KEYWORDS: palestinians, pray, government, church, religion, israelis

World Currents!--No.99

Karen Zerby

By MariaMaria #545 CM/FM 3311 10/00

Dear Family,

1. It's so inspiring to read the news and testimonies you send us of countries pioneered, friends and disciples won, lives changed, bodies healed, and the message spread far and wide! We're changing the world, heart by heart.

2. Meanwhile, the world—or at least much of it—is certainly in a mess. The Mideast in particular has been in turmoil‚ with Palestinians pitted against Israelis over the issue of Jerusalem and a Palestinian home­land. The conflict has been deadly for over 128 people as of this writing, all but a handful of whom were Palestinian. Nearly 4,000 others have been wounded, some seriously. Again, the overwhelming majority were Palestinian.

3. In this issue of Currents we'll examine the Mideast situation first of all. We asked the Lord for His viewpoint on the violence there and both He and Dad gave some insight on what's happening—and what's to come.

4. Next we'll examine two more situations in which religious faith is in conflict with the state or vice versa—the disagreement between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Greek government over whether to list religion on ID cards, and the serious conflict between the Chinese government and Falun Gong over its right to exist.

5. In some of these messages, the Lord and Dad not only provide insight into current events but also pass on some related prayer requests. So we pray as you read these prophecies which follow, you'll not only be informed but stirred to prayer. Your prayers do make a difference! Thanks for praying! God bless you!

Mideast Mayhem

6. Events in the Mideast change so quickly that it's difficult to provide an up-to-date commentary on the situation. We can only tell you what has happened up until the publication of this GN. It could change quickly again, as it has in recent weeks, tilting either toward war or peace in a matter of a few days or even hours.

7. As you probably know, the Israelis and the Palestinians held a summit at Camp David in July of this year, the latest in a long line of meetings to try and resolve the differences between them. (See END 34, "Camp David 2000," pages 2-5.) Little progress was made, and in the weeks after this summit, relations between the Palestinians and Israelis deteriorated. Following is a brief recap of events since then, compiled from newswire reports:

8. On Thursday‚ September 28, right-wing Israeli leader Ariel Sharon paid a provocative visit to the Temple Mount, the most bitterly disputed site in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accompanied by hundreds of Israeli policemen. Sharon is reviled by many Palestinians as the man responsible for the massacre of up to 2‚000 innocent Palestinians in Lebanese refugee camps in 1982.

9. The Palestinians, many of whom regard Sharon as a war criminal, responded by pelting Israeli police with rocks. The police fired back with rubber-coated metal bullets and live rounds. Four Palestinians were killed and more than 200 were wounded.

10. The Israeli human rights group, B'tselem, commented on the excessive use of force and said that Israeli police fired even at those who did not pose any danger to them. "Many of the wounded were hit in the upper part of the body and the shooting was aimed, at least in some cases‚ at people who were running away or were evacuating the wounded."

11. As news of the Temple Mount deaths spread, Palestinian demonstrations and rioting spread to other parts of Jerusalem‚ Gaza, the West Bank, and even villages inhabited by Palestinians in Israel itself. Israeli troops deployed helicopters, tanks, bazookas, hand grenades and snipers. In a vicious and deadly spiral over the next few weeks, as more Palestinians were killed and wounded by Israelis, they responded with more violence. Most of their response was with rocks, slings and slingshots, but in some cases they made use of Molotov cocktails and automatic weapons. Israelis, in turn, responded with heavy weaponry and repression.

12. In one of the more serious incidents, three Israeli reserve soldiers who lost their way wandered into the center of the West Bank town of Ramallah, right after a funeral for Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers. Even though Palestinian police reportedly tried to protect them, the soldiers were lynched and muti­lated by an angry mob. Israel re­sponded by rocketing the head­quarters of PLO leader Yasser Arafat‚ as well as blowing up Palestinian police stations and government buildings throughout Gaza and the West Bank. Israel also closed off Gaza and Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Palestinian authorities retaliated by releasing hundreds of prisoners, including scores of Islamic militants‚ from jails in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, creating the possibility of suicide bombings throughout Israel.

13. On Sunday, October 15, Israeli leader Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat held a summit, along with U.S. president Clinton, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah, UN Secre­tary-General Kofi Annan‚ and EU representa­tives. They came to a ceasefire "under­standing," but it remains to be seen if it will last and will end the bloody cycle of "an eye for an eye" violence.

