Why Is Israel A Topic of Confusion for So Many Christians? - Mottel Baleston - https://harbingersdaily.com/why-is-israel-a-topic-of-confusion-for-so-many-christians/
Just over 100 years ago, all four of my Jewish grandparents were children living in Jewish villages in Eastern Europe. They grew up in fear of their Antisemitic neighbors in the next village, who occasionally rampaged through the Jewish villages. Taught by institutional churches that had long departed from biblical doctrine, these individuals would cry, “You killed Christ, and so we will kill you!” Of course, that statement is absolutely false, because Jesus Himself said, “No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself” (John 10:18).
As a Jewish boy growing up in New York City, I knew religious loyalties most often divided along ethnic lines. The Italian kids in my public school were Catholic and believed in Jesus; I was Jewish and did not. When I found the true Gospel of the Bible at age 21, I realized that Jesus was a Jew who fulfilled all the messianic prophecies of His First coming. As a born-again believer in Messiah Yeshua, I now understand what my grandparents did not: people who persecute Jews do not represent the person or teachings of Jesus. I now work full-time telling my own Jewish people about our Messiah. I also teach the Scriptures, and the following subject has been on my heart because it’s an area of confusion among some Christians.
The biblical prophecies concerning the resettlement of Jewish people back into the Jewish land of Israel were unimaginable just 120 years ago. Jews had been living comfortably in Europe for many years and America was starting to see significant Jewish immigration. The idea of going to Israel, mostly desert or swamp at the time, was unthinkable to most. Yet, today, the land is flourishing, the cities are full, and the Jewish population there exceeds all other countries combined. So, is the current state of Israel the fulfillment of biblical prophecy? The full answer is a bit more complex than you realize.
One confusion is the name “Israel”—first given by God to Jacob. It can be used for the theocratic nation of the Old Testament which existed from approximately 1400 BC through 70 A.D., when the Romans obliterated the nation. Israel is also used to refer to the physical land in the Middle East, which the Romans called Palestine in an attempt to sever the relationship of the Jews (the children of Israel) with the Land. Today, the name Israel also refers to the modern Jewish state that declared independence in 1948.
Myopia in the Church
There are several wrong views about the State of Israel that exist within the evangelical Church today.
1) The first is called Replacement Theology, which claims that the Church acquired all of the positive and good promises to Israel, but the Jews get all of the negative results of disobedience. In this view, all the biblical promises regarding the future kingdom of Israel find fulfillment in a symbolic or allegorical way in the Church. First proposed within Roman Catholicism, this is now embraced by some evangelicals.
2) A second view asserts that there will be a future restoration of Israel, but that the current secular state of Israel has absolutely no significance since the Messianic Kingdom will include a saved, believing nation. By this logic, the modern nation of Israel is simply an accident of history and not biblically relevant. This view is often found among Protestants who are liberal in their theology and politics and don’t want to support Israel.
3) A third view holds that the current secular state of Israel is the actual nation of the Messianic Kingdom spoken of in the Bible. Advocates of this view believe that the secular nation will slowly and eventually come to faith. Although this viewpoint is growing among some Evangelicals, I believe it is also incorrect. It requires explaining away the fact that half of Israelis are not religious and do not live their lives according to the Old Testament—and that over 98% of them reject Jesus as Messiah.
All three views tend to emphasize a select few Bible passages, often pulled out of context, without considering Scriptures that clearly contradict their view.
Promises To Regather Israel
When the Bible is considered as a whole, Scripture makes clear that God Himself promised to bring the Jewish people back from the four corners of the globe to the Land of Israel. But the prophets anticipated two different regatherings:
the first in unbelief—in preparation for the judgments and difficult times described as the Tribulation (a seven-year period of time yet still in the future).
the second of a saved, believing nation.
The key passage pointing to an initial regathering to the land in unbelief (in preparation for judgment) is Ezekiel 20:33-38. Ezekiel foresaw a worldwide regathering in unbelief in the midst of wrath and difficult times. This is exactly what happened in large waves of immigration to the land that occurred from the 1890s through the establishment of the state in 1948. The greatest wrath was the Holocaust, dated from Kristallnacht in November 1938 through the liberation of the death camps in 1945.
