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Revelation Revealed, Part 8: Babylon's Destruction - Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2018/01/revelation-revealed-part-8-babylons.html
18 "And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies." (Revelation 18:1-3)
Judgment is coming to a closing end, and the destruction of this rebellious world is nearly to its completion. Here again in this chapter it again speaks of Babylon. Is this the same Babylon that was spoken of in Chapter 17? Many believe that the Babylon of these two chapters are the same, but are they? Note that there are two divisions of end times concept of the Babylon that rises to rule the earth. The first is Mystery Babylon. She is considered a harlot, a whore which is signified by a woman in a religious order that deceived the world and has for the last nearly 2000 years. She is identified with Rome and is shown to be an adulterer, a woman that is defiled and worships false gods and leads other people into sin. She has held sway over kings and nations at different intervals of her history and in these last days, she rises from the ashes of oblivion, much like the Phoenix bird and retakes her glory lost in the past, but it is short lived. She rules with the Beast power for a set and pre-determined amount of time, before the political power of this time destroys her completely and burns her with fire.
Then there is secular, political, and commercial Babylon that is identified with a coastal city. Be she Mecca, New York City or some other powerful center of this ruling abomination called the Beast power, we are not sure, nor will we be sure this side of the coming of our Lord for the true Church of the Living God. As we have pointed out, this great city is the center of world economics. She is a marketplace that has grown ever more greedy and has lust for power. She is self indulgent and in the end, God Almighty destroys her completely for her sins and abominations.
Through a great portion of the coming Tribulation these two portions of Babylon are intertwined with each other. One having power over another to lead one as much as horse is led by a bridle. But it is an uneasy alliance, as they are not the same, but antagonist of each other, both lusting for supreme power. The coming Beast power has need of this religious power to forge the chains of those who it wishes to follow him and use this false religion as an agent of conquest, much as it was in the Middle Ages. But the Beast that rules the earth will need this false religion for just so long. Her usefulness will run out in the near future during the midpoint of the Tribulation and she will be burned with fire as we saw in Chapter 17.
15 "And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." (Revelation 17:15-18)
This harlot religion has temporal power over the Beast, as the Bible shows that she rides the Beast, and controls him to a point and rules over all nations in religious affairs. Only one religion has more than a 1.5 billion people from all over the globe of all people, multitudes, nations, and tongues. She has spread her tentacles to all points of the globe and in the past, no one was able to withstand her. But this Tribulation power she holds over the political Babylon is short lived.
Mystery Babylon seems to be destroyed when the Anti-Christ comes into the Temple of God in Jerusalem at the mid point of the coming tribulation and proclaims himself as being God in the flesh. Then this religious portion of this unholy alliance will be needed no longer, as the dragon, Satan the devil, who has entered into the last dictator of this fallen world known as the Anti-Christ, will desire complete worship of himself (Satan) through a mortal man that he has possessed. It appears from scripture that a charade either real or manufactured is fostered upon a rebellious and evil population that believes this lawless man has been resurrected from some type of wound that brought him to near death. It will be a false resurrection to mimic what Jesus did 2000 years ago by the power of God, whether this resurrection of the Anti-Christ is real or a charade. Satan is very good as counterfeiting what God has done to make the unrighteous believe a lie.
BABYLON, REAL OR SYMBOLIC?
But as we study the concept of this great city called Babylon, are they literal cities or is she symbolic? That is a question we have to ask ourselves, as many believe that Babylon will be rebuilt again on a desert sands found in the backward country of Iraq. Note that any city built on the ruins of ancient Babylon would not completely fit the description of her having a sea faring port able to handle large merchant ships. Saddam Hussein had the mad notion of rebuilding ancient Babylon thinking that he was a modern king Nebachadnezzer and ruler of the Middle East and we know what happened to him. Many people believe that the New Babylon will be built on the Euphrates River and with the wealth of the Middle East oil, that could happen, but to be an economic power house that God speaks of, leaves large holes in that theory. Although, no one has stepped forward to attempt such a city. But from my viewpoint, being so close to what I feel is the season of our Lord's return, I don't see that kind of time being allowed for another city to emerge as a economic powerhouse for all the world to coincide with the description of her destruction in coming verse of this chapter.
