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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Top NSA Official Compares America To Nazi Germany

Kiev Renews Active Phase of Special Operation Against Independence Forces

Ukrainian army soldiers

KIEV, July 1 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian authorities on Tuesday renewed the active phase of special operations in the country’s east and are firing on pro-independence forces, Ukrainian parliament Speaker Oleksandr Turchynov said.

Turchynov said during a parliamentary session that he had spoken with the Ukrainian defense minister.

“The active phase of the anti-terrorist operation was renewed Tuesday morning, our forces have commenced fire,” Turchynov said, referring to his earlier conversation with the acting defense minister and the interior minister.

Turchynov’s statement comes after Kiev announced that the armed forces, national guard, border troops and security service are no longer restrained by the ceasefire.

Early on Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko announced his decision against another extension of the ceasefire in east Ukraine, initially declared on June 20 as part of his 15-step peace plan.

According to Poroshenko, the move to call off the ceasefire was dictated by the fact that protection of Ukraine’s territorial integrity, safety and the lives of civilians require offensive as well as defensive action against independence supporters.

At the same time Ukraine’s government promised to stick to the implementation of the peace plan, which envisages disarmament, decentralization, unrestricted use of the Russian language and reconstruction of destroyed housing at the government’s expense.

Credit to RIA Novosti

GRAPHIC: Bus, buildings blasted in Ukraine's Kramatorsk, at least 4 dead

City Cancels Chick-fil-A Sponsored Event, Cite Owners’ ‘Criminal’ Beliefs


NANAIMO, British Columbia – The city council of a small Canadian town canceled an event in a city-owned facility last month after learning that the event was to be sponsored in part by Chick-fil-A.

Nanaimo, Canada, is a small town in southwestern British Columbia with a population of approximately 85,000. The city had planned to rent out an event center to a Georgia-based leadership organization for a simulcast on May 9, but that changed when city leaders learned that the event would be sponsored in part by Chick-fil-A.

Evidently, the Nanaimo city councilors took issue with the Christian faith of Chick-fil-A’s president, Dan Cathy. According to minutes from a May 5 city council meeting, city leaders voted 8 to 1 to cancel the event because they did not want to be associated with Cathy’s Christian beliefs.

“[A]s owners of the facility,” the event-canceling motion states, “any events that are associated with organizations or people that promote or have a history of divisiveness, homophobia, or other expressions of hate [will] not be permitted [by the city].”

As previously reported, Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy has drawn sharp criticism from pro-homosexual advocates in years past, including when he criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act. Cathy said the court ruling marked a “sad day for our nation,” adding that the “founding fathers would be ashamed of our generation.”

The Nanaimo city councilors are not the first governing body to reject Chick-fil-A due to the chain’s Christian owners. As previously reported, a North Carolina university voted in 2012 to ban the restaurant from its campus, then a Methodist university in Atlanta followed suit last year.

During the May 5 council meeting, Nanaimo city leaders repeatedly bashed Cathy’s faith and Christianity in general.

“[Cathy] has a rich history of homophobia and other divisive practices,” Councilor Fred Pattje stated during the meeting. “ … This is about an organization that is being sponsored by a man who has done tremendous damage.”

City Councilor Jim Kipp drew a comparison between Cathy’s Christian beliefs and radical Islamic terrorists in Nigeria. He then likened biblical Christianity to “organized crime.”

“I find [Cathy’s beliefs] almost to be a criminal point of view in this day and age,” he claimed. “… This is just nuts, it’s just nuts.”

The Nanaimo City Council’s decision has since generated widespread criticism, with many describing it as an act of discrimination against Bible-believing Christians. Ezra Levant, a Canadian lawyer and best-selling author, wrote in aToronto Sun column that the city council’s motion was an example of “shocking bigotry” against Christianity.

“Councilors took turns defaming the convention, Chick-Fil-A, one of its speakers, its organizers and those in it—all without the burden of facts,” Levant wrote. “They falsely accused one conference speaker of being anti-gay—even though city staff reminded councillors that the conference wasn’t about homosexuality at all.”

Following criticism, the Nanaimo City Council released a statement, in which they insisted that the motion to cancel the event was not driven by anti-Christian discrimination. Nevertheless, many individuals—including non-Christians—were upset by the council’s decision.

“I am deeply shocked by this and hope that these councilors pay dearly for this,” one commenter wrote. “I am ashamed to be Canadian. I am not a Christian, but I defend [the Cathys’] right to their beliefs. The conference itself has nothing to do with what these councilors are alleging.”

As this latest round of Chick-fil-A controversy continues, a recent USA Today report suggests that the Chick-fil-A owners plan to focus less on social issues in the future. Though the Cathy family is still well-known for their Christian business practices, they say they will distance themselves and their company from the pro-traditional marriage stance.

“I’m going to leave it to politicians and others to discuss social issues,” Cathy promised.

Credit to ChristianNews.net

The Heavenly Host

Zodiac on Ceiling of Temple in Dendera, Egypt

Psalms 19:1-4
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their utterance has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

These awe inspiring words of King David, a man raised as a simple shepherd boy of the tribe of Judah, reveal how widespread was the knowledge among the ancients of the messenger role of the heavens. These words set down by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and preserved for our generation in the pages of Scripture, declare plainly that the luminaries in the heavens are carrying forth their task of declaring to every creature under the heavens the glory of God. Though the starry hosts make no sound audible to the ear of man, they are uttering forth speech. They are declaring the message of Yahweh’s plan of redemption and the ultimate defeat of the great serpent.

From the earliest days of man, the testimony of the heavens was heard. As we read in the preceding chapter, Yahweh arranged the starry hosts on day four of creation to serve as “signs” and to mark His appointed times. The Hebrew word translated as “signs” is “owth” (pronounced oth). Strongs’ Concordance defines the word in the following manner.

owth; (in the sense of appearing); a signal (literally or figuratively), as a flag, beacon, monument, omen, prodigy, evidence, etc.

The next occurrence of this Hebrew word occurs in chapter 4 of Genesis.

Genesis 4:15
And Yahweh set a mark (owth) on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.

We are not told what sort of mark was placed upon Cain, but it is obvious that the mark conveyed a message. Everyone who saw the sign upon Cain would recognize that it was placed there by Yahweh, and they would perceive its meaning - that it was not God’s will that this son of Adam should be slain.

We can deduce from the way this word “owth” is used throughout the Scriptures that the lights in the heavens serve a similar role in providing a divine testimony that can be read by all mankind. David was born about 3,000 years after Adam was created. David has testified in the 19th Psalm that he understood the role of the heavens as Yahweh’s message board. We live another 3,000 years removed from David. The heavens are still pouring forth speech, but tragically the people of God who comprise the body of Christ are some of the least informed about this function of the starry host.