Ezekiel 22:17-22 reiterates that the Jews will be regathered in the midst of wrath and not as believers.
Now a critical point: Isaiah 11:11-12 foretells two worldwide regatherings. The first was in unbelief, and we are in the midst of that still today. The second is a regathering in faith. Isaiah chapters 40, 61, 62, and 63 repeat the prophecy that the Jews would be regathered first in unbelief, then experience judgment, then all Israel would be regathered to the Lord through saving faith.
Paul explained prophetically that all Israel will be saved through faith in Messiah Jesus in Romans 11, which says:
Romans 11:25-29 KJV – “For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”
National salvation for the Jews will come at a desperate moment toward the end of the Tribulation described in Zechariah 12:10: “and I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for it only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” When the Jewish people cry out, “Baruch haba b’Shem Adonai” (Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD), the Messiah will return to earth to establish His Messianic kingdom.
The current state of Israel that we see in the Middle East is not an accident of history, nor is it the result of purely human effort by determined people. Rather, it is a key part of what God’s plan for the ages describes in the return of Messiah.
Recognizing that God has already sent Messiah Jesus to the Jewish people, let us be clear that the only hope for any individual, Jew or Gentile, is in the atonement provided by the blood of Messiah. That is my blessed hope, and I trust it is yours as well.
The Biden Administration, Palestinians and Inconvenient Truths - by Bassam Tawil - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/20240/palestinians-inconvenient-truths
As US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan was in the Middle East last week trying to restrain Israel in its war against the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist group and to "revamp" the Palestinian Authority (PA), a public opinion poll again illustrated how the Biden administration continues to intentionally ignore the reality of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The results of the poll also showed that, unlike the Biden administration, most Palestinians do not trust the PA and prefer Hamas's terrorism to a peaceful settlement with Israel.
Sullivan was reportedly in the Middle East for two reasons: to pressure Israel to scale down its military operations against Hamas, and to discuss the possibility of having the Palestinian Authority govern the Gaza Strip the day after the current war ends.
Both of these completely unrealistic and harmful objectives are a sign of how the Biden administration's policies are detached from reality, as well as promising the PA a reward for having the same endgame as Hamas – destroying Israel – but just differing about how to do it.
One can understand that the Biden Administration would like to tamp down hostilities before the US presidential election in November, but it needs be understood that this is at the expense of more Israeli soldiers losing their lives and more Palestinians potentially being made to suffer under a Palestinian Authority leadership they say they hate. Close to 90% said they wanted PA President Mahmoud Abbas to resign. The US instead should offer the Palestinian people the opportunity for a better life with greater freedom and opportunities for economic growth.
The demand that Israel switch to low-intensity fighting against Hamas means a lifeline for the terrorist group. Hamas is already under immense pressure as a result of the massive Israeli military operation inside the Gaza Strip. Sullivan's demand comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of Israeli soldiers are risking their lives. More than 425 have been killed on or since October 7, and 1,595 wounded, 255 seriously, in the fight against Iran's Palestinian proxy in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has lost many of its terrorists, bases, and tunnels since the beginning of the war. Its top commanders remain in hiding and a growing number of Palestinians are beginning to publicly voice discontent with Hamas, holding it responsible for the destruction of the Gaza Strip and the displacement of tens of thousands of families.
Forcing Israel to reduce its anti-terror military activities is exactly what Hamas wants. Hamas would be delighted to see fewer Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles in the Gaza Strip. It would also be happy to see fewer Israeli airstrikes on Hamas installations there.
Easing the pressure on Hamas will unfortunately just prolong the war: Israel will need more time to crush the terrorist group.
Moving from high-intensity to low-intensity fighting will allow Hamas terrorists to regroup and rearm in a more comfortable manner as they know there are fewer Israeli soldiers around.
Hamas leaders are now calling for a ceasefire or a temporary pause in the fighting in the hope that this will help them restore their military capabilities and improve their fighting tactics against the Israeli army.
The Hamas leaders are still counting on international pressure on Israel to stop the fighting and save the terrorist group from being removed from power. They are currently in talks with the Qataris to rejoin the Palestinian Authority. As Hamas doubtless sees events, the Biden administration is coming to the rescue.
