First, this still-unfolding issue is a part of the signs of our times, and speaks to the eschatologically pivotal Middle East. The turbulence there comes straight out of the chaos and tumults theme in Jesus' eschatological -- last days -- teaching in Matt 24.
But, there is a second, closer-to-home theme in Matt 24 that we had better attend to:
Matt 24: 1 Now as Jesus was going out of the temple courts and walking away, his disciples came to show him the temple buildings. 2 And he said to them, “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone will be left on another. All will be torn down!”
3 As he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, his disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things2 happen? And what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Watch out that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these things are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then they will hand you over to be persecuted and will kill you. You will be hated by all the nations because of my name.
10 Then many will be led into sin, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will appear and deceive many, 12 and because lawlessness will increase so much, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the person who endures to the end will be saved.
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole inhabited earth as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come . . . .In one word, deception.
22 And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe him. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 Remember, I have told you ahead of time. [NET]
So, we need to ponder how a false, Plato's cave world of shadow shows confused for reality can be constructed to the point where as Jesus said in warning:
Matt 6: 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If then your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is diseased, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!I of course take Matt 6:23 as a dead giveaway that Jesus was responding to the ideas in Plato's parable of the cave where people are chained up in the conventional wisdom of a society, and are artfully manipulated by the presenters of shadow-shows mistaken for reality. That is, what seems to be light but is in reality darkness:
Jn 8: 43 Why don’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you cannot accept my teaching. 44 You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 But because I am telling you the truth, you do not believe me. [NET]
|Plato's Cave (Source: University of Fort Hare, SA, Phil. Dept.)|
Willfully, slyly deceived by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. [Eph 4:14.] To the point where when the real truth comes, one may well follow one's programming and reject it as false or even as absurd and outrageous or offensive nonsense.
(The rage in the ME over a silly and amateurish movie that just happens to touch on or hint at several of the less savoury themes in the career of Islam's founder, sadly, must come to mind here; cf. well documented details here. Let's just say here that when your reaction to something that provokes you is rage, violence and even murder, that is a sign that you are not being animated by the love, truth, purity and power that come from the Holy Spirit.)
Let's watch an animation of Plato's Parable of the Cave:
I find the contrast where as the end of days draws near both deception and the gospel go forth, in very different forms of power. And, that there comes a point where the deception stirs up such hostility that those who stand for the gospel will face global oppression and persecution.
Sounds sadly familiar . . .
This of course raises the sort of dismissive view of the gospel and the scriptures (not to mention Biblical Eschatology) I ran across the other day in Barbados Underground blog; in demonically cruel ridicule and contempt-laced mockery of not only an evangelical Christian who often comments in this regional blog, but of the Christian Faith and its scriptural and historical foundations:
Exhibit A: for the the intellectual midget Zoe the preponderance of evidence that everything believed by him is a lie will never be his reality. But you BAFBFP must be the true intellectual giant among giants. The lies of Zoe’s bible is why there had to Islam in the first place. Everything these Christian, Jewish and Islamic Zionist have touched, from the beginning of their devilish constructions were untrue 6000 years ago and are untrue today . . .This is not in some North American atheist's hangout on the web, it is a regional blog.
Exhibit B: Zionist are like Zoe. In fact Zoe means Zionist (smile). The criminal ideology as started in the late 19th century comprises some Jews and Muslims but the overwhelming numbers are fund among the so-called Christians. A lot of so-called Christians are Zionists and do not even know that they propound this evil ideology – like Zoe. In fact most Christians in Barbados are also unwitting Zionists, especially the people who attend the Peoples’ Cathedral and similar Evangelical business ventures that dominate the Barbadian landscape. In the USA all of the spiritual forefathers of this movement, including Billy Graham and his son Franklyn, are known supporters of the Zionist project . . . . We have already declared our willingness to go to their ‘hell’ than to believe anything they preach. In fact, I WANT TO BE FIRST IN LINE . . .
Exhibit C: Be careful what you say about that book of legends, myths and fairy tales that Zoe rants and quotes ad infinitum. He may christen you my sister and daughter of he who dwells below!! ha, ha, ha.
That, sirs, is how many people are now thinking about and reacting to the scriptures and the gospel right here in the Caribbean.