On the 4th day of creation Yahweh further stated regarding the heavenly luminaries, “let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth.” We would err if we discerned in these words only a natural application. All men recognize that the Sun, Moon, and stars provide a natural light to the earth. What few perceive is that they also provide spiritual light.

Consider what light represents to humanity. When someone experiences a revelation it may be said that “a light went on in their head,” or we may declare that they had a “bright idea.” It is very common to speak of someone with insight as being “illumined.” There is a very clear association between light and the concepts of knowledge and understanding. This is a correlation that is frequently made in the Bible as well.

Job 12:22
He reveals mysteries from the darkness, and brings the deep darkness into light.

Job 12:24-25
He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth's people, and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in darkness with no light...

Ecclesiastes 2:13
Then I saw that wisdom excels folly as light excels darkness.

John 12:44-46
Then Yahshua cried out and said, “He who believes in Me, believes not in Me but in Him who sent Me. And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me. I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”

Yahweh has always used light as a symbol of truth, wisdom, and righteousness. It is fitting that in setting lights in the heavens Yahweh would have them serve not only as natural lights, but as spiritual lights to provide insight, instruction, and revelation to the sons of men. To those who understand the language of the heavens, their speech can reveal things of great specificity. An example is the message which was discerned by the wise men from the East who read in the heavens that the King of the Jews had been born.

It may be reasonably suggested that Yahweh imparted an understanding of the message of the heavens to the very earliest men. If God created the Sun, Moon and stars for “signs,” which is to say, “to serve as heavenly messengers,” it would be reasonable to assume that Yahweh schooled mankind in how to read this celestial form of communication. What would be the value of the heavens pouring forth speech if no one understood what was uttered?

I Corinthians 14:6
Yet even in the case of lifeless things which give out a sound, whether it be a wind instrument or a harp, if it does not make a difference in the sounds, how will the music which is played by the wind instrument or the harp be understood? For if a military trumpet gives an indistinct sound, who shall put himself in readiness for war? Thus also in your case, if by means of the tongue you do not give a word which is clear and definite, how will that which is being spoken be understood? For you will [otherwise] be speaking into the air. So many kinds of voices [languages], it may be, exist in the world, and not one is without its particular significance. Therefore, if I do not know the meaning of the voice, I shall be to the one who is speaking a person who utters confused and unintelligible sounds, mere jargon, and the one who is speaking will be to me just such a person too.
(The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest)

When the Holy Spirit gave the gift of tongues to the body of Christ, He also gave the gift of the interpretation of tongues. If He had not done so, tongues could not edify the people of God. So too, when Yahweh chose to use the heavens to display knowledge and pour forth divine speech, He had to give men the ability to understand the celestial language. The apostle Paul affirms this to be true in his epistle to the Romans.

Romans 10:14-18
How then shall they call upon Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!" However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our report?" So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "Their utterance has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world."

The apostle Paul is quoting David’s words from Psalm 19. Let us look at this passage again and compare it to the statement made by Paul.

Psalms 19:1-4
The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words; Their voice is not heard. Their utterance has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Is it not remarkable that the apostle Paul when positing the question of whether humanity has heard the gospel message proclaimed, answers the matter by quoting from this Psalm? The message to which Paul is specifically referring is that which we call “the Gospel.” Paul writes, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings of good things!” The word Gospel means “good news,” or “glad tidings.” Paul asserts that mankind has had the glad tidings of the Gospel of Christ proclaimed to them, “However, they did not all heed the glad tidings; for Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?’”

Lest we wonder when, or in what manner, Yahweh has declared to mankind the gospel of Christ, Paul leaves us no doubt. He cites the Psalm of David that declares that “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands. Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.” Is there anything more glorifying to God than the message of humanity’s redemption accomplished by the Son of God?

John 12:23-29
And Yahshua answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. He who loves his life loses it; and he who hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant also be; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him. Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, 'Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Your name." There came therefore a voice out of heaven: "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again."

In the Gospel message the glory of God is revealed. His divine attributes; His selfless love, His holiness, His justice, His mercy, His patience, His power, etc., are all revealed in the divine plan of redemption and reconciliation through the cross of Christ. From the earliest days of mankind, the plan of salvation has been declared by God in many ways, and one of those modes of communication is through the testimony of the starry hosts.

Romans 1:16
For there is revealed God's wrath from heaven upon every lack of reverence and upon every unrighteousness of men who in unrighteousness are holding down the truth. Because that which is knowable concerning God is plainly evident in them, for God made it clear to them; for the things concerning Him which are invisible since the creation of the universe are clearly seen, being understood by means of the things that are made...
(The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest)

The words of Paul above declare that all men are without excuse when they fail to show proper reverence to God and when they give themselves over to the practice of unrighteousness. They are without excuse because God has made clear to mankind His presence and character through the things which are made. These created things that give testimony to God include the heavenly luminaries for day to day they pour forth speech, and night after night they reveal knowledge.

The Bible reveals that the fall of man under the curse of sin and death had barely occurred when Yahweh began to set before mankind the promise of their deliverance. How grieved must the heart of Yahweh been to observe the man and his wife hiding from His presence, filled with shame at the knowledge of their nakedness, desperate to cover over their sinful condition? In the act of providing for Adam and Eve garments of skins Yahweh was providing a testimony of an atoning sacrifice that would one day be made to cover the sin of all humanity. Even before this testimony was given, Yahweh prophesied that the Seed of the woman would one day crush the serpent’s head and bring deliverance to mankind. To the serpent Yahweh declared:

Genesis 3:15
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel.”

It is marvelous to note that Yahweh’s grace and mercy were immediately revealed to the man and woman in the Garden of Eden. He did not make mankind’s first parents experience a long season of despair before He revealed to them that He would one day redeem them and their offspring. His promise of a coming Savior was immediate. Much more was communicated to Adam and his sons in coming days. This is revealed by the act of Cain and Abel bringing a sin offering to Yahweh. How did these sons of Adam know to bring before Yahweh a sin offering? The principle of the offering must have been revealed to them by God.

That these sons of Adam were bringing a sin offering is revealed in the fact that Cain’s offering was rejected, for it was a bloodless offering. Yahweh did receive freewill offerings of grain and other produce of the ground under the Law of Moses, but all sin offerings had to be blood offerings. The life (literally “soul”) is in the blood (Genesis 9:4). Yahweh would accept the soul of a living creature as a substitute for the soul of the man that the man might live. We are given insight into the offerings of Cain and Abel in the following New Testament passage.