If the PA has not changed over the past three decades since its establishment, there is no reason to believe it will embark on any drastic changes to placate the Biden administration. The PA might say that it is ready to change, but this will be in order to deceive the Biden administration and the rest of the international community into continuing to pour billions of dollars on Abbas and his cohorts in the deranged hope that they will combat terrorism in the Gaza Strip.
The Biden administration's starry-eyed effort to "revitalize" or "revamp" the Palestinian Authority in the hope it will be able to rule the Gaza Strip once Hamas is removed from power, or in a coalition with the leaders of Hamas, is simply not realistic. Being a peaceful neighbor to Israel is, bluntly, not on the table. Despite whatever commitments might be signed in blood, in the eyes of Palestinian leaders, they are just Western fantasies. After the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995 , then PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat assured his people -- in Arabic -- that Oslo was no more binding than the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya, when the Islamic prophet Mohammad agreed not to attack for ten years, then, with his opponents safely neutralized, he assembled an army and attacked after two years.
As far as most Palestinians are concerned, the talk about "revamping" the Palestinian Authority is just another bad joke, written by infidel Westerners under infidel international laws that do not apply to them. In Islamic law, to deceive an enemy, taqiyya, dissimulation, is not only permitted but advised:
Famous Sunni scholar, 'Allamah Wahidu 'z-zaman Khan of Hyderabad (India) says: "Taqiyyah is proved from the Qur'an, "except when you have to guard against them"; and ignorant people think that taqiyyah is something peculiar to the Shi'as, while it is allowed in the Sunni faith also at times."
As Sullivan was meeting with 88-year-old Abbas to discuss the possibility of handing the Gaza Strip over to the Palestinian Authority, a public opinion poll published by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) showed that a vast majority the Palestinians support Hamas and have no confidence in their president and his leadership. How ironic that the PA and its leaders appear to be more popular among White House officials than their own people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The findings of the poll reveal that support for Hamas has more than tripled in the West Bank compared to three months ago. In the Gaza Strip, support for Hamas increased, but not significantly.
Meanwhile, support for Abbas and his ruling Fatah faction has dropped significantly. The same is true for trust in the Palestinian Authority as a whole, as demand for its dissolution has risen to nearly 60%, the highest percentage ever recorded in PSR polls. Demand for Abbas's resignation has increased to around 90%.
According to the results of the poll, Palestinian support for "armed struggle" (terrorism) against Israel has increased by 10% compared to three months ago: a majority of 63% are now in favor of "armed struggle".
Another inconvenient truth for the Biden administration: According to the poll, most Palestinians justify Hamas's October 7 massacre, including murder, decapitation, rape and burning people alive. These are the same people that the Biden administration wants to give a state next to Israel. Judging from the results of the poll, the future Palestinian state will be controlled by Iran-backed Islamists who will be dancing in the streets each time a Jew is murdered in a terrorist attack.
Asked about Hamas's reasons for invading Israel and commuting the atrocities, the overwhelming majority said it was a "response to settler attacks on Al-Aqsa mosque and on Palestinian citizens and for the release of prisoners from Israeli prisons," while only 14% thought it was an Iranian plot. Needless to say, there were no "settler attacks" on the mosque. This is another bogus accusation made by Abbas and other Palestinians in response to Jews peacefully visiting the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, by agreement with the Palestinian Authority.
Note that it is Abbas who has been describing these visits as violent incursions into the mosque while accusing Jews of "defiling with their filthy feet" the holy sites in Jerusalem. This is the same Abbas that the Biden administration wants to bring back to the Gaza Strip.
Asked what they thought of Hamas's decision to launch the attack on Israel, given its outcome so far, 72% of the Palestinians said it was a "correct" move as opposed to 22% who thought it was incorrect.
Here is another inconvenient truth that the Biden administration may be unhappy to hear: almost two-thirds (64%) of the Palestinians are opposed to the participation of the Palestinian Authority in meetings with the US to discuss the future of the Gaza Strip after the war stops. Only 33% support PA participation in such meetings.
When asked about their own preferences for the party that should be in control in the Gaza Strip after the war, 60% selected Hamas; 16% selected a national unity government without Abbas, and only 7% selected the PA with Abbas.
