Prophecy Update Newsletter
December 23, 2016
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Why Whoville Sings - By Hal Lindsey - http://www.hallindsey.com/ww-12-22-2016/
As we wrap our gifts... a holocaust envelopes and permeates the city of Aleppo, Syria. As we brave the flying elbows of frantic, last-minute shoppers... the people of Germany mourn their dead and tend to their wounded following yet another radical Islamic truck attack in Europe. As we hang our tinsel and cook our feasts... Christmas markets across Europe are closed. As we prepare to celebrate... new geopolitical fault lines appear around the world, and Russia and Turkey grapple with the assassination of a major diplomat.
Yet, we're right to rejoice. We ought to sing of "peace on earth" even though we don't yet see it. We should celebrate, decorate, feast, give gifts and receive them - even in times like these. Especially in times like these.
Admittedly, most people celebrate out of tradition. But that begs the question. What could stand behind a tradition of such power that it can't be stopped by war, famine, poverty, or natural disaster? Year after year, century after century, Christmas survives all these and more. In bad times or good, pain or ease, war or peace, the celebration continues.
In 1966, a new animated Christmas special came to television - "Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" In the story, the Grinch, a being with a heart "two sizes too small," hated everything about Christmas. Below his mountain lair, lay the town of Whoville. All the Whos of that town really loved Christmas. The Grinch said, "For fifty-three years I've put up with it now. I must stop Christmas from coming, but how?"
He decided to steal it. Disguised as Santa Claus, he stole the people of Whoville's presents, tinsel, and "roast beast." Then he took his spoils back up the mountain, and waited for the sounds of sadness.
But when Christmas morning dawned, he heard something else instead. "But this, this sound wasn't sad. Why, this sound sounded glad. Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small, was singing, without any presents at all! He hadn't stopped Christmas from coming. It came! Somehow or other, it came just the same."
"It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" says, "With the woes of sin and strife, the world has suffered long." But still we celebrate. Neither storms, wars, nor terror can stop it. That's because Christmas is more than presents, tinsel, or roast beast. It's even more than having loved ones near.
At this moment, soldiers stand guard at lonely outposts around the world. Followers of Christ on some parts of the planet have had yet another year of unthinkable persecution. Dear ones at home face words like cancer... divorce... and death.
People are hurting, but Christmas remains bright because we hold fast to the promise of Christ.
Part of that promise is yet future. In "Joy to the World," we sing, "No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow, far as the curse is found."
Today thorns still infest the ground. We still live in a world under a curse. But Jesus gave His word that He would return. The miraculous fulfilling of promises at His first coming, prove His credentials - that He was and is the long-expected Messiah. So, when He said, "I will come again," (John 14:3) we can trust Him.
We can say with assurance, "The government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever." (Isaiah 9:6-7 KJV)
And we can trust something else, also - something already on the books. He gives us peace now. He reconciles us to Himself now. In Him, our redemption is complete. Colossians 1:13-14 says, "For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins." (NASB)
"Have redemption." That's present tense. We have it right now. It became available to us as soon as the price was paid.
John 19:30 describes the triumph of Jesus on the cross. "He said, 'It is finished!' And He bowed His head, and gave up His spirit." (NASB)
To some, that hardly sounds like "triumph," but it is. The words, "It is finished" are the English translation of the Greek word, "tetelestai." That is an accounting term meaning, "Paid in full!" Jesus wasn't saying, "I am finished," as in "I'm about dead." He was saying that His redemptive work for humankind was complete. He took our sins on Himself and He paid for them "in full."
Why do we sing at Christmas even when the world looks bleak? Because Jesus redeemed us. He finished the work of our salvation. "Silent Night" says it well. "God and sinners reconciled."
And though the world itself remains dark, He has not finished with it. He promises to return. When George Frideric Handel wrote the "Hallelujah Chorus," he used three scriptures from Revelation - 19:6, 19:16, and 11:15. "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.... And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, and LORD OF LORDS.... The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever."
Israel and the rising new West - Caroline B. Glick - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-One-Israel-and-the-rising-new-West-476279
Next year will see general elections in Holland, France and Germany, and nationalist parties in all three countries are likely to win or at a minimum be profoundly strengthened.
