Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Judgment of Light and Darkness Coming - by Pastor Mike Taylor -
24 "For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
25 Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:" (Hebrews 9:24-27)
There is a central theme found throughout the Bible, and that is God's judgment. It is a single pinpoint of truth that God gives man a certain amount of time to come to repentance of his sinful nature and turn to Him, for when each of us die, we are judged according to whether we have turned to the only Way to receive forgiveness of our sins through Christ Jesus for the propitiation of what we all deserve, and that is death.
JUDGEMENT STARTS AT CREATION
This universe was born as a place of judgment, as the very creation of God was a matter of judgment, and nothing in this universe will escape the judgment of God. Mankind was God's greatest achievement in the construction of our world, when He made him on the sixth day of God's work to form the earth and the heavens that surround us. Even though man is the supreme creation of God, he too, will be judged at the end of time of this age.
Judgement was born out of light. As God saw that light and pronounced it as very good:
3 "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." (Genesis 1:3-5)
Thoughout scripture, God used light and darkness as metaphors of good and evil. So it is fitting that He uses light and darkness as the beginning of His judgment.
God, having judged light as to be "very good" God exercised a different kind of judgment to separate the light from darkness by creating the sun, the moon and the stars. If not, then our world would be nothing but shades of gray.
Mankind likes to use these "shades of gray" to explain our moral compromises, our depravity and to color our own failures at morality. Men say that it isn't just "black and white, but the area is a 'gray area" But truth is either black or white, evil or good, there is no such thing as a gray area. It's like there is no such thing as cold, but the absence of heat. There is no such thing as darkness, but the absence of light. And there is no such thing as evil, but the absence of good. Without God, creation would fall into chaos.
As men try to make up their own rules, apart from God's Word, there will come a time when our actions will be judged by the Father of Lights, who sees what is truth and what is a lie. He sees what is good and what is evil. We can't hide anything from God, and when the time appointed as the verse of the opening passage says "And it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment" each man and woman will be judged either in light, or in darkness. Note that each man and woman has an appointed time with something each of us fear, and that is death.
All men will eventually die, and if the Lord tarries, you reading this will also die, just as I will. The time and the event are already pre-determined, and there is no way that any of us can escape it, should our human existence play out, this side of the rapture of the Church.
YOU MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Jesus used another metaphor, as the Bible is full of them, but the one I want to focus on now, is the term Jesus used of "Born Again" to describe our salvation process. When the time comes, we are transferred from this life, to the next life into the light of His glorious presence. We will be surrounded by light and it is not perceived as a pleasant experience by all. Why do I say that?
Think of it like this. When we were conceived in our mother's womb, we grew to a full term baby in a secure environment. We were surrounded with everything we needed. Food from our mother through our umbilical cord and warmth of her body surrounding us. Our world is peace and tranquility, until our own comfortable existence is violently shaken. Our world collapses around us and we are expelled out of our comfort zone. We are grabbed with cold, hard steel forceps by our head and yanked out of our world and placed in a cold metal tray, and discover pain as somebody smacks us on our behind and we discover pain for the first time. The blinding light hurts our eyes, only slightly less than the silver nitrate they force into our eyes. We are in a moment of terror, as we were not prepared for what is to follow.
Of course, this in the perspective of the infant we used to be, but having tasted life, the womb would become an unbearable prison if left in that environment. So being "born again" is a perfect metaphor of being transitioned from this life into the next life, that will be eternal.
Each human on this earth, dreads the concept of leaving this life, and to some, not knowing what awaits on the other side of death, it should be doubly disturbing. We, who have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, know that the life we will live in eternity is incomparable to this life, as it was the life in the womb. But we all fear the end of our mortal life, because this existence is all we know. But we have faith and assurance, that even though we don't know how and what will be shown to us in that eternal state of heavenly bliss, our fleshly bodies of this life, still fights to live as long as it can. But a soon to "born again" believer in Jesus Christ should welcome the day, because we know it will be beyond anything our finite minds can comprehend.
9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God." (1st Corinthians 2:9-11)
To the unbeliever, who does not know Christ Jesus, the idea of death must be terrifying, as they have only this life in their own deceived minds. Oh, I get the atheist who doesn't believe in heaven, hell, or even a God in heaven, but in the back of their mind, that void they have in their soul that only Jesus can fulfill is trying to find something to fill that void, and in the end, they are left hopelessly lost. So the transition of this life, to the eternal abode they will inhabit in eternity is a transition to nowhere, but to eternal torment. I read an article of a tombstone that was read in a cemetary that stated "Here lies an atheist. All dressed up with no place to go"...course, that is not exactly true, but if they got a glimpse of their destination, they would do everything in their power to avoid it and proclaim Jesus as their Savior. But their pride of mankind finds it hard to submit to a Higher Power.
