Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Devils Also Believe, and Tremble - By Pastor Mike Taylor -
19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." (James 2:19)
"The United States was founded upon Christian principles". I have heard that said many times in my 65+ years on this earth and have to agree in part. It is true that we were founded on principles of Judeo-Christian traditions found in our bibles. But in the past 200 plus years of this nation's existence and rise to be the lone super-power in the world, can we still say that? I recall the past "POTUS" the "usurper in chief" proclaiming that we are no longer a Christian nation, but a mixture of all religions, with Islam a major contributor? OH, Really?? I looked up what percentage of the American people identify with the Christian religion, or claim to believe in a higher power than ourselves.
When I did an online search of Christianity in America, I find these results via Wikipedia:
"Religion in the United States is characterized by both a wide diversity in religious beliefs and practices, and by a high adherence level. According to recent surveys, 83 percent of Americans claim to belong to a religious denomination, 40 percent claim to attend services nearly every week or more, and 58 percent claim to pray at least weekly. A majority of Americans report that religion plays a "very important" role in their lives, a proportion unusual among developed nations."
That's impressive on the surface, but I would like to dissect what it means to be a Christian. Are we still a Christian country, or has that changed? By the statistics, it appears that many attend a local church, some regularly, but does that identify what a Christian is? Many belong to that church, but does that identify who is Christian and who is not? What about tithing, or prayer, and how about reading the Words of God found in their bibles? How many put into practice what the words found in your bible say into their daily lives? Do these same folks put in an hour on Sunday because it's fashionable and then depart to do whatever it is they wish to be doing for the rest of the week? In other words, they give an obligatory hour of being present before God, once a week. What do they do the other 6 twenty four hour periods, or for that matter, the rest of the day on Sunday? Or are they members of a modern "social club"?
FALSELY BELIEVING IN AN ORGANIZATIONAL CHURCH
Many people feel that if they attend services on Sunday, (some rarely, if ever) except on Easter or Christmas, or give a few bucks into the offering plate, or be a good person, then they are right with God, or their definition of God. But during the time that they are in front of the rest of the world, they exhibit none of the fruits of the Spirit. Paul speaks of this in Romans shows fruit as a product in both a bad and good sense:
"What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness and the end, everlasting life."(Romans 6:21-22)
What is that fruit Paul speaks of?
5:22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."(Galatians 5:22-25)
As a plum tree produces plums and not some other crop like hedge apples, these are the fruits that come from the true Christian that believes in their heart. Those that are playing the Christian role in name only, they produce maybe the aforementioned hedge apples, not of plums and the fruits of the spirit, but instead the fruits of the flesh. Then all the while they are professing a different Jesus Christ, not the One of the bible. They believe they are saved. Are they?
5:19 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."(Galatians 5:19-21)
As a people, on either side of this equation of good and bad fruit, do we battle these? If you live in this world, you bet you do. But the glory of the Christian who has faith and relies on the Holy Spirit for strength and comfort, they are the ones who persevere and in the end, will win. For the truly called out Christian, plunged beneath the blood of Calvary is "BORN TO WIN" for the glory of God the Father.
Some would have you believe that being a Christian is an emotional experience. You are told about Jesus Christ and express elation that you understand that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. You get excited, express joy and forget about it all in a few days. Is that all there is to being a Christian? I get pretty excited when the the Missouri Tigers win an invitation to the SEC championships to play against the opposing team, and it truly is emotional and exciting, but that knowledge does not save me. Head knowledge of Jesus Christ or the Missouri Tigers at Columbia being a good football team will last only a short while in this day and age. Let me explain.
There is a difference between believing with your head, (your brain) and believing with your heart, (internalizing His sacrifice on the cross). And how do we internalize that we have believed in the Only Begotten Son of God? A brother of mine, proposed on our forum, "Church of the Living God", what do you say to the young child who accepts Jesus in their mind, by repeating the sinner's prayer and then falls back into the worldly living as an adult? Are they still saved? What do you say to someone who has made a profession of believing Jesus is God, but lives an ungodly life, thereafter? James said it best in James chapter 2:
2:14 " What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"(James 2:14-20)
GRACE VS. WORKS
Let me make one thing perfectly clear to all who have read thus far. Works by themselves will not save you. This is not one thing you can do in this life by keeping every aspect of the Law of God, although imperfectly, and think you are saved. Let's look at what Paul said in Ephesians:
2:8 " For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast."(Ephesians 2:8-9)
A lot of Christians, and I hope you're not one of them, stop right there and say, see, all you need is Jesus. Truer words were ever spoken, but what do the next verses say?