US President Barack Obama has but a month left in office. But he has a month left. And he is using it. In the days remaining, Obama is using the full authority of his office to advance his policies with the hope of rendering permanent his mark on American policy.
Domestically, Obama is working to undercut the capacity of his successor, President-elect Donald Trump, to implement his plans of expanding domestic oil and gas exploration and development.
On Tuesday, Obama banned offshore drilling in large swathes of the Artic and Atlantic oceans.
In foreign affairs, Obama has Israel in his crosshairs.
It is now apparent that the lame duck president, bereft of any partisan restraints, intends to make good on his eight years of promises to use his last month in office to stick it to Israel at the UN.
The opening act of Obama's onslaught on Israel came on Wednesday, with State Department Spokesman James Kirby's fatuous and unprecedented claim that Israeli communities built beyond the 1949 armistice line - the so-called settlements - are illegal.
Late Wednesday, the UN suddenly announced it would hold a vote on an Egyptian resolution parroting that language, and calling for a complete halt on construction projects for Jews in the areas, including Jerusalem.
The draft resolution included a call for an international governmental embrace of economic warfare against Israel. It called upon member states "to distinguish in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967."
An indication of the depth of Obama's commitment to enabling the resolution to pass came amid reports that Secretary of State John Kerry was planning to address the Security Council ahead of the scheduled vote.
In any event, following massive pressure from Israel and a statement by President-elect Donald Trump calling for Obama to veto the resolution, Egypt postponed the vote on its resolution "indefinitely."
But with or without the resolution - and there are at least two others also poised for a vote - Obama is using his remaining time to empower the anti-Israel boycott, divestment and sanctions operation aimed at destroying Israel's economy and international position.
As Anne Bayevsky reported in the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, Obama is supporting the UN budget which allocates funding toward the implementation of a UN Human Rights Council resolution promoting BDS. The resolution requires the Human Rights Council to compile a blacklist of companies worldwide with direct or indirect business ties to Israeli communities built beyond the 1949 armistice lines. Since all businesses doing business with Israeli entities have indirect or direct ties to the areas where some 750,000 Israeli live, the resolution represents a bid to conduct total war against the Israeli economy.
And Obama is funding its implementation.
Moreover, Obama is trying to box the Trump administration into continuing his supportive stance on the Human Rights Council. Whereas the Bush administration refused to join the inherently and incurably anti-Israel body, Obama has lavished it with legitimacy and funding.
This month the administration won a new three-year term for the US on the council beginning on January 1. This means that regardless of Trump's approach to the phony human rights body, the US is now saddled with membership for the bulk of his presidential term.
One of the things operating in Israel's favor as it seeks to undo Obama's hostile legacy once he is gone, is that Trump's election is part and parcel of a wide-scale change in Western politics that is fundamentally transforming the so-called "international community" that provides knee-jerk support for BDS and every other anti-Israel initiative.
The term "international community," of course, is just a grandiose name for the collective views of the Western European elites and those of their counterparts on the US coasts. And as Trump's victory and the British decision to withdraw from the European Union indicated, the elites' capacity to impose their views on voters is fast disappearing.
The populist wave that approved Brexit and brought Trump to power is far from spent force. Next year will see general elections in Holland, France and Germany, and nationalist parties in all three countries are likely to win or at a minimum be profoundly strengthened. This means that the likelihood the EU will break apart is rising with each passing day. And the foreign policies of the separate states of Europe will be far different than their collective positions under the EU.
The main cause of the swift rise of the nationalist Right throughout Western Europe is the mass Muslim migration to Europe. Profound public opposition to the deluge of migrants from Muslim states is bringing about wholesale popular rejection of the multicultural and anti-nationalist values that dictated the tone and substance of European politics for two generations. The implications of this revolutionary shift in values and its impact on European politics are enormous. And Israel stands to be one of the first beneficiaries of this transformation, if our foreign policy bureaucracy is capable of understanding what is happening.
Unfortunately, actions by the Foreign Ministry this week indicate that our diplomatic bureaucrats haven't the vaguest idea of what is happening, or why these developments can be beneficial for Israel.
The Foreign Ministry announced this week that the government was boycotting a delegation of visiting European lawmakers because Kristina Winberg, a member of Sweden's rightist Swedish Democrats party, was among its members.