As briefly mentioned in the last part of this study, our Lord equated the known world that hated Him and cautioned that it would hate those who follow Him, just as much to what this world will become.
18 "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the worldthe would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:18-19)
So there are two possibilities, as we have investigated and looked at different cities as being the center of the Beast power, either Rome, Mecca, or even New York, as New York is the center of world wide commerce at the present time. At this present time, the economy of the world is centered on the USA and its economic engine found in New York City, but that could change. It's possible, but highly unlikely, as another city would take years to achieve what the investors on Wall street and the New York economic hub of the world has become. Another possibility is that Babylon is symbolic of what Jesus spoke of as the end time world that revels in their rebellion and unrighteousness. The entire world is a combination of religion and commerce, so the symbol of Babylon "could be" this end time Beast power that covers the entire earth we now live on. In portraying the destruction of a city (Rome?), John describes in Chapter 17 God's judgment on the great satanic system of religious evil that has corrupted the earth's history. In chapter 18, the context seems to indicate that Babylon here is viewed in its political and economic character rather than its religious aspect. Although both portions of the Babylon the Great are mentioned in various detail, jumping from one power to the other.
Looking at the opening verses, this "angel" which can be interpreted as "messenger" has a great shining appearance. Either the light He cast is from being in the presence of God, or this is Jesus Christ proclaiming that Babylon has fallen and will not rise again. It is a matter of a great moment, whether by this angel we understand Christ, or a created angel; the description agreeth to Christ, but most likely agrees to a created angel.
The term 'another' (Gr.,allon) makes it clear that this angel is the same in kind as the angel of 17:1. So this most likely is one of the 7 angels that have the bowl judgments. Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen: He announces that Babylon is fallen, fallen and the phrase is "repeated like a solemn dirge of the damned.
Becomes a dwelling place of demons: A sad fate for a once-great city.
Abundance of her luxury: Babylon's sin was not only idolatry (referred to with the term fornication), but also pride, greed, and selfishly held wealth.
The concept is of man ruling himself and being blessed for his work on this earth for a "great economic city" either a location or speaking of the whole world has come to an end. This is "a prophetic picture of absolute desolation where the proud achievements of man become the demonic haunts of unclean and horrible creatures
4 "And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." (Revelation 18:4-7)
COMMAND TO LEAVE BABYLON
This is a call to God's Tribulation saints to come out of those places where they should not be. It is akin to what God told Lot and his family to depart from the city of Sodom and flee to the mountains before God destroys her. The tribulation saints are in a place ripe for destruction. Those who are living during this time, are subject to the temptation and the evil that is perpetuated in the end time world that is headed for oblivion, and God commands His own to separate themselves from everything that pertains to the evil influence of these end time Gentile nations. Note that the inference is that those who believes on Jesus Christ at this time, are susceptible to loosing their salvation and ability to commit sin in God's sight and they could be caught up in the judgment that is coming. They are not sealed with God's Holy Spirit as the 144,000 Jewish evangelist were, but are in danger of falling back into the world system that God says depart from it. This is not true of the Church, who cannot lose their salvation, but those in the tribulation have no such guarantee.
10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:10-14)
The church of the Living God has an irrevocable promise of being kept in His grace for any sin, past, present or future. What God has drawn to Jesus Christ and those who have been put into God's Hand cannot be removed.
27 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
30 I and my Father are one." (John 10:27-30)
Tribulation saints must guard their salvation until the very end of this horrific time. So God is talking about a different set of people who are also called saints, which is another indication that the church is not here, as the Church was sealed and had a deposit of future glorification that is promised. The call to come out of Babylon and its sinful and worldly living has been repeated many times in scripture:
"Depart! Depart! Go out from there, touch no unclean thing; go out from her, be clean, you who bear the vessels of the Lord." (Isaiah 52:11)
" Flee from the midst of Babylon, and everyone save his life!" (Jeremiah 50:8)
" My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the Lord."(Jeremiah 51:45)
"Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)
"And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them."(Ephesians 5:11)
But who is this "messenger" of God speaking of? Who are they to come out of? I believe He is speaking of religious and political Babylon that their sins have piled high as the Tower of Babel. There will be an end time false religion that has deceived mankind throughout the history of the world since Jesus ascended back to heaven and the right hand of the Father in glory. God has remembered her iniquities and has passed judgment upon her. This is more detail that John gives to report the destruction of the Harlot Church who has deceived the whole world to worship the image of the Beast.
