Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Tin Foil Hat Brigade - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8582
You know who you are. You are the person other people tip toe around when it comes to discussing current events or religion. You are the person who can spend hours devouring scripture or news with equal vigor, pointing out 'last days' events to anyone who would listen to you. You are semi-shunned at church. You are disinvited from church socials, because you are just too intense and narrow-minded. You are called a 'conspiracy theorist' or a 'Jesus Freak' behind your back. You are always going on about the Lord's return and that "Rapture thingy". Admit it. You are one of them, one of those "prophecy nuts".
Isn't it ironic how that we live in the most prophetically active times since the days of Christ, and yet the world has somehow reached the pinnacle of its skepticism and cynicism? Now, I am not even talking about the unbelieving, Christ rejecting world. They have always been skeptical and mocking of our faith. But it would seem that the trend these days within the majority of professing Christendom, is to join in on the mocking of those who believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture and literal understanding of future events as laid out in the Bible.
When Christ walked the earth, the dominant world super-power at the time was Rome, and they worshipped the god's such as Diana and Jupiter. Furthermore, Jesus Himself performed hundreds of miracles, the biggest of which was bringing Lazarus back from the dead, and then resurrecting Himself, after the most brutal, public, and painful death a person could have...being publicly flogged, then nailed naked to a cross to suffocate to death. No faking that. And yet, the nation was not convinced.
For the last 150 years, Christianity has spent a significant amount of time and energy trying to defend itself against secular science and academia. But by spending so much time and energy trying to quantify and validate our belief, we have in large part, neglected the supernatural aspect of our faith; primarily that we worship a God who exists outside of time and space. Even though our faith is not indefensible by any stretch of the imagination, we still believe in things that cannot be tested in a laboratory.
Yet, why do so many professing Christians find it ridiculous and hard to believe, that the Church age will also come to an end?
Instead, when we bring the idea up that Christ will soon return for His Church and we are relegated to the 'tin-foil hat' group who go around promoting conspiracies? Is Christ's return for His Bride a conspiracy?
However, it is a biblically based one and Satan hates it. In fact, he has invested almost two thousand years trying to debunk it, yet, it will not go away. What I do not understand though, is that the same Christians who will give credence to the prophecies that foretold Christ's first coming, seemingly apply completely different standards of interpretation to the prophecies concerning His Second Coming, and thus, become dismissive of them.
Two of the biggest groups of Christian skeptics, are the Preterists, and Amillennialists, who in varying degrees to try say that all that 'prophecy stuff' has already happened, and the world will just keep going on in endless cycles.
But considering that all of the prophecies concerning Christ's First Advent were literally fulfilled, let us use an equal standard of measure concerning Christ's Second Advent. To do that, we take Christ's own words:
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3
Now, consider these two points;
In Matthew 26, Christ has been taken and brought before the Sanhedrin, where they are conducting an impromptu and illegal court session, bringing in false witness after false witness, trying to throw anything and everything at Him to see what would stick. Yet through it, Christ remained silent, letting his accusers hurl their baseless charges at Him. But at a certain point, the Pharisee's had become incensed at the lack of His participation...
And the high priest arose and said to Him, "Do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You?" But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest answered and said to Him, "I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus said to him, "It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." Matt. 26:62-64
According to Numbers 23:19, God is not a man that He should lie, so Christ here, under oath to Himself, swore that He would return, and even they (those that pierced Him) would see Him coming with clouds and in power and glory.
The Book of Revelation was written in the mid 90's and here is the message John received on the isle of Patmos, some 35 years after the siege at Jerusalem, and 63 years after His crucifixion;
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7
And since those who had crucified Him had already died, and you and I exist today, wouldn't that include our eyes? I don't know about you, but I know I have not yet seen Him come back as of yet, so this MUST still be a future event, destined and determined to happen by God from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4-6).
