Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Last Eight Days, Part 2 - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/prophecy/the-last-eight-days-part-2/
Tuesday 12 Nisan. A Prophecy Lesson
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." (Matt. 24:1-2)
How this must have astonished the disciples. Over 500 years earlier the prophet Daniel had revealed that beginning with a decree authorizing the reconstruction of Jerusalem, Israel would be given 490 years during which all necessary preparations for the Messianic Kingdom would be made. They would finish transgression, put an end to sin, atone for wickedness, bring in everlasting righteousness, seal up vision and prophecy, and anoint the most holy (place). The most holy place refers to the Temple. Accomplishing this would require the Messiah to come and die for the sins of the people (Daniel 9:24-26).
The disciples knew the 483 year mark had been reached a few days earlier and that the Messiah was among them. He had explained to them that when they got to Jerusalem He would be executed but would come back from the grave three days later (Matt. 16:21, Luke 18:31-33). So there were only seven years left of the 490 years. The Temple had been undergoing a major reconstruction that so far had required 46 years (John 2:20) and wasn't complete yet. But now Jesus was saying everything would be torn down. Not one stone would be left standing on another. How could that be?
As they began their trek up the Mount of Olives on their way back to Bethany, four of the disciples (Peter, James, John and Andrew) approached Jesus to ask Him about these things. They had three questions for Him. First, they wanted to know when this would happen. They also wanted to know what would be the sign of His coming, and what would be the sign of the end of the age (Matt. 24:3).
By their questions, we can tell they'd been discussing this among themselves. Wanting to know when the Temple would be destroyed was an obvious reaction to his earlier statement, but the Lord's Second Coming was still a new idea to them. And if the Temple was going to be torn down how would they know when the end of the age would come? They certainly could no longer count on it happening in 7 years.
Matthew's account of the Lord's response does not contain an answer to their first question. But Luke's does, so let's go there first.
Jesus told them, "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies you will know its desolation is near. There will be great distress in the land (Israel) and wrath against this people (the Jews). They will fall by the sword and be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (Luke 21:20, 23,24).
The disciples were to understand that when they saw the Roman Armies surrounding Jerusalem, it would mean Temple was about to be destroyed. The Jews mounted an unsuccessful revolt against Rome in 66 AD and by 70AD Jerusalem and the Temple lay in ruins.
In answering their 2nd and 3rd questions, Jesus began with an overview. In the times ahead there would be false messiahs, wars and rumors of wars, but they would not signal the end. He said nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There would be famines and earthquakes in various places. He characterized these as the beginning of birth pangs, meaning they would be indicators that the time of the Second Coming was near.
He said the Jewish people would be persecuted and hated by all nations because they would be blamed for His death. There would be false prophets, and an increase of wickedness, but he who stands firm to the end would be saved (Matt. 24:4-13).
We know he wasn't talking about the Church here because our salvation is not contingent upon standing firm to the end. Our salvation was assured from the moment we believed (Ephes. 1:13-14). God has set His seal of ownership on us and put His Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing this (2 Cor. 1:21-22). Jesus had post rapture believers in mind here, because they have no such guarantee. As you'll see, there's no mention of the Church anywhere in this discussion because Jesus was speaking as a Jewish prophet explaining to His Jewish disciples about the end times as they concern the Jewish people. Remember, their questions to Him were about the remaining seven years of Daniel's 70 Week prophecy, which is all about Israel.
Then He completed His overview by saying the Gospel would be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matt. 24:14). Now before you say, "There's where the Church comes in," let me take you to Rev. 14 to see the fulfillment of this prophecy.
Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth-to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water." (Rev. 14:6-7)
Now the Lord gave them the first specific sign in answer to their questions. He said when the people of Judea see the abomination that causes desolation standing in the Holy place they should immediately flee for their lives (Matt. 24:15-16). The term abomination that causes desolation was well known to them even though it had only happened once previously. In one of history's clearest models of the anti-Christ, the Syrian ruler Antiochus Epiphanes placed an image of the Greek god Zeus with his own face on it in the Temple and demanded that the people worship it on pain of death. This rendered the Temple unfit for use and started the three and one half year Maccabean revolt. The annual celebration of their victory over the Syrians is called the Feast of Hanukkah. Every Jew knows the meaning of the abomination of desolation from this celebration. It was a sign they could all could recognize.
