Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
As Silver is Refined in the Furnace Fire - Pastor Mike Taylor -
"And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea,
Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." (Revelation 7:2-4)
Of all the books of the Bible, Revelation gives the Christian the most problems with its symbols, word pictures, and prophetic message of the time we are fast approaching. One must divide the books into two distinct populations. I believe that God is speaking of the Church at the beginning of the book, and then makes a dramatic shift of focus to the rebellious Gentile nations and the nation of Israel. I see a common thread that flows through the whole of Revelation and that is, God putting down all rebellion during this period of 7 years and the refining of Israel and making her ready to accept her Messiah, at long last.
After chapter 5, the churches and the redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, are not mentioned again till chapter 19. Suddenly, the focus is turned to judgment of a world devoid of God and violating willfully His commandments. Then in chapter 7, God by His Holy Spirit reveals to John the main characters of this book. Let us take a look at a common thread that follows in the coming chapters that point to only one set of people....the nation of Israel in its borders and scattered around the world.
144,000 EVANGELIST ORDAINED BY GOD
In chapter 7, God names the tribes of Israel that are symbolically 12,000 coming from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. In the bible, numbers are used as signs of perfection. Three is the sign of Divine perfection, seven is spiritual perfection, ten is the sign of ordinal perfection, and the number 12 is the sign of government perfection and is used throughout the bible as that sign of perfection. The number 144,000 from 12 tribes is 12x12 or 144 and thousand is given as a great number. Will it be just 144,000 when Israel and the scattered Jewish people amount to approximately 13 million people? This symbolism is carried out numerous times within your bible, to emphasize that the focus of this book is on Israel. Apart from Israel, during the coming Tribulation, the rest of the nations are in divine judgment and we read horrific descriptions of the devastation brought on by this Divine wrath. Notice in the latter parts of chapter 7, we find these words:
9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7:9-17)
Notice that they will serve in the Temple of God, night and day, and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They are not kings and priests unto God noted in chapter 4 and the 24 elders as the glorified Church saints are, but are to serve God in His temple unlike what John then writes in chapter 5 about the church saints ruling and reigning on the earth,
FOCUS ON ISRAEL DURING THIS PERIOD
In verses noted above, John was just introduced to the nation of Israel and the evangelist that were being sealed with the seal of God, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes. He then sees a great multitude that are standing in white robes and "palm fronds" in their hands. They speak different languages and come from all portions of the earth. These are the martyred Tribulation saints of God from all the people of earth, with emphasis on the nation of Israel that have believed in their Messiah through the seven terrible years, called the Tribulation.
2 "But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the Lord, as in the days of old, and as in former years.
5 And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the Lord of hosts.
6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:2-6)
As God has called Israel "a people with stiff necks" that would not follow after what God had commanded, but God will have mercy on a remnant of modern day Israel when the last of the Gentiles have come in and are part of the Church, the Bride of Christ. This has been Israel's demise down through the ages, but God will preserve a remnant for His Glorious Name.
9" And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance." (Exodus 34:9)
God emphasizes that God will have mercy on Israel as He has brought a multitude of Gentiles to a saving knowledge of what Jesus did on a cruel Roman cross of torture and death, but He will bring them through much persecution and 2/3 of the Jewish people will die for their witness of Jesus Christ during this awful time....Jesus proclaimed that He would NOT come to their defense, or see them again until they proclaimed one thing.......
37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
38 Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
39 For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Matthew 23:37-39)
WE MUST KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (Romans 11:25-27)
As I have identified in past sermons, palms in the hands of these saints are a sign noted of Israel and obtaining victory. Palm fronds, fig trees, and olive branches are all interpreted in the Bible as pointing to Israel as a people. But their salvation came with a very high price paid.
As noted in the past messages, the Tribulation is designed for two reasons, to destroy all rebellion upon this earth and wiping it clean, and to bring Israel to the knowledge of their Messiah that they rejected 2000 years ago and crucified out of ignorance and being used to bring salvation to the world by the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ.
KINGS AND PRIESTS
Then the Book of Revelation speaks of a different subset of people redeemed, and that would be us, the Church, the Bride of Christ.
