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Giving the trumpet a certain sound

February 2006

Iranian “Divine Mission?”

The Telegraph (U.K.) recently reported recent statements by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The most remarkable aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad’s piety is his devotion to the Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president’s belief that his government must prepare the country for his return. . . .

All streams of Islam believe in a divine saviour, known as the Mahdi, who will appear at the End of Days. A common rumour - denied by the government but widely believed - is that Mr Ahmadinejad and his cabinet have signed a “contract” pledging themselves to work for the return of the Mahdi and sent it to Jamkaran.

Iran’s dominant “Twelver” sect believes this will be Mohammed ibn Hasan, regarded as the 12th Imam, or righteous descendant of the Prophet Mohammad.

He is said to have gone into “occlusion” in the ninth century, at the age of five. His return will be preceded by cosmic chaos, war and bloodshed. After a cataclysmic confrontation with evil and darkness, the Mahdi will lead the world to an era of universal peace. . . .

When an aircraft crashed in Teheran last month, killing 108 people, Mr Ahmadinejad promised an investigation. But he also thanked the dead, saying: “What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow.” (“‘Divine mission’ driving Iran's new leader,” News.Telegraph, Jan. 14, 2006)

In a recent speech to the United Nations, Ahmadinejad reportedly startled the audience with an apocalyptic message rather than reassurances about Iran’s nuclear ambitions:

Instead, they heard the president speak in apocalyptic terms of Iran struggling against an evil West that sought to promote “state terrorism”, impose “the logic of the dark ages” and divide the world into “light and dark countries”.

The speech ended with the messianic appeal to God to “hasten the emergence of your last repository, the Promised One, that perfect and pure human being, the one that will fill this world with justice and peace”. (ibid.)

One might wonder what the Iranian President might do to hasten the return of the “Promised One.”

Inspired Commentary

It is possible that the crescendo of last-day signs will dramatically intensify. A nuclear exchange would be very intense.

John and the other prophets also were witnesses of the terrible scenes that will take place as signs of Christ's coming. They saw armies mustering for battle, and men's hearts failing them for fear. They saw the earth moved out of its place, the mountains carried into the midst of the sea, the waves thereof roaring and troubled, and the mountains shaking with the swelling thereof. They saw the vials of God's wrath opened, and pestilence, famine, and death come upon the inhabitants of the earth. (“The Coming Crisis,” The Watchman, Dec. 26, 1906)

Justice Sunday III

The Associated Press reported on the Jan. 8, 2006 church event called Justice Sunday III at the Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia and broadcast nationally over Christian television and radio networks. Attendees included Jerry Falwell and James Dobson.

Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the No. 3 Senate Republican, told the gathering that liberal judges are “destroying traditional morality, creating a new moral code and prohibiting any dissent.”

“The only way to restore this republic our founders envisioned is to elevate honorable jurists like Samuel Alito,” Santorum said. “Unfortunately, the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee seem poised to drag these hearings into the gutter, so they can continue their far left judicial activism on the Supreme Court.”. . .

Across the street, about 150 protesters held signs and chanted. Organizers, including AIDS activists and abortion rights supporters, maintain that sponsors of “Justice Sunday” back a dangerous mixing of church and state and an agenda that threatens civil rights. (“Santorum Rails Against Alito Opposition,” The Associated Press, Jan. 8, 2006)

There are signs that the religious right is making progress in what has been called the “culture wars.”

Inspired Commentary

As we have mentioned before, a Christian of any denomination might rightly be hesitant to be allied with “AIDS activists” -- often homosexuals -- and abortion rights supporters in mentioning church and state issues. The underlying concern is the direction the religious right is prophecied to take as they gain power.

The dignitaries of church and state will unite to bribe, persuade, or compel all classes to honor the Sunday. The lack of divine authority will be supplied by oppressive enactments. Political corruption is destroying love of justice and regard for truth; and even in free America, rulers and legislators, in order to secure public favor, will yield to the popular demand for a law enforcing Sunday observance. (The Great Controversy, p. 592)

New President of Bolivia

Boliva has elected a new president. He plans to convene an assembly to rewrite Boliva’s constitution.

TIWANAKU, Bolivia (AP) -- Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales, dressed in a bright red tunic worn only by important pre-Incan priests, promised Saturday to do away with vestiges of this country's colonial past in a spiritual ceremony at an ancient temple on the eve of his inauguration.

To roars from the crowd of tens of thousands, the nation’s first Indian leader and fierce critic of U.S. policies toward Latin America called his landslide election a victory for the world’s indigenous populations, and said it was evidence that poor countries can challenge rich, developed nations.

“With the unity of the people, we’re going to end the colonial state and the neoliberal model,” said the leftist Morales, who spoke mostly in Spanish but also offered greetings in the Aymara language he grew up speaking as a boy. . . .

Morales thanked Mother Earth and God for his victory and promised equality and justice as he closed the ceremony. He also praised the iconic guerrilla leader Ernesto “Che” Guevara, killed in Bolivia while trying to mount an armed revolution, and 18th century Indian leader Tupac Katari, who tried to capture La Paz from the Spanish.

Without naming countries or companies, Morales blamed American-style capitalism for many of Bolivia’s current problems. (“Morales seeks blessing at ancient Indian temple,” CNN.com from The Associated Press, Jan. 21, 2006)

Inspired Commentary

While the immorality of much of exported culture from developed countries is readily evident, the value of fundamental freedoms can be inappropriately linked with that money-driven greed. The principles of the New Testament are a strength to a society and departure from them can lead to conflict.

There are not many, even among educators and statesmen, who comprehend the causes that underlie the present state of society. Those who hold the reins of government are not able to solve the problem of moral corruption, poverty, pauperism, and increasing crime. They are struggling in vain to place business operations on a more secure basis. If men would give more heed to the teaching of God’s word, they would find a solution of the problems that perplex them. (Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 13)

Page created:2/9/06.  Updated: 02/09/06
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