Posted in jesus, Mosul, prophecy, woe

Mosul Dam at risk of catastrophic failure

Introduction & Background


A news headline caught my eye last week. It is from the UK Telegraph, and consists of a dire warning from US officials regarding the Mosul Dam.

US warns of ‘tsunami wave’ across Iraq if the Mosul Dam collapses

Iraq’s Mosul Dam faces “unprecedented” risk of a “catastrophic failure” that would unleash a wave of water which could flatten cities and kill hundreds of thousands within hours, the US has said. The American government issued an unusually stark warning of the horrors that face Iraq if the dam gives way, describing a “tsunami-like wave” that would crush nearly a third of the country.

Iraq’s power grid could be entirely knocked out and parts of major cities would be underwater for weeks like areas of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, the US said. The Iraqi government would be unable to direct an evacuation because Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) still controls much of the territory near the dam and so people need to prepare to evacuate on their own, the US said.

The 2014 article from the BBC recounts the reasons why the dam is so unstable-

Instrument of war
However, since its completion in the 1980s, the dam has required regular maintenance involving injections of cement on areas of leakage. The US government has invested more than $30m (£17.9m) on monitoring and repairs, working together with Iraqi teams. The black flags of jihadist group Islamic State flew over the Mosul dam for 10 days before it was recaptured by Kurdish and Iraqi ground forces. In 2007, the then commanding general of US forces in Iraq, David Petraeus, and the then US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, warned Iraq’s PM Nouri Maliki that the structure was highly dangerous because it was built on unstable soil foundation. 

“A catastrophic failure of Mosul dam would result in flooding along the Tigris river all the way to Baghdad,” [200 miles away] they said in a letter. “Assuming a worst-case scenario, an instantaneous failure of Mosul dam filled to its maximum operating level could result in a flood wave 20 metres (65.5ft) deep at the city of Mosul,” it said.

So the dam itself is faulty and now that the terror group ISIS has captured so much land in the surrounding area fears are they will use the dam as an instrument of war. The situation has not improved much since ISIS took over surrounding area and even had taken over the dam briefly in 2014, because, as this CNS News article from yesterday states,

The situation worsened when ISIS terrorists overran the dam and held it for several weeks in 2014. Since then, efforts to reinforce the dam’s foundations have not been adequate, partly because ISIS still controls the factory that produces concrete for the dam. (source)

Catastrophic Effects of Dam Busting

This situation brings to mind two items, First is Dam Busters and the Geneva Convention, and second is the Great Tribulation.

Familiar to many people are the battles of WWII. We all know the names of battles such as The battle of the Bulge, Bombing of Berlin, The London Blitz, and D-Day. Less familiar is Operation Chastise.

According to Wikipedia,

Prior to World War II, the British Air Ministry had identified Germany’s heavily industrialised Ruhr Valley, and especially its dams, as important strategic targets: in addition to providing hydro-electric power and pure water for steel-making, they also supplied drinking water and water for the canal transport system. The methods used to attack the dams had been carefully worked out. Calculations indicated that repeated air strikes with large bombs could be effective, but required a degree of accuracy which Bomber Command had been unable to attain in the face of enemy defences.

The Möhne dam the day following the attacks.
16–17 May 1943. Wikipedia

The movie “The Dam Busters” is the story of one scientist who developed a special bomb that could skip over water, avoid the torpedo nets, and then sink against the bottom of the dam in order to explode it at a sensitive point. The concept is of an earthquake bomb. Once the bomb was developed, the Operation was a success but there was heavy loss of Allied life due to the pilots having to fly so low to drop the bombs. The Operation was successful for the British both in its short-term and its long-term effects. But at what cost?

Flying Officer Frank “Jerry” Fray wrote of the experience of seeing the Valley after the dam breach-

When I was about 150 miles from the Möhne Dam, I could see the industrial haze over the Ruhr area and what appeared to be a cloud to the east. On flying closer, I saw that what had seemed to be cloud was the sun shining on the floodwaters. I looked down into the deep valley which had seemed so peaceful three days before [on an earlier reconnaissance mission] but now it was a wide torrent. The whole valley of the river was inundated with only patches of high ground and the tops of trees and church steeples showing above the flood. I was overcome by the immensity of it.

