Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Judgment from God, A Consuming Fire - By Pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2020/03/judgment-from-god-consuming-fire.html
25 "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:
26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:25-29)
Have you ever heard someone say to you in light of a terrible tragedy, "Why would God allow such evil to exist in the world?" Many who turn away from God and disavow Him, as they cannot understand how there can be evil in the world, and a Holy God that co-exists or allows such evil. Many disbelieve in God, as they cannot understand how this can be, so they theorize "There is no God." I spoke with a fellow during an online conversation that believes there is no God, as there is so much pain and suffering in the world. Why is this man an atheist? They try to get their mind around a word that identifies this problem for them, and the word is "Theodicy". What is theodicy? According to the dictionary the meaning is thus:
Theodicy from Greek theos - "god" + dike - "justice") is a theological and philosophical study which attempts to prove possible God's intrinsic or foundational nature of omnibenevolence (all-loving), omniscience (all-knowing), and omnipotence (all-powerful). The fundamental dilemma of theodicy is the problem of evil: its continuing existence and God's apparent inability or unwillingness to eradicate it. (Wikipedia)
They do not understand when they say, "why does God allow, if there be a God, evil in this world?" and another "why does God not make men that do not sin, if He's so powerful?". Do they not understand that He has made such a creature. They are called cows and horses. Do you want to be a cow or a horse? Of course not, we are men, and God gave us one thing that we are endowed by our Creator, LIBERTY also called "free will choice".
13" For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)
You will find this concept in an unlikely place which defines what we enjoy and adhere to. It is found in the pledge of allegiance.
"I pledge allegiance to the flag, of the United States of America:
and to the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, Under God, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all" The two are intertwined and cannot be separated.
IN THE BEGINNING
In the beginning, God made man with free will. He was made with a free moral character to choose either to following God, the Creator, or the god of this world. In a nutshell, he was free to choose between good or evil. But on the heels of what men chooses in liberty, there is enacted righteous justice. Men believe erroneously of a god of their imagination, not the clearly defined God of the Bible. They do not understand the distinction of a God of judgment, a God of justice, nor a God of consuming fire that is a direct result of that liberty.
Liberty to do Evil
Let us go back and examine several examples of people who by their own free will did evil and reaped judgment for their actions. I will try and show the error of their ways and how it applies to us, even today.
In the time of Moses and before, the Hebrew people became a great nation. Fear fell upon the heart of Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt to deal with a growing problem. They were fearful that the Hebrew nation would become so large that Egypt would be overrun by them and eventually the Egyptians could be defeated in battle by their alignment with an invading army. You'll find this story in Exodus chapter 1, but let's look at a few defining verses:15 "And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:
16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live." (Exodus 1:15-16)
But the midwives feared God and did not do as the Pharaoh had ruled, but saved them alive.
18 "And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?
19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.
20 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.
21 And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.
22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive." (Exodus 1:18-22)
What the Egyptians did was to cast every male child that was born, or some believe that it included any of an age under two, to be cast into the Nile for the crocodiles. Why was this allowed to happen? Our God is a God of imparting liberty. If man is not allowed to do evil in the name of liberty, then he is not free at all, but judgment was coming and it started with the first plague given to Moses against the Egyptians.
THE NILE MADE AS BLOOD
20 "So Moses and Aaron did even as the LORD had commanded. And he lifted up the staff and struck the water that flowed in the Nile, in the sight of Pharaoh and in the sight of his servants, and all the water that flowed in the Nile turned to blood.
21 The fish that lived in the Nile died, and the Nile became foul, so that the Egyptians could not drink water from the Nile. And the blood flowed through all the land of Egypt."(Exodus 7:20-21)
This was the beginning of judgment upon a people who had killed innocent babies who were thrown to the crocodiles and God gave them blood to drink, and it was a sign of judgment upon this evil. God gave the Egyptians ample time to repent of their sins and turn from their ways, but Pharaoh's heart was hardened, as justice was being done, and judgment had already been decided against Egypt for their evil in God's eyes. During the final plague against Egypt, a messenger from God, a death angel, came into the streets of Egypt and killed all first born male children that were not protected by the blood of a lamb upon the post and lintels of their doors, a sign of the coming Messiah.
