Behold, Our Blessed Hope is in Jesus
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Behold, Our Blessed Hope is in Jesus - By Pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2021/12/behold-our-blessed-hope-is-in-jesus.html
8” But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.” (1st Corinthians 5:8-10)
9 “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.” (1st Thessalonians 1:9-10)
11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;" (Titus 2:11-13)
The above passages has been used many, many times to support the doctrine of a HARPAZO, or the redemption of the Church when Jesus comes for His own before the Tribulation starts. It is popularly called the RAPTURE. This doctrine has been in existence since the 1st century, but was forgotten because of the rising of a Gnostic church in the Middle Ages, that hid those facts from the people, due to its lust for power on earth. It was not again revealed and re-discovered until the 18th century, and was designed by God for the End of Age, the age we live in right now.
SOME MOCK THAT THE RAPTURE IS AN ESCAPE HATCH
Some take issue with that concept, saying “are we any better than the apostles, or the untold amount of men down through the ages that suffered persecution?” They are referring to the coming Tribulation and why are we exempt from this time? Their mocking of the rapture as being an escape hatch from persecution, but fail to understand that the removal of the church is not an escape but a fulfillment of the promises of God and we have VICTORY IN JESUS over this sinful world.
The answer to that question they propose of course is no, we are not better than than those who have suffered persecution from mortal men, but in these last days of the government of men over their own affairs, God has promised us something they did not have. We are separated from the coming wrath of God by time and space. That is the difference between them and us. Down through the ages, there have always been men who would bring harm and even death to other men over religious beliefs. Men have always persecuted other men, and that doesn't mean we won't see some form of persecution before Jesus comes, but we keep our faith that Jesus will protect His own, based on the clear meanings of Psalms 91, which I proclaim to all who are His own.
TIME WHEN MEN PERSECUTED THOSE WHO WOULD NOT BOW
I am reminded of the Dark Ages, when a ruling theocracy slaughtered untold amount of people for the quest and lust for power over other men, and destroyed all who would not bend the knee to its rule. But down through the ages, you cannot find, or point to in the Bible an instance where those who follow after our God, our Lord and Savior, have experienced the wrath of the Almighty falling on their heads. Many Biblical stories chronicle how God has a Divine habit of removing His chosen people out of the way, when His wrath against rebellious mankind falls on them.
Speaking of the Dark Ages, this same church came up with a blasphemous doctrine that all who die must pass through a “temporary” state of punishment in fire to rid them of unforgiven sins. They called it venial sins. If Jesus did not die for the whole earth, and those who believe in Him are not cleansed TOTALLY from past, present and future sins, then to pass through the wrath of God during the Tribulation is akin to this hideous doctrine of purgatory, that the blood of Jesus just wasn't quite able to save a man totally from His sins. Which any truly washed in the blood of Calvary, a Christian knows is not true. But let's return to the stories of the Bible that speaks of this removal from God's wrath.
SHORT EXAMPLES OF REMOVAL FROM GOD'S WRATH
Some of the more obvious aspects of that fact are the children of Israel during the Egyptian enslavement and the plague after plague brought about to the rebellious Pharoah who defied God and His commands and wouldn't let God's people go. These plagues were isolated to Egypt and never came close to the land of Goshen, where the Hebrew slaves were living.
Then there is Noah and Lot, who both were removed from the wrath of God, one by an ark, the other fleeing to the mountains before the angels of God were sent to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Springing off these well know Biblical stories, I find no account where God has subjected His people to His own righteous wrath. Can you? Some will say that they went through, not out of the wrath of God, but are they missing something? I think they are.
But let us explore briefly what the Bible says we can expect as this Age of Grace draws to a close. There are many verses scattered about that supports that when God's wrath falls upon this planet, the Church of the Living God will not be present.
EXPLAINING THE CONCEPT TO A FRIEND
I was having a conversation with an online friend, who was an admitted post-tribulation believer, and as we conversed back and forth, I brought up a well know verse found in your Bible:
10 “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.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” (Revelation 3:10-11)
Here our Risen Lord speaks to the apostle John and tells him, that because those who have kept His Word and followed His commands, our Lord promises us that we will be kept from this hour of temptation. Our God and Savior gave us commands to follow, and a way back to God our Father and He is the only Way.
“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me.”
In speaking with my online friend, who is a student of the Hebrew and Greek translations concerning Bible text, I pointed out to him that the original Greek shows that this passage speaks of the Church being taken out of, not through the tribulation.
