Commentary on world events that relate to Bible prophecy and on Rapture Ready issues world events.

Feb 19, 2012

What Can Be Learned From the Tragic Life of Whitney Houston

Death has claimed another member of entertainment industry. Singer Whitney Houston was found in the bath of her Beverly Hilton hotel room with her face underwater. It will be six to eight weeks before the final lab results come back, but early signs point to a cocktail of prescription drugs and alcohol as the cause of death. Los Angeles cops are said to have found six prescription pill bottles—Xanax, Lorazepam, Ibuprofen, Midol, Amoxicillin, and Valium.

Houston had a long history of drug problems. She and her ex-husband Bobby Brown helped keep the tabloid industry fully employed for over a decade. Brown has been widely criticized for being a bad influence on the diva, with one friend saying: "He was there every step of the way." But Houston steadfastly refused to blame her husband for her drug addiction.

Being a pop singer is one of the most dangerous occupations on the planet. You would actually be much safer as a coal miner, which has a death rate of less than one-tenth of one percent per decade. On Billboard's list of top 30 selling musical acts, 47 percent have lost at least one member to an untimely death.

There are dozens of websites that track the premature death of musicians. One of the most extensive sites that I found averaged all the deaths and came up with a life span of 36.9 years. The average for the general population is 75.8 years.

The longevity of the Rolling Stones is often talked about. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are now sixty-eight years old, but they're just lucky to be alive. When you consider that Brian Jones, the group's original lead singer, died at age twenty-seven, Mick and Keith will need to live into their hundreds to break the curse. Since Mr. Richards looks and talks like he died in 1980, there is something to be said about the quality-of-life factor.

The high-profile deaths of Michael Jackson and Amy Winehouse have had little impact on the danger that drugs pose to singers. I'm sure the news organizations have already prepared obits on the likes of Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga.

The solution that Hollywood likes to offer is to make drugs legal. CBS spoke to music producer Quincy Jones about Houston's death, and he agreed with a suggestion made by Tony Bennett: "In Amsterdam they legalized drugs and it calmed everybody down," Bennett said the day after Houston's death. "It stopped a lot of gangsters who sneak around and get people to take drugs. Everybody gets wounded that way. By legalizing it, you won't have that problem."

People take drugs to escape from pain, and it's not the physical kind. Whitney Houston wasn't doing handstands the day before she died. I don't think she needed narcotics for back pain. Before Michael Jackson died, he was taking enough drugs to tranquilize a team of horses.

The pain that celebrities are trying to escape from is the realization that success can't bring happiness. Mike Tyson is one of the best examples. The former heavyweight boxing champion manage to do the seemingly impossible: He blew the $300 million he earned from his career. He had excessive spending on mansions and expensive cars, but these item would hold their value. What put him in the poorhouse was women and parties that would cost $200,000 per night.

Rapper MC Hammer only had one-tenth of Tyson's money, but it only took him a few months to go bankrupt when his album sales began to dwindle. He told Ebony magazine, "My priorities were out of order...My priorities should have always been God, family, community, and then business. Instead they had been business, business, and business."

Most people who die never have time to set their priorities. It is because death normally comes unexpectedly. Even people who die of terminal cancer are often caught off guard because it's never the cancer that gets you.

The tragic death of people like Whitney Houston is a warning for us to be ready. Even though you and I are nobodies in the eyes of the world, we have a precious commodity that dead celebrities no longer possess: the opportunity to seek God's will.

"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Matthew 16:26).


Greek Tragedy Now Playing…

The Iliad and the Odyssey of the unknown Homer--the many tragedies that spun from Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and other of the ancient Greek playwrights--are but shadowy scripts of insignificance in the end-times stage lights that illuminate our headlines hourly these days. Gripping reality in the land that gave us the stories of the likes of Oedipus, Agamemnon, Prometheus, and, of course, of Zeus, Aphrodite, Hercules, and all that make up the Greek fictional accounts present movement toward tragedy with a far more bitter ending than any in mythology.

It is not tragedy for the Greeks alone of which I write. The stage is set to bring the whole world to the prophetic destiny laid out in Bible prophecy. When considering the roots of the continent of Europe, most first think of Italy or the center of that great empire, the city of Rome. The other state that most often comes to mind when thinking on where Europe began is Greece and its ancient center, Athens.

Athens, of course, predates Rome in fame–or infamy—depending upon one’s view of those empires. But, the thing to keep in mind for prophetic cogitation is that the ancient Roman Empire–which had at its heart great portions of the ancient Greek culture— is foretold to one day be a major power player. This will happen, according to Daniel the prophet, some time before the world leader who will be Antichrist achieves his full, satanic power.

We have given the Scriptures that give the geological location out of which the beast of Revelation 13 will come many times in these commentaries. Prophecy teachers have over the years persistently and consistently put the prophecy in front of us. Here it is again:

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:26-27)

Antichrist, that man of sin and abomination of desolation, will come forth out of the Romans, who destroyed Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple in AD 70. His biological heritage will be of the people of the area that comprised ancient Rome.

Greece, then, because of its tremendous influences on that ancient Roman culture, will be at the center of the revived Roman Empire as it develops for prophetic fulfillment. So, in the news coming out of that nucleus nation that will have to, by its very history, be front and center in the end times, we find another signal of where this generation must stand on God’s prophetic timeline.

Greece’s present predicament presents a snapshot in this late hour of human history of how the fate of other nations will almost certainly play out–particularly the nations of the Western world. It will be a tragedy of the first magnitude! Bottom line is that the Greek populace, used to getting government subsidies and outright handouts at every level–particularly in the public work sector—are going nuts because austerity measures to bring fiscal stability are being instituted. Tens of thousands of protesters clashed with police before the parliament in Syntagma Square, with buildings set ablaze and over 80 people injured.

Trade unionists, nationalists, communists, students, retired people were among those denouncing the "EU-IMF blackmail", many of them equipped with gas masks to resist the tear gas used by riot police. German flags were also burnt in protest as what is seen as a Berlin-prescribed austerity package for Greece. (Valentina Pop, "Greek MPs Back Crucial Austerity Deal," EUobserver.com, 2/13/12)

Pundits on nightly news programs are wondering aloud whether, in looking at Greece and the angry protests over government yanking give-away programs from people used to them, we are witnessing an unrest-infection that will eventually spread to the U.S. Their answer should be stunningly obvious, especially for a mainstream news conglomerate that has worked with liberal presidential administrations–and even some moderate administrations--to create a cash-cow government, a political system that buys votes through taxpayer money.

We have already seen the storm fronts of financial turbulence. Remember Wisconsin, when the Democrat state legislators left the state rather than face up to their obligation to vote on cutting state give-aways (a vote the Democrats would have lost)? Remember the ugliness of the protesters–union thugs, mostly--who did an estimated $7 million in damage to the state capitol building?

The “Occupy” protesters haven’t been as successful to this point, in jinning up violence of the sort some desire in order to disrupt the domestic tranquility. Ultimately, though, the violence will come--not only to the United States, but to the entire world. It will be not just a Greek tragedy, but a worldwide tragedy–the Tribulation, as given in God’s prophetic Word.

Antichrist will bring some degree of order for a time. He will do so by lopping off heads and causing all to take a number and a mark. Ultimately, he will force all to worship him as God. It will take Jesus Christ to bring the curtain down on the final act of that great tragedy.