any eternal standard. Nothing is right; nothing is wrong.
If one thinks this is simply an esoteric academic teaching that has no relevance to the current troubled America, Dr. Jun’s Facebook page features an “Abolish the Police” poster.
Christopher F. Rufo, a contributing editor of City Journal, writes that “The latest call to action from some criminal-justice activists: ‘Abolish the Police.’” Advocates and activists press not just to reform the police, but to do away with it altogether. It is a “concrete policy goal” of anarchists that has infected mainstream American radicals from Seattle to Boston.
“Police abolitionists believe that they stand at the vanguard of a new idea, but this strain of thought dates to the eighteenth-century philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who believed that stripping away the corruptions of civilization would liberate the goodness of man.”
This, of course, is nonsense. As Jun himself demonstrates, when anyone, even with legitimate questions on his Facebook thread asks why, in these days of violence, should we “abolish the police,” he tells them to “F____ off.” So much for “liberating the goodness of man.”
Lest we forget, the building of the intended “Islamic center” was destroyed in the 911 Islamic attacks. Human remains were found on the site. 9/11 families were joined by immigrants from India, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Africa, Iran and Europe to show opposition to the construction of a mega-mosque at our protest at Ground Zero. Others flew in from overseas to speak or just to share their particular ethnic communities’ experiences at the hands of moslems.
The news was buried under two dense paragraphs and five large photos in an article in New York YIMBY about a different project: “Construction has also yet to begin on 51 Park Place, which is slated to become a 71-foot-tall, 16,000-square-foot Islamic cultural center.” The infamous Ground Zero Mosque project, a long buried effort to build a triumphal mosque at the site of the worst jihad terror attack in American history, is back.
Construction has yet to begin, but it will: the shady developer behind the Ground Zero Mosque scheme, Sharif El-Gamal, has been working to build this sinister structure for years.
We defeated the Ground Zero Mosque project once before. The 16-story mosque that El-Gamal initially planned to build there has not been built. Our efforts in showing what an insult it was to the American people and to the victims of 9/11, and how many Muslims worldwide would inevitably view it as a triumphal mosque built on the site of a jihad attack, defeated it. Tens of thousands of people came out for our rallies in lower Manhattan against this celebration of this 9/11 attacks, and El-Gamal was beaten in the court of public opinion.
It was a long battle. President Obama announced his support for the mosque at an Iftar dinner, no less. Then-mayor of New York City and current presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg supported the mosque as well, claiming hysterically that “if we don’t build it, the terrorists will win!” The media actively campaigned for it — the elites in their increasingly fragile ivory towers relentlessly stumped for the Cordoba mosque (euphemistically called an Islamic center with a prayer space) for years.
And yet despite all this opposition and much more, the people stood up and fought the Ground Zero Mosque and won. An army of Davids.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. Crains New York reported on El-Gamal’s new project in 2015 in a story that demonstrated how the developer was hoping to sneak his triumphal mosque into existence: “Mr. El-Gamal’s Soho Properties has proposed a 667-foot condominium tower at lower Manhattan’s 45 Park Place. The glass skyscraper, which has yet to break ground, will include at least 15 full-floor units of 3,200 to 3,700 square feet, and average prices higher than $3,000 a square foot, according to plans released to Bloomberg by the developer.”
That sounded normal enough. But then the article added: “Adjacent to the tower, Soho Properties will build a public plaza connected to a three-story Islamic museum and prayer space.” An Islamic prayer space is a mosque. The article also said: “An Islamic museum ‘is just as much of an insult,’ Pamela Geller, a blogger and one of the center’s most vocal opponents, wrote in an email. ‘It will be like having a museum touting the glories of the Japanese Empire at Pearl Harbor.’”
I think an Islamic museum at Ground Zero dedicated to the half-billion victims of jihadi wars, land appropriations, sharia, cultural annihilations, enslavements, and sharia enforcement is an excellent idea, but is that what Sharif El-Gamal had in mind? Of course not. And how did El-Gamal plan to finance this? The answer was predictable. The New York Post reported in May 2016 that “the developer of the failed Ground Zero Mosque has nailed down ‘Sharia-compliant financing’ for a new, luxury condominium tower and Islamic cultural museum on the same site, he and his banking partners said.”