In recent weeks, the Foreign Ministry has managed to boycott Sweden's entire political spectrum. Last week, the ministry announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had rejected Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom's request for a meeting due to scheduling difficulties.
Wallstrom richly deserves the government's unofficial boycott. Among other things, Wallstrom blamed Israel for the massacres in Paris last November.
While the Foreign Ministry used a procedural excuse to brush off Wallstrom, it threw diplomatic protocol to the seven winds when it announced that Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely's scheduled briefing of the delegation of European lawmakers was canceled due to Winberg's participation.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said that the Swedish Democrats party "has neo-Nazi tendencies, and therefore the Foreign Ministry decided not to include [Winberg] in the meeting with Hotovely."
Winberg's colleague, who included a member of Trump's transition team, were appalled by the boycott. To protest the move, the entire delegation canceled its meeting with Hotovely.
The delegation was in Israel to participate in a leadership summit in Jerusalem. Due to its position on the Sweden Democrats, the Foreign Ministry caused Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked to cancel her scheduled remarks at the conference.
In other words, the Foreign Ministry adopted and implemented a comprehensive, public and undiplomatic boycott of the rightist party.
It is unclear who stands behind this policy. But whoever is responsible should be subjected to a career review. The policy is as destructive to Israel's national interests as it is unjust to the Swedish Democrats.
The Swedish Democrats party is the only pro-Israel political party in Sweden. It is the only party that opposed Sweden's recognition of "Palestine."
The Foreign Ministry's claim that the party has "neo-Nazi tendencies" is tendentious. Earlier this month, the party took the extreme step of banning one of its own lawmakers from the party after she made an antisemitic statement. In the past it disbanded its youth wing and formed a new one amidst allegations of antisemitism. How many Nazi parties expel their members or disband their youth wings for hating Jews? The Swedish Democrats party, which is identified with the nationalist right, has built is political position around its unqualified opposition to immigration. For its opposition to immigration, the Democrats are castigated continuously as racists by their political rivals.
There is every reason to believe there are Jew-haters among the party's members. But unlike members of Wallstrom's Social Democratic Party, Swedish Democrats don't participate in anti-Israel demonstrations where Hezbollah and Hamas flags are prominent. Indeed, they don't participate in anti-Israel demonstrations at all.
Moreover, they are the fastest growing and largest party in Sweden. This fact makes the Foreign Ministry's treatment of Winberg not only unjust, but deeply stupid as well. A mere decade after it won its first representation in parliament, the Swedish Democrats have been leading political polls for the past year. And the Foreign Ministry just called it a Nazi party.
Sadly, it isn't much of a surprise that the Foreign Ministry has failed to read the writing on the walls in Sweden and act appropriately. Our foreign and defense bureaucracies have a storied record of missing major developments. They are too busy talking to their bureaucratic counterparts to pay attention to what the public is saying.
In Egypt for instance, no one was more surprised at then-president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow and the concomitant rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt than the defense establishment, whose members were largely responsible for handling Israel's bilateral relations with Mubarak.
In the decade or more that preceded Mubarak's overthrow, anyone paying attention to open source polling data of public opinion in Egypt, or to what was being said in the Egyptian media, was aware of the deep-seated and rising public frustration and disgust with Mubarak, his sons and his cronies. But since the only people that Israel's defense establishment spoke to were Mubarak, his sons and his cronies, they were taken by complete surprise when he was overthrown and replaced with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Obama will continue to be the president until 12:00 p.m. on January 20. And Israel can expect him to use this time to take the actions against Israel that he has been threatening to take for eight years. One way or another, he will exact his pound of flesh.
But at 12:01 on January 20, a new era will begin.
And in the coming months, as the next wave of populist right-wing parties rise to power in Europe, the "international community" that has been unanimous in its backing of the anti-Israel policies for a generation will become an altogether different body.
This new era presents Israel with profound, indeed unprecedented opportunities. But if our foreign and defense bureaucrats continue to behave as though nothing has happened, we will fail to benefit from any of them.
The Seeds of Messiah Planted in the Ruins of Amona - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/80672/seeds-messiah-planted-ruins-amona/#QKBtFy2aSmfbriED.97
"And Chephar-ammonah, and Ophni, and Geba; twelve cities with their villages" Joshua 18:24 (The Israel Bible™)
On Sunday, December 25th, when Jews and Christians around the world will be celebrating their respective holidays, the 42 families of Amona will watch as police and soldiers come pouring into their town to remove them from their homes. Ironically, some rabbis are seeing great, even Messianic beginnings in what appears at first glance to be an onslaught of unnecessary destruction.