Jesus told the people of Judea to pray their flight wouldn't be in winter or on a Sabbath when that happens again because that sign would signal the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:21). It's harder to flee one's home in the winter, and it's against the Law for Jews to travel on the Sabbath.
It's hard to over estimate the significance of that statement. Even though Jesus had earlier warned the disciples the Temple was soon to be destroyed and the people would be scattered among the nations, He now said there would be a Jewish nation in Israel with a working Temple again as the End of the Age approached. From about 135 AD until 1948 there was no Jewish nation, and since 70AD there hasn't been a Temple there.
With 20-20 hindsight we can see that with the rejection of the Messiah, Daniel's 70 week prophecy was suspended 7 years short of it's fulfillment. The Lord's brother James explained to the Early Church leaders that this suspension would remain in force while the Lord took from the Gentiles a people for Himself (the Church) and after that Israel would be restored (Acts 15:13-18). Therefore, the Church Age didn't cancel the remaining seven years, it has just postponed their fulfillment. After the Church has been raptured, Israel's final 7 years will resume and this time all their objectives will be reached.
The 3 ½ years of judgment that begins with the abomination that causes desolation will be the worst the world has ever seen or ever will see again (Matt. 24:21) No period of time is more carefully measured in all the Bible. It's variously described as being 3 ½ years, or 42 months or 1260 days long. And then the Lord will return and put an end to it. He said if it was allowed it to run its course not a single human being would survive, but for the sake of His elect He will put an end to it at its appointed time (Matt. 24:22).
Immediately after the end of the Great Tribulation the Sun and Moon will go dark, and the stars will fall from the sky. The world will be plunged into darkness. At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear as the only light in the sky, and all the nations of the Earth will mourn. Then they will see the the Lord coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory (Matt. 24:29-30).
Jesus said, in effect, the generation of people being born when the first of the end times signs appear will still be alive at the Second Coming (Matt. 24:34). Since He began by saying there will be a nation of Jewish people in the Promised Land in the end times, and since that hadn't been the case until 1948, scholars believe the rebirth of Israel was the event that kicked off the End Times. If so, then many of the people who were born in 1948 will still be alive when He returns.
"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father" (Matt. 24:36)
From Matt. 24:29-30 we can tell Jesus was speaking about the day and hour of his return to Earth after the end of the Great Tribulation. And while you have likely seen different interpretations of what follows, it's important for you to understand all of it pertains to the time immediately surrounding the Second Coming.
First, He said it would be similar to the days of Noah. Before the flood, unbelievers had no idea what was coming or why. And when Noah tried to warn them about it they just laughed, as if he was crazy. Right up to the day of the flood, they kept going about their lives, clueless to the fact that life as they knew it was about to end forever. It will be like that at the End of the Age as well. This is why Jesus said the nations will mourn when they see Him coming (Matt.24:30). They'll finally realize that what they've been hearing is true and it will be too late for them to do anything in response.
He gave three examples of people appearing to be just alike and doing the same things, but one would be received into the Kingdom while the other would be sent away to eternal punishment. Matthew mentioned only two of them, the men in the field and the women grinding with a hand mill (Matt. 24:40-41). Luke added the two people sleeping in the same bed (Luke 17:34). The Lord's point was that what differentiated them was not external and physical, but was internal and spiritual. It's what they believe that makes them different.
The key to understanding these examples lies in the words taken and left. The Greek word for taken means to take unto oneself, or receive, and refers to surviving believers who will be received into the Kingdom. The word for left means to send away. These are the unbelievers who will be sent away for judgment. This example speaks of Tribulation survivors who will stand before the Lord upon His return to learn of their destiny.
Then He gave a warning that those who survive the Great Tribulation will not know the day or hour of His return so they should be watching for Him like a homeowner watches for a thief he knows is coming (Matt. 24:42-44).
Next, the Lord told them four parables, each one an example of how it will be just after the Second Coming. You'll see that throughout this discussion there's been no mention of a rapture or even of the Church itself. Nor will there be. This discussion is about Israel's last seven years. The Church will be gone by then.
The Faithful Servant. (Matt. 24:45-51)
The first parable is about servants of a master's house who've been given the responsibility of seeing his other servants are fed. Remember, a parable is a fictional story placed in an Earthly context that's designed to convey a Heavenly truth. Every character or event is symbolic of something else. Understanding what they symbolize helps us discover the Heavenly truth.