9 "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:9-10)
Notice the difference? They have different functions and are a completely different subset of the redeemed.
Proceeding on into chapter 8 and 9 and into chapter 10, we see plague after plague coming down on a rebellious mankind. Here we see the two witnesses. Again the focus is on Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, as these men stand in front of the rebuilt temple and prophesy 3.5 years or 1260 days until they are slain by the Beast that comes up out of the pit. Some hypothesize, and it is not revealed, that these two witnesses are symbols of Elijah and Moses. Elijah is the only prophet who called fire out of heaven to accept the offered sacrifice to God in front of the Ba'al priest, and Moses who spoke plagues upon ancient Egypt preceding the Exodus. But both are Jewish, or to be more correct, Hebrew men of the nation of Israel clothed in sack cloth. Then there is this curious chapter twelve that many feel was just dropped in as a subset chapter, out of order. I believe God was identifying who the saints of this period would be and the focus of the book, Israel being refined as silver is in the fire.
ISRAEL DEPICTED AS WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN
1 "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads."(Revelation 12:1-3)
God goes all the way back to the beginning, to Genesis, where Jacob fully understood that he was the symbol of the sun, Rachel his wife was the moon, and the twelve stars were the sons of Jacob who became Israel renamed during wrestling with the Lord. When Joseph had a dream that the sun, the moon and twelve stars would bow down to him, Jacob knew who he was speaking of. This sign was the root of the nation of Israel. Israel as depicted is a woman in a glorious way, as her beginning was glorious, and her ending will also be glorious.
Verse two speaks of this woman with child, which we understand is the nation of Israel who gave birth to our Messiah and their Messiah. Notice the symbolism here of the red dragon? It is the same symbol used to speak of the beast power, 7 heads/crowns or empires with 10 horns being kingdoms within that final empire. Satan thought he had won when Jesus was crucified and killed, but his victory became his greatest defeat, as Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to the Father in Heaven with the keys to death, hell and the grave having re-purchased His creation.
Satan knows of the promises made to Israel and if he can just thwart God's plan, then God is a liar in his warped thinking. He embarks on a campaign to destroy the seed of Abraham. During this time of the coming tribulation, many of the children of Israel will be slain for their testimony of Jesus Christ, but God saves a remnant and sends them into the wilderness on the wings of a great eagle.
6 "And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days." (Revelation 12:6)
Notice the time element, 3.5 years or 1260 days? During the destruction of Israel's temple during the Babylonian invasion it is said that those who believed God, escaped Jerusalem and went to Petra, a mountain stronghold in what is now modern day Jordan. Why Petra? From an excerpt from bible-guidance.com,
"Although the Bible does not explicitly state that a remnant in Israel will escape to Petra, this possibility is strongly implied by historical events, circumstantial evidence, and a prophecy about Jordan's position in the tribulation period. Jews who would flee by foot from Jerusalem to the mountains will, in the interest of their own safety, not go in the direction of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria or the Mediterranean Sea. The invading forces of the Antichrist will come from these directions, and be easily able to encompass and destroy fugitive Jews who might venture into these regions. They will also refrain from going east in the direction of Amman in Jordan, as this area has good access roads on which enemy forces will be able to move quickly in pursuit of the "rebels." The only reasonably safe area to move into would be the mountains along the shores of the Dead Sea - the highest and most inaccessible mountains being south of the Dead Sea at Petra.
According to the Jewish historian, Josephus, groups of Jews fled to Edom and Petra during the Babylonian invasion of Judah in the sixth century BC, when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. When the Romans destroyed the city and the temple in 70 AD, many Jews fled to the mountains along the Dead Sea. A number of them made a futile last stand on a mountaintop at Masada. Others moved further to Bozrah and Petra south of the Dead Sea."
Sandwiched between verses of Israel fleeing into the wilderness, we see this about Satan and his legion demons being cast to the earth.
7 " And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night." (Revelation 12:7-10)
God has cast out Satan and his demons where they are bound to the earth for the final play of this dramatic scene. Satan is frantic as he knows that his time is quickly running out and he rushes frantically in an attempt to destroy the children of Israel.
