Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Till the Fullness of the Gentiles Come In - By pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/04/till-fullness-of-gentiles-come-in.html
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." (Romans 11:25)
As the times, and the clouds of end of Age grow and become dark and more ominous, people wonder if the Tribulation has already begun. Emails sent to me discuss the coming Tribulation and their views. With so many different variations of men's beliefs and interpretations, based on the curious minds of human beings that "want to know", as all variations can't be true, there is only one truth. To understand the truth of God's Word and know why it is what we believe, and why we believe it, I have encouraged people to not believe any tradition, denomination, or their favorite preacher or evangelist in church or on TV's Christian based programs, but to believe their bible. It is a tendency for men to take a passage of scripture and try to line it up with current events, much like a newspaper reporter, and make a doctrinal thesis on that investigation. Now, I don't believe God has a problem with men being curious and investigating what God's Word means, as if they rely on the Holy Spirit to lead them, they will come to the knowledge of the Truth. He uses that time to make the belief of the Truth more solid within their spirit and in their minds.
So it has been as some question the following: "are we approaching the 6th seal judgment and 5 seals have already been opened?" They postulate that is it possible that with the wars, famine, pestilence of old diseases coming back and new ones being formed, and the mess the world is in today, are those seal judgments being fulfilled right now as we speak? Are they? I look to the whole of God's Word, not just one passage to deny their premise. We are not in the middle of the tribulation and here is why.
Dispensationalism, God dealing with Israel and the Church Separately.
What I feel my brothers and sisters in Christ fail to recognize is that God is dealing with men as a plan of redemption by working with men in dispensations, called Dispensationalism. What is Dispensationalism? The short definition and you can find a full explanation in places such as Wikipedia or Google it, but Dispensationalism is an approach to biblical interpretation which states that God uses different means of working with people (Israel and the Church) during different periods of history, usually seven chronologically successive periods. However, dispensational division of history varies among its adherents from three periods, to four, seven, and even eight dispensations. For brevity, I'm going to cut that down a bit, as God has worked with two sets of people for nigh 4000 years, the nation of Israel and His body, His Bride, the Church.
From the Beginning...short version
From the time that God made Adam and Eve and their subsequent fall from grace, God has dealt with created mankind known as the Nations. Everyone knows the history from there to Noah, and beyond Noah and the flood until He called out a man called Abraham and made an everlasting covenant with him and his descendants. The nation of Israel was God's focus to be a Holy Nation, a kingdom of priest until the coming of their Messiah and a fulfillment of righteousness. But as men are imperfect, Israel transgressed God's law (given to Moses) and fell into idolatry, until God sent them into captivity to Babylon. There God made a promise to the prophet Daniel :
9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.
9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." (Daniel 9:24-25)
The ark angel, Gabriel, as a messenger of God came to Daniel and told him what the future would hold for the nation of Israel. From the time of their captivity, as Gabriel spoke, there would be 490 years that would bring Israel to behold their Messiah and the Kingdom Age offered, thus righteousness restored and the end of transgressions against God's law. This promise was given to Israel and no one else of humanity. History shows that exactly 483 years transpired when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a foal of a donkey and the people proclaimed Him their Messiah King crying "Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest."
Within just a few short days, Jesus would be falsely charged with religious crimes, tried in a kangeroo court, and sentenced to death on a cross. At that moment when Jesus died that clock of that dispensation stopped. After His resurrection, Jesus would be with them 40 days and tell them to tarry in Jerusalem and the Comforter would come, God's Holy Spirit. The Feast of Pentecost, 10 days later, is where the Church was born, and God's focus turned to building His church, to take a people who were not His people of the nations, the Gentiles and a few believing Jews, and build the Body of Christ. He has been doing that now, for near 2000 years. But in the Age of Grace that we are in is fast approaching completion, God still has made a promise to Israel for a complete 70 weeks, or 490 years to complete and make an end to transgressions. God does not change and He does not go back on His Word.
WHEN THE RAPTURE?
As we approach the coming end of the Age of Grace, and the Tribulation draws closer to beginning, the matter of God focusing on His church will abruptly stop and His Bride will be removed. That will leave the final seven years promised to Israel to be carried out. Understand one thing, my reader, God has never focused on Israel and the Church at the same time. When His work is complete and that last soul is safely aboard the ark of salvation, known as Jesus Christ, that ark will leave port of this earth, and we will forever be with the Lord Jesus....Then and only then, will God turn His focus back to Israel. To include the church in the first half, or any part of the first 3.5 years is to change the way God has been dealing with the redemption of mankind in dispensations and is not what God promised to Israel. Further understand, that the coming Tribulation is designed for 2 things, and 2 things only and that is, God will refine Israel as silver is refined in the furnace until purified, and to destroy completely, all rebellion against His Holy Name, and His Son, Jesus Christ.