The description of this Harlot Church is verses 6-7 is most telling of who this woman is and where she has had her headquarters for the last near 2000 years. Note her delicacies and her riches and how she has rewarded others by dealing treacherously with those who did not bow the knee to her. She will be rewarded double for what she has done. I see the complete destruction of this harlot church in flames, as God will use the political power of this earth to destroy her.
--Render to her just as she rendered to you: The ancient Greek word for render (apodidomi) means literally "to pay a debt" or "to give back that which is due." God will give Babylon exactly what she deserves.
--Repay her double according to her works . . . mix for her double: Double restitution was required in the Old Testament in cases of theft (Exodus 22:4-9). This perhaps is a commentary on how Babylon has made her wealth - through dishonest dealings.
--Repay her double according to her works: This passage presents a three-fold sin. First, self-indulgence (lived luxuriously). Second, pride (glorified herself . . . sits as a queen). Third, avoidance of suffering (am no widow, and will not see sorrow). All these things are characteristic of worldliness and materialism.
--Therefore her plagues will come in one day: The destruction of religious Babylon will come suddenly and with completeness (utterly burned with fire).
8 "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all." (Revelation 18:8-14)
John goes back and forth speaking of the two Babylons that are mingled together in this chapter. He speaks of religious Babylon and then commercial or political Babylon. Both receive judgment from God and in these preceding verses, you have the vision of a city of commercial marketplace that has dealt with the merchants of the world in what was valuable in John's day, as that is all he could describe, as our technological day was beyond his understanding. You also see a religious portion of Babylon who has deceived the whole world to worship the image of the Beast and to take his mark in their forehead and their right hand.
John witnesses the destruction of these great powerful cities in flames and their destruction in one hour. In your mind, you must separate the two Babylons and not confuse one with another. The religious Babylon will be destroyed by the Beast power under the will of God, and the final political portion of the Beast power, God will destroy Himself. I can think of no other man-made weapon of destruction than a nuclear weapon, which is what many believe happens to these religious and political cities, which could level a city in one hour. The merchants of the earth stand at a safe distance from her destruction, as the heat and flames, and not to mention the radiation if this be a nuclear weapon that destroyed her, and they wail because the city is destroyed. That is one reason I have explored the one city in the USA, New York who is the economic hub of this modern world now and in the coming future and the city which could be Rome destroyed by the Beast power as he burns her with fire..
The political Babylon sounds eerily similar to what a person would see standing on a boat a long distance from the harbor of the New York City, who has the only port large enough to accommodate large merchant ships. This could come from a nuclear exchange or a pre-emptive nuclear strike from another country. We can only hypothesize of who this great city is, if she is indeed an actual city or a symbolic representation of God's divine judgment on the center of the Beast power and his government. Obviously, God is more than able to replicate a nuclear strike much as He did on Sodom and Gomorrah. Either God uses man to do His will, or completes the prophecy in Divine retribution for her iniquities with fire and brimstone raining from heaven. Thankfully, I won't see any of this to determine which is true as I'll be with Jesus in heaven awaiting the return to the earth of the saints of God, known as the Church of the Living God. Will you?
As we continue to read to the end of the chapter, the angel describes the death knell of Babylon and likens it to a mill stone thrown to the bottom of the sea, never to rise no more. The descriptions show that the center of commercial trade will never be found again.
20 "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." (Revelation 18:20-23)
This is either a complete destruction of an actual city or applied broadly to a worldly commerce found across the globe during this time of the coming Tribulation. But I find it telling to who and where this prophecy is directed at, as was mentioned, the political and the religious Babylon have been intertwined up to this point.
24 "And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." (Revelation 18:24)
In verse 24, if this is an actual city, then I can think of only one city in this world that has all the attributes that have been described. Some will point a finger at Jerusalem as she has killed prophets and saints also, but she does not fit the description of a harlot religious system that has ruled the world, drowned herself in luxuries of gold, jewels, and much wealth, and has been the center of apostasy in the past ages and into the modern world. Only one religious organization has more gold in her vaults than even Fort Knox. And if you think hard enough, you will come to the conclusion that fits all points of the prophecy.
