Prophecy Update Newsletter
April 21, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Midnight Approaches - By Matt Ward - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/04/20/midnight-approaches/
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." (Daniel 12:3)
The world today seems to be spiraling out of control. Amidst the ever-increasing carnage and chaos there does not seem to be any one person, group, country or international body with the ability restore calm, or even basic common sense. We are living in the age of chaos.
We are met daily by scenes of butchery via 24-hour news. From the ruin that once was Syria and the active genocide taking place there, to the open use of WMD's (by whichever ever side), and subsequent retaliations by the United States.
We see a resurgent Russia and Iran invading the Middle East and making no bones about the fact that in their estimation, Syria now belongs to them. How long until they turn their gaze upon little Israel, and her significant "spoils?" Not long now.
We see a nuclear armed and belligerent North Korea led by an unhinged and crazed madman. We are witness to the United States of America apparently locking itself into a mutual cycle of ever-increasing escalation with this reclusive and crazed power.
Where is this heading and where will it end? World War III? Or will it fizzle out and amount to nothing? How will this affect us? Will any of it touch us personally?
We must understand that the battles and confrontations we see manifesting in the physical world today are mere weak reflections of the battles taking place in the spiritual world at the same time.
The battle that began eons ago in the Garden of Eden is likely to soon reach its climax in our own age, quite possibly during our own lifetimes. Of all people, we as Christians have been blessed to have the future history of the earth's final years revealed to us in advance through God's Holy Word. The Bible, uniquely, is our guide throughout this final cataclysmic chapter in earth's history.
We stand today on the threshold of these cataclysmic events, and to some that brings a sense of dread and foreboding, even fear. But God does not intend for us to fear what is to come:
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
It is for this reason that God tells us the end from the very beginning, as Isaiah testifies:
"I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, 'My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.'" (Isaiah 46:10)
Amos tells us that the reason God reveals these things is because He intends for his people to know both His Sovereign will, and how human history will work itself out according to His purpose,
"Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7)
Jesus Christ, whilst speaking to his apostles on the Mount of Olives, shortly before his crucifixion, explained that he was telling them in advance about his death so that when it happened, they would believe in Him,
"I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe." (John 14:29).
The same is true of all prophecy. Indeed, that is in part why prophecy exists, and understanding this is intrinsic to following Jesus. As John says in his Revelation,
"For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus." (Revelation 19:10)
God tells us, in exquisite detail, what will happen in the future because when it does happen, or when we can begin to see its imminent fulfillment, as we do now, He wants this foreknowledge to bolster our faith in His Son, Jesus. God uses prophecy to direct us to Jesus Christ.
We are not to approach this time as the unbelievers of this day will:
"People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken." (Luke 21:26)
"We are to look upon these days calmly, with insight, as ones who have been told ahead of time, and with a "sound mind." (2 Timothy 1:7)
As Christians we need to accept that a cosmic war that began many eons ago is now reaching its conclusion. Beginning in the Garden of Eden, with the subtlety of Satan beguiling Eve, human history has been played out against the backdrop of this cosmic war ever since. Scripture reveals to us that whilst Satan is no match for God Himself, he is nonetheless a significant foe who throughout the ages has exacted a great price on humanity itself, and caused inestimable damage to believers of all kinds throughout all ages.
Though Satan is not to be feared by true believers in Jesus Christ, nor is he to be taken lightly either.
Satan, in the Garden of Eden, usurped mankind's rightful ruler ship over this world. Adam's right to rule this earth was given to him by God Himself (Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:5-8). There is no such right of rulership given over to Satan, yet in his diabolical scheming, he has taken what is rightfully not his via subterfuge.
In his tempting of Jesus, when asking the Son of God to worship him, Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and proclaimed this: "I will give you all this power and all their glory - for it has been surrendered to me..."
The word surrendered in the original Greek is paradidomi, indicating that Satan's current rulership of this world was relinquished, abandoned, abdicated, given over or "surrendered" by Adam, in his disobedience. Satan is therefore the de-facto ruler of this creation. Very soon though, the Messiah Jesus Christ, will be taking that rulership back (Revelation 11:15).
We see this process beginning even now.
It is during the Tribulation period, now increasingly clear on all our collective horizons that God will finally reclaim ownership of this earth. At this point, in 2017 there are very specific restrictions and commands over what the forces of evil can and cannot do on this earth. They are being actively restrained on account of the awesome might and irresistible power of God Himself.
As believers in Jesus, we have a secure and Blessed Hope. Even though the study of these biblical end times is spiritually edifying in itself for us, it is nonetheless deadly serious in its implications. None of us today should be under any illusions as to how very bitter this period we are currently living through is going to increasingly become-as we approach the Tribulation period.
This final hour will be characterized by severe testing and hardship, and it is an hour that is almost upon us. There has simply been no period in previous human history with which to compare it, nor will there ever be again. No comparison can be made in terms of the pain and suffering it will bring, the terrible number of innocents who will lose their lives; the vast and completeness of the destruction of this final hour and the sheer scale of the evil that will be unleashed and manifested upon this earth-both visible and invisible.
The horrendous apocalyptic events, the privation, persecution and martyrdom are all going to be very real indeed for those living through it. It will be a time of unrestrained horror and few who witness its beginning will live to see its ending (Matthew 24:22). We are witnesses today to the increasing daily encroachment of this evil into our world, which is also a sure sign of the judgment of abandonment.