Many people debate this verse and make assumptions that like Lot and Noah, or even the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, that they were brought through the wrath of God. But even my friend didn't realize that there is one word in the Greek that is in this passage and changes the whole meaning of the passage, and he had read it many times, and passed right over it. The passage that tells us “I also will keep thee from the hour of Temptation”, that the words “I will keep thee” in the original Greek centers on the Greek word (εκ [ek] ) that here denotes out of not through the wrath of God. My friend was flabberghasted, that the original Greek spoke that the Church is taken “out of” the coming wrath of God that falls on the whole world. I believe I changed his mind, as he confessed it as so.
We continued our discussion as I told him that even in the Old Testament that there is proof of the Church being removed from this earth and put into “our chambers” Needless to say, as we talked, the friend got real quiet.
19 “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.” (Isaiah 26:19-21)
Notice that it speaks of the dead rising and being taken to chambers that they are to shut the doors behind them, because the wrath of God, or indignation is going to punish the inhabitants of the earth. It speaks of what I believe was revealed to the Apostle Paul, when being taught by revelation by our Lord Jesus while living in the Arabian desert for three years, before he even came to the disciple of Jesus in Jerusalem. Paul prophecies it even further than Isaiah in his prophecy.
51 “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 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.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1st Corinthians 15:51-55)
Paul reaffirms this prophecy when speaking to the Thessalonians and adds more visual information about our change that we will experience:
13 “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18)
In your mind, if you visualize what Isaiah wrote and what Paul repeated twice in his epistles, you can see that those who are in the dust of the earth, asleep in their graves (that being their mortal bodies, as the spirit is not there), they are suddenly changed, reunited with their physical bodies and changed into immortal Spirits into what Jesus is right now, a Glorified Man of flesh and bones. This is the same type of body that Jesus revealed to His apostles in their closed room and sat and ate fish and honeycomb in their presence to prove to them He was not a ghost or phantom. Jesus was an entirely flesh and bone being, that they could handle and feel, and ate before them, BUT could vanish from their site, and walk through walls. These immortal Spirits that we will be are commanded to enter their chambers and shut the doors behind them, till God's wrath is spent and the blood will be disclosed on the earth and will not be hidden.
But what bodies are we talking about here when we speak of being changed in the twinkling of an eye?
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.” (1st John 3:1-3)
Till that day overtakes us and we are transported so much like the Star Trek episodes used to do, and many who read this can identify with a very objective visual about “beam me up, Scotty” and being transported from one place to another, we look for our Blessed Hope.
11 “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works”. (Titus 2:11-14)
Ok. My friend asked, so where are these chambers that this passage speaks of? Isaiah has a sister verse, I believe, that adjoins what even Paul wrote and it was spoke of by our Lord Jesus when comforting His disciples.
1, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.” (John 14:1-4)
This Jesus spoke to draw off their minds from an earthly kingdom to an heavenly one; to point out the place to them whither he was going, and to support them with the views and hopes of glory under all their troubles. By his "Father's house" is meant heaven;
10 “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.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:10 )
We are taken to His Father's house and receive rewards based on our service for God. This is His Father's building, where he has, and will have all his family. Note that Jesus is coming to bring us to Himself, and to “receive you unto myself, that where I AM, there you may be also”. Jesus is in heaven's realm at the right hand of the Father on His Throne. Jesus will bring us to His Father's house, not come to us, but we come to Him. Another clue to the HARPAZO.
The visualization of these verses brings home to those who look for our Blessed Hope, that there is a glorious future where we will be Kings and Priest to our God and we shall reign upon the earth. John sees a symbolic representation of this truth that the Church is in God's presence, that John sees in a vision of the future.
4 "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”( Revelation 4:4)
Note that the description of these elders? Many have tried to hypothesize who they are. Some say angels, some say they are not human, and others have no idea, so they just pass over without discernment. Angels have never been given crowns, and these saints are entirely human. They are seated, so their work is over and they are at rest. They are on thrones, so they are rulers along with God. They are clothed with white raiment, which is a symbol and sign of the saints of God. They are crowned with gold crowns, so they have been exalted to a high position in the government of God.