Then in May 2017, the New York Times ran a story entitled “Condo Tower to Rise Where Muslim Community Center Was Proposed.” The Times said that “45 Park Place, a 43-story condominium that will soon rise three blocks from the World Trade Center,” was “something of a consolation prize for the developer,” as it “replaces the developer’s 2010 plan to build a 15-story Islamic mosque and cultural center on this site, an idea that erupted into a national controversy and cable news network bonanza.”
In the last couple of years, there has been virtually no news about this “Islamic museum.” But the New York YIMBY story shows that the project has been advancing under cover of darkness. A 71-foot-tall structure is three stories high, as in the revised plans announced in 2015.
El-Gamal has many friends and allies among New York City’s political and media elites. It is likely that de Blasio city officials and the New York Times and other city papers all met with El-Gamal and agreed to keep the reporting on this project to an absolute minimum, so that it could get built without incurring the righteous anger of the public again. The first time around, they courted publicity and tried to make El-Gamal a hero. We demolished that and destroyed their plans. So now they’ve clearly decided to go ahead surreptitiously.
It is disgusting that El-Gamal continues to taunt Americans and poke at America’s most egregious recent memory. El-Gamal was there when we had tens of thousands in the streets opposing his Ground Zero mosque. He knows how angry and upset people get at these Islamic structures on the site of jihad war. The 9/11 Muslim terrorists extolled Allah no fewer than 90 times in their last letters. Will those letters be on display at this Islamic cultural center/museum?
There is an important lesson to be learned here — and one we would be wise to adopt. They never stop. No matter how absolutely they lose, how many setbacks they suffer, they keep on pursuing their supremacist goals.
The Ground Zero Mosque project was and is a middle finger to the American people. There has never been a mosque of reconciliation and healing built on the site of a jihadi attack. Ever. It is, on the other hand, an Islamic pattern to build triumphal mosques on the cherished sites of conquered lands. History is riddled with triumphal mosques built on the sites of jihad attacks or appropriated from other religions: the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque on the site of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, and innumerable mosques built on the sites of Hindu temples that were demolished by Muslims all attest to that.
And now it looks as if Sharif El-Gamal is going to be able to build his own triumphal mosque at Ground Zero after all.
As reported by CNN, a Methodist church in California is displaying a nativity scene depicting Jesus, Mary and Joseph as refugees in cages to “draw attention to the conditions faced by migrants seeking asylum in the United States.” The Claremont United Methodist Church, which is about 30 miles east of Los Angeles, “posted the photo on its website showing the three held in separate cages topped with barbed wire. The baby Jesus is wrapped in a silver foil blanket.” The “lead pastor” Karen Clark Ristine told CNN that “we thought about the most famous refugee family in the world.”
The United Methodist Church, ever ready to warp biblical narratives into liberal political messages, has displayed a stunning ignorance of the Bible. As Gary DeMar observes, “Leftists have little regard for the Bible unless it can be used to scold Christians for judging righteously … and to support socialism based on a passage about voluntary giving (Acts 2:42-45; 4:32-35).”
As I wrote in a former article, there are several biblical considerations that need be made. (1) God Himself established borders of nations. Read Acts 17:26. (2) God demanded that Old Testament Israel respect the borders of other nations. God gave Mt. Seir to Esau and his descendants for a “possession.” Therefore, Israel, when coming out of Egypt, was not to cross it (Deuteronomy. 2:5). The same regarded Israel’s respect of Moab’s borders.
(3) Once settled in Canaan, the Israelites were sternly warned to “drive the Canaanites out.” The stated reason for this was to preserve the culture of Israel (Numbers. 33:51,52). (4) Even Abraham was deported once it was discovered that he lied to border agents. Read Genesis 12. (5) Regarding Jesus and the holy family, as DeMar notes, they were living within the confines of the Roman Empire. Egypt was part of the Roman Empire at the time of Jesus’ birth. Their escape from Bethlehem was only to another Roman Province. (6) Another command given to Joseph and Mary was that they were to return to their homeland after the death of Herod (Matthew. 2:20). DeMar asks, “How many refugees return to their home nations after entering the United States?”
