December 24, 2008

Apocalypse Today-- Is Seeing Believing?

One thing the crash of 1929 did was to reveal serious flaws in the US financial equities markets, and the risks inherent in a loosely regulated market. It took a lot of bank failures, lost fortunes, and ten lost years of harsh reality therapy for the lessons to be learned and regulatory measures to be implemented.
Today, amid the ongoing unraveling of the global economic system, lessons are again being learned. Not 'new lessons' necessarily, but old lessons being re-learned... because they were so easily forgotten by the next generation following the children of the Great Depression.

Those lessons always have to do with the fundamental emotions of equity markets: fear and greed. So far, the emphasis this time is on greed. This meltdown is about the death of trust. It goes almost without saying that the financial world operates implicitly on trust, even after you sign all those pieces of officious looking paper, glanced over voluminous 'prospectuses,' plowed thru offering memoranda, and what not, in the end, the whole set of transactions is based on fundamental trust that 'money' (such as it is) will be transferred as promised, that 'equities' (whatever that means) will indeed by delivered, that a dollar is really a dollar, and ultimately, that something of value is traded for something of equivalent value. All those assumptions are being tossed rudely aside in the chaos that is the memorable hallmark of the closing two months of 2008. We used to think that, when all else fails, we can trust the banks with our money. Oops! Guess again. Certainly, the brokerage houses and investment banks have blown that illusion in a big (as in billion) way, and the ripples are reverberating amongst the commercial banks. Stories that 'bailout money' has been used to provide ('indirectly' the institutions indignantly retort) bonuses to the executives who presided over the destruction have done nothing to restore any scrap of public confidence in these ivory towers.

With the still (as of this writing) unfolding saga of the Bernard Madoff mega-Ponzi scheme-- one that operated in broad daylight for over ten years-- the final vestiges of trust are being shredded before our eyes. Trust is a precious commodity; once squandered, it takes a long time to restore it to former levels. That is probably the main reason why this depression will take a longer time to resolve than even some of the pessimists believe. Madoff didn't just rip off 'little guys' with paltry sums of mere thousands of dollars to invest. No, his hubris scorned such small fry, and made the price of entry into his scheme hundreds of thousands of dollars. Consequently, he burned a lot of once comfortable investors and in one blow, reduced them to near-paupers. You can be sure that the lesson will not be lost on, not just those victims, but on anyone with any available money looking for a place to invest. Being Jewish was no protection from being ripped off by Madoff, as all were fair game to his greed. You can't even find a firm figure for the amount of money bilked by this con-man; so far, estimates begin at $50 billion... and go 'up' from there. Add the Madoff surprise to the earlier revelations on the brokerages and banks and insurance companies, and you've got a full-blown crisis of confidence on your hands; one that will take years (possibly a generation) to live down.

That's becoming the hallmark of this economic catastrophe of 2008-2009-- the revelation of rottenness thru-out the corpus of US and global finances. That's what makes this 'apocalyptic times:' the uncovering of corruption buried deep within the institutions we counted on to 'make the world go round.' Let's be clear: the economic system is linked intimately with the political system in a symbiotic manner. The politicians make the rules that are supposed to govern the economy, which in turn generates wealth that makes the politicians look as if they performed well... and is too often used to line their pockets and encourage more favorable regulations. It's a vicious cycle that can only end in a karmic train wreck. The currently imploding cycle was kept going long beyond the date it ought to have come off the rails. The 'contrarians' and mavericks have been calling this crash to take place over the last five years or so. They knew it was coming, but weren't able to factor in the unknown of behind the scenes players who were keeping the party going out of pure self-interest of the elite.

You might think that, good, now the rich are getting cut down to size, too. But no; the really rich always look out for themselves first, and have all kinds of assets and resources at their disposal so that they will hardly notice a depression. Those executives who got their bonuses for sitting on their hands while the system collapsed have used them to buy condos in Panama, and figure if he heat gets uncomfortable on Wall St., they wouldn't mind soaking up some tropical sun. As for those who set up the whole debacle from hidden offices, they are watching the dominoes tumble, clickety-clack, around the world; then waiting for the weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth to issue from the masses of the newly miserable. The great, American middle class, in particular, will be in a state of panicky agitation as they see their dreams destroyed, their once-wastrel way of life now a memory. The Powers that Be know full well that this group will represent trouble... unless plans are in place to defuse them before they explode. And what's the time-tested manner of defusing befuddled populations? Of course, it's to find a handy scapegoat-- generally, some sub-group of society that is not popular to begin with, and to whom the blame can be attached with little chance of successful refutation. In the long-term past, ruling elites have pointed the finger of blame at Christians, Jews, heretics, immigrants, blacks, 'Orientals,' Communists, terrorists, and others (depending on where the trouble erupts). There never is a problem finding a suitable scapegoat on whom to dump blame for national troubles.

Oh, and the other time-honored method of solving a depression, as we know, is to start a really big war. Given that the US is currently embroiled in at least two substantial wars, and the economy has already been on a war footing for six years, it's hard to see how the 'big war' option could be used today. However, we've all heard the drums beating against Iran for several years; and after the South Ossetia dust-up in August, '08, the specter of renewed conflict with Russia has again materialized. And there are the Washington hawks who fear the military build-up of China, and would like to 'pre-empt' a confrontation with their creditors (which would solve two problems, in their distorted minds). So, you can see that there is no lack of possibilities for the Armageddon alternative. However, don't lose any sleep over these speculations, is my advice; after all, there are yet others who claim that Planet X will swoop in close enough to knock the Earth axis-over-teakettle and send society back to the stone age.

Before we get to the 'climax' of this tragi-comedy, there will be plenty of further disclosures. Perhaps 2009 will be the year of revelations, especially in the realms of economics and politics. After each new financial jolt makes the headlines, the savvy commentators keep saying that there are more shocks to come. Some of them will be the logical and unavoidable consequences of scams and failures that have already been discovered. (E.g. the derivatives bubble is yet to explode, as it must, given the failures in the underlying equities vehicles, and the as yet unknown extent of Madoff's tentacles). Even to a financial neophyte like me, it is obvious that the US dollar must face inevitable devaluation as the currency is being thrown at business failures like confetti at an Italian wedding. 2009 may be the year that the chickens come home, and inflation will ravage the shrinking incomes of Americans lucky enough to be working. When a system as complex and convoluted as the global economy starts to unravel, all kinds of curious and unexpected things can happen. One of them, is that the great mainstream act like a stampede of lemmings, ready to plunge over whatever cliff of fate awaits their mass rush for the exits. That always happens, we know. Another thing, is that the rats start to turn on one another... to invoke yet another animal metaphor (which seems appropriate, in any case). Some insiders who were fellow plotters and benefactors of illegal &/or unethical practices, ensconced in the towering matrixes of the financial capitals, will come to their senses, or have crises of conscience-- especially as they perceive the authorities bearing down on them-- and will decide to bargain for lower or nil penalties by turning in their confreres. We've also seen that sort of thing happen before; but this time, I think it will get quite chaotic, as fingers start to point in all directions. It should be quite a spectacle for those who are removed from the fray and watching from the sidelines.

