So Much Rapture in Paul’s Letters!
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
So Much Rapture in Paul’s Letters! - By Tom Tillman - https://www.raptureready.com/2021/05/05/so-much-rapture-in-pauls-letters-by-tom-tillman/
Philippians 3:20: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
As I’ve been teaching through Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I began to notice so many references to the Rapture, far more than we’ve usually noticed. Then I began to see that the Rapture is woven all through Paul’s writings. We all know the major Rapture references: 1 Cor 15, 1 Thes 4, etc., but there are far, far more references throughout Paul’s writing.
Paul wrote at least 14 letters, of which we have 13. Remember, in his letter to the Colossians, he mentions his letter to the Laodiceans, but it, along with who knows how many others, was lost during the first few hundred years until the various collected letters and books became our established Canon of Scripture.
Of Paul’s 13 letters, at least 5 mention the Rapture, and all of them ‘assume’ the Rapture. Foremost in his mind, as he taught and wrote, was that he, with all other true believers, would be caught up in the Rapture at any moment. That is what informed his thinking and writing.
Paul had been taken up into Heaven to be taught our Doctrine by the Lord Jesus Christ by Whom he was appointed an Apostle. In fact, in 1 Cor 12, where he describes being caught up to Heaven, he uses the same word, harpazo, which he used to describe our being caught up at any moment. Luke also used the very same word in Acts as he described Philip’s being ‘caught up and away’ from the presence of the Ethiopian Eunuch.
Paul had been given details and understanding of the Gospel; a greater understanding of the Grace of God; the special relationship of the Church to the Lord Jesus Christ, that we are His Bride, that we are saved wholly by God’s Grace through our faith; and especially of the truth and reality of the ever-imminent Rapture of the Church. In 1 Thes 4:7, he said we would be caught up; the word he used means to be snatched away by force. He used the Greek word ‘harpazo,’ which Jerome translated into Latin, ‘rapturo,’ from which we get the English, ‘rapture.’ He says that he is teaching ‘my Gospel’ which was given to him by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Since Paul had been to Heaven and had walked and talked with the Risen Lord Jesus Christ — the same risen Jesus Christ that John describes so gloriously in the first chapter of Revelation — his mind and heart were always on the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ might return at any moment to raise the ‘dead in Christ’ and those who were alive and remained. Jesus didn’t tell Paul that it would be nearly 2,000 years until the Rapture actually came to pass, so he expected it at any moment; and he taught, always, that it would happen at any moment.
In his letter to the Philippians, Paul refers to the Rapture 6 times!
In chapter 1:10, he wrote, “…that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ…”
Paul is the only writer to use the phrase, “day of Christ,” and it always refers to the Rapture, the day when Jesus Christ comes for His Bride. Throughout Scripture, we read the phrase, “Day of the Lord,” which always refers to the Judgment and Wrath of God on sinful man, the time of the beginning of the Tribulation onward.
In chapter 2:16, he wrote, “…holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
In chapter 3:11, he wrote, “… if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”
In this, he refers, of course, to the Rapture; but here, when this letter was being written about AD 61, he was beginning to recognize, as he is imprisoned in Rome, that he might not remain alive all the way to the Rapture. And yet again, he always believed that it could happen ‘today.’ But he did get 2,000 years more in Heaven.
Paul was likely beheaded by the Romans in about AD 68. (A.D. NOT C.E.!)
In chapter 3:14, he wrote, “… I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
The upward call of God is our heavenly citizenship while we accomplish what God has called us to while we are foreigners, shining as light in a foreign land… this present kingdom of darkness. The prize to which we are called is our final reward which we will receive at the end of our race whether we’ve died first or we remain alive until the Rapture.
In 1 Cor 9:24-25, he wrote, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown”: the goal of the prize.
And the writer to the Hebrews, which certainly could have been Paul, wrote: “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:1-2).
Php 3:20: “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Here, then, is Paul’s 5th reference to the Rapture in his letter to the Philippians. The Greek word he used for citizenship is ‘politeuma,’ which can also refer to ‘politics.’ The KJV uses the word conversation: “Our conversation is in Heaven.”
