The terrorist attacks in France and Belgium serves as the latest example of the clash between Europe and Islam. With growing tensions between Europe and Islam, God revealed to the prophet Daniel what would happen in the “latter days” (Daniel 2:28). The suspected Islamist terrorists who had a shootout with police on Thursday in Verviers, Belgium, have ties to ISIS-linked cells in other European countries, a senior Belgian counterterrorism source told CNN on Friday. The two suspects who died in the shootout are thought to have fought with ISIS in Syria. So what should we be looking at in terms of prophecy?
Daniel was told that at “the time of the end” a king of the South [Islamic dictator] will attack the king of the North [European leader], “and the king of the North will come against him like a whirlwind… and he shall enter [many] countries, overwhelm them… He [European dictator] shall also enter the Glorious Land [Israel], and many countries shall be overthrown” [Daniel 11:40–41]. This European Tyrant will take control of the temple mount. The countries that the king of the North will enter and overthrow include the Muslim nations of the Middle East and North Africa. The king of the North will gain possession of the resources of Egypt, Libya and Ethiopia (and part of Sudan)—including their gold, silver, oil and natural gas. Psalm 83 reveals that the king of the South will consist of a confederacy of Muslim nations—including among them Edomites, Ishmaelites, Amalekites and Moabites—who will conspire to “cut off” Israel “from being a nation”—this King of the South will be an Islamic leader—a type of Mahdi, or savior in the eyes of many in the Islamic world.
Who, then, is this king of the North? Prophecy describes the final revival of an empire with tie-ins to ancient Rome that is composed of ten kings (leaders of nations) who will surrender their sovereignty to a leader called the Beast, just before the return of Jesus Christ (see Daniel 2; 7; Revelation 17:12). The Roman Empire, and its revivals, is a fact of European history. We look to Europe as the location where the final revival of the Beast power will materialize. The king of the North will be an end-time leader who will arise in Europe and be closely linked with a charismatic Catholic leader (Revelation 13:11). This outcome will resemble the Europe of the Middle Ages, when emperors of the Holy Roman Empire and Popes of the Roman Catholic Church ruled over European nations. This was the Europe that launched the Crusades to regain the Holy Lands from the Muslims. Bible prophecies indicate that a “final battle” will involve another confrontation between forces from “Christian” Europe in the north, and the Islamic world to the south. Israel will be caught in the middle of this conflict.—Steven LeBlanc
As I See It: The Paris massacre and Western funk
A core western value, freedom of expression, was snuffed out with contemptuous ease along with 12 innocent lives in Paris this week.
Is this a tipping point? Has the West finally been shaken out of its complacency? The horrific massacre in Paris, in which al-Qaida terrorists systematically targeted and gunned down journalists, cartoonists, and policemen at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in revenge for its mockery of Islam, has shocked Europe by its barbarism and its symbolism.
A core western value, freedom of expression, was snuffed out with contemptuous ease along with 12 innocent lives, among them some of France’s most iconic and beloved cartoonists.
The emotion behind the “Je Suis Charlie” demonstrations, as an expression of solidarity with the murdered Charlie Hebdo staff, was very understandable. But did anyone actually mean it? For what Charlie Hebdo did was what very few people have ever done. In continuing to publish its scurrilous images of Islam and Islamists, Charlie Hebdo had refused to be cowed by Islamist terrorism.
Plainly, therefore, very few people indeed mean “Je Suis Charlie,” since the media response to the massacre has been carefully to obliterate the images Charlie Hebdo published that so offended al-Qaida.
The French have also been declaring defiantly that free speech will never be surrendered. But there has been no free media expression about Islam ever since the 1989 Iranian fatwa calling for the murder of Salman Rushdie over his book, The Satanic Verses.
That was when the West sold the pass. In Britain, people supporting Rushdie’s murder were never prosecuted. As his book was burned on British streets, establishment figures turned on the author for having offended Islam.
In 2006, riots following the publication of the Prophet Muhammad cartoons left scores dead around the world. But virtually every media outlet – except for Charlie Hebdo – refused to republish them.
In 2004, the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered on a Netherlands street for making a film criticizing Islam. In 2012, Lars Hedegaard, who founded the Danish Free Press Society after the Muhammad cartoons affair, was shot point blank on his doorstep, although he miraculously survived.
To all these outrages, the West responded by blaming the victims for provoking their attackers. After this week’s Paris massacre, commentators on CNN observed that Charlie Hebdo had been “provoking Muslims” for some time. On The Financial Times website, Tony Barber wrote that “some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo… which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.”
(That last clause was subsequently removed).