This is the same level of damage the opening articles were mentioning if the Mosul Dam in Iraq collapsed.

The destruction was so cataclysmic that it prompted a new resolution to the Geneva Convention. In 1977, Article 56 of the Protocol I amendment to the Geneva Conventions, outlawed attacks on dams “if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population.”

ISIS, Infrastructure, and the Great Tribulation

Recently, people have been making date predictions about the start of the Great Tribulation. Some have said it will begin in March 2016, which is now. FYI, it is not going on now. The Tribulation has not begun. We know this because the church has not been removed from the earth yet, which will happen prior to the beginning of the Tribulation wrath being poured out.

Setting a specific date for the start of this worst event to ever happen on the face of the earth (Matthew 24:21) is forbidden by scripture, (Matthew 24:36, Acts 1:7), but people do it anyway. Sigh. One reason we are not to date set is that continual date setting with failure to fulfill destroys the confidence in weak Christians. That is sad. It also tarnishes the study of prophecy in general, and prophecy is extremely important.

What I find troublesome is the people who make fun of this date setting. Christian mockers mocking the event’s non-event. The Great Tribulation is no laughing matter. Jesus warned that it will be the WORST time on earth, ever. This means worse than the Flood of Genesis when every person on earth save 8 drowned. Every animal died (except on the ark). The Great Tribulation will be worse. It will be blood and anger and horror and demons abounding. It will be destruction and war and hate and brutality. It is not something to be taken lightly and certainly not to be made fun of.

One reason I mention prophecy quite often is because I want people to understand that the way things are will end. We are living on borrowed time, nationally speaking. What we see in our countries will exist no more. Infrastructure will crumble. Bridges, dams, walls, towers, will come down. Governments will l dissolve and reform to form a global tyranny. People will kill for no reason, or just because. The world’s most vulnerable – widows, children, poor, pets/animals – will be at most risk. People will simply not care one bit for their neighbor. People will be killed for a sip of water, or because they wore blue that day or they didn’t walk fast enough. The Great Tribulation literally will be hell on earth.

The dams in WWII that were busted caused so much havoc and death that the World decided not to use them as targets ever again. When the dams were busted in WWII 1,600 civilians were killed.

Here, the breach in the Mohne Dam’s massive wall gives way to a scene
of utter devastation as millions of gallons of water flooded into the valley
Image: Schalber, cc-sa-3.0 DE)

Prophecy authenticates the speaker, so this means ultimately God’s word is authenticated as He speaks and His prophecies come true. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3). Prophecy is supposed to quicken us and enliven us as we are ever-aware that this is not our world. We are not citizens of earth. We are citizens of heaven.

During the time of the Tribulation, do we think for one moment that some terror group won’t hesitate to destroy any dam? Any bridge? ISIS already destroys for the sake of destroying. What do we think will happen when the Restrainer has left the earth and allows man his full range of sinful impulses?

The devastation upon earth during the Tribulation will be uncountable. If the Mosul Dam is teetering on the brink of failure now, just imagine the horror of that and other catastrophic failures during the time of greatest woes ever occurring on the earth. Don’t take the Tribulation lightly and certainly, please, don’t mock even those who set dates about it. It is the second heaviest subject in the Bible, permanent wrath in hell being the worst. The Tribulation will be hell on earth and hell will have to enlarge its mouth for it to accept the many thousands at a time to enter it as will happen during the Tribulation.

Pray for souls to be saved now, during the age of grace. Be a living witness of the cause of Christ, warning of the wrath to come, in all due gravity and urgent pleading. If the Mosul Dam fails it will be like a mosquito bite compared to the devastation daily occurring during the Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

Posted in culture, jenner. dolezal, morality, prophecy, woe

Jenner and Dolezal, evil is good and good is evil, Isaiah’s warning hovers over America

There have been multiple news stories regarding these three issues depicted in the panorama below. I saw the photo on twitter and it sparked something in my mind from the book of Isaiah. The original photo was a quartet but I cut the fourth photo from the array because it was political and not moral.

