Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Pergamon - Seat of the Devil, and Where is the New Rome? - By Ronda Lane -
Pergamon - Seat of the Devil
"I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan's seat is..." (Rev.2:13).
In the seven letters to the seven churches, we see encouragement given to some churches noted, and yet very strong condemnation given to others. One of the most fear-inspiring phrases is the seat of Satan. How wicked must that place be? I'm loathe to even say (or type) his name; I don't want to give any reverence whatsoever to him, so in most instances I will simply call him 'the devil', except where I'm quoting scripture directly.
I've been in many group (and individual) Bible studies and/or conversations pertaining to scripture. Sometimes this topic comes up: Revelation 2:12-16, the letter to the church in Pergamus. Often times people like to play 'pin the tail on the antichrist'. And sometimes they will conclude that they believe the antichrist may come from (what is modern-day) Turkey. But I wonder if they realize that they may be lacking some key historical facts about this scripture.
Let's take a look. The altar of 'Zeus' (originally located in Pergamus) is now located in modern- day Germany, and has been there for well over a century now. Why is this significant? Let's take a short history lesson into account and see what we can glean.
The Pergamene Empire was founded around the third century BC (initially part of the Seleucid Empire of Attilus I, the nephew of Eumenes I). Those under Attilus I desired to show the world their construction of imposing buildings and art work. They gave reverence to many false 'gods' of Greek mythology.
The Pergamon altar to the false 'god', 'Zeus', was built sometime during that time period. They adorned many of their buildings and walls with sculptures and artwork depicting many of these false 'gods'. While many were represented, they chose to revere 'Zeus' and his supposed daughter 'Athena' most often.
Imagine a first-century Christian living in Pergamon, how those imposing abominations erected to false 'gods' were still standing. John was given the Revelation, and one of the first topics noted are the seven letters to the seven churches.
Fast forward to the 7th century AD. Christianity had taken root in Pergamon. They had fortified their city against the Arabs, and had even used part of the Pergamon altar (and other structures) for their building materials in these city-wall fortifications.
The city finally fell to the Arabs around 716 AD, who temporarily inhabited it, then discarded and abandoned it. It lay in ruin, mostly uninhabited until around the 12th century AD; and by the 13th century AD Pergamon fell to the Turks, the beginning of the Ottoman Empire.
I wonder if the early Christians would have destroyed these evil altars and cast these ruinous pieces of idolatry away from them, IF (just maybe) the outcome would have been different when the Arabs eventually attacked and later destroyed them. I guess we will never know; just a point to ponder... Mixing the profane with the holy never works out well in any time period.
In researching this article, I also looked at numerous photos of these atrocities and even watched a few videos, which were narrated by two individuals who described the altar of 'Zeus', the panels adorning and surrounding it, and the steps (which were likely steps not just to the altar, but also steps to a temple for these false 'gods').
During the narration, they both spoke lovingly of this altar, giving much praise (and many suggestive adjectives) to the physical bodies depicted in the sculptures. They gushed on and on about how these (false) 'gods' showed such strength in their perfect bodies, etc. (worship of the physical body rather than HE, the One True God who creates physical bodies). They spoke of how 'strong' they believed these (false) 'gods' must have been to be shown depicted as slaying giants. It's odd that they never once mentioned why there were SO MANY of these false 'gods' needed.
I paused the video several times (first because it was sickening, and second to reflect on God's word); and it all became abundantly clear that these two narrators worshiped these false 'gods' every bit as much as those who manufactured them! Why? Because it goes against true Biblical scripture... it supplied an answer THEY felt comfortable with, rather than recognizing that ONE true God created even them and that they are accountable to Him!
Even more, the thought struck me (numerous times) how each part of Greek mythology was meant to ridicule God's word and how the devil was at the heart of all of these myths, and all of these false 'gods'.
For instance, in many of these panels and 'artwork' were shown various false 'gods' battling giants. Yet to WHOM does the Bible attribute the slaying of giants? Not just David slaying Goliath, but an entire population which had been inhabited by and contaminated by giants.
No matter what your take on Genesis 6 is, no matter who you think the giants (nephilim) were, noted in Gen.6:4, you must acknowledge that there WERE giants in those days, if you believe God's word (as I do, and most readers here do as well).
In that chapter we then see that God destroyed mankind and beasts from the face of the earth (Gen.6:7). Yet He preserved Noah and his sons (Shem, Ham, Japheth) and each of their wives (as well as pairs of animals, a male and female each, as described in Gen.6:19-20).