The fact is that Islamic terrorism and intimidation against the West have been going on for decades, matched by displays of Western weakness which merely encourage an enemy it refuses properly to identify.
Over and over again, the West denies that these attacks have anything to do with Islam. First it blamed poverty and exclusion among Muslims. Then it blamed grievances around the world – Bosnia, Chechnya, Kashmir, Palestine. Then it blamed isolated madmen whose Muslim identity was irrelevant.
In France before Christmas, attacks in which cars were used as battering rams against crowds amid shouts of “Allahu akbar” were said by French authorities to be unconnected with each other.
Yet Muslim violence in France has clearly been out of control for years. Just look at the repeated Islamic pogroms against French Jews, which have driven thousands of them to emigrate. Yet none of those attacks provoked the kind of outrage that followed this week’s atrocity. Is free speech more important than the lives of French Jews? But the West refuses to join up the dots. The Charlie Hebdo attackers shouted “Allahu akbar” and “We are avenging the Prophet Muhammad.”
Yet Obama, Cameron, and Hollande condemned the attack as merely “terrorism,” carefully omitting to say what kind of terrorism this was. This follows their absurd statements that the Islamic State terrorist group has “nothing to do with Islam” and that “no religion” condones that kind of barbarism.
Really? What links Islamic State, al-Qaida, Hamas, and Boko Haram? It’s a religion beginning with the letter I and ending with M.
A very senior British civil servant once told me that Islamist terrorism couldn’t be about Islam, because that would “demonize” all Muslims. This absurd non-sequitur was like saying the Inquisition had nothing to do with Catholicism, in order not to demonize Catholics.
For sure, many Muslims are not only opposed to Islamist terrorism but are its principal victims. But to pretend that it is not rooted in a legitimate interpretation of the religion, backed up by the historical evidence of centuries of aggressive and violent Islamic conquest, is ridiculous.
If the West cannot even bring itself to acknowledge what it is up against, then it will surely be defeated by it.
Both France and Britain in their different ways have given in to Muslim extremism. Multicultural Britain has allowed Islam uniquely privileged treatment: providing sharia banking, tolerating polygamy, converting school kitchens to halal. France, which pushed its Muslims out to peripheral housing estates to fester, has ceded control of those estates to Islamist radicals, thus creating in effect mini-states within a state.
At same time, the West has shown weakness by giving in to terrorism abroad. Thus France voted for the recent Palestinian ultimatum at the UN, thereby rewarding terrorism and Jew-hatred. Obama, who in the wake of the Paris massacre intoned “Free expression and a free press are principles… that can never be eradicated,” is busily appeasing the Iranian terrorist regime, which jails, tortures, and executes political opponents and is pledged to the genocide of the Jews and an Islamic takeover of the West.
What the West should be doing is drawing a very firm line in the sand to defend its own values. It should be fighting Muslim radicalization by establishing what should be considered totally unacceptable.
At present, for example, it ignores the Jew-hatred coursing through the Muslim world. Yet this is a driving force behind Islamist terrorists, who believe not only that modernity and the West must be destroyed, but that the Jews are behind both of them.
Europe has failed to learn the lesson of the Holocaust. This is that Jew-hatred is not some unpleasant but marginal aberration; it is not just a threat to Jews or to Israel. It is nothing less than a psychic derangement that drives the entire civilization show off the road.
Muslims must confront the beliefs in their own religion and culture that swell the seas in which terrorism swims. And the non-Muslim West must start to teach Muslims the hard truths that will force them to do so.
The problem is that another Western core value is the desire to compromise – even with those whose agenda brooks no compromise, and who see such a desire as a weakness to be exploited.
With the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo, Europe stares into an abyss. But a tipping point? I fear not.
Although it’s not politically correct to say so, the descendants of Ishmael—the Arab peoples, who proudly proclaim their descent from Ishmael to this day…have created a religion that is very aggressive and hostile—what we saw in France this week is just another manifestation of the violence of Islam—expect to see more Islamic terrorist acts unfolding in European cities in 2015: Note the Prophecy found in Genesis 16, verses 10- 12—“He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towards all his brothers”—Steven LeBlanc
The following excerpt is taken from George Friedman who runs the intelligence service Stratfor.com. He looks back at 2014 as we look ahead to 2015. It is an especially insightful column that reveals the stress existing in Europe today– [emphasis throughout is mine]:
Europe’s Persistent Decline
“The single most important event in 2014 was one that did not occur: Europe did not solve its longstanding economic, political and social problems. I place this as number one because regardless of its decline, Europe remains a central figure in the global system. The European Union’s economy is the largest in the world, taken collectively, and the Continent remains a center of global commerce, science and culture. Europe’s inability to solve its problems, or really to make any significant progress, may not involve armies and explosions, but it can disrupt the global system more than any other factor present in 2014.