Another, unfortunate concomitant of financial Armageddon will be 'untimely deaths.' As in the Great Depression, there will be many, especially among those who enjoyed the good life, who will be unable to cope with diminished circumstances, and who will chose to end their life. A new, modern, and sick aspect to some suicides will be cases where the despondent person will first murder one or (likely) more other persons whom he viewed as contributing to his financial demise. So, amid the gloom, you might want to put some money in the funeral industry, likely to be one of the rare, growth niches. Sadder still, there will be cases of death under mysterious circumstances... which, on deeper investigation (if such ever occurs) would reveal that the victim held information that could have led to criminal charges against other persons. Many of these suspicious deaths will be passed off as suicides, especially when the potential culprit is a person of high rank in the corporate boardrooms. We've already seen such dubious deaths occur in the wake of the US presidential election campaign; you can anticipate more of these, as the economic meltdown proceeds apace. We, this generation that has known nothing but growth and excess, are soon to learn that economic depressions can be very depressing indeed.

You see, that's the thing about apocalyptic times-- they reveal the true nature of reality, stripping away the illusions that define existence for so many of us. And those who do not even comprehend that they live in a world of illusion are the most deluded of all. That's why the 'end times' are characterized as an apocalypse (from the Greek 'apocalypsis', "lifting of the veil"); before the final end, the hidden things are uncovered, and especially, things hidden by the privileged few are revealed to the majority. You can think of it as an airing of dirty laundry, because a lot of what is being exposed is very ugly indeed. We are witnessing the unmasking of the ultimate conspiracy against humankind. What is this conspiracy all about, anyway? So many people--especially in the 'developed West'-- do not know that the world we have inherited is not getting better, or more advanced, with the passing of time. We are not, really, making progress in defeating crime, or poverty, or intolerance... despite a myriad of rules, agencies, and bureaucrats installed over the years of awareness of these issues. While many people of good faith toil assiduously as missionaries in all the fields of human need, there are others, much more powerful, working equally diligently, in the shadows, for the opposite ends. They are using immense wealth, usually stolen from the masses, to promote poverty and ignorance; using crime to increase their bulging coffers of money; using their communications media to keep us in ignorance and confusion, and worse, to dull our moral sense of ethical rectitude. Many readers will still find this information unbelievable, in denial of increasing evidence in its support. To those I say: the only reason you cannot see this fact, is because you don't want to see it. And there are good reasons why anyone would not want to see it; but that does not make it right. What I say to those agnostics is to allow yourself to imagine that the information you are being fed by your media and your governments is incomplete and biased to create a certain mind-set in the hearers. Then, if you can imagine it, put it to the test, and start trying to verify some of the official statements provided to you every hour of every day from the talking box. If you are at all objective in this assignment, you will soon see that everything I've stated here is true, and that our reality is constantly being fabricated for us to certain ends that are not obvious at first glance.

The Fall of 2001 marked a major apocalyptic event for humankind, in the realm of politics. Now, the autumn of 2008 has provided another inescapable display of human foible and hubris, this time in the financial sphere. In both cases, the events unfolded in the public spotlight. There is little dispute about what happened; the big sticking point is who made it happen. The majority-- at least among the comfortable Westerners again-- cling to the theory that both crises occurred because of the character and actions of a few 'bad people,' and/or a few incompetent people. If only it were so simple. What a growing number of awakening souls are claiming is that 9-11 and 11-08 were not just accidents of history, examples of folly; NO-- they were premeditated, pre-organized super-crises designed to generate 'shock and awe' in the collective psyche of humankind. These events are game-plays to move the perpetrators towards their goal of world domination, or 'New World Order.' You can continue in blissful ignorance of this disturbing notion until, one day, you wake up in a nightmare world you don't recognize. Or, you can start to take these warnings seriously, consider them carefully, and awake from your self-delusions. These Apocalyptic times will continue to make their inconvenient revelations... whether you can accept them or not.

December 18, 2008

Seeing Thru the NWO Schemes

As a member of the post-war, 'baby-boomers,' I grew up during the tumultuous years of the 1960s and '70s, and then thru the last quarter century or so of the fall of International Communism and the rise of International Capitalism. Looking back now with mature eyes, I can see events along the way that should have clued me in to the existence of a very high-level conspiracy of forces that direct global events. And yet, it was difficult to put the pieces into a coherent picture, since those events were apparently disconnected or isolated and a common thread was not obvious... not to a properly mind-conditioned citizen of the Western World, at least. The first big, unforgettable shock to our senses was almost certainly the assassination of John F. Kennedy. In the general dismay, only a few old hands (relatively) could smell a rat, and the rest of us rationalized it as proof of the American predilection for violence, carried to the very top. Few of us connected the event to the murderous escalation of the Vietnam War, and the monstrous profits reaped by the war industries at the cost of 50,000 US soldiers' deaths. The assassination of the next Kennedy, five years later, certainly smelled very suspicious, once again, and conspiracy theories went unresolved (to this day, as with JFK). Again, few of us possessed the background or the imagination to be able to conceive of forces within the establishment who would resort to such heinous tactics.

By the 1990s, I was well aware that it was a different world entirely, from the early post-war decades. The idealism of the 'boomers' had wondrously morphed into an unashamed lust for the 'good life' of rampant materialism in every hedonistic expression. Pilgrimages to the ashrams of India were replaced by business junkets to the money capitals of the world. Hand-painted VW campers gave way to fully-loaded SUVs with every gizmo on the option sheet. Communes were long abandoned for condos in Florida. On the international scene, it was no longer the titanic struggle between the embodiments of Left and Right-- that matter was settled 'for all history' in 1989-90. No, now the talk was all about 'globalism,' and 'free trade.' And behind the push for unrestricted movement of goods and services was the WTO, the World Trade Organization, a new flagship entity in the new struggle to turn the entire world into a macro-USA. People of all backgrounds, ordinary people, now started smelling something very fishy, and vigorously resisted the WTO wherever their meetings took place in the world.

The 'powers that be' who were behind the push for 'open markets,' decided it was time to take a break from the WTO gambit, and try other avenues. They are experts at the multi-pronged approach, and operate on a much different timeline than ordinary individuals. While the world was awaiting the arrival of the year 2000 with a mix of anticipation of a really big bash, and dread of the collapse of our now essential computer networks, the PTB were cooking up the next really big caper to advance their global intentions. Since 2000 is, in fact, the end of the 20th century, they waited until 2001, which is the true start of the 21st century, and was also the first year of their new boy in DC, one G. W. Bush. We all experienced the shock of '9-11' in much the same numbness as we had, a generation earlier, the brazen assassination of JFK. This time, tho, I think a lot of people got their wake-up call, and started connecting a lot of very dark dots scattered over the last half-century. For me, personally, it was a quantum jump to a new awareness of the evil in our midst that plots to control the world. For many of my circle, however, this realization is just too big a leap for their consciousness to accomplish... and I can understand that, although it is often exasperating.

Those who resist the unpalatable notion that 9-11 was a conspiracy orchestrated from within the US government itself are forced to rely on denial of facts, and assent to an official fairy tale that holds together largely on the fragmentation of its numerous opponents. Those of us who cannot accept the official explanations have been divided into an assortment of camps that seem to forget that there is one, enormous factor that unites all-- that is the incredibility of the official line. The cabal behind the deed, meanwhile, are experts at using division, both to their advantage and to the detriment of their opponents. Let me explain.

