Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Coming Two Judgments for Mankind - Pastor Mike Taylor -
11 "For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1st Corinthians 3:11-13)
How is Christianity different from all other man-made religions? Being a Christian is the only hope for the believer that after we die, we gain what we can only imagine in this life. It's not like the Muslim who fears a non-existent god whose only call is for them to die a martyr for "allah". Or the Buddhist who believes in a long dead philosopher that is only good for this life and attempt to live morally.
For the Christian, to die is to gain....everything.
9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1st Corinthians 2:9)
As one who has put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, by grace through faith, I have sat and meditated on what it will be like when Jesus comes for His church and we are forever with the Lord. You know what? I can't even imagine what it will be like. I can only feel in my spirit that it will be thousands of times greater than whatever we can achieve in this life. This life is but a warm up for the next one (the one that counts).
Everyone of us want to go to heaven, as this earth is nothing but sin and misery. Oh, God gives us the things that are necessary to endure the years we have on this earth, so we can work for Him, and He knows what we need to endure this life. But we are but pilgrims in a land that is not our home. We search for a home not built with hands, but is waiting for us, as Jesus will bring us to His Father's House and where our mansions are being made right now.
But the rub of the point is we will cling to this life with both hands until the very last second, as we pray for long life even if we acknowledge the joy that we want to go home. It is bred into our DNA that is called the sympathetic nervous system, or "fight or flight" to preserve life. Even though we know the next life is by far better than the one we now live, we fight to live a long life. God gave us a commandment that our days would be long on this earth:
"Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." (Ephesians 6:2-3)
With what has been said, it appears quite contradictory. The promise is that we will live a long life upon the earth by honoring our father and mother in this life. Knowing our doctrine of to "die is gain" it would seem illogical to reward believers with a long life on this earth.
As the old saying goes, "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." Atheists are quick to point out the seeming inconsistency to that position as 'evidence' that our faith, no matter how staunchly we might defend it, is really just a sham, like whistling past the graveyard.
I have a brother in law that is a self proclaimed atheist, that believes that this life is all there is, and that the whole heaven and hell thing is nothing but a fairy tale, because as he says, "everybody dies", which Karl Marx called the "opiate of the masses" to give some type of meaning for the inevitable of a person dying. Or so my brother in law points out.
The contradiction is in my brother in laws mind, if heaven was real, wouldn't all of us be standing at the cliff waiting for our chance to jump? Of course, his argument is deliberately misleading, as the argument forgets the obvious of what we mentioned what is ingrained into our DNA...but the Christian doesn't fear death, but the getting there is what nobody wants to speak of. I have no FEAR of being dead, because I know of whom I have believed.
"I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)
But being dead is far different that getting dead. The fear anyone has is getting there, than it is of BEING there.
So the promise given by God that "my days be long upon the earth" is attractive to the mortal flesh, because none of us are eager or looking forward to the jumping off point, even though we long to be clothed with immortality.
"For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:
3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked." ( 2nd Corinthians 5:1-3)
No one wants to die prematurely, that is before the fullness of days for one's chances to do what is right will have all been used up. Someday, I will stand before my Lord Jesus Christ and be rewarded for what I have accomplished in this life, for HIM, not for myself. None of us know how much time we have left, so we should not waste a moment, as I know within myself of what I have wasted already, so I can't afford to spare another second for anything but the glory of God.
WE ARE GIVEN TALENTS.
While a Christian in this life expects to go to heaven when they die, speaking for myself, I would hate to show up at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ alone, with no fruit to show for my existence.
Jesus spoke of this very thing of three servants to bring the point home for the disciples and those who were listening to His sermon that day.
"For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey." (Matthew 25:15-16)
There is an eternal truth that is often overlooked in this parable that Jesus spoke of. In the ancient times, a talent was a measure of gold. It is not in reference to "talents" like singing or playing a musical instrument, although they are worthy to be given to the Glory of God in church services, but what is the most precious item that God imparts to His children that is worth much gold in His eyes? To me, the one thing that is most precious to God our Father, is His Word. It is what God is about. His Word will not come back to Him void.
10 "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Each of us are given a portion of God's Word to share with the world. The parable of the nobleman, which is synonymous with God our Father, "gives each of us" talents of His Word that He gives us to understand, discern and expects each of us to share it with the lost of this world. Those abilities to witness, to preach, to minister, and to tend to the widow and the orphans of this world are given as God sees fit to allow service within this earth and bring us to the Kingdom of God as Kings and Priest to God. That is not only for your local pastor, but for each individual that looks to Jesus for Salvation.
"Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two." (Matthew 25:17)
Note that the servant that was given the most produced the most. But then we turn our attention to the end of the parable where the unprofitable servant hid His Master's talents in the ground.
