Prophecy Update Newsletter
January 4, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
A Palestinian State - By Matt Ward - http://raptureready.com/soap2/ward78.html
The consequences of the obvious recent US betrayal of Israel at the UN will be huge. There will be significant, real world implications stemming directly from Barack Obama's decision to abstain from UN Security Council resolution 2334, which subsequently allowed for Israel's unanimous condemnation on Friday 23rd December, in the UN Security Council.
This betrayal will be felt deeply by Israel, despite the Obama Administrations spin that this was merely an act of "tough love," toward its one time Middle East ally.
This wasn't an act of "tough love" at all, it was an act of utter rebellion. It was an act of bitter hubris towards a hated enemy, and it was delivered by the Obama administration in the worst possible way, under the guise of "friendship" and with a smile. Never has betrayal looked so abhorrent or felt so obvious.
For Israel, left reeling in the wake of this anti-Semitic UN resolution, the impact will be felt at every level.
This resolution is not just meaningless diplomacy, it endangers the very existence of the State of Israel, and we will now see a real attempt to delegitimize Israel as a nation state.
This resolution has effectively made all Israeli settlements illegal and defacto handed them over to the Palestinians. It has divided the land, or at least in real terms, begun that process.
This resolution means that from this day forward any person or business involved in Jewish settlement enterprise or business, in for example the West Bank, could be sued in courts all over the world.
It means that the BDS movement, which despises Israel, have received a huge false legal justification for their anti-Semitic campaigns. They will now gain momentum in every EU and western country in the world. We will see widespread boycotts of Jewish settlement goods in Europe, the United States and across the world. It is merely a repackaged form of old school anti-Semitism.
Though attacking the Jewish settlement economy directly will not ruin Israel economically, as the Israeli economy is mostly reliant upon high tech goods not dependent upon settlements, this resolution will bring significant moral damage to Israel. This is because it assumes Israeli aggression where there is none, and gives the Palestinians moral superiority where they definitely have none.
It means that the EU will now likely make formal their currently informal policy of labeling all Israeli "settlement" goods, a practice that no doubt many other countries will now enact in the wake of this resolution.
This resolution means that Israeli politicians, Prime Ministers, IDF officers and soldiers, as well as normal Israeli citizens could actually be indicted by the International Criminal Court at the Hague.
Any Israeli officer or politician deciding to build on settlement land, or alternatively who destroys the homes of Palestinian terrorists after a Palestinian terror attack - a long standing current Israeli policy - may well now be pursued for war crimes.
How perversely ironic that just across the Israeli border, almost a stone's throw away, over half a million people died in 2016 due to bloody civil war, and Weapons of Mass Destruction in the form of chemical weapons were definitely used there on a number of occasions, yet it is the Jews that are being pulled into the ICC, not the Syrians or the Russians. They are going to be prosecuted not for genocide, but for building new homes.
This resolution means that banks, businesses, retailers, factories and any other Jewish enterprise located in so-called "settlement" areas are now likely to be black listed. Other international businesses, banks, retailers and enterprises will no longer do business with them. These businesses will go to the wall.
This resolution will also create a mechanism to monitor and report back on Israel to the UNSC, on her perceived "transgressions" once every three months. This will mean Israel will be constantly critiqued to the most minute degree for every perceived wrong or injustice committed. They will be constantly hounded and harassed. Ultimately it could result in the imposition of international sanctions against Israel.
It is a huge step forward in the attempt to delegitimize Israel as a nation state.
This past week, though, John Kerry went even further and poured fresh fuel onto the fire. In a speech lasting almost an hour he exclusively berated Israel. It was really quite unprecedented in its tone and message. It was appalling.
Placing the full weight of blame for the failure of the peace process on Israel alone, Kerry completely overlooked the absolute intransigence of the Palestinian Authority, or their abject refusal to even so much as acknowledge Israel's right to exist.
This speech was not just about baiting Israel, or apportioning blame to them, this speech was about laying the groundwork for something else entirely, something yet to come. Kerry, on behalf of the Obama Administration was making a case for future damaging moves they intend to make against Israel. They were justifying themselves beforehand.