Then we have the Apostle Paul's epistles, which overwhelming teach an expectant, imminent return of Jesus Christ for those that are His. We are referred to as a 'bride' (2 Cor. 11:2), Christ's body (Col. 1:18), and simply the Church of God (1 Cor. 10:32). Therefore, it was Paul's ministry to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles (Gal. 2:8), and he taught us that Church will not be subject to the coming wrath but will be delivered beforehand (1 Thess. 5:1-9).
For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thess. 4:15-17
Satan hated Christ's first coming. God told him about this at the Garden in Genesis 3:15, and ever since, Satan has been invested in trying to corrupt mankind to the point for which a Messiah could not come out of the race of man. But as God began narrowing down which tribe from the race of man the Messiah would come, Satan also began focusing on whom his wrath would target, which we know now was the Hebrews, then Israel, and then the Jews.
However, Christ came and did exactly as prophesied. His coming even confounded the rulers of that age by dying (allowing them to kill Him), so that once and forever, He could secure His victory over sin, death, and hell.
However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Cor. 2:6-8
But even more so, Satan hates the fact that Christ will come again, this time to dethrone him as the defacto rule of this age (2 Cor. 4:4). Satan despises the Church, because we are untouchable in regards to our salvation. But like I mentioned in the previous brief, our eternal security is not going to prohibit Satan from doing his best to render us ineffective. That is the only tool he has left in his kit bag against Christians. Therefore, he has invested much energy in turning the world's opinion against even the possibility that Christ could/would return.
The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is just the icing on the cake then because when we are caught up, we will be transiting through the air, which is Satan's domain (Eph. 2:2, 6:12). We will be victoriously paraded in front of the entire satanic host as Christ's prized possessions of untouchables. In fact, I think that Michael the Archangel makes the announcement with a shout, so that all the angelic hosts of heaven will line our parade. The Rapture will then be a divine rubbing of salt in Satan's wound. After all, aren't we supposed to be salt and light? And as much as salt is a preservative, it is also an irritant...and we have been an irritant to Satan and his agenda now for 2,000 years.
The Bible contains literally hundreds of promises from the Lord concerning His coming back to the earth to deliver His people and establish His kingdom here. The only problem is that many professing Christians have quit believing in them and thus have quit looking for the Lord to return.
They have become embittered toward the whole subject and not only are not looking, but do not even want to talk about it. This has always puzzled me, because as Christians our great hope is Christ, and ultimately heaven. Yet many Christians have become all too invested in this life, not realizing that our time here on earth is but a fleeting moment on the timeline of eternity.
We will spend infinitely far more time in the next life than we ever could in this one. Yet so few Christians have invested anything into the next one. They have bought into the skepticism of preterism or the man-centered theology of Dominionism. Many have bought into the notion that we are the kingdom now...despite the world crumbling down around them. Many have relegated His return as an unimportant or trivial secondary issue, ignoring the passages where Christ chastised the Pharisees for not knowing the times in which they lived (Matt. 16:1-4). Therefore, the number of faithful, watching believers today continues to dwindle down to a tiny remnant. Even Christ wondered if there would be faith on earth by the time He came back (Luke 18:8).
So knowing what we know from Scripture, Christ will return again one day, first for His Church, and then secondly in judgment with His Church (Jude 1:14; Rev. 19:7-10, 14). Furthermore, even if we are almost 2,000 years removed from when Christ physically walked the earth, the implications are that we have more information now than we ever did to validate our supernatural faith. As a generation living in the most prosperous nation on the planet, we were blessed with a complete Bible, religious liberty, and the nation of Israel stepping back into history after a 1,900-year diaspora. If believing those things makes me one of those 'prophecy nuts' with a sign around my neck, so be it. If it puts me in the "Tin Foil Hat" Brigade, then sign me up, because...
Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Luke 12:37-40
No One Knows The Day Or The Hour - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/prophecy/no-one-knows-the-day-or-the-hour/
Those who ignore the study of end times prophecy are fond of quoting this famous line which appears in various forms in Matt. 24:36, Matt. 24:42,44, Matt. 24:50 and Matt 25:13 as their justification. But earlier in the same passage, the Lord had admonished all who would read His words of prophecy to understand them (Matt 24:15) and elsewhere the Apostle Paul wrote that the events leading up to the end of the age should not take believers by surprise (1 Thes 5:4) implying that we should have done enough homework to see them coming.