11 "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.(tribulation saints/Israel and a minority of Gentiles)(My emphasis)
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child."(Revelation 12:11-13)
Satan must kill every man, woman and child that is human with emphasis on the children of Israel and any believer in his nemesis, Jesus Christ. He must make God out a liar, but Satan will be ultimately defeated.
14 "And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ."(Revelation 12:14-17)
One can only speculate what this passage means but obviously, it is supernatural and can only be attributed to God's power. But two wings of a great eagle reminds me of a verse in Isaiah,
28 "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."(Isaiah 40:28-31)
I believe this is divine intervention and God's protection of a remnant of the nation of Israel. During this time, a holocaust will be inflicted on the Israelite people scattered across the world, even into Israel, where it is written that 2/3 of the Jews would be martyred for their belief in Jesus Christ OR just being Jewish by birth, but a small portion in comparison to the whole of Israel, God will save from death to enter into the 1000 reign of the Kingdom of God to repopulate the earth. Those that profess Jesus Christ will cause the dragon to be wroth with this remnant of her seed and for their testimony they will be slain. Why did some survive in a mountain fortress for 3.5 years and others are slain? These who fled, believed the testimony of the 144,000 evangelist from the 12 tribes of Israel, and when they saw the abomination of desolation, they fled. They got out of dodge, so to speak. Those who believed not, where slain in martyrdom for being Jewish, being a late believer in their Messiah, or were intent on holding onto Jewish tradition. Possibly it is a combination of all three.
In the next installment of Jacob's Trouble, we will further discuss why Israel is the focus of the Tribulation, along with unrepentant Gentiles. Now that is not to say that many people will believe their testimony preached by the 144,000 evangelist ordained by God from the 12 tribes of Israel, but the possibility of anyone who is not Jewish by birth receiving salvation becomes exponentially more difficult as it will cost you your life, and your head. If anyone thinks that they can postpone making a decision to accept Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior of their life, and be so foolish to wait until things get really bad, then my friend, those folks play a form of "Russian Roulette", as Gentiles are not promised that they will even be able to make that decision for Christ, as God will send a strong delusion to deceive them that they believe a lie, as Paul wrote in II Thessalonians:
"And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."(2nd Thessalonians 2:10-12)
But as the bible proclaims, all who are found in Jesus Christ will in my humble opinion and biblical interpretation, not see any of the carnage that will befall mankind, as God gives us plenty of evidence that the Church is removed when the Holy Spirit is drawn back and "THEN" the man of sin will be revealed:
6 "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And 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:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2nd Thessalonians 2:6-10)
But those who belong to Jesus Christ will be taken in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, as the Holy Spirit has been removed, and because we have a deposit of God's Spirit within us, God will remove the last barrier to Satan having full sway over rebellious mankind, by removing His Church who He promised never to leave alone without the Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
50 "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
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.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 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.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1st Corinthians 15:50-55)
Know this my brethren, and all who read this message, there is a way that is found in verses that are the microcosm that explains the focus of the whole Bible which is found in one Person, as it is all about Jesus and can save you and all who believe to not be subject to what is coming upon the earth (and possibility very soon, as the signs of the soon return of Jesus are all around us)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
Believe and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord of your life........
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Romans 10:8-13)
When the Bride of Christ, is suddenly and without warning is removed from this earth, then the Tribulation known as Jacob's Trouble will begin. Woe to the person who is alive to see these coming events. See you next time for part 2 of this bible study....Israel and all who finally believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, being "refined, as silver is in the fire".
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying that you accept God's grace of eternal life, through Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. If you have any needs for prayer, counseling, or need just a listening ear, then email me at email@example.com , or visit me online for more biblical lessons from the Word of God at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus Feet.
Can Middle East peace be bought?
- Jonathan S. Tobin -
Jared Kushner's effort to promote investment in the Palestinian economy is a great idea. But don't confuse it with a solution to end the conflict with Israel.
Senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump Jared Kushner is on a fundraising tour this week, but it's not to raise money for his father-in-law's re-election or to bolster his family's real estate empire. He's visiting the Middle East with a special emphasis on wealthy Arab states, where he is soliciting investment that he hopes will be the seed money for a new era of peace.