The Obama Administration still, at this point, has a number of weeks left in office. It is clear that Obama, and the administration he leads, are intent upon leaving their mark on history and Israel will be their victim. To that end, on January 15, France are convening a summit on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The great fear is that this current United States administration will use the opportunity this summit affords to draw up a second UN resolution in which a Palestinian state will be arbitrarily declared.
The consequences of this betrayal will likely be the creation of a Palestinian state.
At the time of the end, the single, key sign indicating the beginning of the tribulation period will be that the man of lawlessness will "confirm a treaty with many for a period of seven" (Daniel 9:27).
He will not instigate the treaty himself, he will confirm one that already exists. It is becoming increasingly likely, in my mind at least, that this new potential resolution, which Obama possibly intends to pass before the end of his presidential term in January, may be that treaty "confirmed with many."
The time in which we live today, is quite simply the most prophetically significant period of the last fifty years, and certainly of my lifetime. It is that important.
Keep looking up, because if a Palestinian state is declared in the coming month, and the land of Israel is divided, there will be one heck of a storm coming, direct from God,
"And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." (Zechariah 12:3)
Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu Go Visceral - By Daniel Pipes - https://www.danielpipes.org
How to explain the recent uproar in U.S.-Israel relations? I refer to President Barack Obama's decision to abstain at the U.N. Security Council, precisely contradicting his own views of just a few years earlier; Secretary of State John Kerry's 75-minute rant against Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu; and Netanyahu's intemperate responses, such as warning the New Zealand government that its support for the UNSC resolution amounts to a "declaration of war."
High politics of this sort is usually viewed through the lens of ideas and principles. But at times, it's better to leave all that behind and look at psychology - in other words, the basic human emotions and relations we all experience.
This level of explanation works better in this instance with all of Obama, Kerry and Netanyahu. The threesome is fed up. During his nearly ten years in office, Netanyahu has always faced a Democratic president out of sync with him. Obama is fed up with an Israeli leader who's annoyed him for eight years; ditto Kerry for 4 years.
Now that they are finally to be rid of each other, the trio seem unable to hide their frustrations any longer. Acting out of pique and rage more than good sense and planning, all three lash out. So rancid are the emotions, America's ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, actually felt compelled publicly to assert that Obama "doesn't deal in revenge, it's not how he makes decisions."
All three will rue their very recent actions:
For Obama, now in full-scale legacy-building mode, his Security Council scheming will tarnish his image for the great majority of Americans sympathetic to Israel, as criticism from Democrats and Jewish leaders already indicates.
For Kerry, a tenure as secretary of state largely focused on the Middle East (first Arab-Israeli diplomacy, then the Iran deal) is soured beyond redemption, what with this revealing scream about his own failure in the Arab-Israeli arena (and the Iran deal about to be at least partially undone).
For Netanyahu, an out-of-control response made the UNSC resolution far more prominent and therefore far more of a defeat than need have been the case; and his lashing out at the resolution's backers might do long-term damage to Israel's national interests.
And while we're counting losers, throw Palestinians into the mix. Given false hopes by the parting Obama administration, their leaders are less likely than ever to take the constructive steps to accept Israel that necessarily must precede the building of their own polity, economy, society, and culture. Instead, they are the more deeply mired in rejectionism.
So, it's lose-lose-lose-lose. Perhaps with Obama & Kerry gone, things will improve. But adding an intemperate and uncontrolled Donald Trump to the brew raises yet more concerns.
Welcome to the Middle East, venue of visceral venomism. (December 30, 2016)
Dec. 30, 2016 addendum: Claudia Rosett agrees that the issue is psychological (i.e., not political) but thinks the target is more subtle:
Is President Obama using his final weeks in office to settle personal grudges against Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu? Obama certainly appears to be settling scores, slamming Russia for trying to meddle in the U.S. election, and abandoning Israel to the untender mercies of the United Nations Security Council.
But if you look past the administration narratives, Obama's record suggests his animus has less to do with savaging Putin and Netanyahu than with sticking a thumb in the eye of the American electorate and its chosen winner, President-elect Donald Trump.