Since the Bible cannot contradict itself, these passages must have been aimed at different audiences. And sure enough, a closer look reveals that to be the case. In Matt. 24:36, Matt. 24:42,44, Matt. 24:50 and Matt 25:13 the Lord was only speaking to people remaining on Earth at His Second Coming, while in Matt. 24:15 he was issuing a warning to those who would be living in Israel early in Daniel's 70th Week. We know this because He mentioned a Temple which doesn't exist yet. Of course in 1 Thes 5:4 Paul was addressing the Church.
What Paul was saying is that while we won't know the exact timing of things, we should understand the sequence of events leading up to the Day of the Lord. And perhaps no event in the sequence is more important than the Rapture of the Church, especially as it relates to the Great Tribulation.
That being the case, it seems to me that the first thing we should do in trying to understand all this is to clarify two things. One is the purpose of the Great Tribulation, and the other is the nature of the Church.
The Purpose of the Great Tribulation
The phrase Great Tribulation makes reference to a defined period of time, not a general condition. While the Lord warned the disciples that tribulation (trouble) would be characteristic of life in this world (John 16:33), He clearly identified the Great Tribulation as having a specific beginning and end. It will begin when the abomination that causes desolation predicted by Daniel is erected in the Temple (in the middle of the last 7 years of history) and will end just prior to the Lord's return, three and one half years later (Daniel 9:24-27, Matt. 24:15-21).
Daniel's prophecy is pointedly Jewish in its perspective and so is the Great Tribulation. Until the Lord coined its New Testament name in Matt 24:21 it was referred to as the Time of Jacob's Trouble in the Old Testament, and the Old Testament is where its purpose is explained.
In Jeremiah 30:1-11 the event is foretold and in the last verse its purpose is explained. "Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only with justice; I will not let you go entirely unpunished." The idea is that Israel has to be purified to receive their coming King, and the nations who rejected the King and persecuted His people must be destroyed.
The timing of the passage is also made clear. It will take place after Israel is re-gathered in the land, and will result in David becoming their King again (Jere. 30:8-10). There have been two re-gatherings since the passage was written, but the first, beginning in 535 BC, didn't result in David becoming their King. In fact they have had no legitimate King at all since about 600 BC. Neither were all the nations completely destroyed then.
The second re-gathering began after World War 2 and continues to this day. Though the population of Israel keeps growing, so do the Jewish populations of all the nations to which the Jews have been scattered. In fact there are about as many Jews outside of Israel as there are in the land. All that will change when the Lord calls all His people to return to their Promised Land following His victory in the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 (see Ezekiel 39:28). Because of this amazing victory the Jewish people will restore their national covenant with God, build a Temple in which to worship Him, and Daniel's missing 70th week will begin.
So the purpose of the Great Tribulation is twofold; discipline (purify) the people of Israel so they'll be prepared for the coming Messiah, and completely destroy the nations to which they had been scattered.
The Nature of the Church
According to Paul's Letter to the Ephesians, the Church is nothing less than a new race of mankind, coming from among both Jews and Gentiles but sharing a destiny with neither. (Ephe. 2:15-16) The problem had always been that God could not dwell in the midst of His creation. The sins of the people eventually drove Him away. At the cross, He reconciled all things to himself, things in heaven and on earth (Col 1:19-20). This meant that He can now be at peace with His creation for the first time since the Fall of Man. He accomplished this by paying the price for all the sin of mankind. Now, for anyone who would accept it, a full pardon for behavior past, present and future is available, free for the asking (Matt. 7:7-8).
Accepting this pardon qualifies any person, young or old, Jew or Gentile, good or bad to become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17). And it permits God to look upon this person as if he or she is without sin altogether; and in fact as if he or she had never sinned to begin with. It also required the division of mankind into three groups: Jew, Gentile and Church. (1 Cor. 10:32)
It's critical that we understand God's perspective. To Him the Church is without sin, holy and blameless, and has been since the cross (Ephes. 5:25-27). Whatever sins we as individuals have committed (or will commit) have been forgiven and forgotten. It's as if they never happened (Ephe 1:4-8). At the cross, the Church became as pure and holy as God Himself (2 Cor 5:21), so finally God has a people with whom He can live in peace.