If new presidential elections were held today with only two candidates, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh would receive 78% of the vote as opposed to 16% for Abbas.
When asked which political party or political trend they support, the largest percentage selected Hamas (43%), followed by Fatah (17%), while 12% selected other or third-party groups, and 28% said none of them or did not know. Three months ago, support for Hamas stood at 22% and Fatah at 26%.
The poll also showed that 54% of Palestinians think that Hamas is the most deserving of representing and leading the Palestinian people today, while 13% think that Fatah under the leadership of Abbas is more deserving; 26% think that both are unworthy of representation and leadership. Three months ago, 27% said Hamas is the most deserving, 24% said Fatah led by Abbas is the most deserving, and 44% said both are unworthy of representation and leadership.
Incredibly, the Biden administration refuses to see what most Palestinians have made irrefutably clear what they want: the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews.
It is enough for Biden administration officials to look at the results of the PSR poll and talk to ordinary Palestinians to understand that the White House's policies, such as promoting the creation of an Iran-sponsored Palestinian terror state, are not wanted by anyone but Iran and them.
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Universities Have Lost the Ability To Teach The Difference Between Right And Wrong – By Mike Pompeo - https://harbingersdaily.com/pompeo-universities-have-lost-the-ability-to-teach-the-difference-between-right-and-wrong/
I wrote last week about the shameful performance of three university presidents from Harvard, Penn, and MIT, who, instead of demonstrating a clear commitment to protecting their Jewish students and enforcing their own respective codes of conduct, chose to hide behind legal definitions of free speech to justify their deplorable refusal to address the malignant antisemitism on their campuses. Their testimony revealed the deep moral and intellectual rot on America’s campuses. This delusion at the highest levels of academia threatens our entire country.
This is something I encountered during my tenure as Secretary of State. As our nation’s most senior diplomat, I felt it was my responsibility to communicate directly to the American people the dangers posed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). I also knew that China exerted real and dangerous influence over our academic institutions, with hundreds of thousands of Chinese students studying here under the watchful eye of the CCP and enormous donations flowing from the CCP’s pockets into the endowments of major universities every year in order to manipulate our research and build inroads into cutting-edge technologies.
To communicate this threat to colleges and universities, I wanted to go to one of America’s most prestigious academic institutions and give a speech outlining these dangers. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was our first choice of location. Initially, MIT agreed to host the talk. Just a few weeks out from our agreed-upon date, though, MIT backtracked on this commitment without warning. Its reason for doing so? Then-President Rafael Reif said the risk of offending MIT’s Chinese students was too great. Of course, its real reason was to avoid offending the Chinese Communist Party, with which it had cultivated a lucrative relationship. Among other links, MIT had recently received an undisclosed amount of funding from SenseTime, one of the largest facial recognition software companies in China, whose products had been used by the CCP to trap the country’s Uyghur population in open-air prisons as part of their ongoing genocidal tactics. MIT would not allow the speech of America’s Secretary of State to avoid offending a foreign and hostile government (the CCP); but just a few years later, it has allowed vile antisemitism to pervade its campus under the cover of allowing free speech.
This same double standard has sadly been on display across other American campuses since the Hamas attacks on October 7th, with antisemitic incidents rising in the face of administrative inaction. Some of these attacks have even crossed the line into the endangerment of Jewish students, which makes the university presidents’ weak, underhanded claims of defending free speech all the more galling.
These are the same universities, after all, that have spent years compiling ever-expanding lists of microaggressions and building massive Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offices to police speech on their campuses. Harvard employs over 2,600 more administrators than undergraduate students; this bureaucratic bloat has developed primarily in the last decade, almost entirely due to the growth of jobs “focused on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion.” Universities like Penn, Harvard, and MIT cannot proclaim their devotion to free speech while maintaining an entire bureaucratic apparatus dedicated to routinely suppressing conservative speech – or really any speech in conflict with the radical, progressive worldview that dominates their campus cultures.