The servants in charge are post rapture ministers of the Gospel, which is symbolized by the food they provide for the other servants, their congregations. Their master is the Lord. None of them know exactly when He will return. but when He does, those who have been faithfully preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom will be rewarded. Those who've misled their flocks and preached a false Gospel will be punished. James warned us that those who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). By their actions, these servants will have shown themselves to be false teachers and will be judged accordingly.
Keep in mind eternal security is a blessing given only to the Church. Post rapture believers will have to maintain their own righteousness or risk losing their salvation. Rev. 14:12 says they'll have to keep God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus. And Rev. 16:15 says, "Behold I come Like a thief. Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed." When used symbolically, clothing stands for righteousness (Isaiah 61:10) and post rapture believers will be responsible for their own. (See The Nature of Post Church Salvation for more on this.)
The Ten Virgins. (Matt. 25:1-13)
Next, He told the parable of the ten virgins or bridesmaids. Once again, He began by identifying the time frame of the parable. By saying at that time He was referring to Matt. 24:36, the day and hour of His 2nd Coming, which follows the end of the Great Tribulation (Matt. 24:29).
The story is about ten young women who've been waiting a long time for the bridegroom to come. It's late and all ten have fallen asleep. Suddenly, they hear someone shouting the bridegroom is finally coming. They've all been given lamps and oil to help light the way, but five of them have run out of oil, and the other five can't lend them any. Those without oil hurry to buy more, but while they're on their way the bridegroom arrives and the wedding banquet begins. Arriving late, they ask the bridegroom to let them in but he claims not to know them and they're denied entrance.
This is another example of how some tribulation survivors will be received into the Kingdom while others will be excluded. The key ingredient here is oil, which symbolizes the Holy Spirit and identifies the five who have it as faithful believers, while those without it are not.
Those who try to find the Church in this parable overlook the fact that the timing is all wrong, and the church is the bride, not a bridesmaid. A bride doesn't need the groom's permission to enter her own wedding banquet. Also, characterizing the five without oil as backslidden Church Age believers violates the one condition of our salvation, which is belief, not behavior. And finally, a Church Age believer cannot lose the Holy Spirit, who is sealed within us as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. Once again, the Lord warned those on Earth at the time to keep watch because they won't know the day or hour of his return (Matt 25:13).
The Talents. (Matt. 25:14-30)
Using the word again to begin this parable indicates the Lord is still speaking of the time just after His Second Coming-and that means the servants are Tribulation survivors. It's the story of three servants who were given allotments of money, five talents, two talents, and one talent respectively, by a master who was going away for a time. When He returned he called them in for an accounting. The servants who were given five and two talents had both doubled their master's money and were commended. The servant given one talent had buried it in the ground and returned it to him untouched. This servant was rebuked. The talent was taken from him and he was thrown into the outer darkness.
Remember, in a parable everything is symbolic. The key to understanding this one lies in discovering what a talent of money symbolizes. Five talents was a lot of money, so the talents must represent something very valuable to the Lord, but there's no indication in the Bible that money is valuable to Him. Seeing them as abilities we have is also a mistake because we don't have anything He needs. Even the most "talented" among us can not contribute anything to His accomplishments. Out of love He sometimes lets us help, but He doesn't need our help. Job 35:6-8 tells us our sins don't hurt Him and our righteousness doesn't help Him. They only affect us. However, according to Psalm 138:2 He values His name and His word above all things.
God must fulfill the promises He has made. We call these promises prophecy. He's given His word that He will do all He says (Isaiah 46:11) because His name is at stake (Ezekiel 36:22-23). Study His word and, your faith will multiply as you read of prophecy after prophecy being fulfilled. But ignore it, and you'll lose even the little bit with which you began. In the Church Age we're protected against total loss (1 Cor. 3:15), but it won't be so afterward. If they don't use, they'll lose it. And they'll lose their place in the Kingdom as well.