Hebrews 11:4
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

In what way was Abel’s offering one of faith? The Scriptures tell us that “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the spoken word (rhema) of God.” Yahweh had to have disclosed to man that He would accept the blood of a lamb as an atonement (a merciful covering) for their sins. The ultimate and perfect sacrifice would be that of Yahshua, the Passover Lamb of God. Yet, until Yahshua came, Yahweh would accept the offering of the lambs of the flock, of goats, and bulls, and birds. These served as temporal substitutions for the life of man and looked forward by faith to Christ’s death on the cross. Abel made an offering from the flock.

Genesis 4:4
And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And Yahweh had regard for Abel and for his offering...

Constellation Ara - the Altar

There is nothing in the passages preceding this event that describe Yahweh instructing Adam and his sons in the law of offerings. We are able to infer that such instruction was given as we observe the action of the sons of Adam and Yahweh’s response to their offerings. Abel brought an offering of faith. He brought firstlings of the flock and their fat portions and Yahweh had regard for his offering. From the time of man’s fall into sin Yahweh began to instruct Adam and his descendants about His plan of redemption. Yahweh did not leave man to despair in his condition, but immediately set hope within his heart.

The antediluvians, those men and women who lived before the flood of Noah, understood much about
the hope of salvation to come. Yet, as the apostle Paul declared, “they did not all heed the glad tidings.” Nevertheless, they were without excuse. The things which were created gave silent testimony of the glory of God. The stars in their courses proclaimed the Gospel of the coming Savior.

A tremendous source of information on this subject is the book published by Frances Rolleston in 1862. This Christian woman spent decades researching all the ancient sources she could find. She was in her 80s when she publishedMazzaroth: or the Constellations (Mazzaroth is the Hebrew word for the Zodiac). This book is available freely on the Internet. Three other books that I have in my library are:

The Gospel in the Stars; or Primeval Astronomy by Joseph A. Seiss
The Witness of the Stars by E. W. Bullinger
The Heavens Declare by William D. Banks

All three of these men cite Frances Rolleston’s work heavily, for she did a tremendous job of compiling together a wide array of sources, many of them of great antiquity, on the subject of the constellations. Rolleston reported that the images associated with the heavenly constellations, the signs of the zodiac and their associated decans, always are found mentioned wherever ancient sources speak of astronomy. She, along with many others, assert that there was no time in human history when the science of astronomy existed apart from the knowledge of the constellations. The evidence points to the conclusion that astronomy and the zodiacal images were developed concurrently by the same individuals.

Many of the ancient sources declare that the images in the heavens that we recognize as constellations of the zodiac are traceable back to Adam, Seth, and Enoch. Frances Rolleston shares the following thoughts.

In whatever obscurity the origin of the emblems of astronomy may appear to be enveloped, in the traditions of the nations where they are preserved, no such doubts hang over that of the science itself. It has always and every where been traced back to the earliest race of man. The Hebrews, Chaldeans, Persians, and Arabs imputed its invention to Adam, Seth, and Enoch...

The learned Jew Josephus, who, living at the time of the destruction of the Temple by Titus, refers for his authorities to ancient writers whose names alone remain to us. He attributes the invention of the science to "the family of Seth the son of Adam," when, the life of man then extending to near a thousand years, they were enabled to ascertain from actual observation the return of the heavenly bodies to the same positions in cycles and periods, which in after ages it has required the labour of successive generations to verify.

Adam, divinely led to give names to what he saw, must have had such for the sun and moon, and probably for the planets whose movements would attract his notice. Those celestial splendours shone in the far-off and inaccessible heaven, the abode or the path to the abode of his Creator and Redeemer, whence Divine instruction and yet more Divine mercy had descended upon him. Thither his eyes would reverently and most habitually turn: the starry world on high would be, if not the first, the most absorbing object of his contemplation; and astronomy would naturally be, as tradition declares, the earliest study, the first science of mankind. Seth, the son of his consolation and heir of his promises, the traditional father of astronomy, is said to have commenced its arrangement with that of the twelve signs. To Seth is also attributed the great period of the relative positions of sun and moon, the cycle of six hundred years, by modern computation found so wonderfully exact. In this no use is made of the fixed stars beyond the zodiac.

Enoch, his descendant, with whom he was long contemporary, is said by tradition to have given names to the stars: the further development of prophecy that appears among the constellations annexed to the signs, above and below them, may then be referred to him. "The family of Seth" thus devised, carried on, and completed this great work, which remains to us an unchanged memorial of their piety, their intellect, and the revelation which they were endeavouring to perpetuate...
[Frances Rolleston, Mazzaroth]

It cannot be Biblically proven that Adam, Seth, or Enoch were the originators of the symbolic astronomy that has been present throughout all great civilizations of mankind. Historical evidence from an array of ancient civilizations reveals that the same heavenly symbols were used among them more than two millennia before Christ. There is such a great similarity worldwide, whether one looks at the ancient astronomical records of the Chinese, or the heavenly signs and symbols of early civilizations in Mexico, that it might fairly be argued that the heavenly symbols were known before the confusion of the languages of man at the Tower of Babel so that the message of the heavenly hosts was carried to the ends of the earth when mankind was dispersed. Speaking of the signs of the zodiac, Frances Rolleston writes:

These signs were known among all nations in all ages. From the almost antediluvian chronologies of China, India, and Egypt, to the traditions of the recently discovered islands of the South Sea, traces of them are discerned, most clearly among the most ancient and earliest civilized nations. In the remains of Assyria they are recognized; in those of Egypt that are perfectly preserved; in those of Etruria and Mexico they are traceable.

This wide diffusion indicates a common origin, both of the race of man and of the symbols of astronomy...

If Adam caused to be transmitted to his descendants, either by writing or by memory, the words of the first promise, the ideas of it were repeated in the emblems of the constellations. That promise announced that the seed of the woman was to come to bruise the serpent’s head, and to be Himself bruised in the heel... The fulfilled part of the prediction is delineated in action in several of the starry emblems, as in Virgo, in Ophiuchus, in Capricornus: the unfulfilled in Leo, in Hercules, and in Aries.
[Source: Ibid]

The premise set forth by Frances Rolleston and other teachers of the Gospel in the stars is that Yahweh established His testimony in the heavens, showing forth the plan of man’s redemption through Christ. Over time Satan corrupted this testimony and man imagined many vain things as the apostle Paul declared.

Romans 1:21-23
For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

The original message of God has been corrupted as men have turned aside to myths and fables, but the emblems of the Gospel message can yet be discerned in that which has been profaned.

