Prophecy Update Newsletter
February 2, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Signs of our Blessed Hopes Return - Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2017/02/signs-of-return-of-our-blessed-hope.html
52 "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1st Corinthians 15:52-54)
In this message, I am going to revisit a central theme to the belief and hope of every Christian here on this earth who are preparing themselves for the coming of the Lord Jesus in the clouds of heaven. From time to time we need to remind ourselves of the glorious promise we have in Jesus. And I am here to remind, and not so much as to warn those who have not received out Blessed Hope. Get ready for the soon coming of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the King of Glory. It could be sooner than any of the people of earth even imagine.
The destiny of the Church is to participate in the Blessed Hope that the Apostle Paul wrote about in the verses above, and what was written in Titus :
12 "Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." (Titus 2:12-14)
The central purpose of Bible prophecy for the last days is to give warning to the true Church of the Living God, that time is running out. Not for the Church, but those who will be left behind to face a most horrible time in all the earth.
The coming of our Lord, identified by the name "rapture" by English translations of the word harpazo in scripture, signals the conclusion of this age we live in called the Age of Grace, in the same manner that it began. Let us look what the Bible says abou this time, and what it means to each of us.
The Lord explains it to the Apostles before He was crucified -
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." (John 16:7)
Verse is not too hard to explain...The bible explains it literally, that unless Jesus goes away, then the Holy Spirit (the Comforter) would not come and indwell within them, as what happened on the Day of Pentecost. Course at this very moment when the Lord was talking to them on the Mt. Of Olives, they just didn't get it. Right up the moment Jesus rose from the earth in His ascension, the Apostles were confused and afraid. They were expecting Him to usher in the Millennial Kingdom right away.
6 "When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:6-7)
And they wouldn't understand until the Holy Spirit came and gave them power to do God's will. But here the Lord was still with them, and the Holy Spirit was not.
So there they stood, clueless and afraid, while the Lord explained the Holy Ghost would soon empower them for the Great Commission.
"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight." (Acts 1:9)
Can you imagine if you were standing there and the only Person you had to connect you with the reality of what had just happened was suddenly taken away from you? Here they are staring into the clouds, straining to get one last glimpse of their Master as He arose into heaven.
10 "And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;
11Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:10-11)
Here is the chronological order that Jesus being taken up into the clouds will be in reverse order at His coming.. He is raised up from the earth alive, in His Resurrected and transformed Body, and taken up until He vanishes in the clouds. That is how He is taken away - and the Promise given is that is how He will return.
WHAT TIME IS IT?
Now let us fast forward to the event that will end what Jesus began, which is the beginning of the Church Age, or the Age of Grace and what will signal its conclusion.
The Apostle Paul describes it detail in the opening verses in 1st Corinthians and repeats it in the letter to the Thessalonians:
16 "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:16-18)
He returns in reverse order to His departure. The Lord Himself will descend from Heaven, where He will resurrect the dead in Christ and then those living will be 'caught up' into heaven at the Rapture. Why do I say that?...read on for an explanation of why we must be "caught up" before He can come fully down to earth.
PAUL COMFORTS THE THESSALONIANS
But note in the letter to the Thessalonians, the people were a little confused, as Paul left them in doubt. It is shown that somebody entered into the church and proclaimed that Nero was the Anti-Christ and they were beginning the Day of the Lord with God's wrath falling all about them, and they were sore afraid that they had missed the coming of the Lord to remove His church beforehand. ..This is clear evidence that even the early church while Paul was ministering to them, were pre-tribulation believers, and fully expected a return of Christ to remove those who believed in Jesus, as Lord and Savior and they were afraid they would be going through the coming Tribulation. They were afraid they had misunderstood the teachings of Paul. So Paul had to teach them further and extinguishing their fears with further revelations from God.
1 "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?"(2nd Thessalonians 2:1-5)
Remember, the issue under discussion here was a rebuttal of the false doctrine claiming that Nero was the antichrist. Nero can't be the antichrist, Paul says, and here's why.
"And now ye know what withholdeth that he [the real antichrist] might be revealed in his time." (2nd Thessalonians 2:6)
Let's go back and quickly review what we've covered about the beginning of the Church Age.
1. Jesus is bodily taken out of the way by rising from the earth and ascending into heaven
2. The two witnesses in white reveal that Jesus will return in the same manner in which they watched Him go.
3. The Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost and indwells the Church.
Here is what the Apostle Paul says will signal the end of the Church Age. It ends in reverse order to the way it began.
1. The Lord Himself will descend from heaven into the air in like manner as He left,
2. The restraining Holy Spirit will be taken out of the way, together with the vessels He indwells.
3. The antichrist is revealed and the Tribulation Period begins.
First the Holy Spirit must go away from this earth which was delivered on the Day of Pentecost...Make no mistake, God's Holy Spirit will not be removed, just pulled back to Old Testament manifestations of His power, THEN Jesus will come in like manner as we saw Him leave this earth. Remember these verses:
6 "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, (Holy Spirit) until he be taken out of the way.