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat (Safed), published an article in Israel National News on Thursday about the Amona episode, citing the admonishment by Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai, a second century sage quoted throughout the Talmud, that the Land of Israel is only acquired through suffering.
"Our sages teach that one of the ten trials of Abraham entailed acquiring the Cave of Machpela (Cave of the Patriarchs)," wrote Rabbi Eliyahu. "Why was the transaction with Ephron considered a trial? Because Abraham had to pay an exorbitant price and beg the Hittites to sell him the cave, after G-d [Himself] had promised Abraham the entire land."
"[Abraham] wasn't interested in his honor or pride when appearing before the Hittites," continued the rabbi. "We, too, must remind ourselves that our goal is settling the Land. It is a positive commandment whose value is worth the entire Torah, and if, for this, we must sign for the Supreme Court - we will do this too to fulfill the commandment."
Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, told Breaking Israel News that, as Rabbi Eliyahu explained, suffering always precedes great achievements for Israel.
"It is difficult to understand and forbidden to state with certainty, but it is for this reason the Holocaust preceded the State of Israel," Rabbi Berger said, quoting Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, an 18th century Italian kabbalist known by the acronym Ramchal. "The Ramchal stated that rotting and descent are always necessary for growth. It is like a fruit that falls to the ground and rots before it puts out roots in order to create a tree."
Rabbi Berger noted this is a trait of Israel, as written in the Torah.
Behold a people that riseth up as a lioness, and as a lion doth he lift himself up; he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain. Numbers 23:24
Rabbi Berger stated that the destruction of Amona on the first day of Hanukkah was connected to the beginnings of Geula (redemption), citing "Bnei Yissaschar", a kabbalistic book written by Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Dinov in the late 18th century.
"The hidden light of Messiah will begin to be revealed during Hanukkah," Rabbi Berger divulged. "It is the light that comes from darkness, which is what we are seeing in the destruction of Amona."
Rabbi Eliyahu concluded with a blessing for the families of Amona: "Lovers of the Land of Israel everywhere salute you with love, and pray that you will merit to settle the entire land on which Abraham our forefather established an altar and called out to G-d. Amen."
The battle for Amona began twelve years ago, when Palestinians, aided by left-wing foreign funded NGO's, petitioned the High Court claiming the community was built on Palestinian-owned land. Despite numerous appeals and delays, the final date to demolish the settlement was set for this coming Sunday.
Earlier this week, the families of Amona accepted an offer from the government in which they would voluntarily leave their homes in exchange for financial compensation and a guarantee that 24 families would be allowed to build new homes on a nearby plot of land. The rest of the families will be given plots to rebuild in the nearby city of Ofra.
Though this seems to have defused the situation, Israelis are watching events unfold, praying that this time will not be a reenactment of the violence that occurred in Amona ten years ago. In 2006, nine houses had been ordered destroyed by the Israeli high court. On the day of the evictions, 10,000 Israeli Police and IDF troops faced an estimated 4,000 protesters. By day's end, the houses had been demolished but more than 300 people were injured, including about 80 security personnel.
Despite the signed agreement, tensions are still high as the government and settlers eye each other with caution and more than a bit of mistrust. The High Court is aware of this and on Wednesday night issued a demand that residents sign a declaration they will leave peacefully.
Israeli police are also preparing for the eviction. Channel 2 news reported on Saturday that prison authorities had emptied entire wings in preparation for mass arrests.
A confrontation between Israelis and their own soldiers would be painful for both sides. On Friday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted a video, calling on protesters "not to harm IDF soldiers and security forces under any circumstances. They are our sons, the apples of our eye, they are dear to all of us and keep all of us safe.There is no place for violence."
The rabbi of Amona, Rabbi Yair Frank, released a statement on Saturday, asking protesters to refrain from harming security forces. "Our complete opposition to the destruction of the town of Amona must be expressed in a passive and nonviolent protest only. It is clear to us no one, in no situation, will raise a hand against the soldiers and policemen, who are our brothers," he said.