The Greek word, ‘politeuma,’ is defined as: ‘the administration of civil affairs or of a commonwealth; the constitution of a commonwealth, for of government and the laws by which it is administered; a state, commonwealth; the commonwealth of citizens.
Our politics is in Heaven.
Our politics is not of the earth or the USA. Our citizenship and our politics are in Heaven where every political decision has been made perfectly, forever, and those are the politics that should be governing our words, thoughts and deeds. Our conversation should be governed by the ‘Constitution’ of the Commonwealth of Heaven. God’s written Word is the Constitution of the commonwealth.
The Church began as a true commonwealth; in Acts, we read, “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common. And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need” (Acts 4:32-35).
Many people claim that they want the Church to be like it was in Acts, but all they really mean is that they are looking for signs and wonders as were done by the Apostles and Prophets. However, few would be willing to sell their lands and houses so that the needs of all believers could be met. Today they seek for false signs and lying wonders.
The only genuine Commonwealth is that of Heaven and all the True Church. The Lord Jesus Christ is heir of all things, and we are all fellow heirs with Him; we will rule and reign with Him for 1,000 years and then forever, and we will share in all that is, again, throughout all the vast Universe…. think about it! Imagine it! Feel it!
We eagerly wait for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will come for us, at any moment, to receive us up to Himself in the clouds: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thes 4:16-18).
“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ… Verse 21: who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”
That is the ultimate prize that every believer will receive at the moment of the Rapture: those who have died ‘in Christ,’ and then we who are alive and remain. In that instant, in a ‘twinkling of an eye,’ our mortal bodies will be changed from dying, degenerating, weak and feeble bodies into glorious, eternal bodies like that of the Lord Jesus Christ.
John wrote of that moment, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
Everyone who has this hope — our blessed hope, Paul calls it — all who hold on to this hope and guide their conversation and lives by this hope will constantly purify themselves, meaning they will be much more apt to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which we’ve been called” (Eph 4:1).
“…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:13-14).
Again, Paul is constantly bringing into his letters reminders of what our true goal is: to walk worthy of the Lord, to set our minds on things above and to wait eagerly and expectantly for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ who will, at that moment, fully redeem us…. finally we will be redeemed, not only as we already are in spirit and soul, but then, the completion of that for which the Lord Jesus Christ bought us, that we would be like Him.
That is God the Father’s ultimate goal for you and me… that we are finally and fully transformed into the image and likeness of His Son: the glorious, spotless Bride whom He planned, chose, elected, called and saved, whom the Father will, then, as it were, walk us down the aisle as the Father of the Bride and hand us over to His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ Who went to the Cross for us to fully pay the price for all our sin and to purchase us for Himself. That will all occur in Heaven at the Marriage of the Lamb during the final week of Daniel 9’s 70 weeks of years, when the World will experience the Wrath of God poured out without measure in payment for how they rejected His free gift of Salvation through faith in His Son.
The Father walked through the Slave Market and chose out all of the most hopeless, dirty, worthless slaves He could find and paid the full price of our redemption; He took us home, delivering us into His Kingdom of Light; He washed us in His Son’s blood; clothed us in robes of His Son’s Righteousness; seated our spirits with Him in Heavenly places; and now awaits His planned moment when He will send His Son to retrieve us from this hostile, foreign kingdom of darkness to finally fully redeem us body, soul and spirit.
Our bodies walk the Earth, our spirits are seated in Heavenly places, and our souls somehow inhabit both; our flesh always wants to sin, our spirits always draw us toward God, and our souls must always, daily, hourly, and minutely choose.
“The power by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself”: the Word says that eventually every knee will bow and every tongue confess, ‘Jesus Christ as Lord of all.’
We, of course, already do so, but the unbelieving World refuses to. When they are all resurrected at the end of the Millennium to be judged guilty and thrown into the Lake of Fire along with Satan, the Antichrist and the False Prophet, as they stand before God, I think there will be a large angel behind each one who will place their heavy hands on each guilty one and force them down into a bowing position, and then squeeze their shoulders so hard while whispering in their ears, ‘I can’t hear you… what did you say?’ And then squeeze even harder until the one who is forced to bow will cry out, ‘Jesus Christ is Lord of all!’ The angel will say, ‘Good boy or girl,’ and then pick them up and throw them into the fire.