Any mature Christian with eyes in their face and a brain cell left in their head can see the astounding moral decay here in America that is accelerating at breakneck speed. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler responded to this question recently in this article: Albert Mohler on How to Survive a Moral Revolution

How did in the span of a generation an entire moral understanding in North America become reversed? And how did this moral revolution happen so fast?

Mohler: We’ve never experienced anything like this. . . . And the bottom line is that no part of the culture is going to be left untouched. . . . We haven’t had any moral revolution on this scale in human history.

“Reversed” is a good way to put it. Everything is upside down and it did happen fast, in my lifetime. Words have no meaning anymore, especially words that are attached to what used to contain any semblance of a moral philosophy, never mind moral absolutes. Growing up we never dreamed that a man would identify as a woman and a white lady would identify as a black person.

If Rachel Dolezal isn’t black how is Caitlyn Jenner a woman?

Spokane NAACP president Rachel Dolezal, a professor of Africana Studies at Eastern Washington University, was outed earlier this week by her parents as being white. In what has to be one of the more bizarre news stories of 2015, Dolezal pretended for years to be black. Social media accounts posted pictures of a black man who she said was her father (he’s not). She regularly wrote about her black son Izaiah (he’s actually her adopted brother). It also appears as though she repeatedly lied about being the victim of race-based hate crimes. She claims to have been the victim of at least nine separate hate crimes. As you might expect, this story has gotten a lot of attention, namely because Dolezal isn’t black.

NAACP is the acronym for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Not the National Association for the Advancement of White People Pretending to Be Black. But for Dolezal, for years she claimed to be Black because she wanted to be Black.

Elizabeth Warren is the Democratic Senator from Massachusetts, formerly a Professor at Law with Harvard Law School. “Starting in the mid-1980s, when she was at U. Penn. Law School, Warren had put herself on the “Minority Law Teacher” list in the faculty directory of the Association of American Law Schools but dropped from that list when she gained tenure at Harvard in 1995” as it states in the Elizabeth Warren Wiki. It was Bloggers and Reporters that uncovered Warren’s 30-year history of claiming to be Native American for employment purposes. For 30 years Elizabeth Warren claimed to be Native American because she wanted to be Native American.

Bruce Jenner was an Olympian and is currently a television celebrity who decided he wanted to appear as a woman. In June 2015 he began using makeup and clothing that women wear to alter his appearance, and insisted on being called by a female name and using female pronouns. Bruce has undergone some minor cosmetic surgery but not the drastic gender reassignment surgery which removes his male appendage. (Which would render him a eunuch but not a woman). He began hormone therapy in the 1990s but stopped that when he got married for the third time. Jenner professes Christianity. Now Jenner claims to be a woman because he wanted to be a woman.

There really is no difference between the three. One White woman who wanted to be Black, one White woman who wanted to be Native American, and one man who wanted to be a woman. It’s simply about lying and personal desire. Of course, the culture awards the sexual perversity in Jenner but slams the lies from the other two.

The Federalist poses the question:

Rachel Dolezal changing her wardrobe, her makeup, and her hair do not make her black. Pretty much everyone seems to agree on that, for obvious reasons. You don’t turn red into blue by magically declaring that red is now blue. And yet, the Left and the media would have us believe that Bruce Jenner can become a woman by…changing his name, his wardrobe, his makeup, and his hair. How can you logically square the belief that Jenner is a hero while Dolezal is a mental case? Well, you can’t.

It’s also about re-defining words. White, black, woman, man, marriage, Christian… none of those words contain a commonly understood moral definition to them anymore.

In Isaiah 5, the prophet declares 6 woes against God’s unrepentant people, Israel. The fourth woe is this one-

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

MacArthur puts it this way-

The fourth woe condemned the reversal of morality that dominated the nation. They utterly confused all moral distinctions.

