Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Mystery Babylon ... What's the Mystery? - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley -
Since 9/11, it has been popular to identify Mystery Babylon as New York City.
Consider, though, the following:
1. You can connect the Scriptural dots and come clearly and directly to Babylon in Iraq.
2. There's not a shred of Biblical evidence to support the New York City view.
3. There's no compelling reason to spiritualize the Biblical passages on the subject.
The above three points against this don't seem to bother those in favor of this view.
The late Dr. David L. Cooper advised, "Where the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate text clearly indicate otherwise." It's come to be known as the Golden Rule of interpretation. We'll apply it to see what the Bible says about Mystery Babylon.
The first place to look is the only place it's mentioned, Revelation 17. There the words "Mystery Babylon the Great" appear, written on the forehead of a symbolic woman seated atop a symbolic beast with seven heads and ten horns in a vision John was given. We know they're symbolic because in the passage the angel describing them says so, and tells us what they symbolize. This fits with Dr. Cooper's rule.
The angel explained to John that the beast symbolized Satan, who would become the object of worship in the world and manifest himself in one we call the antichrist. The seven heads were seven hills and also seven kingdoms. Five of these had fallen when John was writing (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece) one was currently in power (Rome) and one was still to come (hold that thought). The ten horns were ten kings who didn't yet have a kingdom but would each receive one for the purpose of serving the antichrist and making war against the Lord. And finally, the woman was the city that in John's time was ruling over the world.
When In Rome ...
So far we have three references to Rome. It sits on seven hills, it was the kingdom currently in power, and it was the city from which the world was ruled. Most scholars accept the fact that in John's time, when the Revelation was written, the vision of the woman on the beast represented Rome, and that's why she was called Mystery Babylon.
(In the Greek language, the word we translate mystery literally means a revealed secret. The pagan religious system first practiced in Babylon had been transplanted to Pergamus in Biblical times (see Rev. 2:12-17) but in the 4th century AD would be merged with Christianity in Rome. That's the secret John was revealing.)
Throughout much of church history Mystery Babylon has been a euphemism for Rome. But what about today?
The Roman Empire was never really defeated in the sense that the other ancient kingdoms were. It was split up and parts of it were overcome, but in the 300's it was transformed into the Holy Roman Empire and for all practical purposes ruled over Europe until the 1500's. And even after that parts of the old Roman Empire were pre-imminent in the world for a time, specifically Spain and England.
Currently the USA is the undisputed super-power, but lately, the European Union has begun challenging the USA for leadership in the world. This turn of events is particularly interesting to prophecy buffs because of Daniel 9:26. "After the sixty-two 'sevens, the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed."
Those of us who believe that this portion of Daniel's 70 weeks prophecy is still in the future, knowing that the Romans destroyed the city (Jerusalem) and the sanctuary (The Temple) in 70 AD, believe that it predicts a ruler emerging from a revived Roman Empire at the end of the age. This ruler is called the antichrist by most, who also see the European Union as a revival of the Roman Empire. That being the case, the kingdom described to John in Rev. 17 as the one that was still to come would be the European Union, a modern version of the Roman Empire.
When the antichrist comes to power, we believe he'll divide the world into 10 regions and place a leader over each of them, hence the 10 kings loyal to him.
But Wait There's More
Seeing Rome as both the 4th and 5th kingdoms of John's vision fits with other prophecies as well. For instance, in Daniel 2&7 we're given two views of Gentile Dominion, the time in world history when gentile powers are superior to Israel. In both, the dream Daniel interprets in Daniel 2 and his parallel vision of monsters coming out of the sea in Daniel 7, there were only four gentile kingdoms identified from Daniel's day to the Kingdom Age. By comparing the symbolism of the visions with what we know of history, we can identify the first one as Babylon, in power when Daniel was alive having conquered both Egypt and Assyria. Then came the Medo-Persian Empire, followed by Greece and finally Rome. The only kingdom after Rome is the Kingdom of our Lord, a Kingdom that will never be defeated or given to another. So Rome is the last Gentile world power before the Lord's return.
In Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2) of the huge poly-metallic statue that symbolized the four Gentile powers, the two legs of iron represent Rome's Eastern and Western components that ultimately became the Holy Roman Empire's Catholic and Orthodox churches. The feet and toes of iron mixed with clay stand for the End Times Revival of the Empire and signify the problems that have plagued Europe's attempts to unite (iron and baked pottery neither mix nor adhere well) as well as the 10 regions (the toes) into which the Antichrist will divide the world. Interestingly, it was the Treaty of Rome that in 1957 gave the European Union its beginning. So the clear hints of the two incarnations of Rome have now been verified in history.
