Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Getting Israel Right - Steve Schmutzer -
A pastor, an atheist, a Bible class teacher, and a businessman walked into a bar....
You're thinking this is the opening line of a joke, right? Wrong. I am the Bible class teacher, and before you get worked up about us being in a bar, it was the only part of the restaurant that had available seating.
The lunch meeting was about a business matter. I knew all the parties, and I had made the introductions. There were mutual opportunities to provide some expertise.
The meeting went well and the mood was relaxed. With the main agenda concluded, our conversations turned to this and that. Above and behind me, the TV news was playing. I could not see it, but the businessman could and he was watching it.
"I hope they blast them to bits," he muttered. I pivoted to look. The other parties glanced up too.
The news anchor was discussing reports that Russian forces in Syria had fired on Israeli warplanes. The Kremlin was denying it, but the Israelis saw the situation differently.
We watched for a few moments before I turned back around and said, "I'm not worried about Israel's abilities to defend herself. They have one of the best militaries in the world."
"I'm hoping the Russians blast the Israelis to bits," the businessman growled. He shot me a steely gaze.
An awkward pause ensued as I realized I had misread him. I sought for an appropriate reply, but none came.
The atheist broke the silence. "The Balfour Declaration is one of the greatest blights on world history," he volunteered. "The current problems in the Middle East can be traced back to letting the Jews think they have rights to that land."
"What's the Balfour Declaration?" the pastor asked.
This was my chance to lend some much-needed perspective. "The Balfour Declaration was issued towards the end of WW1, around 1917. It outlined Britain's intentions to establish a homeland for the Jewish people in the area we now know as Israel. Back then it was called Palestine, but it wasn't until...."
"And it still should be!" the atheist interjected. He was on a roll. "It's criminal the way the Palestinians have been mistreated by the Israelis. The Jews have managed to convince everybody that Palestine is their rightful homeland. Our dumb leaders just play along with the whole deception, giving the Israelis everything they ask for."
"That's my point!" the businessman retorted. "They'll fight to keep the Golan Heights, and that territory belongs to Syria. The Israelis have no business being there in the first place. They are going to drag us all into WW3."
I glanced at the pastor, hoping for some words of wisdom. Reason had abandoned the premises.
The pastor cleared his throat. "Well," he slowly mused, "I know a lot of people feel the Jews have a right to their ancestral homeland, but I don't believe that is what the Bible teaches."
I sat in stunned silence.
He continued, "Perhaps my new friend here (he smiled at the atheist) might have imagined that's what I believed, but many Christians misunderstand these issues. God's promises to the Jewish people were for a specific period of time, and the Bible teaches that God has moved beyond the problems of the Jews. He is now focused on the church."
The pastor paused and glanced at me. I was still speechless.
"I think the holocaust was a very tragic time for the Jews," the pastor pontificated. "However, all people have suffered at the hands of others throughout human history. We were unjust to the Native Americans as a case in point. Should we just turn over this entire country to all the Indian tribes since this was their ancestral homeland? Of course not! It was wrong to displace the Palestinians, and it's the right thing to pursue a two-state solution now."
I could continue narrating this discussion, but the picture is painted. This meeting took place a few weeks ago, and I've tried to relate the dialogue as I recall it.
Let's evaluate the responses of the parties here. The businessman professes to be a Christian, but I don't see much evidence of it in his life despite the fact that he regularly attends a popular mega-church in this area. I'm confident he's not well-read on the Middle East, so his views are probably formed by the media and opinions of others.
I've watched him play both sides. I've seen how he acts one way around one type of crowd and another way with a different group. I've known him for a long time, enough to know that some of his choices show very little governance by the Holy Spirit. I attribute his mounting personal trials to this double-mindedness (James 1:8), and I'm compelled to admit that by Biblical standards he's probably not a believer.
The atheist is actually a pretty good guy! He's got better moral fiber than many Christians I know, and he's generally regarded as an upstanding person in my community. He is charitable, and he publicly advocates for those who are less fortunate. Politically, he leans left - rather hard left on climate change, immigration, and gun control. I guess it's no surprise that he remains in-step with that edge of the political spectrum when it comes to his views of Israel.