2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."(Ephesians 2:10-13)
JESUS BROKE DOWN ALL WALLS
In Old Testament times, there was a wall separating the Jews from the Gentiles in the Temple courtyard, but now Jesus has broken down that wall that all may come to Him. We are His workmanship and we have been bought with a price, namely His blood and broken body. As anyone that comes into an exclusive club will tell you, there are certain requirements of entering into that club. This is an exclusive organism, called the Kingdom of God and has its requirements of entering in. But in coming to Him, He has a high expectation of what you are in this life, and what you will become. And what is that?
When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, he asked the same questions that I ask you. How can a person be born again?
3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
3:4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."(John 3:3-8)
What was Jesus saying here? It appears almost in conflict until you understand the message that Jesus was conveying here. There is an old saying in Christian circles that you must be "born again." So true it is. Being born of the water and of the Spirit, there are different interpretations, but what does this mean? In the first part, Jesus speaks of water. He is speaking of baptismal waters as He was also baptized. The act of being immersed into the water is a symbol of the grave. By doing so, in our hearts we are to understand that. We are buried with Jesus Christ and raised to newness of life, hence the term "born again" is applicable here, but it goes much further in it's description that Jesus told Nicodemus. Paul explains this concept in Romans:
6:4 " Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
6:7 For he that is dead is freed from sin."(Romans 6:4-7)
We who have been immersed in baptismal waters, solely out of obedience to the command of Jesus Christ, is an act of total understanding and surrender to the power of God and leaving this sinful life we had behind us, as humanly possible. We follow a new Master, a new Teacher who showed us how to live a sinless life. It does not mean that we will never sin again, but the Power of God will make our sins less and less as we grow in faith and obedience to Him who first loved us.
What about the second part of what Jesus said in John 3? Born of the Spirit? As you are reading this message from scripture, can you walk into the Kingdom of God as you are, as a mortal? He says flesh cannot inherit the Kingdom of God. What is Jesus saying here? Let me let Paul explain it to you, as he is a better teacher than I. Again, let's go to Ephesians:
1:7 "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
1:8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
1:9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:
1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:
1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise,
1:14 Which is the earnest (translated deposit) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory."(Ephesians 1:7-14)
We, as believers in Jesus Christ were given a deposit of that future inheritance. As a example, I envision it as a seed of God delivered to the womb of a mother, which grows into a fully developed baby ready to BE BORN. We are now, as children of God growing in the womb of God's Heavenly Jerusalem that awaits our full adoption upon our birth into the Kingdom of God. When will this happen? When Jesus calls us out of our graves, or changes us in the twinkling of an eye, then we will be changed into spiritual beings that come and go, much as the wind does in the trees. Reread Jesus explanation to Nicodemus. Ponder that for a moment and turn with me to 1 John 3:
3:2 " Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure."(1st John 3:2-3)
Jesus gave us the perfect example of what it is to be called a Christian. What example was that? His life was the example. From explaining what it meant in His Sermon on the Mount of the intent of the Law He wrote with His own finger on Mt. Sinai, to the acts of love and mercy to all His fellow men, to teachings of righteous living based on His own life and the intent of His commandments in their spiritual application. Jesus kept the Law that He wrote perfectly all of His years on earth, but God in His infinite wisdom knew that man could not. So God became a man born of woman, fully man, and fully God to do what man could not....save himself. God in the form of Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice of His death on a cross and the emptying of the blood from His body on the altar of sacrifice.:
3:16 "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.