An archeological mystery and the search for King David - Ben Fisher - http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Two-gates-at-least-two-opinions-473553
Is Khirbet Qeiyafa the lost biblical city of Shaaraim? And did it have a shrine modeled after Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem?
Perched on a hill overlooking the Eila Valley, a couple of kilometers southwest of Beit Shemesh, is an Iron Age archeological site known as Khirbet Qeiyafa. That much is certain.
The answers to other questions about the ruins, including the identity of its inhabitants, whether it contained the palace of King David and whether it should be identified as the biblical site of Shaaraim are a lot more nebulous.
The first evidence to indicate that this may be the biblical city of Shaaraim - Hebrew for "two gates" - is indeed the two gates that were found to have been existed there in the past. Critics argue, however, that Shaaraim was not the only biblical city with two gates (Megiddo also had two gates, for instance).
And that is just the beginning of the argument surrounding this ancient site.
SHAARAIM IS mentioned in the Book of Deuteronomy as the place where the Philistines were slain - "on the road to Shaaraim" - following the battle of David and Goliath.
In I Chronicles 4:31, Shaaraim is listed as one of the sites under the reign of King David, I Samuel 17:11 describes the lead up to the battle between David and Goliath: "The Philistines assembled their forces for battle; they massed at Socoh of Judah, and encamped at Ephes-dammim, between Socoh and Azekah. Saul and the men of Israel massed and encamped in the valley of Elah," and in I Samuel 17:52 it is listed as one of the places the Philistines ran after their defeat in the battle of David and Goliath: "And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until you come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron.
And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even to Gath, and to Ekron."
Khirbet Qeiyafa lies in the Eila Valley directly between the sites that archeologists have identified as the biblical Socoh and Azekah. It had been documented as early as the 19th century and appears in maps from the time.
It was excavated in the years 2007-2013, and for the first time since the dig, artifacts from Khirbet Qeiyafa are on display at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem under the title "In The Valley of David and Goliath."
Curated by Yehuda Kaplan, weapons, cookware, tools, inscriptions and more are displayed from the excavation, which was headed by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University, Sa'ar Ganor from the Israel Antiquities Authority and Prof. Michael Hasel of the Southern Adventist University of Tennessee.
To reach the exhibition, you walk down a narrow hallway with a corridor- length photograph stretching along one of the walls. It's a panoramic view of the Eila Valley with all modern structures photoshopped out. You're seeing the valley the way the inhabitants of Khirbet Qeiyafa would have. On top of that, the exhibition's design makes you feel like you're inside the site, with large rock decals plastered on the wall, and a southern and western "gate," like those of the site to enter and exit the exhibition.
"We wanted to 'bring' people to the site," Amanda Weiss, director of the Bible Lands Museum, told The Jerusalem Post Magazine.
Weiss said that one of her "current pet peeves" is the recent UNESCO resolution that negates a Jewish connection to Jerusalem. "This exhibition shows our deep connection to the land," she said.
But does the site really confirm an ancient Jewish connection to the land? And does it have anything at all to do with the Bible's most famous monarch, King David? "I don't see myself - as the curator - as the one who has to convince if [someone is] right or wrong. What we try to do here is bring the evidence... and we bring about [the archeologist's] theory," says Kaplan. "The excavators believe this was a Judahite town on the border with Philistia, and because of the dating, the reasonable candidate to initiate [the building of] this [site] was David."
Khirbet Qeiyafa has added fuel to the fire of a debate that has been going on in the archeological world for the last 40 years, according to Kaplan, a debate about whether the biblical representation of the "united monarchy" - referring to the period of time under Solomon and David - and whether it is historical or fiction.
"In the '60s," Kaplan explains, "the time of [American archeologist and biblical scholar William] Albright, it [was customary] to hold the Bible in one hand and the spade in the other. The purpose was to prove the Bible through archeology." Albright became best known for his work in authenticating the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1948.
Later on, Kaplan says, scholars became more critical, and in the '70s, many archeologists took the opposite approach, considering the Bible a myth - that King David wasn't a real person but rather like the British King Arthur, a fictional, ideal role model for any king to aspire to.
KAPLAN HIGHLIGHTS the urban planning of the contested site and says that it signifies that Khirbet Qeiyafa was a city, not a village. The wall that encircles Khirbet Qeiyafa is what is known as a "casemate wall," a wall built from two parallel walls, and perpendicular, smaller walls intersect the wall into rooms, or cells.