Donald Trump Was Born Exactly 700 Days Before Israel Became a Nation - http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/62169-donald-trump-was-born-exactly-700-days-before-israel-became-a-nation
Do you want to see something amazing?
If you go to any of the major search engines and ask when Donald Trump was born, you will be told that it happened on June 14, 1946. And then if you go to any of the major search engines and ask when Israel became a nation, you will be told that it happened on May 14, 1948. If you take both of those dates and plug them into the handy calculator provided by timeanddate.com, you will discover that Donald Trump was born exactly 700 days before Israel became a nation.
I was first alerted to this incredible fact by Daily Crow. Here are some other incredible numbers that link Trump and Israel from that same source.
Israel was 77 days old exactly 777 days after Donald Trump was born.
Israel's 70th birthday will come exactly 700 days after Trump's 70th birthday.
Donald Trump won the election on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's seventh year, seventh month and seventh day in office.
On top of everything else, Donald Trump will be 70 years, seven months and seven days old on his first full day in the White House.
As I noted above, Donald Trump was born on June 14, 1946. Moving forward exactly 70 years from that date brings you to June 14, 2016. Moving forward exactly seven months from that date brings you to Jan. 14, 2017, and if you add another seven days that brings you to Jan. 21, 2017.
Donald Trump will be inaugurated on Jan. 20 and will be president for part of that day, but his first full day in office will be on Jan. 21.
And as incredible as this may sound, this will happen during year 5777 on the Hebrew calendar.
In addition, it turns out that there are some very strange "coincidences" surrounding Mike Pence as well. Here is more great stuff from Daily Crow:
He is 57 years old and will take office in the Hebrew year 5777. The last minute of Mike Pence's 57th year will take place one minute before the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem (Pence was 50th governor of Indiana), 6/7 of 2017.
Pence was born in Columbus. Trump Tower is located .7 miles down 57th street from Columbus Circle, Trump's Vice President, Pence the 57 year old from Columbus.
Could it be possible that Donald Trump and Mike Pence both have special destinies ahead of them?
They are going to take office at a critical time for America. Barack Obama appears determined to cause as much chaos as possible on his way out the door, and we just witnessed the greatest betrayal of Israel in all of American history.
And in addition to U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334, we are also finding out that the U.N. has appropriated money for a database of Israeli companies that do business in the West Bank. According to former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, the only purpose of such a database would be to punish those companies.
Lost amid the angry words that followed the Dec. 23 UN Security Council vote that critics called an American betrayal of Israel was a Christmas Eve appropriation of $138,700 to fund a database of companies doing business in the West Bank. The measure puts UN prestige behind the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, say critics.
"The types of data they are talking about acquiring would be to form the basis for future sanctions against companies that did business on the West Bank," Fox News contributor and former U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton told FoxNews.com. "That's the only purpose of it that I can see."
Fortunately, some members of Congress are already working hard to try to repair the damage that Barack Obama has been doing. For example, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz wants to withhold funding from the U.S. State Department until the U.S. embassy is moved to Jerusalem.
Sen. Ted Cruz and two fellow Republicans are pressing the State Department to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Congress passed legislation in 1995 that called for moving the embassy to Jerusalem, but Democratic and Republican administrations alike have declined to enact the change, citing security concerns. The latest measure, introduced Tuesday as the new Congress convened, would withhold funding from the State Department until it makes the move.
Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is one of the 10 steps I detailed yesterday that I believe Donald Trump should take as soon as possible after becoming president.
Donald Trump has the opportunity to be the most pro-Israel president that we have ever had. But that is going to take more than just good intentions.
We live in a time when global events are accelerating. Donald Trump and Mike Pence are going to have to deal with some great challenges that they cannot even imagine at this moment, and it will be critical for them to be strong and resolute in the face of a rapidly changing global environment.
Historical Anniversary Dates for Israel - By Randy Nettles - http://raptureready.com/soap2/nettles15.html
The current year of AD 2017 is upon us, and with it comes several important historical anniversary dates for the nation of Israel specifically; and the Gentile nations in general. 2018 is a very significant year as well.