4 "Moses said, "Thus says the LORD, 'About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt,
5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who works behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well.
6 'Moreover, there shall come forth a great cry in all the land of Egypt, such as no one has ever heard before and such as shall never shall come again."(Exodus 11:4-6)
Then in Chapter 12 of Exodus, Almighty God enacted judgment when the death angel came, as God told Moses, but the children of Israel were saved, because of the blood, a sign of salvation:
12 'For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments-- I Proclaim myself the LORD.
13 'The blood shall serve as a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt." (the blood was a foreshadow of the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, although at the time they did not understand this, nor do they still).(Exodus 12:12-13)
You ask, why didn't God just whisk these Hebrew people out of the land of Egypt, instead of killing all the Egyptian first born? The answer is justice. Judgment had been passed on Egypt for the crimes against their fellow man and the murders of the innocent.
Because of their free will, God allowed them to have liberty, to do good, or to do evil, but in His righteous judgment, He enacted justice.
JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL
This is a story that I cannot fathom, but it happened. After all the acts of God and His righteousness, the people of Israel became ensnared with the evil of this world, and by having liberty, did evil in the sight of a Holy God. But judgment came, as Jeremiah prophecies to them, and it came to pass. You may find this sad state of affairs in Jeremiah chapter 19. Jeremiah had been instructed by God in a two way conversation to bring the elders and the priest down to the Valley of Ben-hinnom. This was a place of 24 hour fires burning refuse, and dead bodies. It was like their city dump. There Jeremiah prophesied what God was about do to them for their evil:
4 "Because they have forsaken Me and have made this an alien place and have burned sacrifices in it to other gods, that neither they nor their forefathers nor the kings of Judah had ever known, and because they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent (babies and children).
5 and have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, a thing which I never commanded or spoke of, nor did it ever enter My mind;
6 therefore, behold, days will come," declares the LORD, "when this place will no longer have the name Topheth or the valley of Ben-hinnom, but rather the valley of Slaughter.
7 "I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place, and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies and by the hand of those who seek their life; and I will give over their carcasses as food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth.
8 "I will also make this city a desolation and an object of hissing; everyone who passes by it will feel astonished and hiss because of all its disasters.
9 "I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh in the siege and in the distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them."'
10 "Then you will break the jar in the sight of the men who accompany you
11 and say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Just so will I break this people and this city, even as one breaks a potter's vessel, which no one cannot again repair; and they will bury in Topheth because they can find no other place for burial.
12 " I will treat this place and its inhabitants like this," declares the LORD, "so as to make this city like Topheth.
13 "The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will become defiled like the place Topheth, because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods." (Jeremiah 19:4-13)
I spoke of this in past sermons that Israel erected pagan idols and Asheroth poles, even in the very Temple of God and had taken on the practices of Baal worshipers around them by killing their sons and daughters on pagan altars and deluded themselves that this was an acceptable way of giving Jehovah praise and worship. God had given them liberty to do this evil, but being a God of long-suffering and allowing men free will, there came a time when judgment and justice was enacted on this evil among a nation that was designed to be an example to all other nations around them, or a nation of priest, a holy nation. How far did they fall from their glorious intent of Almighty God? They fell to the pit and their eventual destruction as a nation.
FLASH FORWARD TO MODERN TIMES
In our history of "modern" times, we have experienced men who have killed other men in war and desire for conquest. I think on WWII, and Hitler's delusional desire to cleanse the earth of inferior races of men and produce an Aryan race of super men. This was dealt with by the allied nations to the total destruction of Germany and the Third Reich. Why? Because of justice. Because of six million Jewish people, not to mention millions of what was deemed inferior examples of the human race, slaughtered by an evil tyrant. God allowed this maniac to exist and to cause untold suffering, but in the end, that liberty to do evil, was met with righteous judgment, and Hitler and his armies were destroyed utterly. BUT.....