Kushner has spent the better part of the last two years putting together a plan that will attempt to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Few people give the scheme-whose details remain secret and which will probably be made public after Israel's April elections-a chance of success.
The Palestinian Authority has made it clear that it won't negotiate and has refused to even speak with the Americans since Trump moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem last May. There's no reason to expect that P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas is capable of saying yes to any deal, let alone one proposed by this administration.
The administration's assumption that Arab nations have the power to either persuade or bribe the Palestinians into giving up their century-old war on Zionism is equally mistaken. The Palestinians continue to view peace as a zero sum game in which any recognition of the legitimacy of a Jewish state, no matter where its borders may be drawn, is a defeat for their cause. If the Palestinians wanted to settle for a two-state solution, then they would have already accepted one of the previous Israeli offers.
But by embracing the notion of investment in the territories, as well as for Jordan and Egypt, Kushner is showing that he's not completely clueless. While it would be foolish to expect that this by itself would lead to peace, he's right to think that an effort to promote economic development is a prerequisite for hope for a future solution on any terms. That's a point that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also made in the past.
Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, Palestinians in the West Bank have suffered under the rule of the P.A. and its Fatah leadership. The same is true in the even more poverty-stricken Gaza Strip that has been ruled by the Islamists of Hamas since 2007. Both are deeply corrupt, operating primarily to enrich and protect their power. Far from encouraging economic development, both governments actively discourage any effort or enterprise that is not controlled by them. The failure of former P.A. Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, an American-educated technocrat with no ties to terror, illustrated just how difficult it is to encourage good government in a political culture where terror is still lauded.
That leaves their people trapped in an environment where anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda aimed at perpetuating the conflict dominates the media and education systems. It also largely eliminates the process of business and wealth creation that would normally act as a break on the impulse to sacrifice their community's well-being for the sake of a useless war on Israel's existence.
That's why it makes sense for Kushner to seek to get the Gulf States and other Arab countries to put their money where their mouths are with respect to promoting peace. If a massive surge of investment were injected into the Palestinian areas, it couldn't help but promote a more realistic attitude towards Israel and create opportunities that will make them less interested in continuing the fight. That investment would also help prop up Jordan and Egypt's tottering economies and work to keep those two nations in the peace camp.
But the problem with Kushner's tour is that rather than seeking to create an environment in which peace might be made more likely, the effort to promote investment in the Palestinian economy is linked to the final-status negotiations, which have no chance of success.
In a rare public hint from Kushner about the goals of his plan, he told Sky News Arabia that "the goal of resolving these borders is really to eliminate the borders. If you can eliminate borders and have peace and less fear of terror, you could have freer flow of goods, freer flow of people and that would create a lot more opportunities."
While the free flow of goods and people sounds like a vision of peace, there's no reason to believe the Palestinians will give up their long war merely for the sake of prosperity. To the contrary, as the P.A. and Hamas have both made clear, any peace plan that is predicated on the Palestinians giving up their existential war against Israel for a better economy is going to be dead on arrival.
While Marxist theory may hold that people primarily act in their economic interests, the Palestinians have disproved that thesis time and again. Peace has always been in their interests, but that hasn't stopped them from continuing violence and resistance. And as much as many Arab nations want to shelve the conflict against Israel, which they now recognize is as counter-productive for their interests as it is futile, their rulers know that their people won't accept formal peace with Israel on these or perhaps any terms in the foreseeable future.
What Kushner has done is a classic case of putting the cart before the horse. Instead of tying a peace deal to investment, economic development is what will make peace theoretically possible, rather than merely a reward or a bribe to those whom you want to sign on the dotted line. The process of transforming the territories is not something that can be added on as a sweetener to a deal the Palestinians are not ready to make.
While we wish Kushner luck in raising money for this investment, it's also a reminder that his efforts are doomed to failure as long as he is attempting to pretend that the Palestinians are more interested in prosperity than they are in waging war on Israel.