The Sheep And The Goats. (Matt. 25:31-46)
The Lord's final example leaves no doubt as to its timing. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with Him, He will sit on his throne in heavenly glory." (Matt. 25:31) It's the time just after the Second Coming when He will bring all the world's tribulation survivors to stand before Him in judgment. He'll separate them based on how they treated His brothers during the Great Tribulation. Believers, called sheep, will be placed on His right and welcomed into the Millennial Kingdom where they'll help repopulate the Earth. Unbelievers, called goats, will be placed on His left and then thrown into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
This appears to be a judgment based on works, but as with everything else, the Lord looks at the motive behind our actions. Only a true believer would be willing to take the risks necessary to help protect the Jewish people against the anti-Christ's determined effort to wipe them out to the last one. If he can do this before they petition the Lord's return he will have won, so his extermination efforts will be even more relentless than Hitler's. Anyone caught trying to thwart his effort will share the fate of the Jews. Those who help the Jews will be doing so at their own peril. But it will be as if they are helping the Lord Himself out of gratitude for all He's done for them. Their faith will be rewarded.
After Jesus had told them all these things, they joined the rest of the disciples and continued on their short walk to Bethany, where they were staying. More next time.
Hamas's Honesty and the Deal of the Century - by Khaled Abu Toameh - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14081/hamas-honesty-peace-deal
April 15 marked the 18th anniversary of the firing of the first Hamas rocket toward Israel. On this day, 18 years ago, Hamas's military wing, Izaddin al-Qassam, launched its first rocket attack at Israeli population centers near their border with the Gaza Strip.
On the eve of this occasion, Yahya Sinwar, the Hamas leader of the Gaza Strip, threatened that his movement will continue to fire rockets at Israel. The rockets, he said, will be fired at Israeli "settlements" not only near the border with the Gaza Strip, but also at supposed "settlements" in the Israeli cities of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Tel Aviv.
Sinwar said that the recent Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire understandings between Hamas and Israel are not a peace agreement. The understandings, he explained, do not require Hamas to disarm or halt, near the border with Israel, the weekly demonstrations, also known as the "Great March of Return."
"The understandings do not have any political dimension," the Hamas leader said. "I promise that if a war is imposed on us, the occupation will have to evacuate its settlements, not only near the Gaza Strip, but also in Ashdod, Ashkelon, the Negev and even Tel Aviv. Remember this promise."
Sinwar's threats serve as a reminder that Hamas and other Palestinian terror group consider Israel one big settlement that needs to be annihilated. Hamas and the other terror groups do not see a difference between a Jew living in the West Bank and a Jew living in Tel Aviv or Ashkelon. To terror groups, all these Jews, regardless of whether they live in the West Bank or in Israel proper, are "settlers" and "colonists."
For them, Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Ashdod and all Israeli cities are no different than Jewish communities and neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. That's why Hamas and the terror groups consider all "settlements" -- inside Israel and in the West Bank -- as legitimate targets for their rockets.
Contrary to claims by some Western political analysts and media outlets, Hamas has never recognized Israel's right to exist. Needless to say, Hamas has never renounced the "armed struggle" against Israel.
Above all, Hamas has never accepted the "two-state solution" or changed its charter, which explicitly states:
"When our enemies usurp some Islamic lands, Jihad [holy war] becomes a duty binding on all Muslims. In order to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad. This would require the propagation of Islamic consciousness among the masses on all local, Arab and Islamic levels. WE must spread the spirit of Jihad among the [Islamic] Umma, clash with the enemies and join the ranks of the Jihad fighters."
Sinwar deserves credit for being honest about his movement's true goals. He also deserves credit for sticking to every word mentioned in the Hamas charter, which was published more than 30 years ago and remains as relevant as ever to this very day.
Jihad, according to the Hamas leader, should be waged not only against Jews living in West Bank settlements, but also against those residing in "settlements" in all of Israel, including Tel Aviv. He says he wants to see all Jews evacuated from their homes. He says he is hoping that the Hamas rockets will one day force Israel to "evacuate" all Jews from their homes.
In the past 18 years, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups in the Gaza Strip have fired thousands of rockets and missiles at Israel.
A report by the IDF on Hamas's rocket arsenal notes that the terror group has about 6,000 rockets. They include more than 1,000 units of self-produced short-range rockets (15 km range), more than 2,500 units of smuggled short-range rockets (15 km range), approximately 200 units of self-produced Grad rockets (20 km range), approximately 200 units of smuggled Grad rockets (20 km range), approximately 200 units of self-produced improved Grad rockets (45 km range), approximately 1,000 units of smuggled improved Grad rockets (45 km range), more than 400 units of self-produced medium range rockets (up to 80 km range) and dozens of long-range rockets (100-200 km range).