Did you catch that? A “reversal of morality.” Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible says,

Who confound and overthrow the distinctions between moral good and evil, who call evil good and moral evil (v. 20), who not only live in the omission of that which is good, but condemn it, argue against it, and, because they will not practise it themselves, run it down in others, and fasten invidious epithets upon it—not only do that which is evil, but justify it, and applaud it, and recommend it to others as safe and good

The woe was pronounced specifically to Israel through the prophet from God. However we know God’s attributes of holiness and justice commands us to adhere to His laws and precepts, and He is not happy with any nation that turns them over. He sent Jonah to preach to the gentile city of Nineveh for the same reason. (Jonah 1:2). And against Damascus (Isaiah 17:10) and against Egypt (Isaiah 19:1). And against Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim. And against Babylon. And against every city and every nation that is wicked. So, yes, the Lord would be angry with America for reversing His morality.

Bible Knowledge Commentary–

Some people lead others astray by their perverted values. Evil-for example, adultery, idolatry, materialism, murder, and many other sins forbidden in the Scriptures-is often held up as being good. Those who say such things are under the threat (woe) of God’s judgment.

Roy E. Gingrich says in his outline on the Book of Isaiah,

Sin sears our conscience (Ephesians 4:19; 1 Timothy 4:2) and destroys our moral nature, leaving us confused concerning what is true and what is false, and what is right and what is wrong.

We see the effects of sin-seared consciences in the New Testament in Romans 1:18-32. Once God’s truth is suppressed in unrighteousness in verse 18, the slide down to complete moral decay is inevitable by verse 32. If there is such a thing as the bottom of the barrel, we’re there. America is sliding around in the muck and sludge at the very bottom, calling good evil and evil good. Woe.

Posted in carl trueman, Isaiah 66, jesus, lament, prophecy, woe

Of church bulletins and the language of lament

I’m an Old Testament kind of woman. I love the Old Testament. I was shocked as I’ve grown in the faith to see that many Christians never read the OT. I’ve mentioned once that a pastor’s wife I knew used to carry a New Testament bible only to church. I’ve also mentioned that once, a Sunday School teacher laughed dismissively, saying, “I just take most of the Old Testament with a grain of salt”.

I’ve never understood that attitude that half of God’s word doesn’t count. I’ve also never understood the attitude that the ‘God of the Old Testament’ is wrath but the ‘God of the New Testament is love.’ Have they never read of Jesus’ wrath in revelation? Have they never read of His love in Hosea?

It is uncomfortable to read of His wrath, in OT or NT. God’s wrath makes me tremble and just to think I’ve displeased Him for one nanosecond makes my stomach clench. In this present Age of Grace we have rarely witnessed His Old Testament power, other than a monumental natural disaster or two. Usually, though, people deny it is Him behind that power, and they go on with their lives without giving Him praise and glory. But the Tribulation will be all-wrath, all the time. His power will be unleashed but not in the way it has been this past age, through grace and love, the cross of Jesus and salvation of sinners. His power will be unleashed in woes, anger, and death. They WILL know it is Him doing the miracles of disaster and woes. For example, Ezekiel 38:21-23,

“I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Lord God. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. 22With pestilence and bloodshed I will enter into judgment with him, and I will rain upon him and his hordes and the many peoples who are with him torrential rains and hailstones, fire and sulfur. 23So I will show my greatness and my holiness and make myself known in the eyes of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.”

Gill’s Exposition says,

“Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself,…. Show the greatness of his power, and the strictness of his justice and holiness, and glorify these, and all other of his perfections, in the destruction of the enemies of his people: and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord; Heathen nations shall now come to the knowledge of the true God, and his Son Jesus Christ, and of the Christian religion, and shall embrace and profess it”

God is God, and His wrath shows His perfections as much as does His love. Often, in my reading of the OT when I come across such a passage, I mourn. I lament my sin, the lost-ness of others, the destruction those who refuse to repent. I cry over the waste of opportunities to promote His glory. I cry real tears and I’m often grief-stricken over these things. I’m not bragging, but letting you know that sin is a palpable, real burden and weight that slays me in grief more often than not.

