Most of you are probably convalescing from the Christmas holidays or Hanukkah, preparing yourselves mentally for the social onslaught of New Year's day.
In spite of the pagan roots of the 25th of December, Christmas used to have at least SOMEthing to do with Yahshua's birth, at least, that is what I thought.
But, turning on the TV on December 24th I was covered in an avalanche of syrupy santa movies, one even worse than the other, as well as other sentimental garbage.
The only decent movie on TV was on December 25th which featured a version of Dickens' Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart in the role of Scrooge, which he performed outstandingly.
I don't watch TV often, and the past weekend was again a good reminder why I should not indulge too much in this passive passtime.
So, is the circle now complete and has Yahshua been replaced by santa, sentimentalism, excessive consumerism, gluttony and greed?
Perhaps it's YHWH's way of moving Yahshua out of Christmas to give Him His proper place on YHWH's calendar (Sukkoth), and revealing the true spirit of today's Christmas: Satan, a.k.a. Santa.
To counterbalance the santa madness we can always choose to watch the North Korean madness on TV over the death of Kim Yong-il.
It's hard to believe that in this day and age such collective hysteria over the passing of one single evil-minded tyrant still exists.
People howling and falling down in the streets, surely this is something worthy of either a psychiatric clinic or a Monty Python sketch?
But, since it is not one single individual displaying this sort of psychotic madness but thousands of people, it becomes a cultural phenomenon which ought to be respected.
All I see is a bunch of brainwashed monkeys performing their monkey rituals on cue in order to get the brownie button of approval from the head monkey, a phenomenon not confined to North Korea lone, just take a good look around you!
Let's hope the son of Kim Yong-il, Kim Yong-un, does not live up to the Dutch meaning of his name.
The Dutch word 'oen', which is pronounced as 'un', means 'idiot'.
2011 is almost finished, and we have seen some astonishing events this past year.
It makes you wonder what 2012 will bring with the (purported) end of a cycle of the Mayan calendar in December 2012.
2011 has not seen any announcement of the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem, so it is unlikely that it was the beginning of the final seven years for Israel which will bring Jacob's trouble just yet.
But, 2011 DID bring us great political changes and the death of quite a number of prominent figures, as well as a hitherto unprecedented catastrophe for Japan.
Additionally here in The Netherlands we had a terribly confused climate: Summer in the Springtime, Autumn in Summer, and Spring in Autumn (I could sit outside in my shirt basking in the sun in November!), and now Autumn in Winter.
I have heard someone who describes himself as a major prophet say that the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012 marks the beginning of Jacob's trouble, and if you look at the current political situation in the Middle-East he may not be far off.
Israel cannot risk Iran becoming a nuclear threat, so Israel or the USA (or both) will have to decide to take action sooner rather than later, and the current signals from Washington indicate that something is on the way.
But, who can tell what Iran has up its sleeve to retaliate?
A joint military action from the USA and Israel could very well mark the beginning of a world war since China and Russia are in support of the enemies of Israel, and it is unlikely that they will simply stand by and do nothing.
Besides that, Obama and his wife are not exactly people I would describe as trustworthy, and who knows what his plans are to divert the attention from the incredible mess he made with his economic policy?
On the other hand, we still have not seen a rebuilt temple in Jerusalem or any signals indicating that the temple is about to be rebuilt.
The part of Daniel's prophecy pertaining to the beginning of Jacob's trouble (Daniel 9.27) speaks of a cessation of the sacrifice and offering in the middle of the final seven year period, and this refers obviously to the presence of a temple.
It could be that as a result of the outcome of an imminent military conflict in the immediate future Israel will finally decide to go ahead with a new temple, in which case the final seven years are at the doorstep.
We also have not seen the rise of the empire consisting of ten kings (nations) which is described by Daniel and John.
First this empire needs to rise, then three of those nations will be brought down by the leader of another nation, and he will begin the time of Jacob's trouble, which features among others a great persecution of the nation Israel during this time.
So, will 2012 see the beginning of the time of 'Jacob's trouble'?
I wish I could tell you for sure, but I simply do not know.
The countdown of 7 years from 2011 made sense, yet the prophetic requirements for this year to be the beginning of Jacob's trouble were not met.
This countdown COULD begin in 2012 because that would still make sense because of the Jubilee year, which I will not go into now.
If you look at the spirit of unrest sweeping through the Middle East in 2011 it is obvious that change can happen very rapidly, especially if a war breaks out, but still, one year is very little time for the rise of a ten nation federation in the Middle East.
There are many doomsday prophets on the internet who apparently get visions or angelic visitations every week, and conspiracies and revisionist history abound in the hands of those who would be much better off seeking professional counseling.