"But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money." (Matthew 25:18)
The parable shows that two of the Lord's servants invested their Lord's money (His talent, His Word) so that when the Lord returns He receives what is His with interest. What interest? The sharing of the Word of God to bring lost souls to repentance. We may only be planting seeds, and another waters, but the Holy Spirit gives the increase. Note the first two servants are rewarded handsomely and were commended on their service:
20 "And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."( Matthew 25:21-23)
But what of the unprofitable servant? The reward is much different than for the first two servants.
24 "Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."(Matthew 25:24-30)
The Lord orders that the unprofitable servant be stripped of what what he has and give it to the servant who produced the most, and to be cast into outer darkness, " where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth".
These verses are often used to 'prove' a believer can lose his salvation, but it only works by taking the verses out of context.
In context, Jesus is teaching concerning the fate of the "nations" on the last day, not that of individual believers, as the next verses make clear.
32 "And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:" (Matthew 25:32-34)
As you read further into the chapter, those things that have been done to the least of their brethren, so has it been done to Jesus Christ. This is in direct reference of those who have ministered to His people, (the Jewish brethren) during the Tribulation and have protected them in peril even for their own life. But those who treated them harshly or gave them up to the coming beast power will be sorely punished, as they have not really had the Spirit of our Lord within them, but only professed an empty religiousity of empty rituals that most likely could refer to the One World Religion and those who will be led astray by the coming False Prophet.
But, while the unprofitable servant story is ultimately referring to the separation into the 'sheep' and 'goat' nations in the last day, it also gives some insight into what the Lord expects us to do with the "talents" He gave each of us right now, in our time before the coming HARPAZO or the forceful removal of the Church, we know as the rapture.
The Bema Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ
As spoken of, we are given certain "talents" from the Lord and He expects us to give Him "His own with usary"---That is to say that our Lord expects us to show up at the judgment seat of Christ with more than just ourselves. Note this is not a judgment as the coming "White Throne Judgment" at the end of the Age of Mankind, but this is a "reward" banquet to give each of those who have accepted Jesus as Personal Savior, rewards and benefits that is given to those who have used their abilities to win souls for Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit.
The Apostle Paul likens a believer to a building set on the foundation of Jesus Christ and says that it is, from then on, up to us to build upon it.
10 "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1st Corinthians 3:10-11)
Each of us will be given rewards for what is built upon this foundation, which is Christ the Lord. We are free to build whatever on this foundation with building materials of our own choosing, or eternal security is based upon this foundation, not our subsequent construction efforts.
12 "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." (1st Corinthians 3:12-13)
Each work we perform that is built upon the Foundation of Jesus Christ will be tested to see what sort of work it is....those that have used silver, gold or precious stones will receive a reward, as they will last. But not those of wood, hay, or stubble as each will be tested with the Fire of God.
This is the believer's judgment and you can loose rewards for lazy service much like the unprofitable servant, but you cannot loose you salvation, or that has been guaranteed from the foundation of the world as an earnest deposit of our future glorification.
When the apostle Paul wrote this epistle, the judge of the Olympic games would sit at the finish line and his job was to determine the position of each runner when they finished the race. He would decide who was first, second, third and so on, for the purpose of rewarding medals according to placement, just as we do in our modern Olympics.
This conveys a singularly important truth. EVERYBODY that makes it past the Bema Seat FINISHED the race. The Bema Seat is where the Judge awards the medals based on performance. And as Paul told us in verse 13 above, our work will be tested by fire. But each person will be saved, "as through the fire". Because each one standing belong to Christ, their reward will be based on service to God, but even the lazy Christian with God's Holy Spirit residing, will come through the fire with salvation intact, excluding rewards.
"Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is."
You can't get to the Bema Seat of Christ on intellectual "head knowledge" of Jesus, as even Satan and the demons believe and they are not saints. Believing is not enough.
19" Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19-20)
Head knowledge must become heart knowledge, that those who by faith have repented of their sinful condition, changed their mind about God, and do a total 180 degree turn around and follow Jesus Christ in His footsteps and have accepted the Free Pardon secured for them at the Cross at Calvary.
And, as we've seen, repentance ALWAYS results in a changed life, but a changed life isn't the same thing as a life of sinless perfection.
Individuals are redeemed or condemned according to the single criteria of either accepting or rejecting Christ.
I don't know about you, but speaking for myself only, I only want to hear those words by my Lord Jesus when I stand before Him, and hear Him say, "well done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of they Lord"...Anything else the Lord gives me will be icing on the cake, whether a crown of righteousness, or being a King and a Priest and ruling many cities, or being a teacher of righteousness to point others to salvation, it all comes down to doing the will of God and being praised for a "job well done". I pray that my Lord is pleased with me.
GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT
We have been speaking of a coming judgment at the Bema Judgment seat of Christ that is a reward for service for those who have followed our Lord in faith believing on Him as our Savior, and doing what each of us are able to do while in our mortal state by following His commands and doing His will.
But there is coming another judgment of those who have not accepted Jesus as Personal Savior of their lives. This will come when the element of time is abolished and the rule of mankind is over and just before eternity begins that all nations left will be gathered together to stand before the Judge of all the earth to be condemned.