That is what awaits everyone who refuses God’s free gift of Salvation… our neighbors and friends, even relatives and loved ones; all we can do is lovingly present the Gospel and pray for their eventual salvation, remembering that even after the Rapture, then will be the greatest harvest of souls for God’s Kingdom that has ever been… many will remember the things we’ve said… but we will remember the things we did not say.
Php 4:1: “Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved.”
Remember, when Paul writes, ‘therefore,’ we need to ask what it’s there for: he is saying, ‘Since our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, at the Rapture, which could happen at any moment, who will transform our weak, earthly bodies into glorious, eternal bodies like His own, Stand fast in the Lord!’
How do we stand fast in the Lord? He tells us in his letter to the Ephesians: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph 6:10-13).
Then he goes on in Ephesians to describe each part of the armor of God.
We’re putting up on our website all of our teaching through the years… Ephesians is almost up. Keep checking back… https://HeartsofLove.org
Our Peter notes are also almost up.
Peter writes, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith…” (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Always remember… we are not called to go out looking for demons with which to do battle. We are to stand fast in the Lord when any attack comes.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, Until these calamities have passed by” (Psa 57:1).
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.’ Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler And from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler” (Psalm 91:1-4).
That is David saying the same thing that Paul and Peter tell us: stand firm, stand fast, and stand still in the Lord. He is the One Who fights for us, the One Who defends us; He is the One Who wills and works within us to accomplish all His will through us, and He will continue to form us and mold us into the image and likeness of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, right up until He is finished with each one of us at the moment of the Rapture.
That is why it is so important for us to be faithful in allowing Him to change us because once that Rapture comes, that’s it; there will be no more time or room for the kind of growth and maturity that He planned for us to undergo while here in this infinitesimal moment on Earth compared to our Eternity with Him, ruling and reigning with Him forever.
When I misspelled forever, my spell-check wanted to put, ‘forefeel.’ Is that even a word? Well, if spell-check says it is… it must be! I looked it up; it means ‘To feel beforehand; have a premonition of. To feel beforehand; feel as if by presentiment, an anticipatory feeling or anticipatory tactual perception; a tactual image associatively aroused by the presentation of a visual, auditory, etc., stimulus.
That is exactly our goal in teaching: that we forefeel the Rapture, our new bodies, seeing the Lord Jesus Christ in all His Glory, Heaven, our ruling and reigning forever with Him, our eternal rewards scattered throughout the vast Universe, our being with Him always… these are the things that I work to instill in all of us.
Then I had to look up tactual: from tactile: Communicating or imparting the sense of touch; giving rise to the feeling of contact or impingement.
Arising from or due to touch; impressed or communicated by contact or impingement; relating to or originating in touch.
That’s it also, exactly: I want Heaven, the Rapture, Eternity, Rewards… all of it… I want it to be so real to us that we feel it, that we can actually touch it from the auditory stimulus of teaching.
Whenever I write, I want us to feel like we’ve touched eternity… then, I know, God has done what He intended.
IT’S WAR!: Israeli Forces Strike Gaza As The World Braces For A Horrific Conflict In The Middle East - by Michael Snyder - http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/its-war-israeli-troops-enter-gaza-as-the-world-braces-for-a-horrific-conflict-in-the-middle-east/
***UPDATE: It appears that Israeli statements about the conflict have caused much confusion among news outlets. Earlier in the day Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus had told the press that there were Israeli ground troops “attacking in Gaza”, but now he has told reporter Alex Ward the following: “Clarification: there are currently no IDF ground troops inside the Gaza Strip. IDF air and ground forces are carrying out strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip.” So it appears that ground forces are being used to conduct strikes in Gaza, but they have not officially crossed over into Gaza just yet. I apologize for any confusion, and we will continue to monitor further developments.***
The next Middle East war has begun. Israel has sent troops over the line into Gaza, and Israeli officials are telling us that they will be there for as long as it takes. Ultimately, the Israeli government didn’t have much of a choice. Hamas had already fired more than 1,600 rockets into Israeli territory, and the Israeli people were crying out for action. If someone had fired 1,600 rockets at major U.S. cities, millions upon millions of Americans would literally be begging the Biden administration to nuke whoever did it. Now that war has started, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pledging that “this operation will continue as long as necessary”…
The Israel Defense Force tweeted from its official account on Thursday night: ‘IDF air and ground troops are currently attacking in the Gaza Strip.’