Should the tradition of the Divine yet woman-born Conqueror of the serpent, crushing His foe, but suffering from its venom, be met with among all nations, it is only what might have been anticipated among the descendants of one common father. From the Grecian Hercules, half human and half divine, subduing the hydra and dying from its poison; from the Indian incarnation of the Divinity, the virgin-born Krishna, slaying a serpent and wounded by it in the heel, to the serpent-worship of Mexico, and that of the woman-born and unfathered deity Mexitli, this image is every where present, pointing to one origin of the tradition and of the race.
[Source: Ibid]

Hercules Slaying Hydra

It is asserted by many, and with a great amount of evidence to substantiate the claim, that the zodiacal images were antediluvian in origin, that is to say, before the flood of Noah. Frances Rolleston writes:

Bailly and others have asserted that astronomy must have been invented when the summer solstice was in the first degree of Virgo, and that the solar and lunar zodiacs were of a similar antiquity. This would have been about 4,000 years before the Christian era.
[Source: Ibid]

One of the reasons for this conclusion by Bailly is that “The Persians in their books assert, that in remote periods four stars were so placed as to form the four colures.” Bailly is referring to those points in the sky that the celestial poles align with at the time of the equinox and solstice. The stars that the Persians referred to are considered to be Al Debaran in Taurus, Regulus in Leo, Antares in Scorpio, and Fom al Haut in the Southern Fish which is in Aquarius. These stars only aligned with the colures during antediluvian times.

Another argument for the great antiquity of “the emblems of astronomy” is based upon the most ancient complete zodiacs that are extant today. The Zodiac found on the ceiling of the Temple of Osiris at the temple complex in Dendera, Egypt, is among the oldest preserved zodiacs. It is estimated to be about 2,100 years old, placing it slightly before the Christian era. It is described as “the only complete map of the ancient sky.” However, the Zodiac itself is believed to be a copy from a much older time. The star constellations are arranged in such a way that it argues for a date nearly 3,000 years earlier.

Sir W. Drummond, in his Essay on the Zodiacs of Esne and Dendera, says of these zodiacs, “It seems generally agreed that they represent the heavens at the commencement of the Sothaic period..., which might be 2782 BC.”
[Source: Ibid]

Another Argument is set forth by Bailly.

Bailly says the zodiac must have been first divided when the summer solstice was in 1̊ Virgo, where the Woman’s head joins the Lion’s tail.
[Source: Ibid]

For many long years the Sphinx in Egypt remained a great mystery. The Sphinx was not an image of any known god that the Egyptians worshiped, yet it was a prominent and majestic figure that assuredly was of great importance to the people of this ancient civilization. What could it possibly represent?

The Sphinx has the head of a woman (some would say the head is of a youth, but this too could point to the Seed of the woman) and the body of a lion. The riddle of the Sphinx might be solved as it is compared to an image found at the Egyptian temple complex at Esne. Esne was located on the Upper Nile close to Dendera. At Esne, there is a different type of depiction of the zodiac. In this relief the images are set out in two lines, one above the other.

The image of the Sphinx is in red to aid in locating it on this image. Just to the right of the Sphinx is the image of the Virgin (Virgo). Directly above the Sphinx is an image of the Lion (Leo). You can note many other Zodiacal images familiar to this day. There is the Scarab or Crab of Cancer, the Bull of Taurus, the Ram of Aries, the Fish of Pisces, the Scales of Libra, the Scorpion of Scorpio, and the Centaur of Sagittarius.

In all of the Zodiacs, the Virgin (Virgo) and the Lion (Leo) are adjacent to one another on the circle of the sky.

If a person were to turn back the clock to 4,000 B.C. at the time of the Summer Solstice, they would find that “this solstice took place where the junction of Leo and Virgo is marked by the bright star Denebola” (a name meaning “The Lord who comes quickly,” - Frances Rolleston, Mazzaroth). What better way to denote the entire panoply of heavenly figures than with the image of the Sphinx? This imaginary creature has the head of a woman signifying the Virgin who would one day give birth to humanity’s redeemer. The Sphinx’s hind parts are the image of a Lion signifying the Lion of the tribe of Judah come back to reign upon the earth. Thus, the entire heavenly testimony, the glorious work of God, is represented in the image of the Sphinx. That first prophecy of the Seed of the woman crushing the serpent’s head, establishing His rule over the creation, is observed in the image of the Sphinx and in the zodiac that it represents.

One question that might arise in the mind of a person who considers Yahweh’s heavenly testimony is how did the constellations and the individual stars in them, come to be named. Frances Rolleston was stirred to begin her monumental study of the starry hosts when she was reading the following verse of Scripture.

Psalms 147:4
Appointing the number of the stars; He [Yahweh] gives names to all of them.

This same statement that Yahweh has given names to the stars is repeated in the writings of the prophet Isaiah.

Isaiah 40:26
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, the One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power not one of them is missing.

From ancient times, the visible stars have had names assigned to them. Each of these names has a specific meaning. Frances Rolleston has provided a great service in this regard. She was a scholar of ancient languages, and has provided much evidence for the original names of the stars and their meanings. She has demonstrated that the names of the stars bear a strong correlation with the symbolism of the constellations in which they are found. The names may vary among ancient empires due to the divisions of the languages, but for millennia there has been a remarkable consistency in what the stars’ names mean.

The two verses cited above declare that Yahweh has given names to the stars. This begs the question of whether the ancient names that men recognize the stars by are the names Yahweh assigned to them.
In the opening chapters of Genesis we are told that God assigned to Adam the task of giving names to all of the animals.

Genesis 2:19-20
And out of the ground Yahweh God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name. And the man gave names to all the cattle, and to the birds of the sky, and to every beast of the field...

Yahweh gave man dominion over all the creatures upon the earth. It is fitting therefore that man should be given the task of naming these creatures. Assigning a name to something is an act denoting rule and authority. The starry heavens were NOT placed under Adam’s dominion. They were under Yahweh’s dominion. Yahweh assigned to Adam the task of giving names to all the terrestrial animals, but the stars of the heavens He named. Did God teach man these names?

One way we might test this is to look for any Scripture passages where Yahweh speaks of the stars by name. We might reasonably conclude that Yahweh would call the stars by the names He assigned to them. If these names are the same used by ancient civilizations, or carry the same meaning as the names used by ancient peoples, an argument might be made in support of the idea that mankind was taught the names God assigned to the stars. I admit that this argument is not unassailable, but I do find it to be plausible.

There are, in fact, such passages in the Bible. Two of these passages are found in one of the oldest books of the Bible, the book of Job. Another passage is in the book of Amos.

Job 9:8-9
Who alone stretches out the heavens, and tramples down the waves of the sea; Who makes the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south...

“The Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south” are references to stars. Depending upon which English Bible translation you read from, these names may vary.

Job 9:8-9
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea. Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.

Job 9:8-9
Stretching out the heavens by Himself, and treading on the heights of the sea, making Osh, Kesil, and Kimah, and the inner chambers of the south.