God has previously worked with Israel solely, or with the church exclusively, but NEVER at the same time. When the first seal is broken in Chapter 6, God the Son begins to open the title deed to what He has bought with His own precious blood, redemption of the earth and His creation of mankind. Some try to state that the first 5 seals are the wrath of man and Satan, and the that God's Wrath does not start until the 6th seal. But notice that it is God that is causing these events to come to pass by each seal He opens. It is not man or Satan who is causing these events, but Jesus, the Son of God Himself. It is the beginning of His righteous wrath upon a rebellious human kind against His laws, and against His only payment for that rebellion, Jesus Christ. The doctrine is completely pre-tribulation in it's view and the ONLY one that makes sense, as we will see as we go along.
ISRAEL AND THE COMING TRIBULATION
Of all the books of the Bible, Revelation gives the Christian the most problems with it's symbols, word pictures, and prophetic message of the time we are fast approaching. One must divide the books into two distinct populations. I believe that God is speaking of the Church at the beginning of the book, and then makes a dramatic shift of focus to the rebellious Gentile nations and the nation of Israel. I see a common thread that flows through the whole of Revelation and that is, God putting down all rebellion during this period of 7 years and the refining of Israel and making her ready to accept her Messiah, at long last.
After chapter 4, the churches and the those redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ during the Age of Grace, are not mentioned again till chapter 19, not one time. Suddenly, the focus is turned to judgment of a world devoid of God and violating willfully His commandments. Then in chapter 7, God by His Holy Spirit reveals to John the main characters of this book. Let us take a look at a common thread that follows in the coming chapters that point to only one set of people....the nation of Israel.
144,000 EVANGELIST ORDAINED BY GOD
In chapter 7, God names the tribes of Israel that are symbolically 12,000 coming from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. In the bible, numbers are used as signs of perfection. Three is the sign of Divine perfection, seven is spiritual perfection, ten is the sign of ordinal perfection, and the number 12 is the sign of government perfection and is used throughout the bible as that sign of perfection. The number 144,000 from 12 tribes is 12x12 or 144 and thousand is given as a great number. Will it be just 144,000 when Israel and the scattered Jewish people amount to approximately 13 million people? I think that the symbolism points to Israel a nation as a whole. This symbolism is carried out numerous times within your bible, to emphasize that the focus of this book is on Israel. Apart from Israel, the rest of the nations are in divine judgment and we read horrific descriptions of the devastation brought on by this Divine wrath. Notice in the latter parts of chapter 7, we see a vast number of saints innumerable standing before the throne of God.
9 "After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.
11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,
12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?
14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.
17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes." (Revelation 7:9-17)
John is introduced to the nation of Israel and the evangelist that were being sealed with the seal of God, 12,000 from each of the twelves tribes. He then sees a great multitude that are standing in white robes and "palm fronds" in their hands. They speak different languages and come from all portions of the earth. These are the martyred saints of God from all the people of Israel or of Jewish birth, that have believed in their Messiah through these seven terrible years, called the Tribulation. As I have identified in past sermons, palms in the hands of these saints are a sign noted of Israel exclusively. Not the church, but saints of God, Tribulation saints, nonetheless.
But also notice that they will serve in the Temple of God, night and day, and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They are not kings and priests unto God as noted in chapter 4 and the 24 elders pictured as the glorified Church saints are, but are to serve God in His temple unlike what John then writes in chapter 5 about the church saints ruling and reigning on the earth,
5:9 "And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
5:10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."(Revelation 5:9-10)
Notice the difference?
But let's us jump to Revelation, chapter 14, where this same group of people are examined again and John describes them.
14:1 "And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.
14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:
14:3 And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth." (Revelation 14:1-3)
Only these people can sing this song. They are the tribulation saints, the nation of Israel who have embraced their Messiah at long last and have died for that belief, much like the 12 apostles before them. They died preaching the Gospel to all who would listen. The church cannot sing this song, as we are not Israel. We are not of the 144,000 saints as a symbol of the martyred nation of Israel. Some will say, in error I might add, that we are Israel. That is Replacement Theology and Israel has never been cast away. God has not replaced Israel, just set them aside, as noted in the opening verses of this message, till this time in history to turn His attention to them solely, as the church has been completed. God has promised that He would save ALL of Israel, not losing one!
10:15 "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before,
10:16 This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;
10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."(Hebrews 10:15-17)
Again in Romans a sole promise to Israel,
11:25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
11:27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
11:28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sake: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sake."(Romans 11:25-28) (the promise God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.)
Returning to Revelation:
14:4 "These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits unto God and to the Lamb.