8And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2nd Thessalonains 2:6-10)
The Holy Spirit must be drawn back, to allow evil and the coming Anti-Christ to be revealed. And as the church was indwelt with God's Holy Spirit down through the ages, because of belief in Jesus Christ, then when He is removed in His fullness, we, the church will be removed as well.
THE PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH
The modern day Church's purpose has many, but the one purpose that we must be about, not only in witnessing for the Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation by His atonement in His blood, is to be on the lookout for the signs of the coming Anti-Christ. Much like a weatherman who forecast bad weather coming, we are watchman on the wall to warn those who are subject to the coming wrath of God.
I am reminded of the verses in Ezekiel and quote it often :
3 "If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand." (Ezekiel 33:3-6)
I hear people tell me, we should be looking for the sign of the coming of Jesus Christ for His people, not the coming of the Anti-Christ, but they fail to understand, there is no sign of the coming of our Lord for the Church. It is a signless event.
2"For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (1st Thessalonians 5:2-4)
Here the analogy is speaking of a thief coming to break into your house. Does a thief give warning? No, the thief will come when you least expect it, unless you have taken precautions.
Speaking of our purpose here on earth, we deliver the Gospel, "the Good News" and we are also to deliver the bad news, as signs of bad weather. But to give proper signs of the Lord's coming, we must look at the total picture to get an idea of the soon coming nature of our Lord. We don't just give the signs that make us feel good about ourselves, but we give the good with the bad.
The bad news, is that the Bible predicted all the bad things that will come upon the earth in the last days, the days we are living in right now. We see things God predicted and wrote about in His Word thousand of years ago, coming to pass and unfolding upon this earth. But the Good News is that God has everything under His control. So we are not fear.
As we said, there are no signs for the coming "catching away of the Church" so there is nothing to look out for. There is nothing that we can point to that says Jesus will be coming in our lifetime, because the only clue that those left behind when Jesus does come, is the vanishing of millions of people from the earth. And the turmoil and chaos that will ensue when the reality hits them like a ton of bricks.
There is only signs of the coming Tribulation that we see all around us...We can't point to the increase in earthquakes, famines, and wars all over the globe. These are not the signs of the soon coming of Jesus, but they are signs of the revealing of Anti-Christ. They are signs of impending doom and gloom that will grip every man and woman to face the next 7 years of sheer, unadulterated horror and misery coming to the nations left. These signs are important to us who scan the news for bible prophecy being fulfilled, the signs in the heavens, the fulfilling of Matthew 24 that Jesus spoke of, because when these signs are all over your news and your wonder what in the world is going on, the Rapture will have happened. The "catching away of the church" the Harpazo found in 1st Thessalonians and 1st Corinthians will have been completed, as the rapture happened FIRST, then the Tribulation in full force of the wrath of God will begin to fall.
So the only tangible thing that we can look to as a signal of the closeness of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds to call up His people and to change them into immortal spirit beings, is the signs of the coming Tribulation.
We can nail our hopes to, weirdly enough, is the signs of the coming antichrist. If we can discern the approach of the antichrist, then it means that the Rapture is just that much closer.
I have people write me that I am, we are doing the people a disservice to the cause of Christ, by not preparing those who will face the Tribulation and the coming Mark of the Beast and they will be unable to combat the coming horrors found during this time. I know they mean well, but they feel we "pre-tribbers" are wrong...to them I have this answer to their baffling arguments.
If we are wrong, and I believe we are right, but in the outside chance that we are wrong, the answer to the question of the Mark of the Beast, IS "don't do it"....Now that sounds simple, but it's not really, because as they fail understand, Jesus opens the 1st seal for the redemption of the earth in Revelation chp. 6 and God's Wrath begins to fall. For we cling to scriptures that say, the church is NOT the focus of the coming Tribulation. Meditate on these scriptures and let them become part of your DNA..
" For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ," (1st Thessalonians 5:9)
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)
For we have assurances many that we are right, and they are most likely tribulation martyrdom wannabees (which I can't imagine), because they don't understand the truth of prophecy. Because there are many signs that precede the coming Anti-Christ. First, the Anti-Christ is a politician...I have explored many possible candidates that we should all be watching. I have explored the coming 12th Imam of Islam, the POTUS in America, the Pope in Rome, and a secular figure that will arise to rule the European Union or the Revised Roman Empire. But I am further convinced even with all the speculation, we will NOT see the man burst upon the scene...why? Because the removal of the church will cause him to come upon the scene to stabalize a world in chaos...Will we, the Christian people, see the rise of a New World Order? I don't know, as this is what the AC will take hold of. It is not revealed how much time between the removal of the Church and the rise of the NWO and the rise of the AC. It could be within a short period of time..or could be years..We just don't know and the Bible is totally silent...But as we draw closer and closer to that time period, it makes the coming of our Lord, more imminent with each passing day.
THE RISE OF THE ANTI-CHRIST
By all accounts the coming Anti-Christ doesn't seize power in a military coup, but it is given to him by universal acclamation. The world will wonder after this mortal man who will become the "seed of Satan"...