The New American Standard and King James Version Bibles have used Greek and Latin equivalents of the original Hebrew names of these stars. The Old Testament of the Bible was written in Hebrew. In the original text these stars would have borne the names that the Hebrews knew them by. A few centuries before Christ the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek. One of the earliest Greek versions is known as the Septuagint. The Septuagint did not preserve the Hebrew names, but attempted to assign to these stars the names by which the Greeks knew them. Later the Old Testament was translated into Latin, and once again the Hebrew names were replaced with equivalent names.

Young’s Literal Translation has preserved the Hebrew names. What the NAS lists as “the Bear” and the KJV as “Arcturus,” is in the Hebrew language “Ash,” or “Osh.” The word “Ash” means “the assembled.” The Greek Septuagint and Latin Vulgate did not agree on what star was identified by the Hebrew name “Ash.” The Septuagint identified it as the Pleiades, while the Vulgate chose Arcturus.

“Kesil” or “Chesil” in the Hebrew means “the bound.” This star name is listed as Hesperus in the Greek Septuagint and Orion in the Latin Vulgate. In this instance both the NAS and KJV followed the Latin Vulgate.

Similarly “Kimah,” or “Chima” in the Hebrew is translated as Arcturus by the Septuagint and Hyades by the Vulgate, yet both the NAS and KJV chose Pleiades as the name of the star. The Hebrew Word “Chima” means “the accumulated.” These star names are repeated later in the book of Job.

Job 38:31-32
Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades (Kimah/Chima), or loose the bands of Orion (Kesil/Chesil)? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus (Ash/Osh) with his sons?

If you take time to do the comparison you will find that neither the Greek Septuagint or the Latin Vulgate rendered these names consistently. It would have been better had these translators done as Robert Young in his Bible translation and kept the Hebrew names. To replace the Hebrew names with names derived from Greek and Roman mythology is destructive in that it obscures the divine message of these stars. I would compare it to the egregious error of supplanting the Biblical name Passover with the pagan name Easter. Much confusion is sown as the name of a female goddess of fertility is used as a substitute for the Hebrew Pesach, a word that means “Passover.” No such meaning is conveyed by the name Easter.

This presents a challenge as the student of Biblical astronomy must seek to distinguish between the original divine names accorded to the stars and the substitutions of men and fallen angels. The task is a worthy one, however, for it will provide much evidence of the divine message ordained by Yahweh in the heavens and will help the saints to discern those heavenly messages that are prophesied to be manifested in this hour at the end of the age. In the next chapter we will look at the constellations, the names of the stars, and the testimony they bring forth.