Furthermore, the actual function of these equity and inclusion apparatchiks is not primarily punitive. Rather, their mission is to control campus culture through a host of training and programs for students and faculty, often beginning with freshman orientation. One training program hosted by Harvard University, for instance, made clear that using the wrong pronouns when addressing someone on campus constitutes abuse and is an “attempt to limit a person’s sense of self based on identity.” Under Harvard President Claudine Gay, failing to refer to someone by their preferred pronouns contributes to a culture of harassment and bullying, but calling to “Free Palestine from the river to the sea” – which would require the mass murder of 7 million Israeli Jews – is considered free speech.
I am proud to be a part of the faculty at Liberty University. Their support of Israel and clarity on rejecting antisemitism has been well documented from its very founding. But they have also managed to remain committed to free speech since their founding as well, hosting the likes of Senator Ted Kennedy, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and Bishop Desmond Tutu to speak on campus.
Our universities have become so blindly devoted to a radical, Marxist worldview that they have lost the ability to teach our children the difference between right and wrong. Historically, rising antisemitism has been an indicator that a culture has lost its moral compass, and we would do well to remember that the first German institutions to embrace Nazi ideology enthusiastically – in particular, its vile antisemitism – were the cultural elite at its vaunted universities. We must not allow our own universities to commit these same sins today. Instead, we should seek political diversity among faculties rather than submission to a single progressive ideology, and we should encourage donors and board members to continue to hold university leadership accountable when it fails to protect its students from antisemitic attacks.
Shepherd and King - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
When Jesus was born, there were some people who were aware of His birth. The shepherds were very important people, but didn’t get much respect from the “better” classes. They spent time with sheep. That meant they often slept out in the open and probably didn’t bath quite like other people did. Were they less loved by God? No. In God’s opinion, shepherds were as important as the Pharisees or kings. The shepherds tended to the flocks that were used for temple sacrifice. The shepherds had an important part in the daily Jewish life, though they weren’t in the upper-class. God has never looked down upon shepherds. It was a young shepherd boy named David who was anointed to be king of Israel. He was the youngest of the family of Jesse, and had seven brothers.
Can you imagine the shock that happened in Jesse’s household when the prophet Samuel showed up? Samuel was a feared prophet who had anointed Saul as king of Israel. Now, God had rejected Saul, and directed Samuel to anoint one of Jesse’s sons as the rightful king. One by one, each of the Jesse’s older sons was presented to Samuel, but God rejected all of them. These sons would join Saul’s army and were strong young men. That wasn’t what God was looking for. “And Samuel said unto Jesse, Are here all thy children? And he said, There remaineth yet the youngest, and, behold he keepeth the sheep. And Samuel said unto Jesse, Send and fetch him for we will not sit down till he come hither.” 1 Samuel 16:11.
It was David whom God had chosen. A young shepherd, who wrote songs and played music. It was easy to forget that it was David who fiercely protected his flock from an attack by a lion and a bear. David may not have been worthy of joining Saul’s army, but it was David who had no fear in facing the giant Goliath, as Saul’s army hid in the rocks. David’s brothers were in that army, but it was the lowly shepherd boy who brought down Goliath with a rock and cut off his head. God had given prophecy that David’s throne would be forever. That’s quite a promise to a mere shepherd.
Isaiah was given several prophecies about Jesus, including “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” Isaiah 9:6-7.
A child is born…a human child born of the Virgin Mary. Human because she was human. A son is given? “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.” John 3:16. Fully God and fully man. Jesus is our salvation. He is the Good Shepherd Who came from Heaven to mingle with the sheep in order to give us everlasting life. All we have to do is believe in Him. I’m proud to be a part of His flock.
He is the Good Shepherd, but He is also King. David was a godly man who loved the Lord. He was a shepherd and a king. David was just human and sinned, but instead of covering up his sin, David went to the Lord in earnest prayer. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. David humbled himself before the Lord and asked to be forgiven. He was. That’s what separates him from any national leader today or in history. David honored God. When the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her she had been chosen to give birth to God’s Son, he also told her “And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:33.
This would fulfill the prophecy given by Isaiah 9:6-7. It’s important to study prophecy and understand that nothing that happens today is a surprise to God. The birth of Jesus came about exactly as God had foretold, even if it looked as if it was impossible. Mary was a virgin, but gave birth. She lived in Nazareth but had to travel to Bethlehem where prophecy said Christ would be born. Jesus will sit on David’s throne for ever and ever. Jesus is the King of kings. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost, but that wasn’t where His existence began. The Apostle John tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3.