Nearing Midnight: How China Uses Financial Aid to Colonize the World - Todd Strandberg -
For many years, I've read headline stories about China giving out financial aid money to various nations. I always thought the money was being used to buy goodwill with various nations that it seeks to bring into its growing level of financial influence. I've now learned that China has a far more sinister reason why it is sharing its wealth with third-world nations
The Old Soviet Union would do this with military weapons. It would pour vast amounts of arms into a nation. Because the weapon system would be so expensive, the USSR would write off the loans. The Soviets lost vast amounts of money by giving arms to nations, which the West defeated with superior military technology.
The Chinese are not intending to be the world's Santa Claus. Very little of the money it hands out to nations goes for humanitarian aid. Most of the projects supported by Chinese loans are for industrial developments. The top four categories of projects are oil and gas, Railroad, hydroelectric, and mining.
When the West gives money and the loans go bad, the investment is typically written off. When China gives money to a nation and the loans go into default, the Chinese move in to foreclose.
It's not that China has bad luck or likes taking risks. The main goal of the Chinese loans is for them to go into default. Once a country can't make the payments on its loan, China introduces a term that allows it to Colonize its victim.
The Chinese talked Sri Lanka into spending $8 billion to build the country's second-largest port at Hambantota. Since there was little traffic in the area, there was no way for the port to ever be economical. When the loans could not be paid back, a Chinese state-owned subsidiary moved in and secured a 99-year operating lease for the port.
In Pakistan, more than 90% of revenues generated at the newly developed Gwadar Port at the mouth of the strategically significant Gulf of Oman are collected by the Chinese operator.
Since the amount of money lent to Africa has increased sevenfold over the last decade, China's financial colonization of Africa is becoming a clear aim of all this easy money. According to a study by the China-Africa Research Initiative at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, China had lent a total of $143 billion to 56 African nations.
At $43 billion, Angola has the most Chinese debt that equals 35% of Angolan 2017 GDP. Angola recently reached a loans-for-oil settlement, with Beijing lining the country's future oil production to shipments to China in order to service the country's burgeoning infrastructure debt.
China built a giant railroad line in the nation of Kenya. It is the biggest infrastructure project in the nation's history. The line was built with $7 billion of Chinese money. The huge price tag and the lack of paying customers will soon mean that this will be another project that will come under Chinese control.
There is little chance that China will face any competition from the IMF in the lending of money to Africa. Most nations in the region are so corrupt, there is no way to secure loans under a standard business arrangement. Because China doesn't care about human rights, it was able to ignore a genocidal war and make an oil deal with Sudan's dictatorial leader.
It would not be possible for China to Colonize the world without help from the U.S. The $500 billion trade deficit we have with Beijing gives it the credit needed to make all these loans. The more China uses our IOU bonds to make these deals, the weaker the dollar becomes as a global reserve currency.
China's Colonization of large parts of the world has allowed it to reach the point where it can fulfill one of the most amazing prophecies of the Bible. When China decides to invade the Middle East with an army of 200 million soldiers, it will need a vast amount of resources. Thanks to years of pre-planning, the Kings of the East monster is nearly ready to move out.
"And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared" (Revelation 16:12).
When Will You Bow? - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
"Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:" Philippians 2:9. Jesus is the second person of the Holy Trinity and, in fact, is God. It's not easy for us to wrap our human understanding around the fact that God loved us so much that He put aside His deity to become human in order to give us the one and only way to eternal life. If you stop and really think about it you'll be in awe of what He did. He gave His life so that sinners such as you and me can live eternally. Unfortunately, many of us take that act of love for granted. Many who claim to be Christians fail to bow before Him and live as if sin is no big deal. Wrong. Sin separates us from God. Reconciliation was important enough to God that He gave His life to pay the price for our redemption. Can you think of anyone you might sacrifice your own life for? Maybe your child, or a husband may be willing to protect his wife with his life, but most people wouldn't lay down their life for a stranger. "For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die." Romans 5:7. Self preservation is in our nature. Jesus Christ laid down His life so you and I can live. Most people won't even set aside time to study Scripture, let alone help other people. We need to put our pride aside, bow our knees, humble our hearts, and confess Jesus as Lord.