SIN UNTO SALVATION
The scripture says that judgment comes to all men by appointment. Something they cannot escape. For a follower of Jesus Christ, judgment comes in two parts. Hebrews 9:27 says "AS it is appointed...." but the next verse completes the thought.
Let us look at it in context:
""And as it is appointed unto men ONCE to die, but after this the judgement, so Christ was ONCE offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation."
Hmmm.. "sin unto salvation" that doesn't sound like the Second Advent of Jesus Christ at the end of the Tribulation, as Jesus will come in judgment with a sharp two-edged sword that proceeds out of His mouth, encompassed by ten thousands of His saints, to judge the earth and destroy the antichrist, his army and all rebellion. Now does it?
Logically, if you sit and meditate on that portion of scripture, it can only refer to Jesus coming for His saints of the Church Age and removing them from this planet in what is commonly referred to as the HARPAZO translated from the Greek, as Rapture. That is the ONLY 'second coming unto salvation' alluded to by Scripture. The dead in Christ are raised from the dead, we are changed in the twinkling of an eye, from mortal to immortal and we all go to meet the Lord in the air.
AND THEN WHAT??
Paul outlines what will happen to all those who meet Jesus in the air, in what is called the Beam Judgement Seat of Christ. As Paul said:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." (2nd Corinthians 5:10)
A lot of people get hung up on Grace VS. Works in many denominations....Catholic are very focused on works found in their traditions, and Jehovah Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, and Mormons to mention a few, are confused about Grace through Faith and cannot distinguish what is required for salvation. As I've pointed out many times, works are a by-product of our salvation. We do good for the Kingdom of God, because we Love Jesus, love our ABBA Father....and our works are a sign of our salvation, not the production of salvation. Don't be misled by those who preach a works based salvation, as there is NOTHING you and I can do to earn that gift, that grace, that mercy given freely by God because of our repentance and our faith in the finished work Jesus paid on the "old rugged cross".
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:8-10)
Note one proceeds the other....mercy, faith through grace proceeds our good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do...Grace =works, not works= salvation. The latter is the cart before the horse, so to speak.
But getting back to our judgment standing before our Lord Jesus Christ. Each of us will give an account of what we have done for Jesus. This is where our works are relevant:
10 "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1st Corinthians 3:10-15)
This is the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ, so called because this is not a judgment of either being saved or damned, but a rewards ceremony of works done in the Name of Jesus Christ and for His Kingdom. Whether we are saved or not, is judged on this earth, as it takes place now. As we are being judged now. The Church will be found in His righteousness, because they have repented of their sins, embraced Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives, and have fought everyday to live for Christ, even though imperfectly, they are being sanctified for this moment. Note those who work for the Lord God will receive rewards, but what of the man who is saved, but doesn't do anything to receive a reward? The verse says "but HE himself, shall be saved; yet so as by fire"....some translate it as "though through the fire"....the only thing that saved the man (or woman) is Christ Jesus who paid for their sins with His own blood...they received salvation by faith, but that's all they did...but in itself, it is enough for salvation, just being with Jesus is reward enough, but for those who have worked for Him, He will make rulers of nations in the Millennium.
As a Christian believer that is being judged on earth now, you are securely saved as if you were already in heaven standing before our Savior. If you are lost, it is not the case that you WILL be lost. Because you are LOST NOW.
The point is, it has nothing to do with being "good or bad". It has to do with believing in one's own "righteousness and the ability to save yourself" (Which you can't) or trusting in the righteousness of Jesus Christ to clothe you with His righteousness and that not of your own.
(for those who are scratching their head and wondering what this means, let me make it simple for you. If you are trusting in being good to get to heaven, you aren't going there) Work based religions, take note.
That is what the "second coming unto salvation refers to" . . . the gathering of the saints to the Bema Seat for judgment.
This is another reason why the Bible supports a pre-tribulation Rapture. The Bema Seat judgment MUST take place AFTER the Rapture. We cannot be judged for our lives when they end. The influence of a man's life lives on after him.
How could the lives of the Apostle John, John the Baptist, or even Paul and the other apostles be adequately judged for their rewards in the first century, when their lives ended? The influence of their lives are still being calculated of how they affected the Church as a whole to receive just rewards. That is also why the Great White Throne Judgment is reserved until the final hours of time known to mankind, before the new heavens and new earth.
THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGEMENT & SECOND CHANCE?
But let me touch on something that some, I believe teach erroneously at this time. I have read and listened to ministers who promote the idea of a "second chance" for salvation at the 2nd resurrection of those who have died without Christ, or have never had a chance to make a decision for Christ...that would include those in the Dark Ages that didn't have a bible, or a hidden tribe of Africans, or South Americans who are so backward in their life, they never heard of the name "Jesus"....what is God to do with them? God is sovereign, and I'm not going to speculate what God has plans for those who did not hear of His Son, BUT the point is there is a belief that God gives a second chance to these individuals...they base this on TWO verses found in Revelation....
12"And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13, And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. (Revelation 20:12-13)
The belief goes something like this...those who are judged out of the books at the Great White Throne are given time to know Christ, to come to repentance, before sentencing is passed...that is what I call a "second chance" at salvation . Does the Bible support such a belief? No, I find nowhere the lost who reject Jesus Christ, and even those who have never heard His Name, being given a "second chance"...Now I'm not God and God is sovereign, but according to His Word and the opening verses.... "men die ONCE, then after this the judgment". Reading the verses in Revelation gives me a picture of judgment and those whose name are NOT found in the Book of Life are cast into the Lake of Fire along with the AntiChrist and the False Prophet who are already there. Satan will be cast along with his demons at their appointed time.... but from what I read, there is NO SECOND chance, as anyone in their right mind, would believe in Jesus as the Son of God, given the choice of a literal hell, or heaven...No, my friend, if you are looking for a second chance, you play Russian Roulette with your soul. Best to make a decision for Christ Jesus now, while the invitation is open. To me, that gives those who don't witness to others, that those who are saved are pre-determined to be saved or lost and there is nothing anybody can do about it.....That belief is on the same level as TULIP of Calvinism, which is not scriptural. Men are being judged in this life now...best to get on board of the ark of salvation, known as Jesus Christ .
LET US SUMMARIZE, THE QUICK AND THE DEAD
There are two distinct judgement of those who die, either in Christ Jesus at the Bema Seat of Christ, or those who die without payment for their sins to be found at the Great White Throne Judgment of God Almighty.
Paul writes to Timothy.
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine." (2nd Timothy 4:1-2)
Can you see the two judgements here? One is for the "quick" the other is for the "dead". One takes place at His appearing and the other take at "His Kingdom". The Quick are the saved. The dead are the lost. The Quick are judged at the Bema Seat, and the dead are judged at the Great White Throne Judgment.
5" But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:5-6)...
This is the end of the 1st Resurrection, as Jesus was the beginning of that resurrection, and those raised to life now are part of that resurrection....Those who are lost are left dead for a 1000 years, until final judgment which is the second resurrection of the damned.. Those raised to receive final judgment will be changed to immortal, but cast into the lake of Fire to be tormented for all eternity.
Those who are saved will have rewards handed out to them, in the form of crowns. Those saved will receive a special crown of righteousness reserved on that day:
8 "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." (2nd Timothy 4:8)'
I've mentioned there are numerous crowns of those who work for the Lord, but we will not list each and every one here, as I've covered that in past messages about those crowns for them that overcome this world, through Jesus Christ.
Here's two points I want you to see, in closing this message out. As reading about the 24 elders, the second we remove the doctrine of the rapture from the narrative, it becomes too complicated and doesn't make any sense. The sequence falls apart and other scriptures don't support that narrative, but conflicts with them.
Also, absent from Eternal Security in Christ Jesus, what does 1st Corinthians 3:15 that we just got through referencing above ("yet he himself shall be saved as through the fire") mean? If you discount both doctrines, then the Bible gets way too complicated for a non-believer to figure out. Absent the pre-Trib Rapture, the judgment of the "quick at His appearing" (2nd Timothy 4:8) doesn't make much sense either.
Which means you have to come up with a whole new timeline for events, or else make everything symbolic, and allegorize away the one that already exist...Which gives rise to the question "Then why give one?" Because the Scriptures most assuredly do give a timeline of events. One final point, if Jesus comes back to raise those in the light of Jesus to life immortal and destroys all rebellion on earth, as there is no in between, then who goes into the Millennium as mortals at the end of the Tribulations??...as I've mentioned before, there is no one left to be mortal to repopulate the earth...I've said it before and I figured it was worth mentioning once again..
THE FOCUS IS JUDGEMENT OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS
The focus of this message is on judgment, which separates light from darkness, separates the wheat from the tares, the saved from the lost, and the Church from the judgement that is due upon those who dwell upon the earth.