This vision shows John that the Church here is symbolized by 24 elders, which is a multiplication of the number 12, which in the Bible, is a sign of government. Half from the Old Testament saints, and half from the New Testament Saints, is my belief...all comprising the Church, each look either forward or back at the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Roman cross of His crucifixion for the sins of the world by faith of both groups. The first group of saints were taken to someplace in the heavens, as Jesus emptied Paradise of Old Testament saints when He was resurrected.
7” “But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.” (Ephesians 4:7-10)
Here is a vision of the combining of the two sets of saints..the Old and the New Testament .The Church will be rule with Christ for a thousand years as the Bible attest to.
8 “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (this would be tribulations saints, my emphasis)
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:8-10)
Our destiny is to be Kings and rule with our Lord Jesus on earth and to point those who are born during that Millennial Reign of Christ, to the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross over 2000 years ago, as priest to the Living God who is ruling from Jerusalem. Note that you will not find the word “Church” mentioned again through the whole of Revelation past chapter 3 of this book. We are not mentioned again until we are spoken of in chapter 19 of this apocalyptic book of the start of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. It is another clue that the Church is not on earth for the whole of the 7 years of the reign of the Anti-Christ.
6 “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” (Revelation 19:7-9)
Notice that the bride is clothed with fine linen, clean and white, for fine linen is a symbol for the righteousness of the saints, which is the Bride of Christ...Immediately, John gives the vision of Jesus returning with His armies from heaven.
11 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Of these two passages found in Revelation chp. 19, I want you to focus on one thing. I know who both are, but I want you to see it...note what the Bride is clothed with? She is clothed with linen, white and clean. Then in the next passage quoted we see the armies of heaven coming to witness the final defeat of all rebellion on earth by our Great God and King, Jesus the Christ. Note what those who come with Jesus are wearing? Exactly, they are wearing linen, white and clean, which in both instances are a sign of the saints. The Church has been taken to the marriage supper of the Lamb as written in previous verses, where we receive rewards for service and are joined to our Lord Jesus, and become part of the Family of God our Father, by the marriage covenant and we come back with Him, riding on white horses dressed in the same apparel.
16 “'The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:16-19)
From the Old Testament into the New Testament, God has revealed that “we are not appointed to wrath” from God, “but to receive salvation”...being saved out of the coming Tribulation that refines Israel as silver is refined in the furnace, and to extinguish all rebellion and lawlessness on this earth where if the time were not shortened, “no flesh would be saved, but for the elect, those times will be shortened”...That is how near total this earth is purged of all sin and only those who have survived the near complete destruction of planet earth, and have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior of their souls, will enter into the Millennium as mortals.
THE INTERNET IS ABUZZ WITH PROPHECY
Many people all over the internet are sensing that the time of the return of Jesus Christ is close at hand. Some take liberty and make predictions of what date that glorious event will be, but we cannot know, BUT, we know the season, and from the words of the Bible, we are bumping right up to the time of the return of our Lord Jesus..why? Because Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that when Israel is made a nation again, then that generation will not pass till all thing be fulfilled..and the amazing part, the generation of those who saw Israel born again in her own land, is 74 years old this next year in May of 1948-2022. That my friend, is the number of a generation, and as Psalms 90 tells us:
“ The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalms 90:10)
Yes, my friend, the time of our departure grows close at hand. I have complete trust in the Words of my Omnipotent God, who knows the end from the beginning..the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus Christ. Question? Will you be among those who witness His glorious return for His Bride, at the removal of God's Church someday soon...maybe sooner than anyone thinks? Or will you be in total astonishment, or sincere remorse that you missed this greatest event that ever transpired on humanity, second only to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Don't let this time get away from you.
“We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2nd Corinthians 6:1-2)
Today, if you hear God's voice through His Holy Spirit, do not harden your heart, as God is calling a remnant that will believe in their heart and mind, that Jesus is who He said He was, and did what He did so long ago...
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)
If you believe those words that I have just quoted, in your heart and your mind...then ask Jesus to come into your heart and life right now..Repent of your sins, and make that commitment to walk with Jesus, to read His instruction manual for the rest of your lives, your Bible, and to confess the Lord to others the hope of your salvation.
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)
Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Believe by faith that Jesus loves you, and died for you and the sins of the whole world. Don't be subject to the coming wrath of God, as it will be the most horrific time in all of mankind's history. Make that decision for Christ, today.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly ear, email me at email@example.com , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.
Israel Prepares For Possible Backroom Betrayal In US-Iran Talks – Jonathan Tobin - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=5119
It's a classic case of good news and bad news. The good news refers to reports that the United States appears to be backing off on its plans to reopen the Jerusalem consulate to the Palestinians that was shuttered when former President Donald Trump moved the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli capital in 2018.
