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Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Genesis Messianic Prophecy


By Dennis Edwards

Chapter 14 from Where is America in Bible Prophecy?

We have seen so far that the Bible is indeed a book of prophecy. One scholar has determined that 26.8% of the Bible is prophecy.[1]That’s over 8,000 verses. If God didn’t want us to know the future, why did He spend so much of His Word prophesying? In the Old Testament we have seventeen books which are almost nothing but prophecy and as such are called the Major and Minor Prophets. The other twenty-two books of the Old Testament, from Genesis to the Song of Solomon contain hundreds of specific prophecies within their histories and poetry.

The first Messianic prophecy, or prophecy about the Messiah, is found in Genesis, the book of beginnings. While in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve disobey God after listening to the Devil-serpent. God, when stating His judgment upon them says,

And I will put enmity between thee (the Devil-serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.[2]

Christian Bible scholars have interpreted this prophecy in the following way. The Messiah, the seed of the woman, would one day defeat the serpent, the Devil, although the serpent would be able to bruise, or kill the Messiah. The fact that the serpent’s head is crushed shows total defeat, seen in Christ’s victory over death in His resurrection and His ultimate defeat of Satan at the end of time. The implication of the woman’s seed being bruised by the serpent shows the Devil’s power to persecute and even kill the Redeemer and His representatives. However, because the bruise is to the heel, the defeat is minor and not an ultimate victory. As Jesus said,

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell.[3]

The non-violent protest movement to affect political change has been based on this idea of standing up for the truth even in the face of danger to one’s own safety or life, as exemplified by Christ. Many people have died in non-violent protests because of this principle. Mahatma Gandhi used it to change an Empire. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used it to change a nation.

In a more recent example, on March 16, 2003, a young American peace activist named Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer. Corrie was undertaking a non-violent protest to protect the home of a Palestinian family from being demolished. The Israeli military was destroying all buildings within one hundred meters of the security fence they had constructed. In 2005, the Corrie family took the Israeli military to court over the incident. However, in 2012, a lower Israeli court ruled in favor of the Israeli military. Rachel’s parents have appealed to Israel’s Supreme Court, who has yet to make a decision.[4]

Similar to Rachel, scientist Dr. George Ellis believes non-violence is the best path.[5] Ellis, who worked with Dr. Stephen Hawking on the Big Bang cosmology, is also a Quaker and against war. He believes that non-violence can even be applied in difficult situations. After winning the renowned Templeton Prize,[6] he received an e-mail from a former British soldier who had been on a peace-keeping duty in Aden, Yemen in 1967. The name of the man was Davie Christie.

Mr. Christie said he had been an officer in a Scottish battalion engaged in peace-keeping duties in Aden town in the year 1967, in what is now called Yemen. He compared the situation to that of Iraq where people were being killed daily, with those suffering the most being the innocent local population. Mr. Christie admits his battalion of the British Army had the military capacity to destroy the whole town of Aden if they wanted to. But something unusual happened that needs to be publicized.

They had a commanding officer who refused to let them return fire when they were attacked, unless they were absolutely positive the person they were firing at had been the person who had actually thrown a grenade or had fired a shot at them. He did not want to kill any innocent people. He didn’t want any “collateral damage.”

But that’s difficult to do, to hold your fire when you are under attack. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what this particular battalion did. They held their fire unless they were 100% sure they were firing at the perpetrator, that they were firing at the actual attacker. Even with over a hundred grenades thrown at them, they fired back a grand total of two shots, killing one grenade-thrower.

Did they suffer losses? Yes, they did. They had over 100 men wounded and even one killed. When they were the recipients of rock-throwing, they stood fast. When it was grenades, they hit the ground and after the dust settled, they got up, stood their ground and held fast. They did not react indiscriminately in anger.

Of course, their reaction was not anticipated. Their enemy wanted them to fire back. They wanted them to kill innocent people. If they did, the local people’s animosity would be raised against them, the British peacekeeping force. But that is not what happened.

Slowly the local people began to trust the peacekeeping force. The local people saw they were taking injuries and not firing back into the crowded streets filled with innocent men, woman and children. As a result, the local people themselves made it clear to the terrorists that they were not welcomed in that area of Aden town.

While Mr. Christie’s battalion was playing soccer with the local people, other British battalions who had not followed what I will call the “turn-the-other-cheek philosophy,” were having a very difficult time. However, that one Scottish battalion brought peace to their area. They brought peace by being peacemakers because they were willing to lay down their lives rather than kill innocent people. Though they held the superior physical power, they withheld using that power in the face of terrorist attacks in order to protect innocent lives. The peace they achieved came because of the faith and outlook of the commanding officer. He in turn passed on that faith and outlook to those in his command.

Mr. Christie testifies that the commanding officer was a man they admired. They knew he was ready to die for each and every soldier under his command. As a result, each soldier was prepared to die for their commanding officer. Some may say, as Christie notes, that they were merely obeying orders. But he goes on to say, he does not believe it was the case. He confesses that they actually came to love their commanding officer. His heart for peacemaking and his determination to succeed in cruel and unjust circumstances regardless of the cost began to gradually grow in the hearts of the men in his command. Only years later did the soldiers themselves realize what they had accomplished.[7]

Dr. Ellis believes that Christian principles can be applied even in areas of conflict, such as the one above. If we did, some of the most amazing things could occur.