4 "And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?
5And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months.
6And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven." (Revelations 13:4-6)
From reading the above passage, it appears the AC does not reveal himself as a god, until the middle of the 7 year Tribulation. Things have been bad for the last 42 months, but now, it only becomes worse, as man has to endure hell on earth, when he sits in the Temple in Jerusalem proclaiming himself to be God.
The man does not arrive in secret, but explodes onto the world stage when the world is looking for answers for what has come upon the earth. These will seek peace and safety, and there will be none.
3 "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape." (1st Thessalonians 5:3)
The world is looking for answers from anyone, but Who they should have been seeking the answers from, is Jesus Christ. But at this time, not that there will be few choices...He will be the ONLY choice available.
He is a liar whose rise to power is accompanied by many lying signs and wonders - but he is thrust into power by the people ¬- if we are right on the timing, by people that are alive right now.
So it is extremely illuminating of the lateness of the hour when a charismatic politician rides into power on the back of lies and disinformation, shows total disregard for Congress, or any international law, buys off the money trust, starts wars in the name of peace and reverses sixty years of friendship with Israel as part of his commitment to globalism.
Many people thought Obama was the Anti-Christ, but I expect the Anti-Christ to more competent and diplomatic in his deceit. Before Obama, it was hard to imagine how anyone could accomplish all that the Bible predicted in just 7 short years, but see what our past "POTUS" (sic) (I can say his name now, because he is finally gone, praise God) accomplished in just 8 short years. He nearly ruined this country and it will take a vigilant POTUS Trump to undo his damage.
And as time goes on, we will learn more revelations about this past "idiot in chief" that we really, really don't want to know, because if you're like me, you were tired of the Obamanation and just want him to fade from our memory.
But one thing the man did do, he put into motions the machinations that will bring the Anti-Christ to power and enable him to accomplish his mission.
It is not possible to explain (just yet), how the coming "lawless one" will use the economy to enforce his edicts without understanding how it works. I don't believe that the Lord provided us with such a clear and unambiguous model if we weren't to learn from it.
The three main pillars of government during the Tribulation Period are the antichrist's control of a global economy, religion and government.
If we are to be watchmen on the wall prepared to give the warning, we need to know what we are warning of. The antichrist isn't a cartoon character wearing a red union suit and carrying a pitchfork.
Neither is he an amateur buffoon with no concept of how to lead or any clue of the Law of Unintended Consequences. (That's how we knew it wasn't Obama.)
In fact, he won't announce himself at all, or wear a name tag, say "Anti-Christ".
The man will look like a "savior" to the unsaved world, and they will accept him with open arms. Israel will accept him, as their political messiah, until they figure out, that in the attempt to promote national security and sovereignty by making a 7 year peace treaty with this man, they have made a contract with the devil...so it will come to pass what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:
15 "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24:15-21)
Our Lord shll come, when you think not. In an hour you are not looking for Him...those who are watching and getting their lives right with God, are expecting Him eagerly. Our Great God and Savior will break through the clouds and shout "Come up hither" and it will be as the sound of a great Trumpet....are you ready?
7 "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."( Revelation 19:7-9)
So come Lord Jesus. We anxiously await your return. Won't you join Him? How you say?
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved". (Romans 10:9)
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosover believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life". (John 3:16)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, saying Get Ready...the King is coming...if you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com . God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Jellyfish Plague Following Shark Frenzy Gives Further Proof of Ezekiel's End-of-Days Prophecy - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com
"Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Yisrael; so that the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the heaven and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep upon the ground and all the men that are upon the face of the earth shall shake at My presence." Ezekiel 38:20 (The Israel Bible™)
A swarm of large venomous jellyfish have suddenly appeared off the shores of the Holy Land in an anomalous incident which comes one week after an equally perplexing gathering of sharks, bearing an unmistakably prophetic message to world leaders that is coincidentally being read now in synagogues around the world.
The reports of unusually large numbers of jellyfish, referred to as blooms, off the coasts of Northern Israel follow another inexplicable marine event: last week, a swarm of hundreds of sharks, called a frenzy, mysteriously appeared off the coast of Ashdod.
Breaking Israel News reported that the shark frenzy recalled a prophecy in Ezekiel referring to bizarre behavior of fish and other wildlife before the war of Gog and Magog. This week's jellyfish phenomenon would seem to emphasize that the prophecy is indeed becoming a reality.
Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Yisrael; so that the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the heaven and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep upon the ground and all the men that are upon the face of the earth shall shake at My presence. Ezekiel 38:20
The jellyfish swarming the beaches of Tel Aviv and Haifa are unusually large, averaging two feet across, and can weigh up to 20 pounds. Their sting is venomous and painful. Though Israel is periodically visited by swarms of jellyfish, according to scientists, this bloom of jellyfish should not be happening right now.
Last summer, University of Haifa researchers completed a study of jellyfish off the coast of Israel, concluding that the blooms, usually occurring during the summer months, are drawn to the warmer waters, 83 degrees Fahrenheit and higher, and arrive in conjunction with a full moon.