14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God."(Revelation 14:4-5)
Some say, ahah, see? It says being first fruits to God and to the Lamb. It can't mean that we arrived prior to them, as they came as first fruits. What they fail to understand, is that I believe and there is good evidence to support this, that God works in what I proposed at the beginning of this message, in dispensations. Jesus was the beginning of the "First Fruits" unto God and those "born of the dead" and these saints are included in that number. The church age has ended 7 years before. This is the time of Jacob's trouble and God turning His focus on Israel, as the time of the Gentiles has ended...We are the Gentiles that have been saved out of the earth. We are a people that were not His people, but because of Israel's unbelief and rejection of their Messiah, the Kingdom was given to another. We are the people of the Kingdom of God, or the children of the living God, as spoken of in Matthew,
21:42 "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof."(Matthew 21:42-43)
Paul makes a startling statement by the power of the Holy Spirit in Romans,
9:24 "Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
9:25 As he saith also in Osee, (Hosea), I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
9:26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."(Romans 9:24-26)
We are the first fruits at the coming of the Lord for the Gentile Age, or the age of the Church, a dispensation also called the Age of Grace. When these who stand on Mt. Sion are considered first fruits of the Trials of Jacob, also known as Jacob's troubles and will be called Tribulation Saints. This is re-emphasized in chapter 15 in the following:
15:2 "And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.
15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."(Revelation 15:2-3)
Now this is not to say that some besides only Jewish people will heed the call of the 144,000 evangelist, but the likelihood of that fact grows smaller and less likely, as the focus is on Israel, not on the Gentile nations.
THE CHURCH RETURNS WITH OUR LORD IN VICTORY
As we progress into the prophecy and the events that will destroy 2/3 of all mankind by divine wrath, we come near to the end of God's judgment and John's vision of the marriage supper of the Lamb and the revealing of the bride of Christ. Until this time, the church and it's saints have not been mentioned, not one time since beginning chapter 6. Here John writes so of the bride by these words:
19:7 "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
19:8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
19:9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God."(Revelation 19:7-9)
Then at the culmination of the great feast in Heaven, where the bride is presented in linen white and clean, one final judgment is still in need of fulfillment. We, His chosen bride, and saints of the most High, come back to earth with our Husband, our King, our God which comes in full war cry and as a roaring Lion of Judah to avenge the earth for treatment of His people and the squelch the rebellion on earth.
11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." (Revelation 19:11-15).
Almighty God, our Savior and King, will make short work of rebellion on this earth of the final battle called Armegeddon. Why is His vesture dipped in blood? It is not His blood, but the blood of those He has slain in divine wrath for the last 7 years is what I believe. Here He will finish the slaying of unrepentant, lawless mankind till blood rises to the bridles of the horses they ride in a valley that is twenty miles miles long by 20 miles wide. This is His final coming to rule and reign with a rod of iron. He will rescue His people Israel that have endured to the end.
Thus ends the Wrath of God when Jesus takes total control of this earth, and sets up His Millennial Kingdom to last for the next 1000 years, and a Sabbath rest imposed for Satan and his evil and a rest for the earth.
Then all of Israel will be reconciled unto their King and Lord, Savior and Almighty God.
Thus says the Lord GOD: "Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God. . . . Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them, and it shall be an everlasting covenant with them; I will establish them and multiply them, and I will set My sanctuary in their midst forevermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them; indeed I will be their God, and they shall be My people. The nations also will know that I, the LORD, sanctify Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forevermore." (Ezekiel 37:21-23)
TRIBULATION LOOMS ON THE HORIZON
Tribulation for Israel has ended. Jesus made a promise to Israel to loose not one, but save them all. If you are reading this, can you say the same? If you be Gentile, meaning not of Jewish heritage or birth, have you the same promise? No, you do not. The end of a dispensation of the church comes quickly. Tribulation is at our doorsteps. Jesus is right now still at the door knocking waiting for those who hear to open the door to His call. When that final call comes out, and He proclaims, "Come up here", then time for the church will have stopped as we have entered eternity. Won't you join us? When Tribulation comes in earnest that makes these hard times pale in comparison, then hope of an eternal reward in Heaven to be with our Lord and Savior becomes less and less likely. I want to repeat this fact. Tribulation is designed to do two things, and two things only. That is to purify Israel to prepare them for their coming Messiah, and to destroy all aspects of lawlessness and rebellion of a sinful Gentile nation. Tribulation is coming, and the times are dark, but the coming time, is a time beyond any of our imaginations when God said that with His full wrath unleashed, that if it were not stopped, NO MAN would survive, but for the elect, it will be stopped short of total annihilation. The Church is NOT part of this wrath.