What's the Point?
First, not needing purification, no purpose is served by the Church enduring the Great Tribulation. Second, the focus of the Great Tribulation is Israel and God's focus seems to be either Israel or the Church, never both. (This was explained by James in Acts 15:12-18.) If you take the view that the Battle of Ezekiel 38-39 occurs before Daniel's 70th Week begins, and realize that one outcome of that battle is that Israel turns back to God, (Eze 39:28-29) then you know the Church's days on earth are numbered.
Then there are passages of Scripture that indicate the Church won't be present for any of the end times judgments. Look at these examples:
In Romans 5:9 and 1 Thes 1:10 Paul promised that the Church will be rescued from God's wrath. The Greek preposition translated "from" in both these verses means "from the time, place or any relation to the event. " Jesus Himself confirmed this in Rev. 3:10. Speaking through the Church in Philadelphia, He said, "Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth." 1 Thes. 5:9 says the Church was not appointed to suffer wrath, and with the seal judgments of Rev. 6 His wrath will have begun. Therefore the rapture of the Church will have to precede Rev. 6.
Also, the 2nd letter to the Thessalonians only makes sense if Paul had taught them the pre-trib rapture view. A careful reading shows that they had received a forgery claiming the Day of the Lord had come (2 Thes. 2:2) . If Paul had taught a post-trib view their response would have been something like, "The next 7 years will be very difficult, but then the Kingdom will come." Instead it was alarm, such as they would feel upon learning they had missed the Rapture. And if they had missed the rapture, that would mean they weren't saved. That would certainly be cause for alarm.
Other Hints of a Pre-Trib Rapture
The period of the Great Tribulation is the most thoroughly documented from a time standpoint of any Biblical event. From various verses it's described as 3 and 1/2 years, or 42 months, or 1260 days long. These are all equivalent times. It begins the day the anti-Christ stands in the Temple in Jerusalem and proclaims himself to be God and it ends 1260 days later. How do you have a "secret rapture" at the end of the Great Tribulation when any knowledgeable believer will be able to mark the day of its end on his calendar?
The Sheep and Goat Judgment of Matt 25:31-46 clearly portrays events following the Second Coming as the Lord establishes His Kingdom on Earth. The sheep are symbolic of believers and the goats of non-believers. The judgment concerns people who have survived the Great Tribulation. Sheep go into the Kingdom (Matt. 25:34) and goats go into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). There couldn't be any sheep on Earth for this judgment if all believers had just been raptured, but if the Church will be raptured before the end times judgments begin, then there will be at least 7 years for a new crop of believers to be born again. Some of them will survive the Great Tribulation to become the sheep of the Sheep and Goat judgment.
There are sound theological reasons why God keeps the exact timing of the Rapture secret. But He has given us plenty of evidence as to its general timing to prevent us from being taken by surprise at the end of the Age. A recent panel of prophecy experts agreed that the most important sign that the end is near is not that any specific Biblical sign is evident, but that all the signs the Lord told us to look for are in some stage of fulfillment.
A bus stop only draws a crowd as the time for the bus to arrive draws near. Then people come to watch for the bus, expecting it to arrive, and wait for it, because they know its arrival is near. Having given us several signs of His return the Lord instructs us to watch, expecting Him to arrive, and wait for Him, knowing that His arrival is near. And since His arrival is near, the rapture is even nearer. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.
Trump's Peace Proposal - By Daymond Duck -
Pres. Trump promised a peace proposal in early 2018. He gave some of the Arab leaders a preliminary proposal (more than 90 pages) in early Dec. 2017, but at the time of this writing (as far as I know) he hasn't issued an official proposal.
Some of the terms in Pres. Trump's preliminary proposal have leaked (no right of return; PA self-government in part of Israel, but no PA military; PA will get some land in the Sinai instead of land the PA wants in Israel, etc.). Others terms have been kept confidential.