11 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works." (Revelation 20:11-13)
The books that will be opened are the books of your Bible, that saves or condemns each man or woman. Each of these are given immortal bodies, just as the Church was given to receive a glorious future of immortality and live eternally in God's presence. But those who stand before God, Jesus Christ our Lord, who has been given the right to judge the nations by God our Father, will examine each person and run His finger down the ledger of the Book of Life to look for YOUR name. There is only one way that your NAME will be found and that is sometime in the past you were offered the the grace and mercy of God through the finished work of Christ dying on the Cross at Calvary and shed His blood for all mankind.
Every person ever born that has rejected the Free Gift of eternal life through accepting Jesus as Lord of their life, now stands before the Supreme Judge of all mankind to have the formality of being found still in their sins and not forgiven in the life they lived while on earth. Their own righteousness was not enough. Their own good deeds and doing their own will is not good enough, because in the final analysis, our righteousness are worthless before God.
5" Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.
6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities." (Isaiah 64:5-7)
Those that God saved were clothed with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, but here those that stand here are clothed in their own righteousness, as the interpretation of ours being as filthy rags, is equated to a woman's used menstrual cloth.
God will not allow sin to be in His presence and the only way to stand before God Almighty is through the sacrifice of His Son. No one standing here will be able to make an excuse, given a second chance, or be allowed into Heaven's glory, but will receive the ultimate punishment for their rejection of the only payment for their sins, Jesus Christ, Him crucified and resurrected who is now YOUR Judge.
13 "And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." (Revelation 20:13-15)
WHERE ARE YOU IN THIS LIFE?
The aforementioned long life, is for the Christian a chance to do more for God and bear fruit worthy of repentance. Every morning is a second chance to do the right thing in the eyes of God and to invest the "talents" we have been given so that we may return to God what is His plus interest, or lost souls reached for God.
One day, you and I will stand before the Judge of all the earth. Some will stand before the Bema Judgment Seat to receive rewards for service of a well lived life found in Jesus Christ that bore fruit for our King Jesus. Others will stand before the Great White Throne where they will be judged according to their own works done in their own behalf and to receive the "ultimate reward" or penalty for their own self righteousness.
Where one stands in those days of judgment depends on a simple act of repentance receiving the grace and mercy through God our Father, based on the sacrifice of His only Begotten Son, Jesus the Christ. Will you use your talents that God has given you for your own selfish interest, or will you use the talents that God gives you to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God? Will you humble yourself and cry out to God for mercy and to ask Him to save you?
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
Then because of God's grace and love reach out to others and witness to them of the love you have found in God building rewards that will given to those who bring the love of God to others. The Bema Judgment Seat will be coming for those who have found the truth of the above verses and proclaim that Truth to all who enter your life.
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:8-11)
The alternative is beyond anyone's comprehension of what will come to those who reject God's Love and are not found with their name written in the Lamb's Book of Life. No one would want to endure what those who are thrown away from God's presence in outer darkness where the fire is not quenched, the worm dieth not, and there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Choose you this day where your eternal destiny lies. A hope of life of glory, or a life in eternity filled with torment and suffering.
21 "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:
23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.
24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 1:21-25)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation and being standing with me there at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ and avoiding the Great White Throne condemnation. I pray for my brother in law. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , for more biblical message from the Word of God. God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Syria Conflict & Bible Prophecy - Joel -
"See, Damascus will cease from being a city; it shall be a ruinous heap." (Isaiah 17:1)
Did you know Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world? Yet, despite its long history, the Bible says Damascus will come to a sudden end (Jeremiah 49:23-27 and Isaiah 17). The prophet Isaiah says Damascus will disappear, become a heap of ruins, and see its power and influence end forever (Isaiah 17:1-3). At the same time, large parts of northern Israel will also lie in ruin (Isaiah 17:3).
With current events, it's not difficult to envision the scenarios outlined in Isaiah 17. On April 14, Syrians were awoken by the sounds of about 120 missiles/bombs sent against areas of their country. US President Trump had led a coalition with the United Kingdom and France in a missile attack against Syrian President Assad's chemical weapons laboratories in response to a chlorine attack Assad allegedly perpetrated against the Syrian town of Dhouma, in which dozens of civilians were killed.
Following the strike, Syria's allies issued a joint statement saying,
"What America waged in an aggression on Syria is a crossing of red lines. From now on we will respond with force to any aggressor or any breach of red lines from whoever it is and America knows our ability to respond well".
To make matters worse, only hours later Israel bombed an Iranian base near Aleppo Syria. The rising multinational tensions in Syria burst into flames. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres explained that the Middle East is in great "peril," and that Syria represents "the most serious threat" that could easily tip the scale toward "escalation, fragmentation and division as far as the eye can see with profound regional and global ramifications."