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)
If you read through the Bible, especially Revelation, there is a sequence of events that the rest of the Bible supports. First comes the "catching away of the Church" when Jesus steps out of eternity into our time and causes all who believe in Him, will be "born Again" into immortal bodies for all eternity. And Trumpets with His voice "come up hither".
Swiftly, we are taken to a great banquet, which is the Marriage supper of the Lamb and our joining with our Savior into the family of God. It is what the saints will be doing preceding and encompassing the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation. That is the type of judgment that began the bible in Genesis 1:4-- God creates the light, judges the light, separates the light from darkness...or in this case, good from evil.
ON the earth, the four horse of the apocalypse ride to begin the wrath of God whereas the men of earth cry for the rocks of the cliffs to hide them.
"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
For the great day of His wrath has come, and who will be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:15-17)
WE are the light, clothed with the righteousness of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, but on the earth, judgment has come upon the darkness and the sequence of events grow more and more destructive as you read. Everything you read is nothing but heartache, misery, and death in these chapters depicting this hour of God's fierce judgement where He pours out His wrath from the cup of His indignation in its full strength.
Then we see the return of our Lord Jesus Christ in Chp. 19 of this prophetic book and the saints riding upon horses, clothes with linen, "white and clean", as sign of the saints. Darkness is finally judged in this hour and the destruction is complete. All rebellion on this earth is extinguished. Men who survived the onslaught of the Anti-Christ and escaped, most like as Chp. 12 of the book reveals, to a place of safety to be nourished for 1260 days.
" And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Revelation 12:6)
...as we have studied in the past, this woman is Israel, and those who believe the prophesies and escape, most likely as in 70AD to the Jordanian desert and the rock fortress of Petra.
Then straight away, after judgment is passed on the darkness of this world, the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ in the Millennium begins, and the world is made as it was in the time of the Garden of Eden...PERFECT.
To be otherwise in the timeline, would require those who disbelieve to twist the scriptures into a pretzel to make their preconceived notions fit to some degree. If the timeline is any other translation or interpretation, the true meaning of what Paul wrote in 1st Thessalonians 4:18 would have no meaning. "Wherefore comfort one another with these wordy". Because there would be no comfort and ..it would come from some other unfortunate miss-translation.
Do not doubt, my friend, judgment is coming on this universe, this planet, and mankind that inhabits the nations. The whole point of this message is where will you be when judgment finally comes in wave after wave? Will you be standing before Christ Jesus for rewards, or standing before the Great White Throne to receive your death penalty? Will you still be in darkness, or in the light of God? Will you experience joy and happiness that no one can express till it happens, or will you be in anguish, and in torment where the fire is never quenched and the worm dieth not? My plea to those who read this message ...LOOK TO JESUS...the Author and Finisher of our faith....believe, and thou shalt be saved from darkness.
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." John 3:16-18
23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through
the forbearance of God;" (Romans 3:23-25)
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:8-10)
Make that decision today for Jesus Christ and be numbered of those in the light, and not in the darkness....because "judgment is coming".
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying for the salvation of your soul. If you have need for prayer, counseling, or just listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org God bless you all..
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Are We on The Verge of a Nuclear War with North Korea? - Michael Snyder - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=1467
Are we on the verge of a nuclear war with North Korea?
It has now been confirmed that North Korea has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear warhead, and last month they tested a missile that can reach at least half of the continental United States.
Since 1994 the U.S. has been trying to stop North Korea's nuclear program, and every effort to do so has completely failed.
Last September, the North Koreans detonated a nuclear device that was estimated to be in the 20 to 30 kiloton range, and back in January President Trump pledged to stop the North Koreans before they would ever have the capability to deliver such a weapon to U.S. cities.
But now the North Koreans have already achieved that goal, and they plan to ultimately create an entire fleet of ICBMs capable of hitting every city in America.
Right now, North Korea and the Trump administration are locked in a game of nuclear chicken. Kim Jong Un's regime is never, ever, ever going to give up their nuclear weapons program, and so that means that either Donald Trump is going to have to back down, find another way to deal with North Korea, or use military force to eliminate their nuclear threat.
And time is quickly running out for Trump to make a decision, because now that North Korea has the ability to produce miniaturized nuclear warheads, the game has completely changed. The following comes from the Washington Post...
North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.
The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country's atomic arsenal.
The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.
The truth is that nobody actually knows how many nukes North Korea has at this point, and they are pumping out more all the time.
Yes, the Trump administration could order an absolutely devastating military strike on North Korea. But if the North Koreans even get off one nuke in response, it will be the greatest disaster for humanity since at least World War II.