Often I am amazed how certain individuals can evangelize their psychotic ideas with a straight face before the camera in order to make them appear as truth.
Even among 'prophets' whose spirit comes from the right place, and who appear to have all the correct knowledge and great insight, I cannot help but wonder how it is possible that even a major prophet can have certain blind spots.
The reason is that we tend to have a view of Old Testament prophets as icons who were perfect in their knowledge, words and deeds.
Yet the truth is that they were human beings like us, and the fact that YHWH gave them messages to deliver does not necessarily imply that they did not have blind spots and knew everything there is to know.
They just knew what they needed to know, because that is the way YHWH deals with us.
HE is the source of the message, not a prophet.
Prophecies should not glorify the bringer of prophecy, but the Source of prophecy, YHWH.
If I have a tendency to point an accusing finger I am always reminded of how three fingers are pointing back at me, and I have to acknowledge that I am not perfect in my knowledge either.
I only know what YHWH lets me know, and that's it.
There is a strange phenomenon where false prophets may give a very accurate prediction, and true prophets can display imperfection or blind spots in their knowledge.
YHWH designed it this way on purpose in order to test us and see to what extent we will love the truth and the spirit of truth.
Because, although the false prophets, whose aim it is to lead people away from YHWH, may make an accurate prediction, their spirit is not one of YHWH.
If you truly love YHWH's Spirit in your heart, you will love the presence of this Spirit in others, and you will feel a bit awkward if there is another spirit in someone who claims to be a prophet.
It may take some time before you realize what is going on, but your love of truth will always make itself manifest.
These false prophets are a test to see who will follow them blindly because of their accurate prediction, and who will reject them because their 'spirit is not coming from the right place', even though they may have been interested in this prophet for a season.
They are a test of love to separate those who love YHWH from those who idolize a person.
Likewise, a prophet from YHWH may not live up to your idea of what a prophet of YHWH should say or do.
They are a test to see if you will reject the truth of YHWH they bring because of this reason, or whether you love truth in your heart so much that you accept the truth they bring, even though there may be areas in them you disagree with.
YHWH created them this way in order to make sure that the center of attention does not go to the prophet so that he is idolized and people get caught up with the person of a prophet, but that the honour and the attention go to the Source of the message, YHWH.
Both prophets, the false prophet and the true prophet who does not meet your requirements, are tests for all of us to bring out what is inside of us.
Do we love YHWH enough to accept the fact that true prophets may not be perfect and live up to our idea of what they should be, and accept with gratitude to both the prophet and YHWH the nuggets of truth they bring?
Do we love YHWH enough to reject the lies of false prophets even though their prediction may come true?
Even though you may meet a lot of phony prophets, don't reject ALL prophets because there is so much disinformation coming from the camp of the fallen spirits.
Learn to look for truth in your heart first and foremost, and don't put people on pedestals as prophets or spiritual leaders.
Simply accept truth from whoever it comes, and honour the messenger of truth in that capacity, not by putting him on a pedestal, but by being grateful for what YHWH gave you through him.
And, of course, if someone claiming to be a prophet continues to give false predictions, it is obvious that such a person is just a poser not worth giving attention to, but you probably knew this already.
So, in spite of the abundance of prophecies and conspiracy theories I don't think anyone has been given a clear peek into the future to see what 2012 will bring, and so, anything can happen.
It could be the worst year we have experienced up to now, or it could be quite a good year for us.
I hope the latter of course, although I am very aware that the period leading up to the restoration of Israel and the transformation of Earth will emerge out of gloomy darkness preceding it.
Although I am looking forward to the renewal of Earth, I am not looking forward to going through the terrible calamities preceding that time, because it will be a time of going through life in survival-mode.
Like the time when Jeremiah gave this prophecy to his scribe Baruch in Jeremiah 45.4-5:
'Thus says YHWH: Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up-that is, the whole land.
And do you seek great things for yourself?
Seek them not; for behold, I am bringing evil upon all flesh, says YHWH, but I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go."
The exact timing of the final calamities is something no one knows.
So, as long as you are given the time and opportunity to live in peace and do something with your life, avail yourself of that opportunity to work and do what you can, because a time is coming when you may want to work, but you will be unable to do so, and like Baruch you have to learn to endure and thank YHWH that He gives you your life as a prize of war.
Cherish the time you can live in peace and enjoy life, and mentally prepare yourself for the time of clouds and darkness.
In spite of the clouds on the horizon, try to have a happy and sunny 2012.
May YHWH bless you and watch over you in 2012.