Military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus confirmed: ‘There are ground troops attacking in Gaza, together with air forces as well.’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted moments later: ‘The last word was not said and this operation will continue as long as necessary.’
What does that exactly mean?
We don’t know, but it sounds like there is no end in sight for this conflict.
Previously, Defense Minister Benny Gantz had stated that there is “no end date” for airstrikes against Gaza…
Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Wednesday that the military operation will continue in the Gaza Strip for as long as necessary and that there is currently no end in sight.
“Israel is not preparing for a ceasefire. There is currently no end date for the operation. Only when we achieve complete quiet can we talk about calm,” Gantz said during a tour of rocket-hit Ashkelon. “We will not listen to moral preaching from any organization or institution regarding our right and duty to protect the citizens of Israel.”
I think that Israeli officials are finally fed up with having rockets being lobbed at them out of Gaza.
Now that Israeli troops have gone in, one of the first jobs will be to neutralize the tens of thousands of rockets that Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad have stockpiled over the years…
Hamas and Islamic Jihad fired more than 1,000 missiles in the first 48 hours of the conflict which began on Monday, an average of one every three minutes, and has enough to keep the bombardment going for two months.
Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Jonathan Conricus said: ‘According to our estimates we’re talking about between 20,000 and 30,000 rockets in Gaza today, rockets and mortars.
It is going to take some time to achieve that goal, but if the Israelis want the constant bombardment to stop they need to find those weapons.
Beyond that, there are many in the Israeli government that would like to destroy Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza for good. Both groups have sworn to never stop until Israel is wiped off the map, and so there is no negotiating any sort of a permanent peace with them.
Over the past couple of days, a number of key Hamas targets have been eliminated, and an IDF spokesperson has stated that the terror group is in the process of “losing everything”…
On Thursday morning the IDF bombed government targets, Hamas’s central bank, a force that the Israeli military said belonged to the terror group’s navy unit as well the home of Iyad Tayeb, a top Hamas commander who oversaw a number of battalions. The IDF said that the home was being used for terrorist purposes.
“The organization is losing everything,” IDF Spokesperson Brig.-Gen. Hidai Zilberman told reporters on Thursday morning.
If Hamas and Islamic Jihad lose their grip on Gaza, that would give Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah an opportunity to consolidate control over the Palestinian people.
So even though he would never admit it publicly, I have a feeling that Mahmoud Abbas is very pleased with what is happening right now.
Israel was never going to negotiate a permanent peace deal with the Palestinians as long as Hamas was running Gaza. But if Hamas and Islamic Jihad are out of the way, that would clear a path for a comprehensive peace plan and the establishment of a “two state solution” that is so greatly coveted by the Biden administration.
Needless to say, any such “peace deal” would be a tragic error, and this is something that I have discussed in numerous other articles.
For the moment, we need to watch and see how this current conflict plays out.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are no match for the Israeli military. But now that the IDF is preoccupied in the south, this could be a golden opportunity for Hezbollah to take action in the north.
And if that happened, all of a sudden the Israelis would find themselves fighting a war on two fronts.
As I discussed the other day, Hezbollah has more than 150,000 missiles currently pointed at Israel. If Hamas and Islamic Jihad were able to overwhelm the Iron Dome system, what would happen if Hezbollah suddenly started launching thousands upon thousands of highly advanced rockets at Israeli cities?
In addition, we need to watch Iran. The Iranians try to avoid attacking anyone directly, but they could choose to use this moment as an opportunity to strike Israel through various proxies other than Hezbollah.
In the days ahead, keep alert for any attacks against Israel that seem to come from unusual sources.