Compare this to the creation account in Genesis chapter 1 and you’ll laugh at evolution and understand that God created all things. God stepped into His creation, in human form, to become one of us in order to save us from eternal death. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.
Jesus was fully God, and also fully human. At His birth He was worshipped by shepherds, who were tending their flocks at night when an angel appeared with an amazing announcement. “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.
The shepherds were told they would find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. “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. The shepherds were stunned, but they went and found Jesus just as the angel had said. These men were excited and told everyone about what had happened. The shepherds were the first to find the Lamb of God, and they told others.
Sometime later the magi arrived. There’s no Biblical affirmation of this, but tradition says they were a part of a group that had been founded by Daniel centuries before. They had set out on their journey after seeing His star. “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying Where is he that is born the King of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2.
Herod was king in Jerusalem, but he wasn’t born king. The arrival of the wise men angered him. He set about finding out where Christ would be born, and it was only then that the people who should have been well informed about prophecy, the chief priests and scribes, found the prophecy in Micah 5:2 that said He would be born in Bethlehem.
Herod told the wise men, that when they found the child to let him know where he could go worship him. He had no intention of worshipping Jesus, he wanted to murder Him. The star reappeared and led them to the house where they would find Jesus. Jesus was in a “house” not a manger. This wasn’t the night of His birth. “And when they were come into the house they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11.
Wise men always worship Jesus. These gifts financed Joseph, Mary, and Jesus fleeing to Egypt to avoid Herod’s wrath. This fulfilled a prophecy in Hosea “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son our of Egypt” Hosea 11:1.
Just as the Hebrews had been captive in Egypt until God sent Moses, God’s own Son was in Egypt until Herod died and it was safe for Him to return to Israel.
So much prophecy was fulfilled and if the religious leaders had been aware of it, things might have been different. We can also see that people haven’t changed much over the years. First it was the Jewish shepherds who came to find the Good Shepherd, the Lamb of God. They found Him then spread the Good News. The Apostle Paul tells us “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16. The Shepherds weren’t ashamed of Christ and told everyone about Him. Is that how we react when we find Christ? Do we excitedly proclaim Christ to others? Do we proudly say “Merry Christmas”, or do we bow to the world and say “Happy Holidays”?
The next group to seek Christ were Gentiles, the wise men from the east. They had been watching for the signs of His birth, and recognized that the Christ had been born. They set out on a long journey following a “star”. This wasn’t just any star, but one which led them to find Jesus.
They went to the place where they thought they would find directions to Christ; they went to the king who went to the Chief Priests and Scribes. It’s too bad they didn’t ask the Shepherds for directions. The shepherds knew where to find Jesus. The wise men went to the people who should have recognized the signs of fulfilled prophecy and should have been there worshipping Jesus. Instead, when Herod got a visit from the magi, he went to the religious leaders. Instead of seeking to worship Jesus, this government official wanted to kill Him.
Today, Christianity is illegal in many nations, and even in America, our government is trying to suppress God’s truth. The chief priests and scribes should have been seeking Jesus to worship Him, but they were with Herod playing politics. When the wise men showed up seeking the one born King of the Jews, the priests and scribes had to scramble to find where He was to be born. Instead of going to worship Jesus, they gave the information and went back to their ignorance, probably thinking that “prophecy is vague and can’t be understood” or “prophecy isn’t for us, now, but for some future time”. People have that same attitude today. Jesus doesn’t change. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8.
It’s good that Jesus never changes, but Christians need to earnestly seek the Good Sheperd like the shepherds did and seek the King of kings as the wise men did.
Whether we are a shepherd or a king, we all need to find Jesus.
God bless you all,
Recommended prophecy sites:
All original scripture is “theopneustos” God breathed.
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“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalm 122:6.
Daily Jot: Pope approves same-sex blessings - Bill Wilson – www.dailyjot.com
Just in time for Christmas, Pope Francis approved the blessing of same-sex couples “without any type of ritualization or offering the impression of a marriage.” At the same time, the Pope double talked and reasoned out his previous declaration saying “The doctrine regarding marriage does not change, and the blessing does not signify approval of the union.” The Pope is considered by Catholics as having “full, supreme, and universal power over the whole church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered (Catechism 882).” As the Vicar of Christ (in other words, Christ’s supreme representative on earth), the Pope has authority to interpret scripture in his own way. So sin is now blessed.