An Eye for an Eye

14. (Mama:) Following is a brief message the Lord gave us about the killing in the Mideast, followed by a longer message from Dad.

15. (Jesus speaking: ) "An eye for an eye" has always been the motto of those who live under the Mosaic Law—injury for injury, injustice for injustice, death for death. I came to deliver men from the Law and to give them grace and truth and mercy, but those to whom I came rejected Me and the grace and love I bore, preferring their own works‚ their own righteous­ness, their own ways instead‚ and do so unto this very day.

16. There was love and mercy and forgiveness even under the Mosaic Law, but those who practice it today have focused on justice and judgment rather than mercy and forgiveness, and their justice has become injustice and their judgment has become the slaughter of the innocent and the butchery of the helpless.

17. Such is the situation in the Mideast today, where the Palestinians suffer at the hands of the Israelis. Though neither side is blameless and some on both sides have shed innocent blood‚ those to whom I delivered My Law and My Word of old are most guilty. For even My Word of old said "Thou shalt not kill‚" but they have created legions of widows and orphans whose cries rise unto Me.

18. Those who have sown violence and death will also reap it, for whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap. This is My spiritual law, applicable both to those who sow good and those who sow evil. As surely as they have destroyed, they will suffer destruction. The houses that they have taken from others shall be left unto them desolate.

19. I suffer long with man. My mercy is from everlasting to everlasting. But I also hear the cries of the oppressed, and My judgments are sure, though they may be long in coming. At times I wait for the evildoer to fill his cup of iniquity before My judgments fall and they are left with the dregs of that which they would consume. The evildoers do even now fill their cups with the blood of the innocent, but the day when their own blood will be shed does not lie far off. (End of message from Jesus)

Things Haven't Changed

20. (Dad speaking:) One thing which this recent crisis in the Mideast should show both the Family and the world is that nothing has really changed in the Mideast. There's been talk of "Peace, peace" for years now, and that's about all it's been—talk. Now sudden destruction has come upon the area‚ as travail upon a woman with child. It was inevitable, just like a woman going into labor when she's ready to deliver a child.

21. The Israelis have remained the same as always. Oh, they've talked of peace, and they've thrown the Palestinians a few crumbs here and there. They've let them control their little villages and rundown cities and slums, establish their own police force to arrest their own troublemakers, pick up their own garbage, and elect their own officials to supervise all that, but it's all pretty meaningless and no skin off the Israeli nose. The Israelis didn't want to run the dumps and dungheaps they let the Palestinians have anyway; it took too much time and energy away from their other work and was too much trouble.

22. They let the Palestinians have a few status symbols, things like their own airport and pass­ports and govern­ment buildings here and there, but a lot of good it did the Palestinians! At the first sign of trouble, the Israelis closed down their airport so the Palestinians couldn't fly out. They sealed off their cities and territories with tanks and troops so they couldn't go in or out, so what good were their passports? And they sent helicopter gunships to bombard some of their government buildings, police stations and TV stations with rockets, blasting them into oblivion. So much for symbols of Palestinian sovereignty and concessions from the Israelis!

23. The poor Palestinians have been hoping for change for years, but there's been very little change. They may seem to control their own little towns now, if you can call their run-down collection of huts and hovels such a thing, but at the first outbreak of violence they're surrounded by Israeli tanks and snipers. Even without violence, if they want to travel from one city to another, one place to another, they pass through Israeli roadblocks and suffer all sorts of indignities in the process.

24. They work for the Israelis for a pittance, for pitiful wages that keep them on the edge of poverty‚ while rich Israelis are building lush, expensive settlements on land which was seized from them. If any Palestinian should get wealthy enough to build a house of his own on his own land without Israeli permission, it may well get demolished. If he has farmland and he wants to grow crops, he can hardly do so because the Israelis control most of the water in the West Bank and Gaza.

25. So the poor Palestinians have suffered for years, and they're still suffering, but they've had a little hope that things were going to get better. But now they know they aren't, because they can clearly see that things haven't changed—the Israelis haven't changed, their tactics and methods haven't changed, and their own lives aren't going to change much‚ if any.