In Gaza, on November 11, having endured many attacks on its civilians by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Israel struck at the terror group with pinpoint accuracy, firing a missile at a particular room on the third floor of a residential building, which turned out to be the very bedroom of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander in northern Gaza, Baha Abu al-Ata, killing only him and his wife. Confirming his death, a PIJ spokesman said he was just about to undertake “a heroic jihadist action.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Abu al-Ata an “arch-terrorist” and said he was “the main instigator of terrorism from the Gaza Strip. He initiated, planned and carried out many terrorist attacks. He fired hundreds of rockets at communities in the area adjacent to the Gaza Strip, whose suffering we have seen,” he told a news conference in Tel Aviv. “He was in the midst of planning additional attacks in the immediate short term. He was a ticking bomb.”
The PIJ is the second-largest terrorist group in Gaza, and also has offices abroad in Damascus, Tehran, and Khartoum. It is even more extreme than its rival Hamas, in that – unlike Hamas — it refuses even to consider a ceasefire, and it has recently been firing hundreds of rockets into southern Israel, always into civilian areas, in its determination to prevent a shaky ceasefire between Hamas and Israel from taking hold. Israel has previously held Hamas accountable for attacks by the PIJ, and would attack Hamas targets in retaliation for PIJ rocket attacks on Israeli towns and cities. The idea was to inflict so much pain on Hamas that it would then target PIJ in Gaza itself, to prevent its attacking Israel. But now, with the killing of Baba Anu al-Ata, Israel appears to have concluded that Hamas has been not unwilling but, rather, unable to halt PIJ attacks on Israel, so the IDF will have to do the job itself. The Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Lt Gen Aviv Kochavi, said that Abu al-Ata had undermined recent efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which runs Gaza and is considered a rival to PIJ.
An hour after the Israelis announced the attack on Abu al-Ata in northern Gaza, an Israeli plane fired two rockets at the house of Akram al-Ajouri, a senior member of the terror group PIJ, in the Mezzeh area of Damascus. Al-Ajouri managed to survive, but his son and Ajouri’s bodyguard were killed.
What do these attacks signify? First, that Israel wants to do its utmost to ensure that no innocents are harmed. In both cases, the rockets struck with pinpoint accuracy. In Gaza, not only did the IDF manage to limit the attack to Abu al-Ata’s apartment on the third floor, but, with even greater accuracy, to the very bedroom where he and his wife were sleeping. In Damascus, a similar surgical strike on the home of Al-Ajouri killed only his son and his bodyguard. Many hours later, the Syrians claimed that Al-Ajouri’s granddaughter had also been killed; it’s unclear if this is true, or if it was fabricated in an attempt to elicit more anger against Israel.
Compare these Israeli strikes to how the PIJ struck back. In just the six hours after the killing of Abu al-Ata, PIJ fired more than 170 rockets into civilian areas of Israel. Workplaces and schools were shut down as far north as Tel Aviv. There was no attempt by PIJ to hit a particular target, no “pinpoint accuracy” to these attacks; every Israeli in southern and central Israel was a potential target, including those in the country’s hub, Tel Aviv. Half the country closed down, including schools and workplaces from Tel Aviv south; with sirens intermittently sounding, and people taking cover on the streets or in one of the many bomb shelters that Israelis have built everywhere in their permanently imperiled country
Israel has now retaliated, in turn, for those PIJ rocket attacks. It did not do so right away, holding its fire for six hours, possibly in the hope that after the targeted killings, and having vented its anger with its volley of rockets, the PIJ might rethink its strategy. But it was not to be: and so, with 160 rockets having been fired at Israel, the IAF finally struck back, only at strictly military targets of the PIJ. The IAF hit arms warehouses, a training center for Islamic Jihad’s naval force, a shaft of a PIJ terror tunnel in northern Gaza, and a digging site of another PIJ terror tunnel in the central Strip. Only five people have been reported killed in those attacks, all of them PIJ terrorists. Here, again, in Gaza, the IAF has shown itself to be exceedingly accurate, with no civilian deaths among the Palestinians reported so far.
