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Biblical Prophecy – Part 2

Joseph Nkwatle
Christian View

“For prophecy never had its origin in the will of men, but holy men of God spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” Peter 1:21


BIBLICAL PROPHECY ABOUT JESUS
In biblical prophecy, the Bible in its predictions of nations, individuals and world events is not suggestive or assuming. The fulfillment of its prophetic utterances over the years gives it the authority to speak with a measure of finality and a hint of conclusion. In this edition I will put in a lot of Scripture quotations to empower our understanding of the subject at hand.

Let us examine a few examples of the many messianic prophecies – the prophecies that talk about Jesus Christ. In that book of Genesis 3:15 after Adam and Eve disobeyed God a prophetic message is uttered that emphasized that some member of the human race (as opposed to an angelic being) would be the agent who would defeat Satan. 

How that plan of redemption was going to roll out, Genesis 12:1-3 predicts that God will raise through Abraham a nation through which He (God) will bring the deliverer; that nation is Israel. I need to point out here that, the Israelites were chosen by God not because they were a mighty nation or well-known, good, or large in number; but because of God’s sovereign love for them (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). He chose them to be the medium through whom the messiah would come and His divine plan would roll out.


The Messiah was to come from the tribe of Judah as stated in Genesis 49:10. Jesus is frequently referred to in Scripture as the “Son of David.” David came from one of the families of the tribe of Judah and Romans 1:3 indicates that Jesus was a descendant of David. Psalm 16:8-11 speak in clear terms to the resurrection of Jesus that is vividly quoted in the New Testament and characterized Peter’s famous Pentecost public address.

Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, prophet Isaiah had foretold that He was going to be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14). One of the most remarkable prophecies issued about Jesus is one recorded in Micah5:2. Unknown to Caesar Augustus that he was in the prophetic time frame of God, he issued the decree that people should be registered, which will require Joseph and Mary to leave their home in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem and that is the place prophet Micah saw the birth of Jesus (Luke 2:1-7).


BIBLICAL PROPHECY OF NATIONS
It is astonishing how the Bible can predict the destinies of cities, nations, kings, and whole kingdoms. These predictions are from Genesis in the Old Testament running across to Revelation in the New Testament. Twenty chapters in Isaiah, nine in Jeremiah, nine in Ezekiel, and two in Amos predict the destiny of Israel’s neighboring nations. In the New Testament (Matthew 24; Luke 21; Mark 3), Jesus Christ speaks with some detail about the future of Jerusalem.

In Ezekiel 26, the prophet identifies at least eight items that altogether provide an explicit detail of how the destruction of the city of Tyre would occur. In verse three, more than one nation will have part in his judgment and these nations would assault the city in waves rather than as a pact. There would be through devastation to the extent that the prophet indicates that the city would never be rebuilt. This prophecy of Ezekiel can be date at about 586 B.C, at the time Solomon’s temple was destroyed.

In 334 B.C Alexander the Great led his army across Asian Minor, where he defeated the Persians. In 332 B.C, Alexander was at the gates of Tyre. When the Tyrians refused to submit, Alexander built a causeway out to the island city. In so doing, he scraped the dust of the older city of Tyre to furnish building material for the causeway. In this way Alexander destroyed both the old city and the new city. To this day the area remains desolate. In the past I dealt a great deal with this subject and would love to resound that account hereunder.


Prophet Daniel predicted precisely our time today on God’s prophetic timeline through a series of visions in Daniel 7. In Daniel 2:31-45, God gives Daniel king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation. In the book of Daniel God presents the unfolding of His timeline for the nations of the world particularly Israel. In a different time space altogether during the first century persecution, John is in the island of Patmos west of the present day Turkey. John receives the revelation of Jesus, Rev 1:1. I belong to the school of thought that, the book of Revelation gives us access to behind the scene, into the spiritual world that causes events on earth to transpire. This makes it key in biblical prophecy.


In Daniel 2:31-45 account, the Israelites are in Babylonian captivity. Daniel tells king Nebuchadnezzar his dream and the interpretation thereof. The king had dreamt a mighty glorious statue made out of precious metals. Daniel tells him that these metals represented kingdoms of the earth. The head of gold stood for the Babylonian empire of which Nebuchadnezzar is king. The chest and arms of silver represented Medo-Persia Empire under Cyrus that will bring down Babylonian empire. The belly and thighs of bronze stood for the Grecian empire led by Alexander the Great. The fourth kingdom was to be Roman Empire under Caesars represented by legs of Iron.