26. The Israeli leader they were negotiating with, Barak, has turned out to be just like all the past ones they've tried to negotiate with, and he's taken back or destroyed the few little crumbs he's tossed them. The American president they were counting on to help them, Clinton, has turned out to be like every past U.S. president—pro–Israeli and anti-Palestinian. The fellow Arabs they were counting on to help them have turned out to be just like they've almost always been in the past—great on statements of support, but weak and indecisive in action, divided and vacillating in purpose, stingy in aid.

27. So things haven't changed in the Mideast‚ and the classes and messages I gave you years ago are as true as they ever were. In other words, it's going to take a miracle and a miracle-worker to make the Israelis give up any significant or worthwhile part of Israel, especially Jeru­salem, to the Palestinians. It's going to take a covenant engineered by the Antichrist himself to resolve the situation with the Temple Mount. And in the end, even the Antichrist won't be able to keep the Israelis happy. They'll bring war upon themselves, and upon the world the greatest time of tribulation and trouble it has ever known, when they rebel against the Covenant.

28. That's the way the world is heading—war—and there will be war and destruction even before that time. The era of bloodshed in the Middle East isn't over yet; there's more to come, sad to say.

29. Pray for the poor and the innocent on both sides, who suffer at the hands of the warmongers. Pray for the Family who are trying to help them. Pray for the Palestinians and their leadership‚ that they'll look to the Lord and be wise in their actions and reactions. Pray for the other Arabs‚ that they'll stand up for their convictions and their brethren. Pray for the Lord's will to be done, and for all His dear children in the troublous area of the Mideast. (End of mess­age from Dad.)

30. (Mama:) Please do pray for our Family in this troubled area, some of whom are living so close to the conflict that they can see Israeli tanks out their windows‚ parked on nearby hillsides. Pray for all the innocent men‚ women and children who are suffering as a result of the violence. Pray for peace, too, so we can continue our ministry both in the Mideast and elsewhere!

Greek ID Cards

31. Next we'll examine the controversy in Greece between the Greek Orthodox Church and the government over national identity cards. Following is a news article to provide some background on this dispute:

32. (AP) The Greek government issued a decree [in mid-July] formally abolishing religion from state identity cards—a decision the powerful Orthodox Church has said it will fight with all means at its disposal. The decree alters the identity cards that all Greeks are required to have from age 14, eliminating the "religion" entry, in an attempt to make it conform to European Union standards. The church said the decree was "the implementation of an irrational, anti-religious plan with complete contempt for the opinion of our faithful people."

33. About 97 percent of Greece's native–born population is baptized into the Orthodox Church, which sees itself as the true guardian of Greek identity. Many church leaders are deeply suspicious of the gov­ern­ment's move. They see it as a threat to the Christian Orthodox character of the nation and possibly the stirrings of an ­eventual separation of church and state in Greece. The church is trying to collect 5 million signatures—half the population—to force a national referendum on the decree, even though the government has said it will not hold one.

34. The government insists that it followed the findings of a human rights commission which said any declaration of religion on identity cards would discriminate against Greece's 2 percent of ­non-Orthodox adherents‚ including Moslems, Jews, and other Christians. The head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Christo­doulos, has been particularly vocal in his criticism of the government and has organized mass protests throughout Greece.

35. (Mama:) On the one hand, efforts by the archbishop to keep religion on national ID cards are commend­able. It helps Greece remain a Christian rather than a secular state—even though it makes it obvious who doesn't belong to the majority Orthodox Church and exposes them to possible persecution. On the other hand, removing the "religion" entry from national ID cards works in favor of the Family and other minority religions, keeping us from discrimination and allowing us more freedom to operate.

36. There are both pros and cons, and even the Greek Family wasn't sure which alternative was best‚ so they asked us to pray about it. We did so, and following is what the Lord had to say about Archbishop Christo­doulos and his clash with the Greek government over national ID cards:

37. (Jesus speaking: ) This whole issue of religion is to obfuscate [confuse] the real ­issue—that of ID cards for everyone. The ­Enemy wants the public to focus on that issue‚ while he sneaks in acceptance of his Mark. Greece is one of the seven heads of the Beast, and will not escape being a part of the Antichrist's realm, but My children will operate throughout his realm—even in his capital [Jerusalem]‚ where they will prophesy openly until the End.

38. The Enemy is behind both sides of the issue. If religion is removed from the ID card, it eliminates some acknowledgment of spiritual values by the government and can be seen as a further encroachment by the anti-religious forces; yet if religion is designated on the card, then it will make it harder for minorities, such as My Family, to operate in Greece.