In discussions on my own viewpoint of Genesis 6, I am often asked why there would still be giants AFTER the flood. My answer is this: NOAH found grace in God's eyes (Gen.6:8) and was found perfect in HIS generations (Gen.6:9); BUT we note that God's word did not say the same of Noah's wife, nor of Noah's sons and their wives. It may be that Noah's wife's lineage had at some point been genetically contaminated and that she had passed such contamination onto one (or more) of their three sons. Or it may be that Noah's sons had married genetically contaminated women.
Regardless, we see giants again on the earth in David's time and other notations of them as well in scripture. So is it any wonder that Greek mythology mocks God's true word with their own made-up stories of false 'gods' who supposedly slew giants?
In fact, the entire premise of all these false 'gods' is the devil's playground... he wants to create doubt in man's mind of the truthfulness of God's word. But even more? The devil wants to try to convince mankind to believe that THEY can be 'as gods'. This is the exact same deceit he used on Eve in the garden (Gen.3:5).
This MAY be the same LIE he will feed the masses in the tribulation, and it MAY be that AI and nano-technology is used to facilitate this (but that is a topic for another article or another day).
As the narrators describing the altar to 'Zeus' continued on in their overt adoration of these false 'gods', what was most striking was that they noted the 'artwork' that depicted SERPENTS, which they claimed were the servants of the false 'gods'. The narrators didn't catch the connection whatsoever; they were too enthralled with the bodies depicted, and the notice they paid to the serpents was secondary.
Yet we know that the devil is showing himself even there; he wants them to think that these false 'gods' controlled the serpents. Yet they never once question if the serpent himself controlled not just these false 'gods' or the mere humans that represented them... but also their worshipers (and by extension, themselves), and that the serpent is still today using the same trickery he used in the garden. Only he is appealing to mankind in this generation with high tech and false science, rather than the flat out lie in the garden. Same lie, just a different method of presenting it.
Then the narrators toured onto the steps and into the actual altar of 'Zeus', where the fire would have been kept lit and the sacrifices would have kept flowing to this false 'god'. One of the most interesting statements by these narrators was when one of them was speaking about how this entire huge exhibit (the altar, along with the panels and steps, etc.) was moved to Germany... AND how that Germany wanted to be "the new Rome."
Let that sink in and marinate a few moments. The "New Rome" - in Germany?
While I won't play 'pin the tail on the antichrist', I will say that those who think that "Satan's seat" is still in Pergamos (Turkey) may have missed the fact that the altar of Zeus has been residing in Germany for over a century now.
We don't have time to get into the atrocities committed by Hitler, nor do we have time to delve into Angela Merkel's part in the destruction of modern-day Germany (most of you are already well aware of these things anyway). What I do hope you all get out of this is that Germany MAY be where "Satan's seat" (Rev.2:12-16) now resides.
Yes, I DO believe there is a spirit behind this thing... is it tied to the land? Or tied to the altar where the blood was sacrificed to this false 'god'?
It's also worthy to note what else the Lord had to say to those in Pergamos (Rev.2:14) about the doctrine of Balaam (a stumblingblock to the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit fornication). The false idols and false 'gods' all go back to ancient Babylon (and even further back to the serpent in the garden). Nimrod put himself in the place of Baal and required that the ancient Babylonians worship him as their (false) 'god'.
What else is noteworthy? Rev.2:15 tells us that some held to the doctrines of the Nicolataines, a thing which the Lord hated! What did the Nicolaitanes do? They were a community who called themselves 'Christian' and yet they freely sinned. Just one of the many characteristics was that they believed men could have numerous wives.
Sadly, the Nicolaitanes omitted scripture as well as misunderstood much scripture. They rightly believed that we are under grace, not law, but where they went woefully wrong was that they embraced sin. They thought that since they were forgiven (at salvation) they were free to sin unfettered, basically.
This sounds like many modern-day churches... Pick and choose which scripture sounds good; do whatever feels good..., that false "prosperity gospel' and other worldly teachings.
The Nicolaitanes made the mistake of taking God's wonderful grace for granted. Yes, their sins were paid for at the cross, and yet that did not mean to continue on in sin. Yes, our sins are paid for, but God will not be mocked. Whatever we have sown, we reap. Sometimes the consequences of our sins do not come back upon us until decades after the sin was committed. Our sins are paid for, our salvation is eternal, but there are consequences when we sin.
God gave the 10 commandments to Israel (Exodus chapter 20, et al), and the law is a schoolmaster for us (Gal.3:24-25); it brings us to Christ. It brings us to the recognition of what some sins are and how we are not to commit them. Yes, we are forgiven (at salvation)... He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins when we confess them to Him (1 John 1:9). BUT that is not by any means a license to sin!
"For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid." (Rom.6:14-15).