5:9 "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
5:10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
5:11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." (1st Thessalonians 5:9-11)
Or when Jesus spoke:
21:36 "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." (Luke chapter 21)
Will you be in that number, the ones destroyed for eternity and thrown into a Lake of Fire burning with brimstone and sulfur? Don't let that happen. Make that decision for Jesus Christ to come into your life right now. Pray the Holy Spirit to guide you into believing on the Name that is above every name, Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. The Tribulation hour is coming, as the salvation clock is seconds before Midnight and the end of the age, the Age of Grace will end. Wrath is coming.
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)
Jesus is the ONLY Way to being taken before the Tribulation starts. There is not other way, and the above verses are the microcosm of the point of the whole Bible, and Paul speaks of confession leading to salvation...
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)
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, and was raised from the dead, before the "the last of the Gentiles be come in".
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying God's salvation come into you life today. If there be any need for prayer, counseling or just a listening ear, email me today at email@example.com . God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus Feet.
Egypt and Middle East Peace, Positive and Negative - Caroline Glick - https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2019/04/03/caroline-glick-egypt-and-middle-east-peace-positive-and-negative/
Next week, Egyptian President Sisi will arrive in Washington for a critical meeting with President Donald Trump. The meeting is considered a preparatory step towards the administration's rollout of its peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians, which Trump has dubbed, "the deal of the century."
The deal is critical to Sisi, who is seeking U.S. support for his bid to amend Egypt's constitution in a manner that will allow him to lead the country indefinitely. It is critical to prospects of security and lasting peace in the Middle East as well. To understand why, it is worth considering an event that occurred forty years ago last week.
Last week marked the 40th anniversary of the signing of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt on March 26, 1979. In Israel, the commemorations of the event were
In Egypt, the peace deal's anniversary was ignored.
On the face of it, the absence of official commemorations in either Israel or Egypt is strange. The Egyptian-Israeli peace has long been touted as a watershed event - just as important as, if not more important than, the Islamic revolution in Iran that occurred a month before the peace was concluded.
Until the Khomeinst revolution, Iran had been Israel's strategic ally and America's strongest ally in the Islamic world. The revolution transformed Iran into their most fanatical enemy. By the same token, until it concluded its peace treaty with Israel, Egypt was Israel's worst enemy. It had also served as the Soviet Union's most powerful Cold War ally against the U.S. in the Middle East.
By making peace with Israel, then-Egyptian President Anwar Sadat ended Egypt's state of war with Israel and transformed Egypt into the pillar of America's alliance system in the Arab world.
Moreover, at the time, the peace treaty Egypt concluded with Israel was viewed as the basis for a wider regional peace between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors.
Forty years later, Iran continues to be the foremost foe facing America and Israel. But the promise of peace between Israel and the Arab world that Sadat seemed to carry in his suit pocket at the time disappeared. According to survey data, the Egyptian people hate Israel and Jews more than the Iranian people do.
True, Israel has close strategic relations with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah A-Sisi's regime. According to Israeli sources, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli security services were instrumental in facilitating Sisi's seizure of power from the Muslim Brotherhood regime of then-Egyptian President Mohamad Morsi in 2013. Israel went to great lengths to win U.S. and international support for the Sisi regime. Israel has also plays a major role in assisting the Sisi regime fight Islamic State terror forces in the Sinai peninsula.
On the other hand, aside from a few partnership and business deals between Israeli business moguls and people at the highest levels of the Egyptian state, there are no real commercial ties between Israelis and Egyptians.
Tourism from Egypt to Israel is all but non-existent. This owes in large part to the Egyptian government's policy, which requires Egyptian citizens who wish to travel to Israel to receive permission for their travel from the Egyptian government first. In most cases, the requests are denied, and Egyptians who request to travel to Israel incur significant professional and social costs for their action.
Israelis are also not eager to visit Egypt. Egypt's endemic antisemitism makes the prospect of terrorism palpable. In 1985 and 1990, Israeli tourists in Egypt were deliberately targeted and massacred by Egyptian terrorists. The attacker in 1985 was an Egyptian soldier. Other Egyptian security forces who arrived at the scene denied medical assistance to the wounded, causing the victims, including children, to bleed to death.
These attacks, Egypt's endemic hatred of Jews, and the constant threat of ISIS terror attacks against tourists in the Sinai have deterred most Israelis from travelling to Egyptian territory.
Egypt's rejection of normalized relations with Israel stands at the base of Israel's continued concern over Egypt. During Israel's current elections campaign, those concerns were thrust into the limelight. In late March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's chief political rivals accused him of committing treason for not objecting to Germany's decision to sell submarines to Egypt in 2015. The allegations themselves are absurd. But the fact they were made demonstrated how concerned Israelis remain about the potential threat of renewed Egyptian aggression.
Major General Gershon Hacohen, a former commander of the Israel Defense Force's war colleges, argues that the peace treaty exacerbated Israel's security burden along its southern border.