3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
3:18 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)
But remember what I said in the beginning of this message?. Even the demons believe that Jesus is God, but they are not saved or saints. Head knowledge must be heart knowledge. This is where the seed is planted. The Spirit of God mingles with your own. It is not implanted in your head that a person forgets in a few days and the excitement wears off. No, reader it begins in your spiritual heart. It's the first day of the rest of your eternal life and you become a new creature. As Paul wrote by Holy Spirit inspiration of in 2nd Corinthians :
5:18 "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."(2nd Corinthians 5:18-20)
Then if reconciled to God, we have a job to do, out of sheer obedience as Paul speaks of in Ephesians:
4:25 "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."(Ephesians 4:25-32)
NOW LET US RETURN TO AMERICA
Now that we have given a summary of what a Christian is, what we should be doing, and what the future is in store for those truly "born again", let's return to the 83% of American citizens that call themselves "Christians." Look around this nation. Does the landscape look like we are a Christian nation? Is the "old time religion" still reigning in our land, namely Jesus Christ and Him crucified? Do the principles that made this country great still exist? Nobody wants to take responsibility for what is going on in this country and in the majority, it may well be so. You can make a difference in your own life and reach out to others to help them find out what a Christian really is. Ask yourself these further questions, do you fit the definition of the negative side of this equation, of what is a Christian in name only? Do you stand in the light of a true Christian, washed in the blood of the Lamb working hard to be obedient to the One who gave you eternal life?
Don't be fooled into thinking that the trappings of organized religion will do anything for your spiritual condition, just by belonging to organized religion or the latest emotional false prophet or pied piper who leads away men and women to their destruction by following their false doctrines. You can't buy your way into heaven, you can't be good enough, and you can't rely on anyone, but yourself and the answering the conviction given by the Holy Spirit:
6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."(John 6:44-45)
Paul reinforced this in Philippians:
2:12 "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."(Philippians 2:12)
You just might be part of that skewed statistic that tells you, hey, I'm alright. I said the "sinner's prayer" and all will be well. Just because I live in America and "Hey, this is a godly nation". Really?
Many are beginning to believe that it is just not so and the nation that became the superpower in this world is destined, in my humble opinion, for a very hard fall. Many are beginning to worry about revolution in this country, as they look at what the last "president" led this nation to and wanting us to be a One World Government and do away with our sovereignty. Not to mention NSA wiretappings, predator drones, and laws designed to take away your God given rights of free speech, assembly, and to bear arms. Can you see this nation becoming so caught up in its anger at our former way of life and capitalism that made this country grow rich beyond our wildest dreams and wish to pitch it out the window, because of evil bankers and wall street lobbyist? OH, I know I can...I'll bet you can, too. I've even read comments of how the beginning of the Russian revolution started, and worse, the bloody French Revolution that spared almost no one. Heaven help us, but the winds of unrest are brewing. All it will take is for evil to be unfettered by the removal of the good in this country. Only thing that is keeping a lid on this brewing pot of sinful lust are true Christians (I quantify that by meaning true, born again, washed in the blood Christians) still present on this earth. What will be the result when even that hindrance is removed? I speak of God's people who actually believe with their heart and have God's Holy Spirit residing within them.
2:7 "For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2:9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved."(2nd Thessalonians 2:7-10)
When He, (speaking of the Holy Spirit), that letteth will let, until HE be taken out of the way, is the only thing that is keeping the lid on the brewing kettle of sin and debauchery being God Himself and the presence of His Spirit in His people. When that hindrance is removed, it won't be the 83% that professes their recipe of being a "luke-warm Christian" in name only, that will be taken. No, my friend, I fear that number will be much, much smaller. I fear it will be but a remnant of those who truly profess Jesus Christ and believe in their hearts and live like He's coming today or tomorrow. If Jesus would come on any Sunday morning, I envision half of the congregation being left behind, as they have only been warming a pew for most of their lives.
WHAT ABOUT YOU ???
Will you be caught in the snare of an evil generation that lives only for pleasure? Will you delude yourself to think that the statistics listed in the first part of this message makes you ready to meet Almighty God? Will you be deluded to think that you once said the "sinner's prayer" as a child and all is good, even though you live like the devil? Only the things of God will stand. Everything else will be burned up by fire. There is a time coming when Satan will cover this earth with his forces of demon spirits to unleash his anger for he has been thrown from the halls of heaven. In other words, the devil has come down to Georgia, and the devil must be paid. He wants your life, he wants your soul, and he wants you to spend eternity with him.................in torment:
12:7 "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time."(Revelation 12:7-12)
Whoever belonged to Jesus Christ will be with Him for all eternity and the hordes of demons commanded by Satan will destroy all who remain if allowed. If you are of the number who rely on your church, your priest, your shaman, or God forbid yourself , or anything else besides a true relationship with Jesus Christ and cannot wholeheartedly embrace the description of a believer, A TRUE BELIEVER, in Jesus Christ, then get ready for a sudden thrust into an environment that beckons to the fires of Hell on earth. Because my friend, in all honesty, it ain't head knowledge that will save you, but heart knowledge.
PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD
This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying for your salvation and God's mercy on your life. If there is anything I can pray with you about, counsel you on, or share scripture of God's plan for man, then drop me a line at my new email address, email@example.com , or for more biblical instructions to prepare you for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ visit my blog at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com ,. God bless you all, till we meet at Jesus Feet.
Landslide Victory For Israel's Right - By Alex Traiman - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=3119
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a decisive electoral victory at the polls despite tying with main rival Benny Gantz, former chief of staff in the Israel Defense Forces.
While both the ruling Likud Party and challenging Blue and White Party each are scheduled to receive 35 mandates in the 21st Knesset, the results are not nearly as close as the 35-seat figures would indicate.
For Netanyahu, who faces possible indictments for breach of trust in the coming year, the Israeli voting public gave the embattled 10-year prime minister an unequivocal endorsement.
Likud received more mandates than during any previous election in which Netanyahu has led the party--a stunning five-mandate increase over the party's total in the 2015 election.
More Israelis than ever before voted conclusively to keep Netanyahu the nation's leader. The 35-seat total indicates just how strongly the electorate believes that he is the best-positioned person to handle the extensive security, economic, socio-religious and geopolitical challenges facing Israel in 2019 and beyond.
Yet the story of these elections is not simply in the head-to-head statistical dead heat between Likud, and Blue and White. Rather, the real statistic that will send Benny Gantz into the opposition is the size of the Israeli voting blocs each larger party sits atop.
For Netanyahu, the block of right-wing and religious parties totals at least 65 mandates before the last votes are tallied. The left-wing block that would have clearly supported Gantz as prime minister, including the Labor and Meretz parties, only totaled 45 mandates. The 20-mandate gap between the two major voting blocs represents an unequivocal victory for Israel's right-wing, making the actual results look much more like a landslide than a tie.
Each of the right-wing parties that passed the electoral threshold, including the United Right national religious party, the Yisrael Beiteynu Russian-immigrant party, the center-right Kulanu party, the United Torah Judaism Ashkenazi religious party and the Shas Sephardic religious party have all indicated that they will recommend Netanyahu as premier to Israel's President Reuven Rivlin.
The remaining 10 mandates outside of the right- and left-wing blocks belong to the two Arab-Israeli parties. Since the foundation of the state, no Arab party has ever sat in a coalition government, whether that government was led by Israel's right or left.
In 2019, that remains no different. Both Arab parties told their voters in the run-up to the election that to them, there was no difference between Israel's left and right. During the campaigns, both Likud and Blue and White indicated that they would not turn to the Arab parties to help form a government.
Even if the Arab parties would recommend Gantz to be prime minister without any intention of formally joining a Gantz-led government, the right-wing block would still have a sizable 10-seat advantage.
One of the major lies of the Israeli election cycle was that virtually all news outlets, except for JNS, included the projected Arab mandates within the left-wing block. This was done intentionally to give left-wing voters the sense that the election was closer than it was.
According to almost all polls leading up to the election, Blue and White never had a mathematical chance to form a government. Their only hope would have been a sizable electoral victory over the Likud and the defection of right-wing parties towards a left-right unity government.
The formation of Blue and White was an attempt among multiple parties in a scattered center-left who sat in opposition to Netanyahu's previous governing coalition to join forces in an attempt to defeat the prime minister. Time will tell whether Blue and White will stay together, or will collapse like many other one-and-done political creations in Israeli electoral history.
Meanwhile, since Likud rose to power under Menachem Begin in 1977, it has been a right-wing mainstay and the most dominant force in Israeli politics, much of that time with Netanyahu at the helm.
None of the nine other parties received more than eight mandates. So even among the significantly larger right-wing bloc, more than half of the votes went directly to Netanyahu--a clear demonstration of the bloc's confidence that the issue of who would emerge victorious as prime minister was more important than the ideological considerations of the smaller parties.