The chapter describes the complete destruction of the two Babylons: the religious portion and the commercial or political aspect of the ruling One World government that is a mixture of church and state, much as it was in the Middle Ages. Coming in the next chapter, the beginning reveals the coming victory of our Lord God, Jesus Christ over the Beast Power and its final death blow that will decimate all who come against a Living God. The beginning of chapter 19 is a continuation of the end of chapter 18, as the bible has no actual chapter breaks, as that is man's doing, but the end is near and we will discuss that next time, when we see Jesus coming back to earth in power and great glory. We are nearing the start of the coming Millennium and the reign of Jesus Christ for 1000 years to restore the earth to what was lost in the Garden of Eden, the complete beauty of His creation revived and made perfect. We have much to anticipate for and we await anxiously for the coming of our Lord to make this earth what it was in the time of Adam and Eve. Many things will change. The earth will not be subject to pollution and the evils of mankind. War will be no more, and the weapons of war will be changed into plow shares to become a agricultural society. But who will be those who populate the coming Millennial reign of Christ? We will discover that when we explore chapter 19 and 20 of the "Return of Jesus Christ and His Millennial Reign." See you then.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying that you see none of this noted above and are found in Jesus Christ at His coming for His Church that could come very soon. I pray if you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear then email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Or visit me online for more biblical messages to help strengthen your faith in the times we live in at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Palestinian Leader's Anti-American Rant Gives Trump Cause to Cut Funding - by Caroline Glick - http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/01/17/caroline-glick-abbas-antisemitism-trump-cut-funds/
For decades, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas has been touted by American leaders as a moderate man of peace.
U.S. leaders from George W. Bush to Barack Obama, and from Condoleezza Rice to John Kerry, all insisted that Abbas is the Palestinian leader who will make an historic deal with Israel.
President Donald Trump has met three times with Abbas since taking office.
On Sunday night, Abbas showed them what he really thinks.
He cursed Trump saying that the U.S. President's "house should be destroyed."
He attacked U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in lurid, antisemitic language:
"U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman is a settler who is opposed to the term 'occupation.' He is an offensive human being, and I will not agree to meet him anywhere. They requested that I meet him and I refused, not in Jerusalem, not in Amman, not in Washington."
Abbas then threatened U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley.
"She [Haley] threatens to hit people who hurt Israel with the heel of her shoe, and we'll respond the same way."
He called Trump's anticipated Middle East peace plan "a slap in the face," and said, "we will slap back."
Abbas declared "dead" the peace agreements he and his colleagues in the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) signed with Israel for the Palestinians since 1993. He pledged to block any future U.S. involvement in peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel: "We will not accept American leadership of a political process involving negotiations."
Abbas then turned his attention to Israel and the Jews.
"Israel," he said "is a colonial project that has nothing to do with Jews."
"Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region. They asked Holland, which had the world's largest fleet, to move the Jews," he said.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said that Abbas's remarks harken back to "things that led him to be accused years ago of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial."
Abbas's Ph.D. thesis, which he wrote for a Soviet university controlled by the KGB in the 1960s denied the Holocaust.
Over the past 25 years, the Western and Israeli leaders that have hailed Abbas as a moderate dismissed the significance of his doctorate - which he later published in Jordan as a best-selling book - saying it was a relic of the PLO's former rejection of Israel's right to exist.
The problem with Rivlin's statement is that it ignores Abbas's record.
Contrary to Rivlin's view of Abbas's racist assault on Jews as a throwback to an earlier time, antisemitic diatribes have been a consistent feature of Abbas's public statements, whether he is speaking to Arab or Western audiences.
In a speech before the European Parliament in 2016, for instance, Abbas recycled the medieval blood libel that Jews poison the wells of Christians. That blood libel incited the death of thousands of Jews through the ages.
Speaking to European lawmakers, Abbas said, "Certain rabbis in Israel have said very clearly to their government that our water should be poisoned in order to have Palestinians killed."
As for his Holocaust denial being a thing of the past, Abbas posted his doctoral thesis on his official website. His lies are taught as fact in Holocaust education in the Palestinian school system - which he controls.
Then there is his anti-Americanism.