The current temperature off the jellyfish-laden waters off the Israeli coast was reported today to be a brisk 62 degrees; the moon, far from being full, is a sliver in the sky. Both circumstances directly contradict the intensive scientific study and its conclusions.
The species, Rhopilema nomadica, are, as their name implies, nomadic. But jellyfish are not particularly strong swimmers. Their inexplicable appearance under adverse conditions smacks of an external influence pushing them along.
When told of the phenomenon, Rabbi Yosef Berger noted the similarity of the marine swarms to the plagues, which he explained were brought through nature in order to give a specific message to the greatest leader in the world: Pharaoh.
But Pharaoh will not hearken unto you, and I will lay My hand upon Egypt, and bring forth My hosts, My people the children of Israel, out of the land of Egypt, by great judgments. Exodus 7:4
"The Egyptians and Pharaoh were heretics," Rabbi Berger explained to Breaking Israel News. "[They] believed that they could do whatever they wanted, ignoring God's will, ruling over his creation. God sent the plagues to show that he oversees everything, every detail."
As Israel has a special purpose as God's representative in the world, the message of the plagues, given through nature, is still relevant today, when much of the world is working to erase the Biblical covenant granting the land to Israel, said Rabbi Berger.
"The purpose of Israel in the world today, just as it was in the Exodus from Egypt, is to show God's kingship to the nations of the world," he asserted.
"All these unusual phenomenon, from the lowest of the low, from the jellyfish and sharks, are just like the plagues. God is using Israel to send a message to the world and its leaders once again. He is still in the world, the master and king, guiding everything according to his will."
He noted that amazingly, the jellyfish phenomenon concurred with the Bible reading which describes the Ten Plagues. The portion is read this week by Jews worldwide as part of the annual cycle of reading the Torah.
"Is it any surprise that while all the Jews are reading the Torah portions concerning the wonders that occurred in Egypt, that similar wonders are happening in the world right now?"
Iran tested nuclear-capable cruise missile - http://www.reuters.com/article/us-iran-missiles-cruise-idUSKBN15H0WR?il=0
Iran has tested a cruise missile called "Sumar" that is capable of carrying nuclear weapons in addition to test-firing a medium-range ballistic missile on Sunday, German newspaper Die Welt reported Thursday, citing unspecified intelligence sources.
No comment was immediately available from Germany's BND foreign intelligence agency or from Iranian authorities.
The newspaper said the Sumar cruise missile was built in Iran and traveled around 600 km in its first known successful test. The missile is believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and may have a range of 2,000 to 3,000 km, the paper said, citing intelligence sources.
Cruise missiles are harder to counter than ballistic missiles since they fly at lower altitudes and can evade enemy radar, confounding missile defense missiles and hitting targets deep inside an opponent's territory.
But the biggest advantage from Iran's point of view, a security expert told Die Welt, was that cruise missiles are not mentioned in any United Nations resolutions that ban work on ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons.
International sanctions on Tehran were lifted in January last year under a nuclear deal brokered in 2015 by Britain, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States.
Under the nuclear deal Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for lifting of most sanctions. According to a 2015 U.N. resolution endorsing the deal, Iran is still called upon to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.
News of Iran's reported cruise missile test came hours after Washington said it was putting Iran "on notice" for its ballistic missile test and signaled that it could impose new sanctions.
Iran confirmed on Wednesday that it had test-fired a new ballistic missile, but said the test did not breach the Islamic Republic's nuclear agreement with world powers or a U.N. Security Council resolution endorsing the pact.
Donald Trump caught in middle of Israel-Iran row over ballistic missile test claim - Bethan McKernan - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/donald-trump-israel-iran-ballistic-missile-test-row-benjamin-netanyahu-new-sanctions-un-security-a7555186.html
US State Department says it is studying evidence Iran conducted a medium-range missile test violating terms of 2015 nuclear deal
Donald Trump has faced his first Middle Eastern diplomacy spat as US President in the face of growing international concern over the alleged testing of a ballistic missile by Iran.
US State Department spokesperson Mark Tone said on Monday that Tehran had test-launched a medium-range ballistic missile that exploded after 630 miles (1,000 km) and ended with a "failed" re-entry into the atmosphere. No other details were given.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif refused to confirm or deny to reporters on Tuesday whether the test had taken place, reiterating that Iran would "never use ballistic missiles to attack another country".
Iran's missiles, he added, are "not designed for the capability of carrying a nuclear warhead", and therefore not part of the 2015 nuclear deal struck between the country and world powers.
Several non-nuclear tests have taken place since then.
Mr Zarif said he hoped the issue would not be used as "an excuse by the new US administration to create new tensions".
The historic US-Iran nuclear deal was implemented in July 2015. It eased the international sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy for decades in return for curbs to the country's nuclear program, reassuring the international community that Tehran - which has sworn the destruction of Israel - was not seeking to develop a nuclear bomb.