That said, he and I get along well and he's told me a few times how much he respects me. I've had a number of opportunities to share my faith with him, but he insists on holding to the notion that his good works will place him in good standing "....if indeed there is a God." I'm continuing to pray for him, and he knows that.
What about me? Well, I'm more than a Bible class teacher since I'm also an entrepreneur, an artist, and a devoted husband and father. But it's the last seven years of teaching an adult class at my church that has challenged me to put my nose deep into the Word of God, to set aside unfounded notions, and to "study to show myself approved unto God" (2 Tim. 2:15).
It's this discipline - and the challenges that come with it - that have shaped the views I have and which I believe the Word of God teaches. I accept the Scriptures at face value, so it's evident to me that the Jewish people were to be regathered back to their ancestral homeland by a sovereign act of God (Ezek. 36). Historically, the early rumblings of this began with the Balfour Declaration, and they climaxed when Israel became a nation in 1948. For all practical reasons, that regathering continues today, although the Jews remain in spiritual unbelief just as the Bible declared they would be (Ezekiel 20:33-38; 22:17-22).
And because I feel future prophecies will be fulfilled just as literally as past ones were, I believe there will be a second worldwide regathering of the Jews to Israel. This future event will be different than the first one according to Isaiah 11:11-12:6. This next one will be the final such event, and it will signal Israel's imminent blessing as she enters the Millennial Kingdom.
There will be a terrible period of time for the Jews before that point, the "time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7). Those of them who persist in spiritual unbelief will die (Zech. 13:8-9); the smaller portion will be spared. This is all laid out candidly in the Scriptures, so it's not hard to see.
But the important takeaway here is God has not forgotten the Jews! Nor is He "focused on the church" to any exclusion or exception of his chosen people. The presence of national Israel today is not "irrelevant" - or even "problematic" - as many church leaders claim.
I know the Bible well enough to know that such ideas are heresy. I don't care who teaches them, how many degrees they have, how big their audience is, or how many books they've read or sold - they are wrong! God still has great plans for his chosen people, and they are the same intentions He spelled out a long time ago. He hasn't changed His mind, regretted His decisions, or moved on to 'Plan B.'
Now, I'm convinced of my views because I don't contort the Scriptures to mean something other than what they are saying. So I don't need to overlook the stalwart truths of Romans 9-11 which make a watertight case for God's continued devotion to the Jews. The Jews have rebelled as God declared they would, the world has reviled the Jews as God prophesied it would, and the Jews have regained their ancestral homeland as God predicted they would.
Furthermore, I don't need to argue that the Millenial Kingdom is really a 'spiritual kingdom' or that "Israel" now means "the church." Neither position is true. The Millenial Kingdom is a literal earthly kingdom with Israel and Jerusalem as its headquarters. And "Israel" means Israel, just like it says. I don't need to hold to any position concerning the current situation in Israel or any of the regions around it other than it's all coming together according to God's perfect and prophetic plan.
As I study the Bible, it affirms that God remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. The modern state of Israel amounts to a miracle in our time, and it is profound evidence that God says what He means and He means what He says. Any other position on this matter confirms one's inability - or unwillingness - to accept the Biblical definition of who God really is.
And that point brings me to the fourth party in our little meeting: the pastor. This guy dismays me the most.
This is an acquaintance of mine and he's highly-educated from a renowned conservative seminary - which just goes to show formal education is not all it's cracked up to be. He and I are not close, but we've met socially a few times. By standard assessments, his church is doing well and people speak respectfully of him.
So why doesn't this guy regard Israel the way he ought to? The real question is, "Why do so many church leaders fail to interpret the Word of God as it needs to be interpreted?"
They don't want to.
If you don't like that answer, here are some others to consider:
Perhaps some are thinking, "Now wait a minute! Don't be so dogmatic. What if I just have a different understanding of these passages about Israel and the Jews? What if I genuinely believe that the Bible is saying something different here? Isn't that alright?"