It has been reported that what some leaders say in public is different from what they say in private. The situation is fluid and constantly changing. But this article contains my understanding of what I have read up to this time.
As a candidate for Pres. of the U.S., Mr. Trump promised to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Some said he would never do it. Some said he would start WW III, if he did, etc.
At some point, Pres. Trump realized that every effort to negotiate a peace treaty failed for three reasons: 1) Possession of Jerusalem; 2) PA refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish nation; and 3) The UN, U.S., EU, Arab nations and others were giving the PA hundreds of millions of dollars per year with no strings attached.
Concerning Jerusalem, on Dec. 6, 2017, Pres. Trump decided to keep his promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. He understood that this would cause turmoil, but he believed the turmoil would eventually subside and the door would open for peace negotiations.
Concerning PA recognition of Israel as a Jewish nation, Pres. Trump decided the PA would never recognize the existence of Israel as a Jewish nation; so he decided to seek the recognition of the Arab League instead. Recognition of Israel's existence as a Jewish nation by the Arab League would make PA rejection meaningless.
Concerning the hundreds of millions of dollars that are being given to the PA with no strings attached, Pres. Trump decided that one reason the PA keeps refusing to sign a peace treaty is because the PA doesn't want the influx of money to stop. Pres. Trump decided that it is foolish to keep giving the PA large sums of money without getting something in return. Why agree to a peace treaty, if the money is going to be reduced or stopped?
When Mahmoud Abbas learned what is in Pres. Trump's preliminary proposal he went ballistic. He abandoned the peace process. He rejected Pres. Trump as a fair negotiator. He walked away from the negotiating table.
He spent part of his millions of U.S. dollars traveling around Europe searching for anti-Israel allies. Most told him he would get nowhere without the U.S. and Pres. Trump.
Pres. Trump said Mr. Abbas must return to the negotiating table and stop refusing to negotiate or he (Pres. Trump) will shut down the PA office in Washington, the U.S. will not have anything else to do with the PA, and the U.S. will give the PA no more U.S. money. Pres. Trump even threatened to try to cut off the PA's income from other nations and entities.
Pres. Trump thinks it will take time, but the PA will eventually change their mind. If they don't, Pres. Trump will continue the peace process without any input from the PA. It appears that he may already have the approval of the Arab League to do this.
Anyway, the PA has abandoned the peace process, but most of the remainder of the Arab League hasn't. Most want to get past Pres. Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move on with the peace process in exchange for U.S. and Israeli help in dealing with Iran's nuclear weapons program.
It has been reported that Egypt is actually downplaying Pres. Trump's decision, and one government official has asked some of the media to convince the Egyptian people to accept it.
Jordan is struggling with Pres. Trump's decision on Jerusalem, but many think Jordan will come around.
Pres. Trump said his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel will cost Israel. The Arabs want to hear what this means.
This writer is not suggesting that Pres. Trump will betray Israel, but Pres. Trump needs to be very careful about this. The Bible clearly teaches that what nations do to Israel as the Tribulation Period nears will come back on them (Obad. 1:15).
Concerning Israel, Prime Min. Netanyahu knows that Israel will be called upon to make some painful concessions. He wants the government in Gaza replaced with a government that can control the terrorists and be a reliable peace partner.
He wants a phased agreement that will gradually change things over a period of time (not all at once; could it be 7 years?). He is refusing to give up Jerusalem and Israel's right to defend itself.
God alone knows the future. But it looks like Pres. Trump will continue to develop his peace proposal; Mr. Abbas is probably on his way out; the 1967 borders are no longer a factor; the Arab League is ready to recognize the existence of Israel as a Jewish nation; the Arab League is ready to make peace; it is ready to establish a regional government in Gaza; it is ready to do what is best for the Palestinian people instead of the terrorists in Fatah, Hamas, etc.