At some point, there will be open conflict between Israel and Iran, but hopefully that day can be put off for as long as possible.
Of course I always said the same thing about the coming conflict between Israel and Hamas, and now it is here.
I think that Hamas officials realize that Israel intends to destroy the organization, and so they will throw everything that they have got at the Israeli military.
A lot of blood is going to be spilled, and it will be a very messy conflict.
But if Hezbollah jumps in, things will get a whole lot worse.
And if things escalate to a point where Israel and Iran are openly firing missiles back and forth, we would potentially be facing an apocalyptic scenario in the Middle East.
We have entered a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and the days ahead are certainly going to be very dark for the entire globe.
Israel's Options on How to Confront Palestinian Terror Groups in Gaza Strip – Yaakov Lappin - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=4722
Almost the minute Israel fully withdrew from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, the area became a hotbed of terror. Some 18 months later, after Hamas seized the territory in a violent coup from its internal Palestinian rival, Fatah, the Islamist-ruled enclave had turned into a heavily armed fortress, which hosts a terrorist army that is funded and assisted by Iran. Qatar has also provided funds to keep the fire against Israel going.
On Thursday night local time, the Israel Defense Forces announced on Twitter that "air and ground" troops have entered the Gaza Strip, without providing more details on the scope of the operation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas "will pay a heavy price" for its barrage of rockets on the Jewish state, more than 1,300 and counting.
"I said that we would exact a very heavy price on Hamas; we are doing this, and we will continue with great force. The final word has not been said, and this operation will continue for as long as needed," declared the Israeli leader, according to the Prime Minister's Office.
Israel has been reluctantly dragged into three large armed conflicts with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) prior to the current escalation, in addition to smaller rounds of fighting. With each truce, Gaza's terror factions and the IDF study the battles, draw lessons and build up their capabilities accordingly, for the next round.
As the current firepower of Hamas and PIJ demonstrates, Gaza's factions have not been resting on their laurels in recent years, exploiting a period of quiet to create a domestic industry of weapons production.
According to figures from the research department of the Alma Research and Education Center, the Iranian-backed PIJ has some 10,000 operatives--half of them armed combatants--and prior to now was armed with some 10,000 rockets, most of them up to a range of 45 kilometers.
Hamas, for its part, has a military wing with as many as 35,000 members, of which between 10,000 to 15,000 are armed combatants, and the remainder are in combat support, force build-up and administrative roles. Of the armed combatants, about one-third are members of the elite Nukhba unit.
According to the figures, Hamas is armed with some 15,000 rockets, which include short-range Qassam or Quds rockets with a range of 15 kilometers; Grads (or Sajils) with a range of 55 kilometers; Fajr rockets, also known as J80 or M75, which have a range of around 100 kilometers; and long-range M302 rockets that have a range of 200 kilometers.
Some of these projectiles are industrial-made Iranian or Chinese rockets, though many are manufactured as part of Gaza's weapons industries.
According to Alma's assessment, Hamas can fire up to 400 to 500 rockets per day for an extended period of time (Hezbollah can fire four times more), while PIJ can fire around 150 rockets per day.
A number of options to confront Hamas, none of them ideal
Faced with this threat, Israel has four fundamental options at its disposal.
The first is to accept temporary ceasefires that do not last long. This would become reality if Israel's deterrence fails to be restored. Under this scenario, Hamas's decision to use its firepower to gain political points or extort Israel could occur frequently.
A failure by Israel to restore its deterrence and to extract a high price from Hamas for its aggression that began on Monday, when it fired on Jerusalem as part of its internal power struggle with Fatah, could easily lead to such a reality.
The second option is to deal a severe blow to Hamas and PIJ's capabilities and roll them back by years. An intense round of fighting that relies on Israel's firepower and intelligence capabilities, supported by limited ground maneuvers, could in theory restore Israel's deterrence, but it remains unclear for how long.
A third option is a full ground offensive to topple the Hamas regime and seize the whole of Gaza. The IDF is perfectly capable of doing this, despite the fact that it would involve extremely challenging urban warfare scenarios that would be costly in the lives of its soldiers.