What's The Point?
So how does all that relate to literal Babylon? Rev. 18 claims that in the final days the City of Babylon will once again be a world center for government, commerce, and religion and describes the worldwide distress caused by its destruction just before the Lord's return. For years scholars, believing Babylon to have been destroyed long ago, searched for the modern city they believed the passage to be symbolizing, and many chose New York. But during the first Gulf War, they discovered that ancient Babylon had never been destroyed in the way the Bible describes. Further research showed that it's been continuously inhabited since the days of Nebuchadnezzar and that Saddam Hussein had expended much effort in restoring it. More on this below.
But before we go on, let's understand a little more about why some believe Rev 18 describes New York City. Being home to the UN it could be considered the center of world government, the New York Stock Exchange has a tremendous influence over world commerce, and of course, it's located in the USA, the most obviously Christian nation in the world today which connects it with a major religion. And then there's the indisputable fact that having been so richly blessed, the US certainly deserves to be judged, and New York is arguably its most prominent city.
What Makes You So Great?
Biblical scholars from other countries complain that only the arrogance of Americans causes us to look for ourselves in the Bible. Sure we're on top now, but the US is such a newcomer on the world scene, barely over 200 years old in a history that at its most conservative estimate stretches back over 6000 years. And the battle between the city of Satan (Babylon) and the city of God (Jerusalem) had been raging for several thousand years before America was even discovered. In a nutshell, the long view of history argues persuasively for reading Rev. 18 literally. If so, how does Babylon get to be center stage again after so many centuries of obscurity?
He's Up In The Night
In the Book of Zechariah, a series of night visions concerning the end times occupies the first six chapters. The one recorded in Zechariah 5 gives us the answer. Zechariah describes being told in this vision to inspect a large basket with a lead cover. An angel tells him the basket contains the iniquity of the people throughout the earth. When he looks inside, he sees a woman, who the angel identifies as the symbol of their wickedness. Then two other women, each with the wings of a stork, lift the basket and begin to fly away with it. (According to Lev. 11:19 storks would be able to carry this load of wickedness without becoming defiled by it because they're already unclean.)
"Where are they taking the basket?" Zechariah asks. "To the country of Babylon," the angel replies, "To build a house for it." (Literally to the plains of Shinar, the location in ancient Mesopotamia of the City of Babylon). "When it's ready, the basket will be set there in its place." (Zech. 5:5-11). The fact that an actual physical location is given for the basket's final destination should discourage anyone from spiritualizing that part of the passage. Again we've applied Dr. Cooper's Golden Rule of interpretation.
Where Are They Coming From?
OK, so we know where the basket is going, but where will the stork-women be taking it from? According to many scholars, the woman in Zechariah's basket is the woman from Rev. 17, Rome. At the end of the age, after all its true believers have been whisked away in the Rapture, the religious system currently headquartered in Rome will be returned to Babylon from whence it came, to be absorbed into antichrist's one world religion. (The End Times Empire will also be absorbed, but into antichrist's one world government, bringing the world's political, commercial, and religious power together under one central authority.)
Zechariah's visions followed Babylon's defeat by the Persians. And almost from his day to ours, Babylon was a forgotten city. Although Alexander the Great later lived and died there, his plan to dredge a big harbor to lure Persian Gulf boat traffic to Babylon was never implemented. After his death, a natural harbor was found on the Tigris River and soon became the regional center of commerce Alexander had envisioned. The city that grew up around this harbor was named Baghdad. Although only about 62 miles (100 km) away, Babylon slowly faded into obscurity dwindling to as few as 10,000 inhabitants. It was never again a center for government, commerce, and religion, but neither was it ever destroyed as Revelation 17-18, Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 50-51 all prophesy. These events are still in our future.
As I indicated earlier, Saddam Hussein spent millions restoring ancient Babylon into a ceremonial city, perhaps unknowingly preparing it for its final role in world events. Since the Lord is committed to doing all that He's promised (Isaiah 46:8-11), when the time is right, the basket symbolizing the world's wickedness will be set in the place prepared for it on the plains of Shinar. And then the ancient City of Babylon will once again become the world headquarters for the three great evils of mankind's design:
1. Government: which enslaves men politically.
2. Commerce: which enslaves us economically, and
3. Religion: which enslaves us spiritually.
Does the City of New York deserve to be judged? Absolutely, along with the rest of America, and most of the world for that matter. But is New York the Mystery Babylon of Rev. 17-18? I hope this article has persuaded you otherwise. But to be sure, become a Berean and search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things be true. (Acts 17:11)
Will Islam Conquer the World? - Nathan Jones - www.lamblion.com
Islam, for all intents and purposes, appears poised to conquer the world.