Paul spoke of people (similar to the Nicolaitanes) in Romans 3:8. In fact, the entire chapter deals with this topic. Verse 31 is particularly telling. Colossians 3:5-17 and Eph.2:10 would have also benefitted those Nicolaitanes (as would much other scripture).
What else did the Nicolaitanes do that was so evil, as if it weren't already wicked enough? Besides their disdain for holier living and the fact that they held lewd, lascivious festivals of adultery and fornication... they also sacrificed to idols!
Exodus 20:4-5; 1 John 5:21; 2 Cor.6:16; and many others are just some of numerous times God's word says not to worship idols, graven images, nor to bow down and serve them. They disregarded ALL of God's word. They held only to salvation (or so they claimed) and threw out the rest!
"And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" (2 Cor.6:15-17).
And again, we can think of many modern-day churches today that are similar. Even worse than the Nicolaitanes, today some churches even deny Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose the third day! What does scripture call them? 1 John 2:22, 4:3 and 2 John 1:7 tell us they have the spirit of antichrist.
What does one think of when they think of Rome? Idolatry and worse. And yet Germany desired (and still desires) to become the 'new Rome'.
"Satan's seat," brought from Pergamon, now resides in Germany (for over a century now). Is it any wonder that they've gone through many hardships? No, I am not (even in the least) calling all Germans evil. In fact, there are still some Christians remaining in Germany yet today, although far less than there once were. But the government? Evil to the core.
Many of the Germans were all for taking in as many immigrants as they could hold. They had believed that these immigrants just needed love, a hug, and some help. Yet once the immigrants got there, and after they got a taste of how evil Islam is, they changed their tune. But now it's too late... the water has gone under the bridge.
German citizens cannot speak out against the crimes the immigrants commit, be it rape, theft, or even murder. Some German citizens were cast out of the very homes they worked all their lives to buy and maintain, only to have those homes given to immigrants who quickly trashed the residences, making them similar to the third-world mess they came from.
The police there do not uphold the citizens. The government is bought-out globalists. No more is there national sovereignty. And by the time the 10 kings/horns/toes emerge on the scene (and the antichrist rises up from the midst of them), the world will fall to globalism and the antichrist beast system.
Germany now has the altar to 'Zeus' in their museum, and they also have the 'Ishtar Gate' of ancient Babylon residing, and on display, in Germany as well. Time does not permit going into detail in regards to this particularly evil abomination, but we would be remiss not to consider that there are some very evil people in this world who STILL believe that both of these things (the altar to 'Zeus' and the 'Ishtar' gate) are portals or doorways for the (false) 'gods'.
Some call these 'Star-gates'. These physicists and scientists are spending their lives work on finding portals. Huge sums of money are being poured into these ventures. Sadly, even some so-called 'Christians' (cults) have bought into these myths, and not only seek these things out, but visit them and take pictures of each other walking under or through the archways, gateways, and altar entrances of false 'gods'.
Some elites and particle physicists in Switzerland (and other parts of the world) have bought into the luciferian lies that they can be 'gods'. They don't want to hear that the devil can appear to them as a (false) angel of light (2 Cor.11:14) and that they themselves are his ministers (2 Cor.11:15). They think they have been 'enlightened', but what they've really been is duped by the devil.
The unsaved world is looking for any way to bypass Christ (which cannot be done) so that they won't have to deal with sin. They are relying on their own righteousness (which, at its best, is filthy rags - Isaiah 64:6). They have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God (Rom. 10:3), but instead are making up the rules as they go... what THEY consider to be righteous or not. Many of them determine this by comparing themselves to others (2 Cor.10:12) rather than recognizing that we are ALL sinners, separated from God by our sins (Rom.3:23, 3:10; Isaiah 59:2, et al).
We are ALL sinners, born in sin, headed for hell (Rom.6:23)... and there is only ONE way to deal with the sin issue and be reconciled to the Father! (Rom.5:10; 2 Cor.5:17-19; Eph.2:16; Col.1:20-22; John 14:6.) There is NO other way (Acts 4:12). Jesus came to save sinners! (1 Tim.1:15; John 3:16-18; Eph.2:4-5; Rom.5:8, et al).
We cannot do enough good works to ever pay for our own sins (Eph.2:8-9).
Jesus was and is the only ONE acceptable propitiation for our sins (Rom.3:25; 1 John 4:10). His blood washes away our sins; He completely removes them from us (Rev.1:5, 1 John 1:7-9). He has already completely paid for YOUR sin. Yet He gave us all free will to choose whether (or not) we will accept His free gift of salvation.
Each individual must make that choice themselves. There is no riding the fence. If a person claims they haven't made a decision, they actually HAVE made a decision to reject/deny Christ (John 3:18).
How does one come to Christ?