No, it's not.
God's Word should not be subordinated to spineless relativism and personal opinion. Its animate and divine nature is the reason it convicts and changes lives (Heb. 4:12). If you question its accuracy, intents, and effect, it's tantamount to doubting its Divine Author.
Moreover, we are specifically instructed to hold to proper prophetic interpretations (2 Peter 1:20) which is one way of saying there's no room for any "You've-got-your-opinion-and-I-have-mine" postures. As I said before, there are clear standards with God's Word, and it's our obligation to seek them out and conform to them.
Misinterpreting Biblical passages about the Jews and Israel amounts to leaving your brain at the door. These are among the clearest prophecies in the Word of God. The only way to derive from them something they are not saying is to refuse to accept what they are saying. In that case, anybody's opinion is as good as the next person's, and there is no Biblical standard anymore.
It necessarily follows that the Bible always extols truth and correct interpretations. Since the Scriptures do not contradict themselves, will we not contradict each other when we responsibly interpret them. Alternative explanations which steer us away from God's intended message are neither correct nor are they from God. It is man's rules and interpretations that always render our service to God ineffective (Matt. 15:9), and we can ill-afford such compromise in tenuous times as these.
Let me conclude by returning to that lunch meeting and to the errant views of my companions. A time is coming when God will put the people of earth on trial for how they treated the Jews and for how they tried to divide up the land of Israel (Joel 3:2). God Himself will preside as Judge, and no corruption will taint the outcome. The evidence will be weighed and the facts will be made clear. The guilty will know they are guilty.
John MacArthur said, "If you get Israel right, you get your eschatology right." He is correct. Israel is prophetically significant in so many respects, and God is still at work with His chosen people. While events with the Jews and with Israel may yet take place which tax our knowledge and test our faith, we cannot permit the instability of human reason to override what the Word of God teaches.
Israel is God's covenant land, and the Jews are His covenant people. The Bible makes this clear. God takes His oaths with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (and their descendants) very seriously!
We should too.
70 Years After the Miraculous Rebirth of Israel-Here's What You Need to Know - Dr. Craig von Buseck -
On May 8, 1884, in the small village of Lamar, Missouri, a horse and mule trader named John Anderson Truman rejoiced with his wife, Martha, at the birth of a healthy baby boy. Three years earlier a different kind of birth occurred when Tsar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated and the authorities blamed the Jews. A major anti-Jewish pogrom swept across Russia and spread into Eastern Europe, bringing death and mayhem in its wake. As a result of this persecution, leading Jews launched a movement called Lovers of Zion, encouraging Jews to immigrate to their ancient homeland in Palestine.
This was the birth of the modern Zionist Movement.
The story of Harry S. Truman runs in parallel with the Zionist Movement until they eventually meet as the world considered the fate of the Jews after the Holocaust.
The grandchild of pioneers who led wagon trains across "the great American desert" to California, Harry Truman was limited by poor eyesight that caused him to be held back from sports by his protective mother. To fill the hours, young Harry took to reading at an early age, with a particular love for history. He would read through the Bible twice by the time he was 12 years old, and multiple times after. When he was 10, his mother bought him the series, Great Men and Famous Woman. Inspired, he dreamed of one day becoming a great military leader.
As Harry matured, so did the Zionist Movement. The Russian Jews who entered Palestine beginning in 1880s were idealistic colonizers determined to tame the land. The soil was sandy and rocky, water was scarce, marshes were full of malaria and the settlers had little agricultural experience. But soon, the powerful Baron Edmond James de Rothschild became aware of the settlements and was convinced to become a benefactor. With his help, major progress was made and soon thousands of Jews were pouring into "Eretz Israel."
World War I was a key turning point for both Truman and the Zionist Movement. Harry rose to the rank of captain during the heavy fighting in France and learned he had the abilities needed to lead men. The Zionist Movement experienced a major breakthrough in November 1917 with the adoption of the Balfour Declaration, Great Britain's promise of a homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine. This promise was then enshrined in international law by the League of Nations in the British Mandate at the San Remo Conference-part of the peace negotiations after the war.