There is coming a day, that may not be too far off, where evil men will do even more evil to good people. There has been, recent history, of many instances of atrocities, more than what was mentioned above, coming against good people by evil men who were given the liberty to do this evil. The coming period I speak of is known as the Tribulation, which flows into the Great Tribulation. Each combined to be a total of 7 years. In Revelation we see a picture of evil that has slain many Christians from time innumerable.
9 "When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had become slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained;
10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, " How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?"
11 And each of them received a white robe; and they learned that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who would suffer martyrdom even as they had been, would come to completion also."(Revelation 6:9-11)
There have been good men and women down through the ages, (I recall the Spanish Inquisition and the Dark Ages of Catholic dominance and religious cleansing of all who would not bow before the Pope in Rome), that have died because of their faith and judgment has been withheld for their crimes. John speaks of a time when more people will be killed for the profession of the Name of Jesus Christ. As the verses and chapters progress, seal after seal is broken. Trumpet after trumpet is blown, and bowl judgment upon bowl judgment is poured out on this earth in preparation for the coming Kingdom of God.
One thing I wish you to ponder, does the blood of people slain only apply to Christians who were slain? Is not the destruction of many innocents, as was done in the preceding examples describe what is going on right now in our own land of the free? There is a wholesale destruction of whole class of people, the unborn. Is the USA ripe for judgment and divine justice? I believe we are on the cusp if right now.
You read about the increased earthquakes, volcanic eruptions all over the planet. You read about pestilence that has invaded our world. In the news we are told of locust swarms that are ravaging everything green on the earth, from Africa, through the Middle East into Pakistan and China. We saw the Ebola virus come to Africa and even make a visit to the USA, but that has subsided for now...Now we are dealing with a so-called "Pandemic" of the Coronavirus and the world is in great fear. People are dying overseas, like in Italy, where I read 700 people die in a 24 hour period...Even the Pope may have been infected. The stock market loosing over 8000 points and trillions of dollars in what WAS an explosion in our economy. We see what looks like Martial Law coming to several states using the military to quarantine whole groups of people. Many Millennials have expressed a desire for a Socialist/Communist government, and now in California, New York State, and Washington State, they are getting a first hand view of what the loss of our freedoms look like...
You read about the plight of whole groups of people who die in martyrdom in other lands around the globe, but are we not doing the exact same thing that Jeremiah prophesied to the land of Israel, or Moses to the land of Egypt? Have we not spilled the blood of the innocent who had no right to choose? It's enough to make a person rise up to take vengeance. I understand the emotions of people who wish to stamp out abortion clinics with blowing it up, but is it our place to enact vengeance. My bible says it is not. Romans 12:19 (ASV):
"Avenge not yourselves, beloved, but give place unto the wrath `of God': for it is written, Vengeance belongeth unto me; I will recompense, saith the Lord."
Is God beginning the birth pains associated with the coming Tribulation right before our eyes? Is our God unleashing judgment on this world in a run-up to the most terrible time in all of human history?
And the wrath of God is what is coming as spoken of in Romans:
18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness
;19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" (Romans 1:18-20)
Again, a warning in Revelation when the Tribulation actually starts and men know who is judging them :
15 "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:15-17)
Never underestimate the coming judgment. It is blossoming in all its unspeakable horror all around us, and it will only get worse as the earth is being shaken, and pestilence and diseases likened to the time of Moses kill more and more people. We saw the terror of Christians in the middle east, who were be-headed by Muslim fanatics, or women stoned for their insane description of belief in their Koran to do so. Men killing other men, and we wonder if the Tribulation is here already.
Is it? No, but this is just a warm up of what is coming, as it will be world wide, not just a local atrocity in the Middle East, but coming to every continent on this earth. But that is at the hands of men. This coming time period we call Tribulation, is not to be compared with the evil committed by men. No, this coming time period is justice and righteous indignation of the wrath of God that will make everything else concerning the death of men, pale in comparison.
There is coming a period of time, which may not be long into the future, when this world will be plunged into the most horrifying time in all of our history on this earth. Where men will give allegiance to one man called the Anti-Christ, because he gives them what they want, to live in their sinfulness and unrighteous behavior. All is asked of them is they take a "mark" in their forehead or in their right hand, which they take with full knowledge of what that "mark" means...it means worship of a false god on earth.