Recognize that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose (resurrected) the third day (1 Cor.15:1-4). Believe in your heart, and confess with your mouth (Rom.10:9-10). Call upon His name for salvation (Rom.10:13). You cannot 'clean up your act' to come to Christ. He will give the indwelling and sealing of the Holy Spirit to believers upon salvation. We are then led of Him away from sin and towards holier living.
We grieve the Holy Spirit when we sin, as we grieve the Lord as well when we sin. We need to make a conscious decision to repent from sin, and only HE gives us the strength to flee from sin (James 1:13-14; James 4:7; 1 Cor.10:13) IF we are willing to obey His direction.
Bible prophecy (foretold thousands of years ago) is aligning, with precision and accuracy, exactly as foretold. Just as Jesus fulfilled hundreds of Bible prophecies at His first advent, so too will all Bible prophecy pertaining to the future be fulfilled. While we cannot set a date for the rapture, we recognize the rapture is imminent. We also recognize that much of Bible prophecy pertaining to events to occur in the seven-year tribulation period are also aligning. So we (believers) have much hope in the nearness of the pre-trib rapture.
But, for unbelievers, the tribulation will catch them totally off guard and woefully unprepared. There is no way a person could save up enough food, water, and provisions to make it even partway through the seven years of God's wrath on this evil, God-mocking, and Christ-rejecting world. There is no way to prepare for the tribulation. The only way to BE prepared is to be prepared to avoid it entirely.
Salvation in Christ alone is the only preparation we need. Jesus has promised believers that He has delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thes.1:10; Rom.5:9; 1 Thes.5:9, et al). This wrath begins the moment Christ (the Lion from the tribe of Judah, the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, Jesus Himself) opens the first of the 7 seals of wrath in Revelation chapter 6 and continues on throughout the 7 trumpets of wrath, and the final 7 vials of wrath.
Horrific things are soon to befall the earth-dwellers. Revelation chapters 6-18 gives an overview of these things to come. Much of OT prophecy gives more information as well. We find in Dan.9:27 that the 7 years begins its countdown when the antichrist confirms a covenant with Israel. There is so vast an array of prophecy written about the foretold tribulation period that even 20 articles couldn't contain all the information.
But the bottom line? YOU don't want to go through ANY of it. And YOU don't have to! Come to Christ NOW, prior to the rapture (and be included in the rapture: 1 Cor.15:49-53; 1 Thes.4:13-18; Phil.3:20-21; 1 John 3:2; Titus 2:13, et al).
This is not a sales pitch. A person either will humble themselves before the Lord, recognizing they are a sinner in need of salvation, believing on Christ and accepting His gift of salvation, or they won't. Pride is the usual culprit for why mankind rejects so great a salvation. I could beg and implore the unbelievers to come to Christ (as I often have in the past); yet, nothing I can say will change their minds. So now we shout out the warning to the world... Time is short! Get right or be left behind.
"Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
The New Palestinian Jihad to Obliterate Israel - by Bassam Tawil - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/12037/palestinian-jihad-obliterate-israel
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) group is the second-largest terror group in the Gaza Strip after Hamas. Like Hamas, PIJ does not recognize Israel's right to exist and believes that violence and terrorism are the only way to "liberate all Palestine, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River."
Like Hamas, in the past three decades PIJ has carried out thousands of terror attacks against Israel, including suicide bombings.
Recently, the PIJ wished to remind us again of its dangerous and poisonous ideology. This reminder came in the form of a new "political document" published by the Iranian-backed terror group in the Gaza Strip.
The document contains important information about the group's strategy to destroy Israel and provides insight into the role Islam plays in the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Some may argue that there is nothing new in the PIJ document. However, PIJ is not just another Palestinian "resistance" faction, as some Middle East experts tend to describe it. Rather, it is one of the most dangerous Palestinian terror groups. It aspires to eliminate Israel and kill as many Jews as possible.
If and when Hamas is ever removed from power in the Gaza Strip, PIJ will most likely seize control of the coastal enclave, where nearly two million Palestinians live.
Western journalists often ignore the power and threat of PIJ, mainly because the representatives of the terror group rarely give interviews to the foreign media.
Besides, it is easier for Western journalists to take the short trip from Jerusalem to Ramallah to interview a Palestinian Authority official, who uses his or her fluent English to lie about the Palestinians' desire for peace and coexistence with Israel.
Western journalists rarely, if ever, present to their readers and viewers what the terrorists preach to their own people.
That is precisely why there is a need to bring the main points of the PIJ document to the attention of the international media and decision-makers around the world. The PIJ is a major player in the Palestinian arena, and its political and military power can be ignored only at great peril.
Here is what the preface to the terror group's document states:
"Palestine is the homeland of the Palestinian people, from the early days of history. Palestine is an integral part of the Arab and Islamic homeland, and it was usurped by the Zionist Jews with the support and encouragement of Western colonialist powers."