But at this point Trump doesn't sound like someone that intends to back down. In fact, on Tuesday he threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" if they keep threatening us...
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," Trump said from the clubhouse at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J. "He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with the fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before."
In response to Trump's comments, the North Koreans threatened to hit Guam with a pre-emptive strike...
If Trump thought that his bluff would be sufficient to finally shut up North Korea, and put an end to Kim's provocative behavior, well... bluff called because North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency reported moments ago that not only did N.Korea escalate the tensions up another notch, but explicitly warned that it could carry out a "pre-emptive operation once the US shows signs of provocation", and that it is "seriously considering a strategy to strike Guam with mid-to-long range missiles."
Most Americans appear to be completely oblivious to the seriousness of this crisis. Once we hit North Korea, they will respond. A single nuke could potentially kill millions in Tokyo, Japan or Seoul, South Korea.
And the North Koreans also have some of the largest chemical and biological weapons stockpiles on the entire planet. If things take a bad turn, we could see death and destruction on a scale that is absolutely unprecedented.
And if the North Koreans launch an invasion of South Korea, we will instantly be committed to a new Korean War and thousands upon thousands of our young men and women will be sent over there to fight and die.
There is no possible way that a military conflict with North Korea is going to end well. If things go badly, millions could die, and if things go really badly tens of millions of people could end up dead.
But members of the Trump administration continue to insist that "a military option" is on the table...
In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be "intolerable, from the president's perspective."
"We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option," he said.
Of course letting North Korea construct an entire fleet of ICBMs that could endanger the entire planet is not exactly a palatable option either.
The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all kicked the can down the road year after year, and now we facing a nightmare problem that does not appear to have a good solution.
Unfortunately for Trump, time has now run out and a decision has to be made...
"Today is the day that we can definitely say North Korea is a nuclear power," Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, told USA TODAY. "There is no more time to stick our heads in the sand and think we have months or years to confront this challenge."
Let us pray that a way can be found to derail North Korea's nuclear program that does not involve us going to war.
Because the moment that U.S. forces start striking North Korea, the North Koreans could literally unleash hell if they are inclined to do so.
It appears that we are now closer to nuclear war than we have been at any point since the Cuban missile crisis. A nuclear holocaust was avoided back then, and hopefully a way will be found to avoid one now.
Trump's 'fire and fury' rhetoric baffles and outrages foreign policy establishment and its toadies - By Thomas Lifson - http://www.americanthinker.com
The Smart Set agrees that once again, President Trump has said something ridiculous, amateurish, and downright embarrassing. His warning to North Korea, using rhetoric that resembles the hyperbole that regime long has favored, is something they would never do (and just look at how successful they have been preventing North Korea from getting nukes).
But watch as the president makes his point twice, very deliberately, using the exact words "fire and fury" that he had committed to memory:
Left-wingers bandied about works like "insane," and NeverTrumps of the right muttered, "Trump is trying to out-crazy Kim Jong-un." The foreign policy establishment was equally critical, if more measured.
Axios eagerly sought out one of the deans of the foreign policy establishment, Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass, interrupting his "golfing, riding and hiking in Wyoming" in order to sneer at the sort of rhetoric that Just Isn't Done by People Who Are Experts (because they have been doing such a great job, presumably).
Here's his Axios smart-brevity take on the developments:
Just for a moment, and just for fun, let's see if there might be any logic to trying a different approach from the one that has consistently failed for decades under the knowledgeable stewardship of the foreign policy establishment.
A couple of possibilities occur to me.
Psyching out the psycho: speaking directly to Kim Jong-un
In choosing words that reflect North Korea's past rhetoric, President Trump may be speaking directly to Kim Jong-un and saying, in effect: "We know that you don't have the capacity to pull off an attack that would utterly destroy us in a 'sea of fire' and the other terms you have used. And you know that we do have the power to destroy you, maybe with a cruise missile or MOAB on your bunker, or maybe take out all of Pyongyang, where the regime's insiders all are clustered. Or we could take out the entire country, if we are really annoyed, or if you inflict damage on Guam, Seoul, or any place we care about (everywhere but your territory). We have power [Trump added this, seemingly extemporaneously], and you do not."
North Korea's people, as well as its leadership, now understand - as they never did before - that their country is truly backward. Until cell phones and video players were parachuted into the country in vast numbers and software supplied of everything from soap operas to documentaries to pictures of traffic jams, the regime could get by telling its subjects they were the lucky ones, that everyone else had it much worse. Now they all know that it is a lie. The information age and economical South Korean-manufactured consumer electronics have destroyed the information wall around Kim's domain.