Abbas controls every aspect of the Palestinian Authority (PA), including the rent-a-mobs.
Over the years, protesters have greeted every senior U.S. policymaker who has visited Abbas in Ramallah.
In 2013, 150 protesters demonstrated against then-president Barack Obama when he met with Abbas. In 2007, protesters who worked for Abbas's government greeted then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice with signs calling for Hezbollah to bomb America.
So in stark contrast to Rivlin's statement, Abbas's speech was not a throwback to a long ago time. It was a throwback to what he said yesterday, and the day before yesterday and the day before that, and what the Palestinian newspapers and television - which he controls - reported the day and week and month and year before that.
Another explanation of Abbas's scorched-earth speech Sunday is that he scorched the earth in preparation for his resignation from office. Abbas, Israel's commentators were quick to note, is 82 years old. So it seems reasonable to conclude that his decision to launch a frontal assault against Jews and Americans was a sort of valedictory address.
But here too, the assessment is contradicted by Abbas's record.
It is true that Abbas is approaching his 83rd birthday. But he is also approaching the 14th year of his four-year term of office. Abbas has repeatedly refused to stand for reelection since his four-year term ended in 2009.
Not only has Abas rejected repeated calls from his Palestinian colleagues and from successive U.S. administrations to designate a successor, he has sidelined and exiled all of his political rivals in the PLO.
Then there are the steps he has taken to coopt Hamas and so minimize the threat Hamas poses to his maintenance of power.
The Hamas terror group ousted Abbas and his U.S.-trained PLO forces from Gaza in 2007. Rather than launch a U.S.-backed counterstrike against Hamas, Abbas chose to collaborate with Hamas. He has funded Hamas's government. That funding has enabled the jihadist group to launch a series of missile wars against Israel.
Moreover, Abbas has used the PLO's position at the UN and in Europe to protect Hamas from criticism and wage a political war against Israel. The goal of this war is to end Western support for Israel's right to exist by delegitimizing Israel as a colonialist implant of European imperialists.
A man interested in retiring would not have eliminated all of his potential heirs to cling to power, or agreed to a power-sharing deal with Hamas to keep everyone at bay.
So if Abbas isn't planning to retire, why is he cursing Trump and his senior advisors? Why is he recycling anti-Jewish blood libels from the 12th century and announcing that the deals he signed with Israel and the peace process as a whole are dead?
The simple answer is that Abbas is acting as he is because he is certain that he can. This is how he has always acted. There is nothing new in his speech. And he doesn't think that he will suffer any consequences for behavior.
Abbas expects President Trump to disregard his statements and continue to bankroll his terror-supporting regime in the name of "the peace process," or "humanitarian assistance" just as Bush and Obama did.
Abbas gave his speech at start of a two-day conference of the PLO's Central Committee, which he convened to determine a response to President Trump's announcement on December 6 that for the first time in nearly seventy years, the U.S. recognizes that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
Trump's Jerusalem declaration placed Abbas and his colleagues in a conundrum. On the one hand, his declaration had no practical implications. Trump signed a waiver delaying the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. No immediate plans have made to move the embassy.
Moreover, the State Department insists that there is no practical significance to Trump's statement. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield told reporters the day after Trump's announcement that his statement does not change U.S. policy barring American citizens born in Jerusalem from listing Israel as their country of birth on their official documents. Indeed, Satterfield refused to answer a question regarding whether Jerusalem is even in Israel.
On the other hand, simply by recognizing the basic fact that Jerusalem is Israel's capital and has been Israel's capital for nearly 70 years, Trump broke with the longstanding U.S. policy of denying observable reality in relation to Israel in order to advance "peace" between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
Only by denying reality can anyone pin hopes on the PLO as a peace partner. Since its inception in 1964, the PLO has rejected Israel's right to exist. It has rejected that the Jews are a people. It has denied the history of continuous Jewish habitation of the land of Israel for 3,500 years. And it has denied the fact that the Jews built two temples in Jerusalem.
When Abbas said on Sunday that Israel is the creation of European imperialists, he was merely echoing the PLO's charter.
By recognizing the truth, Trump took a red-hot poker to the PLO's false, antisemitic founding narrative.