Explaining the timing of the publication of its document, PIJ said:
"To maintain a clear vision and the unity of our goals, away from intellectual chaos dominating the Palestinian landscape, Palestinian Islamic Jihad saw the need to formulate this document to explain and affirm the intellectual basis and features governing its jihad and policies."
Translation: the PIJ fears that it has fallen off the world's radar. It worries that its ideology and plans to destroy Israel may be lost amid the "intellectual chaos" plaguing the Palestinian arena.
Defining its ultimate mission, PIJ says in its new document:
"Our number-one priority and main task is to carry out the duty of jihad and resistance to liberate Palestine. We are an Islamic national liberation movement and part of the Palestinian people's and Muslim's jihad against invaders and colonialists. We see ourselves as being part of the general Islamic trend in the world, which regards Islam as the source of our power and pride."
Which "Islamic trend" the Palestinian terror group is talking about is not clear. Does it referring to the Islamic State terror group, ISIS, which has slaughtered tens of thousands of innocent civilians, mostly Muslims, in the past few years? Or perhaps the PIJ is referring to Al Qaeda, the murderous terror group founded by Osama bin Laden?
What is certain, however, is that PIJ is not referring to the Muslim Brotherhood organization. Why? Because PIJ believes that Muslim Brotherhood's ideology and policies are too "moderate" compared with its genocidal agenda. Ironically, the PIJ views the Muslim Brotherhood as being too "pragmatic," largely because of the latter's failure to engage in a worldwide jihad against Jews and all infidels.
The PIJ document, which the Western media is doing a fine job ignoring, states:
"Palestine is an Arab, Islamic land, where the Arabs and Muslims possess natural religious and historic rights. It is forbidden to give it up or compromise it under any pretext."
The Jews, the document emphasizes, "have no right in the land of Palestine." It says that the fact that some Arabs and Muslims have recognized Israel does not give the Jews any right to the land.
"The Palestinian people's right to all their lands and homeland, Palestine, is a comprehensive right that can't be fragmented. This includes our right to own the land, our right to resist and liberate it, and our right to return to it and live in it. No one is entitled to give up the right of the Palestinians to return to their homeland. This is a non-negotiable issue."
The PIJ document views Israel as a Zionist colonialist project imposed on Arabs and Muslims by Western powers. Revealingly, these are the same words that Israel's secular peace partner and the darling of the West, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, recently used in a speech he delivered in Ramallah, during a conference of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Central Council:
"The Europeans wanted to bring the Jews here to preserve their interests in the region. They asked Holland, which has the world's largest fleet, to move the Jews. Israel is a colonial project that has nothing to do with the Jews."
Abbas and PIJ also share more of the same views. In its document, the Palestinian terror group states:
"The Zionist entity is a functional colonialist entity and a tool of the [Western] project to seize control and dominance over Palestine. The source of this entity's power lies with Western parties, especially the US."
The PIJ document defines the conflict with Israel as an "existential conflict, and not a border conflict." The Palestinian cause, it says,
"is not about the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967, or parts of them. Rather, it is the issue of the occupation of the entire land of Palestine, from the river to the sea. It is the central cause of all Arabs and Muslims, and not the Palestinians alone."
In its document, PIJ outlines its plan to achieve its goal through "jihad and resistance against the Zionist enemy, with all means and methods, first and foremost the armed struggle." The armed struggle, it adds, is the "main method and strategy in our struggle."
For those who do not know, "armed struggle" is the euphemism for all forms terrorism, including rocket attacks and suicide bombings. The "armed struggle" also means that a Palestinian terrorist can storm the home of a Jewish family and murder women and children as they prepare dinner.
The PIJ document, which has been distributed among the group's followers in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, also praises suicide bombings against Israel by describing them as the "most noble acts of self-defense."
The document also warns Arabs and Muslims against recognizing Israel's right to exist or establishing any ties with it. "We reject all forms of normalization with the Israeli enemy by any Arab or Muslim," it stresses.
Finally, the document exposes the Palestinian terror group's plan for "real peace" in the Middle East. This "real peace," according to the jihadi group, can be achieved by eliminating Israel after "liberating Palestine, from the river to the sea, and after the original owners of the land return to their homes."
This genocidal "peace" plan appears to be shared by other Palestinian terror groups, such as Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and even certain parts of Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction.
The peace they seek is one that would result in the total destruction of Israel and the expulsion of all Jews from the Middle East. As the remarks of Abbas and PIJ show, Palestinians see Israel only as an alien body that was imposed upon Arabs and Muslims by imperialist Westerners, and not as people who have lived on that land for more than 3,000 years.