"We fielded two divisions in the south before the peace. We field two divisions in the south today - one for Gaza and the other for Egypt," he told Breitbart News.
And despite the fact that the size of the force is identical on paper, practically speaking, it has grown.
Hacohen explained, "Before the peace, we fielded armored divisions. An armored brigade is comprised of just 450 soldiers. Today we have infantry divisions. Just a battalion of infantry has 450 soldiers. So the manpower requirements to defend against Egypt are even higher than they were before we concluded the peace deal with Sadat."
Deploying forces along the border is just part of the security burden Egypt poses for Israel. There is also static border protection, both along the border with Egypt and along the border with Gaza.
As Hacohen noted, "We spent billions of shekels to build the border fence to prevent infiltrations from Egypt. And we are currently executing a multi-billion shekel operation to construct a subterranean border wall to prevent tunneling activities from Gaza. Whatever you want to say about the nature of the peace with Egypt, we certainly do not view the border as a peaceful frontier."
The connection between Egypt and the Gaza Strip is more than geography.
As Israeli military affairs commentator Alon Ben David wrote recently in the Hebrew-language Israeli newspaper Maariv, the humanitarian situation in Gaza is heartbreaking. Hamas has used all of Gaza's resources to build its war machine against Israel while destroying Gaza's natural resources. There is effectively no potable water in Gaza. There are no economic opportunities in Gaza. Unemployment is endemic. While Israel places no restrictions on the importation of non-military materiel to Gaza, Gazans lack the funds to purchase food and other vital commodities.
The situation has grown so desperate that in recent weeks, Gazans risked their lives to protest against Hamas, only to be violently suppressed.
It is the desperation of the residents of Gaza that enables Hamas to draw thousands to the border with Israel to serve as human shields and fodder for its snipers. Ben David wrote that Hamas gives chocolate to participants and pays the wounded anywhere from 15 and 60 dollars, depending on the severity of their injuries.
Last week, IDF forces at the Gaza border apprehended two eight-year-old boys armed with knives who infiltrated Israel from Gaza. The children were returned home. They told the Israeli soldiers that they wanted to be sent to prison. As Ben David explained, Palestinians infiltrate Israel with knives so that they can go to prison, where they will be fed, given clean water, and provided with showers and beds.
The only long-term solution to the security and humanitarian threat posed by Hamas-ruled Gaza is for Egypt to permit Gazans to work in northern Sinai. Although Egypt has recently allowed a limited number of Gazans to cross into its territory, the border remains largely sealed.
Egypt's actions are motivated by both practical and strategic considerations. The practical considerations can be addressed easily. The strategic rationale for Egypt's behavior is the root of Gaza's permanent distress and the reason Egypt's peace with Israel is of such limited strategic significance.
In a recent article in Israel Hayom, Hacohen explained that since ancient times, Gaza has never been able to support itself in isolation from an external commercial and population hub. In the 1967 Six Day War, Israel took control of the Sinai Peninsula and the adjacent Gaza Strip from Egypt. The two operated as a unitary economic, military and sociological unit.
In the framework of the peace negotiations, Israel accepted Egypt's demand to restore Egyptian control over the Sinai. Since Gaza was attached to Sinai geographically, economically, sociologically and politically, then-Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin offered Sadat to cede control over Gaza to Egypt as well. Sadat refused to accept it.
Citing then-Israeli Defense Minister Ezer Weitzman, who was one of the senior negotiators in the peace talks with Egypt, Hacohen explained that Sadat's motive for refusing Gaza was entirely hostile to Israel. It was only after the peace was concluded that Begin understood that Sadat had played him for a fool.
Weitzman claimed that Sadat insisted that Israel retain control over Gaza, while isolating Gaza from its economic hub in the Sinai because he wanted to harm Israel. In isolation from Sinai, Gaza suddenly became "Palestinian." Its residents became part of a larger "Palestinian" problem that also included Judea and Samaria - the non-adjacent area along Israel's border with Jordan. By detaching Gaza from Egypt and attaching it politically to Judea and Samaria, Sadat made the Palestinian conflict with Israel insoluble.
In light of Egypt's dual role as both the first Arab state to make peace with Israel and the source of Gaza's chronic instability and security menace, it would be reasonable for President Trump to focus on two issues in his meeting with Sisi. First, he should urge Sisi to reintegrate Gaza and northern Sinai economically. Doing so would ease the suffering of the people of Gaza, and radically diminish Hamas's ability to exploit the civilian population as human shields in its war against Israel.
Second, Trump should point out that as it did in 1979, Egypt holds the keys to peace in the Middle East. If Sisi permits Gaza to reintegrate into the Sinai and so saves the people of Gaza from misery and poverty under Hamas's jihadist jackboot, and if Sisi normalizes his country's relations with Israel by promoting acceptance of Jews and the Jewish state, he will expand the prospects for Middle East peace in a way that a hundred peace plans and summits never can.