In the following quarter of a century, the Jewish people came perilously close to losing their promised homeland. Then in 1947, the British announced they were turning over the contentious question of Palestine to the United Nations. In November of that year, the U.N. voted to partition the land, giving roughly half of western Palestine to the Jews and half to the Arabs.
The Jews accepted the vote of the U.N. and prepared to become a nation after nearly 2,000 years of exile. The Arabs rejected the plan and vowed to destroy the infant Jewish nation at birth. The British threw up their hands and told the world they were laying down the Mandate and withdrawing from Palestine in the coming months.
By this time Harry Truman had become president of the United States-one of the most unlikely men to rise to the office at a time of crucial importance in world history. But Truman had the advantage of being an expert in his knowledge of both history and the Bible.
Nearly every one of his advisers urged him not to recognize the fledgling Jewish state. Just two days before the end of the British Mandate, Secretary of State George C. Marshall-architect of "The Marshall Plan" and the man Truman called "the greatest man of World War II"-nearly resigned over his opposition. He argued that the United States faced a possible war with the Soviet Union, and it needed to maintain good relations with the Arabs to maintain the flow of oil.
Truman was truly conflicted. As president, he had to make every decision based on what was in the best interest of the United States. He was also greatly concerned about the Jews who had survived Hitler's Holocaust and the murder of 6 million of their brethren.
At the same time, Truman had been hounded by some disrespectful American Jewish leaders to the point where he had closed the doors of the White House to anyone wanting to discuss the issue. The Zionist leaders were in a panic. No one knew for sure what Truman's decision would be and the deadline for the British withdrawal was fast approaching. The Zionist's knew they would need American support if their new nation was to survive.
In desperation, Zionist leaders called on President Truman's former business partner and dear friend, Eddie Jacobson, who also happened to be Jewish. The Zionists asked Eddie to convince Truman to meet with the legendary Jewish leader, Dr. Chaim Weizmann-the man who helped to orchestrate the promise of the British to give a home to the Jews in the Balfour Declaration.
Eddie was able to meet with his good friend, Harry Truman in the White House-but the president was adamantly opposed to meeting with anyone on the subject of Palestine. "I suddenly found myself thinking that my dear friend, the president of the United States, was at that moment as close to being an anti-Semite as a man could possibly be," Eddie would later write.
Then Eddie had an idea. He noticed a model of a statue of Andrew Jackson mounted on a horse on the president's desk.
"Harry, all your life you have had a hero, Andrew Jackson. Well, I too have a hero, a man I never met, but who is, I think, the greatest Jew who ever lived. ...I am talking about Chaim Weizmann ... he travelled thousands of miles just to see you and plead the cause of my people. Now you refuse to see him because you were insulted by some of our American Jewish leaders, even though you know that Weizmann had absolutely nothing to do with these insults and would be the last man to be a party to them."
"It doesn't sound like you, Harry, because I thought that you could take this stuff they have been handing out to you. I wouldn't be here if I didn't know that, if you will see him, you will be properly and accurately informed on the situation that exists in Palestine, and yet you refuse to see him."
As he finished, Eddie noticed the president drumming on his desk with his fingers. Harry abruptly turned around while still sitting in his swivel chair and gazed out the window. Eddie held his breath.
All of a sudden, Truman swiveled himself around again, looked Eddie straight in the eyes and said the most endearing words he had ever heard from his lips. "You win, you baldheaded so-and-so. I will see him."
Truman met with Weizmann, a man for whom he had a great deal of respect. That meeting helped confirm many of the things that Harry had been pondering regarding the future of the Holocaust survivors, and also the fate of the State of Israel.
In May of 1948, as the British pulled out of Palestine and five Arab nations sat on the border, ready to invade, David Ben-Gurion, the leader of the Jews in Palestine, stood in Tel Aviv and declared the establishment of the State of Israel.