As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in response to Abbas's remarks, "For too long, the Palestinian Authority has been pampered by the international community which didn't dare tell them the truth - not about Jerusalem and not about recognizing Israel. That has changed. I think Abu Mazen [Abbas] was reacting to that. This is the first time somebody's told him the truth to his face."
Trump and his top advisers have made several statements in recent weeks that indicate that his Jerusalem declaration last month was not a one-off.
The President threatened to cut off U.S. aid to Abbas's regime.
Haley threatened to cut off aid UNRWA, a UN Palestinian refugee agency that works hand and glove with Hamas in Gaza.
Tuesday, the Trump administration informed UNRWA that it is withholding "for further consideration" $65 million of its $370 million annual contribution to UNRWA's budget.
Statements by Trump's senior negotiator Jason Greenblatt and Friedman condemning Palestinian Authority finance of terrorism and incitement to murder Israelis have also been groundbreaking.
So far, Tuesday's hold on a fraction of U.S. funding to UNRWA is the only substantive policy step the Trump administration has taken. Its other moves have been declaratory. They have signaled the beginnings of a new U.S. policy towards Abbas, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority, but the new policy has not yet been articulated, let alone felt on the ground.
By attacking Trump, his advisers, Israel and the Jewish people on Sunday, Abbas was effectively daring Trump to act on his words.
Abbas is betting that Trump is bluffing so the White House's next moves will be determinative.
The partial funding postponement to UNRWA is notable, but not significant enough to make clear that the U.S. is serious in its policy shift. If no further practical, indisputable steps are taken to translate Trump's stated positions into a clear move away from the past 25 years of unconditional American support for the Palestinians, Abbas will be empowered to continue to treat him and his administration
Nearing Midnight: China's Armageddon Road - Todd Strandberg - http://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
The Bible's prediction that there would be an army of 200 million "horsemen" had readers puzzled for several centuries. When the Apostle John wrote Revelation in around 95 A.D., there we're only 200 million people on planet Earth. Since the biggest battles of John's day only had a few thousand soldiers, there is good reason for him to be baffled by the large number.
It was a very long time before the global population grew to fit that number. It took 1,650 years for the world's population just to double to 400 million. At the beginning of the 20th century, the head count was only 1.6 billion.
The population of China was mostly stagnant at under 100 million, up into the 1600s. Endless war and famines only allowed China to grow at a gradual pace. It hit 400 million in 1831 and 600 million in 1953. In the past half century, China's population more than doubled to 1.4 billion.
The One Child policy instituted by Beijing has made mobilization of a 200 million man army all the more possible. Normally, between 103 and 106 boys are born for every 100 girls. The preference for male children through selective abortions has tilted China's sex ratio for the generation born in the 2000s to 124. The gender imbalance has grown to the point where there are now 33.5 million more men than women in China.
China could have 10 billion people and still not be able to outfit an army of great size. However, the economic boom that has occurred in recent years has been providential to this objective. For decades, China had the world's fastest-growing major economy, with growth rates averaging 10% each year. In 1980 China's GDP was at $306 billion. Today it at $11.5 trillion.
India has a higher population growth rate than China, and it will become the most populous nation in the next three years. According to Global Firepower, the Indian military has a combined 4,207,250 active and reserve personnel in service. India is so poor, there is no way it could mobilize an army into the tens of millions.
Now that China has the population and the economic might to outfit a large military, it needs a pathway to the Middle East. The Great Wall of China was impressive at keeping the Mongols at bay, but it is nothing compared to the Himalaya mountain range. This massive wall of peaks is the reason why there is such a drastic cultural difference between East and Southwest Asia.
To bridge this natural divide, China is working a complex series of Initiatives that go by the names, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road. The project is the brainchild of China's president Xi Jinping, and its purpose is to establish road and sea connectivity between Eurasian countries.
The Silk Road will have major highways that reach to the doorways of Iran, Pakistan and India. The time scale is indefinite, and it will come with a huge price tag of between $4 trillion and $8 trillion. I doubt president Xi was thinking of military movement in his project, but it does show the massive amount of infrastructure that the "kings of the east" army will need to cross over to the Middle East.
To move a large army, a nation needs forward operating bases. This may explain why China has recently started building bases outside its territory. The Global Times reported last week that China is in talks with Pakistan to build its second overseas military base as part of a push for greater maritime capabilities along strategic sea routes.