Now, all these kingdoms historically are qualified to have existed and are gone. Roman Empire being the last long reigning for about 1000 years. Interestingly, in that same dream another kingdom is shown by the feet and toes made out of iron and clay. It turns out that just as baked mixture of clay and iron is brittle, the people in this dispensation will be a mixture and will not remain united. Verse 44 describes in clear terms what God will do to establish His kingdom. He will eventually put an end to all human administrations known in history.


BIBLICAL PROPHECY OF ISRAEL
Truthfully speaking there is no way one can deal with biblical prophecy without making strong reference to the nation of Israel. God’s redemptive plan was to roll out through Israel, but Israel rebelled against this plan alone the way. Presently God has raised the Church, that is, the body of Christ to carry out this plan of redemption.

That is why the Church more than anything else should be predominantly occupied with evangelizing the world. This is its divine mandate straight from the throne of God. Anyone and anything that fight this mandate fights God who gave it! But God has not forgotten Israel. Israel remains the hands in God’s prophetic time clock. Ezekiel 37:21-22 carries the prophetic message that gathered Jewish people from all corners of the earth to the land of their forefathers. About 2000 years later, 14th May 1948 this prophetic message was fulfilled as Israel was declared a Jewish state.

About 19 years later they miraculous resisted Jordanian forces and capture eastern Jerusalem in a war that lasted six days. By the 7th of June 1967 Jerusalem was reunified as the capital city of Israel. These had to happen so as to place Israel in her position going into the final administration of man. Israel is at the center stage of events leading to this kingdom. All observers as Paul Little points out agree that the re-establishment of Israel as a nation is one of the amazing political phenomena.


I quote Bishop David Oyedepo when He said, “You cannot pray off a prophetic agenda but you can only seek an exemption through revelation, the will be famines in different places until Jesus comes, nation will be rising against another nation until Jesus comes.” 

The release of an apocalyptic horse man of a black horse in Revelation 6:5-6, saw in 2008 the largest global investment bank Lehman Brothers finally collapse and the holders of their stocks woke up one day and found out that they have zero in their hands. That is what created a Domino Effect when markets crushed from New York passing through London, Frankfurt, Paris, all the way to Hong Kong and Shanghai. The global financial markets crushed in less than 24hrs! The global financial situation is not by far over.

The fulfillment of Bible prophecies can only mean one thing; that what it said will surely come to pass. Jesus is coming back to earth again to consummate His victory over Satan and his cohorts; He is coming not as a savior but a judge. The church is His messenger on the earth to warn people of this impending judgment that is to come. In the light of the many proves that are in Scripture, archaeology, and other disciplines; what is revealed through biblical prophecy is sure as the rising of the sun!
Shalom!

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DIS Parley Committee selection disingenuous 

25th November 2020

Intelligence and Security Service Act, which is a law that establishes the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS), provides for establishment of a Parliamentary Committee. Recently, the President announced nine names of Members of Parliament he had appointed to the Committee.

This announcement was preceded by a meeting the President held with the Speaker and the Leader of Opposition. Following the announcement of Committee MPs by the President, the opposition, through its leader, made it clear that it will not participate in the Committee unless certain conditions that would ensure effective oversight are met. The opposition acted on the non-participation threat through resignation of its three MPs from the Committee.

The Act at Section 38 provides for the establishment of the Committee to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Directorate. The law provides that the Parliamentary Committee shall have the same powers and privileges set out under the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.

On composition, the Committee shall consist of nine members who shall not be members of Cabinet and its quorum shall be five members.  The MPs in the Committee elect a chairperson from among their number at their first meeting.

The Members of the Committee are appointed by the President after consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. It is the provision of the law that the Committee, relative to its size, reflect the numerical strengths of the political parties represented in the National Assembly.

The Act provides that that a member of the Committee holds office for the duration of the Parliament in which he or she is appointed.  The Committee is mandated to make an annual report on the discharge of their functions to the President and may at any time report to him or her on any matter relating to the discharge of those functions.