Sift You Like Wheat - By Grant Phillips -
If you have ever looked for shark's teeth at the beach you may have used a sifter. The idea is to sift out the sand and other items you don't want and hopefully find a shark's tooth. Sometimes it works. Often it doesn't.
Crime investigators sometimes have to sift ashes in order to find the human bones of someone who was murdered.
Maybe you are one who has sifted for gold in Alaska. I understand folks still do that.
The main idea with sifting for something is to find that one thing you are looking for after everything else has gone through the sifter and been eliminated. Jesus had something to say about "sifting" to Simon Peter. Just before Jesus was arrested He said the following to Peter.
"Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Luke 22:31-32)
Notice first of all that Jesus twice called his name. In saying, "Simon, Simon," Jesus was figuratively grabbing Peter by the arm and looking him straight in the eye and then He adds to that, "Behold." He wanted Peter to pay close attention to what He was about to say to him.
Secondly, the name "Simon" means "to hear, to listen." Perhaps this explains why Jesus called him by Simon instead of Peter. Peter means "a small stone." Peter wasn't even a pebble at this point, and he was never the rock that some claim from Matthew 16:18. Only Jesus is the rock or foundation stone of His Church.
So Jesus grabs Peter by the arm, looks him straight in the eye and says twice, "listen to me." He tells him that Satan desires to sift him, and that He, Jesus, is praying for him.
Jesus could have used many names for Satan. There are many listed for him in the Bible, but He chose to use the name "Satan," which means "adversary." Obviously, He is telling Peter that his enemy, Satan, is out to sift him and by doing so; destroy him and his witness if possible. In other words, Peter has an enemy, a very powerful enemy, and he is right on Peter's heels, so close you could smell his foul breath.
Looking ahead we see that Satan began some serious sifting at Jesus trial. What resulted was Peter's denial, not once but three times, of even knowing Jesus.
If you are a Christian you are on Satan's hit list. He desires to sift you and me. He looks for a way to defeat us, and that old rascal has had a lot of practice. He knows our weaknesses. He knows what will trip us up. He does not want us to grow spiritually and he does not want us to succeed in anything the Lord has called us to do.
I have also noticed that the more serious a child of God is about growing in Christ, Satan's attacks intensify. If you are just a lackadaisical Christian, you are no threat to him. To the contrary, you help his cause. However, the more on fire you are for serving Jesus Christ, the more he attempts to sift you. He looks for that weak spot that will bring you down and make you ineffective.
Let me pause here for a minute. Some are probably thinking, "How does Satan sift me?" Maybe I can provide some examples.
These are just a few examples, but maybe they will help in our understanding that Satan is no choirboy. Putting it simply and plainly, he will hit us where it hurts.
In Peter's case Satan worked on his pride, and then brought him to his knees with fear and cowardice, but Jesus prayed for Peter ("but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers"). When we turn to Acts chapter three and hear him preach to the crowd or turn over to Acts chapter four and listen to him, as he and John stand before the Sanhedrin, we immediately recognize that he isn't the same man we saw in Luke 22:54-62.
Many Christians today are fearful to stand up for Christ, allowing Satan to sift them and make them ineffective. Don't think so? How many Christians today will bow their heads in public and ask God to bless the food they are about to eat? For that matter, how many will do so in their own home? Peter knew he could be crucified if he admitted he was one of Jesus' followers. What do we fear, a little embarrassment? If something as inconsequential as publicly asking the blessing over our food embarrasses us, does that mean we are ashamed of Jesus? Let us pray that is not so, because Jesus had strong words to say about that.
"If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)
If we are a child of God, as Peter certainly was, let us never forget that Jesus intercedes for us just as He did with Peter. He loves us very much and wants us to trust Him.
If you or I make any honest effort to stand up and be counted for Jesus you can rest assured that Satan will notice. Peter said it so well.
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8)
Don't allow that evil creature to win. Remember that Jesus, our Savior and our Lord, is praying for us. Instead, we will proclaim along with Joshua:
"...But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Exhorting Each Other - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Should we correct fellow Christians when we see them following the wrong path? There's a fine line between judging and correcting, but Scripture tells us we need to help each other follow the straight and narrow path. We live in a time when it seems there's no shame in sin, but Scripture defines sin and says there is shame in embracing it. I've heard it said that B.I.B.L.E. stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, but many Christians don't even know what Scripture teaches. The words found on the pages of the Bible are God's guidelines for the way a Christian should live and we need to search Scripture diligently and apply it to our daily life. We shouldn't "act" like a Christian in the same way an actor pretends to be someone he isn't in order to play a role. Our faith in Christ should lead us to crucify the lusts of the flesh and honestly live a life that's set apart from the sin of the world and honors our Lord. Christians need to exhort each other to stand firm in our faith. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching" Hebrews 10: 25. Exhort means to encourage each other. The writer of Hebrews says not to forsake assembling together with fellow Christians in order to encourage each other to resist the sin around us. This isn't just a Sunday morning assembly, but Christians need to be friends with fellow Christians and get together with each other on a daily basis. If your friends are secular and worldly they won't exhort you to live for Christ. On the other hand, if your friends are Christians you'll encourage each other to put worldly ways behind you and keep your eyes on Christ.