9 "And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand,
10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." (Revelation 14:9-11)
I have spoke of this in times past, but if you take the scriptures spoken of in Revelation and the amount of death of whole populations of the earth combined, of the approximately 7.7 billion people on this earth right now, greater than 75% of them will be destroyed in God's wrath...that is estimating 5-6 billion people killed by God's coming judgment of unrighteous, rebellious mankind. And who can blame God for doing so? God has been patient for 6000 years for man to rule himself and turn to God and follow His commandments. He even sent His only Begotten Son as a substitute for the penalty that we all deserve, and that is death. But the world, at large has rejected His salvation found in His only Son. God's patience appears to be running out, as the signs and symptoms of a coming Tribulation is growing louder and louder, and the pangs of earth's redemption from sin through excising rebellion from this earth, much as a surgeon uses a scalpel to remove dead and decaying flesh, is fast approaching.:
7 " Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."
All who have committed evil in the sight of God will meet sure and righteous justice. Christians, make yourself ready to meet thy God, the Creator of everything in this universe:
1 "The Mighty One, God, the LORD, has spoken, And summoned the earth from the rising of the sun to its setting.
2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God has shone forth.
3 May our God come and not keep silence; Fire devours before Him, And it is very tempestuous around Him.
4 He summons the heavens above, And the earth, to judge His people:
5 "Gather My godly ones to Me, Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psalms 50:1-5)
It speaks of sacrifice. Have you made a sacrifice to God? He is not speaking of animal sacrifice of bulls and goats that foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice that was nailed to a Roman cross almost 2000 years ago. That sacrifice was the perfect Lamb of God, Jesus the Messiah. If you have accepted Jesus as your personal Savior, been baptized, and follow His example, then you have made the perfect Sacrifice before God. You that have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, you have been covered with the blood, which God imparts righteousness to you, because of Him. We wait for the adoption process to be completed. We have the down payment of God's Holy Spirit residing with our spirit, but we wait for the adoption, to be born of the Spirit.
How do we know this? The answer is found in Romans:
16 " The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body." (Romans 8:16-23)
You and I were given liberty to choose the god of this world, or cast it off and believe in the only Begotten Son of God, who takes away the sins of the world. You who have believed and exercised your faith that to you, it became so simple, so easy that you cannot understand why not all of the world doesn't see it.....very simple reason, liberty.
1st Corinthians chapter 1:
18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."(1st Corinthians 1:18-25)
You who read these warning, and examples of the coming judgment of Almighty God in all His righteous wrath, where do you stand? You, like all of us, have been given liberty to choose. Will you stand for good or evil, life or death? To choose this life and all it's trappings of sinful pleasure, is to choose death, but to give your heart and soul to the Creator of your soul and spirit, by believing on the only Begotten Son of God, is to choose life. It is a free will decision. God will not beat you about the head into submission and He will not wait forever. He wants you to fall in love with Him and follow Him out of your own free will choice, not out of coercion, but because you see Him as He is, Almighty God and you long to be with Him and return to Him that gave you life, and He will grant you life eternal!
God's Holy Spirit moved men to write in your bible the way to come to God and receive forgiveness, through liberty of choice between good or evil.
2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
And again, Paul tell us about what our Lord did for you and I in Romans:
6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement."(Romans 5:6-11)
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)
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)
Take that God given liberty, your free will choice and make that commitment to follow Him, Jesus Christ, wherever He may lead you. Do it today, as to stand before Almighty God without being clothed in the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ at judgment day will convict you to receive the coming judgment in justice, or the wrath of a God as a consuming Fire.
Those who believed in the "One whom God hath sent" the time of our departure grows ever closer....as said in the Bible. "Lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh"
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, wishing God's love and salvation through the shed blood of His Son come into your life. If you have a need, a prayer request, need counseling in Biblical Christian living or how to come to be saved through the Way, the Truth and the Life, Jesus Christ, then email me at email@example.com , God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus feet.