One in my 'circle,' who tends to agree that there appears to be a coordinated conspiracy towards world domination, has a troubling question. Recalling the last Bilderburg Conference, he rightly points to the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Free Masons, the Davos Conference, the Illuminati, the Jesuits, etc., etc., and suggests that maybe we're simply paranoid, since we can't agree on just WHO the villains are. Good observation. But-- there's a rationale behind the apparent splintering among those disparate organizations. Take a look at the membership lists of these bodies (which are not easy to obtain-- why?) and start comparing. What you find is the same names keep recurring-- the 'movers and shakers,' often behind the scenes, of government and business. Heads of government agencies (some we've hardly heard about), present and former members of US administrations, people who sit on the boards of some of the biggest, global corporations, media heads, persons of great wealth, and predominantly, persons connected to international Zionism. They keep meeting together in different permutations and combinations; but overall, it's the same cast of rogues meeting under a different pretext! The conspirators, whoever they are (and we have a good idea) are skilled at using the 'shell game' tactic of presenting a myriad of faces to the world so that most of us can't establish any one of them as being 'the one' in charge. But that's the point-- they are a Hydra, a many-headed monster, all attached to one body, and having one, underlying driving ambition. What appears, on the surface, as division and confusion, is in reality, a mask of many faces covering the same hideous visage.

At the same time, the growing multitudes who are wising up to the existence of a global conspiracy, are fragmented into numerous camps that often disagree strongly among themselves. Each group focuses only on the 'tree' within their purview, but there are few persons capable of standing back and seeing the 'forest' for what it is. Those who refer to the enemy as the New World Order (NWO) are probably closest to the truth; all the examples of organizations that hold meetings behind closed doors operate in subservience to the overarching desire for control of the world for the gain of a small group of controllers. Those readers who may subscribe to one theory or another must force themselves to take off the blinders and face the manifold reality of an enemy that advances by any and all means possible. Stop looking for communists under the bed; stop finding Jesuits in the dark halls of power; start recognizing that there is one malevolent force abroad in the world, and it is using a hundred disguises to keep us off balance and ignorant of them. There are many more of us than them, and they well know it. Only by keeping the populace in blissful denial, and divided in awareness, can they hope to complete their dream of world government where they hold the power and we supply everything they want.

Remember that the first line of counter-attack TPTB use against attempts to uncover their secret agenda is to label the accusers as 'conspiracy theorists.' The idea with labels-- especially ones that have been carefully crafted into weapons of mass delusion-- is to instantly disarm and discredit the person making the allegations. It is important to strike immediately with this weapon in order to prevent listeners from thinking. Once the agnostic person hears the phrase, there is a neuro-linguistic suggestion in the brain that the person/group so labeled cannot be given credence. It is highly effective, especially after the media have combined their hypnotic efforts to impute a new meaning to the words, so that they are always associated with other key words like 'crazy' and 'nuts,' and so on. The big fear of the shadowy PTB is that listeners might somehow put aside, or see thru the linguistic mesmerism, and take the trouble to check the claims of the conspiracy theories for themselves. In that case, there's no doubt that nagging questions would arise in the minds of the enquirers when they see that there are glaring holes and inconsistencies in the supplied stories. At the very least-- speaking of any of the mega-crimes of the last half-century-- an objective reader would have to wonder why crucial evidence was disposed of so quickly; and why appointed investigators failed to ask the most obvious questions. Those really huge 'events' in the order of an assassination or an alleged terrorist attack, could not avoid being investigated by order of the highest authorities. Yet, with all the resources at its command, the US political-judicial commissions of enquiry always come to conclusions that absolve the administration of responsibility, and attach the blame to agents who are usually, conveniently dead, or disappeared, and more than that, happen to represent the favorite 'enemi du jour.' Even with their propaganda to promote their reports, a great many people are left with a bothersome feeling that the commissions have simply white-washed the crime they pretend to investigate.

The lesson ought to be starkly clear to any intelligent person: you can't just accept the stories presented by the authorities as true; you've got to do your own study. And really, it doesn't take a lot of study, or a degree in poli-sci to quickly see that things 'ain't what they're supposed to be.' Thanks to the Internet, with a bit of persistence with a search engine, you can pull up all kinds of fascinating material that never made it to prime-time news hour. Can you believe it all? Of course not; but you can extract enough data from even the 'weird' sites that it's obvious we aren't being informed of a huge amount of important, often inflammatory, information. You will see, at minimum, that your 'news' is being filtered and managed so that you get a distinctly one-sided view of major events. It's scary, for sure; but it's exhilarating to finally start to see the world as it really is, rather than how our masters want us to view it.

Almost exactly seven years after the stunning right hook to the body politic, the world was hit by a series of left jabs to the financial jawbone with the meltdowns and bailouts on Wall Street that ricocheted around the world. The earlier shock came in one spectacular blow that left us reeling for a couple of years. This second shock is designed to wear us down, mentally, physically, emotionally, over a period of time, as the news goes from bad to worse, and the extent of the first depression of the 21st century becomes manifest thru-out society. Having set up the global game board with the 'war on terror' card, the hidden games-masters have played the financial meltdown card; and you can be sure that they are maneuvering us into some kind of corner in which they will offer a pre-arranged solution when we are sufficiently desperate and begging for relief from anyone who can provide it.

In enacting their plot, the conspirators have become masters at understanding and manipulating human psychology, exploiting our every weakness. They know that they never have to convince 98% of the population of anything. As long as they can fool a solid core of the great 'middle' of the bell curve, formerly called the silent majority, they can achieve virtually anything. Because it's this big group of 'opinion-followers' who determine how things go. These are the type who allowed Hitler to rise to the top of Germany by giving in to their fears and moral lethargy. Convince them that the sky is falling, and you can get all the funds you need for falling-sky shelters. And, as we've seen, convincing the masses about any issue is as easy as owning the few, major TV news channels. That's why you can find a lot of individuals who know the government is corrupt; yet you can't collect enough people of awareness to put together an impeachment of the most criminal president and cabinet in the history of the USA. Those people know full well that the criminals, using their co-opted media, have deluded enough of the general populace that an impeachment could not be sold to the public... not without a highly risky, very divisive and volatile political struggle that few are prepared to unleash.

That's their plan, folks; that's how the high-stakes game is played for mastery of the world. You better start getting your mind around it, before the world you know and everyone around you starts getting unglued.

December 12, 2008

Study of Daniel's Prophecies

In my study of the book of Daniel, I want to restrict my analysis to the prophetic chapters, 7 thru 12, since these are the segments that complement the book of Revelation, and that will help us perceive the basic outlines of events to visit the world in the near future... in my personal opinion. Having said that, the more seasoned Bible student will ask why I don't include chapter 2. Yes, good question, since I will acknowledge chapter 2 as arguably the key to all of eschatological prophecy. However, it is fairly easy to understand, and has been adequately analyzed by many other commentators, so I decided to use its ideas without rehashing the text.
Daniel 7