I was looking at the church bulletin cover from last Sunday’s worship service. I was thinking, once again, that the covers always, ALWAYS show some sunny-happy verse and smiling people. I wondered, where are the verses about His wrath? His anger? Where are the photos of people standing beside a tornado-destroyed house, a cancer ward, or a prophet in sackcloth and ashes? Never. We never see that. It irks me that we don’t.

Proverbs 19:20 is good. But why not also sometime print Proverbs 19:23, a couple of verses later?

“The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.”

When was the last time you read a church bulletin cover or heard a sermon on the fear of the Lord? Do we not need to see the whole counsel of God? Read verses extolling all His attributes? Yes. Why not some verses like Isaiah 6:5? Isaiah 10:1-2? Isaiah 30:1?

Or these, like Lamentations 3:55? Jonah 2:2? Psalm 130:1? Like, is no one ever miserable?

Then I came across Carl Trueman’s piece at Reformation 21 blog. It dovetailed nicely with my current thoughts on the lack of balance in the verses shown on bulletin covers, or the lack of balance of the woe verses as the basis for sermons. His piece is called “Miserable Christians Revisited“.

Some time ago, I wrote a short article entitled ‘What Can Miserable Christians Sing?’ Over subsequent years, I have had a lot of friendly correspondence as a result of that piece and it has been reprinted in numerous church newsletters and posted on various websites. Then, earlier this year Jonathan Leeman, of 9Marks Ministry, kindly asked if I would write a further piece, reflecting on the original article. This has now been published in the 9Marks Journal. Here is a taster:

The article was intended to highlight what I saw as a major deficiency in Christian worship, a deficiency that is evident in both traditional and contemporary approaches: the absence of the language of lament. The Psalms, the Bible’s own hymnbook, contains many notes of lamentation, reflecting the nature of the believer’s life in a fallen world. And yet these cries of pain are on the whole absent from hymns and praise songs. The question that formed the article’s title was thus a genuine one: what is it in the hymnody of your church that can be sung honestly by the woman who has just lost her baby, the husband who has just lost his wife, the child who has just lost a parent, when they come to church on Sunday? The answer, I suggested, was the Psalms, for in them one finds divinely inspired words which allow the believer to express their deepest pains and sorrows to God.

You can read the whole piece here

The language of lament. Yes. Carl Trueman has it right. Woe, lament, and judgment.

I was reading Isaiah 66:23-24. Here are the verses,

God’s Final Judgments against the Wicked
…23″And it shall be from new moon to new moon And from sabbath to sabbath, All mankind will come to bow down before Me,” says the LORD. 24″Then they will go forth and look On the corpses of the men Who have transgressed against Me. For their worm will not die And their fire will not be quenched; And they will be an abhorrence to all mankind.”

Isaiah 66:23 is a verse of great blessing, but immediately after, in verse 24 there is a verse of great judgment. Verse 23 shows a monthly worship by representatives who constantly come to acknowledge Jesus as supreme upon the earth. In verse 24 there is a monthly and constant review of the judgment of God, “a perpetual sacrament of judgment”, as S. Lewis Johnson puts it.

If it pleased God to tell us that we will worship Him in love and submission; and likewise will view His eternal judgment of those whose worm will not die; to vividly show us that both these things will be constantly occurring, then what of man that we deny singing laments and printing the verses which also show these things?

Posted in judgment, revelation, woe

When heaven becomes silent

Heaven is full of holy noise. There are songs, and harps, and mighty choruses, angels shouting, peals and thunders, and praises so loud the temple pillars shake.

“Then I saw a scroll in the right hand of the one who was sitting on the throne. There was writing on the inside and the outside of the scroll, and it was sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel, who shouted with a loud voice: “Who is worthy to break the seals on this scroll and open it?”” (Revelation 5:1-2).