Whirlwind week ends with unity government in Israel, Netanyahu remaining at the helm - Dov Lipman - https://www.jns.org/whirlwind-week-ends-in-a-unity-government-with-netanyahu-remaining-at-the-helm/
Likud's Benjamin Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for 18 months before handing the premiership as part of a rotation to Blue and White challenger Benny Gantz.
After nearly a year of political paralysis, Israel is finally on its way towards a national unity government as the nation battles against the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. Benny Gantz, who has stood as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief rival through three consecutive election cycles, announced that his party faction would join Netanyahu's right-wing coalition to form a new government.
According to the terms of the agreement, Netanyahu will serve as prime minister for 18 months before handing the premiership as part of a rotation to Gantz, who will serve under Netanyahu as deputy prime minister and defense minister for the first 18 months, and then become prime minister in September 2021.
Gantz's dramatic move jolted Israel's political system. The agreement led to the collapse of Gantz's own Blue and White Party.
Senior party members Yair Lapid and Knesset member Moshe Ya'alon, who each led separate factions within the larger Blue and White alignment, rejected joining a government led by Netanyahu. The pair have officially split from Gantz, and filed a motion to retain the name Blue and White as they prepare to sit in opposition to the government.
From the Knesset floor, where he currently serves as temporary speaker, Gantz explained his decision, saying, "This is not the time for fighting and splits. This is the time for responsible statesmanship, patriotism and leadership."
He called to the citizens of Israel and said, "Let's join hands and lead Israel out of this crisis."
Likud Knesset member Yoav Kisch told JNS that his party "blesses Netanyahu and Gantz for this courageous step. We are dealing with a health and economic crisis like we have never seen, and the public demanded that we as leaders act with responsibility."
Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, of the right-wing Yamina Party, told JNS that "this is the right thing for Israel in this emergency."
Knesset member Yair Lapid attacked Gantz for breaking Blue and White's promise not to sit with Netanyahu as he awaits the start of a trial on three separate counts of bribery and breach of trust. "He crawled into Netanyahu's government ... gave up without a fight," said Lapid. "Over a million voters feel cheated, and that their votes were stolen and given to Netanyahu."
"Corona," he said, referring to the pandemic spreading around the globe, "is not a permit to give up on our values."
Knesset member Merav Michaeli of the Labor Party sarcastically congratulated Gantz for "joining a government led by an indicted prime minister." She then turned towards him and said, "You promised not to join with Netanyahu. There is no unity with those who are destroying Israel."
Details of new coalition
The details of the new coalition are still being worked out, but it will most likely include 75 seats: Likud (36), Gantz's Israel Resilience (15), Shas (9), United Torah Judaism (7) and Yamina (6), along with MKs Tzvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel from the Telem faction. Hauser and Hendel are former Netanyahu advisers who have been the strongest advocates for a unity government.
Preliminary reports indicate that Netanyahu will give Gantz's party an equal number of ministries to his own much larger Likud Party. Netanyahu has agreed to appoint former Israel Defense Forces' Chief of Staff and Gantz ally Gabi Ashkenazi as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Chili Tropper as Justice Minister.
It is unclear what role Netanyahu will have in 18 months once Gantz becomes prime minister because the law only permits only that governmental position to maintain office while under indictment. Ministers with other portfolios are required by law to resign. The new government could pass a revised law allowing a minister to serve while under indictment.
Gantz has also requested the economy, agriculture, environment, communications and culture ministries.
Several ministers, including from Netanyahu's Likud, will be forced to relinquish their portfolios. Yamina chairman Bennett, who is set to vacate his current post as defense minister, told JNS that so far, "the news about portfolios is fake news. Netanyahu has not spoken to me about this issue as of yet."
Edelstein's quick return
In an amazing turnabout, Knesset member Yuli Edelstein, who resigned this week when the Supreme Court required him to call a vote for a new Speaker of the Parliament, will most likely return to his post in the new government.
The opposition will now likely be headed by Knesset member Yair Lapid, whose remaining Blue and White will be joined by the Labor-Meretz alignment, Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party and the Joint Arab List.