So, we need to ground ourselves so we can join with Peter, even as he faced martyrdom at the hands of Nero on the flimsy excuse that it was those despised Christians who "must" have set fire to Rome:
2 Peter 1: 16 For we did not follow cleverly concocted fables when we made known to you the power and return1 of our Lord Jesus Christ; no, we were eyewitnesses of his grandeur . . . .And, earlier, he had counselled:
19 Moreover, we possess the prophetic word as an altogether reliable thing. You do well if you pay attention to this as you would to a light shining in a murky place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.
20 Above all, you do well if you recognize this: No prophecy of scripture ever comes about by the prophet’s own imagination, 21 for no prophecy was ever borne of human impulse; rather, men carried along by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. [NET]
1 Peter 3:15 But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts and always be ready to give an answer to anyone who asks about the hope you possess. 16 Yet do it with courtesy and respect, keeping a good conscience, so that those who slander your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame when they accuse you. [NET]
We are plainly now in very dangerous territory as a civilisation.(F/N: I will want to pick up on these themes and examples later on, DV. For the moment, I point to the grounding of the Faith here and here in the NCSTS course, as a start point for correcting such arrant folly and fallacies of distraction, dismissal and personal attack. Also, for those troubled by the caricatures of Israel, Zionism -- the nationalist movement of Jews -- and the recent history of Israel, I suggest the outline here and the correctives to ever so many commonly believed myths here; it should be plain that the appeal to the anticolonialist narrative is being used to here project the concept that Israel is simply an imperialist project imposed on the native peoples of the ME; which even a moment's pause to examine basic historical facts would soon show to be false to the point of being a big lie. But, we are not dealing with responsible thought here, we are dealing with a Plato's cave mentality. Just so, it is my convinced opinion that we are at a civilisational watershed here, as the relativisation of views and values inspired by the radical relativists has now led to a point where marriage is being homosexualised in law, which directly implies the outright criminalisation of Christian faith that takes the Bible seriously, as the abominable nature of this perversion -- never mind dismissive remarks about obscure epistles of Paul -- is a non-negotiable flying in the face of creation order for marriage and family. I note, Mr Obama is now openly involved in this, and thereby -- God have mercy on his soul and open his eyes . . . -- reveals himself to be in deepest heresy. It is a mark of how far gone the USA is, that this is evidently not being generally squarely faced. As for Mr Romney's Mormonism, let us just note that, for cause, this C19 new religion is right at the top of the lists of major cults. )
That is why I want to dissect a live case study, unfolding around us; never mind that it is going to cut across sensibilities and perceptions. We need to begin to think outside the box being set up for us.
So, let us plunge right in.
First, on fair comment, there seems to be a determination in both the US Administration and the main, pro-Democratic Party Media houses, to downplay what was pretty clearly an Al Qaeda attack on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, reflecting an evident unravelling of current US foreign policy and conventional wisdom on the so-called Arab Spring uprisings.
It is beginning to look like, if one has a handy talking point or two and a convenient target for blame, one can buy several days that move even a very serious adverse event off the headlines into punditry shows and the like. These will be viewed and talked to death by politics junkies, but such do not have the potential to ignite a media firestorm that affects the perceptions of the bulk of the population.
A lot can be done through advanced spin techniques, if the major media houses and institutions of influence are plainly in your "progressive" corner.
Until, things totally unravel, go into a tailspin, crash, burn and explode.
Unfortunately, such a misalignment between dominant opinion and quite evident reality makes such a blow-up ever more likely.
But, if we naively go along for the ride, we too will get caught up in the crash and burn.
So, let us pause for a video interview with the president of Libya that is probably not in our news headlines:
NBCWorse, there is indication that within 24 hours of the attack, US Intelligence had strong indicators that this was an Al Qaeda-linked operation, even though the Administration's spokesmen kept up the "the movie didit" talking point -- which conveniently puts Christians in an unfavourable light -- for almost a week.
The Today Show
Sept. 26, 2012
7:13 a.m. EDT
ANN CURRY: Would you call the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi an act of terrorism?
MOHAMMED MAGARIEF: I have no doubt about that, and it's a pre-planned act of terrorism directed against American citizens.
CURRY: What is your evidence that it was a pre-planned act of terrorism?