August 31, 2017 marks the 120th anniversary of the First Zionist Congress organized by Theodore Herzl in 1897. Held in Basel , Switzerland , the gathering defied the purpose of Zionism as a movement aimed at obtaining a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine. guaranteed by public law.
Israel will celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, which was issued on November 2, 1917, during World War I. It was put forth by David Lloyd George, prime minister of England , and Arthur Balfour, his foreign secretary. It promised that England would support and help facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine . The Balfour Declaration was the single most important document in the establishment of the state of Israel .
Israel will also celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the capture of Jerusalem on December 9, 2017. On this day in 1917, the British army captured Jerusalem and took control of the city from the Ottoman Turks. The Ottoman Empire encompassed most of the area now known as Turkey. The Ottoman Empire, which controlled Palestine ( Israel ), joined Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Bulgaria in declaring war on the Allies during World War 1.
The Allies consisted of the British Empire, Russia, United States, France, Italy, Serbia, and other countries. The Ottomans, a Turkish dynasty dating back to about 1300, conquered Constantinople in AD 1453. In 1516, the Turks defeated the Egyptian armies, giving them control of Syria and also Palestine . The Ottoman sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, used his power in the region to build the walls that still surround Jerusalem. The flag of the Ottoman Empire flew over Palestine for four centuries. The British capture of Jerusalem proved to be a major step toward Israel becoming a nation.
On April 6, 1917, the U.S. joined its allies to fight in World War I. Most Americans did not want to get involved in the war, but after Germany sank five American vessels in the Atlantic Ocean , Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war. Soon American troops were sent to Europe, Germany surrendered, and President Wilson was influential in peace negotiations. Germany formally surrendered to the Allied Powers on November 11, 1918 at the Treaty of Versailles.
Another historical event in 1917 was the Russian Revolution, which dismantled the Tsarist autocracy and led to the eventual rise of the Soviet Union . The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917. In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with a communist state.
This revolution dissolved the resolution of the military effort against Germany and led to Russia's surrender to the Central Powers in 1918. The Allied Powers won the war regardless of Russia 's surrender. The Ottoman Empire, Austria-Hungary, Germany and Bulgaria all lost lands to the Allies. Many new countries were formed in the years following World War I.
Several important events regarding the Jews occurred in 1947.
1) The Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered on the northwestern side of the Dead Sea in Israel . The scrolls are believed to be dated back to the period between 250 BC and Ad 68, and were apparently written by the Essenes, a Jewish priestly sect living at Qumran in the Dead Sea region. Many consider the Dead Sea Scrolls to be the most important archaeological discovery of all time.
2) On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into two states. The Negev Desert (in southern Palestine ), and the coastal region and eastern Galilee (in northern Palestine ) were set aside for Jews, while Arabs were given the Gaza Strip (the southern coast) and the remaining areas of Palestine . Jerusalem was designated as an international city. The motion, which the United States and the Soviet Union supported, was denounced by the League of Arab States, which supported the cause of the Palestinian Arabs.
The British mandate over Palestine was scheduled to end on May 15, 1948; at which time the English troops would be leaving. In anticipation of the end of the British presence in Palestine , David Ben Gurion called to order a historic meeting on May 14, 1948 (Iyar 5, 5708 on the Jewish calendar) and read Israel 's Declaration of Independence. For the first time in more than two thousand years, there was an independent Jewish state of Israel . On April 20, 2018 (Iyar 5, 5778 on the Jewish calendar), Israel will celebrate its 70 year anniversary as a modern nation. Iyar 5 is now known as Independence Day for Israel .
The day after Israel declared its independence, it was attacked by five Arab nations: Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon , Syria , and Jordan. By the end of 1948, the Israeli army had defeated the Arab nations and in so doing had conquered half of the territory the United Nations had planned for the new Arab nation. The other half was divided between Jordan and Egypt. Israel controlled the western half of Jerusalem and Jordan the eastern half, including the Old City and the Temple mount. On May 11, 1949, the nation of Israel was admitted to the United Nations. The United States and the Soviet Union voted for this action.