Despite Gantz receiving the recommendation of 61 Knesset members to serve as prime minister, it quickly became clear that he could not form a government without linking up with Likud.
While the Joint List recommended Gantz over Netanyahu, the Arab alliance of parties was not set to join Blue and White in a coalition government, and many members of Blue and White also opposed such an alliance. Members of Netanyahu's 58-seat right-wing and religious bloc similarly refused to join a Gantz-led government, leaving Gantz with few options and steering Israel towards a fourth consecutive election.
Netanyahu put out a direct public appeal while dealing with an escalating coronavirus crisis on Tuesday, saying, "Benny Gantz, this is a moment which tests leadership and national responsibility. The citizens of Israel need a unity government that will work to save their lives and their livelihoods. This is not the time for a fourth election. We both know that the gaps between us are small, and we can overcome them. Let's meet now and establish a unity government. I am waiting for you."
While the parties have agreed to form a government, intense negotiations are now taking place on the technical makeup of the coalition. Gantz's party seeks legal mechanisms to ensure that Netanyahu will indeed turn the post of prime minister over to Gantz in September 2021, and not simply collapse the government and call for a new election once his 18 months as his term prime minister come to an end.
It's been quite a month-quite a political year, in fact-from start to finish, with this agreement ending one of the most bitter and protracted election seasons in Israel's history.
Growing Calls For One World Government In Response To Virus Outbreak -
Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on world leaders to form a "temporary" global government in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The ex Labor prime minister, stressed the need for a task force comprised of world leaders, health experts as well as leaders of the international organization's that could have executive powers to execute the response.
Brown would like to see the G20 lead this charge in co-operation with the UN Security Council while giving more resources and power to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.
"This is not something that can be dealt with in one country," he said. "There has to be a coordinated global response."
Highlighting the differences between the 2008 economic collapse that he dealt with and the current crisis, Brown added "This is first and foremost a medical emergency and there has to be joint action to deal with that. But the more you intervene to deal with the medical emergency, the more you put economies at risk."
Many countries have announced economic packages in the past two weeks but Brown said a taskforce could: make sure the efforts of central banks were coordinated; take steps to prevent the record flight of capital from emerging market economies; and agree a joint approach to the use of government spending to boost growth.
Brown said there had been resistance in 2008 to using the G20 as a vehicle for tackling the financial crisis, but that it should be clear to world leaders that there was no possibility of a go-it-alone approach working.
"We need some sort of working executive," Brown said. "If I were doing it again, I would make the G20 a broader organization because in the current circumstances you need to listen to the countries that are most affected, the countries that are making a difference and countries where there is the potential for a massive number of people to be affected - such as those in Africa."
Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, took exception to the former Labor Prime Minister's advocacy for a world government.
"Gordon Brown doesn't get it," he tweeted. "Globalization is the cause of our problems, not our savior."
English writer Laurence England found Brown's advocacy more disturbing than naive.
"Gordon Brown does get it," he tweeted in response. "The One World Government is about sheer power over populaces, not about helping people. They want a world of slaves. He was a key Bilderberg attendee."
The Bilderberg meetings have been used as a forum for world elites since 1954 to further their vision for the world but no one is allowed to reveal who said what.
At the 2009 London Summit for the G20, Brown said, "I think the new world order is emerging, and with it the foundations of a new and progressive era of international cooperation."
Christian prophecy experts have long warned that the Book of Revelation reveals the eventual formation of a one world government. Will the coronavirus be a stepping stone to the fulfillment of that prophecy? Or is a much larger event to happen known as "The Rapture" going to make the coronavirus look like a blip on the radar?
Today, researchers in the Middle-East have rediscovered ancient anthropological evidence from the time of Christ that reveals exactly how and why the Rapture must occur; unveiling new biblical insight that will reignite hope for believers in these difficult times and prepare the world for what's coming ahead.