Since the great invasion will take place near the end of the tribulation, China will have several years to work on the Silk Road. I read one stat that would seem to indicate that the 200 million man army will need to roll out in the not too distant future. The declining birth rate is a problem that naturally occurs with nearly every industrialized nation. The lack of children results in a country of old people. If Japan had a billion people, it couldn't muster a large army.
Because God calls all the shots to prophecy, you can see why China following a step-by-step plan will play a major role in prophecy. With so many of the pieces of the puzzle that have already fallen into place, we can sense that time is short.
"Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates." So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released to kill a third of mankind. Now the number of the army of the horsemen was two hundred million; I heard the number of them" (Revelation 9:14-16).
"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared" (Revelation 16:12).
Where God points his finger - Pastor Greg Laurie - http://www.wnd.com/2018/01/where-god-points-his-finger/#Hyt4z7Rpq6aEojWJ.99
Greg Laurie says it's with believers 'revival will begin'
The French philosopher Voltaire once said that "if God made us in his own image, we have well returned him the compliment."
That is what our world wants: a god in our own image, a god who will conform to our wishes and desires, a god who will fulfill our agendas. We want a user friendly god, if you will, whom we can adapt to our chosen lifestyles.
We want religion a la carte, so we can stroll up to some celestial salad bar and pick and choose the attributes of God that appeal to us and throw the others aside. We are attracted to the qualities of God such as love, forgiveness, compassion and promise of heaven, but we recoil from such concepts as a God of holiness who loves us yet requires repentance.
In Jesus' day, that is how the people were. They wanted a deliverer and a Messiah to conform to their plans instead of his. They wanted Jesus to destroy Rome but not the cherished sins of their hypocritical, superficial religion.
Many are like this today. They will sing the praises of a Jesus who will give them unlimited wealth, success and happiness, but they recoil from a Jesus who requires obedience and commitment. Like the multitude when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of donkey, they will loudly proclaim Jesus as long as they believe he will satisfy their selfish desires. In a sense they remake Jesus in their own image. They have a Jesus they can be comfortable worth.
Luke's gospel adds this detail regarding Jesus's triumphal entry into Jerusalem: "Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it" (21:41 NKJV). What a strange contrast on this day of great joy and excitement. The Greek word Luke used to describe this weeping is strong, signifying bitter anguish as though one were mourning the dead. It was audible, loud weeping.
Why was he weeping? Jesus, being God, knew what was ahead. He knew his ministry was almost over. He knew time was short. Yet by and large he had been rejected. He had healed their sick. He had raised their dead. He had fed their hungry. And he had forgiven their sin. Yet they remained mostly distant from him. He remained alone and rejected.
Isaiah 53 said this is exactly what would happen: He would be despised and rejected among men. We are told in John's gospel that "He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him" (1:11 NKJV). This broke his heart. Here was Jesus with his own creation turning their backs on him.
Then, according to another gospel, he went into the temple, looked around, assessed the situation, and returned to Bethany to spend the night with friends. The following morning he returned. He took action and cleansed the temple.
This was righteous indignation. He came back and did a little house cleaning. He drove out the moneychangers in the temple and overturned their tables, saying, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves'" (Matthew 21:13 NKJV).
This is a pretty radical thing Jesus did. These were not little, portable card tables they had set up. These were massive, marble tables in keeping with the decor of the temple. Jesus was brandishing a whip, picking up marble tables and pushing them over, sending these people running.
Why this indignation? If people wanted to pay the temple tax, there were special half shekels for the sanctuary, which they would exchange their money for. The moneychangers had inflated the prices and were ripping people off. It was just a big racket, and they were taking advantage of these people who wanted to worship God.
The militant messiah whom the people wanted would have brought an army into Jerusalem and attacked the Roman garrison known as the Antonia Fortress. That is not where Jesus went, however. Jesus went to the temple of God. He didn't go after the pagans of Rome; he went after his own people who had gone astray and were misleading others.
The supreme issue for Jesus was not Rome's army but God's people. It was at his house where the cleaning would begin. Jesus recognized that as long as things were wrong with Israel's worship, they could never have their nation right. The Bible says that judgment begins at the house of God (see 1 Peter 4:17). It also tells us that "righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34 NKJV).