Not only does this recent conflict have the potential of descending into full-scale war, but Iran is now preparing for a direct assault on Israel, even setting a date for Israel's destruction. But make no mistake, if Israel is attacked with weapons of mass destruction, its response will be swift and devastating. Israel is armed with nuclear weapons, and if its survival is put in question, it will not hesitate to use them. Just last week, following the bombing of an airbase that resulted in several Iranian Republican Guard deaths, including a Colonel, senior Israeli security officials threatened that if Iran strikes at Israel from Syrian territory, "Assad's regime and Assad himself will disappear from the map." They warned, "Our recommendation to Iran is that it does not try to act because Israel is determined to continue on this issue to the very end." Could this be what eventually destroys Damascus?
At the same time, current events in Syria have also firmed up the alliances for future confrontations between Israel, the West and the alliance which will eventually come against Israel (Ezekiel 38 & 39: The Magog Invasion), as the other side (Russia, Syria, Iran) threaten their own responses at both Israel and America.
Interestingly, just over a week earlier, on Wednesday, April 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to discuss Syria's future at a summit in the Turkish capital of Ankara. According to reports, Russia, Turkey, and Iran are working together to create "de-escalation zones" to end the seven-year civil war in Syria. See: Iran, Russia and Turkey meet to plan Syria's future - without U.S.
The presidents of the three countries pledged to cooperate on reconstruction and aid. The nations also vowed to protect Syria's "territorial integrity, according to the Washington Post.
Let me remind you that the nations involved in the invasion force that attacks Israel, identified in Ezekiel 38:5-6, are:
Look back at the bolded names on the list. Russia, Iran, and Turkey are now collaborating. Meanwhile, Libya and Algeria are already closely aligned with Russia and hostile to Israel, and Sudan is a radical Islamic Sunni state allied with Iran and Russia that is anti-Israel. The alliance of these nations makes it clear the stage is now being set for the Gog of Magog War. Syria is not mentioned as part of the invasion force that attacks Israel in Ezekiel 38, perhaps because it is destroyed by then.
Of even more significance, on February 10, an Israeli F-16D jet was shot down by Syrian military for the first time in 36 years! (See here) This was seen as a triumph in the Muslim world in that the 'mighty' technological and superior Israeli war-machine can be taken down. This event is very singular in that it has escalated the war in Syria wherein Israel is now in open conflict with Iran as a USA-copied Iranian drone was shot down over Israeli territory.
Conditions are ripe for a present day destruction of Damascus. The terrible destruction that awaits Damascus (Isaiah 17:1), northern Israel (Isaiah 17:3), and the entire Gog of Magog Alliance (Ezekiel 38:19-22), is about to be fulfilled. The pieces of the prophetic puzzle are rapidly coming together and the 70th Week of Daniel is fast approaching...
Considering the fact that Damascus is merely 136 miles away as the crow flies to Jerusalem, and only 91 miles from Megiddo, from which Armageddon gets its name in the Bible, what are the odds that such a location could have been predicted 2,000 years ago as the final stage of global war?
Destruction of Damascus & the Coming Invasion - By Vanessa Panas - http://www.raptureready.com/2018/04/18/destruction-damascus-coming-invasion-vanessa-panas/
In part one of this series, I wrote about the coming Psalm 83 war - Edom (Palestinians/Jordanians) attacking His brother Jacob (Israel). This will no doubt leave the rest of the Muslim world enraged. I believe the destruction of Damascus will be very close to the Psalm 83 war prophesied. As the Edomites come closer to entering Jerusalem, Erdogan comes closer to entering Damascus, with Iraq in his sight. This is part two of my series, the destruction of Damascus and the coming Ezekiel 38 war.
Damascus is the world's oldest continually inhabited city in the world. The Bible says Damascus will be destroyed overnight. Since this has never happened, we know it's a prophetic future event. There has been a war raging in Syria for 7 years, and yet the city of Damascus has gone relatively unscathed. Assad still runs his government from Damascus.
Isaiah 17:1-3 "Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap. The cities of Aroer are forsaken; They will be for flocks which lie down, and no one will make them afraid. The fortress also will cease from Ephraim, the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria; They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,' says the Lord of hosts."
Damascus was one of the first cities to receive Christianity during the ministry of Apostle Paul. There were more Christians in Damascus than anywhere else in the world at the time of the apostles. It was on the road to Damascus that Paul was blinded by Jesus. He saw and heard Jesus ask him why he was persecuting Him.
Paul, who was Saul before his conversion, was a fierce persecutor of Christians. He also approved the first stoning of a Christian, Steven, whom the apostles appointed as a deacon in the early church.
Acts 7:57:58 "...they all rushed at him (Stephen), dragged him out of the city, and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul...." And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.
After this event, Saul began his persecution. Saul began to seek out Christians from house to house, dragging off men and women to put them in prison.
Who does this today - drags Christians from their homes to imprison or kill them? Muslims. Saul was no different than a Muslim who persecutes Christians today, until he was blinded and truly able to see by the Messiah Himself. Saul, like Muslims, took up the sword to punish Christians. So it's not hard to see Jewish men in the first century having a fierce hatred towards Christians. The Jews felt that the Christians were blaspheming their God by claiming Him as the Christians' God, not only for the Jewish people but salvation for the Gentiles.