Keep Your Faith in Jesus Christ - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. Everybody has faith in something. We have faith that the food we eat will nourish the body, or we have faith that we will reach our destination when we set out on a drive. These are reasonable assumptions, but not always true. Much of the food we eat has been filled with additives, hormones, and preservatives and doesn't nourish us the way God intended. Sometimes when we head to the store or a friend's house things can stop us from reaching our destination. A flat tire or a wreck can change our plans. Still we have faith. What about unseen things? Many people deny God because they cannot see Him. People put faith in many things that are unseen, but we don't doubt their existence. Have you ever blown up a balloon? I've never seen the air that inflates it, but I know for a fact that when I blow into the opening the balloon will get bigger. I'm looking out my window right now and watching the trees sway in the breeze. I can't see the breeze, just the effect of the breeze. The one that really astounds me is the people who get into an airplane and have the faith that something unseen will hold the plane and all the people in it thousands of feet off the ground. Yet, putting faith in the God of all creation is unthinkable. Of all the unseen things that surround us, the most important is faith in God. The effects of His existence are everywhere.
In times of trouble, our faith can be sorely tested. We either turn to God or turn from Him. Satan is waiting for those who despair, and he tries to stop us from having faith that God hasn't forsaken us. If you're a Christian then Satan cannot utterly destroy you, but he certainly can destroy the witness you have. Christians need to live life in such a way that it's a habit to trust God and live to please Him not the world. "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." Hebrews 13:5-6. The word "conversation" means your way of life. Our way of life needs to reflect Jesus. This world is ruled by Satan, but Jesus Christ overcame the world. Instead of living so that you reflect Satan, live so that your life is a reflection of Jesus Christ. No matter what we face in life, Jesus is our strength and we need to keep our faith firmly planted in Him. Our faith may be tested, but if you don't allow the world to confuse you, you will stand firm upon His word.
"Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." Hebrews 11:3. That's the perfect place to begin examining your faith. Do you believe that in the beginning there was nothing and it exploded to become everything? If that's where your faith lies, then you have no faith in God. Genesis tells us that God created everything, and John gives us a bit more information. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:1-3. The Word is Jesus Christ, and that's where you need to place your faith. He was in the beginning and will be with us to the end and throughout eternity. Scripture is filled with examples of men and women who trusted and obeyed God, even when they didn't understand His reasons. We can learn from their examples of faith. We learn that Enoch was 65 years old when he began to walk with God. He walked with Him for 300 years, but he didn't die. "And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him." Genesis 5:24. Enoch was raptured prior to God's judgment by the Flood. Enoch's faith was passed to his children and grandchildren. That's a wonderful legacy to pass to the next generation. Because of Enoch's example of faith, Noah believed God when He said He was going to send a flood as a judgment on all creation. God instructed Noah to build an Ark. Because Noah had faith, he obeyed. That Ark carried him and his family safely through the Flood. God's judgments will soon come upon the world, but, like Enoch, Christians will be Raptured prior to God's judgments. Abraham was another man who learned to have faith in God. He was very happy living in the idol-worshiping society which surrounded him. Then, he heard God's voice and his life changed. Because of his faith we have the blessing of the Nation of Israel and the Messiah who was born from that nation. We can also look at Mary's faith. She was a virgin, but by faith she submitted to God and gave birth to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. We need to trust Him more and have faith in His truth. "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Proverbs 3:5-6. Don't put your faith in fallible man but put your faith in the infallible God of all creation. He is unseen to the non-believer's eye, but Christians see Him everywhere.
Today there's an unseen organism that has virtually brought the entire world to a standstill. It has stopped people from going to work, interacting with other people, attending worship services, going to school, and many more activities that we took for granted a few short weeks ago. The news media can talk of little else than the latest celebrity who has tested positive for coronavirus, or how many have died. Don't forget, it's not news when people survive so that's never reported. This virus is very much like Satan. He is unseen but a very real enemy to all of mankind. Satan thrives on fear and his purpose is to separate people from God and destroy them. If he can compromise your faith, then he has won a battle. God won the war at the cross, but Satan won't admit defeat. Brothers and sisters, we need to keep our faith firmly set in Jesus. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 1 Peter 5:8-9. Everyone is beset by troubles, and this coronavirus is affecting Christian and non-Christian alike. The difference is that no matter what is in our future, faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ makes an eternal difference. Christians need have no fear of death. This pandemic didn't take God by surprise. Most people, even those who claim to be Christians, ignore God unless there's a great need. Stop ignoring Him and put your faith in Him. God isn't a "fair weather friend" who is only with you in the good times. He's with you in the good times and the bad.