“Then I looked again, and I heard the voices of thousands and millions of angels around the throne and of the living beings and the elders. And they sang in a mighty chorus:” (Revelation 5:11-12).

“And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.” (Isaiah 6:3-4).

“And when they went, I heard the sound of their wings like the sound of many waters, like the sound of the Almighty, a sound of tumult like the sound of an army.” (Ezekiel 1:24).

It must be amazing! None of the noise will cacophonous, but will be perfect.

Which is why, in Revelation 8, the silence is so devastating. When Jesus breaks the 7th seal…well you read it:

“When the Lamb opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour.” (Revelation 8:1)

There are many conflicting interpretations as to what this means. The time period, “half an hour” is from a Greek word correctly translated half an hour, but it is the only use in the entire New Testament. In any case, it seems that the time of silence will be short, but powerful. If it is enough to stop the praises and choruses and noises otherwise heard in heaven, it must be a powerful silence!

Why the silence? Again, many interpretations. Yet they all agree that the silence is to honor the moment, acknowledging the suspense of what is coming, that the judgments are so severe, and the holiness and righteousness of Jesus to render them. If you read Revelation 8, and it is short chapter, what comes next are angels sounding the trumpets, fulfilling Jesus’s judgments. A third of the grass is struck, a third of the seas are struck, and a third of the rivers are struck. Then there is an angel shouting–

“Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets that the three angels are about to blow!” (Revelation 8:13)

And those trumpets release the demon-locusts and then the most evil angels who’d been bound at the River Euphrates prepared for this very day and hour, to kill a third of mankind.

Woe indeed!

Some commenters say that heaven’s population becomes silent at the suspense only because they do not know what is about to happen. But the church is there, and the Tribulation martyrs of Revelation 5 are there and we’ve read the bible so we know the judgments.

I’ll throw out another possibility, my own opinion. Judgments are falling, due to sin. In the Seal judgments of Revelation 6, the chapter ends with the the 6th seal being opened, and the population of earth shouting that it is ‘the wrath of the Lamb, and who can stand, the great day has come.’ (Revelation 6:16-17 paraphrase). So they know by now that these are not just coincidental events, like the people claim today. They know it is not Mother Nature, or Global Warming, but that it is the Day of Judgment and wrath from God. The difference between the Seal Judgments and the Trumpet judgments, is that by the 6th Seal they KNOW it is God and nothing else.

In Revelation 7 the scene shifts away from judgment. In the first half of Revelation 7 we are told that 144,000 are sealed, and they go forth proclaiming Jesus to the world. In the second half of Revelation 7, the martyrs are in heaven and singing. By the end of Revelation 7 the seventh seal has not been opened yet.

Revelation 8 begins with that last seal opened and that is when there is silence. The difference between the Seal Judgments past and the Trumpet Judgments about to come is that by now the people who dwell on the earth know it is judgment time from God. They know.

Revelation 8 ends with four of the seven trumpets having been blown, and the angel shouting woe because the next three are about to be blown and the three judgments accompanying them are terrible.

So the heavenly population is stunned into silence for the reasons mentioned above: suspense and awe at the severity of what is to come. But I also think it is a holy fear. The remaining trumpets are blown and the horrors of hell on earth are indescribable….

…And yet they do not repent.

THAT is what I think stuns them into silence.

“The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” (Revelation 9:20-21).

The earth’s people know it is Jesus judging them, and yet they do not repent. They continue sinning!!

I’m stunned on earth now at those who do not repent, and I can’t imagine how I would feel standing in the presence of Holy Jesus and knowing the earth’s people do not repent even when woes are piled on them and they know it is Jesus. I’d be stunned into silence at the situation. Anyway it is just my own thought. But the silence in heaven at that moment, for whatever reason it happens, is monumental to contemplate especially when compared to the previous verses we are blessed to read of the heavenly noise!

The movie starring Richard Harris, The Apocalypse of John, has in this excerpt toward the end of the 4 minutes, the scene when Jesus breaks open the seal and heaven is silent. No exultation, no praise, no thunder, no harps, no hallelujahs. Just silence and awe.