Kim Jong-un, who was educated in Switzerland, personally understands the gap between his country's capabilities and those of the West, and President Trump knows he knows this. Remember that President Trump is far more accustomed to bare-knuckle negotiations than foreign policy types, for whom the niceties of etiquette and protocol are the very vehicle of negotiations. Little shadings of language and behavior carry deep meaning, well understood by all the diplomats.
That's why they are so outraged. Trump is throwing their toolbox out and bringing in tools they regard as crude, counterproductive, and dangerous, which is exactly the image of Trump they already have.
On the other hand, North Korea does not play this game of etiquette and shadings, at least in public.
President Trump knows there are multiple paths to achieve his goal of eliminating this threat, ranging from getting Kim to decide that a new course is merited owing to a new understanding of the carrots and sticks being wielded to encouraging or even helping a coup by the generals to remove him to the most unpleasant of all: overwhelming military force ("shock and awe").
Keep in mind that Iran's mullahs are the other audience Trump is addressing. They are sending billions of dollars a year to Kim in order to get help with their nuclear arsenal. Every move the president makes, every word he speaks, is also directed at them. They have flourished thanks to the deal President Obama gave them, and now they must realize that the game has entirely changed. The North Korea precedent will tell them a lot.
Could "fire and fury" be a coded message?
The deliberateness with which President Trump spoke those words suggests that it was important to get them exactly correct, so they would be recognized for some other meaning than the obvious. The idea of a coup by the generals who control the means by which Kim's power is enforced surely has been on the minds of the President Trump's team. I have no idea if there has been any progress, and neither does anyone else who would write or speak on the subject.
PROVOCATION: Putin sending 100,000 troops to borders of NATO states - expels US diplomats - as tensions with the West spike - Joel C. Rosenberg -
Though much of the world's attention is understandably riveted right now on North Korea and their chilling nuclear threats against the U.S., tensions with Russia are also spiking and require urgent attention.
Consider just a few key developments that have occurred in recent weeks:
We need to be praying for U.S. and NATO leaders to have the wisdom and courage to bolster their forces in the Baltics and dramatically increase their deterrence against Moscow throughout Eastern Europe. We don't want to see a scenario in which an emboldened Czar Putin feels tempted to invade anyone else.
Excerpts from the New York Times story on upcoming Russian war games:
The Lost Souls Around Us - Nathele Graham -
Many Christians go through life with little concern for the salvation of others. No matter where you live there are people you know or ones you pass on the street daily who don't know Jesus as their Saviour. Many Christians just don't care enough about other people and don't bother to share the message of salvation to the lost souls around us. Too often we take salvation for granted and don't feel our spirits stirred to reach out to others. One great exception to this attitude was Paul. His desire to share Jesus with others is a blessing to us because we have a record of his travels, his example of missionary work, and many letters he wrote to encourage those he had brought to salvation. Today we live in a very pagan world, but so did Paul. That didn't stop him from taking every opportunity to share Christ wherever he went. One such place was Athens. Paul had stirred up trouble in Thessalonica because he taught the Gospel and his friends sent him on to Berea. Once again there was trouble because he shared the Gospel and he was sent to Athens. This city was filled with people who needed to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and Paul's spirit was stirred over the idolatry that was everywhere. "Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him." Acts 17:16-17.Brothers and sisters, is your spirit stirred over the idol worshipping lost souls around you? Scripture says the city was "wholly given to idolatry" and that isn't any different than Washington D.C., London, or Paris. Paul began his "dispute" in the synagogue, and today we might be drawn to a synagogue as well as a Mosque or a mega-church. Don't be fooled by "devout persons" who don't really know Jesus, but witness to everyone who is caught up in religion rather than faith. Paul openly witnessed in the market but do you pray over your food in a restaurant, or are you afraid someone will be offended? Paul never looked down on people who weren't saved, but his spirit was stirred by the Holy Spirit to tell them about Jesus.
Paul's message was met with a bit of curiosity, but they thought he was just introducing a new god, not God Almighty. "Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say?other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection." Acts 17:18. The Epicurean's main pursuit was pleasure and the Stoicks believed in pantheism. Both groups were sincere in their beliefs, but they were lost souls in need of salvation through Jesus. These two groups sound a lot like people today. Selfish pleasure and "god is in everything" attitudes are seen everywhere. Why don't more Christians desire to share Christ with the people who need to hear the Truth? We can use Paul's example of how mission work should be done. He didn't go to Athens to build houses or plant gardens. He was there spreading the Gospel. He didn't start by saying how misguided these people were, but piqued their interest by talking about Jesus.