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." 1 Peter 5:10. Don't allow fear to rule your life. Be cautious. Wash your hands, cover you sneezes and coughs, eat healthy. Above all, keep your faith in Jesus Christ.
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: The Farm Chronicles: The cellar - Bill Wilson -
Beneath our farmhouse, which when I was young, was over 140 years old, was a dug out cellar. Nowadays, people would call them a basement. Not so at the farm. It had undergone many renovations over a century and a half being the meek foundation upon which my great grandfather seven generations back built that old two-room house with a bedroom loft. At that time it was dug out by hand with field rocks stacked one upon the other. It had a dirt floor then. When my grandfather added on to the house circa 1840, the cellar was expanded, but still dug by hand. When my Dad and Mom moved in, they dug the cellar floor deeper and poured concrete for the floor. It spruced it up a bit, but it was still--a cellar.
The story goes that when Mom and Dad remodeled the house in the early 1950s, they upgraded the cellar by putting concrete steps coming out of it. In doing so, the corner of the house was collapsing and they needed a quick fix. They couldn't quite get the corner up enough to put in the last foundation block. A conversation ensued about what to do next because they lacked the proper tools and leverage to lift up the corner of the house. Finally, Dad had enough talk. It was time for action. He told his crew (I don't remember who they were, but probably Warren McCarthy and Earl Jones were among them) to get ready with the block and he would raise the house up himself. Dad latched on to the corner of the house with his back to it, and with a perfect squat, he lifted the corner of the house up enough to put that block under it.
Even with the modifications every 50 years or so, the cellar was a scary place. Old rough sawn wooden steps led down from a landing inside a door from the kitchen. You had to be careful descending the steps because you could hit your head on the other steps that were leading to the second floor. It was dark, only a couple of lights were down there. It was where the fuse box was for the house. Imagine going down there in the dark with a candle or a flashlight to change a fuse with the floor wet from heavy rains. It was a place where Mom washed the clothes in an old wringer washing machine for years. We stored canned goods there. And we always had to watch where we were going because it was often kind of a muddy mess even with the concrete floors as the drainage never had been properly installed.
One time we had a tornado hit the farm. Mom and Dad woke us out of a deep sleep because the wind was so strong. We lit lanterns, and hurried down into the cellar. The noise outside was like a freight train and we all huddled together until it suddenly passed. The next morning, many trees were down, but our house and barns were standing strong. And that cellar, crude as it was, proved to be not only a safe harbor, but also a strong foundation against the storm. That house still sits on that foundation, that cellar. Like Paul charged in 1 Timothy 6:19, we all should lay up in store for ourselves "a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life." Christ is our foundation, and though life has modeled and remodeled us like that old cellar, we can stand against the time to come. Be inspired today. We can make it.
Daily Devotion: In God's Hands - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell. -Matthew 10:28
I always laugh when I hear people say, "When I get to Heaven, I have a few questions I want to ask God." In all fairness, there are questions in life: Why did God allow this tragedy? Why did He allow that to happen?
But I believe that one second after we get to Heaven, we won't care about those questions anymore. We will see God for who He is, and everything else will come into its proper focus.
Right now, our understanding is limited; it is very finite. God's wisdom, however, is incredibly infinite and great. The Bible says, "Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely" (1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT).
Heaven will be greater than anything we've ever imagined. We can take the most wonderful thing we've ever experienced in life, multiply it a million times, and we'll get just a glimpse of what Heaven will be like. And the good news is that it will last forever and ever.
With this in mind, let's think about what we're really afraid of. Let's take the most frightening scenario imaginable. What is it? The worst scenario isn't dying. The worst scenario is dying without Jesus. That is the worst scenario. That is the sum of all fears.
Jesus said, "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28 NLT). If you are trusting in Christ, don't be afraid. To live is Christ and to die is gain. Our lives are in God's hands.
FROM THE HEART
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