39. The archbishop is loath to lose power. While he is inspired and charismatic and used somewhat by Me, his interests are primarily national interests—that is, interests in the national church. He represents his church more than Me. But these interests will lose out to and be swept away by the multinational, global interests of the Antichrist.

40. I get great victories in ways that frustrate the Enemy and his devices. In spite of his machinations, My children will grow and prosper and propagate. The archbishop is at times yielded to Me and at other times yielded to the Enemy. His "subordinates" and counselors allow him to have power, as long as he looks out for the political and economic interests of his church.

41. In the Latter Days, My witness will have to more and more be through the underground church, not the established church. Like America, these national churches will oppose the Antichrist—after he takes full power and declares himself god—but often for the wrong reasons. Some religious leaders will oppose him because they fear losing their power over their flock, or their prestige; others will fear the loss of finances, or the closing of their church buildings. Other religions will fight the Antichrist because he puts an end to their religious traditions, and their religion is more a matter of tradition than a worship from the heart.

42. Did not David say that the Family would at first help the Antichrist to power? Many of the policies he advocates will at first be right­eous: fair distribution of the wealth, protection of the environment‚ enforcing peace in the Middle East, an alternative system to naked capitalism or brutal communism‚ and so on. Stand for those things which are righteous, but be aware of how the Enemy will use them and twist them for their exact opposite purposes. For every good thing he advocates, you can rest assured that he is really bringing about the opposite.

43. While removing religious declaration from the Greek ID card promotes privacy and hinders discrimination, the AC is also removing recognition of religion. While he promotes economic equality and freedom from oppression, he will bring in economic controls and oppression through his Mark. While he promotes saving the environment, he is establishing a global authority by usurping the sovereignty of nations. By promoting the rights of the child, he is usurping the rights of parents and empowering the state.

44. So this issue is the struggle of the ACs—the people of the prince who shall come—against this religious prince of the church. The ACs will prevail, for this is part of My plan to allow the events of the Endtime to come to pass. Even if there are temporary setbacks and delays, the Enemy has patience—up to the point when he comes down with great wrath, knowing his time is short. Pray for the leaders, for those in authority, that conditions will favor us and our work—yours and Mine—so that you will have time to reap the harvest before the storm comes. (End of message from Jesus.)

45. (Mama: ) As the old saying goes, "Heads I win, tails you lose"—the Enemy wins in this situation no matter what the outcome is on the ID cards. If the Greek government eliminates the "religion" entry, then it works to make the state more secular, to eliminate an acknowledgment of spiritual values, and slowly de-Christianize Greece. On the other hand, if the "religion" entry is added again, then it could cause discrimination against religious minorities like us, the little bands of fervent believers whom the Enemy fears the most, because they're the biggest threat to his evil plans.

46. So pray for the Lord's will to be done in the matter, no matter how the situation is resolved, so we can continue reaping the harvest in Greece before the storm comes.

Falun Gong's

Fight for Their Faith

47. China recently stepped up its verbal and physical attacks on the banned Falun Gong sect‚ accusing it of trying to bring down the Chinese government. The attack seemed to be a reaction to protests by hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners on Tiananmen Square during China's Oct. 1 National Day celebrations.

48. These dramatic protests were only the most recent by Falun Gong, which has staged a 14-month campaign for government recognition, despite the government's harsh crackdown against it. During this time, the group says 53 members have died in police custody and 50,000 have been detained, with a few thousand of them sent to labor camps for "re-education." [Note: For more background on Falun Gong, see END 35, page 10, and END 22, page 5.]

49. We wondered what gave the people in this Chinese group so much conviction that they were willing to suffer and die for their beliefs and practices, which are a mixture of Buddhism, Chinese folk religion‚ meditation and exer­cise. We asked the Lord how they could have such strong faith in such a false religion that has nothing to do with Him or any sort of Christian belief. Following is the Lord's answer:

50. (Jesus speaking: ) Think it not strange that followers of many false religions are willing to die for their beliefs. Almost all have found some morsel of truth‚ to varying degrees‚ in these false religions, and they are willing to sacrifice all they have to stand up for what truth they have found. In some cases the truth is very little, and in other cases the truth serves merely as the thin candy coating for the much larger pill of the Devil's lies and deceits, but they regard it as the truth nevertheless. In some cases this is because they know nothing of Me or of My truth; in other cases it is because they know but have rejected Me, and are given over to strong delusion.