Israel, meanwhile, has also been careful not to hit a single target belonging to Hamas. Israelis have rethought their previous strategy of holding Hamas responsible for attacks by Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and attacking it after enduring attacks by PIJ. Israeli commanders have become convinced that Hamas is trying, but not succeeding, in preventing PIJ from launching its rockets. So Israel briefly decided to return – but has made clear it is doing so only temporarily — to its former policy of “targeted assassinations,” that it used to employ with such effect against Hamas. The IDF is trying to deal forcefully and quickly with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, by cutting off the “head of the snake” – that is, killing its military commander in Gaza, Baha Abu al-Ata, and, in Damascus, the head of its political wing, Akram Al-Ajouri. It wants to weaken Palestinian Jihad, perhaps enough to encourage Hamas to finish the job the IAF has begun, and to return to trying to keep alive the tentative ceasefire that Egypt has been brokering between Israel and Hamas.
As the battle goes on, and both sides have already been “urged to exercise restraint” by the U.N., note that “restraint” is exactly what Israel has always been exercising, in these surgical strikes against PIJ leaders and military targets. It is the PIJ that has never exercised “restraint” in its attacks on Israelis, consistently shooting its rockets into Israeli civilian areas. If it has not caused more civilian casualties, it’s not for want of trying.
The remaining leadership of PIJ remains defiant, and issued a statement promising that “Our inevitable retaliation will rock the Zionist entity.” So far that “inevitable retaliation” has not led to any Israeli deaths, but only to fewer than a dozen wounded. This low number testifies to the efficacy of the Iron Dome anti-missile defense system, the country’s excellent warning system, and the shelters that are found everywhere in Israel.
Hamas, the Palestinian organization that administers the Gaza Strip, said Israel “bears full responsibility for all consequences of this escalation,” and promised Abu al-Ata’s death “will not go unpunished.” This is the minimum that could be expected from Hamas, which though secretly pleased at the damage done to its rival, must pretend to be outraged by Israel’s attacks. It is noticeable that Hamas did not fire any retaliatory rockets itself, nor did it state that it would participate in “punishing” Israel. If Abu al-Ata’s death “will not go unpunished,” apparently Hamas will not be among those doing the punishing. Hamas could have said that “we will help punish Israel for its murder of Abu al-Ata,” but did not. That’s a significant public breach between Hamas and PIJ. How long Hamas will wait, until itself taking on the much-weakened PIJ, in order to assure itself that the ceasefire with Israel will hold, is anyone’s guess. The Israelis hope it is soon. They would themselves re-enter Gaza, to crush all the terrorists, what they call “mowing the lawn,” only most reluctantly. Hamas cannot afford to behave like PIJ, oblivious to the consequences of its acts, and willing to endlessly attack Israel even if the IDF’s retaliation is always more punishing than anything the PIJ can inflict. For Hamas is now more than a terrorist group; it bears all the responsibilities of rule in Gaza. And that includes trying to maintain the ceasefire with Israel, brokered by Egypt, for as long as it serves its interests.
Why do Israelis call these actions taken against the terrorists “mowing the lawn”? It’s because they know it is only a temporary solution to a permanent problem. The terrorists may be cut down, but will always reappear, like a lawn that regrows after being mowed. The Jihad, the Israelis know, is permanent. It’s been going on, somewhere in the world, for the past 1,400 years. If only the people in the chanceries of the West, so quick to round on Israel for daring to defend itself, could grasp that simple fact.
Hugh Fitzgerald is a student of history and literature, primarily of America and Europe. He admires Jacques Barzun, J. D. Salinger, and Alan Bennett, reads dictionaries for profit and pleasure, and finds particularly appealing the words “recompense,” “quondam,” “magari,” and “degringolade.”