In 1967, Egypt and Syria , sent troops to the Sinai Peninsula and forced the United Nations Emergency Forces based there to leave. On June 5, 1967 (Iyar 26, 5727 on Jewish calendar), Israel responded with a preemptive strike, demolishing the Egyptian air force in just three hours. Israeli forces captured the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, then conquered the Old City of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.
The conquest took six days and became known as the Six Day War. Israelis celebrated their rescue of the holy sites in Jerusalem and planned to exchange the captured Arab territories for recognition of the state of Israel and a peace treaty. The Arab nations, however, continued to reject Israel 's existence, and as a result the captured territories were not relinquished. On May 22, 2017 (Iyar 26, 5777 on Jewish calendar), Israel will celebrate the 50th anniversary of this momentous event. Iyyar 26 is now celebrated as Jerusalem Day.
An important and historical day on the Jewish (religious) calendar is the 24th of Kislev, which is the ninth month. Israel has witnessed four major historical events in the past on this day.
1) The foundation of the Second Temple was laid on December 11 (on our Gregorian calendar), 520 BC by the Jewish exiles returning from Babylon . "From the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of the Lord's Temple was laid, consider it....From this day I will bless you" (Haggai 2:18-19).
2) The abolition of the Temple sacrifice by the Greek-Syrian king, Antiochus IV, known as "Epiphanes", on December 12, 167 BC. He forbade the Jews to offer "sacrifices and atonements' in the Temple of God , and also commanded that they "should prohibit the Sabbath and festival days to be celebrated" (1 Maccabees 1). The last true daily sacrifice took place on the twenty-fourth of Chisleu (Kislev). The pagan sacrifices began the next day on the "five and twentieth day of the ninth month" (1 Maccabees 4:54).
3) The recapture of the Temple and cleansing of the sanctuary occurred on December 9, 164 BC...almost three years to the day when the Temple was first desecrated by King Antiochus. Antiochus was a type of Anti-Christ who desired to be worshipped as a god. A Jewish rebellion, led by an old man named Mattathias and his five sons, resulted in a spectacular war of religious independence.
The sons, led by Judas Maccabaeus (the Hammer), and the Jews reconquered the Temple site on the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month. "Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month of Chisleu...they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the altar of burnt offering which they had built. At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps" (1 Maccabees 4:52-54). This event is commemorated annually at the feast of Hanukkah.
4) Jerusalem was freed from Turkish (Ottoman Empire) rule during World War 1 on December 9, 1917 by the Allied Expeditionary Force, under the command of General Allenby. This was discussed earlier in this article.
Israel has also just recently witnessed another important historical event on the 24th of Kislev. The date on the secular calendar was December 23, 2016. The event was the signing of Resolution 2334 by the U.N. security council regarding Israeli settlements, including Jerusalem and the Western Wall. There have been many articles and news stories concerning this resolution, which the U.S. abstained from voting on; so I will not go into any further details regarding it. The only detail I will mention is the timing of it. The resolution was voted on at approximately 1:28 p.m. Eastern time at the U.N. Headquarter in New York , N.Y. This would mean that it was 8:28 p.m. in Jerusalem , Israel .
A day in the secular calendar begins and ends at midnight. In Israel, as in Judaism and the Jewish calendar, a day is calculated from sundown to sundown. The signing of this resolution occurred on the 23rd of Kislev 23 here in the United States but in Jerusalem it had already turned into Kislev 24 by a few hours. It seems remarkable that this event took place on this day of the Jewish calendar, when so many other significant events have occurred in the past for Israel and Jerusalem . God is truly in control of human history and the timing of historical events.
Last but not least is a possible future event which could happen on the 24th of Kislev. The year is unknown. It is the Russian (and allies) invasion of Israel , known as the War of Gog and Magog, as described by the prophet Ezekiel. Ezekiel 38:19-20 and Haggai 2:6-7 describe an earthquake will occur during this war and will be so catastrophic that the whole world will be affected.