Furthermore, two parties to the right of Likud, including the New Right party of ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, and the Zehut Party of Moshe Feiglin, failed to pass the 3.25 percent electoral threshold that is equivalent to four Knesset mandates. (By the time of this writing, New Right sat just a few thousand votes below the threshold and may still squeeze into the Knesset.)
Zehut received approximately 2 percent of the national vote. As such, while failing to cross the threshold, an extra four to five right-wing mandates were lost and redistributed among all parties entering the next government. Should New Right ultimately succeed, the right-wing's victory will be even larger.
Israelis rallied around Netanyahu despite the Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's announcement that he would recommend indictments in three separate breach-of-trust cases pending hearings tentatively scheduled for later this summer. Netanyahu has maintained that in each case, his side of the story has yet to be heard--by the public and by the prosecution.
At the same time, a statistic published by the Israeli Democracy Institute indicates that in cases where the attorney general recommends an indictment "pending a hearing," such cases are dropped by the prosecution 39 percent of the time before any formal charges are made.
That Netanyahu's largest electoral gain comes despite the public's knowledge of allegations of wrongdoing demonstrates that many Israelis don't believe the charges are dramatic enough to remove one of Israel's most successful prime ministers from office. Some believe that the allegations are just part of a political attempt to oust him.
In the laundry list of issues the prime minister needs to address, including an upcoming peace plan to be offered by the United States, the Iranian threat, worldwide diplomatic relations, and growing tensions at the borders north and south, his conduct with relation to attempting to secure better media coverage or accepting gifts from wealthy friends seems to rank relatively low compared to real political challenges.
And while Netanyahu may need to divert a portion of his time in the months ahead to clearing his name--and may ultimately be charged or even convicted--today it's business as usual for what is sure to be the longest-serving Israeli prime minister since David Ben-Gurion. Netanyahu will now go on to form a comfortable 65-mandate government, while the 45 seats of the left-wing block join the 10 seats of the Arab block in the opposition.
The Israeli electorate has spoken.
Matthew 24 And The Pre-Trib Rapture - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/end-times-prophecy/matt-24-pre-trib-rapture/
I've received several questions again about various rapture positions. Several of these questions have to do with the claim that in the Olivet Discourse (Matt. 24-25) Jesus in effect said the Church will have to endure all of the seven years of Daniel's 70th Week including the Great Tribulation. In this study, I will attempt to show why He could not have done so.
This won't be a verse by verse study of the Olivet Discourse, but rather a look at the verses within the passage that people use to support something other than a pre-trib view. If you want a verse by verse study you can go to my four-part series entitled "The End times According To Jesus."
It's important to begin any study of this nature with a review of the overall context of the Olivet Discourse because it's the most important factor in understanding what Jesus was really saying and to whom He was saying it. It will also help us see what was going on in the disciples' minds.
It was just a couple of days before the crucifixion. Jesus and His disciples were walking over the Mt. of Olives toward Bethany where they were staying at the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. The sun was getting low in the late afternoon sky, casting a soft golden light on the white Temple and its surrounding buildings. It was such a beautiful sight the disciples called it to the Lord's attention.
In reply, Jesus said, "Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Matt. 24:2).
It was the second time they had heard Jesus say this. The first time was a couple of days earlier on what we now call Palm Sunday when He had told the people that because they didn't recognize the time of His coming, the city would be destroyed (Luke 19:41-44).
He was holding the nation accountable for their failure to understand Daniel 9:24-27 where nearly 6 centuries earlier the angel Gabriel had told Daniel of a 490 year period that would begin when they received permission to rebuild Jerusalem and culminate in the end of the age. Gabriel told Daniel that the Messiah would come 483 years into that period (Daniel 9:25). Sure enough, here He was standing in their midst right on time.
There's no indication from the Biblical record that Jesus ever spoke to the disciples about the fact that the coming Church Age would interrupt Daniel's prophecy and delay its completion by about 2,000 years. In fact from Acts 1:6 we learn that 40 days after the crucifixion they expected Him to restore the Kingdom to Israel at that time.