The IDF has sent two infantry brigades and one armored brigade, as part of its 162nd maneuvering division, to the Gaza border and placed them under the command of its Gaza territorial division. That step was preparation for potential ground offensives. The forces are also helping ensure that the border remains sealed to Hamas cross-border raids.
Should Israel choose to topple the Hamas regime, it would find itself in an extremely unenviable situation with two additional fundamental choices. The first is to rule the Strip and occupy roughly 2 million hostile Palestinian residents. The second is to search for someone else to rule Gaza; the idea that Fatah would be able to pull to take on that role is highly unlikely.
Fatah would lose all of its remaining legitimacy if it was seen by Palestinians to "ride into Gaza on Israeli tanks," and its ability to remain intact as a regime there without daily Israeli military backing is in great doubt, as the incidents of 2007 demonstrate.
Should Israel leave Gaza and no regime take power, the territory could become a Somalia-like failed state zone, brimming with jihadist gangs that would be impossible to deter for any amount of time.
A fourth possibility, however, could involve the idea of a broad assault on Hamas's military wing, but keeping its police force and political wing intact. This could potentially enable the IDF to withdraw and not see Gaza disintegrate into a Somalia-like failed state chaos, and to have a "central address" for ruling purposes, even if it remains hostile. Under such an option, Hamas could survive and begin to rebuild its capabilities, though it would take it years to recover.
The current situation is extremely dynamic and changing hour by hour.
It Could Be Today - By Dennis Huebshman - https://www.raptureready.com/2021/05/11/it-could-be-today-by-dennis-huebshman/
If some of the messages that are posted for me sound like they’re repetitive, it’s because they are. If I could speak out in a way that every person on earth would hear, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I believe we are so close to the harpazo, Rapture, or the taking up of all believers to meet our Jesus in the air, that it could be any moment now. Having studied the word of God as to what this earth will go through, I want to reach every soul possible to give them the opportunity to miss the tribulation/wrath. A simple statement from long ago says, “Know Jesus, Know God – No Jesus, No God. (any emphasis mine)
For just a brief moment of His agony, our Savior experienced what it would be like to be separated from the Father forever. This was the moment He dreaded the most of the entire crucifixion, when God would have to look away as His Son took on every sin this world would ever commit. That would’ve been the moment when Jesus exclaimed, “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:46). By making this statement, Jesus fulfilled Psalm 22:1 word for word. Up to that very moment, the Son had never been separated from the Father, even during all the time He was in human form.
Being a perfect and righteous God, He can tolerate no sin whatsoever. For Jesus to be the only sacrifice that would ever appease the Father, His blood would have had to be totally pure and holy and sinless, right up to that moment when He would be our “scapegoat.” (Leviticus 16:8-10). Through His “human” years on this earth, Jesus did not sin even once. He is the only “human” who ever would be able to accomplish this for the entire existence of this earth from the creation to the end of the Millennial Reign.
There are people who believe they have never sinned, but Romans 3:23-25 and Romans 6:23 set this straight. Romans 3:23-25; “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness because, in His forbearance, He had passed over former sins.”
This is emphasized in Psalm 103:12 that states our sins are removed “as far as east is from west.” Only the perfect, sinless blood of Jesus could accomplish this.
Going to Romans 6:23, we see just how the Father feels about sin, and just how important the sacrifice of our Savior really was. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Please note here that without Jesus, every single sin that anyone would ever commit throughout their entire lifetime on this earth will be put upon them at the Revelation 20:11-15 White Throne Judgment. “Propitiation” in the Bible is defined as “the act of gaining or regaining the favor or goodwill of someone or something; the act of appeasement as in a sacrifice; specifically, an atoning sacrifice” (Miriam-Webster). Jesus allowed Himself to be the appeasement to the Father for all our sins. He was not forced to do this but did so willingly (John 10:18). Also, He gave Himself as the pure and acceptable sacrifice, not only for God’s chosen Jewish people but for everyone in the world for all time (John 10:16).