Then, eleven minutes after Israel officially became a nation at midnight on May 15, 1948, President Harry S. Truman directed the United States to give de facto recognition to the state of Israel. With this act, the U.S. became the first nation to recognize the new Jewish state.
The following year, Israel's Chief Rabbi, Isaac Halevi Herzog, met with the president in the White House and told Truman, "he had been given the task once fulfilled by the mighty king of Persia, and that he too, like Cyrus, would occupy a place of honor in the annals of the Jewish people."
Soon after leaving the White House in 1953, Truman was invited to speak at the Hebrew Theological Seminary in New York City. When he is introduced by his friend Eddie Jacobson as the leader who helped create the State of Israel, Truman snapped, "What do you mean 'helped create'? I am Cyrus!"
As Israel prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of her rebirth watch, for the new two-volume biography on Harry Truman and the Zionist Movement from Dr. Craig von Buseck, I Am Cyrus: The Promise and I Am Cyrus: The Rebirth.
Nearing Midnight: How Near? - Terry James -
One of the prophetic Scriptures most poured over by those who hold the pre-Millennial, pre-Trib view of eschatology is the following.
Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:32-35)
Despite the fact that the seminaries more often than not teach that Jesus, in the Olivet Discourse, addresses only the Jews (Israel), many, including this writer, believe Jesus is speaking not just to Israel. He is speaking here to all, Jews and Gentiles alike, who will accept Christ for salvation down through the ages.
Although there are differences of opinion in precisely what the prophecy means, most agree that the fig tree in Scripture refers most often to the nation Israel.
This prophecy, given by the Lord Himself, is thought by many to be among the strongest scriptural reasons to believe that this present generation will experience Christ's return to planet earth. Israel, as is said, is God's prophetic timepiece. The view holds that this generation will see the prophecy fulfilled within the definitive timeline framed by Israel being back in the land God gave them.
Certainly, recent history, in combination with current events, seems to present a strong case that gives this view credibility.
That case is built upon the following:
1) The Bible gives the definition of a generation as 70 years.
2) The nation Israel was reborn-in a single day, as prophesied-in 1948.
3) We are in the year 2018-70 years since Israel came back into the land as a nation following World War II.
4) America is scheduled to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, letting all the world know that we consider Jerusalem the Jewish state's capital.
5) This is scheduled to happen May 14, the exact anniversary of the month and day of Israel's rebirth into modernity.
These factors are not all to consider in thinking on Jesus' prophecy. There is strong reason to believe that this foretelling speaks clearly to a pre-Tribulation Rapture, admittedly the view held today by fewer and fewer pastors and professing Christians.
The Lord next said the following:
But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. (Matthew 24:36)
Jesus is here talking of a specific day and hour that no one will know. It will be an unannounced event, so far as timing is concerned. This cannot be the Second Advent when Christ returns as given in Revelation 19:11. There are precise number of days when that great event will take place, as measured from the midway point of the 7-year Tribulation. This unknown day and hour Jesus talks about is, rather, the first phase of His Second Coming-the Rapture of the Church!
Immediately after Jesus talked about the generation that would see all the prophecies fulfilled, He spoke of the human condition that will be prevalent at the time of His return. In fact, He spoke of several conditions that will mark that last generation before the first phase of His Second Coming.
We have been over these conditions many times over the past number of years. I refer to Christ's "days of Noah, days of Lot" prophecy.
The Lord spoke with precision as to what that generation will be doing with regard to carrying on life in general. This is all outlined immediately following Him saying that no man knows the day or hour when His next intervention will take place into the affairs of mankind.
Read again Matthew 24:36-42 and Luke 17: 26-30 to understand the time of His sudden, catastrophic intervention into life on earth.
My contention has been for many years that this time when he suddenly comes for His Church will be in the middle of an economic boom. Economists and others have for years been predicting an economic downturn-even another Great Depression. And, admittedly, by all fiscal principles one can bring forth from economic physics, the world should have long ago fallen into depression.