"The excavators think that this kind of urban planning is something that you see in Judah 100 or 200 years later in sites like Tel Sheva and Beit Shemesh," he says. "This is a very good case for them."
Among other things, the findings shed light on the diet of the inhabitants of Khirbet Qeiyafa. At the site, cow bones, sheep bones and goat bones were found, but not pig bones, which may point, as Kaplan explains, to a society that kept kosher laws.
In a glass case in the corner of the exhibition, Kaplan shows off what he calls "the true heroes of Khirbet Qeiyafa."
These are about two dozen charred olive pits. The pits were found inside the houses and were sent for carbon-14 dating at Oxford University. When the results came back, the dating confirmed that archeologists were dealing with a site from the late 11th to early 10th century BCE, which is "a very, very important period of time, a very much debated in biblical history, because this was the transition between the period of the judges to the early monarchy."
One of the most interesting finds from the site is a particular cultic artifact, a religious item, which Kaplan refers to as a "shrine model." About a 30 cm. tall and made of limestone, it features inverted frames around the model's doorway, and triglyphs - imitated stone roof beams. Prior to finding this model, archeologists thought the style came from Greece and was introduced to the Middle East at some point during the third century BCE, however this model predates that by 700 years.
Even more interestingly, the find led some archeologists to the theory that the shrine is modeled after Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem. According to them, introverted door frames and triglyphs match descriptions of the temple in the Bible.
Not everyone agrees Dr. Israel Finkelstein, an archeologist from Tel Aviv University, isn't buying what the site's excavators are selling.
First of all, he rejects the methodology of their dig, saying that it was "dug in haste" in his report on the site, Khirbet Qeiyafa: An Unsensational Archaeological and Historical Interpretation. Finkelstein told the Magazine that he believes it is inaccurate to label the site Shaaraim because it "appears in the Bible in Deuteronomistic texts, which date to the late seventh century BCE. Yet, Khirbet Qeiyafa does not have finds from that period. This makes the identification impossible."
Despite that, he says that "One cannot exclude the possibility that the site was associated with Judah." But it's not the lack of pig bones that brought him to that conclusion. "The accumulation of data in the last few years indicates that lack of pig bones is not characteristic solely [of] highland sites. For instance, a rural site in Philistia (Nahal Besor) not too far from Gaza did not yield pig bones. In other words, large numbers of pig bones is typical mainly to urban Philistine sites," he said.
Responding in an email to some of Finkelstein's points, Garfinkel went on the attack. "We have fresh data and Finkelstein has a collapsed theory. His strategy to opposed opinions is bad and evil language. It does not deserve any comments."
Nevertheless, he did raise two points in response to Finkelstein's criticism.
With regard to the accusation that the excavation was done in "haste" Garfinkel said: "In the excavation we screened all the... sediment, which took hundreds of working hours every day. In our excavations we uncovered many small artifacts, like beads, seals and scarabs. In Megiddo [a site excavated by Finkelstein]...not so many were found. So I would say that we are collecting the important finds quickly."
Hasel, one of Garfinkel's partners in excavating the site, added: "The site was dug over a period of seven seasons by a very large team of 50 to 90 trained staff and volunteers each season for six weeks. In this way, we were able to expose a large portion of the city. No one else in the archeological community has questioned our methodology."
While Garfinkel would present the two gates of Khirbet Qeiyafa as the best evidence to convince the public that the site is indeed Shaaraim, Hasel says that to pick a single piece of evidence in making the case is an oversimplification.
"We have published 12 reasons why the site can be considered Judahite," he says. "[Among them are the facts that] it dates to the time of Saul and David. It is located in the precise place where the I Samuel narrative of David and Goliath takes place, and the site has the unusual feature of having two gates."
The ruins of a large building at the center of the site are also contentious.
Kaplan only referred to it as an administrative building, but Hasel and Garfinkel suggest that it was a palace built by King Saul or David: "We can only hypothesize then who built the site and used the building. Some would like to suggest it was Saul. We suggest David. [In I Chronicles 4:31, Shaaraim is listed as one of the sites under the reign of King David.] Either way, it reflects the period described in the Bible as the beginning of the monarchy in Israel. Even if Saul built the site, as Finkelstein suggests, would not David have continued to use it as a garrison city located on the border between Philistia and Judah during his subsequent reign? We believe that it is a logical hypothesis that David could have used this monumental building which dates to the time of his reign."