The bad news is that if that is true, it may be more a function of the Americans realizing that it's not in their interests to be fighting the Israeli government on two fronts rather than just one. Meaning, if President Joe Biden is, at least for now, not going to make good on his promise to the Palestinian Authority to compromise Israeli sovereignty over its capital, it's because he is preparing for a major fracas with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett over the Iran nuclear threat.
The problem with monitoring the U.S.-Israel relationship these days is that while some of the action is out in the open, the most important things happening are most likely going on behind the scenes. That's par for the course in international diplomacy.
The problem for Israel, however, is that while Jerusalem is sending both public and private messages to its American ally about the dangers of being led down the garden path by the Iranians into another disaster like the 2015 nuclear deal, it may be that they are being kept out of the loop when it comes to contacts between Washington and Tehran.
The loudest Israeli message to the Biden administration was sounded by Defense Minister Benny Gantz during his appearance last week at the Israeli-American National Council Summit in Hollywood, Fla. Gantz said that he had notified his counterparts in the U.S. government that he had ordered the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
This is far from the first indication that Israel is stepping up preparations for acting on its own to prevent Iran from attaining the status of a nuclear power. But for Gantz to come out and openly speak of IDF planning in such an open manner was a strong message.
Clearly, the Iranians took it as a threat to their facilities and their quest for a nuclear weapon. And they answered it within days with threats of their own, including having one of the regime's press organs--the English-language Tehran Times--publish a map showing dozens of potential targets for Iranian strikes on the Jewish state under the caption of "Just One Wrong Move!"
The real intended audience for Gantz's saber-rattling, however, wasn't the theocrats running Iran. It was mainly intended as a warning to Israel's American allies that they should understand that for Israel, Iran moving closer to the status of a nuclear threshold state is an existential threat as opposed to a mere security concern.
As the most recent New York Times compendium of leaks from the highly placed sources in the American government shows, the era of good feelings between the Biden administration and Israel's coalition government may be on thin ice. The shaky alliance of right-, center and left-wing parties has done everything possible to make nice with Biden and his foreign-policy team in the hopes that they could influence U.S. attitudes towards Iran.
The spectacular failures of the American approach to Tehran are obvious. Iran has refused to re-enter the weak nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration in 2015--officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)--and has instead begun to move towards a nuclear bomb, all the while also rejecting Washington's diplomatic overtures at multiple bursts of talks in Vienna since April.
Biden and the Democrats place all of the blame for this dismal state of affairs on Trump for withdrawing from the nuclear deal and trying to force Iran to negotiate an agreement that would actually forestall an Iranian nuke, which the JCPOA couldn't accomplish since the sunset clauses in it would have eventually given the rogue regime a legal path to a weapon.
This claim ignores the fact that most of the rapid progress that the Iranians have made with respect to uranium enrichment took place after Biden took office. At that point, Tehran no longer had to worry about antagonizing Trump, who was eager to further tighten sanctions on them and drag America's reluctant European allies along with him.
The administration has been making some noises of its own about the possibility that they will have to come up with some sort of "Plan B" after diplomacy inevitably fails. But the Israelis already know that the American response to Iran's refusal to negotiate seriously was to back down and offer them a weaker temporary deal in exchange for some sanctions relief. While Biden's team claims this is now off the table after the Iranians blew off the talks, which were slated to resume with a sputter on Nov. 29, the Israelis are right to be skeptical of these assurances.
So it was significant that the Times article alluded to the very real possibility that both the Israelis and the American public may be in the dark about the administration's actions.
If, as the Times reports, the Israelis fear that the United States is currently conducting secret back-channel diplomatic discussions with Iran that will lead to renewed public negotiations, whose outcome will be a pre-ordained surrender of Western interests, then they have good reason to think so.
That's what happened nine years ago when President Barack Obama was conducting his successful re-election campaign in 2012. During his foreign-policy debate with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, Obama promised that any nuclear agreement with Iran would mean the end of Tehran's nuclear program. But he was already planning on ignoring that pledge.
Senior White House Advisor Valerie Jarrett was conducting backchannel talks with the Iranians and preparing the way for a deal that would contradict Obama's avowals. By the time new talks had convened in 2013, the Western slide to surrender to Iranian demands was a fait accompli.