Here is what the prophet Haggai had to say about a future war (notice the similarity in the wording of the prophecy of Haggai to the words of Ezekiel's prophecy in Ezekiel 38 and 39):
"Consider no from this day and upward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundations of the Lord's Temple was laid, consider it....From this day I will bless you. And again the word of the Lord came into Haggai in the four and twentieth day of the month, saying ...I will shake the heavens and the earth; and I will overthrow the throne of kingdoms, and I will destroy the strength of the kingdoms of the heathen, and I will overthrow the chariots, and those that ride in them; and the horses and their riders shall come down, every one by the sword of his brother" (Haggai 2:18-22)
Regardless of the timing of the War of Gog/Magog, we know it's getting close because of current events in the Middle East and Israel . Some of the countries described in Ezekiel 38-39 are coming together as allies, including Russia (Magog), Iran ( Persia ), and Turkey (Togarmah). No doubt other Eastern European and Muslim countries will be allying themselves with Russia against Israel in the near future.
For whatever reason, the United States of America nor any other country will come to the aid of Israel during this time. The super-power who intervenes to save Israel in its greatest hour of need will be their great defender, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The prophecy recorded in Ezekiel indicates that God's purpose in this extraordinary intervention in history is to glorify and sanctify His Holy Name in the sight of Israel and the Gentile nations.
"Behold, it is come, and it is done, says the Lord God; this is the day whereof I have spoken" (Ezekiel 39:8).
Threats to Watch In 2017 - Joel C. Rosenberg - https://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/threats-to-watch-in-2017-1-putin-is-massing-55000-troops-on-border-of-ukraine-threatening-the-baltic-states-nato-looks-weak-what-the-trump-pence-team-should-do-immediately/
#1: Putin is massing 55,000 troops on border of Ukraine & threatening the Baltic States. NATO looks weak. What the Trump-Pence team should do immediately.
As 2017 begins and the Trump-Pence administration is set to take office in Washington, what are the major threats that should be on your radar screen? What could potentially hit us without warning if we and our leaders are not paying close attention?
Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing a series of columns on this topic. But as I've been doing research over the past few months for a new novel about Russia, I have come to believe that the threat Moscow now poses to the U.S. and our allies is real and growing.
One thing I'm concerned about is Vladimir Putin. I believe that Vladimir Putin and the way he's leading Russia is going to be a big, big issue over the next several years. And I must say I'm cautiously pessimistic at the moment with the way the President-elect is dealing with this.
Right now, we keep hearing very warm, kind words about Mr. Putin from Mr. Trump. This may be a negotiating tactic, right? You have a President-elect who is known for "The Art of the Deal." So he may be trying to send a positive signal early on to Putin to say, "Hey, listen, we don't have to have a bad relationship. I'm willing to start in a positive way. But we're going to have some serious issues that we're going to have to talk about."
I would note that it's a different strategy than Mr. Trump is taking with Iran. It's a different strategy than he's taking with China. It's a much softer approach, and it suggests the other possibility - not that it's a negotiating tactic, but that it's really what Mr. Trump believes, that Putin is not a threat.
If that's the case, I totally disagree.
Mr. Putin is a threat. He's already invaded and seized part of the nation state of Georgia. He's already invaded and seized Crimea. He's already invaded and seized Eastern Ukraine. And now he has 55,000 Russian troops massed on the border of Ukraine and [not far from] the three Baltic States - Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.
Is Putin going to invade and try to seize those countries as well?
We don't know that yet, right? But there are very few NATO troops there right now in the Baltics, and yet those are NATO allies.
So, when you have a Russian leader who has shown as much aggression in recent years as Putin has, and you're not doing more to build up U.S. and NATO forces - including mechanized ground forces, mechanized divisions - inside the Baltics to make sure that Putin doesn't seem them as an easy grab; when you're sending messages that seem very soft and conciliatory towards Russia; then you run the risk of being blindsided by an evil you don't see.
I just hope and pray that the new President of the United States and his team will take countering that threat posed by Putin as seriously as they're taking the China, North Korea and Radical Islam threats, as well.