Credit to Joseph Herrin



To the surprise and the dismay of most Christians, it is probable that no repellent political figure in modern times ever professed faith in Christianity more than Adolf Hitler. No public official ever championed the separation of church and state more fervently than the Führer. And it is unlikely that any religious leader promoted putting faith into action with more exuberance than the leader of the National Socialist Party. Consider a small sample of Hitler’s words:
This “Winter Help Work” [a social “outreach” program] is also in the deepest sense a Christian work. When I see, as I so often do, poorly clad girls collecting with such infinite patience in order to care for those who are suffering from the cold while they themselves are shivering with cold, then I have the feeling that they are all apostles of a Christianity—and in truth of a Christianity which can say with greater right than any other: this is the Christianity of an honest confession, for behind it stand not words but deeds.[ii]
For these substantive reasons and many more (not always so warmly swaddled in biblical ideals), the German Catholic as well as the “evangelical” church failed to discern a glaring and provocative manifestation of Antichrist in their midst. The best and the brightest, the priests and the theologians, all were caught up in the rush to support the cause of National Socialism. German leaders, both spiritual and political, stood side by side to bring the Fatherland back from the brink. And Adolf Hitler inspired them to come together for the common cause.
Certainly, more than “mass psychology” was influencing 1930s Germany.[iii] Christian intellectuals, from the middle ranks to the upper echelons, professed faith in the Führer. In hindsight, we could be justifiably aghast about how the experts wholly missed the most obvious incarnation of the Antichrist since brutal, first-century Roman emperors fed thousands of Christians to the lions.[iv] How, pray tell, could this happen?
Indeed, this particular “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess. 2:7) astonishes us because Hitler not only convinced the hungry and unemployed masses, he gained the favor of the theologically sophisticated. Despite his outspoken rancor and the suspected occultism amongst him and his accomplices, opposition from the church never materialized in any meaningful way until almost the war’s end. Hitler promoted what Germans wanted to hear—that God was on their side. He provoked patriotism by calls to revere the old ways. He assured the nation that the disgrace of losing “the Great War” (World War I) had nothing to do with the Kaiser’s blatant imperialism. And despite outrageous anti-Semitism, Adolf Hitler was hailed as “God’s man of the hour.” The servants of God were simply clueless in detecting the malevolent motivating force behind Adolf Hitler. Discernment disappeared from the church.
Behold the uniqueness of Adolf Hitler! With contagious conviction, he voiced what the German soul could be in its manifold creative genius! His carefully orchestrated words disclosed complete commitment and utter brilliance as a leader of the people. With rapturous expressions, he invigorated a dejected Germany. He guided the rediscovery of its powerful but pagan roots, illuminating who they were and what they could become, with Almighty God guiding their steps (he saw no conflict between Odin—the Scandinavian king of gods—and Jehovah!) Hitler injected into nearly every German heart a divine imprimatur, which justified an inferno of destruction and death unmatched in human history. Its pristine message created a new Reich of das volk, a people destined by the triumph of their collective will to become the consummation and commencement of the kingdom of God—das thousande jahre Reich (the millennial reign, a one-thousand-year kingdom initiated in the German spirit of Charlemagne, the emperor of the First Reich, the Holy Roman Empire inaugurated at Christmas, AD 800).[v]
This infamous would-be Kaiser/Caesar/Antichrist arose in Germany over a ten-year time frame, from the end of 1924 until he became chancellor in March 1933, and soon thereafter, becoming the supreme leader—having combined the offices of president and chancellor into “führer and reichskanzler” upon the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.
There were those, however, who possessed the ability to discern the real meaning of National Socialism. They possessed the necessary time and skill to analyze the political, social, and spiritual events leading up to the Nazi takeover. But they steadfastly refused to respond to their better judgment. No doubt their failure in part stemmed from a latent (and all-too-often blatant) anti-Semitism widespread amongst the German population, arguably stimulated by Martin Luther’s strong anti-Semitic perspectives.[vi] Nevertheless, even the dramatic incidents of hate expressed toward Jews (one thinks of Kristallnacht, Crystal Night or the Night of the Broken Glass, November 9–10, 1938) failed to supply the spiritually astute with insight into what was going to happen. The appeal of Hitler satisfied a number of concerns related to national pride, providing simple answers to very complex questions, promising economic rebirth to a nation dead in its fiscal tracks, and the rehashing of the nation’s favorite Teutonic folk myths stirring the soul of its people.
Gott Mit Uns: “God with Us”
We don’t have space to concern ourselves with allthe causes for the apokalypsis of Antichrist in Germany.[vii]Instead, we will focus on the spiritually based sentiments Hitler explicitly expressed, promising that his ideology and his government supported the Christian faith—that there was no conflict between National Socialism and Christianity. It was this relationship—an overtly rank expression of “religio-political apostasy”—that so disturbs us. From his countless statements made directly to Christian audiences, we will learn why Adolf Hitler was so extremely dangerous. Surprisingly (we think you will agree ours is not the standard interpretation), it was not because he could scheme so treacherously. To the contrary, the key to Hitler’s sleight-of-hand was due to his own self-delusion: He possessed unwavering faith that his was a righteous calling from God above—wrought by “providence.”
Our point in this piece: Beware! Similar circumstances are present in our land today. Americans must be on guard—especially at this most portentous time—with depressed economic conditions, a high unemployment rate, and smooth-talking politicians long on promises and short on accomplishments. Our vigilance cannot be dulled even by the most sincere-sounding statements of faith and vision from prominent public figures. Our observations must be focused not on just what is said, but on what is being done. A superficial assessment will not suffice. We must consider all the evidence carefully and draw conclusions in pious contemplation. The church (both liberal and conservative) is poised to fail miserably in recognizing who the real enemy is.
Our concern boils down to this poignant question: If Antichrist were to be revealed in America, would the faithful recognize him? Would Americans committed to spiritual values miss the same clues disclosing Antichrist’s true nature as did the Germans with Hitler?
There is little doubt that if a figure paraded himself in front of the American people resembling an easily stereotyped leader of the Third Reich—with a mousy moustache, an armband with a hypnotic logo, and wearing a brown shirt—his character and agenda would be obvious to almost everyone. Mounting the podium with an emotional appeal to our national loyalty, the adamant display of venom and vitriol against the enemies of the state, the promise of the restoration of our American “empire” through a continuing buildup of military might, the stark name-calling identifying an appropriate scapegoat to fault for our problems—all of these factors would, at best, betray a would-be Antichrist figure as a false messiah—or at worst, spotlight an artless actor who undoubtedly took us for fools.
We can be certain the apocalypse of (that is, therevealing of) Antichrist in America, an event we believe will transpire in the years just ahead, will be a one-of-a-kind challenge requiring spiritual discernment worthy of only the most circumspect and attuned “code breakers” whose specialty is exposing wolves in sheep’s clothing. We call the church to take up this mission. We believe the church of Jesus Christ, the true church that understands the authentic meaning of Jesus’ message, the coming of the kingdom of God, stands as the last line of defense.
Orchestrating the Maddening Crowd
Remember, Hitler achieved a meteoric rise to prominence and power because he understood the soul of his people. He could relate. He knew what made them tick. He realized how to couch his message in the context of the political situation and how to engage those who would be but mere spectators by relating to their financial pain and anxiety over the future. Hitler understood crowd psychology and how to manipulate it. To mesmerize his audience, he utilized the power of emphatic facial expressions and energetic hand gestures. He compelled unquestioning allegiance by conveying solutions plainly and confidently no matter how oversimplified or extreme his answers might be. In fact, the more oversimplified and uncompromising his solutions were, the better to persuade the people of their usefulness. His greatest weapon was that “wretched Treaty of Versailles” and its national humiliation—its guilt-ridden condemnation upon the German people, coupled with horrific war reparations heaped upon the German people (which capitalists in America were only too happy to finance).
What is the lesson for us? If the Antichrist were to arise in America at this moment, we would be foolish to expect him to be anything but a consummate American. He would look like us. He would talk like us. He would think—for the most part—like us. And with a straight face he might even assert a profession of Christian faith, and why he believes the teaching of Jesus Christ is so well suited for society. Following Adolf Hitler’s lead, he would appeal to the most devout class of Christian, the evangelical. He would offer opportunities to bring biblically based believers “out front”—to escape the shadows of social disdain and distance themselves from the hackneyed portrait showcased by the media and affirmed by the intelligentsia, supposing that those who call themselves evangelical are intellectually bankrupt. He would convince Bible-believing conservatives that they should no longer see themselves as simple plebeians (common folk). Their self-image should be elevated so they regard their value no less in status than the progressive patricians of sophisticated national institutions.[viii] Not that he would identify himself with the elite or propose that the common man should be ashamed of his laborer status. Rather, he would argue that he remains a man “of the people,” yet holds himself sufficiently apart to sanctify his status as our formidable if not fearless leader.
This positioning reflects the example of Herr Hitler in many respects. Likewise, the tone and substance coming from the mouth of the Führer, although etched in thezeitgeist of that age, begs for comparison to what we hear today from select political leaders promoting the American version of the New World Order,[ix] especially those who were, are, or would be our president. Consider for a moment: Might it not be a factor in the false Christ’s persuasiveness—the fact that he could deceive, if possible, even the elect? (Matt. 24:24).
The sham to fool evangelicals will make use of more than patronizing remarks. It will turn the words of our most popular preachers against us. The ideology that should prohibit the arising of Antichrist—the Christian religion and its worldview—will be a powerful tool co-opted to capture the “believing” masses and to encourage through a moral veneer and political resolution an agenda resonating within the heart of the “folks” in these United States. Indeed, the future philosophy of Antichrist will convince us that we should resolve to be nothing less than what our most prominent spiritual leaders teach us to be—successful, healthy, and committed to classic American ideals(although our most noble notions of individual liberty, a laHenry David Thoreau and Thomas Jefferson, have long since quietly departed for destinations unknown).
In like manner, Antichrist would deftly implore citizens to follow his lead. He would criticize Christians for their failure to follow the most “positive” aspects of our faith. Indeed, it would be similar to Hitler’s “positive Christianity”—a Christianity that is proactive, expressed in “unselfish service” to others, characteristic of true Americans.
He would call us to be the best Americans we can be—a worthy aspiration for the greater good of all Americans. The health of our nation, he would argue, depends upon living productive lives that contribute to economic prosperity for all. Morality, like ethics, should be shaped to improve our communities in light of standards established by the majority. Religion, true religion, will instill these values. It will not conflict with political objectives because positive faith goes hand in hand with constructive political ideology. The manifesto of “the public good” will brand any substantial opposition worthy of elimination. True believers will be activists—but for causes that conform to the will of the many—all the better to reflect his “image,” with “great signs and wonders” to deceive (Matt. 24:24).
On the surface, the nature of these ideals will seem consistent with the Bible. After all, who would argue that the spiritually inclined should be unproductive, immoral, unethical, a burden on the public’s well being, and incapable of contributing to the community’s economic health? And yet, upon a more cautious objective inspection, there will emerge a thin but distinctive line between a laudable social compact (built upon beneficial principles for both the individual and the nation) and an overreaching “state” that demands unquestioned obedience (aka cooperation)—commanding allegiance above all other causes no matter how worthy. One thinks of the pro-life stance denying women the right to choose. American society has chosen pro-abortion. There are more than fifty million dead Americans who never made it outside the womb to gain some semblance of civil rights. Those who point out this sorry fact are liable to be labeled “social dissidents.”
Moreover, the challenge to discern the agenda of the Antichrist will be difficult for many reasons, not just intellectual. Social pressure to conform will be “maxed out.” The path to achieve clarity will be a lonely one, for our peers will be only too ready to encourage complicity. Any complaint and disparagement will be interpreted as unpatriotic, a threat to social order, and harmful not only to our own health, but to those we love and care about. An “untoward behavior” will be viewed as “self-alienation,” first frowned upon and then doggedly condemned, since it fails to benefit “the many.” One’s consciousness-raising must be done in stealth so as not to draw attention to an expressed awareness that the enemy of Christ speaks profanely in our presence. It would not be easy to resist even if we were to come to the realization that we have been asked to serve Antichrist. Our peers will plead with us not to rock the boat, not to question falling in line, not to label the state as anything but what is best for one and all. 
To be “the best Christian one can be” will appear synonymous with being the perfect US citizen. Fear will lead families to betray one another: Brother will betray brother, and children will betray their parents—all in the name of doing what is “for the common good of all.” The words of Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew must be seen for what they really are: a sign of His soon coming.
And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child; and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.
And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake, but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. (Matt. 10:21–22)
Needing to recognize political and religious rhetoric as a potential harbinger of the evil one to come, study the words of Hitler below. He seems most open-minded. Consider just how difficult it will be to discern the voice of Antichrist when it reverberates in America:
We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession.[x](emphasis added)
The National Government regards the two Christian Confessions as the weightiest factors for the maintenance of our nationality. They will respect the agreements concluded between them and the federal States. Their rights are not to be infringed… It will be the Government’s care to maintain honest co-operation between Church and State; the struggle against materialistic views and for a real national community is just as much in the interest of the German nation as in that of the welfare of our Christian faith. The Government of the Reich, who regard Christianity as the unshakable foundation of the morals and moral code of the nation, attach the greatest value to friendly relations with the Holy See and are endeavoring to develop them.[xi]
The partnership of church and state constructed by Hitler was remarkable in many ways, for he appealed to Christians’ proclivity to self-righteous aspiration, beguiling them through awarding accreditation as possessors of the very “moral soul” of the nation. To enhance his appeal, he vowed that without a Christian moral foundation, there would be no German morality. In light of this, the reader of the Gospels can stop wondering why Jesus (in Matt. 24) was so repetitious regarding “deception and being deceived,” “false prophets and false messiahs,” and the like in reference to the “state of society” at the end of the age. Yet what Hitler accomplished next was a frightening prelude to the coming of the real Antichrist, of which he was only a type.
Credit to Raidersnewsupdate.com