While Jarrett is no longer on the federal payroll, most of the same cast of characters that were running foreign policy for Obama are doing the same for Biden. There's every reason to believe that when their obsession for diplomacy for its own sake is stymied, their reaction will be to again double down on appeasement rather than honestly confront their mistakes and seek a different course.
The Israelis know their window for both attempts to influence Biden and/or to take action on their own may be closing. Once the United States and Iran are back in Vienna and moving towards concluding another nuclear pact that won't actually stop Iran's march to a nuclear weapon, it may be too late for the Israelis to act.
Just as troubling is the likelihood that the Americans aren't taking Gantz's threats seriously. They know how difficult a military campaign to take out Iran's nuclear facilities would be even with the much greater forces that the United States can bring to bear on the problem than Israel. And, as the Israelis are finding out, American opposition to Israeli action can be made clear in ways other than diplomatic exchanges.
As the Times later reported, the Americans are stalling on delivering new refueling tanker planes that will be needed if Israel is to attack Iran. That won't impact events in the short term. But it is, at the very least, a symbolic gesture intended to warn the Jewish state to defer to Washington, even if it means sacrificing their defense interests.
At this stage, no one on either side of the alliance knows what the next move on Iran will be. But, if Israel's all-too-realistic fears about an American secret betrayal prove justified, future protests about Biden's policies may be a waste of time.
A New Report On America’s Religious Trends Shows Very Clearly Which Direction The U.S. Is Heading - by Michael Snyder - http://endoftheamericandream.com/a-new-report-on-americas-religious-trends-shows-very-clearly-which-direction-the-u-s-is-heading/
What Americans believe when it comes to matters of faith has been shifting for decades, and the latest National Public Opinion Reference Survey conducted by Pew Research Center seems to indicate that the pace of change is accelerating. Today, the percentage of Americans that identify as Christians is the lowest that it has ever been before, and the percentage of Americans that identify as “nones” is at a new all-time record high. In fact, Pew is telling us that a whopping 29 percent of all Americans now identify as “nones”…
Currently, about three-in-ten U.S. adults (29%) are religious “nones” – people who describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religious identity.
That number has risen 6 percentage points since 2016 and it is up a total of 10 points from a decade ago.
If you were to ask most people to name the largest religious group in the United States, most would respond by saying “Catholics” or “evangelicals”, but at this point the “nones” outnumber them both…
“If the unaffiliated were a religion, they’d be the largest religious group in the United States,” said Elizabeth Drescher, an adjunct professor at Santa Clara University who wrote a book about the spiritual lives of the nones.
The religiously unaffiliated were once concentrated in urban, coastal areas, but now live across the U.S., representing a diversity of ages, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds, Drescher said.
Just like in Europe, a lot of the “nones” are atheists or agnostics, but there are others that are just pursuing spirituality on their own terms.
In America today, anything having to do with the occult is extremely hot, and this has helped to make “psychic services” into an industry that is worth more than two billion dollars a year…
“Psychic services,” which encompass palm and aura readings, astrology, mediating with the other side, and more, is an industry worth $2.2 billion in the US.
And Americans are also investigating the occult on social media more than ever before. It is being reported that “online mentions of the occult increased an average of 4% every week since March 2020″…
Witchcraft has risen in popularity during the pandemic, particularly on TikTok. Actually all occult practices—including astrology and tarot—have seen a big bump in interest since March of last year.
Online mentions of the occult increased an average of 4% every week since March 2020, when Covid-19 shutdowns started to sweep the nation, despite trending down in the three weeks beforehand.
Let that number sink in for a moment.
That isn’t a four percent increase for an entire year.
We are talking about an average increase of four percent every single week since March 2020.
Meanwhile, the percentage of Christians in the United States continues to go down.
According to Pew, only 63 percent of Americans identify as Christians in 2021.
That is down from 75 percent a decade ago.
Pew dug deeper into these numbers, and they found that “recent declines within Christianity are concentrated among Protestants”…
The recent declines within Christianity are concentrated among Protestants. Today, 40% of U.S. adults are Protestants, a group that is broadly defined to include nondenominational Christians and people who describe themselves as “just Christian” along with Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, Presbyterians and members of many other denominational families. The Protestant share of the population is down 4 percentage points over the last five years and has dropped 10 points in 10 years.