It wasn't until James explained things to them some 20 years later that they understood how Israel was being set aside while the Lord took a people for Himself from among the Gentiles (Acts 15:13-18). A word study on this passage will reveal a hint of the rapture, and shortly thereafter Paul became the first person on Earth to present a clear teaching on the doctrine of the rapture (1 Cor. 15:51-53, 1 Thes. 4:16-17), saying He was revealing a secret in doing so (1 Cor. 15:51).
Therefore, on that afternoon on the Mt. Of Olives all the disciples could have known for sure was that 483 years of the 490 year prophecy of Daniel had passed, there were only 7 years left and Jesus had just told them that the Temple, all of its buildings and indeed all of Jerusalem were going to be destroyed. It must have been quite a shock to hear this, and it prompted four of them (Peter, James, John, and Andrew) to come to Him privately for clarification.
Comparing Daniel's prophecy with what the Lord Himself had repeatedly told them, they were beginning to understand that Jesus was about to die, and so the questions they asked Him had to do with when the Temple and the city would be destroyed, what would be the sign of His (second) coming, and of the end of the age, by which I believe they meant the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy (Matt. 24:3)
These were Jewish men speaking with the Jewish Messiah about the future of Israel and in His two chapter answer, Jesus referred to Israel repeatedly but never said a single word about the largely Gentile Church or the amount of time that would pass before the final seven years were completed.
After some general observations about things that would happen, Jesus gave them this summary of the future.
"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:9-14).
Not only is there no mention of the Church in this summary, several of the things He said are not even relevant to the church. They were intended for Israel. For example, it's Israel that has always been hated by all nations because of Him, it's Israel that has experienced many turning away from the Jewish faith, it's Israel that has to remain faithful to the end to be saved, and it's Israel that has been promised a Kingdom on Earth as a testimony to all nations.
What Will Be The Sign Of Your Coming?
Beginning in Matt. 24:15, Jesus gave the first specific sign of His coming and once again it concerned Israel. The abomination of desolation He spoke of requires a Temple, indicating a national presence for Israel in the promised land with people adhering to their Old Covenant relationship with God. We now know that hasn't been possible for nearly 2,000 years but the disciples had no idea.
The people Jesus told to flee when they see the abomination would be living in Judea, historically the area around Jerusalem. They were told to pray their flight won't take place in the winter, when the weather in Jerusalem can be bad, or on the Sabbath, because covenant keeping Jews are uniquely forbidden from traveling on the Sabbath (Matt. 24:15-20).
Jesus said the abomination of desolation will be the sign that the Great Tribulation is beginning (Matt. 24:21). This is a time when Jeremiah 30:1-11 tells us two things will happen; all the nations among which the Jews have been scattered will be destroyed, and Israel will be purified in preparation for the promised Kingdom (Jere. 30:11).
Jeremiah called this the time of Jacob's trouble (Jere. 30:7), which is the Old Testament name for the Great Tribulation, and said it will result in David becoming their king (Jere. 30:9) something that hasn't happened yet.
The Church is nowhere in view here and in fact, both Paul (Romans 5:9, 1 Thes. 1:10) and Jesus (Rev. 3:10) promised that the Church will not be present for this.
"Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other" (Matt. 24:30-31).
Some claim this is a description of the rapture but if that's true it violates the Jewish context of the passage without any explanation or justification. It's based on the fact that the Greek word for trumpet appears both here and in 1 Cor. 15: 52. But that is not an acceptable reason to tie these verses together, because there are other factors that make them obviously different. One is that in 1 Thes. 4:16-17 the only angel mentioned is "the archangel" not some unknown number of angels scouring the heavens. Another is that it turns the rapture from a signless, secret event into one that can't happen until there is a sign for all the world to see, and until the second coming is already in progress. It would mean that while all the world is standing there watching Jesus descend from heaven in power and glory, He will suddenly scoop up the Church and return to heaven without completing His trip to earth.
It would also violate His promise, made personally and through Paul, that He will keep us from the hour of trial that's coming upon the whole world, delivering us from the time and place of God's wrath.
Those who see the rapture here claim that the Church is "the elect" the Lord was talking about. But I disagree. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel was called God's elect and since Israel was the topic of their discussion, it's much more likely that's who the Lord had in mind. Also, according to Daniel 12:2-3 Israel's resurrection will take place at the Second Coming making it possible that Matt. 24:31 is referring to Old Testament saints being rounded up to receive their resurrection bodies.