The other terror groups in the Gaza Strip, the report says, have approximately another 5,500 short-range, medium-range and long-range rockets.
That is why Sinwar's threats to fire more rockets at Israel should be taken with deadly seriousness. He is also right when he says that the ceasefire understandings with Israel are not a political agreement with the "Zionist entity." Hamas cannot reach any political deal with Israel because it does not agree to Israel's right to exist. This is the message that Sinwar and leaders of all Palestinian terror groups want the world to hear. For the terrorist leaders, the only peace they will accept is one that results in the elimination of Israel and the evacuation of all Jews from their homes.
Hamas, of course, is strongly opposed to US President Donald Trump's upcoming plan for peace in the Middle East, also known as the "Deal of the Century." How can Hamas accept any peace plan that recognizes Israel's right to exist? Hamas is opposed to the Deal of the Century not because the plan doesn't offer the Palestinians enough land. It is opposed to the plan because it doesn't offer the Palestinians all the land, from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.
Consider another phrase from the Hamas charter, one that explains why it cannot recognize Israel's right to exist:
"The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection; no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it."
Drafted more than three decades ago, the message the Hamas charter sends to the US, the Arab world, Palestinians and the rest of the international community sounds as if it was issued yesterday. It is a straightforward, unambiguous message that says:
"[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas]. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion. There is no solution to the Palestinian problem expect by Jihad."
Hamas is not a small group whose threats can be brushed aside as "irrelevant." It is a terror groups that possesses thousands of rockets and controls the entire Gaza Strip, where nearly two million Palestinian live. It is a terror group that won the Palestinian parliamentary election in 2006. It is a terror group whose supporters have won a number of university student council elections not only in the Gaza Strip, but also in the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has undoubtedly read the Hamas charter. He knows that, as a Muslim, if he accepts any peace plan that does not include the expulsion of all Jews from their homes, he will be denounced by his rivals in Hamas as a traitor. Abbas is also aware of Hamas's threats to shower Israel with rockets. He knows that at the same time as Hamas attacks Israel, it will seek to flatten him for "betraying" Arabs and Muslims in "allowing" Jews to continue living in "their" state. This is the Palestinian reality that the Deal of the Century is about to be dealt.
Is Trump's Mideast "Deal of the Century" Peace Plan Biblical? - by Bill Salus -
Since Israel became a nation in 1948, the international community has been unsuccessful in all of its bids to bring a lasting peace to the Middle East. US Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all failed in their successive plans to trade land for peace.
President Trump is about to introduce his peace plan called, "The Deal of the Century." If his plan ends the Arab-Israeli conflict then this grandiose title will be justified. However, if it fails it will just be another flop of the century.
The simple explanation for the past peace plan failures is that the only successful method to achieve this illusive peace is to follow the blueprint model provided in the Holy Scriptures. The Arab-Israeli conflict is deeply rooted in an ancient hatred. The Bible identifies it as a perpetual enmity and it is integrated into the geo-political and religious complexities existing in the region today. It's a spiritual matter and it cannot be satisfied through secular solutions. This means that the Lord must be the essential part of the final equation.
Fortunately, the Bible provides a specific plan for Mideast peace and the Arabs will be glad to know that it does include a land for peace clause. This article provides the biblical basis for the successful manner to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and achieve a lasting peace in the Middle East. The important question is, "Will President Donald Trump's Deal of the Century peace plan be in alignment with God's plan?"
THE BIBLE'S MIDEAST PEACE PLAN
The plan inscribed below, which was presented by the prophet Jeremiah approximately 2600 years ago, was to be fully implemented when Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948. Failure to do so has caused over six decades of conflict in the Middle East!