Mainline Protestant denominations have been losing members for decades, and now evangelical groups are rapidly losing people too…
Today, 24% of U.S. adults describe themselves as born-again or evangelical Protestants, down 6 percentage points since 2007. During the same period, there also has been a 6-point decline in the share of adults who are Protestant but not born-again or evangelical (from 22% to 16%).
For the very first time, the “nones” actually outnumber evangelical Christians in this country.
And last year was the very first time in our history that a majority of all Americans said that they did not belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque…
2020 was the first year on record that the majority of Americans said they did not belong to a church, synagogue, or mosque; from the 1930s to the turn of the 21st century, around 70 percent of Americans did belong to one.
Regular attendance at our houses of faith is going down too.
In fact, at this point less than a third of all U.S. adults regularly attend religious services…
Roughly three-in-ten adults in the new survey (31%) say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month, including 25% who say they attend at least once a week and 7% who attend once or twice a month. These figures are similar to 2020, when 33% reported attending religious services at least once or twice a month.
Over the years, I have written quite a few articles about these trends, but I have never seen the numbers move as quickly as they are moving now.
Older generations of Americans tend to be much more religious than younger generations of Americans. As the older generations die off, the “nones” will continue to grow and the percentage of Christians in the U.S. will continue to decline unless something really dramatic happens.
Needless to say, this is going to have enormous implications for the most hotly contested “culture war” issues of our day. Recent surveys have shown that approximately two-thirds of all Americans want to keep Roe v. Wade from being overturned, and approximately two-thirds of all Americans now support gay marriage. As older Americans die off, those polling numbers are likely to become even more lopsided.
Much of Europe has already moved into a “post-Christian era”, and the United States is headed down that same path.
But if we completely abandon the Christian faith of our founders, will America be able to survive?
For most of our history, the Christian faith has been one of our defining characteristics.
Now we are rapidly becoming something else, and many are deeply concerned about what that could mean for the future of our society.
O Little Town of Bethlehem - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
We learn Christmas songs at a young age, and most of us can sing at least one verse of our favorite Christmas carol without looking at the words. It’s good to have songs memorized, but it’s good to understand the truth behind the songs. A favorite for many years has been “O Little Town of Bethlehem”, written in 1868 by Phillip Brooks.
O little town of Bethlehem,
How still we see thee lie~
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
The silent stars go by;
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light.
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight.
Bethlehem was a small town near Jerusalem. It was the home town of King David. He spent much time in the surrounding fields shepherding his sheep. It was a quiet life, but even at that time, there had been important events involving Bethlehem. David was the son of Jesse, and Jesse was the son of Obed, who was the son of Boaz and Ruth. Their love story is recorded in the Old Testament book of Ruth. It’s a record of the love of a Jewish man for a young Gentile widow named Ruth. Ruth came to understand Jewish ways, and know the One True God because of her Jewish mother-in-law, Naomi. Naomi had left Bethlehem with her husband and two sons. The sons grew up and married Gentiles. Naomi’s husband and both sons died. Naomi decided to return to Bethlehem where she hoped to find a kinsman redeemer to redeem the land her husband had lost. Ruth went with Naomi. There was a near kinsman named Boaz, who owned fields around Bethlehem. Were these the same fields where Christ was born? Boaz fell in love, and took a Gentile bride, Ruth, and redeemed the land Naomi had lost. Jesus is our Kinsman Redeemer. His mother and step-father were Jewish. He shed His blood, as our Kinsman Redeemer, to redeem what Adam had lost. Jesus took a Gentile Bride (Christians) and faith in His death, burial, and Resurrection brings eternal life. Both Joseph and Mary trace their bloodlines through King David, so there is no doubt that Jesus is rightful heir to David’s throne. When the angel came to Mary to announce she would have a child, he told her “He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:32-33.
Isaiah had given a prophecy that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and Micah had foretold He would be born in Bethlehem in Judah. “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Micah 5:2. So, how did a young virgin in Nazareth, who was engaged, but not yet married, to a carpenter named Joseph, happen to give birth to the Son of God, miles away in Bethlehem? Mary was a virgin…engaged to Joseph, but not yet married. The Holy Spirit had come upon her and she became pregnant…a virgin just as Isaiah had foretold. “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed…and all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.” Luke 2:1 & 3-5. It’s interesting that God chose Mary, who lived many miles away from Bethlehem, to give birth to the Messiah. Somehow, she had to be in Bethlehem when Christ was born. God used a pagan ruler to issue a decree requiring everyone to be taxed. That decree forced Joseph to travel with Mary to Bethlehem. God’s timing is perfect, and the decree was issued when Mary was “great with child”, but still able to travel. They made it to Bethlehem “And so it was, that while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:6-7. Movies and Sunday school plays like to dramatize their arrival in Bethlehem just as Mary is ready to give birth. That makes for exciting stories, but Scripture seems to indicate that they were settled into the manger before Mary went into labor.