Finally, there's no mention of the Church being "the elect" in the gospels. In the only times the Lord mentioned the Church at all (Matt. 16:18 and Matt. 18:17) He did not use any form of the Greek word for "elect". The first clear description of the Church as the elect did not happen until Romans 8:33 which Paul wrote over 20 years later. In my opinion, to think that the disciples would have understood the Lord to be referring to the Church in Matt. 24:22 and Matt. 24:31 is an unwarranted assumption.
So far in His answer to the disciples the Lord has given us an overview of the end times (Matt. 24:3-14) and then a more detailed chronological order; Abomination of Desolation, the Great Tribulation, and the Second Coming (Matt. 24:15-31).
And Of The End Of the Age?
Beginning in Matt. 24:36 He turned His attention to things that will happen after He returns. These will signal that the end of the age has come, and they provide His answer their final question. We know this because of the specific way in which He identified the day of His coming as "that day and hour" (Matt. 24:36) and "at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matt. 24.36, 39). He was speaking of the day of His return.
Some people say that no one will be eating and drinking, or marrying and giving in marriage before the Second Coming like they were in the days of Noah. They say the terrible effects of the Great Tribulation will have made that impossible. Therefore Matt. 24:36-39 has to be referring to the rapture. But I think they're missing the point. First of all, people have found a way to socialize and get married in the worst of times. But more importantly I think the Lord's point here was that just as people had no idea the world was about to end in the days leading up to the flood, no one will know the world is about to end in the days leading up to the second coming.
And notice how the Lord compared "the days before the flood" in Noah's time to "at the coming" of the Son of Man rather than the days before His coming. The worst time ever to come upon mankind will have just ended. Man's natural tendency after any catastrophe is to believe things will return to normal, but when they actually see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with power and great glory they will finally know things will never be the same again. That's why they will mourn when they see him coming (Matt. 24:30).
Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left (Matt. 24:40-41).
These verses are often used to support a rapture after the Great Tribulation. Aside from the fact that seeing them this way violates the context and chronology of the Lord's message, as well as His promise to the Church, there's a translation problem here. The Greek word translated "taken" means to "receive unto oneself" and a form of this word provides the clue of the rapture I mentioned in Acts 15:13-18 where it's translated "take for himself" (Acts 15:14). It literally means "to take for the purpose of carrying away."
Before the Lord turns back to Israel to fulfill the missing 7 years of Daniel's prophecy, He will take for Himself a people from among the Gentiles and carry us away.
So the word "taken" in Matt. 24:40-41 is not a problem, but the word translated "left" means to "put away" and was often used in the context of a divorce.
Rather than being a description of the rapture, where Paul's definitive teachings never even mention unbelievers, let alone their disposition, these two verses are a summary of the Sheep and Goat judgment (Matt. 25:31-46). Both take place after the Second Coming and both involve the final destiny of believers and unbelievers who will survive the Great Tribulation and live to see the Lord's return. Believers will be received into the kingdom but unbelievers will be put away into a place of eternal punishment.
The Lord finished his explanation of things that will mark the end of the age with several parables that describe the judgments He will conduct after He returns. I devoted an entire study to the subject of these parables that you can read in my two part posting, "Understanding the Olivet discourse Parables. For the purpose of this study let's just review the clues as to their timing to help you see they cannot be meant for the church.
Matt. 24:29 begins "Immediately after the distress of those days" and refers to the end of the Great Tribulation. Matt. 24:30 signals the Second Coming, with more detail contained in Matt. 24:36-44 including the first warnings that people on Earth will not know the exact day or hour of the Second Coming in advance. I believe this is due to the fact that both the Sun and Moon will have gone dark (Matt. 24:29) and it will be difficult to keep track of time.
Matt. 24:45-51 contains the parable of the faithful and wicked servants and describes how the Lord will deal with them "when He returns". It ends with another warning that people won't know the day or hour of His return in advance (Matt. 24:50).