With this thought in mind, some may be led to believe that the Jews are given a “free pass” into Heaven. While there are definite covenants between God and the Jews, they still have to receive and accept Jesus as their Messiah to have eternal life with Him. John 14:6 explains this quite well; “Jesus said to him, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Three places in the Bible specifically state that all who call on the name of the Lord will be saved. See Joel 2:32; Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13. God does not repeat anything just to take up space in His “Love Letter” to us. If something is repeated, He especially would like for us to take note of this. By the way, just calling Jesus’ name is not the saving factor. One must form a true relationship through confession of sins, and having the faith and belief that only the Blood of Jesus could wash away our sins. We must sincerely ask Him to come into our hearts and be our Savior forever.
People have been looking forward to the return of our Lord and Savior ever since He left this earth after His resurrection. Paul even makes mention in several epistles that we must be ready at all times. He believed Jesus could even return in his lifetime. The biggest issue before May 14, 1948, was that Israel was not a nation again until then. Jesus said with the blooming of the fig tree – the rebirth of Israel – to look up, for His redemption was drawing nigh (Luke 21:28). He stated the generation that saw this would not pass before His return. Only thing is, we weren’t told exactly how long that generation would be. So far, it’s been 73 years and could end at any moment now.
In 1912, Lelia Naylor Morris (1862-1929) wrote a song, “What If It Were Today?” This is even more pressing today as all prophecy that had to be completed has been, and all the signs of the end of this age are totally here for the first time ever. The changes taking place in this world are accelerating; evil is more and more prevalent; the turning away from anything pertaining to Jesus is increasing; and we are just about at the point where God will remove the righteous as He did for Lot and his family, to keep us from the coming wrath.
What If It Were Today?
1.) Jesus is coming to earth again; what if it were today? Coming in power and love to reign; what if it were today? Coming to claim His chosen bride, all the redeemed and purified, over this whole earth scattered wide; what if it were today?
Ref.) Glory, Glory! Joy to my heart ’twill bring. Glory, Glory! when we shall crown Him King. Glory, Glory! Haste to prepare the way. Glory, Glory! Jesus will come someday.
2.) Satan’s dominion will then be o’er; O that it were today! Sorrow and sighing shall be nor more; O that it were today! Then shall the dead in Christ arise, caught up to meet Him in the skies, when shall these glories meet our eyes; what if it were today? (ref)
3.) Faithful and true would He find us here, if He should come today? Watching in gladness and not in fear, if He should come today? Signs of His coming multiply; morning light breaks in eastern sky; watch for the time is drawing nigh; What If It Were Today? (ref)
Several times in the past, I have encouraged anyone who has not received and accepted Jesus to consider doing so; and today would not be too early. Know that unless you have Jesus, you do not have the Father. This is made plain in such verses as John 3:18 and 1 John 5:12, just for examples. Romans 10:9-13 gives the simple pathway to ensure your eternal life with Jesus and to keep you from the wrath. You may delay asking Jesus to save you, but at what cost?
We are promised in Romans 8:1 that “There is therefore, now no condemnation, for those who are in Christ Jesus.” A chilling thought is the reverse of this, in that all are condemned who are not in Christ Jesus. There is no other way, no matter what any false prophet will tell you.
Do not rely on any organized evangelical church to give you the word, without reading it for yourself. I used to just take the word of the preachers that what they said was the truth. That is, until I read through the Bible for myself about 35 years ago. I am so thankful that the Lord did not require my soul before then. I know what judgment I would have been facing. Fortunately, mine will now be at the Judgment Seat of Christ as given in 2 Corinthians 5:10. I will be shown everything I did, good or bad, and receive or lose rewards based on that. However, my eternity will be with Jesus, the one who paid for my pardon and set me free from the Lake of Fire.
I would love for you to be at that Judgment as well. My prayer is that even if someone doesn’t like me, they will not be condemned to hell. In Heaven, there will be no conflict between members of the flock of the Savior, as we will be following the two greatest commandments Jesus gave us; “Loving God – Loving each other”! Please call out today, right now. This world is rapidly entering a phase that all believers do not want to be a part of. The only way to avoid the 7-year tribulation is to have already called out to Jesus to save you and to prepare a home for you with Him in Heaven. He will gladly do so but will not force anyone to call on Him.