Then came Trump. He came out of the prayers of those called by the Name of Jesus Christ, who implored the Lord to act leading up to the 2016 presidential election. The miracle occurred. The nation was given, as I've said before, not a godly man, but without a doubt-in my mind at least-God's man for the hour, a president who has put in place policies and structure for a profound economic uptick.
All of this appears to be God's preparation for bringing this generation to very near the moment of Christ's shout: "Come up here!" (Revelation 4:1)
Sanhedrin Calls on Arabs to Take Their Role in Third Temple as Prophesized by Isaiah - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
Dust clouds of camels shall cover you, Dromedaries of Midian and Ephah. They all shall come from Sheba; They shall bear gold and frankincense, And shall herald the glories of Hashem. Isaiah 60:6 (The Israel Bible™)
The nascent Sanhedrin, a Biblically mandated court of 71 elders, released a letter in Hebrew, English and Arabic inviting the Arabs as the sons of Ishmael to take their role in supporting the Third Temple as prophesied by Isaiah. This move is far more than symbolic. It is intended to bring the entire world one step closer to the global peace that will characterize the Messianic era.
The letter reads:
"Dear brothers, the distinguished Sons of Ishmael, The great Arab nation,
"With the gracious help of the protector and Savior of Israel, Creator of the world by covenant, we declare that the footsteps of Messiah are evidently heard and that the time has come to rebuild the Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem in its ancient place."
"We, the Jews who advocate building of the Temple, are applying to your Honorable ones, who were nominated by their peoples to give oath, raise vows and gifts to the Temple as prophesied by prophet Isaiah concerning your essential role and honorable position in keeping the Temple and supporting it with lamb sacrifices and incense in order to receive God's Blessings."
Raise your eyes and look about: They have all gathered and come to you. Your sons shall be brought from afar, Your daughters like babes on shoulders. As you behold, you will glow; Your heart will throb and thrill- For the wealth of the sea shall pass on to you, The riches of nations shall flow to you. Dust clouds of camels shall cover you, Dromedaries of Midian and Ephah. They all shall come from Sheba; They shall bear gold and frankincense, And shall herald the glories of Hashem. Isaiah 60:4-6
"By virtue of this, we are certain that you will choose peaceful means and avoid all paths to hostility and violence. And we are sure that together we shall open doors to love and respect."
The letter was signed by 23 respected Rabbis who have received smicha (Rabbinic ordination) for the purpose of re-establishing the Sanhedrin. The rabbis are in the process of acquiring signatures of the full quorum of 71, after which they will send the letter to major Arab institutions and leaders. They hope to hold a conference with Arabs.
Rabbi Yehoshua Hollander, a member of the Sanhedrin who signed the letter, felt it will serve to be an important bridge to the other nations.
"The Jews are commanded to be a nation of priests," Rabbi Hollander told Breaking Israel News, citing a verse in Exodus.
But you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Yisrael." Exodus 19:6
"We are to be of service to the whole world in connecting to Hashem," Rabbi Hollander continued.
"This is our purpose in life as Jews. The Sanhedrin is inviting them to benefit from this since the Temple is good for the whole world. This universal aspect is essential to what the Temple is; a house for all nations."
I will bring them to My sacred mount And let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices Shall be welcome on My mizbayach; For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:7
"Of course, for us to serve, the other people need to cooperate," Rabbi Hollander added.
Rabbi Aharon Yitzchak Shtern, a member of the Sanhedrin who is prominent in the Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) community, believes the time for such a declaration including the Arabs in the Third Temple is at hand.
"This is precisely what it seems to be: a simple move towards true peace, " Rabbi Shtern told Breaking Israel News. "Geula (redemption) is very near. It can either come in war and hardship, or it can come in peace and mercy. We are inviting the B'nei Yishmael to choose peace and godliness."
The rabbi explained that should the quoted Rabbi Elijah ben Solomon Zalman, a foremost Jewish authority from the 18th century known as the "Vilna Gaon."