FOLLOW UP FACTS:
CRITICAL ISSUES: Ukraine is a key ally of the U.S. and the Western alliance, but it is not a NATO ally. NATO is not obligated to come to her defense. But the Trump-Pence team needs to decide how it would handle a Russian move to seize all of Ukraine.
The Baltic States, meanwhile, are full NATO allies. A Russian invasion would trigger Article V of the NATO treaty. This would require a full-scale military response by the U.S. and the rest of the European countries who are members of NATO. This could quickly escalate to a nuclear confrontation. To do nothing - to abandon the Baltics to the Kremlin - would mean the end of NATO. No ally around the world would ever trust their alliances with the U.S. again. It could mean the collapse of U.S. global leadership. Clearly, the stakes are high.
RECOMMENDATIONS: The Trump-Pence team have a clear domestic agenda that involves turbo-charging the U.S. economy and creating millions of new jobs, ending illegal immigration and protecting America's borders. On foreign policy, their top priorities are dealing with China and challenges in Asia, and confronting Radical Islam. The President elect understandably does not show any interest in a confrontation with Russia.
It is important, then, that President Trump immediately and significantly increases NATO air and ground forces - and missile defenses - in and around the Baltics and Poland, as well as in Germany and France upon taking office. He needs to make it absolutely clear to Putin that we will fully support our NATO allies and will not countenance any hostile action against them. Should the Baltics be left essentially unprotected, Putin - an emerging Czar with imperialist appetites - may find himself tempted to strike.
The RAND Corporation report suggests that "a force of about seven brigades, including three heavy armored brigades - adequately supported by airpower, land-based fires, and other enablers on the ground and ready to fight at the onset of hostilities - could suffice to prevent the rapid overrun of the Baltic states." The report notes that "while not sufficient to mount a sustained defense of the region or to achieve NATO's ultimate end state of restoring its members' territorial integrity, such a posture would fundamentally change the strategic picture as seen from Moscow."
I would leave the decision for the precise force structure to incoming Defense Secretary James Mattis, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and our NATO allied commanders. But in principle I agree with the direction RAND is suggesting. We want to focus on China/Asia and Radical Islam. We want to avoid a conflict with Putin in Europe. Thus, we must strengthen NATO immediately to maintain our options.
Then the President should start a very focused process of insisting that each NATO country fully invest 2% of their annual GDP on defense spending. That's what they promised to do when they joined the alliance. It's high time each country pay its fair share.
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
New Year, Same Issues, Eternal Hope: Looking Forward To 2017 - By Eric Metaxas - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=919
Many people are glad 2016 is behind us, and I understand why. But of course, the issues that made last year a struggle are not behind us. Let me explain.
We talk a lot on BreakPoint about what the French philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul called the "political illusion"--the idea that our problems are primarily political ones with political solutions. Or that, as Chuck Colson put it so pithily, salvation will arrive on Air Force One.
Many Americans, Clinton and Trump supporters alike, fell for the political illusion during the presidential campaign. Many continue to today: some by thinking that all is lost, and others by thinking that all is well.
This is why, during the campaign, I made the statement--and let's just say I got a lot of feedback on it--that the state of our elections reflected the state of our nation; that Alexander Solzhenitsyn was right when he said during his famous speech at Harvard, "There are meaningful warnings which history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen."
Now, make no mistake. With Donald Trump in office, it's possible, even likely, that we're going to get a reprieve from the aggressive anti-Christian policies of the Obama administration.
We can dare to hope that nuns won't be forced to buy insurance for contraceptives and abortifacients, for example, and that federal funding for Planned Parenthood can be curtailed, maybe even eliminated.
We can hope for a Supreme Court justice or two who will uphold the Constitution and not invent rights out of thin air.
Now all of that is good. But please remember this: As the Democrats learned the hard way, what goes around comes around.
The election was a reaction to extreme secular liberal policies. After Republicans attempt to dismantle the Obama agenda there may very well be an equal and opposite reaction. National elections happen every two years, after all.
So as we head into 2017, remember: "Beware the political illusion." That doesn't mean we withdraw from politics. Far from it.
That leads me to another key teaching here at the Colson Center, received from the hands of Chuck himself: Politics most often is downstream of culture.