"Thus says the LORD: "Against all My evil neighbors who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit-behold, I will pluck them [the Arabs] out of their [the Jews] land [Israel] and pluck out the house of Judah from among them [the surrounding Arab nations]. Then it shall be, after I have plucked them out, that I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone [Jew and Arab] to his [respective] land. And it shall be, if they [the resettled Arabs] will learn carefully the ways of My people, to swear by My name, 'As the LORD lives,' as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they shall be established in the midst of My people. But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation," says the LORD. (Jeremiah 12:14-17, NKJV; emphasis added)
This plan represents the compassionate, peaceful, political and spiritual solutions to the regional problems of the return of the Jew into the Holy Land. Jeremiah suggests that his God would cause the corridors to open for the Arabs to leave the land destined to become the Jewish state and return to the lands of their ancestry. In addition, He would resettle the Jews out of the surrounding Arab nations, and bring them back into their homeland Israel. As each ethnic group migrated, they would vacate homes and jobs enabling economic opportunities for the returning peoples and in some cases, already existing communities to inhabit. These Jeremiah passages represent the ancient blueprints, divinely designed to insure the successful return of the Jewish people back to the land of their heritage.
This plan was put into sovereign place after World War I when the Arab countries gained their statehoods. Jeremiah 12:15 says, "I will return and have compassion on them and bring them back, everyone to his heritage and everyone [Jew and Arab] to his [respective] land." How's that for a land for peace solution? The remapping of the atlases after World War I makes the political land for peace deals of our time pale in comparison.
The Middle East conflict that confounds the politicians today has not caught God off guard. The biblical peace plan took into consideration that there would be "evil neighbors" homesteading the holy land. He foreknew they would need to be relocated to make way for the return of the Jewish people. Provisions were included in Jeremiah's prophecy for their future as well. They would be "plucked out" and resettled in their former homelands. A fertile future awaited them, if they entreated their affections to Jehovah, Jeremiah's God.
In an apparent fulfillment of the Jeremiah 12:14-17 prophecy, millions of Arabs have been "plucked out" from the territory formerly recognized as Palestine. For over seventy years, these uprooted Arabs have been unable to relocate into an alternative homeland. These Arabs from Palestine have been reduced to a refugee status because their historic Arab relatives have mostly shut their national doors on them. These Palestinian Refugees are in the Gaza, West Bank, and in several of the neighboring Arab nations. These refugees serve as a buffer between Israel and the surrounding Arab states.
These Arab nations have cleverly managed to shift the burden of responsibility for the relocation of these refugees into the lap of the international community, the same community that legislated the re-establishment of the nation Israel as the Jewish State, implemented in 1948. UNRWA the (United Nations Relief and Works Agency), was established May 1, 1950, to find a solution to this refugee problem.
By not taking responsibility to absorb the Palestinian Refugees into their societies, these Arab nations are in a substantial breach of God's Middle East peace plan. Regardless of the breach, God still stated through Jeremiah that if these Arabs would "swear by My name," that they would "be established in the midst of My [Jewish] people." However, on the flip side, "if they do not obey," God "will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation."
The fact that Jeremiah described the affected Arabs as "evil neighbors", who would be "plucked out", indicates that in the foreknowledge of God, the return of the Jew into the holy land, would not be a smooth process. Otherwise, he would have used substitute terms like, "good neighbors", and "escorted out". Hence the world now has an explosive Middle East conflict on its hands.
At this point, it should be duly noted that there is no Jewish Refugee crisis, since they have been welcomed and assimilated into Israeli society. The absence of any such crises is one less burden upon the United Nations, and also evidences that the Jewish people are operating in compliance with the biblically endorsed peace plan.
IT'S TIME TO FACE THE INEVITABLE
The time to have implemented the Lord's Mideast peace plan is rapidly passing. The golden opportunities after World War I and World War II will be missed. The British Empire missed the first opportunity by failing to execute the Balfour Declaration of 1917.
This official document was designed to create a Jewish state after World War I. The creation of Israel prior to World War II would have spared many Jews from the genocidal campaign of the Germans.
The failure of the British Empire to act has led in its downfall. Around the end of the 18th century, the second rise of the British Empire began. At its height, it was the largest empire in history. No other nation in history created as many colonies. The empire grew so rapidly that it was described by the phrase, "the empire on which the sun never set." By 1922, the British Empire held sway over about 458 million people, one-fifth of the world's population. Moreover, the empire covered more than 13,000,000 square miles, almost a quarter of the Earth's total land area. (i)
Today, Great Britain is only a fragment of what it once was! In seventy years, between 1920 and 1990, in the midst of Israel's rebirthing process, Britain collapsed as a world superpower. Now the sun always sets on the British Empire. Today the UK only spans 94,058 square miles and has a population of only about 64 million.