MAGARIEF: Number one, is choosing the date, the eleventh of September has all the significance. If we take all the facts about the way it was executed. You can see there's enough proof that it is a pre-planned act of terrorism.
CURRY: Describe the attack based on your investigation.
MAGARIEF: It's too early for me to give the details about this, but it was launched with a high degree of accuracy which means the perpetrators must have had some kind of exercise on how to hit and launch these rockets.
CURRY: You're confirming that RPG's were used in the initial attack?
MAGARIEF: [And] Mortars.
CURRY: Mortars were use in the subsequent attack.
MAGARIEF: At the safe house, yes.
CURRY: And do you know how many mortars [--> i.e. mortar bombs, cf. here, and technical details here] were used?
MAGARIEF: About five.
CURRY: And you're saying these were fired with such accuracy.
CURRY: That this could not have been done by someone who did not have experience?
MAGARIEF: Experience and knew what he was doing.
CURRY: And this is what is helping convince you that this was a pre-planned attack, not a reaction to a controversial movie?
MAGARIEF: Yes. I have no doubt about this.
CURRY: Do you think the movie had anything to do with this attack on the consulate?
MAGARIEF: Not on this attack, it has nothing to do with this attack.
CURRY: So do you know then who is behind this attack and what the motive was?
MAGARIEF: I think it has Al Qaeda elements, hiding in Libya.
CURRY: Is there any direct evidence that it is Al Qaeda behind this attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi?
MAGARIEF: So far not. So far not. As the investigation progresses, there is the likes of that that will show that the attack on the consulate was pre-planned with the intention of killing Ambassador Stevens, that's too early to say.
MATT LAUER: The Libyan president went on to tell Ann at least 40 people have been interrogated. Still no mastermind has been arrested, but he's confident that it will happen.
7:15 AM EDT
We can see this from Eli Lake's Daily Beast Sep 26th report:
Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.
Nonetheless, it took until late last week for the White House and the administration to formally acknowledge that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack. On Sunday, Obama adviser Robert Gibbs explained the evolving narrative as a function of new information coming in quickly on the attacks. "We learned more information every single day about what happened,” Gibbs said on Fox News. “Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this faster than we do.”
The intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast did so anonymously because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press. They said U.S. intelligence agencies developed leads on four of the participants of the attacks within 24 hours of the fire fight that took place mainly at an annex near the Benghazi consulate. For one of those individuals, the U.S. agencies were able to find his location after his use of social media. “We had two kinds of intelligence on one guy,” this official said. “We believe we had enough to target him.”
Another U.S. intelligence official said, “There was very good information on this in the first 24 hours. These guys have a return address. There are camps of people and a wide variety of things we could do.”
A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment for the story. But another U.S. intelligence official said, “I can’t get into specific numbers but soon after the attack we had a pretty good bead on some individuals involved in the attack.”
It’s unclear whether any of these suspected attackers have been targeted or arrested, and intelligence experts caution that these are still early days in a complex investigation.
Tennessee Republican, was quoted as saying . . . The question of what the White House knew, and when they knew it, will be of keen interest to members of Congress in the election year. Last Thursday, the Obama administration formally briefed House and Senate members on the attack. Those briefings however failed to satisfy many members, particularly Republicans. “That is the most useless, worthless briefing I have attended in a long time,” Sen. Bob Corker, aSo, we clearly see a divergence between the drumbeat headlines about the movie -- which have consistently failed to address the relevant and long known history regarding Islam's founder -- and the evident facts and investigations on the ground.
This should put us on our guard as to what is going on behind the scenes in much of what we take as straight news and even textbook "facts."
And, increasingly, what we may well hear from the pulpit too.
We have reached a day when we are going to have to learn how to tell the difference between what is straight and what is spin.
And, increasingly, we will have to take it in our own hands to dig out and communicate a fairer and more accurate view, on many topics, especially the credibility of the gospel in a world where "news," seemingly powerful arguments by persuasive opinion leaders, revisionist "history" (NB: on the sins and blessings of Christendom here) and "science" will increasingly be used to try to discredit it and draw people away into deceptions of various kinds.
So, we must be prepared to give to those who ask us, a reason for the hope we have. At least, if we are determined to obey our Great Commission and carry forward the gospel of the kingdom of God to all the nations as an effective and credible witness. END