Islam's growth rate has risen 500% over the last 50 years as their birth rate dwarfs the birth rates of all other religions. Today's 1.5 billion Muslims make up 22% of the world's population and control 65 nations. Between the twin strategies of holy war (jihad) and immigration, Muslims are expected to exceed 50% of the world's population and surpass Christianity as the largest religion by the end of the 21st Century.
By all indications and by every statistic, Islam will indeed conquer the world. Churches will eventually become mosques. Your children will eventually become Muslims, or die for refusing. That is the direction the world is plunging towards right now.
Or, is it?
I would argue, no. Praise the Lord! Islam has an end according to the Bible. The Bible foretells of three prophetic wars that are coming soon which I believe will absolutely end Islam as a viable religion in the end times.
1) The Psalm 83 War
The first end time war, the Psalm 83 War, strikes at the geographical heart of Islam. It's a war in which Israel will have to deal with its hostile bordering neighbors: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, and Jordan. Israel and these nations repeatedly getting into skirmishes cannot last much longer. Israel needs to do something about living under the constant threat of missile attack. And, according to Psalm 83, when this prophecy is fulfilled, Israel will control those border nations and gain a brief peace.
2) The Gog-Magog War (Ezekiel 38-39)
The second war which follows is found in Ezekiel 38-39. The Gog-Magog War is one of the best described prophetic wars in all the Bible, covering two whole chapters. This exciting war will be a major world-changer.
The Gog-Magog War foretells how Russia, Iran, Turkey, Libya, all those 'Stan nations, and the other countries that form an outer ring of Islamic nations will war against Israel. Israel appears undefeatable after the Psalm 83 War, and so all of those nations combine into a coalition in order to make an attempt to plunder and destroy Israel.
What happens? These hordes, these uncountable armies; well Israel has no chance of standing up against them. Israel appears doomed!
But, the Bible reveals that God will make His appearance back on the earth, not physically, but He Himself personally annihilates the invading hordes, so that there's no denying God is behind this divine rescue. God intervenes using biblical types of judgments such as fire and brimstone, making the armies turn on each other, and being decimated by earthquakes. God even rains fire down on the homelands of these invading nations. The entire coalition of Islamic armies, along with Russia, are almost utterly destroyed.
For a religion that's based on having to destroy one's enemies for Allah's honor, and then Allah loses every single last days war big time, I believe these end time wars are going to gut Islam before the Tribulation begins.
3) The Conventional War of the Tribulation (Revelation 6)
The third prophetic end time war should finally hammer the nail in the coffin of Islam.
Despite Islam's might in the world today, there's no mention of Islam during the Tribulation. Rather, we glean from the Bible that during the Tribulation four religions will exist. One, there will be Christianity made up of those Tribulation Saints who accepted Christ after the Rapture. Two, there's Judaism. The Antichrist spends much of his time persecuting Tribulation Saints and Jews. Three, there's the early Tribulation Harlot religion, made up of a conglomeration of world religions. At first she seems in charge, but the Antichrist is really just using her for his own ends. And four, halfway through the Tribulation, the Antichrist stomps out all competing religions and sets himself up as the sole object of worship.
Now, if you can't have another religion competing with you, especially a militaristic religion like Islam which demands there are no other religions besides itself, what do you do with it? You have to annihilate it. And, the biggest populations of Muslims in the world, most don't realize, live in Indonesia and Bangladesh and other eastern nations outside of the Middle East. So, more than likely, the Antichrist is going to spend the beginning of his reign annihilating Islam so that there's no competitor to setting himself up as the true global ruler.
How tragic that 1.5 billion people will die from the Antichrist's Conventional War. But after that war, the Islamic map should be wiped clean.
Looking at these three biblical end time wars, I can only conclude that Islam doesn't have much of a future left to it. A Psalm 83 War could break out at any minute, along with the destruction of Damascus (Isaiah 17). These world-shaking events could literally occur at any moment. The Gog-Magog alliance of nations already exists. Europe is so fragile that they are ready for a strong leader to take over. Everything has lined up and is in place.