By far the best way to reach Hughun is through the offices at Jihad Watch. Fitzgerald has an email account, the address of which is email@example.com.
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson gives dose of reality for how woman-led country would be like
by Jesse Lee Peterson
Never has the Democratic Party been more obviously the female party than today. One liberal T-shirt reads, “The future is female.” Democrats pretend to be for women – boasting several female presidential candidates and 89 female congressmen. But President Donald Trump, by being a man, has caused Democrats to expose themselves as white-hating, man-hating, God-hating members of the children of the lie. Weak beta males and females hate the president. Real men and logical women support Trump.
Consider the dirty Women’s March for abortion, lying #MeToo movement against men, communist Antifa terrorists, fake news media, and America-hating, Israel-hating Democrat women of color. These people do not stand for freedom, truth or justice. They support mothers killing their babies up to the ninth month, even after birth, while the fathers have no “reproductive rights.” They falsely accuse men and expect everyone to “believe women” who lie. They promote mental and spiritual illness like freakish transgender monsters reading to children in public libraries, and push so-called same-sex marriage, saying, “Love is love.” But really they stand for hate.
If real men were in charge, if fathers were present and strong, not absent or weak beta males, this madness would not be happening. There is a natural order to life, created by God, that works when you follow it. That order is God in Christ, Christ in man, man over woman, and women over children. Just as men need Christ, so women need men to lead them and help them overcome emotions. Fathers protect children from the anger and emotions of the mothers, and lead by example. Men and women who love their fathers are clear-thinking and at peace.
Growing up in Alabama under the Jim Crow laws, black men and women knew the order of God. Black men married and led their wives and children in the right way, with logic and strength. They did not have “black leaders.” Abortion was unheard of. Blacks worked, did not commit crimes, complain, beg and blame the white man, and never uttered the phony made-up word “racism.” Blacks voted Republican and believed in God. Today, all that is gone. Blacks go to church, whoop and holler and “praise the Lord,” but inwardly they are filthy and rotten, and have no peace.
Liberals “celebrated” black women in 2017 after Democrat Doug Jones defeated Alabama Judge Roy Moore in a U.S. Senate race. The children of the lie smeared Roy Moore, a straight white man, as a “racist” and “pedophile” because of his strong Christian pro-family values. Doug Jones, who has a homosexual son, supports everything destructive to black Americans: Abortion, illegal aliens, the fake idea of “racism,” and radical “LGBT” crap. Ninety-eight percent of black females voted Democrat – not a sign of wisdom, but of mass-brainwashing. Of course the white liberal media and Hollywood praised the black women.
White pro-abortion actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted, “I said a prayer the other day and when God answered me back she was a Black Woman.”
White feminist journalist Molly Knight mused, “What if we just let black women run everything?
As a pastor and counselor for over 29 years, I can tell you “what if….” Just look at the black female-run ghettos and so-called “families.” We’ve seen horrendous out-of-wedlock birth ratesamong black and Hispanic mothers for decades. “Women of color” have raised generations defined by drugs, crime, abortion and blind dependency on ever-more-extreme leftist policies – socialism at work! And they’ve only gotten worse. As Presidential Trump rightly says: Blacks and Hispanics in our inner cities are living in Hell.
We’ve also seen a rise in white single mothers. Just as black men were destroyed, so now there is an attack on white men,the last demographic mostly standing in the way of evil. Boys and men are being feminized in schools and media – given drugs if they’re too energetic and boyish. If they’re too manly and say something true, not politically correct, they’re lynched– made a public example of, browbeat, boycotted, fired or pressured to apologize. They’re discriminated against, falsely blamed for the failings of women and “people of color.” They’re overdosing on opioids or committing suicide.
August was Men’s History Month. It seems like most Millennials and Generation Zers have never even heard about being a man. They don’t know what it means. They’ve accepted sex outside of marriage, couples living together, and normal straight couples calling each other “partners,” as if they’re homosexuals. Most men hate and fear women, and don’t know how to deal with them, because they resent their mothers, whether they know it or not. They’re yearning for the love of their fathers. If they had fathers in the home, the fathers were weak and surrendered to the will of the mothers.