Throughout history the prophets of God used non-violent protests and suffered ridicule, abuse and even death because of their faith and world outlook. But all the way back in the first book of the Bible, we see the first prophecy of the Messiah’s triumphant victory over evil and Satan. We see also the initiating of the spiritual warfare of good against evil which continues until today.[To go to book click here.]

Notes:

[1] Salus, Bill; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKOKqCk5vuo (03/16)
[2] Genesis 3:15
[3] Matthew 10:28
[4] http://rachelcorriefoundation.org/ (accessed 03/2016)
[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_F._R._Ellis (03/2016)
[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Templeton_Prize (03/2016)
[7] http://www.onbeing.org/program/science-and-hope/transcript/1158#main_content (accessed 03/2016)

This bubble finally burst. Which one’s next?

Simon Black, SovereignMan.com
April 26, 2017 - Santiago, Chile

Like so many other high-flying Silicon Valley startups, Clinkle was supposed to ‘make the world a better place’. 

Founded in 2011 by a guy barely out of his teens, the company picked up early buzz after proclaiming they would disrupt mobile payments. Or something. 

Silicon Valley venture capital firms were apparently so impressed with the idea that they showered the company with an unprecedented level of cash. 

(Given that investing in an early stage company is high-risk, investors might provide a few hundred thousand dollars in funding, at most. Clinkle raised $25 million.) 

The company went on to burn through just about every penny of its investors’ capital. 

There were even photos that surfaced of the 21-year old CEO literally setting bricks of cash on fire. 

At the end of the farce, Clinkle never actually managed to build its supposedly ‘world-changing’ product, and the website is now all but defunct. 

This is rapidly becoming a familiar story in Silicon Valley. 

For the last 6-7 years, Silicon Valley startups have been able to raise unbelievable amounts of cash. 

Yet so many of those companies haven’t managed to turn a profit. Ever. 

There’s some of the big names like Uber and AirBnb which are supposedly worth tens of billions of dollars despite having racked up enormous losses. 

(Last year ride-sharing company Lyft promised investors that it would cap its losses at ‘only’ $600 million per year. . .) 

But there are countless other examples of startups being anointed with absurd valuations and continually replenished with fresh capital even though they keep losing money... and have no plan to ever make money. 

Snapchat’s investment prospective summed it up best:

“We have incurred operating losses in the past, expect to incur operating losses in the future, and may never achieve or maintain profitability.” 

It’s as if the more money these startups lost, the more popular they became with investors. 

Clearly that was unsustainable. 

In business, profit (or even more specifically, “levered free cash flow”) is the most important metric. 

No company is born profitable; it takes time for entrepreneurs to create and build a financially sustainable business. 

In the meantime, startups sometimes need outside investment capital to keep going. 

Early stage investors take a risk that the company’s founders and management will be able to execute on a plan that turns a big idea into profit. 

But there’s supposed to be a plan. There’s supposed to be an objective to reach profitability as quickly as possible. 

Silicon Valley investment firms ignored this basic principle for years, dumping their investors’ savings down the toilet into loser companies with no hope of profitability. 

It was a bubble, plain and simple... and now that bubble seems to have burst.

According to Dow Jones Venture Source, venture capital firms in Silicon Valley pared down their investments in tech startups by 30% in the last several months after reaching peak insanity in late 2015. 

Unprofitable, unsustainable companies that used to easily be able to raise capital during the bubble years are now struggling to find new investors. 

Many are starting to go out of business. For others that manage to successfully raise more capital, the terms are much more strict and conservative. 

It’s a new reality, and one that makes more sense: lower valuations, a push for profitability, less insanity. 

It makes me wonder, though-- if the startup bubble in Silicon Valley can burst, why shouldn’t the bubble in the larger stock market? 

In some respects there’s very little difference between the two.

The average stock is trading at a record high valuation despite tepid performance.

And some of the most popular companies are as financially unsustainable as Clinkle was.

Image result for NetflixNetflix might be my favorite example.

The company’s most recent earnings report for the period ending March 31, 2017 shows, yet again, negative Free Cash Flow of MINUS $422 million. 

Not only is that a record loss, it’s 62% worse than in Q1/2016, and over twice as bad as Q1/2015. 

Netflix just keeps losing more and more money. 

Remember, “Free Cash Flow” is a MUCH better indication of a company’s financial health than profit because it takes into consideration all the capital they must reinvest back into the business. 

In the case of Netflix, management must constantly make new ‘capital investments,’ i.e. acquire more content to deliver to their viewers. 

If they don’t keep updating their content library, Netflix will go out of business.

So the company has been steadily accumulating huge losses and burning through cash. 

They make up the shortfall by going deeper into debt, which is clearly unsustainable.

Don’t get me wrong-- as a consumer, I love Netflix.

But it seems nuts that a company with such an unsustainable financial model could be so popular with investors and worth an all-time high $66 billion. 

Something is wrong with this picture.

And these investment fundamentals just don’t seem that different than the insanity from the Silicon Valley startup scene over the last few years. 

The Silicon Valley bubble has already burst. Given so many similarities, it seems foolish to bet that the stock market bubble will stay inflated forever. 

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