The vast divergence of the European experience is as troubling as the general economic malaise. Experience is affected by many things, but certainly the inability to find gainful employment is a central feature of it. The huge unemployment rates in Spain, Greece and southern Europe in general profoundly affect large numbers of people. The relative prosperity of Germany and Austria diverges vastly from that of southern Europe, so much so that it calls into question the European Union’s viability.
Indeed, we have seen a rise of anti-EU parties not only in southern Europe but also in the rest of Europe as well. None have crossed the threshold to power, but many are strengthening along with the idea that the benefits of membership in a united Europe, constituted as it is, are outweighed by the costs. Greece will have an election in the coming months, and it is possible that a party favoring withdrawal from the eurozone will become a leading power. The United Kingdom’s UKIP favors withdrawal from the European Union altogether.
There is significant and growing risk that either the European Union will have to be revised dramatically to survive or it will simply fragment. The fragmentation of the European Union would shift authority formally back to myriad nation states. Europe’s experience with nationalism has been troubling, to say the least — certainly in the first part of the 20th century. And when a region as important as Europe redefines itself, the entire world will be affected.
Therefore, Europe’s failure to make meaningful progress in finding a definitive solution to a problem that began to emerge six years ago has overwhelming global significance. It also raises serious questions about whether the problem is soluble. It seems to me that if it were, it would have been solved, given the threat it poses. With each year that passes, we must be open to the possibility that this is no longer a crisis that will pass, but a new, permanent European reality. This is something we have been pointing to for years, and we see the situation as increasingly ominous because it shows no signs of improving.”
The European Union, as we find it today (28 member Union), cannot be the final formation we understand as the Beast. The Bible is clear that end-time Europe involves 10 “kings”—which today could include presidents, kings or prime ministers—”who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour [indicating a very short time] as kings with the beast” (Revelation 17:12). This “beast” is the name the Bible gives to the leader of this end-time alliance, which is also called “the beast,” given its brutal nature. Together the rulers forming this alliance “will make war with the Lamb”—the returning Jesus Christ (verse 14). This will happen in the near future.
The Scriptures do not give clear indications of what will bring about the transition to the “ten kings” at some point—perhaps economic upheaval will reshape Europe. Verse 13 says that the 10 leaders in this final union will be “of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.” So we continue to watch Europe, knowing a great change will come to Europe. 2015 promises to be a volatile year.
Many Muslims are urging ISIS to take its fight to Israel instead of attacking Arabs in Iraq and Syria. A thrust at Israel would promote ISIS’s popularity in the Arab world and would boost its funding efforts among certain Arab leaders.
What is worrying to Israel, is that ISIS is seeking to expand into southern Syria and the Syrian capital of Damascus. ISIS has convinced three Syrian rebel groups operating in the south of Syria to join ISIS.
According to Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a well known Kuwaiti journalist with connections to Sunni tribes– he asserts that 14 clans that had been loyal to Assad’s government recently pledged their allegiance to ISIS. This included several tribes in Raqqa, Syria which Assad’s forces once controlled. It is now the headquarters of ISIS. The shift, Hussain says, “was nearly bloodless.”
Intelligence sources in the region note that there are several armed Sunni groups now fighting alongside ISIS—including hard-core jihadist militias like the Jaish al-Mujahedeen (in Iraq)—
Israel is more concerned these days about ISIS as ISIS makes gains in Syria. It is clear to all in the Middle East that ISIS is now the “Strong Horse” in Iraq and Syria, and increasingly Sunni tribes are yielding to ISIS’ leadership.
Bill Powell of Newsweek magazine writes this about the lack of American leadership in the Middle East, and the Arab response to that lack– SUNNIS TRIBES WILL BET ON THE STRONG HORSE, AND THAT’S ISIS:
The predominant view in Sunni-dominated countries—which are ostensibly U.S. allies—could not be more starkly different. To say they are dismissive of the Obama administration now is putting it mildly. Contemptuous is more like it. Never, to be sure, supporters of the original decision to invade and occupy Iraq, the country’s neighbors are furious at the power vacuum the Obama administration left, in their view, in the country once American troops pulled out. That Iran would come to dominate a blatantly sectarian government under al-Maliki was, they say, predictable. (His defenders, including some in the U.S., argue that this is revisionist history. They note, among other things, that in 2008 al-Maliki led Operation Knights Assault, a vicious military campaign to root out the Mahdi Army, a large Shiite militia, from the southern city of Basra.)