It must be understood that Pres. Trump's peace proposal is not the treaty that will begin the Tribulation Period. But his proposal will have the potential to morph into a peace treaty that will gain global acceptance and be confirmed by the Antichrist. That would begin the Tribulation Period.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Iranian Weapon Factories In Lebanon Pushing Israel To Respond - By Yaakov Lappin -http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=1981#clurvKApvEsz9VGD.99
Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah-Iran have risen sharply this week, following the discovery of an Iranian program to set up weapons factories on Lebanese soil, for the manufacture of missile guidance systems.
Such guidance systems can be placed on Hezbollah's arsenal of rockets and missiles, and turn inaccurate projectiles into precision-strike weapons, capabilities that were once reserved for the great powers. It would allow the Shi'a armed organization to target strategically sensitive targets deep in Israel, and cross a red line drawn by Israel over how far its enemies can build up their military capabilities.
These developments have led to a flurry of Israeli warnings in recent days, as part of a diplomatic attempt make Iran and its Hezbollah client desist from their activities. Israeli officials have made it clear that if their warnings will go unheeded, military action will become likely.
"There is no doubt this is a new stage in the attempts by Iran, to build independent capabilities to build advanced missiles systems in Syria and Lebanon," Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, Israel, told JNS.
The weapons factories in Syria are likely under direct Iranian control "and those in Lebanon under Hezbollah control," Karmon said.
By building weapons factories in Lebanon and Syria, Iran can kill two birds with one stone, Karmon argued. It can arm its proxies with advanced weapons, and cut out the need for ground transportation of the weapons, across routes that have proven vulnerable to Israeli detection and repeated alleged Israeli air strikes.
Israel has made no secret of its determination to disrupt the Iranian arms trafficking network. So far, it's campaign to do so in Syria has succeeded in dodging a wider conflict. Military strikes in Lebanon, however, could change all of that. Hezbollah has warned in the past that it would respond to such attacks differently from its muted responses to alleged Israeli strikes in Syria.
Still, Iran has a clear incentive to take such risks. The factories make Iran's proxies even more powerful, Karmon said, while limiting the "liberty of the decision making of the two legitimate governments [in Lebanon and Syria]."
Israel's response in recent days has been urgent, and unusual. The spokesman of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, took the rare step of writing a letter directly to the Lebanese people, and publishing it on Lebanese opposition websites, warning of dire consequences if work on the factories continued. Manelis said the entire future of Lebanon and the region is being jeopardized by "the takeover of those who take their orders from Tehran."
"The most severe things are hidden from view. Lebanon is actually turning, due to the failure of the Lebanese authorities and the turning of a blind eye by many members of the international community, into one large missile factory," Manelis wrote. "Iran opened a new de facto branch in Lebanon. Iran is here."
He described Lebanon a powder keg, which could blow up at any time due to Iran's conduct.
"Will Lebanon and the world community allow Iran and Hezbollah to take advantage of the naivety of the heads of the Lebanese state, and set up a factory for accurate missiles, as they are trying to do so these days?" he asked. "The IDF is prepared for all scenarios."
Days later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the commander of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, Maj.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, flew to Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin.
It is believed that during their meeting, Netanyahu warned Putin what Israel would do if Russia's partners, Iran and Hezbollah, continued building the factories.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has, for his part, been issuing a steady stream of warnings about events in Lebanon, adding that if residents of Tel Aviv are forced to sit in air raid shelters, "all of Beirut will sit in shelters."
He added, however, that the threat could be stopped "not just with bombs. We are activating all of the diplomatic levers, and other levers, to prevent the production of missiles. The last thing I want is to go into a third Lebanese war... we are taking advantage of all options. What I can stress is that we are determined to stop Lebanon from turning into one big factory for the production of accurate missiles."
Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, Netanyahu's former national security advisor, told JNS that Israel's warnings have a dual purpose.
They represent an attempt by Jerusalem to deal with the threat without resorting to military force, and at the same time, they help create needed legitimacy for military action, in case diplomacy fails. The warnings achieve "both" of these objectives, Amidror said.
Karmon said it was far from clear whether these warnings will be effective.