Bible Verse (from NASB version)
My Commentary
1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon Daniel saw a dream and visions in his mind as he lay on his bed; then he wrote the dream down and related the following summary of it. Daniel introduces his dream-vision. Recall that he had had a prescient dream when he interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream, in chapter 2.
2 Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. His vision opens with the '4 winds of heaven'-- global forces?... stirring up the 'sea'-- masses of people (as seen elsewhere).
3 "And four great beasts were coming up from the sea, different from one another. Per vs. 17, 4 kings arise from the populous area, each of a different ethnic group.
4 "The first was like a lion and had the wings of an eagle. I kept looking until its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man; a human mind also was given to it. Using ch. 2 as key, this is an apt picture of Nebuchadnezzar. He first soared with the building of Babylon; then lived in the fields when he went mad; later restored to grandeur when his mind was restored to sanity.
5 "And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, 'Arise, devour much meat!' This represents Medo-Persia. The Persian 'side' was stronger, and absorbed 3 smaller nations during its expansion.
6 "After this I kept looking, and behold, another one, like a leopard, which had on its back four wings of a bird; the beast also had four heads, and dominion was given to it. Alexander the Greek swiftly conquered neighboring nations. On his death, 4 of his generals split the empire among them, each ruling a quadrant.
7 "After this I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrifying and extremely strong; and it had large iron teeth; It devoured and crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. Then came mighty Rome, a 'technocratic' power, using its hierarchical methods to dominate all its conquered territories. Noted for the marching discipline of its 'foot soldiers.' Later, the Roman empire disintegrated into a collection of 'ten' smaller states, still sharing a religion inherited from Rome.
8 "While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it; and behold, this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man and a mouth uttering great boasts. A cogent theory postulates that the 'little horn' is the Papacy, which eradicated 3 of the '10' nations by the 6th century. The horn as a 'man,' the Pope, arrogantly assumed religious, Godly powers to the office.
9 "I kept looking Until thrones were set up, And the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow And the hair of His head like pure wool His throne was ablaze with flames, Its wheels were a burning fire. Daniel peers right to the time of Judgment, where he sees a vision of God on his throne.
10 "A river of fire was flowing And coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, And myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; The court sat, and the books were opened. A vision of the heavenly court, with myriads of heavenly 'citizens' (angels? or maybe deceased souls?) in attendance. Records are opened in preparation for the final judgment.
11 "Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. The arrogant 'horn' apparently persists to the very end, when the whole collective 'beast' (presumably, the EU, as implied in Rev.) is destroyed somehow.
12 "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. Curious! The ancient kingdoms continue to exist for a certain period of time, although without their political power. Note: those kingdoms exist today as Iraq, Iran, and Greece.
13 "I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. After the judgment, someone human comes from 'heaven' and is brought before the everlasting God. NB: Daniel lived ca. 600 BC, so had no referents for Jesus, except 'Son of Man.'
14 "And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. To this 'man-God' (Jesus) is given all rule over an everlasting kingdom established by God for people of every ethnicity who acknowledge Him. This is the renewed Earth or 'New Jerusalem' that will endure forever.
15 "As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within me, and the visions in my mind kept alarming me. The whole scene threw Daniel into great distress.
16 "I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things: He approaches someone in the vision, and asks him what it all means. The stranger tells Daniel the interpretation of the vision in following verses.
17 'These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. The beasts represent 'kings' (or kingdoms, as we see).
18 'But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.' Whew! He jumps right to the conclusion, and assures Daniel that God's people will 'receive & possess' the kingdom forever.
19 "Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others, exceedingly dreadful, with its teeth of iron and its claws of bronze, and which devoured, crushed and trampled down the remainder with its feet, But Daniel is still intrigued by the 4th beast. It must've made a scary impression on him. Note that Rome made use of iron and bronze, plus stone, to construct great works of engineering... and for its crushing military might.
20 and the meaning of the ten horns that were on its head and the other horn which came up, and before which three of them fell, namely, that horn which had eyes and a mouth uttering great boasts and which was larger in appearance than its associates. Daniel is also very curious about the horn that resembled a man and defeated 3 other 'horns,' and had that boasting mouth. The popes 'appeared larger' by using their religious power to coerce kings into lending their armies to wage Papal wars. The popes behaved as worldly kings.
21 "I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them He sees that boasting king attacking Godly people and 'overpowering them.' He must have an army to 'wage war.'
22 until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom. The horn-power apparently overpowers until God comes in judgment and finally settles the matter in favor of the believers, who then possess the kingdom.
23 "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms and will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. The 'tutor' states that the 4th kingdom is different from the others, and dominates the whole earth. Possibly, this nation is more than Rome, and may represent an end-time rendering.
24 'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. He elaborates that 'ten' kings arise from the dreadful kingdom ('Holy Roman Empire'?). From them, another, different king appears, and defeats 3 of the others. NB: Popes conquered the Ostrogoths, Vandals, & Heruli by mid 6th century.
25 'He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. The papacy declared itself God's 'vicar' on earth with power to forgive sins; waged long battle against true believers (eg. the Inquisitions). Pope altered the Ten C's, thinking the church was still 'under them.' Believers are oppressed for a symbolic '3 and a half years'.
26 'But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. In the end, God's justice will ensure that the false religious power is obliterated for all time.
27 'Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.' Interesting! It seems to say that all rule and power will be handed to the true faithful of God. But rule of what? 'All kingdoms under heaven' may imply more than earthly kingdoms... consider that one!
28 "At this point the revelation ended. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts were greatly alarming me and my face grew pale, but I kept the matter to myself." Whew, the dream/vision ends. No wonder Daniel is left in a shaky state!
Daniel 8
1 In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar the king a vision appeared to me, Daniel, subsequent to the one which appeared to me previously. Daniel carefully specifies the relative time of his next vision.
2 I looked in the vision, and while I was looking I was in the citadel of Susa, which is in the province of Elam; and I looked in the vision and I myself was beside the Ulai Canal. In the vision, Daniel finds himself standing beside the Ulai canal, in a fortified city in a province of Persia.
3 Then I lifted my eyes and looked, and behold, a ram which had two horns was standing in front of the canal. Now the two horns were long, but one was longer than the other, with the longer one coming up last. He looks up and sees a ram (male goat) with 2 horns, one longer than the other. Per vs. 20, this is another picture of Medo-Persia.
4 I saw the ram butting westward, northward, and southward, and no other beasts could stand before him nor was there anyone to rescue from his power, but he did as he pleased and magnified himself. The Persian empire expanded west, north, and south, and for a while was unopposed.
5 While I was observing, behold, a male goat was coming from the west over the surface of the whole earth without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between his eyes. Then Alexander 'the Great' (the conspicuous horn) swept to the east out of Greece, in a swift campaign...
6 He came up to the ram that had the two horns, which I had seen standing in front of the canal, and rushed at him in his mighty wrath. ... and defeated the much larger Persian army in 3 decisive battles.
77 I saw him come beside the ram, and he was enraged at him; and he struck the ram and shattered his two horns, and the ram had no strength to withstand him. So he hurled him to the ground and trampled on him, and there was none to rescue the ram from his power. The Greeks made quick work of conquering the Persian empire.
8 Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven. When Alexander was at a high point of his life, he died abruptly at a young age. In his place, 4 of his generals took over, and split the empire into 4 regions.
9 Out of one of them came forth a rather small horn that grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Beautiful Land. From the Seleucid region (Syria) came Antiochus Epiphanes who grew powerful for a time, and pushed into the land of Judah.
10 It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down. Some of the Jews cooperated with A-E for a while, although most were resistant to his 'hellenizing' attempts.
11 It even magnified itself to be equal with the Commander of the host; and it removed the regular sacrifice from Him, and the place of His sanctuary was thrown down. Antiochus is noted for his bitter dislike of the Jews. He made a point of desecrating the temple when he occupied Jerusalem in 168 BC.
12 And on account of transgression the host will be given over to the horn along with the regular sacrifice; and it will fling truth to the ground and perform its will and prosper. Many take Antiochus to be a 'type' of an end-time Antichrist to come... as may be implied here. The 'host' seems to refer to the body of believers.
13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to that particular one who was speaking, "How long will the vision about the regular sacrifice apply, while the transgression causes horror, so as to allow both the holy place and the host to be trampled?" Altho this passage (vs 12-14) has been explained in terms of Antiochus' abominations, it seems to me it could also have a broader, farther-reaching meaning. But if so, it's not clear at this time.
14 He said to me, "For 2,300 evenings and mornings; then the holy place will be properly restored." The verse may have dual fulfillments. Jesus 'restored' the temple/ 'holy place' in his life; maybe again at 2nd Coming.
15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it; and behold, standing before me was one who looked like a man. While we think of angels as being visibly distinguishable, they are often taken for 'men' in the Bible.
16 And I heard the voice of a man between the banks of Ulai, and he called out and said, "Gabriel, give this man an understanding of the vision." The voice informs Daniel/us that the 'man' is Gabriel, considered one of the 'archangels.'
17 So he came near to where I was standing, and when he came I was frightened and fell on my face; but he said to me, "Son of man, understand that the vision pertains to the time of the end." As Gabriel approaches, Daniel becomes afraid, but is addressed as 'Son of man,' and told that the vision applies to 'the time of the end.'
18 Now while he was talking with me, I sank into a deep sleep with my face to the ground; but he touched me and made me stand upright. Obviously, Daniel faints with fright, but the angel revives him.
19 He said, "Behold, I am going to let you know what will occur at the final period of the indignation, for it pertains to the appointed time of the end. Gabriel states again that the vision is a look into the future.
20 "The ram which you saw with the two horns represents the kings of Media and Persia. Here the symbols are explained.
21 "The shaggy goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the large horn that is between his eyes is the first king. Speaking here of Alexander.
22 "The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place represent four kingdoms which will arise from his nation, although not with his power. As stated above, the territory was divided among 4 generals when Alexander died in his prime. None retained his unified power.
23 "In the latter period of their rule, when the transgressors have run their course, A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue. Most scholars take this king as Antiochus Epiphanes, 8th successor of Seleucius, one of Alexander's commanders.
2424 "His power will be mighty, but not by his own power, and he will destroy to an extraordinary degree; and prosper and perform his will; he will destroy mighty men and the holy people. He succeeded in capturing the 'holy land' of Judah, and deliberately profaned the temple with forbidden sacrifices and stealing the sacred vessels. Again, the verse could have future fulfillment.
25 "And through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease. He will even oppose the Prince of princes, But he will be broken without human agency. This description seems to go beyond Antiochus, to the later Romans (eg. Titus). In fact, the last phrase suggests that there will be an ultimate fulfillment of this verse in the final days of earth (compare with Dan 2:45). Thus, Antiochus typifies a final 'Antichrist' figure.
26 "The vision of the evenings and mornings which has been told is true; But keep the vision secret, For it pertains to many days in the future." 'Evenings/mornings' has been interpreted to refer to the daily sacrifices. These were obviated by Jesus' own sacrifice, more than 500 years later.
27 Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days Then I got up again and carried on the king's business; but I was astounded at the vision, and there was none to explain it. Clearly, Daniel is greatly affected by the vision, and it bothered him for a long time.
Daniel 9