Acts 22:4-5 "I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as also the high priest and all the Council can testify. I even obtained letters from them to their brothers in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished."
Saul's persecutions led to the death of Christian men and women living in and near Jerusalem. His hatred was fierce. While these men and women were imprisoned, he went through their letters and found other Christians living in Damascus. So he decided to set out. But something happened. God chose Saul, the persecutor of His people, to spread His Word. Jesus came to him, asking why he was persecuting Him. Saul's conversion began.
He was blinded, but then he was truly able to see when he reached Damascus. When God removed his blindness, He removed his hardened heart. His hatred for Christians left with his blindness. The fierce hunter of Christians became a fierce warrior for Christ. The hunter also soon became the hunted. Saul was now Paul, fearless in the eyes of all men in his pursuit to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 9:20-22 "At once he (Paul of Tarsus) began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. All those who heard him were astonished and asked, 'Isn't he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn't he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?' Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ."
The Jewish people could not understand this. A Jew that hunted Christians is now telling them he is a Christian?
Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus changed the course of human history. Paul was both Roman and Jewish. God chose him to begin teaching salvation through Jesus Christ to all men, Gentile and Jew. Much of what Paul wrote in the New Testament is believed to have been written while he was imprisoned. About 25% of the NT is written by Paul. It was through Paul that the Gentiles were first hearing the gospel, and it was Paul that admonished the other apostles for not including the Gentiles in all things Christ.
The Christian roots of Damascus have long been forgotten. Unlike today, where people question the very existence of Jesus, the disciples weren't trying to prove the existence of Jesus; they were proving the divinity of Jesus. They were proving He was the Messiah, the living Son of God. There was no question He existed and no question He changed the world. It wasn't until the last couple of centuries that His existence really started to be questioned.
Syria played a vital role in the spread of Christianity. Today, it plays a vital role in terrorism. Today, there are many "Saul's" persecuting Christians.
Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, has been under siege and held by the rebel forces since 2011, until this month. The Syrian army recently defeated the rebels and took Eastern Ghouta back. This is the first time Assad's army has controlled Eastern Ghouta in six years.
Two weeks ago there was a chemical weapons attack that allegedly killed several dozen, including children. The question is why and who? Why would Assad, who just had a decisive victory, use chemical weapons? It doesn't add up, I'm afraid.
The US, France and Britain strike on the chemical facilities in Syria, I'm willing to bet, is the spark that will lead to the destruction of Damascus and World War 3.
This gives Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan all the more reason to march towards Damascus in the name of rooting out terrorists. The rebels have been unable to seize Damascus and have just lost Eastern Ghouta. The Turkish military under Erdogan won't be so easy to beat. Erdogan has his eyes on Israel. He has been very vocal about this, but is still a member of NATO. This leads me to believe this is why the other nations will suddenly stop and ask, wait, where are you going? He is going to Israel.
Ezekiel 38:13 "Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all its villages, shall say unto you, Have you come to take plunder? have you gathered your company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?"
Sheba and Dedan are in Saudi Arabia. Tarshish is believed by many to be Western Europe (think Brexit!), and the young lions I believe to be the United States. The U.S. has protected Israel and will continue to protect Israel and her interests. Surprisingly, Saudi Arabia is allied with Israel, just as prophesied.
The nations with the most hatred against Israel are now fully engaged in Syria. If the world was a Risk board-game, we would see one giant buildup in Syria from every nation in the world. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is leading the anti-Israeli rhetoric.
After recent remarks by Erdogan about marching to Jerusalem and accusing Israel of murdering Palestinian children, Benjamin Netanyahu replied, "I am not used to receiving lectures about morality from a leader who bombs Kurdish villagers in his native Turkey, who jails journalists, who helps Iran get around international sanctions, and who helps terrorists, including in Gaza, kill innocent people."
"That is not the man who is going to lecture us," he added.
Erdogan is reviving the Ottoman Empire. He is threatening Israel. And his invasion of Syria has also put Iraq on his radar. The Gog Magog war will be led by Turkey.
Magog was the son of Japheth, who was the son of Noah. After Noah's flood, Magog and his brothers settled in modern-day Turkey, not Russia. Gog is simply the name of the land that Magog settled. The name is in the genealogies of Genesis 10:1-3 and 1 Chron. 1:5-6.
In Bible prophecy, Magog represents the leader of Turkey.
When Assyria attacked Israel, there were two separate kingdoms within Israel. Northern Israel was headquartered in Samaria, and southern Israel, or Judah, in Jerusalem. The proposed peace plans have all included two separate "kingdoms" - a "two-state" solution. The last time Israel was divided within itself, the Jewish people were invaded, slaughtered and carried off into slavery by the "Assyrians." Israel is going to divide again, in the name of peace, and the "Assyrian" has just invaded Syria again. Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Assyria included parts of Northern Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and northwestern Iran. Erdogan is gaining power and is planning his united "Islamic army" to invade Israel. Not only are we seeing the nations of the Ezekiel 38 war starting to build up all over Syria, the Psalm 83 nations are amassing on the Israeli border in what they are calling "the right of return." May 15 is approaching, and the riots on the Gaza border are getting more violent. Will the 70th anniversary of Israel's rebirth be the beginning of Daniels 70th week?