And so, according to the Bible, Islam has very little time left to it.
Russia's Syrian Conundrum - By Zvi Mazel -
Last Saturday's flare-up following the downing of an Iranian drone over Israeli territory brings Russia's regional predicament into full view.
Moscow's planes and air defenses did not take part in the fighting. Can Russian President Vladimir Putin remain neutral should another Iranian provocation lead to an additional, perhaps stronger Israeli response? Had Russia taken into consideration the long-range implications of its intervention in Syria?
On the one hand, Russia has reached its main objective-setting up naval and air bases on the Mediterranean, and regaining its position as a major world power rivaling the strength of the U.S. On the other hand, the Kremlin is floundering in the quagmire of Syria's civil war.
The conflicting regional interests between Russia and Israel, despite the otherwise positive relations between Putin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is only one aspect of the problem.
Syria has become the playing field of major Muslim and Arab countries, such as Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who are all bent on furthering long-range strategic plans threatening the integrity and stability of Syria-and Russia's continuing presence there. Iran is making an all-out effort to establish itself in the country, threaten Israel and pursue its dream of a Shi'a crescent in the Middle East.
Turkey is determined to prevent the creation of a Kurdish autonomous zone in Syria, which would encourage Turkey's PKK party to renew its quest for autonomy.
The war against Islamic State, meanwhile, is far from over. Though it was Russian firepower that turned the tide and saved President Bashar al-Assad's regime from defeat in the civil war, recent political and military developments have shown that Russia can no longer guarantee the regime's stability.
Nevertheless, Putin knows that he must keep on bolstering Assad, a man responsible for the death of half a million of his own people, and guilty of heinous war crimes such as using chemical weapons, in the dwindling hope of achieving an elusive political solution.
It must be remembered that it was President Barack Obama's stated intent to disengage from the Middle East, and his refusal to arm and train opposition forces in the first stage of the Syrian Civil War that created the political vacuum which drew in other powers. Obama, bent on negotiating a nuclear deal with Tehran, turned a blind eye to Iran's encroachments in Syria and even reneged on his pledge to intervene should Assad use chemical weapons.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia had been absent from the Middle East, and Putin seized the opportunity to make a comeback. Though he had significant successes, such as setting up air and naval bases, he may live to rue the day. He will be hard-pressed to boast of a victory in time for the March 18 Russian presidential election.
Successive efforts to draft the map of a new Syria have failed dismally. The Astana forum, convened with Turkey and Iran, aimed at bringing together Assad and opposition forces as well as acknowledging the hegemony of the convening powers.
It was a transparent effort to sideline the U.N., which had initiated the so-called Geneva process based on Security Council Resolution 2254 of December 2015. Despite opposition forces' unhappiness with Turkish and Iranian involvement, an agreement was reached, and four de-escalation zones were established where no military operations would be permitted and civilian populations could return.
Opposition forces soon complained that Russian and Syrian forces, as well as Turkish troops, were blatantly violating the agreement, and they withdrew from the deal. In December 2017, at a new Astana meeting, Russia concluded that that track was dead and convened a "Congress of the Syrian People" in Sochi. Held from Jan. 29-30, it was another failure.
There was no representation of Sunni opposition groups among the 1,600 participants allegedly representing all political forces; nor were there Kurds present, since Turkey had launched an attack of their stronghold of Afrin.
Russia-which had allied itself with the Kurds as long as they were assisting Russian-Iranian-Turkish efforts in the fight against Islamic State-made no move to help. Sochi turned into a farce when opposition groups backed by Turkey, offended by huge posters glorifying Assad, refused to leave the airport and returned to Syria.
Only Assad's supporters remained. Unwilling to admit that he found himself bereft of options, Putin invited Turkey and Iran to a tripartite meeting on a still unspecified date to decide "on their next steps."
Meanwhile, Putin would be hard-pressed to make good on the promise to bring back most of his troops that he made last December on a visit to his Syrian Khmeimim air base. Not only is there no political deal in sight, but the military situation is degrading quickly. Rebel forces are still holding Idlib and Ghouta, though Russian and Syrian planes ceaselessly bomb civilian areas, at times using chemical weapons such as chlorine gas. Syrian ground forces, backed by their Hezbollah allies and by Iranian militias, are not progressing.
An attempt by Syrian troops to attack the Syrian Democratic Forces-comprised mainly of fighters from the YPG Kurdish militias-in the Deir ez-Zor area was met with a strong response. Planes of the American-led coalition killed at least a hundred soldiers.