Finkelstein responded that the phrase Hasel attributed to him "Saul built the site," is "a bit strong" and admitted that archeologists "don't really know too much about this early North Israelite polity [referring to Qeiyafa] and the number of rulers and their exact time."
And, as with many sites, only a small portion was excavated. But even so, Hasel is confident with the area that they've dug. "We have excavated more of Khirbet Qeiyafa than almost any other major site in Israel. We excavated 25% of the site. Another 30% is exposed bedrock and cannot be excavated.
The result is that we know 55% of the site. Most other Iron Age sites have less than 5% of them that have been excavated and have no exposed bedrock.
If anything, we can be more certain about our conclusions at Qeiyafa than in most other [sites] in Israel," he points out.
Iron Age Khirbet Qeiyafa was inhabited for only 30 to 40 years and according to Kaplan there is evidence that it was not only abandoned, but also destroyed. But with its impressive walls and double gates, its administrative building or palace (depending on whom you ask), the mystery shrouding the site still occupies the minds of archeologists, professors and museum- goers some 3,000 years later.
In The Blink Of An Eye - By Grant Phillips - http://raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips353.html
"In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." (1 Corinthians 15:52)
In the above verse we see that when Jesus Christ comes for His Church at the Rapture, it will happen very suddenly and will take less than one second. Think about that. In less than one second the Rapture will start and end. In less than one second everyone who is in Christ, whether alive or dead, will be removed from earth and transferred to Heaven. Now that is fast!
The Greek word for "moment" in the above verse is atomos. We get our word "atom" from this word. (Does that tell you anything?) So, in a very small (think "atom") amount of time, as in the blink of an eye (twinkling of an eye) the Rapture will happen.
Apparently when the eye blinks it takes anywhere from 0.1 to 0.4 seconds or 100 to 400 milliseconds. One second equals 1,000 milliseconds. So as little as one tenth of a second to four tenths of a second the Rapture will start and end. No wonder Jesus told us to be watching and be ready!
I've always felt that God has a specific number of people in mind to complete His Church, the bride. In other words, when a certain number is reached, the Rapture will occur. Think about this, using the number "100" merely as a very simple example. If the Lord's number to be reached for the Church is 100, when 100 is reached, the door is closed for the Church age.
Black Friday is coming up soon. If a department store says "we will accept the first 100 shoppers," then that means anyone coming after that is excluded. If a movie theater accepts so many patrons to watch a newly released premier movie, no one else can get in once the theater is full. In either case, late arrivals are in for a shock, and so it is with the Rapture.
Nobody knows but God how many 'spaces' are available to be a part of the Lord's true Church (His bride). There may be dozens, hundreds, thousands, or millions. We don't know. We do know this. They are filling up fast. Many people all over the world are still being saved.
One of Satan's greatest lies is to convince us that we have plenty of time. Most people never get in a hurry when it comes to the well-being of their soul. I suppose we think we'll live forever and if the Rapture happens we'll just call out, "Hold up a minute. I'm coming." Then there are those who still just don't believe what God says about sin and our necessity for a Savior.
I've always been one of those people who have to be early if I need to be somewhere. There are others. I've met them. There are also those dear folks who never ever get in a hurry, and are usually late. I've seen plenty of them too. Which are you?
If I'm hiring someone for a job, they've already impressed me, negatively, if they are late for the interview, but a job interview just doesn't hold the same weight as the importance of our eternity destiny.
It's entirely possible that many of us may be alive when the Rapture occurs, but how many will have to suffer the anguish of the Tribulation because they thought they had plenty of time? How many will suffer the fires of hell because they thought they had plenty of time, but death swallowed them whole before they even realized what happened?
How long does it take to die? Sometimes it does take days, weeks, and more. How many of those who died within seconds from a car wreck, or heart attack thought there were years remaining to do something about their soul's destiny? Folks we have no guarantee of our next breath.
"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring." (Proverbs 27:1)
"Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." (James 4:14 NIV)
In the blink of an eye we can be dead. In the blink of an eye the Rapture can occur. Have you made preparations? Are you ready?