The Minister responsible for intelligence and security is obliged to lay before the National Assembly a copy of each annual report made by the Committee together with a statement as to whether any matter has been excluded from that copy in pursuance of the provision of the Act.

If it appears to the Minister, after consultation with the Parliamentary Committee, that the publication of any matter in a report would be prejudicial to the continued discharge of the functions of the Directorate, the Minister may exclude that matter from the copy of the report as laid before the National Assembly.

So, what are the specific demands of the Opposition and why are they not participating in the Committee? What should happen as a way forward? The Opposition demanded that there be a forensic audit of the Directorate. The DIS has never been audited since it was set up in 2008, more than a decade ago.

The institution has been a law unto itself for a longtime, feared by all oversight bodies. The Auditor General, who had no security of tenure, could not audit the DIS. The Directorate’s personnel, especially at a high level, have been implicated in corruption.  Some of its operatives are in courts of law defending corruption charges preferred against them. Some of the corruption cases which appeared in the media have not made it to the courts.

The DIS has been accused of non-accountability and unethical practices as well as of being a burden on the fiscus.  So, the Opposition demanded, from the President, a forensic audit for the purpose of cleaning up the DIS.  They demand a start from a clean slate.

The second demand by the Opposition is that the law be reviewed to ensure greater accountability of the DIS to Parliament. What are some of the issues that the opposition think should be reviewed? The contention is that the executive cannot appoint a Committee of Parliament to scrutinize an executive institution.

Already, it is argued, Parliament is less independent and it is dominated by the executive. It is contended that the Committee should be established by the Standing Orders and be appointed by a Select Committee of Parliament. There is also an argument that the Committee should report to Parliament and not to the President and that the Minister should not have any role in the Committee.

Democratic and Parliamentary oversight of the intelligence is relatively a new phenomenon across the World. Even developed democracies are still grappling with some of these issues. However, there are acceptable standards or what might be called international best practices which have evolved over the past two or so decades.

In the UK for instance, MPs of the Intelligence and Security Committee are appointed by the Houses of Parliament, having been nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. This is a good balancing exercise of involvement of both the executive and the legislature. Consultation is taken for granted in Botswana context in the sense that it has been reduced to just informing the Leader of Opposition without much regard to his or her ideas; they are never taken seriously.

Furthermore, the current Committee in the UK has four Members of the ruling party and five MPs from the opposition. It is a fairly balanced Committee in terms of Parliamentary representation. However, as said above, the President of Botswana appointed six ruling party MPs and three from the opposition.

The imbalance is preposterous and more pronounced with clear intentions of getting the executive way through the ruling party representatives in the Committee. The intention to avoid scrutiny is clear from the numbers of the ruling party MPs in the Committee.

There is also an international standard of removing sensitive parts which may harm national security from the report before it is tabled in the legislature. The previous and current reluctance of the executive arms to open up on Defence and Security matters emanate from this very reason of preserving and protecting national security.

But national security should be balanced with public interest and other democratic principles. The decision to expunge certain information which may be prejudicial to national security should not be an arbitrary and exclusive decision of the executive but a collective decision of a well fairly balanced Committee in consultation with the Speaker and the minister responsible.

There is no doubt that the DIS has been a rogue institution. The reluctance by the President to commit to democratic-parliamentary oversight reforms presupposes a lack of commitment to democratization. The President has no interest in seeing a reformed DIS with effective oversight of the agency.

He is insincere. This is because the President loathes the idea losing an iota of power and sharing it with any other democratic institution. He sees the agency as his power lever to sustain his stay in the high office. He thought he could sanitize himself with an ineffective DIS Committee that would dance to his tune.

The non-participation of the opposition MPs renders the Committee dysfunctional; it cannot function as this would be unlawful. Participation of the opposition is a legal requirement. Even if it can meet, it would lack legitimacy; it cannot be taken seriously. The President should therefore act on the oversight demands and reform the DIS if he is to be taken seriously.

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The Maccabean Uprising

25th November 2020
Jewish freedom fighters

 Jews drive away occupying power under the command of guerrilla leader Judas Maccabees but only just

Although it was the Desolation Sacrilege act, General Atiku, that officially sparked the Maccabean revolt, it in truth simply stoked the fires of an already simmering revolution. How so General?