Rebel opposition forces show no sign of weakening. In the last few weeks, they have downed a Russian Sukhoi plane and have sent drones to bomb the two Russian bases. The drones were shot down, but the battle is far from over.
In northern Syria the Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by America, has defeated Islamic State and now controls some 30,000 square kilometers from the Turkish to Iraqi borders. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated on Jan. 17 that there was no plan to end the American presence there and to return the area to the central Syrian government until a stable regime is formed.
With no clear political or military solution in sight, Russia has no choice but to continue backing Assad and keeping significant forces in Syria. It can neither drive Iran out of Syria nor stop Turkey's offensive against the Kurds.
Russian planes helping Assad in his wholesale slaughter of fighters and civilians are fostering a deep-seated hatred that may trigger guerrilla operations against Russian troops, leading to growing dissatisfaction in Russia. And now, there is the added threat of a full-blown confrontation between Israel and Iran through its Syrian proxy.
Nearing Midnight: The Civil War Mindset in America - Todd Strandberg -
The liberal media and the Democrats have become so insanely fixated on destroying the Trump Presidency that they will use any means, legal or illegal. I've lost track of all the nutty ploys these people have used to declare Trump unfit for office. Their next move will be to tear up the constitution, because any document that allows Donald Trump to become president is not worth the paper it's written on.
We just learned from text messages between FBI agent lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, that the FBI, Clinton Campaign, and former President Obama had their fingerprints all over the whole 'destroy Trump' insurance plan. The leftist reaction to the 'release the memorandum' compiled by the staff of the House Intelligence Committee was to go into full cover-up mode.
Before the memo came out, the Democrats were screaming that it would reveal too many of our intelligence-gathering secrets. When it was released, they then said it was a "nothing burger." Committee Chairman Devin Nunes should be championed as a hero for exposing clear violations of the law. The left is saying Nunes' motivation is only a dirty trick to undermine the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller.
It's just stunning to think we have reached the point where the FBI can just be assumed as working for the Democratic Party. Fairness is out the window. The open-ended witch hunt being carried out against Donald Trump campaign people has no legitimate justification and it is turning our nation into a banana republic.
If the Democrats win the Presidency, any Republican running for office will have two more opponents to defeat. What dirt the liberal media doesn't turn up will be found by our spy organizations.
The Democrats are very near to the point of making the U.S. a one-party ruled nation. Because they promised free goodies for all who sneak across our southern border, the Dems know that 70% of them will vote for the Democratic ticket. Once Texas or Florida turns blue, the Presidential election season will be over before it even started.
For those who think California politics is on the far-left fringe of the national spectrum, stand by. The departing Governor Jerry Brown is likely to be replaced by Democrats who will likely adhere to the new motto of California being the "state of resistance," a political label that is being pushed further left without any sign of Republican resistance. California's "sanctuary state" status of illegal immigration has set it on course for a conflict with federal law. Maybe some island off the Golden Gate Bridge can be the new Fort Sumter.
I am sick to death of reading Trump's name in almost every news story. The North Korea news agency doesn't mention their dear leader anywhere near as much as our dear leader gets mentioned. All the stories about fat boy have to be positive, so reporters there mostly write about the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea). If a large meteor suddenly hit the earth, it would somehow be Trump's fault. It astounds me that enough of my fellow citizens don't realize the media is trying to brainwash them with repetition.
The level of hostile rhetoric between the politically left and right has become so massive, I fear that we are headed for a breaking point. I am truly surprised that we haven't seen more politically motivated violence in America. We've had bombings and killings at times when the political discourse was at a fraction of what it is now.
The only explanation that I can devise is that God is holding back the unrest for a special reason - the rapture. The Lord is maintaining order because the blessed hope is prophetically defined "a calm before the storm." Once the Church is gone, the left can fight each other to death for ownership of the White House.
"Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 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. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So 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" (1 Corinthians 15:51-54).
The US-Israel Honeymoon May Not Last - By Daniel Pipes - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/102427/us-israel-honeymoon-may-not-last-opinion/#/#65o8OFVi3sbsAuyQ.97
President Trump has taken two unprecedented steps highly favorable to Israel: recognizing Jerusalem as its capital and cutting funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), an organization ultimately devoted to eliminating the Jewish state. These long-overdue actions break antique log-jams dating back nearly 70 years and offer fresh opportunities to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Bravo to Trump for enduring the slings and arrows of conventional thinking to take these courageous steps and then stick with them.