Culture will shape politics. And as Chuck said during his final speech, the culture is shaped by "the cult," its belief system, what people truly believe and care about.
And that's where the Church must come in. As we go about "being the church" as Chuck liked to say, loving God, loving our neighbors as ourselves, letting our light and good deeds shine before men, pointing toward every human's true hope in Jesus Christ and God the Father, then we'll have a greater and greater impact on those around us, and on the culture, and in the end, our local and national politics.
And of course, we can do this only by drawing nearer corporately and individually to Jesus, seeking fellowship with Him and with each other.
Daily Jot: Post admits fake news on Russian utility hack - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Last week there was story after story about how the Russians had hacked into a Vermont utility company and possibly could have shut down the entire US electric grid. This just proved the point that the lame duck "president" was making about how Russia was attacking the US and, more specifically, had engineered a Donald Trump victory over the "president's" fellow communist and legacy preserver, Hillary Clinton. Trouble is, the accusers and inventors of "fake news" were at it again. The utility in question could not have been hacked because it was offline. And the head purveyor of "fake news" who broke the story, the venerable Washington Post, had to print a retraction.
The Post wrote on January 2: "As federal officials investigate suspicious Internet activity found last week on a Vermont utility computer, they are finding evidence that the incident is not linked to any Russian government effort to target or hack the utility...An employee at Burlington Electric Department was checking his Yahoo email account Friday and triggered an alert indicating that his computer had connected to a suspicious IP address associated by authorities with the Russian hacking operation that infiltrated the Democratic Party...Indeed, officials say it is possible that the traffic is benign, since this particular IP address is not always connected to malicious activity...The Post initially reported incorrectly that the country's electric grid had been penetrated through a Vermont utility."
So this story went from the Washington Post reporting that the entire country's electric grid was hacked by the Russians to issuing a retraction that there was no such incident at all. This is very similar to reporting throughout the election cycle that Clinton is up by several points and will win, despite knowing that the polling samples are skewed by 12 points in her favor. Then the Post and the "president" decry "fake news" as influencing the election. Also notice how the Post tied its "fake news" to the same hackers that "infiltrated the Democratic Party"-stating as fact something that is still unproven. This is the same tactic employed to establish global warming while the researchers all along were admittedly manipulating the data.
WikiLeaks obtained the DNC and Clinton information and released it. WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange was asked directly by Fox News' Sean Hannity: "Can you say to the American people, unequivocally, that you did not get this information about the DNC, John Podesta's emails, can you tell the American people 1,000 percent that you did not get it from Russia or anybody associated with Russia?" Assange answered: "Yes. We can say, we have said, repeatedly that over the last two months that our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party." So when you are checking under your bed at night for the Russian boogeyman, don't be surprised if you find the lame duck US "president." Ephesians 5:6 says, "Let no man deceive you with vain words." Neither the "president" nor The Washington Post, for sure.
Daily Devotion: He Knows - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. -Matthew 26:37
Have you ever been extremely lonely? Have you ever had your friends abandon you? Have you ever been misunderstood? If so, then you have a faint idea of what Jesus went through as He agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane.
It has been said that what you don't know won't hurt you. I think there is some truth to that statement. If I had the opportunity to know my entire future from this day forward, I think I would rather not know.
But Jesus, being God, knew everything about His future, down to the finest detail. And He knew He was going to go to a Roman cross to be crucified. He knew that He would be humiliated. He would be beaten. He would go through a horrendous whipping. He knew the great anguish that was ahead.
The Bible says that Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see the great sorrow and grief Jesus went through as He faced His death. I don't think we can even begin to grasp the anguish that Jesus was experiencing at that moment.
We need to remember that, as Hebrews 4:15 says, "We do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."
In other words, you are not alone. God knows what you are going through. You don't have a High Priest, speaking of Jesus, who has not faced the challenges you face. The next time you are facing difficulty, the next time you are facing hardship, the next time you feel misunderstood and abandoned, you can know that Jesus has been through it. You have someone who understands you, sympathizes with you, and is there to strengthen you.
FROM THE HEART
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