If the inner circle of nations do indeed invade Israel's border fence, there will be a massive response from Israel. The world doesn't seem to care what is happening in Syria. The U.N. doesn't care how many children die in Syria. One Palestinian death, Hamas related or not, is worth more to the international community than all of the dead children in Syria.
I strongly believe the Psalm 83 war will precede the Ezekiel war. The destruction of Damascus may very well happen in the coming days. Whatever peace covenant Israel makes will be canceled.
Isaiah 28:14-16, 18 "Therefore, hear the word of the LORD, O scoffers, who rule this people who are in Jerusalem, because you have said, 'We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.'
"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, 'Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed... Your covenant with death will be canceled, and your pact with Sheol will not stand; When the overwhelming scourge passes through, then you become its trampling."
I believe the Psalm 83 war is what brings a false, temporary peace to Israel. It will halt Erdogan now, but this simply gives him more time to acquire his Islamic army from many nations, as mentioned in the Bible. Israel being victorious will enrage much of the Muslim world.
Ezekiel 38:11 says Israel will feel secure and be living in safety when they are attacked by this coalition. This cannot be said right now. In EZEKIEL 38:13 is where the other nations will question the true motives. The Palestinian motives are already known.
In Ezekiel 39:9, Israel (IDF) is clearly victorious because they will burn their enemies' weapons for seven years as energy and fuel. If this was Armageddon, then you have to explain why they would burn these weapons for energy and fuel when God's presence, in all His glory, is what illuminates the new Holy City. Ezekiel 39:9 is a reference to nuclear energy Israel will use as their own. Are these seven years the same as the tribulation's seven years? The first half is safety and peace, and the second half brings destruction.
1 Thess. 5:3 "For when they shall say, 'Peace and safety;' then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
Turkish President Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani met together this month over Syria. The pope has met with all three. Why is a religious leader meeting privately with world leaders that call for the destruction of Israel and the Jewish people? These are not average world leaders. These are the strongest military forces in the region. Two are anti-Christianity, Iran and Turkey, as they both deny Jesus Christ and imprison Christians!
These wars are going to be something we haven't seen in our lifetime. What better time is there for a one-world religion than after two massive "religious" wars? To bring all religions and nations together in order to prevent another slaughter in the Holy Land.
Ezekiel 39:11-12 says that the dead will be buried over a period of seven months. There would be no need to bury the dead if this war is what brings Jesus Christ's Second Coming.
Immediately after Satan's final rebellion, talked about in Revelation, is the Great White Throne of judgment (20:11-15)
I believe the Psalm 83 war will bring in the signing of a peace deal between Israel, Erdogan and an Islamic coalition. Who better to help negotiate a religion of peace than the pope? The signing of the peace deal will begin the seven-year tribulation.
After the Psalm 83 war and the peace treaty, Israel will remain a sovereign state, but they will feel safe. For a time. It's during the time of safety that the temple will be rebuilt. Jews do not believe their Messiah can come without this temple. It's hard to picture the Palestinians letting them build this temple peacefully. But for three and one half years they will have peace.
During this time Erdogan and surrounding nations will continue to plot against Israel.
There is one nation Jesus said held the seat of Satan, and that is Turkey. Psalm 83 must happen first because, during the Ezekiel invasion, Israel will be living securely. Right now, they are anything but secure.
Revelation 2:13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan's throne is...."
An interesting note is there's no mention of Satan in Ezekiel 38-39, but he is in Revelation. Satan has used many kingdoms and kings throughout history to slaughter the Jews and Christians and to take the Holy Land.
The names may have changed but the people and places are the same. Antioch is where the first Gentile Church was built. The evidence for Christianity throughout Syria is evident. Syria was an important and vital country for the spread of Christianity in the first century.
During the Ottoman Empire, Christians were plundered and then killed or forced to convert. Once a major hub for trade, Damascus has indeed grown feeble.
Jeremiah 49:24 "Damascus has grown feeble; She turns to flee, and fear has seized her. Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor."
My understanding of God's word is that Damascus' falling and Psalm 83 will happen relatively close together in time.
Ezekiel 35:10:11 "Because you have said, 'These two nations and these two countries shall be mine, and we will possess them,' although the LORD was there, 'therefore, as I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I will do according to your anger and according to the envy which you showed in your hatred against them; and I will make Myself known among them when I judge you.'"
Israel being victorious over Jordan and the Palestinians will enrage the Muslim world; they are going to want blood and swift revenge. They will begin their plotting and planning, and then something happens. Pope Francis possibly steps in performing miracles and merges all religions. But the Muslims won't do that, you say? The similarities between Islam and Catholicism are astounding. I have outlined these similarities in previous articles. These two religions make up almost 3 billion people worldwide. After the massive loss of life in Israel and Jordan, the people will beg for peace.