Jesus is the example Christians are to follow. If anyone had something to be prideful about, it was Jesus. He was God incarnate. He walked on water, healed many who were sick, and fed thousands with only a small amount of bread and fish. Did He boast or brag? No. "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." Hebrews 2:9. God chose to walk among sinners because of His love for us. Even though He was tempted in the same way all people are tempted He never sinned. Jesus Christ set aside the glory He had in Heaven and laid down His life for us. When we think of laying down our life for someone else, we usually think of an act of heroism. The example Jesus gave was that of daily choices to set aside our own comfort in order to care for the needs of others who don't deserve grace and mercy. When the time was right He did shed His blood, but His example of walking daily in humbleness is a Christian's guide. Pride is a sin and keeps us from serving the Lord. Marriage is a model of Christ's love. The husband is the head of the family, but he is to love his wife as Christ loved us. Jesus humbly set aside His exalted place in Heaven to give His life for His bride. A man needs to follow Christ's example and be the leader of his household and unconditionally love his wife. It's easier for the wife to submit to her husband if he bows before the Lord. When Christ is first in our life we will yield to His authority.
Christians should have no problem bowing before Christ because we love Him. Sadly, many Christians live our own way instead of bowing our knees before Him. How many of us choose our words and actions in order to honor Christ? "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up." James 4:10. A Christian shouldn't live their live to gain the approval of men. It's God we need to please. In every part of our life we need to humbly bow before our Lord and behave in a way that honors Him. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20. There are many human actions that are motivated by our sin nature. Our sins were nailed to the cross when Jesus shed His blood and we need to crucify our will to His. When you have a desire to seek revenge for a wrong that's been done to you, yield your will to Jesus and choose His way instead. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." Luke 23:34. Jesus forgave those who crucified Him. He took the sin of the whole world upon Himself when He went to the cross and He forgave those who pounded the nails, but He also bore your sins and will forgive you. When temptation comes your way, crucify the carnal desires of the flesh and submit to the way of Christ. Scripture is clear about what constitutes sin and no matter how you try to justify your choices, it's still sin. Following Christ means turning away from sin.
Jesus gave us the example of how to be humble but many of us choose to ignore that example. We get so caught up in our own pride that we forget to put Christ first. We say we're Christians but we don't follow His ways. When you set your heart to understand what the God of all creation did for you, you should be very humbled. If we call ourselves Christians we need to follow Him. "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you and example, that ye should do as I have done to you." John 13:13-15. Jesus spoke those words to His disciples not long before He laid down His life and willingly went to the cross. Those men had followed Him, but didn't really understand God's plan, but their lives had been changed. Jesus would be arrested and crucified. His blood would pay the price for their sin as well as yours and mine. How did Jesus spend that last night? He washed the feet of His disciples. He knew what was about to happen, but set the example of humility. In order to wash their feet He had to bend His knees before them. Why is it so difficult for us to bow before Him? If you claim to be a Christian you need to think about that. Instead of following the ways of the world, follow Him. "And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again." 2 Corinthians 5:15. When you accept Christ for salvation you no longer belong to yourself.
People who don't recognize Jesus as Lord can't be expected to bow before Him and follow His ways. Christians need to be the example to show them a better way...the way of Jesus. "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return. That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear." Isaiah 45:22-23. This is an Old Testament verse that speaks a New Testament truth. How can this fallen world learn to bow before God if Christians don't? If we don't give a true picture of Christ through our life we misrepresent Him to the world. Brothers and sisters, let's humble ourselves before Him and confess Him before men by words and deeds. "Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: but he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God." Luke 12:8-9. There's more than one way to deny Him. The words you use can praise Him or deny Him and you can also deny Him with your way of life. When you're faced with a choice in life, be sure to choose to bow before Jesus. The simple act of obedience to Jesus will speak loudly and show the world that you're a Christian.
There will come a time when saint and sinner alike will see Jesus. Some of us will feel unbounded joy because we chose to follow Him. Others will face the consequences of their choice to reject Him. "That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father " Philippians 2:10-11. Everyone will die one day. Judgment will come after death. There's no possible way for a human being to be good enough to merit eternal life with God. Only faith in the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ will bring eternal life. As a Christian, you'll be judged by His righteousness, not your own. The things you've done for Him will earn rewards, but things done when you didn't submit your will to His will be burned. If you humble yourself and bow before Him now you'll be very glad you did. People who've rejected Christ will also see Him. Sadly it will be an "Oops" moment when they realize too late that Jesus was, is, and forever will be Lord. Those who refused to accept His death, burial, and resurrection for their salvation will know too late that they should have bowed before Him in this life because the choice must be made while living on this side of Heaven. After death it's too late.