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
Names of Jesus: Immanuel - Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/names-of-jesus-immanuel/
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." (Matthew 1:23)
It defies logic that the eternal, Son of God stepped down off His Heavenly throne and became the Son of Man, entering our world as a helpless infant. He became flesh and dwelt among us to save us from our sins and allow us to become children of God and dwell with Him forever. (Psalm 23:6) He is Immanuel, God with us. He is with us always, (Matthew 28:20) He will never leave us nor forsake us, (Hebrews 13:5) and we can never flee from His presence. (Psalm 139:7-12)
In the midst of our growing to do lists and our anxieties, God is with us. In our loneliness, God is with us. In our pain and suffering, God is with us. He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4) He comforts us in all our troubles. (2 Corinthians 1:4) He is our refuge, our strength and our ever present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) He is forgiving and faithful and delights to show mercy. (Micah 7:18) Our God truly is an awesome God. He is great beyond our comprehension. We put our lives into His hands knowing that He will do a much better job with it than we ever could.
Today as we go about our last minute tasks, let us keep in mind that our God is with us. Instead of anxiety over all there is to do, let's remember that the only work He requires is to believe in the one He has sent. Once we have entered His rest everything we do from then on, we do in gratitude. We can do nothing to earn this unmerited favor, and nothing we do can take it away. He is with us. Immanuel. Let us keep this immeasurable truth in our minds today and always, that the creator of the universe, our Savior, is for us and is always with us. Praise be to God! Amen and Amen!
Daily Jot: The Miracle - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."-Isaiah 9:6-7. This prophecy was written by Isaiah some 755 years before the birth of our savior Jesus Christ. You know, the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ fulfilled over 300 prophecies.
In Lee Strobel's book, "The Case for Christ," he points out that the probability of just eight prophecies being fulfilled is one chance in one hundred million billion. Strobel then quotes mathematician Peter Stoner who calculated that the probability of fulfilling 48 prophecies was one chance in a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion! Think about the probability of fulfilling 332 prophecies. But Jesus did just that. One pastor I knew illustrated the point by saying that you could fill the entire state of Texas six foot deep in silver dollars and ask a blind man to find one special marked dollar and he would have about the same chances in finding it as a person fulfilling just 48 of these prophecies.
The prophecy of Isaiah, however, says that "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this." How fantastic, the miracle of miracles performed by the ZEAL of the God. I do not know the chances of a worldwide flood, but we have seen floods before and they are something we can comprehend. I do not know the chances of changing water into wine, but we have seen that wine is a liquid made up of water and juice, so it is something we can understand. I do not know the chances of a virgin birth, but we see children being born everyday, so perhaps that is possible. But the Lord of Hosts wanted the world to know that His Son's birth, life, death and resurrection was THE miracle, fulfilling over 300 prophecies given over a span of thousands of years.
I wonder how many people who celebrate the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ even know Him. And while we spend time with family, exchange gifts, eat good food, feel the warmth and love around us, where ever we are at, let us take a moment and remember the miracle of Jesus Christ, that He was born into this world as performed by the ZEAL of the Lord of Hosts. That "zeal" was for us, that we might have a way to spend eternity with God. Jesus said in John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." No other religion has a God who loves us so. Share Christ with someone today.
Daily Devotion: Don't Miss Christmas - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Joy to the world! The Lord is come. Let earth receive her King. Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room.-Joy to the World
This Christmas, don't miss the point of celebrating Christmas. Don't be like the innkeeper, who missed Jesus because he was too busy (see Luke 2). Make time for the Lord. Don't be like King Herod, who was too afraid to let Christ rule his life (see Matthew 2). Turn your heart over to Christ. Finally, don't run your life like the Roman Empire, who missed Christmas because other gods took the place of Christ in their lives. Allow nothing else to take the place of worshipping Jesus Christ.
On Christmas morning we will unwrap our Christmas presents, but eventually the novelty of it all will wear off. The present that was once so precious to you will end up stuffed in the closet or handed off to someone else. A newer version of your latest gadget will arrive that has more megapixels, or is smaller, or faster, or has better battery life. In time, your Christmas gifts will mostly be forgotten. But God has given us the ultimate gift-the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.
Don't miss Christmas this year. As Watts and Handel once wrote, "Let ev'ry heart prepare Him room."
FROM THE HEART
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