This chapter is devoted to a vision of Daniel that is a clear, Messianic prophecy that was fulfilled almost 600 years later by the life and death of Jesus. For that reason-- i.e. it is not an end-times prophecy-- I will not consider it here. For a discussion on Dan 9, refer to my essay, 'Israel-- Fulfillment of Prophecy?' [#]

Daniel 10 and 11
Chapter 10 describes an encounter between Daniel and a 'heavenly being' of great splendor, presumably an archangel (but possibly Christ), who assures him that the visions are intended to give Daniel a glimpse at events to occur in the future. There is no prophetic information to examine in this chapter.
Chapter 11 goes into a lengthy description of the future (from Daniel's day) that basically recapitulates the prophetic pictures presented in the earlier chapters. There is much detail that was not stated before, but it doesn't appear to add a lot of useful understanding to our picture of the end-times. The last few verses appear to have eschatological significance, but again, don't really provide much additional illumination. Since there is a risk of muddying the waters with pure speculation on those verses, I prefer to avoid them, and to concentrate my efforts on the chapters that are more clear and straightforward. The reader is encouraged to read these chapters for him/herself and draw your own conclusions.
Daniel 12

Bible Verse (from NASB version)
My Commentary
1 "Now at that time, Michael, the great prince who stands guard over the sons of your people, will arise, and there will be a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation until that time; and at that time your people, everyone who is found written in the book, will be rescued. 'That time' refers to the end time, at a time of great distress and when the books are opened (ch. 7:10). Since Michael is called a prince, some believe that it refers to Jesus Christ, and 'your people' would then refer to true believers in Christ (rather than to Jews).
2 "Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt. The resurrection of the dead is referred to in other Biblical texts as occurring at the final, 'white throne judgement.'
3 "Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever. Those believers who exercise discernment and lead others to truth/righteousness will be honored in the hereafter.
4 "But as for you, Daniel, conceal these words and seal up the book until the end of time; many will go back and forth, and knowledge will increase." Daniel is told to hide the words, seal his book; yet it was well known by Jesus' day. 2nd part has been phrased as 'to and fro' and said to refer to the burst of knowledge and travel that began in 18th century.
5 Then I, Daniel, looked and behold, two others were standing, one on this bank of the river and the other on that bank of the river. The 2 'others' are presumably other angels, one on either side of the river.
6 And one said to the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, "How long will it be until the end of these wonders?" One of them asks a 'prompting' question, apparently, of the angel seen in ch. 10. He asks, for Daniel, how long it will be until the end of the events seen in vision.
7 I heard the man dressed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, as he raised his right hand and his left toward heaven, and swore by Him who lives forever that it would be for a time, times, and half a time; and as soon as they finish shattering the power of the holy people, all these events will be completed. The central angel addresses God, saying it would be for the familiar symbolic period of completion that could be any stretch of years. He adds that they will be completed once the power of the holy people is shattered. 'Looks llke a temporary, final crushing of true believers before they are finally rescued by Christ's return.
8 As for me, I heard but could not understand; so I said, "My lord, what will be the outcome of these events?" Understandably, Daniel doesn't 'get it,' and tries again, asking how it will all end.
9 He said, "Go your way, Daniel, for these words are concealed and sealed up until the end time. He is told, in effect, don't worry about it, because the words won't be understandable until the end time... (which explains vs. 4, it would appear).
10 "Many will be purged, purified and refined, but the wicked will act wickedly; and none of the wicked will understand, but those who have insight will understand. The end times will sift people and test their character. Evil-doers will persist in their evil deeds, and not understand Bible truth, while those with discernment will then be able to 'see' the prophecies.
11 "From the time that the regular sacrifice is abolished and the abomination of desolation is set up, there will be 1,290 days. Enigmatic! Seems to refer again to the sin of Antiochus; yet he's been referring to 'end times' thru-out this chapter. Hence, look for symbolic enactment.
12 "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days! Unclear! Waiting for what? Some have devised ingenious explanations for the 1290/1335 days; but really, it isn't at all clear what they refer to.
13 "But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age." Daniel is to just live out his days in the knowledge that he will get his reward at the end of the age.