Daniel 9:27 "Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering."
Could it be that the pope will help broker this peace treaty? The pope is certainly shocking his fellow Catholics with the blasphemous things that he says, such as atheists can go to heaven without belief. This is not true, and they are being condemned to hell, by God, through a major religious leader's words. I have a hard time accepting that Christians and Jews will bow down to Erdogan as God. I can see weak Christians and the Jewish people waiting for their messiah, believing in a false messiah though.
The false prophet and Antichrist will begin the worst persecution of Christians and Jews that the world has ever experienced. Christians throughout Africa, Asia and the Middle East have been under a systematic Islamic genocide since the start of the Syrian war. As the world watches Syria, Nigeria has been slaughtering Christians by the thousands and demolishing villages.
Matthew 24:21 "For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be."
Pope Francis has slowly been delegitimizing the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. He is now denying the existence of hell. Pope Francis called Jesus Christ a failure, yet we know He is victorious.
One end-time Islamic teaching is that Jesus will return and will declare himself a Muslim. I can easily see the pope claiming to be a Muslim. They also believe all other religions will be destroyed. Crosses will all be destroyed. The Muslim messiah will pursue the Islamic "Antichrist" into Israel to defeat him. They believe a "great" beast will rise that calls the world to worship Allah. Their messiah (Mahdi) is our Antichrist; our Antichrist is their Messiah.
We don't know exactly how things are going to unfold, but we know these things will happen. Since the moment President Trump announced the embassy move, prophecy has spiraled towards World War 3. As Christians, we know these things must take place before the Second Coming of our Lord and Savior. As Christians, we see the signs; we know Jacob's trouble is near. Stay strong and faithful in God's word. Be like Paul-a fearless warrior for Christ!
Matthew 24:4-9 "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.
"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come."
Israel: 70 Years of Miracles - By Jonathan S. Tobin -
Like some of the past celebrations of Israel's Independence Day the fuss being made about Israel's 70th birthday this year hasn't penetrated too far into the American Jewish consciousness.
While those Jewish activists who are already interested in Israel-oriented events are doing their best to acknowledge the passage of seven decades since 1948, for millions of Americans who identify themselves as Jews, Yom Ha'atzmaut, which will begin on Wednesday night in Israel, is just another day on the calendar.
The problem in our thinking about 70 years of Israeli independence is rooted in its normalcy. Those who grew up in the second half of the 20th century, let alone the 21st, think of Israel's existence as a given. We relate to it in terms of what we think of its prime minister or our opinions about what it should do to solve the conflict with the Palestinians, with battles over religious pluralism and its treatment of migrants from Africa--or whatever the issue of the day might be.
But its 70th birthday is an apt moment to try and take the long view of Israel's importance.
What has been forgotten in its rise to the status of a First World economy and a regional military superpower is just how unlikely its existence was considered before 1948 and what that has meant to the lives of every Jew on this planet.
A century ago, even after the Balfour Declaration gave the Zionist movement its first real triumph, the notion of a Jewish state in what was then called Palestine was still considered a fantasy. For nearly 2,000 years, the Jews had been deprived of sovereignty over any part of their ancient homeland.
Homelessness was not merely an unavoidable element of the plight of the Jews, but part of their identity. Many religious and secular Jews--each of them thinking this way as a result of different reasons and ideologies--embraced the absence of the Jewish people from the world stage as a virtue.
Many religious Jews thought that a return to the Land of Israel must await the arrival of the messiah. Secular liberals believed values rooted in universalism were a better defense than sovereignty over their own land. Zionism--the notion that Jews must take charge of their own fate--was, even after Theodor Herzl helped found the modern movement, supported by only a minority of the Jewish people and had little backing from non-Jews.
Yet however the Jews conceived of their role in the world, the non-Jewish world thought of them as a largely despised and homeless minority. The consequences of this for Jewish security everywhere were incalculable. Anti-Semites have always had a variety of contradictory reasons for hating the Jews.
Regardless of the motives of the haters, the lack of a national home inevitably rendered efforts at defense futile in a world in which Jews were thought of as a dhimmi people who deserved second-class status by Muslims.
Herzl's insight was based on his experience covering the trial of Jewish artillery officer Alfred Dreyfus in France in the 1890s. He understood that if crowds could still cry "death to the Jews" in what was then thought of as the freest and most liberal nation in the world, any hope of Jewish security in Europe was a mirage. He was right.
Jews had no future in Europe or a Muslim world where they could never hope to be treated as equals. While the democracies of Britain and the United States proved to be havens of safety, only the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish homeland could provide an answer to the precarious nature of Diaspora life.
Herzl was wrong about a Jewish state solving the problem of anti-Semitism. That most potent virus has shown its ability to adapt itself to the ideologies of the 20th century and now focuses its animus on Israel. Yet he was right when he supposed the creation of a nation for the Jews would change the lives of every Jew for the better.