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Atomic (CON)Fusion

25th November 2020

For years I have trained people about paradigm shifts – those light-bulb-switch-on moments – where there is a seismic change from the usual way of thinking about something to a newer, better way. 

I like to refer to them as ‘aha’ moments because of the sudden understanding of something which was previously incomprehensible. However,  the topic of today’s article is the complete antithesis of ‘aha’.  Though I’d love to tell you I’d had a ‘eureka ‘, ‘problem solved’ moment, I am faced with the complete opposite – an ‘oh-no’ moment or Lost Leader Syndrome.

No matter how well prepared or capable a leader is. they often find themselves facing perplexing events, confounding information, or puzzling situations. Confused by developments of which they can’t make sense and by challenges that they don’t know how to solve they become confused, sometimes lost and completely clueless about what to do.

I am told by Jentz and Murphy (JM) in ‘What leaders do when they don’t know what to do’ that this is normal, and that rapid change is making confusion a defining feature of management in the 21st century.  Now doesn’t that sound like the story of 2020 summed up in a single sentence?

The basic premise of their writing is that “confusion is not a weakness to be ashamed of but a regular and inevitable condition of leadership. By learning to embrace their confusion, managers are able to set in motion a constructive process for addressing baffling issues.

In fact, confusion turns out to be a fruitful environment in which the best managers thrive by using the instability around them to open up better lines of communication, test their old assumptions and values against changing realities, and develop more creative approaches to problem solving.”

The problem with this ideology however is that it doesn’t help my overwhelming feelings of fear and panic which is exacerbated by a tape playing on a loop in my head saying  ‘you’re supposed to know what to do, do something’. My angst is compounded by annoying motivational phrases also unhelpfully playing in my head like.

  • Nothing happens until something moves
  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started

and

  • Act or be acted upon

All these platitudes are urging me to pull something out of the bag, but I know that this is a trap. This need to forge ahead is nothing but a coping mechanism and disguise. Instead of owning the fact that I haven’t got a foggy about what to do, part of me worries that I’ll lose authority if I acknowledge that I can’t provide direction – I’m supposed to know the answers, I’m the MD!  This feeling of not being in control is common for managers in ‘oh no’ situations and as a result they often start reflexively and unilaterally attempting to impose quick fixes to restore equilibrium because, lets be honest, sometimes we find it hard to resist hiding our confusion.

To admit that I am lost in an “Oh, No!” moment opens the door not only to the fear of losing authority but also to a plethora of other troubling emotions and thoughts:  *Shame and loss of face: “You’ll look like a fool!” * Panic and loss of control: “You’ve let this get out of hand!” * Incompetence and incapacitation: “You don’t know what you’re doing!”

As if by saying “I’m at a loss here” is tantamount to declaring “I am not fit to lead.” Of course the real problem for me and any other leader is if they don’t admit when they are disoriented, it sends a signal to others in the organisation stating it’s not cool to be lost and that, by its very nature encourages them to hide.  What’s the saying about ‘a real man never asks for direction. ..so they end up driving around in circles’.

As managers we need to embrace the confusion, show vulnerability (remember that’s not a bad word) and accept that leadership is not about pretending to have all the answers but about having the courage to search with others to discover a solution.

JM point out that “being confused, however, does not mean being incapacitated.  Indeed, one of the most liberating truths of leadership is that confusion is not quicksand from which to escape but rather the potter’s clay of leadership – the very stuff with which managers can work.”

2020 has certainly been a year to remember and all indications are that the confusion which has characterised this year will still follow us into the New Year, thereby making confusion a defining characteristic of the new normal and how managers need to manage. Our competence as leaders will then surely be measured not only by ‘what I know’ but increasingly by ‘how I behave when I accept, I don’t know, lose my sense of direction and become confused.

.I guess the message for all organizational cultures going forward is that sticking with the belief that we need all-knowing, omni-competent executives will cost them dearly and send a message to managers that it is better to hide their confusion than to address it openly and constructively.

Take comfort in these wise words ‘Confusion is a word we have invented for an order not yet understood’!

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