These people were curious. They probably didn't have a huge desire to repent and embrace Jesus, but they just wanted to know more and Paul was ready to share. He knew Scripture and he also was aware of the beliefs of the people he spoke to. "And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)". Acts 17:19-21. What a dreary life they lived. Rather than being committed to their beliefs they wanted to hear something new...something that would be their next fad. Sounds like many people today. No real faith in anything, but always looking for the newest trend. These lost souls were about to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unlike the Epicureans and the Stoicks, Paul knew exactly what he believed and why. He also knew how to talk to these people so they would listen. He didn't compromise the Gospel but spoke what they needed to hear. "Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship him declare I unto you." Acts 17:22-23. He didn't mince words. They certainly were too superstitious. They had a god for this and a god for that and just in case they missed a god, there was an altar to the UNKNOWN GOD. They needed to be introduced to Him.
Paul went on to explain that God created everything and doesn't dwell in temples. They were probably surprised to learn that God is near to everyone and in Him we live, move, and have our being. He told them that we are the offspring of God, but they shouldn't think that God dwells in any manmade idol. Paul knew how to talk to these men. The Holy Spirit was guiding him just like He will guide each of us when we talk to the lost souls around us. Make no mistake, there are idol worshippers in the world today just like in years past. Anything that is put ahead of God Almighty is an idol, and sadly many Christians have idols. We need to put aside our sports idols, music idols, work idols, pleasure idols, and any other idol that gets ahead of our Saviour. Paul finished by saying "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31. Do you know who "that man" is? If you don't know then you need to learn about Jesus. There truly is coming a day of judgment. You don't want anyone to face God's judgment without the blood of Jesus to take sin away.
It isn't easy to be the only Christian standing amidst pagans, but Paul was prepared. He wasn't ashamed of the Gospel and he was compelled to share the Truth. We never know how people will react to the Gospel but we should never back down from sharing it. Paul was beaten and jailed many times because he shared the Gospel, but he never denied Christ. On Mars' hill he met with mixed attitudes. "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them." Acts 17:32-33. There's a good chance that when you speak of Christ to a crowd of lost souls you will be mocked. That doesn't mean you should keep silent. Some will think about what you say and those seeds you plant will grow. Some will believe, just as some believed Paul's words. "Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them." Acts 17:34. These names don't come up again in Scripture, but God knows what became of them and any others who accepted Christ for salvation. Because Paul was willing to share the Gospel in terms they could understand, there were some who gave up their idolatry and turned to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul was prepared. He knew of the saving power and forgiveness only found in Jesus. He was well studied and knew what the Athenians believed and therefore was able to talk to them in a way they could understand. More than that he knew the Truth. He studied Scripture and knew that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Are you sure enough of your faith to explain to a Mormon friend why they aren't saved unless they accept Christ as God Almighty instead of a lesser god? Can you explain to your very kindhearted neighbor why no matter how many good things they do, they are still a sinner in need of Jesus for salvation. Many Christians today don't know how to witness to others because pastors don't feel the need to equip the saints. Don't wait for someone to teach you but study your Bible. Know why you believe what you believe. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15. Unless you study you cannot answer questions or give a reason for your faith.
It can be intimidating to defend your faith. You don't need to be eloquent, but you do need to be able to share the Gospel with confidence. "And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." 1 Peter 3:13-16. Peter urged us to always be ready with an answer when asked about our faith in Jesus. You may face persecution and even be put to death, but be ready to share the Gospel. Peter was prepared and so was Paul. So were many Christians throughout the ages and even today. There are many people who would rather serve Satan than serve the Living God who gave His life to purchase our Redemption. People who persecute and kill Christians are lost souls who need to hear the Gospel. Are you prepared to explain why Allah isn't the god to follow? Only Jesus Christ shed His own blood to bring eternal life to all who believe. Start studying so you won't be ashamed by stuttering over an answer that should be sanctified in your heart and always on the tip of your tongue.
There are many lost souls around us. Be a witness for Christ by the way you conduct your life, the way you speak, and always be ready to answer questions.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Bookends of Life - By Grant Phillips - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/08/08/bookends-of-life/
W. Bullinger in his book Number In Scripture, made an observation I found to be quite interesting. He pointed out that the first recorded words of Jesus were, "And He said to them, "Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) Then he stated that Jesus' last words were, "It is finished." (John 19:30)
I find it to be very interesting, that from the first recorded moment of His life He was about the Father's business. During His ministry as a grown man, He said, "I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work." (John 9:4) Then, as he died on the cross He says, "It is finished."