One of the favorite sayings of someone who loves their sin is "The Bible says not to judge". That's true, but that's taken out of context. First of all, we aren't to judge to condemn, but rather discern to encourage repentance. None of us are perfect, so we must first judge our own actions. Use Scripture to see the sin in your own life and prayerfully ask for God's strength to move away from it. You're living a double standard if you judge and condemn a fellow Christian for their sin but excuse and accept your own. A good example of discerning sin and exhorting repentance is found in the Old Testament. King David was an extraordinary man. He loved the Lord, but was as human as anybody. He lusted after Bathsheba, impregnated her, and made sure her husband died. Surprisingly, David was blind to his sin. Anybody who has a basic understanding of the Ten Commandments can see the sins he committed, but somehow David didn't see anything wrong with what he had done. Using Scripture for discernment isn't wrong, and Nathan the Prophet confronted David. Nathan was brave to bring this to David's attention, but by doing so David understood his sin and was broken over it. He went before the Lord and earnestly repented. "Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest." Psalm 51:2-4. Nathan exhorted David and brought the sin to his attention. I'm sure that Nathan had his own sins he was dealing with, but cared enough about David to point out the sin he had fallen into.
The New Testament writers wrote letters to various congregations exhorting the people to turn from sin. Were they judging? "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." 1 Peter 2:11-12. Non-Christians judge all the time. They look at Christians and see our imperfections and judge our Lord and Saviour by our actions. If we embrace sin then what are we showing the unsaved world about Jesus? His death on the cross was ugly and violent. He took your sin and my sin upon Himself and shed His blood to purchase our redemption. Does that mean anything to you? When we continue to embrace and justify "fleshly lusts" we mock Him. The unsaved people around us only see that Christians sin and judge Jesus by our actions. If we exhort each other to move away from sin we honor Jesus who gave His life so we may live. We also become a living testimony to friends and family as to the power of God.
Paul wrote many letters of encouragement exhorting Christians to live God-fearing lives. He wasn't judging people, just their actions. Corinth was a city full of sin and idolatry and the congregation there was influenced by the pagan culture around them. Paul pointed out the fact that such practices had to stop. Using Scripture he could easily discern that God wasn't being respected in Corinth. In fact, one man was living a very sinful life and the whole congregation was proud that they weren't judging him. Paul took them to task. "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you." 1 Corinthians 5:1-2. Paul discerned the sin and exhorted the congregation not to accept it. Today we see that sexual sin is rampant among Christians. Whether that sin is fornication, adultery, or homosexuality it cannot be tolerated within a congregation. It's Scriptural to use discernment to exhort those embracing such things to change their way of life or remove them from the congregation. Sin is sneaky. If "tolerant" Christians embrace one person's sin, then sin gets a toehold and soon all manner of sin is accepted. Instead of being set apart from the world, whose god is Satan, the congregation becomes exactly like the world instead of becoming more like Jesus. In Corinth, the man was removed from the congregation. We learn later that because of discernment and holding Scripture as a guide, the man repented and changed his life. At that point he was welcomed back into fellowship. We must exhort each other to live a Christian life.
The word "exhort" comes from the Greek word parakaleo, which Vines Expository Dictionary defines as "to admonish, exhort, to urge" some course of conduct. While we are to encourage all Christians to live morally according to Scripture, Peter especially exhorted the leaders of congregations to "feed the flock" they lead. Peter understood this because he was exhorted directly by Jesus to feed the flock. Peter learned the lesson and knew how important it is for leaders to feed their own flock. "The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock." 1 Peter 5:1-3. This is something that's lacking today. In this day and age of tickling ears and caving in to political correctness, God's word is diluted and the elders are to blame. If the pastor of a congregation won't feed meat to the congregation, but instead will let them go un-nourished by just feeding them milk, then there will be no exhortation to live by the Scriptures. That happened in Corinth and it's happening today.