51. As I have said, I have put a yearning in man for the spiritual, which he seeks to fill. It is one of man's greatest desires and needs to fill this, to search for truth and to find satisfaction in filling this need. So when men find a measure of satisfaction, peace, faith or comfort in these false beliefs, they know it comes from the spiritual realm. They know there is something beyond the physical, something greater than their earthly frame and form, something which endures beyond death, and they wish to be part of it. They seek salvation in these beliefs, although they may seem like superstitions or fantasies to you who know so much of My truth and My Word.

52. Though they know little, they are willing to fight to the death to defend what they know or what they think they know, for they have found something which seems to them to transcend death and suffering. They have found a greater cause than the physical, a greater good than the material, a greater truth than that which they can see with their eyes, and they are there­fore willing to make great sacrifices for it, even die for it.

53. In the case of the Chinese who worship after the manner of Falun Gong, their conviction is also inspired by the fact that their previous beliefs have failed them. They were told that all forms of religious belief were superstition, and that they should replace it with faith in communism and the communist party instead. Many did‚ and they now regret their decision, for communism has failed them. It has led to material advances in some places, but the spiritual is sadly lacking. And the common people still suffer under the hands of oppressive rulers, corruption, unjust laws, heavy taxation, and have little freedom. So they are eager to believe in all manner of spiritual things, and they are even willing to go so far as to disobey their communist rulers‚ for communism has failed them.

54. The Chinese can be a quiet people, but they can also be a stubborn and determined people, and cling to their beliefs, whether they do so passively or openly. Many other religions in China, including My children in the house churches and the secret believers who are spread abroad throughout that land, cling fiercely to their beliefs but worship and practice in private. They tell others of their faith and they share their faith by coming together in fellowship, but their defiance of the System is generally quiet and unobtrusive.

55. In contrast, those of Falun Gong have been told by their leader that it is good to stand up for their beliefs publicly, in open defiance of the System and its power. So they do, even to their own hurt, for they believe in their cause and think they earn merit through their stance, when in reality they do but bring more suffering upon themselves.

56. I would use even the defiance of Falun Gong for your good, My children, but much depends on the choices of man right now. I would use the cause of Falun Gong to cause the ­Chinese authorities to permit more religious freedom, if they would open that door. If the authorities were to loosen their laws against religion and believers, it would enable My children to do more and tell more about Me. But this may or may not happen.

57. China is at a crossroads right now, and makes fateful decisions. Will she allow more re­ligious liberty, or will she crack down harder? Will she permit her people more freedom and justice, or will she continue with the ways of the past and the ruthlessness and injustice she has practiced for many years? Will she move more towards capitalism or will she retreat to hard-line communism? Will she attack Taiwan‚ or will she seek to be at peace with her neighbors?

58. There are many decisions facing the old men who rule China. Pray that My will may be done. It will be done in the end, no matter what they decide‚ but their decisions in the meantime can either benefit you and your work and My Chinese children, or they can hinder you. So pray for these matters. Although these decisions rest in the hands of ungodly men, you can influence them by your prayers.

59. Pray for your Family in China as well, that they can reach the many Chinese who seek something in which they can believe. Pray that they can minister to others who can go out and reach and minister to many others, that My Word and truth may be spread far and wide in that needy land. I love My Chinese children. I have heard their cries and I would fill their needs with My truth, for I am the way, the truth‚ and the life. (End of message from Jesus.)

60. (Mama: ) Thank the Lord for these wonderful revelatory answers! I trust and pray that you're availing yourself of the Lord's wisdom and guidance in your situations as well.

61. Please do pray for our Family in China, that they can reach the multitudes who need the Lord. Please also pray for the many true Christians in China who frequently suffer persecution when the authorities catch them sharing their faith in the Lord. They sometimes experience beatings‚ prison or even death. And pray for your fellow Family members around the world, that they can meet the needs of the hungry and heartbroken during this holiday season, leaving them with the best Christmas gift of all—Jesus. And don't forget your Activated address cards so that these hungry sheep can continue to get fed and grow into active believers and co-workers in the Lord's great white harvest field. Thanks so much! I love you!

Much love and prayers,