On the campaign trail Mr Trump called the deal "a disaster" and suggested his administration would abandon it, although such rhetoric has simmered down since he won the US election last November.
The White House said on Monday it was looking into whether the missile test violated the UN Security Council that ratified the 2015 accord, and the UN is holding emergency talks on the matter at the request of the US.
Israel, which Mr Trump views as a major ally, was quick to condemn the missile testing.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "flagrant violation" of the Security Council resolution that "must not go unanswered", adding that he would bring up the possibility of reinstating sanctions when he met with President Trump next month.
Russia - Iran's major ally, but a country with which Mr Trump's administration is seeking better relations than under Barack Obama - said the test did not contravene the UN resolution.
Tensions are already flaring between the US and Iran after President Trump's executive order temporarily banning citizens of Iran and six other Muslim countries from travelling to the US.
In a reciprocal move, Mr Zarif said that Americans would not be issued travel visas until further notice.
The Bible Answer Man Said What? - By Jan Markell - www.olivetreeviews.org
n 2005 I brought Hal Lindsey to the Twin Cities for a large conference. Hal's book, "Late-Great Planet Earth," had a profound impact on me as a young person. I certainly would not be in this ministry were it not for the end-time apologetics I learned from Hal. Like all of us, he is a flawed man and may not have every conclusion exactly right but he ignited an interest in the things to come by making those issues much easier to understand.
He told me that some who hold to improper eschatology will often disagree with great contention. He said the same to the entire audience a few hours later. He didn't understand why we couldn't disagree without all the bloodshed.
Let me add that I appreciate all of you who write in disagreement to anything but keep the tone respectful. We see through a glass darkly now (I Corinthians 13:12).
Lindsey was right about the propensity to contend contentiously. Preterist Gary DeMar says I have a "nonsense conference." Tell that to the tens of thousands who have attended one or more of the 20 conferences and return home very very blessed. Some even found salvation.
But DeMar says my attendees only hear "regurgitated prophetic speculation." We are all discredited date-setting prophecy pundits.
A few years ago Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, came out as a Preterist. That theological aberration says all prophecy is past: It all happened in 70 A.D. We missed it! It's actually history, not prophecy. Who knew?
To believe that then I've been studying something that is ancient history and offers no hope for the future. There is no Rapture and no Millennium. Nothing. Our "blessed hope" went up in smoke. We can only pour through the history books to learn that prophecy was fulfilled almost 2,000 years ago. This stretches credulity since one-third of the Bible -- all references to things to come -- is written in a futuristic tone.
Why wouldn't the Bible clearly state we should look back and not to the future? The conundrum is this--if it's already taken place, why the instruction to watch and be ready? The prophesied season of the Lord's return is to be as in the days of Noah--certainly a 21st Century reference and not an AD 70 reference. (Luke 17)
On "The Bible Answer Man" on January 23, a caller asked Hank what he thought of Olive Tree Ministries. I hardly thought I was on his radar. The daughter of Walter Martin, Jill Martin Rische, is a very prominent player in my ministry and her father founded the Christian Research Institute. Hank took it over after Martin's death in 1989.
Hank fired away once the caller asked him his opinion of this ministry. Without hesitation he said I am "reprehensible," "unreliable," "sensational," "a blight on our times," "leading the gullible," and engage in "Script-torture." How thankful I am for Matthew 5:11: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you..."
Hanegraaff admits that his ministry "lost millions" when he came out as a Preterist. Churches and conferences cancelled him. His open door to the world became a slammed shut door.
The fall-guys became John Darby, Dr. Mark Hitchcock, Tim LaHaye -- and now Olive Tree Ministries and Jan Markell. One who really challenged Hank was Dr. Mark Hitchcock who debated him a few years ago. There isn't much left of Preterism after the three-hour debate. I will provide the link at the end of this report. Hitchcock reveals the real script-torture that Preterism represents.
Here are just a few bullet points for you to ponder before you turn on The Bible Answer Man again. Maybe it doesn't matter but it should. Hanegraaff embraces these beliefs:
* God is not pro-Jew.
* Dispensationalism must be denounced. He prays it will fade into the shadowy recesses of history and laments that it is the "reigning theology in the West."(That's because it is truth.)
* God has only one chosen people: Christians. God is not a racist. He hasn't blessed any one group of people based of one's birth mother. In other words, Jews, get over it: You're not "chosen."
* Hanegraaff believes all followers of Christ are the chosen people -- something those believing in Replacement Theology hold to. It is tragic that this is a part of the "answers" to evangelicals from the Bible Answer Man. What must Dr. Walter Martin be thinking? He loved the Jews.
* Stephen Sizer is his hero. Sizer is a blatant anti-Semite from the U.K. who hangs out with Ayatollah Khomeini's daughters. Such association will not do Hank's Preterism any good.
* God is not a land-broker basing things on genetics. Read that as Israel doesn't belong to the Jews.
* The Rapture is nonsense invented by John Darby and is "forced onto the biblical text."
You can hear him make these statements here and here.