I think in some ways as a church, we sometimes spend too much time and attention trying to bring about governmental change. We believe this will help our culture and society. In a sense it will, and in a sense it won't. It is my firm conviction that every Christian should register to vote and should vote for candidates that best represent our beliefs. We need to do what we can.
People will say the problem is the government, or the problem is the president, or the problem is Congress. But God says the problem is his people. Notice that Jesus didn't say the problem was with the Roman authorities. He didn't say the problem was with those in the Roman Senate. He didn't say the problem was the economy of the time.
The fact of the matter is that Jesus concentrated his energies on his people. Here is what God said as he assessed a culture and gave his prescription for revival: "If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV).
Notice where God points His finger: "If My people ... will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways ..." People say the government should do this, or they should do that. God is saying, in effect, "Make sure you are living godly lives. Make sure you have turned from your sin." That's where revival will begin. The true change in America's conscience and soul will come from a spiritual awakening.
Daily Jot: What about DACA? - Bill Wilson -
The Democrats are threatening to shut down the government if they don't get their way on allowing kids brought here illegally by their illegal immigrant parents to stay in America. President Donald Trump is trying to deal with securing the borders and this endless chain of illegal migration to our nation. There is a relatively small group of people who are affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that the previous "president" put into place. By some accounts there are roughly 700,000. Pew Research estimates that 70,000 were rejected from the program, and 40,000 obtained a green card. Notwithstanding, this group of people and what to do with them is causing yet another meltdown among leftists.
Immigration law firms and advocacy groups put actual eligibility numbers higher at around 1.8 million. Many argue that it is unfair to deport these mostly adult children of illegals since they have grown up here in America. Others argue that they are here illegally, many break the law, some take jobs that legal citizens need, and they are generally a tax burden because of their dependence on welfare and other social programs. The liberal CATO Institute puts DACA incarcerations at 12% less than the average US population. From 2013-2017, about 2,200 DACA recipients were revoked because of alien smuggling, assault, domestic violence, sex offenses, drug offenses, weapons, robberies and gang activity.
President Trump is trying to get funding for his border security wall and Democrats have made DACA recipients leverage for gaining Democratic votes. Of course, the Democrats and the mainstream media seem to think these children of illegals, who are now mostly adults, are the sacred citizens of the new American democracy where everyone should have a vote-illegal or not. These Democrats, socialists, communists, leftists are attempting to hold the entire nation's border security ransom to a small group of people who are illegally in America. It's all an extension of the plan to remake America into something it never was intended to be. These radicals label as racist anyone who would oppose DACA.
The Bible is clear about how to handle immigrants. Exodus 22:21 says, "You shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him." This is repeated in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. In context, Exodus 12:49 says, "One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the foreigner who sojourns among you." This is also repeated in Numbers and Leviticus. One law for all. In this context it is God's law, but these people neither want to submit to the laws of the nation or to God's laws, and most do not want to assimilate into the culture of our nation. If they are here illegally, they have broken the law as their first act. Hard as it is, lawmakers must address this, otherwise our country is in danger of becoming a lawless society.
Daily Devotion: The Answer to Doubt - By Greg Laurie -
"I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life." -John 5:24
One question that I'm often asked is, can Christians lose their salvation? People are afraid of this, and I think it's for good reason. New believers often experience moments of doubt, and so do Christians who have known the Lord for many years. In fact, the first temptation the serpent presented in the Garden of Eden was to doubt God. He said to Eve, "Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?" (Genesis 3:1). In other words, "Did God really say what you thought He said?"
When you have thoughts like, Maybe I'm not saved; maybe Christ really isn't living inside of me, you need to stand on the Word of God, not on your emotions, because emotions will fluctuate. When they do, here are some Scriptures to remind you of God's faithfulness:
All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. (1 John 5:10)
For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God's children. (Romans 8:16)
"I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." (John 5:24)
I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)
During His temptation in the wilderness, Jesus responded to each challenge with the words, "It is written," and then He quoted the Scriptures. Jesus stood on ground that we, too, can occupy. As we quote the Scriptures, it will bolster our faith. That is why we need to know the Word of God.
FROM THE HEART
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