My Analysis

Note on Daniel 8:14 from the NIV Study Bible: "There were two daily sacrifices for the continual burnt offering (9:21, Ex 29:38-42), representing the atonement required for Israel as a whole. The 2300 evenings and mornings probably refer to the number of sacrifices consecutively offered on 1150 days, the interval between the desecration of the Lord's altar and its reconstruction by Judas Maccabeus on Kislev 25, 165 BC. The pagan altar set up by Antiochus Epiphanes on Kislev 25, 168 BC was apparently installed almost two months after the Lord's altar was removed, accounting for the difference between 1095 days (an exact 3 years) and the 1150 specified in the verse."

The above note seems to be a very reasonable explanation for the 2300-day prophecy. Nevertheless, as I hint above, it most likely has a secondary, 'apocalyptic' significance that has yet to unfold. Altho it appears from events of history that the vision was fulfilled by the time of Jesus' death and resurrection, it's significant that Gabriel informs Daniel that the vision (of ch. 8) "pertains to the appointed time of the end." For that reason, I suggest that there will be another fulfillment of "A king will arise, Insolent and skilled in intrigue." Today, we are seeing numerous national leaders who rely on big talk and behind-the-scenes schemes and deceit to get what they want. Since the passage states that "he will destroy mighty men and the holy people," it is apparent that this is someone strutting on the world stage, not just a local actor in the Middle East. Some readers will assume that 'the holy people' must be the Israelis, or all Jews; but I propose that because it pertains to end-times, it refers, actually, to the true believers in Christ. And remember, these are not Jews, nor even nominal Christians, but those who put their faith in the living Christ, and whose lives reflect it.
Verse 25 supplies more details that point us towards an eschatological scenario: "through his shrewdness he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence; and he will magnify himself in his heart, and he will destroy many while they are at ease." The next verses don't really provide any further details about this person, so those who feel it is simply Antiochus will stop seeking anti-typical fulfillment. Since I feel there is a final outworking of this prophecy, let me offer an admittedly speculative possibility. From 2001 to 2009, we had G.W. Bush strutting his hour upon the world stage, employing deceit and power in a way and on a scale never before witnessed by the world, and indeed, he used his influence to destroy many (Iraqis and Afghanis, mainly). However, I'm not postulating that the 'insolent king' is Bush. No, my guess is that it will turn out to be the incoming president Obama! Here is why.
Altho he used deceit (lies) in provoking war, and even 'magnified himself,' or tried to, Bush junior never had much 'shrewdness' as you can verify by checking the dictionary definition of the word. And his attempts to sound important (magnified) were, in the second term, met with blatant derision. Obama, on the other hand, is obviously a shrewd man, as seen in his debates with Hilary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, and then in his campaign against McCain for president. He is noted for his intelligence, and for keeping his cool under pressure. As of this writing, it may be arguable if he will cause deceit to succeed by his influence, yet it is clear from his appointments to his cabinet and as advisors, that he has no possibility of making good on his campaign promise of 'change.' Hence, he has already displayed clever use of deceit! While Obama comes across as rather unassuming, one must suspect that he would like to magnify himself, but if so, it will most likely take place 'in his heart,' not openly after the manner of Bush. And, finally, I have a gut feeling that the 'many' who 'are at ease,' are all those who have pinned their hopes on this man-- those who are 'at ease' thinking that America now has a president who is the 'antithesis' of Bush, and who will usher the world into a new era of peace and prosperity. While many will be thus, breathing easily, the new incumbent will rudely surprise them with draconian legislation and subterfuges that will threaten religious and political freedoms of people everywhere. The verse states that the insolent king "will even oppose the Prince of princes," which refers to Christ. This could be taken to mean he attacks the earthly manifestation of Christ, namely His church; or it could mean, literally, he is the one referred to by Paul as "the man of lawlessness" (2 Thess 2:3). As always, time will tell; but we may not have to wait a long time before these verses are finally revealed.
After presenting fairly clear prophetic visions in the earlier chapters (2, 7, 8, 9), Daniel is given in chapter 12 a rather ambiguous explanation for end time events, although he is assured that God's faithful will finally be delivered from the power of evil. What's significant is that the angel tells him that the book is sealed until the end; i.e. it cannot be understood until the time when the last events begin to unfold. Hence, if attempts to perceive Daniel's words demonstrate veracity, then you can conclude that the age is approaching its end. You will know by exercising 'insight' (12:10), as led by the Spirit.
Reference is made (12:11-12) to periods of 'days' (1290 and 1335) that do not relate to any other time periods (or even numbers) mentioned in scripture. Taken as years, these periods still do not seem to correlate with specific milestones; therefore, it remains an open issue. Just as the 'time, times, and half a time' are symbolic, these numbers are symbolic, but of what, we can't be sure. (As Jesus' ministry lasted 3 & a half years, so too, the church age is believed to cover a symbolic 3.5 time periods). This difference of days, 45, is relatively small, (and curiously, represents 3.5% of 1290) and made me recall 7:12, which makes an interesting statement: "As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time." This 'extension' occurs after the terrible, fourth beast is slain. And Rev 18 talks about the destruction of symbolic Babylon, without mentioning the fate of other nations. When I put all these scraps of evidence together, I postulate that the USA and the EU will receive disastrous judgments from heaven, while the original beasts-- the Middle East nations from antiquity-- will survive for a short interval after that. Thus, anyone who survives to the end of the 1335 days, will be blessed with seeing the end, and the return of his Savior.
Much has been made by some (particularly evangelicals), of the reference to the regular sacrifice being abolished (12:11), since it implies that the sacrificial system will be reinstated (so that it can be 'abolished') at some point prior to the tribulation and the Second Coming. However, we have seen that there was already a fulfillment of this prophecy, in a literal sense, back in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes (ca. 168 BC). I've said elsewhere that a prophecy can have a secondary, later fulfillment; but in that event, the next fulfillment is, most often, not literal, but figurative-- symbolic in nature. Hence, if there is a cessation of a 'regular sacrifice' yet to come, I would look for an allegorical fulfillment of some kind. The verse says that an 'abomination of desolation is set up,' which implies that something contrary to God's instructions is installed in Jerusalem, the past, official center of God's earthly representatives (His temple, or Church). Today, if the mainstream 'Christian' church continues to denature its concept of Jesus until he is just another holy man, then they could be thought of as denying the ultimate sacrifice (Heb 10:14) and introducing an abhorrent or abominable doctrine into the heart or core of Christian faith. Thus, the prophecy would find symbolic accomplishment.
As alluded in 7:21 and 12:7, (see also Rev 13:7) it appears that the genuine church will be persecuted and sorely oppressed in the last days, until final deliverance comes from Jesus at his second coming. Just prior to the return of Christ, however, Daniel refers to a period of unprecedented distress (12:1) which is corroborated almost verbatim by Matthew in 'Jesus' Apocalypse' (ch. 24; see vs. 21). Thus, it is certain that things will get very ugly, amid general chaos, for those who cling to the true faith in the closing days of this era.
After studying the book of Daniel, we can see why some refer to it as the 'Revelation of the Old Testament' since it portrays in dream-visions a broad-brush outline of geo-political events from Daniel's time up to the end of this age. In that regard, Daniel is a useful complement to John's Revelation, and by pointing in the same direction in their prophecies, the two books corroborate the emerging end-time scenario. My hope is that this study will encourage the reader to investigate scripture for him/her self, and thereby, become grounded in the saving faith of Jesus the Messiah-- who will be returning as Jesus, Lord of the Universe.