Scripture not only gives us the guidelines for living and tells us to encourage others to follow those guidelines, it tells us how to go about it. Do we embarrass others by calling them out? Do we point fingers and make accusations? We can look to Scripture to see how to exhort others. "Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ..." 2 Corinthians 10:1a. Like Paul, we need to be meek and gentle. The word "beseech" is translated from the same Greek word for "exhort". Paul used Jesus as an example, and so should we. Jesus was gentle towards sinners, but never left them in sin. We always need to be aware of the feelings of others when exhorting them, but there can be no compromise of Scripture. "I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Ephesians 4:1-3. Encourage each other with patience and love. It's important to study Scripture and know what's morally acceptable to God. Then we need to examine our own lives and remove the sin that is within us. "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" Matthew 7:3. If you point a finger of accusation at someone else, remember there are three fingers pointing back at you. It's important to develop friendships with fellow Christians so that we can encourage each other to overcome sin. Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven. That forgiveness came at a great cost to God and isn't a license to continue to sin.
Encouraging each other to move away from sin isn't the only reason to exhort each other. We also need to help each other to do good works in the name of Jesus. "But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" James 2:20. Salvation isn't based on works, but works should be a natural outcome of our faith. We are often unaware of a need in someone's life, but as Christians we should exhort each other to see the needs of others and do what we can to help."And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:" Hebrews 10:24. Non-Christians will see our kindness and know that the works are done for Christ. Christians need each other for encouragement to live for Christ and to do good works in His name.
As we draw near to the end of days we see that wickedness in the world is growing strong. Christians have to turn away from the wickedness found in the world and walk in the way of Jesus. We need to search Scripture daily and recognize the sin in our own life and change it. "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin" Hebrews 3:13. Using Scripture as a guide we need to exhort each other to take up our cross and follow 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: Male and female he created them - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Daily Jot sources indicate that the situation on the Mexican border is far worse than is being reported. Sources who have worked with homeland security at the border believe it is an emergency-level crisis. This is just one issue of many that the federal government is failing to solve. Yet, neo-communists in control of the House of Representatives are continuing to seek tax returns of the President, hold hearings on bills to end the electoral college, and now a hearing on a bill that would force Americans into agreeing that men and women can arbitrarily change their sex by just saying they are not male or female. Yes, it is true. These nefarious Democrats are wasting time and taxpayer money on this nonsense.
Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is advocating for HR 5, which she says protects the right of people to change their sexual identity and force acceptance of those decisions by the citizenry. Jayapal testified tearfully, "I came to understand what their newfound freedom...it is the only way I can describe what has happened to my beautiful child, what their newfound freedom to wear a dress, to rid themselves of some conformist stereotype of what they are, to be able to express who they are at their real core ... My child is free to be who they are. And in that freedom comes a responsibility for us as legislators to protect their freedom to be who they are and to legislate ... behavior towards all people in our society."
This is over the top crazy. Jayapal, and her neo-communist Democrat colleagues, want to legislate your behavior, your beliefs toward whether a person can claim they are a gender that they are not. This bill would force the acceptance of men, for example, to, as Breitbart News reports, "take women's places in sports and showers, in shelters, scholarships, and business set-asides; in culture, commerce, and language, such as in the use of male or female pronouns."With all the issues before this country right now, this is one issue that the Democratic leadership thinks is important enough to hold a hearing in Congress. It is just another hypocrisy. Say you are for women's rights, yet work to destroy women's rights.
There is probably nothing more absolute than being born either a male or a female. It has been this way since the beginning of mankind. Genesis 3:23, 24, says, "And Adam said, this is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Christ said in Mark 10:6,7, "But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh." This is just another communist effort to mock God and destroy the moral fabric of America while far more pressing challenges are ignored.
Daily Devotion: The Lifeblood of the Church - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
It's exciting to see children discover something adults take for granted, like the first time they taste ice cream or the first time they see snow or the first time they walk on the sand. In their excitement, we rediscover it ourselves.
The same is true spiritually. If a Christian has a life that isn't welcoming to new believers, then something is wrong. They need us. But we also need them. Why? We will rediscover the things that we take for granted. New believers need more mature believers to stabilize them. And more mature believers need new believers to revitalize them. In the Christian life, we can begin to take things for granted. We perhaps don't enjoy certain things as much as we ought to.
New believers are the lifeblood of the church, but they are also the lifeblood of older Christians. Some churches grow by church transfer, in which most of their congregants come from other churches. Harvest Christian Fellowship grows primarily from new convert growth. We are an evangelistic church, without apology.
I believe that Christ died for the whole world, and whoever will believe in Him can be forgiven of their sins. My job is to preach the gospel and invite people to Jesus Christ, and I will keep doing this.
What a new believer needs more than anything else is a friend. They don't need a Bible scholar. (If you are a Bible scholar, all the better. But new believers don't need that.) They simply need someone to show them what a real, living, breathing Christian looks like.
We are all called to do this. Yet many of us would admit that we just don't. If you take a new believer under your wing, not only will you help someone else, but you will also help yourself.
FROM THE HEART
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