Hanegraaff made it clear he does not recommend me or apparently my associates, Jill Martin Rische or Eric Barger.
Hank participates in the Israel-bashing at the Christ at the Checkpoint conferences and is seen there identifying with the like-minded, Stephen Sizer, Gary Burge, and Colin Chapman. Sizer, Burge and Chapman despise Israel. This is not a club of which you want to be a member if you love the truth of God and His plan for Israel.
He closes his 2016 message at Christ at the Checkpoint by making an appeal that with non-essential theology we behave with charity so we can debate in a cordial fashion. I don't think the mud-slinging he did at this ministry was done in a cordial manner. His voice was firm and angry as he addressed the caller's question about this ministry. "Olive Tree Ministries is a blight on our times" he stated.
Eric Barger, my radio co-host, wrote a provocative commentary a few years ago, "When Discernment Turns Ugly." He states, "From what is sometimes only one pen or keyboard, judgment is meted out against the suspected offender as newsletters are printed, blogs are published, seminars are given, and whole ministries and reputations are possibly done irreversible harm. All this takes place no matter how flimsy the evidence presented may be, and often over non-essential theologies! This should disgust the Christian community and I fear for the next generation of apologists (and those they'll likely influence) who are being schooled by this example."
Got Questions says this about Preterism: "According to Preterism, all prophecy in the Bible is really history. The Preterist interpretation of Scripture regards the book of Revelation as a symbolic picture of first-century conflicts, not a description of what will occur in the end times. The term Preterism comes from the Latin praeter, meaning 'past.'
"Thus, Preterism is the view that the biblical prophecies concerning the 'end times' have already been fulfilled -- in the past. Preterism is directly opposed to futurism, which sees the end-time prophecies as having a still-future fulfillment."
Got Questions says, "Preterism is divided into two types: Full (or consistent) Preterism and Partial Preterism."
"Preterism teaches that the Law was fulfilled in AD 70 and God's covenant with Israel was ended."
Partial Preterists do believe in the return of Christ to earth and a future resurrection and judgment, but they do not teach a Millennial Kingdom or that Israel as a nation has a place in God's future plan. According to Partial Preterists, the Bible's references to "the last days" are speaking of the last days of the Old Jewish Covenant, not the last days of the earth itself.
Hanegraaff says Israel should not be treated as the object of our eschatological hope. He denies the 144,000 are Jews and denies the Two Witnesses are literal. He misses the essential apologetic of history: God has two distinct people. And he would apply Zechariah 2:8 to the church: "For thus says the LORD of hosts, 'After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.'" Within evangelicalism, this is always a reference to Israel.
If you appreciate this ministry, drop Hank a polite email through Christian Research Institute. Some ministries would never recover from such a verbal assault as was directed at Olive Tree back on January 23. If this is the new apologetics style, God help us. It has become blood sport.
Watch the three-hour debate over Preterism with Dr. Mark Hitchcock and Hank Hanegraaff here.
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
The Days of Noah are Near - Ron & Nathele Graham -
Why is it that people don't seem to believe God? We have His word, but instead of believing what God says, most people interpret it to fit into their comfort zone. Prophecy is one of those areas that gets muddled. God isn't constrained by the limited understanding humans have of time. He knows the past, present and future. Therefore, when a few disciples asked Jesus about the end of time, Jesus related it to a very dark time in history...the days of Noah. The question wasn't about the Rapture, but about the end of the world. "And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?" Matthew 24:3. Jesus answered by pointing to wars, earthquakes, famine, and so forth. These events are increasing as we draw near to the end, but one of the most interesting signs He gave was that it would be as in the days of Noah.
Jesus, being God, knew exactly what went on before the Flood of Noah. He didn't have to go into great detail because the ugliness of those days were well known. "But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." Matthew 24:37-39. Most people of Noah's day were living as if nothing unusual was going on, but in fact some very strange things were happening and God wasn't pleased. Was it marriage that caused God's judgment to fall? Not hardly. Marriage is ordained by God, so He wouldn't be angry because a man married a woman. Eating and drinking? Nope. God made people to need food and water, so that can't be the reason. So what is different about the days of Noah? The answer is found in Genesis chapter 6.
The shenanigans of Noah's day were not normal or business as usual. "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them," Genesis 6:1. Verse one doesn't indicate anything out of the ordinary happening, but plainly speaks of an exploding population. The word 'adam is translated "man", and means mankind in general. Just as the population of mankind is exploding today, it was the same in the ancient world. But why would God flood the earth and destroy everything because of a population explosion? After all, He told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. When we move a little further along in Genesis chapter 6 we begin to understand that the problem had nothing to do with humans marrying or the population increasing. There was demonic evil happening but people turned a blind eye to it. It's happening again, but most people today are also turning a blind eye to it.