As the British Empire declined, America emerged as the world's superpower nation. We were then called to put the Lord's Mideast peace plan into effect. The USA played an instrumental role in the recreation of Israel. However, America did not seize the chance to enforce the biblical plan for peace at the time. This failure has resulted in US Presidents over the past several decades attempting to recreate this missed opportunity.
Unfortunately, these US Presidents have been and are currently pushing Israel to forfeit land for peace, which is not biblically endorsed, rather than utilizing the Bible's roadmap plan for Mideast peace. This is why their political efforts toward peace continue to fail. It is also one of the reasons that America began to decline as a superpower. President Trump's campaign promise was to, "Make America Great Again." This pledge was because America was rapidly falling from greatness. American exceptionalism was departing. The Lord lifted up America as the sovereign tool to implement His Middle East peace plan, but the USA has failed and now mankind must face the inevitable.
THE FINAL ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
It's doubtful at this point in time that any influential world leader will embrace the Bible's Mideast peace plan. Even if one did, the Arabs won't! Therefore, Jeremiah 12:17 will be the result. "But if they do not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation," says the LORD."
The Arab states that refuse to worship the God of the Bible, rather than the false god Allah, will never embrace this Mideast peace plan. The Lord foreknew this would be the case and instituted the "pluck up and destroy" clause in His Mideast peace plan. The destruction of an Arab state will facilitate the implementation of the Lord's peace plan. That state will no longer exist to oppose this plan.
The destruction of the opposing Arab state is predicted in several Bible prophecies. To learn more about these prophecies and what will be the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, you are invited to read my book entitled; Psalm 83: The Missing Prophecy Revealed, How Israel Becomes the Next Mideast Superpower. The book and related DVD's are available HERE.
(i) Quote taken from Wikipedia website at this link: https://en.wikipedia.org/
wiki/British_Empire on 12/16/15.
Nearing Midnight: The Death Penalty Is Not a Joke, But It Has Become One - Todd Strandberg -
I was going to write about the Death Penalty based on a timely ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, but I needed to put it off until this week for one important reason - I simply could not deal with how insane it has become. Over the past 10 years, I must have written at least four Nearing Midnight articles on the craziness of capital punishment.
It has become increasingly difficult to carry out a death sentence because of an ever-growing number of tactics. Lawyers for the condemned will raise issue after issue until they find a judge that agrees with them. The U.S. Supreme Court recently blocked the execution of a Buddhist inmate on death row because prison officials wouldn't let his spiritual adviser be present in the death chamber. The adviser was said to be essential in guiding the inmate into the rebirth of his next life.
There has been a long battle over the use of drugs in executions. The left has convinced most domestic drug companies it would be bad publicity for their product to be used in an execution. The state of Texas had to create a secrecy law to shield the pharmacy that provided the Texas Department of Criminal Justice with the pentobarbital used in its execution.
When Oklahoma executed Charles Warner by substituting potassium acetate for the potassium chloride, the anti-death penalty purists whined that there had been a major violation of the state's execution protocol. Both Nebraska and Ohio attempted to purchase sodium thiopental from overseas suppliers, and either the companies quit making the drug or they banned all exports to the U.S.
The lack of access to drugs has caused some states to turn to alternative execution methods. Tennessee reauthorized use of the electric chair, while Oklahoma passed a bill to make nitrogen gas asphyxiation its backup method. These two methods will likely be combated with the "cruel and unusual punishment" amendment that was first used to gum up the death penalty process.
When carried out in a timely manner, capital punishment has an enormous deterrent effect on the number of murders. Murder rates, which had trended downward since 1935, took off almost vertically after 1963, the year the Supreme Court started overturning state death penalty convictions.
The reason why we need a death penalty is to protect society from evil people. The press loves to give coverage to cases where someone is released from jail after being wrongfully convicted. They remain silent when a murderer is released, then kills someone else.
Last month, a man was released from jail who simply shouldn't be breathing air. Thomas Kokoraleis was part of the four-man satanic cult called the "Ripper Crew" that terrorized Chicago in the 1980s, killing up to 18 women in the area, according to The Chicago Tribune. Kokoraleis went to prison for a single woman's 1982 murder after he agreed to a 70-year plea deal. Because Illinois required the person incarcerated to get day-for-day credit for time served, Kokoraleis only served 35 years.