It’s no wonder that most whites today can’t tell the truth to black people or stand up for themselves in the right way. They can’t even handle their mothers, wives, girlfriends, or women in general! If men of all races don’t overcome the controlling, emotional, angry spirit of their mothers, they will be responsible for a living Hell in America.
All recent talk coming from the Democrats is about current “reparations” to black Americans for yesteryear’s slavery. White America must begin paying financial compensation for sins of history. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) announced a bill this week to form a commission to recommend “reparations for slavery.” Booker says this could solve the “persistence of racism, white supremacy, and implicit racial bias in our country. It will bring together the vest minds to study the issue and propose solutions that will finally begin to right the economic scales of past harms and make sure we are a country where all dignity and humanity is affirmed.”
Beto O’Rourke was against “reparations” when he was in Congress but has switcherooed to favor Booker’s commission. Whatever is vogue is what the Democrats support. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, another Texas Democrat, has supported reparations as well. Sen. Kamala Harris and Sen. Elizabeth Warren both cannot get on the bandwagon quickly enough.
Reparation talk is growing elsewhere. Black Princeton Seminary students in New Jersey are asking their school for reparations for slavery due to the fact that the early founders and faculty of the University had ties to slavery. A group of black seminarians have collected more than 400 signatures in an online petition calling on the Princeton to “make amends” by setting aside $5.3 million annually—15% of what the seminary uses from the school’s endowment for its operating expenses—to fund tuition grants for black students and establish a Black Church Studies program (Selwyn Duke, in The New American, 3.27.19).
What Shall We Say to These Things?
This is all a tacit admission that Reparations Do Not Work to the End for Which They are Intended.Why?Booker says reparations will “right the economic scales of past harms.” This is exactly, almost word for word, the reason Affirmative Action was instituted in America in the first place.
Consider Pres. Lyndon Johnson, in a commencement address at Howard University in 1965 on affirmative action, who opined this way about Affirmative Action:
You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying, ‘now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.’ You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe you have been completely fair …This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.
We were going to have equality “as a fact and as a result” provided by Big Brother Government in its meddlesome Affirmative Action programs. Compensate for past discrimination and persecution is the “reason.” The original purpose for Affirmative Action in the United States was to “pressure institutions into compliance” with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to the clintonwhitehouse2.archives.gov website,
The current scope of affirmative action programs is best understood as an outgrowth and continuation of our national effort to remedy subjugation of racial and ethnic minorities and of women — subjugation in place at our nation’s founding and still the law of the land within the lifetime of “baby-boomers.
Apparently, the government remedy did not take. Instead of a “remedy” affirmative action has exacerbated the racial problem, so much that Democrats are seeking again to “right the economic scales” in America—exactly what Affirmative Action was supposed to do—by government fiat.
There are a few hundred questions we need answered by the Booker’s, Harris’, Warren’s and O’Rourke’s of the world before “reparations” are underway. Just a sampling of those questions are these:
Since slavery is solely of the Democrat Party in America, why not make the DNC pay the reparations?
Since American Indians practiced slavery regularly, and photos exist of Indian tribes holding white captives as slaves, will whites receive payments as well? Will the government “shake down” the Indian tribes for their historical practice of slavery?
Since “slavery” is, by definition, for all practical purposes, the process by which one person is forcibly used to serve the purposes of another, how is it that modern-day forcible financial re-distribution (slavery) supposed to “right” slavery of the past? Will modern-day slavery via the tax code be repaired? What is the difference in principle between slavery to the government and slavery to a plantation owner?
Is Booker man-enough to note that the Koran teaches slavery and Muslims have practiced slavery throughout the centuries? Shall Muslims in America pay reparations for subjugating populations of Europeans in history? Will those that support Mohammed and the fact that he owned a black slave be forced to disown Mohammed? After all, those theological students at Princeton say that “Restitution is evidence of repentance.”