The Genesis account continues by saying "That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose." Genesis 6:2. Now, if we believe God's inspired word rather than what man says that God meant, we can understand why God was displeased. The Hebrew phrase ben 'elohiym is translated sons of God. This phrase doesn't mean sons of Seth, as some misinterpret it. If God had meant Seth, the Hebrew phrase would have been ben sheth. The phrase ben 'elohiym occurs three other times in the Old Testament: Job 1:6, Job 2:1, and Job 38:7. These three verses talk of angels. The other misinterpretation is the meaning of the phrase "daughters of men". The same word translated "men" in verse 1 above, is also used in verse two, meaning mankind in general. Somehow, misguided people claim that God really meant that Cain's sons married Seth's daughters. If you believe God, then you understand that angels, the ones who had rebelled against God, took human women as wives. Angels were never supposed to mate with women, and that was the problem. This was an abomination, but Jesus says the people were just going about their daily lives without concern.
The result of this cross between angels and humans produced hybrids known as Nephilim. These creatures were neither human nor angel. "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." Genesis 6:4. The Hebrew word nephiyl is translated giants. This was an abomination to God, but the mischief didn't stop there; the problem wasn't limited to humans and angels. If you think that God had to destroy all that he had created because of Cain's sons marrying Seth's daughters, then you don't know God. "And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them." Genesis 6:7. Most people don't understand what was happening and think that God was angry about nothing and just looking for reasons to destroy. In truth, God had to destroy everything in order to save us. All of creation was being corrupted by the demonic evil and God's love for mankind forced Him to put a stop to the genetic corruption. God knew that Noah and his family were genetically pure and they were saved because they obeyed Him. Noah didn't participate in the activity of that day and he obediently built the Ark according to God's instructions. God also sent genetically pure animals to the Ark so they could start over after the Flood. God doesn't look for ways to destroy His creation, but when His ways aren't respected the results are disastrous. All "...man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air..." had been corrupted by evil and had to be destroyed in order to save those that weren't corrupted.
Let's stop and allow Jesus to settle an argument that many people put forth to dispute angel/human hybrids. "Jesus said angels can't marry", is the argument. One day the Sadducees presented a scenario regarding a woman who was married and her husband died, then she remarried and he died, and so on. The question was, who would she be married to in Heaven."Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Matthew 22:29-30. Notice that Jesus didn't say that angels don't have the ability to reproduce. He also is clear that He was talking about "... angels of God in heaven ", not the ones who rebelled. There are accounts of people encountering angels in both the Old and New Testaments, and they always resemble men. We aren't told how the fallen angels actually fathered children, but genetic corruption of all things happened because of them. God's word says so.
OK, back to the days of Noah. When writing the account of the Flood, Moses made note that this corruption happened again . "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that..." Genesis 6:4a. When the Israelites were about to enter the Promised Land, spies were sent in first. They came back with reports of giants (nephiyl ) living there and as proof they brought a very large bunch of grapes. "And they came unto the brook of Eschol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff; and they brought of the pomegranates, and of the figs." Numbers 13:23. If it took two men to carry it we can only imagine how big it was. The Israelites were afraid to enter the land, but God would have enabled them to conquer those Nephilim. This wasn't the only account of Nephilim roaming around after the flood. "For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? Nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits in bredth of it, after the cubit of a man." Deuteronomy 3:11. Goliath and his brothers were Nephilim. Josephus tells of huge skeletons being displayed in Jerusalem so the Jewish people could know what had been in the Promised Land. Even today there are eight and nine foot skeletons being excavated.
Another problem during Noah's day was wickedness. "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5. With fallen angels and the Nephilim roaming around we can imagine the total decadence that was running rampant. Yet, Jesus says that people were just going about their everyday life as if nothing was wrong. Either they were a part of the wickedness or they just didn't care. How does Noah's day compare to the times in which we live? It's easy to see the wickedness is growing worse. Riots and violent protests are becoming commonplace. Terrorism happens almost daily, as headlines scream out that a suicide bomber has blown up a crowded area filled with innocent people or a truck has run into a crowd killing and injuring many. The news media may report the violence but they also try to cover up the fact that these violent acts are done by Muslim terror groups. School shootings happen and ignorant protesters scream out "Ban guns", rather than calling to prosecute the criminal holding the gun. In talking of the end days, Jesus said "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold." Matthew 24:12. We can see Jesus' words coming to pass. Are people today concerned, or are they just going on as if the days aren't getting darker and more evil? I think the days of Noah are very near.
What about genetic tinkering? While most people are "... eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage...", Satan and his minions are busy. We all know about the double-helix of DNA, but scientists have now created babies with a triple-helix using DNA from three people (https://www.sciencenews.org/article/three-parent-babies-explained). That's genetic tinkering. Have you read the article about the scientist who is growing human brains in drawers ( http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161004-were-developing-brains-outside-of-the-body )? There are goats that have spider genes implanted in order to get silk from their milk ( https://phys.org/news/2010-05-scientists-goats-spider-silk.html ). Food is being genetically modified ( http://www.naturalnews.com/035745_GMO_rice_human_genes_Kansas.html ) . People are being genetically modified ( https://www.sott.net/article/249562-US-Army-Super-Soldier-Genetically-Modified-Humans-Wont-Need-Food-Sleep ). Sheep have human organs ( http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7681252/ns/health-cloning_and_stem_cells/t/scientists-create-animals-are-part-human/#.WJAfGFMrLIU0 ). There are many more abominations taking place in the name of science and progress. Look up transhumanism online and you will be shocked. Now, go back and study Genesis chapter 6. Will the mark of the beast be a genetic modification that makes human hybrids? We know that whoever takes the mark cannot be saved. "And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." Revelation 14:11. God's judgment came in the form of a flood during Noah's day, and His judgment will come again.