The mother of that slain woman was obviously outraged by Kokoraleis's release:
"I will never understand how a man who was convicted of raping and murdering my daughter could be walking free in Illinois today. My daughter was an innocent victim," she said. "Her murderer did not receive the justice that he deserved. But I believe in God, and I have no doubt that God will deliver the final judgment," said Lorraine Borowski.
The Bible provides strong support for the death penalty with the Old Testament bluntly saying "Whoever takes a human life shall surely be put to death" (Leviticus 24:17). In Romans, Paul wrote that it's indication of sound authority rule for leaders to properly punish wrongdoers. The fact that capital punishment has become such a massive joke is one more indication that this world is well deserving of God's end-time wrath.
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience...."(Romans 13:1-14 ESV).
Daily Jot: The state of Christianity entering the high holy day - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
As we Christians begin to celebrate the highest of holy days in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, it may well be wise to have some introspect. There is a decline of Christianity in our nation. A fast-growing number of Millennials and Generation Z find Christianity irrelevant. Christians get enraged at immorality, policy, and the state of affairs in our country and around the world. Yet we are demanding that people hold to moral beliefs as justified by a book that they don't even read. On a day that we commemorate Christ sacrificing his life that all who believe on him may have everlasting life, we Christians, as a whole, should be doing a better job as disciples than what we are doing.
1 Corinthians 5:12 asks, "For what have I to do to judge them also that are outside? do not you judge them that are within?" In direct speak, it means that we have no business holding those who do not know the gospel accountable to our standards. That's why we are exhorted, even commanded, to make disciples of all nations, teaching them to obey what the Lord has commanded us. We must find ways to make Christianity relevant. It has been tainted to be identified with political ideals, when in reality, the political ideals should be identified with Christianity, foundationally centered on God's love and love for one another. It starts with our individual relationship with the Lord. To look at our families, communities, states, nations from a Christian lens, we should first start by looking in the mirror.
The Apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 4:17-19, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator." The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 10:13-14, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Jesus said in Matthew 24:23, "Then if any man shall say unto you Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not." Our national identity and, more importantly, our personal salvation is diluted tremendously if we, as Peter put it, "scarcely be saved." If America's preachers are so intent on preaching/teaching a self indulgent, extra Biblical and emotional version of the Christ, then what Christ are we following--the real Son of God, crucified and risen, for our sins, or some humanist version of Christ that fits a social or political extra-biblical gospel? It is here, not on the national policy front, that we as a people have lost our identity. This should be a serious personal consideration that gives weight to working out your salvation with fear and trembling.
Daily Devotion: Surrender at Gethsemane - by Greg Laurie -
Then He said to them, 'My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.' - Mark 14:34
Have you ever felt lonely? Have you ever felt as though your friends and family had abandoned you? Have you ever felt like you were misunderstood? Have you ever had a hard time understanding or submitting to the will of God for your life?
If so, then you have an idea of what the Lord Jesus went through as He agonized at Gethsemane.
Hebrews tells us, "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most" (4:15-16 NLT).
The Bible tells us that Jesus was "a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief" (Isaiah 53:3 NLT). But the sorrow He experienced in Gethsemane on the night before His Crucifixion seemed to be the culmination of all the sorrow He had ever known and would accelerate to a climax the following day. The ultimate triumph that was to take place at Calvary was first accomplished beneath the gnarled old olive trees of Gethsemane.
It is interesting that the very word Gethsemane means "olive press." Olives were pressed there to make oil, and truly, Jesus was being pressed from all sides that He might bring life to us. I don't think we can even begin to fathom what He was going through.
But look at what it accomplished. It brought about your salvation and mine. Because of what Jesus went through at Gethsemane and ultimately at the cross, we can call upon His name. Though it was an unfathomably painful, horrific transition, it was necessary for the ultimate goal of what was accomplished.
Maybe you are at a crisis point in your life right now-a personal Gethsemane, if you will. You have your will; you know what you want. Yet you can sense that God's will is different.
Would you let the Lord choose for you? Would you be willing to say, "Lord, I am submitting my will to Yours. Not my will, but Yours be done"? You will not regret making that decision.
FROM THE HEART
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