Countering the Attacks on Jesus

As we move forward in this 21st century, one trend on the religious front is becoming more pronounced and disturbing. That is the rising tide of attacks on the person of Jesus Christ. The attacks arise from within and outside the so-called Christian church (or churches) from professed 'scholars' and 'scientists', as well as simply from atheists who may have a pulpit by virtue of being writers or celebrities of some kind. Some people will say that it's because we are more advanced today, and we don't just accept the 'fairy tales' of religious tradition; or that we now apply critical thinking to all areas of thought, including religion. So all these attacks are really academic debunking of 'the mythos of Jesus,' they would claim.

In this paper, I want to present arguments that I believe, if investigated, will dispel the essence of the attacks on Jesus, and invigorate the faith of believers who may be having growing doubts in the face of scholarly bluster. I will not butt heads with the scholars by attempting to refute their laborious research point by point. That, I believe, is futile, becoming a debate over whose sources and whose interpretations are the more convincing. As my preferred approach, I will try to stand back and survey the big picture, appealing to the atrophied faculty of common sense and to experience to arrive at the most plausible conclusions.

The assaults on the founder of the Christian creed take several different forms. Primarily, the thrust of the trend is to undermine belief in Jesus by demonstrating that he never existed historically, but was a reprise of prior, more ancient religious myths, for instance, the Horus deity of the Egyptian pantheon. The main tactic is to appeal to earlier mythologies that bear certain resemblances, or 'parallels' to the gospel accounts of Jesus' life, and to conclude that, since these stories were antedating, therefore, the gospels were fabricated from those earlier sources. I have to admit, some of those arguments can almost appear compelling on first exposure (see 'The Pagan Christ,' by Tom Harpur, for notable example.) A recent addition to the 'anti-Christ literature' comes from Joseph Atwill, who proposes that the Romans engaged the services of Josephus to concoct the whole Jesus story for the purpose of providing the Jews with an alternative to the Zealots, who were a constant thorn in their eastern flank ('Caesar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus'). To a committed Christian, this notion sounds positively absurd; yet it seems to be taken seriously by a segment of readers.

The scholars claim there are numerous parallels between the life of Christ and events recorded in ancient literature about certain figures regarded by those cultures as 'man-gods.' If one picks and chooses, there may be apparent points of correlation. But when you look into those records from antiquity, you find the situation is far from clear-cut. The Egyptian gods, for example, run a gamut of names and portfolios, often changing one or the other at various times. Their stories (or myths) similarly seem to morph from one sub-era to another, and most likely, from one cult to another... something we know little about. Just as all religions today are splintered into many sub-groups, so too the religion of Egypt must have been divided into numerous cults. Which stories are we to believe? Which story did they believe back in those days? If nothing else, we can say that the basic story of Jesus has remained quite consistent for almost 20 centuries, something that can't be claimed by the Egyptian religion.

Other attempts to denature Christianity come from different tactics. One 'TV Archeologist' claimed he found the ossuary (or 'bone-box') of Jesus in a crypt under an apartment block in Jerusalem. The 'proof' revolved around a coincidence of common names found on some other boxes in the same crypt... and the use of statistics to close the argument put forth. Before any independent researchers could examine the situation, the authorities suddenly sealed the area from further intrusion. This wasn't the first time researchers claimed to have evidence that, although he existed, Jesus was just an ordinary man who was executed by the Romans, and whose resurrection was faked by his disciples for expedient, religious reasons. And the use of 'probability theory' to rule out coincidence in the confluence of names marks a milestone in the saying of Samuel Clemens that 'there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.'

Even the entertainment industry has been employed in the frantic pursuit of 'debunking Jesus.' Dan Brown's fictional work, 'The daVinci Code,' became a best-selling novel a few years ago, so much so that many readers believed or presumed that it must be based on substantive fact. Once it was turned into a popular movie, the enemies of Christ must have had a celebration, since it helped spread the subtle doubt in the minds of both religious skeptics and believers, in a very effective way, since we know how attuned the younger generation is to 'music, movies, and micro-code.' In employing 'plausible fiction,' these novels invoke neuro-linguistic programming to insinuate doubts about the fundamental belief in the divinity of Jesus.

Now a modern guru, Deepak Chopra, has made his contribution to the devaluation of the Christian faith with his latest book, 'Jesus: A Story of Enlightenment.' Using another fictional account of Jesus' unrecorded years, Chopra has found a different way to neuter the Christian message-- he portrays Jesus as an ordinary man who, thru 'the path of enlightenment,' attains the kind of perfection common to the concepts of the East, the attainment of 'God-consciousness.' And, of course, the corollary to all that speculation is that, if Jesus can do it, so can you and I. In interviews, Chopra seems to think he is 'making Jesus accessible,' and thereby doing Christianity a big favor. In reality, he comes along as an outsider, and pulls the fundaments from under the faith, apparently unaware of Paul's assertion that "in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form," (Col 2:9). In other words, Jesus was the embodiment of God. Many readers, however, seem to desire this Jesus semblable, who simply shows mankind that you can become as gods thru diligent works of seeking and meditating (or whatever exercises are defined). But that isn't what the scriptures teach; it isn't what Jesus or the evangelists taught; and even the mainstream churches don't subscribe to this doctrine that they would label as 'New Age.' Chopra's book may be good fiction; but it is nothing more.

There are numerous other theories, often presented as 'new fact' on the worldwide web, that claim to prove that Jesus was entirely a figment of someone's imagination, or the product of a conspiracy of some sort, but definitely never existed in the flesh. Some websites are rabidly anti-Christian, and proud of it, apparently thinking they are doing the world a great service to disabuse us of the notion of a God who loves us enough to send his essence in flesh to atone for our sins. Some of these cavaliers seem to be sincere, and my reading is that they are really reacting to the failures of the Christian church by their vitriol against its figurehead. It's entirely understandable that thinking individuals would challenge the legitimacy of the organizations that assume the name of Christ, in view of their atrocities committed in his name. As I've written many times, tho, most churches are mere human edifices cobbled from quite faulty understanding of the faith bequeathed to mankind by Jesus. The anti-Christs would render far better service to the world if they studied the scriptures and, instead, attacked the churches that promote a false religion.

So far, none of the attacks on either the existence or the divinity of Christ has succeeded in gaining any significant credibility among the rank and file of Christian churches. Even the studies of Quisling scholars within the Christian churches have not generated any surge of disbelief among a community that is already either halfhearted or half-baked in its faith. However, among the general-- which is to say, largely atheist or agnostic-- populace, these new ideas on the divinity and personhood of Jesus have apparently had some influence in strengthening disbelief and providing ammunition for renewed assaults on the faith. All of this makes it difficult for a sincere and open-minded believer to maintain his/her position vis-ˆ-vis other believers or the world at large. A large segment of church-goers belong to fundamentalist type churches that have adopted rather extreme positions on doctrines and outlook, so that outsiders see only a distorted, often bellicose version of the Savior of the World. Those churches also tend to be the most vociferous in promoting their rendering of the character of Christ and of the church, which does nothing positive to enhance the image of Christianity in the world. On the other hand, the 'quiet Christians' have been too quiet in countering the negativity of their evangelistic confreres, giving the impression that most of the Christian community is bigoted and belligerent in its views towards the non-Christian world. So, there seems to be a dichotomy between zealous, destructive believers, on one hand, and apathetic, nominal believers on the other. One characteristic both sides of this schism share is that they are all woefully ignorant of the holy scriptures upon which their faith is supposed to rest. Consequently, neither wing is suitable for countering the flood of attempts by non-believers to discredit Jesus and his invisible body of true believers.