When Jesus described the end times, He never mentioned the ekklēsia (Christians), which can only mean we aren't there to face the horrors of the Great Tribulation. Just as Enoch was taken away by God prior to the flood of Noah the Rapture will occur before the days of Noah are fully upon us. If you have truly accepted Christ as your Lord and Saviour you have the protection of the Holy Spirit sealed within you and will be taken Home in the Rapture. If you have any doubts about your salvation, don't hesitate to turn your life over to Jesus Christ today.
Do you have a friend or family member who has rejected Christ as their Saviour? It's urgent that you share Christ with them today. Tomorrow may be too late. The days of Noah are near.
God bless you all,
Ron & Nathele Graham
Previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
This commentary was started by Ron Graham before his death on March 14, 2013, and finished by his wife, Nathele Graham
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Daily Jot: The rule of law and your moral responsibility - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer was brought almost to tears over President Donald Trump's orders that limit immigration and refugees coming from the US from certain countries known for their radical Islamic terrorism. As the news media and Democratic Party progressives (communists) went into full attack mode against Trump, some people are pushing back and demonstrating that many presidents have limited immigration from time to time to protect America's national security. Trouble is, the rule of law has been only selectively enforced over the past eight years to the point that the globalists and anarchists think they can throw a fit every time a law is enforced with which they disagree.
The immoral and amoral thought they had secured a death grip on our free society. Then Christians stood up in this past election. That changed a lot. "Freedom sees in religion the companion of its struggles and its triumphs, the cradle of its infancy, the divine source of its rights. It considers religion as the safeguard of mores; and mores as the guarantee of laws and the pledge of its own duration."--these are the words of Alexis de Tocqueville, a French aristocrat who came to America in the 1830s to observe what made the country so great. His "Democracy in America" is considered a historic treasure about the unique success of the United States. Tocqueville wrote that America is free because of its collective Christian religion.
He pointed out that the laws that governed the Plymouth colony were derived from the Hebrew texts. In the later 1600s, even the law of Connecticut stated that man shall not "have or worship any other God, but the Lord God." He said that Americans "have succeeded in incorporating somehow into one another and combining marvelously...the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom." According to the laws and the nature of early Americans, men and women who have the religious and political beliefs of many of those in leadership (progressives, socialists, communists, etc.) would have been forbidden to serve in such capacity, if not put to death for their immorality. Planned Parenthood, the Council on American Islamic Relations, Communist Party of America, and such, would have had absolutely no place in early America.
Cotton Mather wrote in 1820, "There is a liberty of corrupt nature, which is affected both by men and beasts, to do what they list; and this liberty is inconsistent with authority, impatient of all restraint; by this liberty we are all inferior; 'tis the grand enemy of truth and peace, and all the ordinances of God are bent against it. But there is a civil, a moral, a federal liberty, which is the proper end and object of authority; it is a liberty for that only which is just and good; for this liberty you are to stand with the hazard of your very lives." Galatians 5:1 says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." As Christians we must demand and accept no other form of liberty.
Daily Devotion: Marriage and Family: Powered by the Spirit - Greg Laurie -
Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. -Hebrews 13:4
I was watching a television interview a while back, and the interviewer asked a pastor, "Don't you think it is time to bring the Bible kicking and screaming into the 21st century?" I wanted to jump through the television screen! I wanted to say, "No sir, it is time to bring culture kicking and screaming back to what the Bible teaches, because that is where the problems are coming from." Either we're going to accept that the Bible is the source of truth on marriage, family, and every other topic, or we're not.
You can't pick and choose what parts of the Bible you agree with, or what fits with current culture. If you follow cultural clues, your marriage may be doomed. Instead, you have to come back to the Word of God, and develop a biblical worldview-see things through a scriptural lens.
And to have a successful marriage, you must also be filled with the Holy Spirit. You see, we have the power given to us from God to do what He has called us to do. Ephesians 5:18-19 says, "Be filled with the Holy Spirit, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves." In the Greek, it is implied that it's done over and over again. In other words, be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit-again and again. When you get up every morning you might just say, "Lord, fill me with the Holy Spirit. Help me to be the husband, the wife, the parent you have called me to be."
I will be honest with you. There is no way that I can do what the Bible tells me to do without the power of the Holy Spirit. There is no way a husband can love his wife as Christ loves the church without the power of the Spirit. And there is no way a wife can submit to the leadership of her husband without the power of the Spirit. We need this power. Keep asking for this power. And remember, the only authoritative source on any topic is the Word of God.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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