It would appear, however, that the Pope is a little confused, possibly proving that he is not the supreme authority Catholics believe him to be. In March 2021, the same Pope Francis approved a response to the question “Does the Church have the power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex?” The answer was essentially “NO.” In the long-worded response, the bottom line was: “the blessing of homosexual unions cannot be considered licit. This is because they would constitute a certain imitation or analogue of the nuptial blessing invoked on the man and woman united in the sacrament of Matrimony, while in fact there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.”
The response concluded: “the Church does not have, and cannot have, the power to bless unions of persons of the same sex in the sense intended above.” Well, all that changed just days before Catholics are to celebrate one of the highest holy days, the Blessed Mother Mary giving birth to Christ. Supreme Authority Pope Francis now asserts a difference between a liturgical blessing and a pastoral blessing. Vatican News tries to explain: “When seeing them from the perspective of popular piety, “blessings should be evaluated as acts of devotion.” Those requesting a blessing “should not be required to have prior moral perfection” as a precondition, the Declaration notes.” The Declaration calls it blessing “irregular couples.”
Christ said in Matthew 19:4-5, “Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female and said, ‘On account of this a man will leave the father and mother and be joined with his wife, and the two will become into one flesh’?” But Catholics believe that church tradition and the holy scriptures are equal. Therefore, via the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, the Pope and his designees have the supreme authority to interpret the word of God “whether in written form or tradition.” Never mind that the scriptures say that homosexuality is abomination to the Lord. And Hebrews 13:8-9 says, “Jesus the Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.” I guess supreme authority means you can change the word of God with the times. Just saying.
http://scborromeo.org/ccc/p123a9p4.htm Catechism 882
Daily Devotion: How God Loved the World - by Greg Laurie – www.harvest.org
For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. —John 3:16
https://harvest.org/resources/devotion/how-god-loved-the-world/ - Listen
The story is told of a very wealthy man who shared a passion for art collecting with his son. Priceless works of art adorned the walls of their family estate. Then one day the young man left to serve his country. After a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His son had been killed in battle.
Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming holidays with sadness. The joy of the season had vanished with the death of his son. But on Christmas morning, a knock at the door awakened him. A soldier was standing at his door with a large package in his hands. He said, “I was a friend of your son’s. I was the one he was rescuing when he died.”
Then the soldier gave the father the package. It was a portrait of his son, which the soldier had painted. Though art critics never would have considered it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the father hung his son’s portrait over his fireplace, setting aside millions of dollars’ worth of art.
He spent that Christmas sitting in his chair, gazing at the priceless gift he had received. It became his most valued possession, eclipsing his interest in any other art in his collection. Six months later, the father died, and the art community waited with anticipation for the estate’s upcoming auction. Then it was announced that all the art would be auctioned on Christmas Day.
Collectors from around the world gathered to bid on the spectacular paintings. But the auction began with a painting that wasn’t on anyone’s list: the soldier’s portrait of the estate owner’s son. When the auctioneer asked for an opening bid, the room fell silent.
Then someone said, “Who cares about that painting? It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s move on.”
The auctioneer replied, “We’ll have to sell this one first. Who will take the son?”
Finally, the man’s neighbor offered $50. “It’s all I have,” he said. “But I knew the boy, and I loved him. I would like to have it.”
The auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice, gone.”
Cheers filled the room, and then someone called out, “Now we can bid on the real treasures!”
But then the auctioneer made an announcement: the sale was over.
Everyone was stunned. “What do you mean it’s over?” someone asked. “We’re here to buy millions of dollars’ worth of art! What’s going on?”
“It’s very simple,” the auctioneer said. “According to the will of the father, whoever takes the son gets it all.”
The same is true this Christmas. Because of the Father’s love, whoever takes the Son gets it all. God demonstrated His love by giving us the most important gift of all: the gift of His Son.
That is why Jesus came. He came to give us life, to die for our sins, and to heal our broken hearts. He gives us hope beyond the grave and a purpose for life here on Earth.
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