While thinking about this, I realize this is something most of us realized all along, but have we actually given it a lot of thought?
Jesus said another time. "This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. "And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:39-40)
From beginning to end Jesus was about His Father's business. We can tell while reading the Scriptures that there were times He was very tired and He would try to rest. However, His rests were often short-lived.
Jesus gave 100% of Himself to obtain and secure salvation for any who will come to Him by simple childlike faith to be saved. Even now, in Heaven, He holds us secure in one hand and holds out the other for those who will believe.
How many of us can say we have put forth a portion of that effort in following Him daily? Day after day, without fail, He worked the Father's work for us. Our gratitude alone should inspire us to be more diligent in living for Him.
Even though no Christian will ever match the effort Jesus put forth for us, many have dedicated their lives to follow Jesus and it has shown in what they left behind. I am reminded of Paul for example. At the end of his life, just before he died and went on to be with the Lord, he wrote his protégé Timothy these words.
"For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
How many of us will be able to say from our deathbed, to those we know and love, words similar to those spoken by Paul to Timothy? Many down through the ages have done so. Others today will do so. I guess we need to ask, "What about me?"
For those of us who are saved, our gratitude alone for what Jesus has provided should be the inspiration that invigorates us each day to serve Him. I know some say, "But I'm not a pastor or missionary. What can I do?" Please read the following passage; 1 Corinthians 12:12-31. Do what you are called to do. That is all He asks.
Jesus' first recorded statement in the Scriptures and His last recorded statement in the Scriptures are like bookends that tell the story of His life. He began His life doing the Father's will. He lived His life doing the Father's will. He died doing the Father's will. What will the bookends of our life tell about us?
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: Prophetic observation on micro-chipping - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
USA Today reports that religious activists are appalled that a Wisconsin company, Three Square Market, is going to embed microchips in employees as an alternative to company badges and logons. An associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee told USA Today, "It will happen to everybody. But not this year, and not in 2018. Maybe not my generation, but certainly that of my kids." Another advocate and investor in chip technology, Gene Munster said that by 2067 "we will have been desensitized by the social stigma," implying that eventually everyone will be "chipped." The prophetic connotations of such a social movement certainly awaken apocalyptic concerns.
Religious groups are concerned about this move because of the end-time prophecies of the Apostle John in Revelation. Revelation 13 speaks of the antichrist and how he heads a one world government where "it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations." Those who would not worship his image he would kill. Verses 16-17 say, "And he caused all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads; and that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast or the number of his name."
Later, in Revelation 20:4 we see the reward of those who refused to take the mark of the beast: "And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." From these verses we know that Christians are not to take the mark of the beast in any way shape or form. Christians will be martyred for refusing to take the mark, but they will reign, and judge, and sit with Christ during the millennial kingdom.
Taking the mark of the beast is a very intentional act. Those taking the mark will do so knowing full well what it means. The mark of the beast is not going to be something that will be done secretly, deceitfully, using trickery or under false pretense because it has eternal implications for the very soul. While social security, credit cards, electronic cash, microchips and the like all desensitize people toward the eventual mark of the beast, every believer faced with the decision whether to take the mark, if they are taught properly and know their Bible, will know precisely what is at stake. In the last days, those facing the decision to take the mark of the beast will knowingly pledge eternal allegiance to the beast. And their decision will be informed with that understanding.
Daily Devotion: Will You Be a Barnabas? - By Greg Laurie -
"Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus." -Acts 9:27
When I gave my life to Christ during a meeting on my high school campus, I didn't know any Christians. I was starting to hang out with my old friends again when a guy named Mark walked up to me one day and introduced himself. He said, "I saw you go forward at the meeting the other day, and I'm going to take you to church."
"I don't really want to go to church," I said.
But Mark wouldn't let me off the hook. He took me to church, and he took me under his wing. He introduced me to his parents, who also were Christians and helped me become familiar with the Bible. I needed someone like that to help me out.
That is what we need to do with new believers, because the greatest danger new believers face after making a commitment to Christ is falling through the cracks and going back to their old friends and to their old ways. They need a brother or a sister in the Lord.
Saul had someone like that in the form of an unsung hero named Barnabas. When Saul returned to Jerusalem after his encounter with Christ on the Damascus road, the apostles didn't believe he was converted. But in Acts 9 we read, "Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus" (verse 27). Barnabas put it on the line and backed up Saul's story.
Everyone wants to be an apostle Paul, but who will be a Barnabas? God has a place for every one of us to be used for His glory.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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