Coordinated, Depraved, SATANIC Insanity.

18 Signs That The Global Economic Crisis Is Accelerating As We Enter The Last Half Of 2014

Accelerating - Public Domain
A lot of people that I talk to these days want to know "when things are going to start happening".  Well, there are certainly some perilous times on the horizon, but all you have to do is open up your eyes and look to see the global economic crisis unfolding.  As you will see below, even central bankers are issuing frightening warnings about "dangerous new asset bubbles" and even the World Bank is declaring that "now is the time to prepare" for the next crisis.  Most Americans tend to only care about what is happening in the United States, but the truth is that serious economic trouble is erupting in South America, all across Europe and in Asian powerhouses such as China and Japan.  And the endless conflicts in the Middle East could erupt into a major regional war at just about any time.  We live in a world that is becoming increasingly unstable, and people need to understand that the period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now is extremely vulnerable and will not last long.  The following are 18 signs that the global economic crisis is accelerating as we enter the last half of 2014...
#1 The Bank for International Settlements has issued a new reportwhich warns that "dangerous new asset bubbles" are forming which could potentially lead to another major financial crisis.  Do the central bankers know something that we don't, or are they just trying to place the blame on someone else for the giant mess that they have created?
#2 Argentina has missed a $539 million debt payment and is on the verge of its second major debt default in 13 years.
#3 Bulgaria is desperately trying to calm down a massive run on the banks that threatens of spiral out of control.
#4 Last month, household loans in the eurozone declined at the fastest rate ever recorded.  Why are European banks holding on to their money so tightly right now?
#5 The number of unemployed jobseekers in France has just soared to another brand new record high.
#6 Economies all over Europe are either showing no growth or are shrinking.  Just check out what a recent Forbes article had to say about the matter...
Italy’s economy shrank by 0.1% in the first three months of 2014, matching the average of the three previous quarters. After expanding 0.6% in Q2 2013, France recorded zero growth. Portugal shrank 0.7%, following positive numbers in the preceding nine months. While figures weren’t available for Greece and Ireland in Q1, neither country is showing progress. Greek GDP dropped 2.5% in the final three months of last year, and Ireland limped ahead at 0.2%.
#7 A few days ago it was reported that consumer prices in Japan are rising at the fastest pace in 32 years.
#8 Household expenditures in Japan are down 8 percent compared to one year ago.
#9 U.S. companies are drowning in massive amounts of debt, but the corporate debt bubble in China is so bad that the amount of corporate debt in China has actually now surpassed the amount of corporate debt in the United States.
#10 One Chinese auditor is warning that up to 80 billion dollarsworth of loans in China are backed by falsified gold transactions.  What will that do to the price of gold and the stability of Chinese financial markets as that mess unwinds?
#11 The unemployment rate in Greece is currently sitting at 26.7 percent and the youth unemployment rate is 56.8 percent.
#12 67.5 percent of the people that are unemployed in Greece have been unemployed for over a year.
#13 The unemployment rate in the eurozone as a whole is 11.8 percent - just a little bit shy of the all-time record of 12.0 percent.
#14 The European Central Bank is so desperate to get money moving through the system that it has actually introduced negative interest rates.
#15 The IMF is projecting that there is a 25 percent chance that the eurozone will slip into deflation by the end of next year.
#16 The World Bank is warning that "now is the time to prepare" for the next crisis.
#17 The economic conflict between the United States and Russia continues to deepen.  This has caused Russia to make a series of movesaway from the U.S. dollar and toward other major currencies.  This will have serious ramifications for the global financial system as time rolls along.
#18 Of course the U.S. economy is struggling right now as well.  It shrank at a 2.9 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2014, which was much worse than anyone had anticipated.
But if U.S. economic numbers look a bit better for the second quarter, that doesn't mean that we are out of the woods.
As I have stressed so many times, the long-term trends and the long-term balance sheet numbers are far, far more important than the short-term economic numbers.
For example, if you went to the mall today and spent a thousand dollars on candy and video games, your short-term "economic activity" would spike dramatically.  But your long-term financial health would take a significant turn for the worse.
Well, when we are talking about the health of the U.S. economy or the entire global financial system we need to keep the same kinds of considerations in mind.
As for the United States, whether the level of our debt-fueled short-term economic activity goes up a little bit or down a little bit is not what is truly important.
Rather, the fact that we are nearly 60 trillion dollars in debt as a society is what really matters.
The same thing applies for the globe as a whole.  Right now, the citizens of the planet are more than 223 trillion dollars in debt, and "too big to fail" banks around the world have at least 700 trillion dollarsof exposure to derivatives.
So it doesn't really matter too much whether the short-term economic numbers go up a little bit or down a little bit right now.  The whole system is an inherently flawed Ponzi scheme that will inevitably collapse under its own weight.
Let us hope that this period of relative stability lasts for a while longer.  It is a good thing to have time to prepare.  But you would have to be absolutely insane to think that the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world is never going to burst.
Credit to Economic Collapse

