Mark Armstrong’s Weekly Update and News Review – 7 April 2017

Greetings from Tyler,

President Trump has proven what a lap-dog he is to Russia’s Putin.  That has been the media narrative for months now.  Day after day, by the innumerable hours, experts and analysts have monotonously intoned the words, “Potential collusion between the Trump team and Russian operatives to undermine our election.”  With the U. S. Tomahawk missile air-strikes on the Syrian air-base, with Russian advisors on sight, the subject may finally be changed, even if only temporarily.

We’re hearing lots of explanations and implications as to the repercussions that may have been set in motion, and we’ll hear plenty more in the days to come.  No matter which of them turn out to have merit, one thing would appear to be undeniable.  For President Trump to undertake this aggressive military action, in conflict with Russia’s Syrian alliance, with one thousand pound bombs exploding at the Syrian air-base where Russian military personnel were present, while sitting at a formal dinner with the Chinese premier, was a brash and gutsy move.

Some will say Trump risked touching off World War III.  Russian spokesmen have gone public claiming that incalculable damage has been done to the U. S.- Russian relationship.  Russia has made a show of sending a destroyer to the area in the Mediterranean Sea from which U. S. Naval vessels launched fifty-some odd Tomahawks.  That would appear to be more for show than anything else, as the American naval vessels have long since moved away.

There is, and will be the lingering suspicion that the chemical attacks were a false-flag event, perpetrated by terrorists with the intention of blaming somebody else, in this case the Syrian regime.  Last week’s Update told of an incident in Mosul where ISIS may have detonated a truck bomb that brought down a civilian apartment complex at the very same time U. S. sponsored air-strikes were hitting ISIS targets nearby.  As the Update mentioned, CNN strongly insinuated that the civilian apartment building was destroyed, with civilians inside, so that the civilian deaths and injuries could be blamed on U. S. backed Iraqi forces.  But it’s as if that story disappeared.

Obviously, all the top Generals at the Pentagon and key Trump advisors were convinced beyond any doubt, that was not the case this time.  Presumably they have intelligence assets on the ground in Syria, who vouched for the existence of a chemical weapon storage facility, and the fact that barrels containing nerve agents were loaded onto Syrian warplanes and dropped on the “rebel-held” Syrian town of Khan Shiekhoun causing some seventy horribly slow and painful civilian deaths, many hideous burns and injuries which have been illustrated in photographs and videos circulated around the world.  Those images were held up by U. S. Ambassador Nikki Haley this week at the United Nations.  President Trump referred to the hideously painful and lingering death suffered by “innocent men, women and children, including beautiful little babies.”

As several have noted, including prominent conservatives, gruesome photographs of human suffering perpetrated by evil actors can be found coming from nearly every third world backwater on earth.  Surely that can’t be the criteria for U. S. military intervention going forward.  But this was, according to nearly all observers, a special case with concrete proof that Assad and the Syrian military perpetrated the inhumane atrocities against civilian targets.  If there should be evidence to the contrary, you can bet that every mainstream outlet, print, internet and television, would use it to cast doubt on the president’s sanity, and would say that he was willing to risk touching off a conflict with major world powers based on an emotional reaction to heartbreaking images.  But that is not how it is being reported so far.  Everybody, including the president’s most vehement critics, believes that Bashir al Assad and the Syrian military used Sarin gas or some kind of nerve-agent on the Syrian town.

At this point, only Assad himself and the Russians are claiming it was the work of “rebels” or terrorists.

But there has been another frightful terrorist attack against civilians in Sweden, the nation whose authorities have roundly denied any problem with the hundreds of thousands of Muslim “refugees” they’ve accepted.  Public life  came to an abrupt halt after a hijacked beer truck tore down a busy Stockholm boulevard, “leaving a trail of broken glass, tire tracks and bodies” in its path.  It plowed into a glitzy department store before bursting into flames and sending people screaming in all directions.  Public transportation was halted, city life came to a stunned standstill.

Swedish officials were quick to cry foul when President Trump advised people to, “Look what’s going on in Sweden,” in relation to the crime wave caused by thousands of North African and Middle Eastern “refugees” brought into an orderly Western society.  The usual mainstream suspects demeaned the president’s comment as “made up,” and said he didn’t know what he was talking about.  Everybody knows, and political correctness dictates that “multi-culturalism” represents the strength of Western society.

But the Swedes, and Europe at large have had another strong indication that just isn’t the case.  It turns out the terrorists don’t need money.  They don’t need weapons.  All they have to do is jump into a vehicle and take off, as the masked perpetrator did in this case, grabbing a beer truck while unloading a delivery.  Current reporting indicates three arrests have been made.  The death toll stands at five with an unknown number of injured.   There is little doubt that there are in Stockholm and other European capitols several thousand others who would no doubt be delighted to carry out similar acts.

It’s not illegal to be a member or active sympathizer with ISIS in most European nations.  CNN ran a special last week (Behind the Mask) where they interviewed a white Belgian, Catholic raised young man who converted to Islam, went to Syria to fight for ISIS and now lives in a Muslim enclave in Brussels.  Several of his Muslim buddies, who’ve been to Syria and even been featured executing captives with a bullet to the head in ISIS videos, live there as well.  He claims to have no interest in terrorist actions against Western society.  He’s just interested in “educating the next generation,”  translation, grooming the next terrorist wave.  But even though he’s gone on international television to defend ISIS brutality and ideology, he lives without fear, making his identity known worldwide, from Brussels, Belgium.

For eight years at least, radical Islam has grown and spread throughout the Middle East, North Africa, all over Europe and into the United States.  Events over the last couple of days show clearly that we’ve entered another, very different era.  We now have a president who’s not afraid of offending Muslims, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans or any other bad actors on earth.  In his address to the nation last night, he was quiet, maybe even humble, and invoked God at least four times in his statement.  We need no further proof that the world has become a very dangerous neighborhood during the years that the United States of America played dumb and weak.  The U. S. now has a president who is going to project power against the mounting threats and let the chips fall where they may.

It is interesting that the Assad regime and the city of Damascus is becoming ground zero in the battle of so many factions, to include Russia, Iran, Hezbollah, ISIS and an untold array of “rebel” groups.  There is one prophecy, (Isaiah 17:1 “…and it shall be a ruinous heap”) that looks more pertinent now than ever before.  The prospect of a city of that magnitude being abruptly wiped out carries with it the implication of nuclear weapons.  Let us hope and pray that the president and his advisors have the wisdom of Solomon and the guidance of Almighty God in military actions undertaken on behalf of the United States.

Mark Armstrong

P.S.  Members of the Church of God will be observing the “Passover” (Lord’s Supper) as instructed by the Savior Himself (“this do, as I have done…”) this Sunday evening. We take these symbols only once annually according to Old Testament commands as well as Jesus’ example, and not every week, as many orthodox denominations do.  We’ll refrain while the pope and the Catholic church’s illegitimate “daughters” indulge in the accouterments of paganism.  We won’t be gathering to observe any Sunrise “Easter” services, replete with the symbols of abundant fertility.  It’s one of the primary factors that separate the Church of God from the world’s version of Christianity.  We know that this is an important and solemn occasion  for all who understand its significance, and that it will be followed by seven Days of Unleavened Bread (beginning at sundown this coming Monday, an High Day) which invokes Israel’s departure from Egyptian slavery, and include the New Testament lesson of humility and the abolishment of sin by symbolically removing leavening from our homes and diets during this Feast.   We wish all of you a safe and inspiring Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, and a heartfelt salute for your part in the Work of God.