While thinking of Islam, since each and every black slave that was captured in Africa and sold to English slave-traders originated with Muslim slave-traders in Africa, will those who practice Islam be forced to pay reparation? After all, why target just a few Englishmen involved in slavery? Why not cast a wider net for reparations?
Since “righting past wrongs” is Booker’s game, what about abortion? Since abortion is the taking of innocent life, will the Democrat legislation force those who have aborted children to pay into a general fund for usage by others? Or, is our grievance against sin selective? Only some sins need apply.
And since abortion rates are higher in black communities than in white communities does this mean that more blacks will be paying than whites? Or, is abortion off-the-table as far as discussion is concerned?
Since the black Princeton Theology students tell us that “reparation is evidence of repentance” do they also teach that it is the government’s job to force repentance among the population? Is asking for free-will contributions the same as a government shakedown?
While on theology students, perhaps a biblical passage will help us. Ezekiel 18.
Israelites in Babylonian captivity were self-righteous. They were disposed to shift blame off of themselves and lay it partly upon their fathers and partly upon God. Shifting blame to some other quarter that we might be just and God unjust is still prevalent among men!
Their Illusion is that they were suffering, not for their own sins, but the transgressions of their fathers. Their proverbial statement to that effect was, “The fathers have eaten sour grapes and set the children’s teeth on edge.” An old proverb repeated by the modern-day Democrat-Socialist. The prophet dispels this idea in the balance of the chapter.
Ezekiel lays out four cases to illustrate Divine Justice. Number one: the righteous man (v. 5-9) is just (dealings with others) and will live. Number two: a wicked son of a righteous man (v. 10-13). The father will not be held accountable for the sin of the son. Number three: a righteous son of a wicked father (v. 14-18). Here is where liberal idea of reparation rests. Must wickedness of past generations be paid today? The inspired prophet’s answer: NO. The principle is: The soul that sins, IT is the one that shall die! (v. 2).
Number four: Ezekiel has one more scenario (v 21-24). The wicked AND the righteous. If the wicked repents, then he is forgiven. If the righteous apostatizes, he is lost. This involves a change, not in the character of one generation to the next, but in the character of the individual.Such is repentance. Princeton Theology students and the Cory Booker’s of the world notwithstanding.
The Bible and Illegal Immigration –“…those that you let remain of them be as pricks in your eyes, and as thorns in your sides, and they shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell… “
As illegal immigration assists dragging our culture downward into a more godless, violent and confused society, it is shocking that many preachers, who should be reflecting biblical values, have taken the position that somehow the liberal multicultural goal of open borders is beneficial for evangelism. People are becoming confused as to whether or not America should even have boundaries and borders and whether it is godly to protect those borders.
First, God Himself established borders of nations. In Acts 17:26 Paul, speaking to Greeks in Athens, stated that “God has made of one, every nation of men to dwell on the face of the earth; having determined their appointed seasons, and bounds of their habitation.”
Note the several elements of the passage. (1) God has made of every nation one—or He made from one every nation of mankind. This is in direct opposition to the then current Greek belief that their own origin was superior to other races. (2) God determined their appointed times, that is, their divinely appointed periods. Nations do not rise and fall without God. It is not a survival of the fittest. (3) Boundaries of nations are divinely fixed. However modern man wishes to understand the providence of God, Paul plainly states that God has a hand in national boundaries.
The classic Old Testament text on this subject is Deut. 32:8. “When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance; When he separated the children of men …” The last comment, about “separating” the children of men refers to God’s division between peoples at the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:8).
Second, God demanded that Israel respect borders of other nations. As Israel came out of Egypt, the people were to by-pass some of the nations respecting their borders because God had given them that territory. One of those nations was Edom. “I have given Mt. Seir to Esau for a possession,” said the Lord, therefore, Israel was not to enter it (Deut. 2:5). He said the same regarding the country of Moab.