Matt. 25:1-13 is the parable of the Ten Virgins (bridesmaids). The opening sentence begins with "at that time". Everything from Matt. 24:30 forward has been about the Second Coming, so the phrase "at that time" refers to the time following the Second Coming. There are many other reasons why this parable can not be about the Church that are detailed in the study I referenced above. Like the others, this parable ends with a similar warning about the unknown day and hour of the Second Coming (Matt. 25:13).
Matt. 25:14-30 is the Parable of the Talents. By the opening word "again" we know that the Lord was referring to the same time as the previous ones.
And in Matt. 25:31-46 the Parable of the Sheep and Goats gives us the clearest indication of timing yet. It begins with, "When the son of Man comes in all His glory, and all the angels with Him ...". As I pointed out earlier it's the judgment of tribulation survivors, some of whom will be believers and will be welcomed into the Millennial Kingdom, while the others will be taken away to eternal punishment (Matt. 25:46).
The Church is the Bride of Christ, the most highly regarded group in the history of humankind, and the one with whom Jesus is closest. Failing to mention us even once in His signature discussion of the end times can only be explained by the fact that throughout the Olivet Discourse the Lord was focused on Israel and not the Church. Therefore any attempt to use this passage in reference to the rapture of the Church requires taking portions of it out of context, and in some cases, a reinterpretation of the text is necessary as well. The Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church remains the only position that is consistent with a literal interpretation of the Scriptures. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah.
Daily Jot: When we stand - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The vitriol being expressed in our nation against one another is tasteless and vile. Against the backdrop of the Mueller Report and the border security crisis, we have heard terrible things said about a fellow American, the same theme about anybody who disagrees with the vocal left. It is very difficult to discuss these matters of disagreement with business associates, friends and even family members because they usually end up in heated debates and things are said that shouldn't be said. We, as Christians, need to keep in mind the tenets of our faith when standing up for our principles-especially when we are doing so with family and fellow believers. Civility seems to be a lost art these days.
Often, I exhort you through The Daily Jot to pray and act, to speak up for what is right, and to hold accountability by speaking boldly as you ought to speak. But this can be a balancing act in these days. Speaking boldly, doesn't mean being offensive or trying to invoke anger. It doesn't mean reducing the argument to personal attacks. It takes wisdom, compassion, empathy, and the ability to express right in a dignified and effective manner. As the Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:15-17, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
In short, we need to remember who we are when we are discussing issues of right vs wrong. We need to be armed with the facts and stick to them. Keep bringing the discussion back to the facts. Most people I have run into who want to argue a point about the current state of our nation know very little about the facts. Often what they do know is based on a simple fact, but twisted into a lie. Trying to unravel that lie with them is like untangling a pile of coat-hangers. It takes patience and focus on your point. The purpose of The Daily Jot is to equip and encourage you to evangelize. Evangelizing can take many forms. In our case, it takes the form of using a current event to present a Biblical truth.
Deception is always key. People are deceived and, like a virus, they spread deception. Ephesians 5:6-9, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not therefore partakers with them. For you were sometimes darkness, but now you are light in the Lord: walk as children of light For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth." Christ has given us life that we may have it abundantly. We don't need to get dragged down into the depths of deceit and anger because we already have the high ground in Christ. We just need to share it appropriately toward one another.
Daily Devotion: Wholehearted Devotion - by Greg Laurie -
Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. . . . - Mark 16:9
Of all the people Jesus could have appeared to first after His resurrection, He appeared to Mary Magdalene. It is interesting to think about, because among the Jews of the day, the testimony of a woman was not held in high regard. In fact, some of the rabbis falsely taught that it was better for the words of the Law to be burned than to be delivered by a woman. Yet Jesus chose a woman to be the first herald of His resurrection.
It is also worth noting that women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. Mary had courage that many of the men did not have when Jesus was crucified. She stood by Him through it all. In fact, the Bible tells us that after He was crucified, Mary "observed where He was laid" (Mark 15:47). She watched as they took His crucified body from the cross and wrapped it and placed it in a tomb that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea. And Mary, along with the other women, was at the tomb very early on Sunday morning to demonstrate her love for Jesus by anointing his body with spices (see Mark 16:1-2).
And her love was rewarded. God said, "And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13). God rewards the person who is diligent. And for those who will take time in their day to seek the Lord, for those who will take time to read His Word, for those who will take time to wait upon Him, He will reveal His truths to them.
FROM THE HEART
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