For Christ is born of Mary,
And, gathered all above
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King
And peace to all the earth.
On that day when prophecy was fulfilled, most of the residents of Bethlehem were ignorant of the miracle which took place in the fields around Bethlehem. People haven’t changed much over the years. Today, prophecy is ignored and, even though it’s unfolding daily, most people are sleeping. Long ago the angels proclaimed Jesus’ birth to shepherds. I can only imagine the fear that took control of their minds. Imagine lying in the grass looking up into a dark sky full of twinkling stars. Maybe there was some idle chit-chat about the crowds of people in town for the taxation, or talking about any new lambs that had been born. Suddenly, out of the tranquility, an angel of the Lord appeared. The shepherds were afraid. “And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone around about them: and they were sore afraid.” Luke 2:9. I’d be afraid too. “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11. That’s the best news that has ever been proclaimed. Christ was born!
How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of his heav’n.
No ear may hear his coming,
But in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
The dear Christ enters in.
Once again, Sunday school plays and Hollywood movies dramatize what happened. The angel spoke to the shepherds. More angels appeared, but they too spoke the words. “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:13-14. We usually picture the multitude of angels loudly singing the words, but Scripture doesn’t indicate that they sang the words. It does say they spoke their praises to God. Christ fulfilled hundreds of Old Testament prophecies. Although He was crucified and buried, He arose from the grave and conquered death. Invite Him into your life, and you will be forgiven your sins (past, present, and future sins) and gain eternal life. Receive His gift of salvation today.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray,
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Immanuel!
Christ’s birth is as important today as it was when the angels appeared to the shepherds. All a person needs to do to receive Christ is to humbly admit you’re a sinner and need a Saviour. Jesus Christ is that Saviour. He is the only way of salvation. The angel’s announcement of peace on earth good will toward men is still valid. God wants people to come to Him for salvation, and we need to seek His peace by accepting His son. When the shepherds heard the announcement of Christ’s birth, they left their sheep and went to find the Baby. “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Luke 2:15-16. They responded exactly the way everyone should when told about Jesus. Hear about Him, then seek Him. After the shepherds found Him, they went and told others about Him. Have you told anybody about Jesus? Have you told anyone about His free gift of salvation?
When I was much younger, I would sing the words, not really understanding the reason for singing about Bethlehem. Now I know how important it is to understand the words to the hymns I sing. God gave us prophecy to let us know the future and see signs that prophecy is being fulfilled. Because people ignored prophecy and didn’t look for His birth, many missed Him. Preconceived ideas can cause blindness to prophecy being fulfilled. It was shepherds who first heard the joyous news and responded. I wonder what the people said who heard the shepherd’s tale of angels and finding the baby in a manger. Were they mocked? Shepherds weren’t highly respected people, so when they told of angels appearing and finding the Messiah, most who heard their words didn’t respond with joy. The shepherds didn’t allow mockers to steal their joy. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:20. Have you heard the Good News that Christ was born? Have you responded to that news and asked Jesus to forgive your sins? Tell someone about it. If they laugh at you, don’t allow their mockery to take your joy away.
By human reasoning, it would have made more sense for Christ to be born in Jerusalem, but God chose the little town of Bethlehem long before His birth. By human reasoning it would have made more sense to have the Son of God be born to a married couple. Long before Mary was born, God said a virgin would give birth to His Son. By human reasoning it would have made more sense for Jesus to be born to a wealthy family, but Immanuel, God with us, was born in a manger to very poor earthly parents. They were faithful to their Jewish faith, and on the eighth day after His birth He was circumcised, and all other Jewish Laws were fulfilled. “And after the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) and to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Luke 2:22-24. Once again Sunday school plays and Hollywood have confused the story. The magi hadn’t been to visit yet. When they arrived, they gave expensive gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Had Joseph and Mary had these expensive gifts, they could have afforded an offering of a lamb, but they had to sacrifice an offering of a poor person. In God’s timing, the magi would arrive at a house, not a manger, to find the Child, not the Baby, and their gifts would pay the expenses for Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to flee to Egypt to avoid Herod’s order to kill all male children. God always provides what is needed when it is needed.