According to Hussain (KUWATI JOURNALIST), the calculus was simple. Tribes look for the “strong horse,” and in both Iraq and in Syria, that was al-Baghdadi and ISIS. “The myth is that there are radical Sunni tribes and moderate Sunni tribes. The tribes are not moderate or radical. Tribes hedge and look for the strongest power,” he says. At the time, he notes, the U.S. derided opposition groups fighting Assad in Syria as “carpenters, teachers and dentists” and hesitated to arm them. Washington was not in the game, so the decision became easy.
“They concluded we (USA) were not serious. We came, we left. The only strong power they could join,” Hussain says, “was ISIS.”
The ISIS problem is here to stay for some time—the reality the leaders of the world do not recognize, including the Obama administration, is that nations and their rulers are often influenced by “evil spirits”—no doubt evil spirits are influencing ISIS and the Assad government in Syria. Do not forget what is stated in Ephesians (there is an international application to this verse as well), We are engaged in a struggle “against principalities…powers…rulers of the darkness of this age…spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). These spiritual battles rage daily in the international arena. Western leaders like President Obama may hope that Islamic terror will eventually fade, but recent events show the naïveté of such thinking. Evil of this nature can only be defeated by greater force.
The rumor is–America and Saudi Arabia are actually working together to bring down the price of oil–the reason– to hurt Vladimir Putin. The Saudis gain more market share when the price of oil goes lower (which is true), and America benefits as Russia’s economy takes a heavy hit due to reduced oil revenue (a case of geopolitical weakness on the part of Russia).
But the above is actually a distorted view, the truth is– America and the Saudis are not collaborating on the price of oil—they are actually competing against each other, a three-way oil war is going on between Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russia. All these nations are competing against one another. Russia leads the world in oil production, followed closely by Saudi Arabia and just ahead of the United States.
Energy pundits say there is little doubt that OPEC is looking to drive new producers with higher costs — in particular North American shale companies — out of the market. Technological breakthroughs have unlocked shale resources in the United States and raised daily US oil output by more than 40 percent since 2006, but at a production cost which can be three times that of extracting Saudi oil.
The American shale revolution created an America that went from being a big consumer of Saudi oil to becoming a major exporter of Natural gas liquids and condensates, and we are importing far less oil from Saudi Arabia, and other OPEC nations. Our newfound ability to export oil and natural gas liquids hurts Russia, Saudi Arabia and OPEC. This has created tension between the Saudis and America.
Both Saudi Arabia and Russia need revenue from the sale of oil and natural gas. It seems they have no intention of curbing production. This means there is plenty of oil available on the world oil markets—this oversupply is driving down the price of oil, and the price of gasoline at the gas station. How low will the price of oil go—hard to tell.
And now this just in…Saudi Arabia said on Sunday it would not cut output to prop up oil markets even if non-OPEC nations did so, in one of the toughest signals yet that the world’s top petroleum exporter plans to ride out the market’s biggest slump in years—Reuters.
Where does Russia stand in this oil fight?
Russia’s currency, the ruble, has fallen by over 30% in 2014. As bad as that is, it makes Russian oil and natural gas even more attractive to European and Chinese buyers. Russia will not cut production and will continue to increase its market share in Asia. Just take a look at the monster energy deal between Russia and China that was reported during the November APEC [Asia Pacific Economic Conference]. Like Saudi Arabia, Russia needs the money. We may see lower oil prices for some months.
Wars and rumors of wars [see Matthew 24:6], but in a way you may not initially appreciate, make no mistake about it—this is a war, but not a war using tanks and troops but an energy war. Russia and Saudi Arabia are in an energy war with each other over market share, and both are competing with US shale. Throw in rising political tensions—the US wishing to do economic damage to Russia, Russia determined to stand its ground on Ukraine, the Saudis angry over US foreign policy in the Middle East, mostly because America’s newfound softness toward Iran—and you have a mass of shocking cross-currents.
Another factor impacting markets… Weak demand in China — where the economy is slowing after decades of spectacular growth — is likely to continue, said Bassam Fattouh, director of the independent Oxford Institute for Energy Studies. Competition for Asian markets has meanwhile grown, he said, after the production increase in the United States allowed it to reduce or stop crude imports from the Middle East, West Africa and Latin America. “That has created a shift in oil trade flows,” he said.
Oversupply, lower demand and the stronger US dollar have all contributed to pushing down oil prices, which have dropped 50 percent since June to around $60 a barrel. The world economy promises more surprises in 2015!