When will you bow? Will you wait until you stand before that White Throne awaiting judgment? You'll know without a doubt that Jesus Christ is Lord, but your eternity will have been sealed. You will have condemned yourself to eternal death. You would be wise to accept Him as your Saviour today. Bow your knees now and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Test for impeachment - Bill Wilson -
The Constitution states in Article II Section 4: The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors. Let us examine together the accusations leveled by President Donald Trump's former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen and determine with common sense if the building blocks of impeachment laid out in his testimony to the House Committee on Oversight and Reform meet the impeachment requirements. Granted "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" lends a fairly broad booth to land charges, but the context of Section 4 centers on "high" Crimes and Misdemeanors, not minor ones.
Cohen said: "I am ashamed because I know what Mr. Trump is. He is a racist. He is a conman. He is a cheat." These are opinions, not impeachable offenses. No doubt that many presidents, some of them beloved by their electorate, were racists, conmen and cheats. Cohen said Trump, "knew that Roger Stone was talking with Julian Assange about a WikiLeaks drop of Democratic National Committee emails." WikiLeaks did America a favor by showing the truth about the Democratic Party and its nefarious dealings, hypocrisy, and disdain for the people it says it represents. Knowing about it and being excited for its release is not an impeachable offense. Let us remember that the very same Democratic Party, its sitting president and its nominated candidate for president paid to fabricate a dossier to damage Trump. At least WikiLeaks was genuine and true.
Cohen said he was providing: "A copy of a check Mr. Trump wrote from his personal bank account - after he became president - to reimburse me for the hush money payments I made to cover up his affair with an adult film star and prevent damage to his campaign." That check could have been written for any of Cohen services. Federal prosecutors say this could be an impeachable offense because it might be considered an illegal contribution to benefit Trump's campaign. This is a stretch, but it could happen. Keep in mind, however, that it is not a crime to write personal checks to pay someone to keep silent who is not an employee of the government. Notwithstanding, this is the rack where the impeachment hat will be hung.
The other accusations in Cohen's testimony about a Trump hotel business deal (that didn't materialize) in Russia, Trump not wanting his grades and SAT scores revealed, his financial dealings, and his funneling money to have his portrait be the highest auction bid are very minor-especially compared with Hillary Clinton having a "pay for access" scheme to enrich the Clinton Foundation when she was Secretary of State. Bottom line: Trump is probably not the example of ethics and morals that best suit the office he holds, but these themes being used to remove him from office reveal that his accusers are far less examples of the same. As Christ said in Mark 7:6, "Well has Isaiah prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." Hypocrisy abounds hiding the cocoon of truth.
Daily Devotion: Someone Just Like Us - by Greg Laurie -
Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops. - James 5:17-18
When we look at the life of Elijah, it can be difficult to relate to a guy like that. He called down fire from Heaven. He stopped the rain. He raised someone from the dead. We may think, "I could never have that kind of faith."
James 5:17 tells us that "Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years!" (NLT). God directed him to walk into King Ahab's court and decree there would not be rain in the land except according to his word.
Then God sent him to a widow who was poor. When Elijah showed up, she gave him a place to stay. She didn't have that much food-just enough for her and her son. But Elijah told her, in effect, "Just go ahead and see what God does." Every day there was always enough for her, her son, and the prophet. This reminds us that when we give to the Lord, He gives back to us as well.
But one day her son got sick. Then he got worse. And then he died. Her life as she knew it had ended. She not only had lost her husband, but she also had lost her son. She accused Elijah, saying, "O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sin and kill my son?" (1 Kings 17:18 NLT).
Elijah didn't rebuke her. He just took the limp body of her dead son, prayed for him, and raised him up.
World changers apply their faith, and they pray. God always will give us what we need when we need it-not necessarily before, but never after.
FROM THE HEART
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