The PIJ document, which serves as the group's "national charter," is a valuable text. Every word in the document reflects the true sentiments on the Arab and Islamic street, especially with regards to recognizing Jews' rights and history.
This is a document that is currently being taught in Islamic Jihad training bases, and schools and mosques. It is a document that will help raise another generation of Palestinians on the glorification of terrorism and anti-Semitism.
This is a document that deserves to be placed on the desks of all those Westerners who continue to tell us that peace is possible and that Israel just needs to make more concessions to achieve that goal.
U.N. to U.S.: You need to write check for Palestinians - Bob Unruh - http://www.wnd.com/2018/03/u-n-to-u-s-you-need-to-write-check-for-palestinians/
Official instructs: 'We cannot have an abrupt disruption of services'
United Nations officials are publicly berating the United States for not paying more than its fair share of costs for a refugee program after President Trump curbed support to motivate Palestinians to be serious about negotiating for peace with Israel.
WND reported the president hasn't been pleased with the Palestinians' refusal to consider compromises to achieve Middle East peace, so he's withholding tens of millions of dollars from funds that support Palestinians.
His efforts were met days ago with the threat of terrorism from Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Bloomberg reported.
Abbas told the U.N. Security Council he will not meet with U.S. officials until Trump reverses his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
He went far beyond that, though.
"He finished his address with a warning - which others may read as a threat - of violence unless the U.S. restores funds that were cut to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency, which administers to millions of Palestinian refugees," the report said.
"If you end your assistance they become terrorists or refugees in Europe," Abbas said. "It's either that or you continue to support UNRWA until the crisis ends. We are ready to begin negotiations. We beg you to help us so that we may not commit an act that goes against our beliefs and your beliefs."
Now the Jerusalem Post is reporting the failure of drive for pledges from other countries to replace the money Trump withheld, so UNRWA officials are insisting that the U.S., once again make up the shortfall.
"Some $100 million in pledges for 2018 were received from the dozens of countries that gathered for the morning conference to help fix a $446 [million] funding shortfall in the budget of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency," the report said.
"The crisis - billed as the worst in the agency's 70-year history - was caused in large part by the Trump administration's decision not to renew its annual pledge of $364 [million]."
The U.S., on Trump's instructions, provided only $60 million for 2018, until the Palestinians agree to negotiate with Israel, the report said.
And Trump has insisted other nations must pay their "fair share" of the total $1.2 billion budget for subsidies for a wide range of services in Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the West Bank.
The failure to find replacement funding left Antonio Guterres, the U.N. secretary-general, fretting, "Without a collective solution, UNRWA will soon run out of money."
The Post reported UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl said, "We hope the U.S will come up with more money."
"All of us recognize the importance of the contributions the U.S has made in the past and emphasized the importance of the U.S continuing to make its contributions to the agency," said Krähenbühl.
He admitted, the Post said, "the U.S. should not pay such a disproportionate part of the budget."
But he said it should not drop its funding until other countries have raised their contributions.
"We cannot have a abrupt disruption of services," he said.
Palestine isn't a recognized nation but nevertheless has demanded several times full membership in the United Nations. It's already been privileged with the status of a non-member observer state.
Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver, who also heads Christians in Defense of Israel as well as Covenant Journey, condemned the threats from Abbas.
"Threats of violence by Mahmoud Abbas are a reflection of his radical ideology and support for terrorism," said Staver. "He has no desire for peace. His only desire is to wipe out the Jews and rename Israel to Palestine. You cannot negotiate with someone who does not recognize your right to exist. Finally, we have a president and an ambassador who will not be bullied by these threats."
He pointed out that Abbas previously made threats. Last month in Cairo, Abbas said Jerusalem "is the key to peace if it is our capital, and if it is not - it is the key to war. Trump will need to choose."
Liberty Counsel pointed out Abbas was elected to a four-year term as president of the PA in 2005, "which means he is now in his 13th year of a four-year term."
WND reported when U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley dressed down Abbas at a U.N. Security Council meeting, saying, "I will not shut up rather I will respectfully speak some hard truths."
She was referencing Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, who recently demanded that Haley "shut up and realize the Palestinian leadership is not the problem."
Oh, but it is, she insisted.
"Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk," she told Abbas. "But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours."
She explained to him the choices.
"There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people," she said.
"Or there is the path of negotiation and compromise. History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it," she said.
Earthquakes & The End Times - By Britt Gillette -
When Jesus was asked what would signal His return and the end of the age, He said to look for a number of signs. One of those signs was the appearance of earthquakes (Matthew 24:7). But what does that mean? After all, earthquakes have been a part of human life since Adam and Eve. They aren't rare.