"Israel will have to respond, either by pressing Russia and the U.S. to stop this adventurous Iranian move, or directly by attacking it, including if necessary in Lebanon, which was until now not in Israeli plans to attack preventively," he said.
"I think the threats by Israeli politicians and military to attack and destroy Lebanese infrastructure in order to deter Iran are not sufficient - and counterproductive in relation to Israel's standing in the international arena - as the Iranians, like the Syrians before them, will fight to the last Lebanese. Therefore, Israel should threaten Tehran directly," Karmon, stated.
"It should be remembered that the decision of [former Iranian Supreme Leader] Ayatollah Khomeini to accept the end of the eight- years Iraq-Iran war in 1988 came only after a wave of deadly missile bombings of Iran's capital."
In addition, Karmon said, a recent Kremlin delegation visit to Israel could create an "opening for a strategic dialogue between the two countries at the highest level, but the question is how much the Russians are willing to deliver on the Iranian file."
Daily Jot: The eyes of modern spies - Bill Wilson -
A lot has been written about how the previous "president" used a secret court to spy on American citizens. Each year, the government seems to come up with a new way to spy on its people-all, of course, in the interest of public safety or protecting the public interest. Now the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has gained access to a nationwide license plate recognition database. The contract, awarded in December 2017, is rather vague, but the system reportedly comes from Vigilant Solutions, a leading network for license plate reading data, and will also give ICE real-time location tracking, according to TheVerge.com. This is a just another addition to the citizen spy tools of the government.
TheVerge.com reports that Vigilant Solutions has amassed a database of over two billion license plate photos from vehicle repossession agencies and local law enforcement through camera-equipped police cars. The company has developed a way to track vehicles and tag them with a date, time, and GPS location. This is not unlike another system that was introduced in January 2016 called Beware. The Washington Post reported that Beware allowed police officers to access a database of more than two billion scans of license plates and locations nationwide. It also allowed officers to assign a threat level to the person of interest.
The Post reported in 2016 that Fresno, California was the first city to adopt Beware and cited another program, Media Sonar. Media Sonar, crawls social media looking for illicit activity. The Post wrote: "But perhaps the most controversial and revealing technology is the threat-scoring software Beware. Fresno is one of the first departments in the nation to test the program...As officers respond to calls, Beware automatically runs the addresses...to generate a color-coded threat level for each person." While ICE says it is not intending to build a database, but rather to use the Vigilant Systems database as a tool to support its investigations.
Protecting police officers from unnecessary risk is important. Protecting personal privacy is a Constitutional requirement. Instead of being stewards of public property, such as roads, parks, schools, government buildings and the like, the government--local, state, and federal--has become dictator over public property. There is a big difference between a steward and a dictator. Under the deceptive guise of protection, your rights, your religious beliefs, your ability to feel secure in the privacy of your home or car, can be violated by the all-knowing government. Exodus 20:3 says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Government is not God. We should ensure that it understands that while we still have a say.
Daily Devotion: The Greatest Life There Is - By Greg Laurie -
Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory. -1 Peter 1:8
When most people think of the Christian life, the life that is dedicated to God, they envision something that is full of rules and regulations, misery, and boredom.
The Bible tells us, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).
When you know God, and when you realize the Bible is not a mere book but God's living Word to each of us, life takes on an entirely new meaning. When you realize that prayer is not going through some ritual, but we are communicating with the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God who is interested in us, that means a lot. And when we gather and sing His praises, we are not just singing a few songs together, but we are lifting up the name of the Lord. That is something the world doesn't have. There is nothing like it out there.
When you truly come to know God, you realize the Christian life is the greatest life there is. And when you walk with the Lord, as the Bible says, there's a "joy inexpressible." It is not a joy that comes from a buzz associated with drinking or drugs, because those things come with a hefty price tag.
If you are only looking at this world and not spending enough time with the Lord, then you will have a diminished view of God and an exalted view of this world when it should be the other way around. But when you see who Jesus is, you see what the world is.
The happy life is the life with God. Don't settle for some cheap, lame imitation this world offers. Go for the real thing.
FROM THE HEART
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