Later (Num. 20), when Israel, under the leadership of Moses, applied to Edom to pass through its territory on their way toward Canaan, Edom said no. After a second application and refusal Israel turned to go another way. A nation has the right to determine who comes into its territory and even God’s selected leader Moses could not violate that right.
On the other hand, God had prior appointed that the territory of the Amorite and Canaanite (Palestine) would be given to Israel (see Deut. 1). This was a divine judgment upon those Canaanite nations (see Gen. 15:15-16) because of their extreme wickedness including child sacrifice.
Consider also the fact that at one point in Genesis history Abraham, God’s chosen, immigrated to Egypt (Gen. 12). Abraham, however, lied about the status of his wife Sarah at one of the checkpoints. When his lie was discovered by the Egyptians he was deported! God did not step in and demand that Abraham and his family be protected at the expense of the Egyptian government.
Third, once settled in Canaan, the Israelites were sternly warned on multiple occasions to “drive the Canaanites out.” Even forty years previously, when Israel was still at Mt. Sinai, God had promised to drive out the inhabitants of the land (Exod. 33:2). Once Joshua took the leadership and conquered most of Canaan, he commanded the cooperation of the Israelites in “driving out” the Canaanites (e.g. Joshua 17:17-19).
The stated reason for driving out the nations that formerly inhabited Israel was to preserve the culture of Israel. The word “culture” itself refers to the religious presuppositions that lie beneath a society.
“When you pass over the Jordan into the land of Canaan, then ye shall drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, and destroy all their figured stones, and destroy all their molten images, and demolish all their high places [of idol worship], and ye shall take possession of the land …” (Num. 33:51,52)
Moses continued. “But if you will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then shall those that you let remain of them be as pricks in your eyes, and as thorns in your sides, and they shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell” (v. 55). That Israel did not drive out the Canaanite people from Israel is the theme of the book of Judges (see chapter 1). The rest of the book shows perfectly well what occurs when a culture is not preserved.
As one professor wisely told me, “marriage is not a reformatory school”—so also “open borders is not a missionary program.” It is a recipe for the disintegration and complete annihilation of what is left of America’s Christian culture.
After Israel’s settlement in Canaan each tribe had a sovereign boundary that was detailed in the sacred record (Joshua 15). Not only was tribal territory to be respected in Israel, but private property was considered sacred and one of the sins that was prosecuted was “moving boundary markers” of someone’s property—which is the same as stealing private land. In no text in Holy Writ does anyone find the concept that people are not to own private property or that there is no such thing as Israelite tribal territory or national boundaries.
Fourth, God forbade Israelites from making any personal and marital contracts with the pagan people that formerly inhabited the land. Deuteronomy 7:1-5 is emphatic. If individual Israelites mixed in marriage relationships with the idolaters and pagans known as the Canaanites, the pure religion of Israel would be eroded.
“You shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them; neither shalt thou make marriages with them; … for he will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods …” For this reason, God instructed, “You shall break down their altars and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.”
God strictly warned the Israelites again through Joshua, the next generation leader: “For if you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you, and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, The Lord will not continue to drive them out, but they will become a share and a trap for you; a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes until you perish from the land” (Joshua 23:12,13).
The point here is not to recommend an induction program for those seeking citizenship in the United States, but to point out that biblically speaking, the concept of sovereign borders is paramount in Old Testament Israel. The idea therefore that America should have no borders, and thereby no border enforcement, is certainly not biblical. There is nothing ungodly about having borders or boundaries around a nation and having boundaries implies that those whose boundaries they are have the right to manage them. Less than this is confusion on the face of the deep.
John Locke pointed out that unless society can provide a code of fixed and enforceable laws, man might as well stayed in the jungle (Skousen, 5,000 Year Leap, 244).
To this end it is that men give up all their natural power to the society they enter into, and the community put the legislative power into such hands as they think fit, with this trust, that they shall be governed by declared laws, or else their peace, quiet, and property will still be at the same uncertainty as it was in the state of Nature.
Is America a sovereign nation? Many on the left apparently disdain that idea and are pushing for open borders. That may be their preference, but don’t come to the Bible with such an agenda.