The Bible says they appeared in the days of Amos (Amos 1:1) and King Saul (1 Samuel 14:15). They appeared in the days of Paul and Silas (Acts 16:26). And non-biblical history tells us earthquakes shook ancient China, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Syria, and other nations.
In 1906, a devastating earthquake hit San Francisco. It toppled almost every building in the city and killed over 3,000 people. In short, earthquakes have been a part of life since the beginning of human civilization.
So if we've always had earthquakes, how can they possibly be a sign of the Second Coming? That's a great question. Fortunately, Jesus gave us the answer. Earthquakes in general are NOT a sign of His return. But according to Jesus, earthquakes occurring in a certain pattern are...
Signs Like Labor Pains
Jesus cited a number of signs to look for. Among them are the appearance of earthquakes, famines, wars, and false messiahs. Jesus knew these signs had always been present. So He wasn't saying their appearance alone will signal His return. Instead, He said to look for them in a distinct pattern.
He said they would arrive like "birth pains." But what does this mean? What could these general signs possibly have in common with birth pains?
Only this - birth pains, or labor contractions, are sharp pains. They increase in both frequency and intensity right before birth. In other words, the signs Jesus mentioned will appear with greater frequency and intensity right before His return.
Looking for the Pattern
This means earthquakes (or even what seems to be a numerical increase in the number of earthquakes) are NOT a sign of the Second Coming. Instead, Jesus said to look for an increase in the frequency of large earthquakes. Such an increase will fit the pattern Jesus described - a pattern of more frequent intense events rising toward a climax.
So how do we measure an increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes? We don't have accurate data going back to the beginning of time. We don't even have accurate data going back to the time of Jesus.
After all, advanced instruments for detecting and measuring earthquakes are relatively new. The Richter Scale didn't even exist until 1935, and most seismographs at the time failed to detect any earthquakes under a magnitude of about 3.0.
But today? Today's devices routinely measure earthquakes with negative magnitudes. Because of this, looking only at the frequency of earthquakes is meaningless. Obviously, with better instruments, we can detect smaller earthquakes. But that doesn't mean more earthquakes are occurring. It just means for the first time we're able to measure them.
But let's take a different point of view. What if we look only at modern data from the last one hundred years? And what if we look only at earthquakes registering a magnitude of 8.0 or greater? This will give us a much more accurate picture. Why? Because most instrumentation from that time period could detect an earthquake of such enormity.
This eliminates all the small quakes detected in more recent times. And even though the sample size is still small (only about 120 years), it should give us enough data to spot a recent trend. If these are the times Jesus told us to look for, we should expect to see an increase in the frequency (number) and intensity (magnitude) of earthquakes.
Is this what we see today? Yes. It is.
The Increasing Frequency of High Intensity Earthquakes
According to the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS) composite catalog, recent years have seen a marked increase in the number of earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater:
1900's - 3 earthquakes
1910's - 0 earthquakes
1920's - 1 earthquake
1930's - 1 earthquake
1940's - 1 earthquake
1950's - 1 earthquake
1960's - 3 earthquakes
1970's - 2 earthquakes
1980's - 3 earthquakes
1990's - 7 earthquakes
2000's - 13 earthquakes
2010's - 8 earthquakes so far
The 20th Century witnessed 22 earthquakes with a magnitude of 8.0 or greater, but already the 21st Century has seen 21 such earthquakes. If that pace continues, we'll see 116 earthquakes of 8.0 magnitude or greater by the end of this century!
In 2014, I cited this same data in my book Signs of the Second Coming. While writing the book, my original draft showed six earthquakes for this decade. I had to revise the book before publication because of another 8.0 earthquake in April 2014.
After the book was published, another earthquake struck in September 2015. And during that same time, we've had three other earthquakes later revised to 7.9.
Is it possible this is just a coincidence? Sure. We've only had the tools to measure earthquakes for a small portion of human history. It's possible we're looking at a small sample size and drawing an incorrect conclusion.
Perhaps these earthquake patterns have appeared before. Some might argue we've only recently had the instrumentation to measure all 8.0 magnitude earthquakes - that such technology didn't exist in the early 20th Century. I find that hard to believe. But even if that's true, we've nevertheless seen a notable increase since that time.
Jesus Is Coming
Absent any other signs, the rise in earthquakes would be nothing more than a footnote of history. But earthquakes aren't the only signs. They aren't the only events increasing in frequency and intensity.
The other signs Jesus said to look for are also increasing in frequency and intensity - the appearance of famines, wars, and false messiahs. And even those aren't the only signs.