"If a single sacrifice is brought in the Third Temple," Rabbi Shtern said, quoting the Vilna Gaon. "The shofar announcing the Messiah will already start to blow."
"Until now, there has not been a place for Jews to have peace, for non-Jews among themselves to have peace," Rabbi Shtern said. "Every religion has a belief in moshiach (Messiah), in an end to one reality and the beginning of a new reality. In this new reality, every person, every religion, has their place and their purpose."
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman of the Sanhedrin, explained that motives that led to the Sanhedrin writing the letter.
"The letter is not asking for monetary support," Rabbi Weiss stressed to Breaking Israel News. "The Sanhedrin is not asking for permission from foreign governments or from the Israeli government. Building the Temple is not political or legal. It is a mitzvah (Torah commandment) incumbent upon the Jews."
Rabbi Weiss noted that the invitation was not a political maneuver or even a religious imperative.
"The letter does not reach out to other religions because of their belief but rather because of their ancestral role as the Children of Esau and the Children of Ishmael," Rabbi Weiss said. "We are asking them to be prepared to take their part in serving God."
Daily Jot: Reflections in the mirror of life - Bill Wilson -
Is our home, our community, our state, our nation a reflection of ourselves? It makes sense that in a nation where we have a choice of how we are governed, that the political, social and moral elements of society reflect the people. We read the headlines and are appalled. We watch television programs and we are repulsed. We see the condition of those around us and it often looks like the bar room scene in Star Wars. It is foreign to how many of us were raised. It is very different than most of our values. We try to make sense of it, but the problem is that we just cannot relate. There is a disconnect. Many just throw in the towel and say all is lost. Can we afford to do that? What would the Lord have us do?
At the time of Christ, the Romans ruled over the Jews and Gentiles alike. There was no choice of government. Nevertheless, disciples of Christ were encouraged to overcome evil with good. Jesus told the masses gathered at the Sermon on the Mount, "You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven (Matthew 5:13-16)."
The Apostle Paul says in Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." He goes on to say that we each have different gifts-some teach, some exhort, some rule-and we are to exercise our gifts with simplicity, diligence, mercy and cheerfulness. These are focused on showing Christ, glorifying the Father in heaven, through our acts, by using our gifts to "Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."
Ephesians 2:8-10 tells us, "For by grace are you saved thought faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them." So when we see the darkness around us, is it a reflection of our faith, of our work? In some ways it may be, especially considering how the "church" has disengaged and withdrawn into its four walls with all sorts of crazy ideas about not engaging with government, the world, etc. It is not your fault that the world is dark and dying-the word promises that it's going to get worse before the Lord returns. But we as disciples of Christ are to be salt and light to a dark and dying world. Does our reflection in that mirror of life look like Christ or the world?
Daily Devotion: Becoming New - By Greg Laurie -
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. -2 Corinthians 5:17
Have you ever looked at your life and felt that you always would be a victim of your circumstances? Maybe your parents neglected or abandoned you. Maybe there is a family history of alcohol and drug abuse.
You may feel as though your course is fixed, that you don't have a say-so, and that it's just the way it goes. But that isn't true. God can intervene. I know from experience.
I didn't have a father growing up. It wasn't that he mistreated me; he just wasn't there. I was left to myself a lot. My mother was an alcoholic, and I could have gone that direction. I could have followed that course. But God took hold of me, and the cycle was broken. He can do that for anyone. I am just an ordinary person who took God at His word.
Maybe you are trapped in some lifestyle, some pattern of sin, or some addiction. God can break that cycle. The question is whether you want Him to break it.
The Bible tells the story of a man who had been paralyzed for a long time. Jesus said to him, "Do you want to be made well?" (John 5:6). We may wonder what kind of question that is to ask someone who can't even move. It's a very good question, actually.
Not everyone who is addicted wants to be delivered. Not everyone who is living a certain lifestyle wants to get out of that lifestyle. The question is do you really want to change? Do you really want to be free? Jesus can do that for you.
We read in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." God can change you.
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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