That said, there's a problem. Both moves were undertaken for what appear to be the wrong reasons. This is not an abstract worry but implies that today's celebration could turn into tomorrow's fiasco.
The first problem for Israel: Trump says he recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital to settle the Jerusalem issue. Listen to him ruminate on this: "The hardest subject [that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators] had to talk about was Jerusalem. We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don't have to talk about it anymore. They never got past Jerusalem."
This suggests Trump thinks recognition solved the knotty Jerusalem issue, as though this were a New York real-estate transaction and he made a side-deal about zoning regulations or union representation. But it's not. Far from being "off the table," Trump's action made Jerusalem an unprecedented center of attention and contention.
For example, members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation overwhelmingly condemned his step, as did members of both the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly. In addition, recognition caused Palestinian violence against Israelis to triple. Thus, Trump made Jerusalem a more disputed issue than it had been previously.
How will Trump react when he eventually realizes that Jerusalem remains very much "on the table" and that his grand gesture had the opposite effect from what he intended? My prediction: with a frustration and fury that could sour him on the Jerusalem recognition and on Israel; it could even prompt this temperamental and spontaneous figure to rescind the recognition.
Second problem: Trump intends to exact an unspecified price from Israel for the recognition, stating "Israel will pay for that" and it "would have had to pay more." For the moment, with the Palestinian Authority (PA) boycotting American mediation and personally insulting Trump, that price is in abeyance. But the American door is permanently open to Palestinians and when they wise up, some fabulous gift awaits them in the White House. (This dynamic of extracting quid pro quos from Israel explains why I generally prefer low-simmering tensions between Washington and Jerusalem.)
Third problem: Trump did not withhold $65 million from UNRWA out of a scheduled $125 million tranche to punish an execrable organization for its record since 1949 of inciting Palestinians against Israel, encouraging violence against Jews, engaging in corruption, and expanding (rather than reducing) the refugee population. Rather, he withheld the money to pressure the PA to restart negotiations with Israel. As Trump tweeted: "with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?"
So, once PA leader Mahmoud Abbas gets over his extended snit about Jerusalem and agrees to "talk peace," he has a bevy of benefits awaiting him: the possible reversal of Jerusalem recognition, some fabulous reward, and the resumption of full, maybe even expanded, U.S. funding. At that point, the pope, the chancellor, the crown prince, and the New York Times will congratulate a glowing Trump; and Israel will find itself coldly thrust out of favor.
Abbas has already slightly edged back from his histrionics, which are anyway for domestic consumption, showing a radicalized Palestinian body politic that he is just as tough, nasty, and delusional as his Hamas rivals. Of course, he well knows that the United States of America is the one and the only power that can pressure Israel to make concessions. So, after a decent interval, Abbas inexorably will mumble apologies, lavish praise on Trump, fire up the Palestinians' horde of proxies, "talk peace" with Israel, and worm his way into the administration's good graces.
When that happens, the current U.S.-Israel honeymoon will likely crash and burn, replaced by the usual bickering, where Washington wants Israelis to "take chances for peace" and "make painful concessions," and they resist those pressures.
I've been wrong many times about Trump in the past. I hope I am wrong this time too.
Daily Devotion: No Fear - By Greg Laurie -
For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. -Psalm 27:5
Sometimes when we end up in a certain situation, we'll say, "Why did God allow this to happen to me?" Then later on, after a few years pass by and we have the hindsight of 20/20, we are able to look back on certain circumstances and see why the Lord did what He did-or why He did not do what we thought He should do.
To be honest, I'm glad that I don't always know what is going on around me. We may not know the things that are happening in the supernatural as well as the natural realm, about the plots that might be out there against us, or about those who want to destroy us. But we know this: the Lord is with us wherever we are.
David, who knew something about potentially fearing for his life, wrote these words in Psalm 27:5: "For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; in the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock" (NKJV).
Then we're told in Isaiah 54:17, "'No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is from Me,' says the Lord" (NKJV).
People may be able to lie and fool everyone for a time, but eventually it all will come to light. It all will be declared for what it is. The good thing is that even if people are plotting against you as a child of God, you don't have to be afraid. The Lord is with you. He was there with Paul in his prison cell, and He is there with you wherever you are.
FROM THE HEART
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Our Prayer for You- "Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else." 2 Corinthians 9:10-13
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