During this time of year, there are so many secular pressures to buy gifts, go to Christmas parties, and bake goodies, we forget that we are celebrating the humble birth of God’s Son…our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Be sure to tell someone about the reason for the season.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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Daily Jot: A perilous information suppression campaign - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
There is no greater censorship or information suppression than what is being conducted on a daily basis in the overall COVID debate. This debate extends into almost all walks of society and is found regarding statistics, treatments, mandates, and science. But it’s not much of a debate if it is only one-sided. For example, doctors in Canada cited stillbirth statistics among vaccinated women. The hospital attacked the doctors for misinformation, but cited no statistics to support its claim. Likewise, CDC said there was an increase in COVID deaths among pregnant women during the Delta variant spike in August and September, but did not cite how many were vaccinated. Is this withholding pertinent information?
This is a concentrated suppression campaign conducted by government bureaucracies, news media, academia, scientific publishing, and powerful Big Tech companies, according to Doctors Harvey Risch, Robert W. Malone, and Byram Bridle in an editorial for The Federalist. Risch is professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, Yale School of Medicine, and Yale Cancer Center. He published the seminal paper on early treatment of high-risk COVID-19 outpatients in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Malone is a pioneer of mRNA technology. Bridle is an associate professor of viral immunology at the University of Guelph in Canada, whose research team studies the body’s immune response to viruses and develops vaccines to prevent infectious diseases.
They wrote: “the censorship aims to stamp out any questions about a universal vaccination program that, it is now clear, was based on the false premise that low-risk individuals must get vaccinated to halt the spread of COVID-19 and end the pandemic…Any discussion of vaccine-related injuries and mortality is immediately labeled disinformation because it necessarily relies on the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS)…Since the COVID-19 vaccination program began last December, VAERS has recorded a total of more than 946,000 post-vaccination adverse events and almost 20,000 post-vaccination deaths. The largest daily death counts occurred within two days of vaccination, gradually subsiding with the length of time since the shot.” They say this signals at least a causal connection behind these events.
The Doctors wrote: “The trend is corroborated by data from abroad: over the same period, the United Kingdom’s Yellow Card system, equivalent to VAERS, has recorded 400,000 individual reports of adverse events following COVID vaccination, including more than 1,800 deaths.” The doctors also cited “fatally flawed” safety reviews hallmarked by poor practices, data integrity issues, and conflicts of interest. They concluded that questioning the competence and integrity of the FDA doesn’t make someone a spreader of disinformation, “Dissent is an integral part of the sacred compact between government and governed that underpins a free society, and Americans allow the current regime of censorship to continue at their extreme peril.” 2 Timothy 3:1 says, that “in the last days perilous times will come.” These censorships are perilous to all because they will be used to oppress and persecute in the name of health.
To read the entire editorial:
Daily Devotion: Remember Why - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. —Romans 5:6
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/remember-why/ - Listen
All around us there are telltale signs that it’s Christmas, with lights everywhere, Christmas trees strapped to the tops of cars, and Christmas songs playing everywhere.
Yet one of the easiest times to forget Jesus is during the Christmas season. With all the rushing around and numerous events to attend, we can forget all about why He came to this earth. Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem to save us from our sin.
The birth of Jesus was so there would be the death of Jesus. The Incarnation was for the purpose of atonement. The Bible tells us, “When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners” (Romans 5:6 NLT).
Jesus was born to die that we might live. The Son of God was born so that we might be born again. He left his home in Heaven so that we would have a home in Heaven.
If you want a happy Christmas this year, then make it more about giving than receiving. Studies have revealed that people who give are happier than people who don’t give. So engage in an act of generosity for someone in need. Help someone who is hurting.
Here are 10 things you should do if you don’t want to be depressed: (1) Do something for someone who is less fortunate than you, and (2) repeat the first step nine more times.
Most of us probably can’t remember what we received last Christmas, much less the Christmas before. I’ve discovered that the greatest moments of this season aren’t the ones we build up in our minds, like Christmas morning. Rather, they’re the in-between moments, the simple moments of worship.
So make your Christmas more about giving than receiving, and make your Christmas more about His presence in your life than the presents under the tree.
FROM THE HEART
Let Us Make the Short Time We have Left,
Count for ALL of Eternity!
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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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