Travel and knowledge have increased significantly (Daniel 12:4)... Israel is a nation again (Jeremiah 23:7-8)... The Jewish people control Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)... The Gog of Magog alliance is forming (Ezekiel 38-39)... The Gospel is being preached to the ends of the earth (Matthew 24:14)... Sin is everywhere, and the love of many has grown cold (Matthew 24:12)...
These are all signs Jesus and the prophets said to look for. And our generation is the first ever to witness these signs. Still think this is mere coincidence? I don't either.
Jesus Himself said, "When all these things begin to happen, look up for your salvation is near!" (Luke 21:28). These things are happening. And Jesus said the generation witnessing them will not pass away before He returns (Matthew 24:34).
The signs are clear. Jesus is coming! So don't waste any opportunity to share the Good News.
Daily Jot: The disengaged political force - Bill Wilson -
George Barna of the American Culture and Faith Institute (ACFI) has conducted a recent study that shows there are three types of people impacting the social landscape in America-the liberals, the conservatives, and the disengaged. Barna believes the disengaged sector are the greatest threat to America because they just don't care about whether the country is headed in the right or wrong direction. Barna writes, "But another crucial component of our national stalemate is the large share of the voting-age population that is disengaged from the multifaceted battle of worldviews. These people are the tiebreakers. But they refuse to show up."
Barna says there are two key segments of the disengaged. He says, "The first is those who have moderate views-i.e., obstinate ambivalence-on both politics and theology (31% of the adult population). They will not take stands on the important issues of the day, from immigration to abortion, from the veracity of the Bible to the role of Jesus Christ in modern life. The second segment is people who are not registered to vote and pay little attention to political news and information (21%). There are times when all of us get frustrated with the political system and its players, and harbor ill-will toward the biased media. But rather than work through the garbage and distortions in the pipeline, the disengaged retire from the game altogether."
ACFI studies reveal that irrespective of whether people are conservative or liberal, Christian or non-Christian, Millennial or Boomer, or whether a person of color, Americans are eager to improve America because they have a healthy distrust of government. Barna says, "Six out of ten Americans are angry about the state of the nation. Two out of three contend that the government cannot be trusted to do what is in the best interests of the country. Seventy percent say that government has too much control over our lives. Huge majorities of the people argue that the United States is moving in the wrong direction on at least three important fronts: politically, morally, and culturally."
Barna wrote that when asked to make a choice between capitalism and socialism, a majority of the disengaged (56%) said they had no preference. He says, "Part of the challenge may be their lack of information. Whereas two-thirds of the engaged population follows news about politics and governance "a lot" or "quite a bit", few of those who are Disengaged pay attention to such information. These are the people who don't know and don't care. Their failure to participate in the battle for the nation's future is paralyzing us all." This is why The Daily Jot informs readers with an eye toward equipping and encouraging action. Christ said in Matthew 28:19, "Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Don't feel comfortable in the four walls of your church. Get engaged. Be salt and light.
Daily Devotion: One Reason God Allows Suffering - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word. -Psalm 119:67
God will sometimes allow suffering and sickness to get our attention!
For instance, we may be rebelling against Him, and He wants it to stop. This was the case with the reluctant prophet Jonah. Psalm 119:67 says, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey Your word" (NIV). So the Lord may allow a hard situation to wake us up to our real need-even something as tragic as the death of a child.
One person whose child died wrote me saying,
"A person expects to lose a parent, maybe even a brother, sister, aunt, or uncle; but never a child. My son would have been 16 years old this year. It has been 15 years since his death. He was the person who brought me to the Lord. Because of his death I received my salvation. The comfort I found when I fell into God's hands . . . God knows my pain; He lost a son too!"
"Fifteen years later . . . I still cry at Christmas; that's when I remember his life and my loss. I still cry at Easter; that's when I am assured I will see him again. I know I will never get over it because I don't want to get over it. The intensity is less; but, like the joy of life takes the pain of birth away, I have found salvation through God's Son because of the loss of mine!"
God used unimaginable tragedy to bring this person to the Lord. Maybe something radical or tragic has happened to you lately: the death of a loved one, bad news from a doctor, a close brush with death. Or maybe something else has gotten your attention, and you hurt! Perhaps your marriage failed, your parents divorced, you got fired, your girlfriend or boyfriend dumped you.
It's possible that the Lord is trying to get your attention in all of this hardship. Remember that God is in control of all circumstances that surround the believer. As shown in the story of Job, the devil can do nothing in the life of the believer without express permission on the part of God.
But why would God give Satan that permission? Because Satan's attacks will show what you are made of. It will separate the real from the false, the wheat from the tares. When attacked, a real believer will turn to God. A nonbeliever will turn against Him.
People react in different ways to crisis. It seems you either turn to the Lord, or against Him. And the result is you either get better or bitter. Suffering does not create character; it reveals it.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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