The Next Global Meltdown Is Baked In: Connecting The Dots Between Oil, Debt, Interest Rates And Risk

The bottom line is the Fed can only keep the machine duct-taped together by suppressing the market's pricing of risk.
One of the Grand Narratives of our era is the substitution of debt for income: as earned income and disposable income have stagnated for 40 years, the gap between the rising cost of living and stagnant household income has been filled by borrowed money.
Money has been borrowed to replace income everywhere: consumers have borrowed money to buy things they otherwise couldn't afford, students have borrowed over $1 trillion to attend college, governments have borrowed money to fund wars and social spending, corporations have borrowed money to buy back their own shares, pushing stock prices higher.
There's one little problem with debt: interest must be paid on debt. Let's focus for a second on the difference between cash income and borrowing money. Cash doesn't cost money to maintain; debt does. In a functioning economy (as opposed to the dysfunctional mess we have now), cash would earn income from interest paid by borrowers.
If cash income is saved, the cash can buy stuff without debt or interest payments. That is a powerful advantage over debt.
How powerful is the advantage of cash over debt? It's literally life-changing. Take a look at your credit card statements, which now include an estimate of interest you will pay and how long it will take to pay off the balance at a given monthly payment.
Those making minimal payments will end up paying 100% or more of the balance due in interest.
The phenomenally high accrued costs of interest is true of mortgages, student loans, auto loans, corporate debt and government debt: eventually, current spending is crimped as more and more net income is devoted to paying interest.
There are two words for what happens when real income declines and interest payments rise: impoverishment and insolvency. This dynamic is scale-invariant, meaning it works the same for individuals, households, enterprises and governments.
Let's connect the rising cost of oil to debt. As we all know, oil matters because it's the foundation of our economy, and the cost of oil is built into virtually every sector in some way. For example, look at how the the cost of food rises and declines in lockstep with the cost of oil:
Despite the substitution of cheaper natural gas for oil, we use a lot of oil.
While the recent increase of 3+ million barrels a day in domestic production is welcome on many fronts (more jobs, more money kept at home, reduced dependence on foreign suppliers, etc.), the U.S. still needs to import crude oil.
U.S. Imports by Country of Origin (U.S. Energy Information Administration)
The rising cost of oil acts as an economy-wide tax. Everything that uses oil in its production or transport rises in price without offering consumers any more value than it did at much lower prices.
Look at the impact on food prices as oil rose from $20/barrel in 2002 to $140/barrel in 2008. While government statisticians adjust the consumer price index (CPI) based on hedonics (as the quality of things goes up, the price is adjusted accordingly) and substitution (people buy chicken instead of steak, etc.), the reality is, as one heckler put it, "We don't eat iPads:" that is, all the stuff that is hedonically adjusted (tech goodies, etc.) is non-essential.
The Status Quo has compensated for the relentless rise in the systemic oil "tax" by making debt cheaper to service. The Federal Reserve's zero-interest rate policy (ZIRP) has two purposes:
1. Channel immense sums of free money to the too big to fail banks by relieving them of the onerous requirement of paying interest on deposits while giving them unlimited access to nearly-free money they can lend out at huge spreads. (This is crony-capitalism writ large. The winners were picked by the Fed and the rest of us are the losers. Yea for the godlike Fed, our modern-day Mammon.)
2. To keep consumption alive as income declined and the oil tax eroded household disposable income, the Fed made borrowing cheaper.
Unfortunately for the godlike deities residing in the Fed, zero-interest rates trigger malinvestments, which are inherently risky. When unqualified borrowers borrow a ton of money--for example, a student with no assets or income, or a poor credit risk household assumes an FHA mortgage, or a corporation sells junk-rated bonds-- the risk of default is intrinsically higher than debt taken on by qualified borrowers.
This poses a systemic problem for the Fed: The Fed needs to enable more borrowing by the uncreditworthy to keep consumption growing and bank profits flowing, yet the inevitable result of such credit expansion is a massive expansion of systemic risk.
The more debt that is taken on by marginal borrowers--where marginal is defined as unable to weather any shock or decline to their financial position or income--the more risk piles up in the system.
The analogy is a forest where the deadwood is never allowed to burn: The Yellowstone Analogy and The Crisis of Neoliberal Capitalism (May 18, 2009). The net result of rising systemic risk is a massive conflagration that burns off off the accumulated risk and bad debt.
Such a fire sweeping through the mountains of risky debt piled up in the American financial system would bring down the entire Status Quo. So what's a godlike Federal Reserve to do when it can no longer lower interest rates?
Answer: it suppresses visible risk by manipulating the stock market to reflect complacency.
"Old" VIX Plunges To Record Low (Zero Hedge)
Does a record low measure of risk reflect the systemic risk of default and a decline in consumption, or is it merely a reflection of the herd's boundless faith in the godlike powers of the Fed to suppress risk even as Fed policies pile risk ever higher?
The bottom line is the Fed can only keep the machine duct-taped together by suppressing the market's pricing of risk. Suppressing the market's ability to price risk is throwing common-sense fiscal caution to the winds; when risk arises from its drugged slumber despite the Fed's best efforts to eliminate it, we will all reap what the Fed has sown.
Credit to Zero Hedge