What happened in 1948, and in the years that followed, caused every Jew in the world--whether religious or non-religious, Zionist or non-Zionist--to stand a little taller. It also changed the way much of the world looked at Jewish existence for the better.
What is needed on Yom Ha'atzmaut is not so much a day of cheering for modern Israel, though it certainly deserves plaudits for its economic achievements, military valor and vibrant culture. Rather, what is called for is an appreciation of how extraordinary the mere fact of its existence is in the context of Jewish history.
Its rebirth and ability to defend itself and thrive in the face of continued hate and terrorism is something previous generations of Jews would have considered a miracle. Though many of us may scoff at such terms and prefer to focus on geostrategic realities (as well as what is often the necessary process of self-criticism), we should not be so quick to dismiss this perspective.
Like any human creation, Israel is imperfect and faces problems. But what the country and its people have done in the last 70 years is something few rational individuals would have imagined possible before they did it.
In our own time and with our own eyes, we have seen 70 years of miracles as the Jewish state survived, thrived and enriched the lives of all Jews, even if they lived elsewhere. That is the point of Israel at 70, and why we should pause this week and appreciate what it means to all of us.
Daily Jot: Presidential Polls-more fake news - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Rasmussen has been polling presidential job approval ratings since 2003. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that "50% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump's job performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove...[sic the immediate past-president] earned 47% approval, 52% disapproval on this date eight years ago--in the second year of his presidency." Rasmussen also says that it is the only opinion firm that "still tracks President Trump's job approval each day." Notwithstanding, it is the mainstream media discrediting Rasmussen's numbers by saying that among the 88 polls released this year, Rasmussen has the highest approval ratings for Trump.
This is reported by Real Clear Politics, who is touting its own polling numbers of 42.1% job approval for Trump. Let's remember that organizations like Real Clear Politics also predicted Hillary Clinton to win in a landslide. This has not gone unnoticed by Rasmussen, who posts on its website: "The same critics who called Rasmussen Reports "outliers" during the 2016 presidential campaign for showing a neck-and-neck race are at it again because our daily Presidential Tracking Poll has Trump performing better than many other pollsters do. But Trump defeated Clinton in 2016 in perhaps the greatest electoral upset in US history, and our polling nailed the exact margin between the two candidates."
Unfortunately, many polls are run by media companies like Washington Post, NBC, ABC, FOX, CBS, New York Times, etc., who are biased toward a political agenda-even though they try to pass themselves off as "unbiased" news organizations. They slant or weight their polling samples to get the results they want, then they release the results, analyzing them until the cows come home, in an effort to sway public opinion toward their agenda. When the people, for example, don't vote their way, they are incredulous. They turn on the people by saying they are ignorant, white racists, bigamists, misogynists, Islamophobes, homophobes, etc., etc. It's a leftist propaganda machine out of control.
Trump's approval ratings are higher than the previous "president," which irritates the leftist media to no end. They can't fathom that people think a pragmatist, non-conformist would ever do a better job than their anointed successor to Marx. Even with all the baggage Trump has, and with media, deep state, Democrat and Republican forces against him, people perceive he is doing a better job than his predecessor at this stage in his term. Why is that? Maybe it's because all the people who are against Trump are seen as people who do not represent the values of mainstream America, i.e., If those who are against me are against Trump, maybe it's not Trump who is the entire problem. We are warned against these types in Ephesians 5:6, "Let no man deceive you with vain words." Moreover, we are told to have nothing to do with them.
Daily Devotion: Overwhelming Obstacles - By Greg Laurie -
Now Jericho was securely shut up because of the children of Israel; none went out, and none came in. And the Lord said to Joshua: "See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor." -Joshua 6:1-2
Have you ever faced what seemed like an insurmountable obstacle, something that was so big and so overwhelming that you wished you just could turn and run away? Maybe you're facing something like that right now: an incurable illness, a prodigal child, or a marriage that is unraveling. Maybe you think it will never get fixed.
If you have ever faced something like this, you have a general idea of how the nation of Israel felt as they stood before the massive, ancient city of Jericho, the city God said they were supposed to conquer. His battle plan was one of the most unorthodox ever envisioned in human history. They were to march around the city once for six days, and on the seventh day, they were to march around it seven times, blow trumpets, and shout. It was a plan designed by God to show His power.
Sometimes God will allow a Jericho in our lives, something big and scary. It might be a problem. It might be a challenge. It might even be an opportunity. But all you know is that it's massive, and there is no way you can deal with it in your own strength. For many, the greatest difficulty is getting to the place where they are willing to admit they need God. It's that place where they are willing to admit the thing they're facing is too big for them and that if God doesn't come through, then they won't get through it.
That is not a bad place to be. God has a plan for you, but He won't force His plan in your life. You can botch or sabotage the plan, or you can cooperate with the plan. That is up to you. God will not force His purpose in your life.
FROM THE HEART
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