While critics point out that, apart from cryptic reference by Josephus, there are no other mentions of Jesus in contemporary writings, I contend that, nevertheless, the key to validating the existence and truth of Jesus lies right in the Bible itself. The lack of references to Jesus in extra-biblical sources is not really surprising at all. We always have to keep firmly in mind that we are looking back 2,000 years after the fact, and our world is considerably removed from that time and place. Altho Christianity went on to become a dominant religion in the world, its origins were humble and problematic indeed. Jesus was born in poor circumstances, had a short life and shorter ministry, was unrecognized by the authorities of his day, and at the time of his death, still had only a few loyal disciples. Why would anyone write about him in any kind of document that we could expect to survive for two millennia? (And incidentally, the scriptures are significantly silent as to the date of Jesus' birth; hence, those who allege that his birthday of December 25 mimics that of more ancient avatars are invoking a false argument). Also, the fact that Josephus mentions Jesus hardly qualifies him to write the gospel of Matthew, let alone any other holy writ, in response to the delusions of Joseph Atwill.

What the speculators and doubters demonstrate in their treatises on the non-existence of Jesus is a profound lack of scriptural understanding. Yes, they may be familiar with the words in the Bible; but they do not grasp the spirit underlying the words. Of course, many unsubtle readers may retort that there's no distinguishing of a 'spirit' behind the words. That is the problem when one reads the Bible-- which purports to be the 'word of God'-- with profane, worldly eyes, merely seeing it as history or literature. Read in that spirit, the pages will yield few illuminating insights to the reader. When read with sincere desire to understand the true, spiritual meaning, one is surprised at the reality that starts to emerge. Yes, I appreciate that this sounds incredible to the minds of many readers. The thing is that you have to actually do it to experience it; to try it before dismissing it. If you think that is a crazy idea, why have some of the most brilliant people over the ages believed in Jesus? Were they all smart but deluded? That's part of the divine mechanism undergirding the Bible-- it hides its truths from the profane, but reveals them to sincere seekers. I don't mean to say that there is something magical about the book, itself; it's just a volume of writings. But there is a reality beyond the mere words that has to be experienced to comprehend what I'm saying about it. Think of it as a window or telescope into the workings of the spiritual dimension.

When you read the New Testament, in particular, you begin to discern that there is something being revealed here that goes beyond everyday, physical life. Starting with the 'synoptic' (meaning a similar viewpoint) gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, one sees a consistent story. Sure, there are a few discrepancies. Would you not expect to find some differences among three individual accounts of Jesus' life? If they were identical, scholars would immediately say they were fakes. Because they have minor differences, other scholars say they are fakes. You can't have it both ways! The real death blow to all theories that deny the existence of Christ is the gospel of John. And the reason is, as some comedians like to say, 'Folks, you just can't make this stuff up!' John's account is so full of fresh spiritual insights and more importantly, completely new (some might say crazy) ideas, that it simply could not have been construed. Impossible! Why? Because we humans don't have the spiritual imagination to invent the concepts that John's gospel presents about Jesus. (E.g. the bread of life; fountains of living waters; I am that I am; etc.) You just don't find concepts like those in any other book of religion. Some of them are hard for even Christians to accept or comprehend. You can discern that the apostles themselves took a long time of reflection and divine coaching before they finally could appropriate the teachings of Jesus, and transmit them coherently.

What other religion teaches that you must lay down your 'old life' and put on a new life, one that is surrendered to God's Holy Spirit? What system professes that we are, every one of us, sinners incapable of saving ourselves, but that we can obtain salvation thru belief in the Son of God? Virtually all human systems teach that we are 'God;' we all possess a spark of godliness in us, and that thru diligent works of mind and/or body we can attain to ultimate God status. They imply that humanity can devise a 'system' whereby the whole race will be elevated to eternal life and bliss. This is a spiritual variation on the secular Theory of Evolution, whereby the 'illuminated' claim that we journey thru many lives or many trials, developing spiritually until we make ourselves worthy of God standing. If this notion held any shred of truth, shouldn't we expect that over thousands of years our race should be getting better, morally? Wouldn't we expect society to be evolving towards some utopian state, given our level of technical knowledge? Quite evidently, humanity is going in reverse; as we make technical progress we are just using technology to hasten the destruction of the planet.

One of the characteristics of the New Testament that strikes the seasoned Bible student is how it echoes ideas and themes found, centuries earlier, in the Old Testament. Prophecies, foreshadowing, and 'types' (persons who typify a later repetition of the original; e.g. David as a type of Christ, slaying Goliath, representing Satan) all find their fulfillment and culmination in the story of the life of Jesus. And this is accomplished in a way that we simply cannot conceive of any human writer being capable of inventing. The permutations and combinations, the nuances, are just too subtle and complex for a human (and especially one bent on mischief) to credibly achieve.

Of all the marvels of scripture, tho, the one that seals the case for its divine inspiration is the accuracy of prophecy within its pages. To fully appreciate this aspect, we have to take account of the fact that the Bible is really a collection of many books, written by many authors of various backgrounds, and put together over a broad expanse of time-- some 1,000 years from the days of Moses (said to have written the first five books) to the last of the minor prophets, Malachi. That numerous Messianic prophecies would be fulfilled and recorded in the NT is quite astonishing... (unless you subscribe to the theory that conspirators wrote the NT in such a careful way that they ensured all the minute fulfillments-- which is not credible in my opinion). In any case, the fulfillment of Biblical prophecies in these 'latter days' constitutes even more dramatic and convincing demonstration of the divine power behind the words. This is where the rubber meets the road, and we are witnesses to the proof of the Bible's authority. As I've stated often, the prophecies for the 'end-times' had to be couched in such skillful phraseology that it would not be possible for anti-Christian enemies to modify the words to mean something different-- for the simple reason that no-one could determine with certainty what the words meant-- until they became canonized (recorded in final, authoritative sense). Critics might argue that, in this view, the words can be interpreted to mean anything. But that is not so. As events unfold, and if one reads with knowledge and sincerity, the true picture emerges coherently. We don't get every detail, but the broad outlines of current affairs unfold sufficiently to validate the Bible as more than mere antique literature. (I refer readers to my studies on the books of Revelation and Daniel, for illustrations of the power of prophecy).

So, to recap, my argument against the various theories that purport to disprove the existence or the divinity of Jesus, rests on the integrity of the book that looked forward (in the OT) hundreds of years to his birth and ministry, and that describes his life and teachings (in the NT) and looks forward to his second, final advent. I believe that the next few years will take the world to a crisis wherein it will become clear that evil forces openly oppose Christ and his followers. It will be the Christ versus the Antichrist; there will be no third option. Every person will have to make the choice, and the decision will have eternal consequences for each of us. History will reach its climax, and after that comes the judgement. To those who doubt this idea, I just say keep your eyes and ears open, and do some serious Bible study of your own before you dismiss the whole scenario. And, importantly, watch to see how current geo-political movements echo the words of Bible prophecy. This multi-pronged assault on Jesus in our day is no mere coincidence; it is softening up the world for stranger things to come. You must be prepared, and firm in your faith.