Anyone who ends up in hell will have chosen it for themselves. Please choose wisely!
Come, Lord Jesus – even if it is Today!
Daily Jot: The Farm Chronicles: Bullies in the schoolyard – Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Growing up on a farm makes you tough. I suppose it’s like growing up in the city, but different. On the farm, we are faced with life and death every single day. Dealing with cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and what have you can place you in harm’s way in a split second. So you learn early to be aware, agile, and quick thinking. There are enough bruises to go around in just a normal day’s work, so you don’t want to add to them by not using your God-given common sense. All this, to say that inner strength that you get by growing up on a farm can translate to other parts of your life. I was a late bloomer. Small, short and skinny. And being so, I was a target of the older kids on the school bus and in the schoolyard.
My wonderful life on the farm came to a crashing halt when I had to go to school. Interaction with other kids wasn’t easy. Things that I thought were fun and honorable became objects of being the fun from the dishonor of others. One of my first experiences was the long bus ride to school. My brother Chuck was attending Ashland College and he had brought home a beanie with a short gold brim and a purple crown with gold letters “A C” sewn in the middle. Chuck gave it to me. So I proudly wore it to school one day. Kids on the bus made fun of me, took it off my head and threw it around the bus, saying that the A C stood for Ash Can. I found it insulting and humiliating. I cried when I got home that day, saying nobody liked me. Mom consoled me. Dad said I needed to toughen up, but this harassing didn’t stop there.
Grades 1 through 8 were all together at our township school. Many of the older kids got a kick out of picking on the younger ones. One big guy, I don’t remember his name, would come up to me and punch me in stomach every day. He and his buddies got a good laugh at me wrenching in pain. I got to thinking about it and I had this big trophy belt buckle with two little holes in it where at one time there was a metal bucking bronco. I found a carpet tack that fit through one of the holes right nice. The next day, I stopped the kid in the hall and told him I wanted him to hit me as hard as he could, but he had to hit me right at the beltline. He looked around at his friends and they all laughed. He hauled off and walloped me good. Imagine his surprise when that carpet tack lodged in the bone of his fist. He never bothered me again.
Another time, a guy who was constantly picking on me shoved me aside when we were getting on the bus after school and said, “Get out of my way you big fat slob,” which, when you think about it, was pretty funny as I was so skinny. I followed him on the bus and sat down right beside him. I asked him what he called me and he repeated it. I punched him in the face, broke his glasses and gave him a bloody nose. He was crying and all the kids were like, “wow, did you see that?” He became a pretty good friend. Point is, we used to handle bullying a different way down on the farm. We fought back. Romans 12:19 reminds us “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Seemed to me back then there was a fine line between vengeance and self-defense. I have since repented. But don’t try me.
Daily Devotion: The Best Recommendation - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. —James 4:17
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/the-best-recommendation/ - Listen
I’m opinionated about everything. For instance, if you’re going to a restaurant that I’m familiar with, I’ll have an opinion about what you should order.
And if you’re like me, when you’re thinking about trying out a new restaurant, you’ll go online to see whether other people recommend it.
A recommendation carries weight, doesn’t it?
Now let’s take that idea and apply it to sharing the gospel. What if you were to say to someone, “Here’s the best thing you can do for life and eternity: believe in Jesus Christ”?
We’re willing to talk about our favorite restaurants, but are we willing to talk about Jesus?
To not share the gospel can be a sin because there are sins of commission and sins of omission. Sins of commission include breaking a commandment, crossing a line, or doing a wrong thing. On the other hand, sins of omission involve notdoing the right thing.
The Bible says, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17 NKJV).
So how could failing to share our faith ever be a sin?
To illustrate, imagine that you were in a house that catches fire. You rush out to save your own life, but you know there are other people inside, innocent people who can’t get out. But you don’t lift a finger to help them. You don’t even call the fire department. You just walk off and act as though it didn’t happen.
Is that wrong?
Yes, it is. That’s even a criminal act.
So how much worse is it for us to know the way to Heaven, to know the way for people to be forgiven of their sins and find meaning and purpose in their lives, but not tell them?
We need to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
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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