It is sobering indeed to think that before the removal of the Church, as those final days draw closer and closer, there is a real and growing possibility that we may all individually experience first-hand the beginnings of the great persecution and the horrors that will characterize it.
Darkness is overcoming this world, and it is bringing with it a visceral hatred for those who genuinely believe in and love Jesus. We are witnesses today to the increasing abandonment of our society because God is giving people in active rebellion to Him over to a reprobate mind.
The current raging debates surrounding LGBTQ+ issues, who can or cannot use locker rooms, at what age a child should be able to "transition" from a male to a female, are all symptomatic of this and indicative of how late this hour really is. The intensity of such discussions, which are becoming increasingly militant, is because God is increasingly giving people over to the desires of their hearts:
"Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts." (Romans 1:26)
Yet God does not give them over to this reprobate mind simply because of their immorality, but also because they refuse to honor God as He should be honored-as King, as God omnipotent and as the Creator:
"Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done." (Romans 1:28)
This ever-growing hatred for true believers is only going to increase and will find its ultimate expression in the mass Christian genocide of the Tribulation period under the direct hand of Antichrist himself. (These are the Tribulation saints; those who are saved after the Rapture.)
Yet when we consider the Tribulation and its horrors, we must consider one important fact; this period in time is a part of God's master plan to finally bring to an end the satanic rebellion that began in the Garden all those many millennia ago. In doing so, God will once again bring complete restoration to the universe, to this earth and to humanity itself. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then this means complete restoration for you also.
"Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." (1 John 3:2)
Few Christians today have a realistic, conceptual understanding of what Jesus Christ actually did for them on the cross, aside from "forgiving our sins." Jesus Christ has restored you. He has made you complete before God, sinless and perfect. As a believer, you have been adopted into the inner sanctum of God's family, a position you will hold for all eternity. You have become part of a royal priesthood, a peculiar people. When the Lord God comes near to you, He smells the fragrance of Jesus upon you; and when He looks upon you, He sees the radiance of Jesus covering you. The righteousness belonging to God's Son has been imparted to you, forever:
"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." (Romans 3:22)
As if this were not enough, Jesus Christ has also made you perfect, spiritually and physically. That this achievement of physical perfection has not occurred yet does not change the reality of it. It is as certain as eternal life is for those who believe in the power of His name:
"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." (John 1:12)
Your eternal life, though lived in the future, is not something you will "collect" at some point after death, it is a present possession right here, right now.
Though we are currently below the angels, of all their various ranks and powers, in His victory at the cross and in His resurrection, Jesus became in His humanity superior to all angels in every way:
"...who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him." (1 Peter 3:22)
As believers in Jesus we share in this superior position and will do so in the future; experientially, not just in rank but also in abilities. Some of us will actually sit in judgment on fallen angels. (1 Corinthians 6:3)
Although it is unclear whether as resurrected believers we would have any part in physically casting these fallen angels into the abyss (in Scripture it is always angels fulfilling this role), there is no doubt when as resurrected believers the superior properties of our resurrected bodies would mean that we would be certainly capable of doing so (Isaiah 24:21-22).
Jesus has seated you next to Him, in the heavenly realms, now and for all time to come:
"And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus." (Ephesians 2:6)
That verse confirms our future. It is your future in Jesus Christ. But first comes tribulation for this world. There is a heated debate raging within Christianity as to the exact timing of the Rapture of the Church, which is not going to be examined here. What I do intend to state with a degree of certainty is that things will never be as free and as easy as they are for Christians right now.
You are never going to be as free to witness to the lost or as able to step out in faith without fear of consequence as you can right now. Our God, who pulled you from the fire and saved you, though you were steeped in sin, still loves the rest of humanity deeply. He loves each and every person in it, right down to the most abhorrent and despicable.
He has tarried so long because of His deep love, because he wants all people to be saved:
"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)
It is exactly because of this love that God allows each person the freedom to decide for themselves what they think is good. If a person chooses friendship with God through Jesus Christ, then he will come and make his home with that person. If an individual chooses to walk away from God and follow their own path, God will allow it.
But there will be consequences. One of which we are witnesses of today, which is-the increasing corporate abandonment of this nation and other Western nations to their own sin:
"Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (Galatians 6:7)
The singular focus of our lives, at this late hour, should be as Jude admonished:
"...save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear-hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh." (Jude 1:23)
We are living in a war and it is growing in intensity all around us, every day. It is also rapidly drawing to a conclusion. It may be your testimony alone that proves the eternal difference for individuals who even now stand on the edge of the literal abyss.
Charles. H Spurgeon once said, "The gospel is like a caged lion. It does not need to be defended, it simply needs to be let out its cage!"
In these last days this is our task, this is our mandate:
"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19)
Let the gospel out of its cage and watch it run free! Time is short.
What is Hezbollah planning for the Third Lebanon War? - ByYaakov Katz - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Editors-Notes-The-looming-third-Lebanon-War-488526
As Syria continues to disintegrate, the chances increase that a new conflict with Hezbollah will erupt.
In Military Intelligence they call it "Fire-by-Six," a reference to the dramatic transformation of Hezbollah's rocket and missile arsenal in the 10 years that have passed since the Second Lebanon War.
The first change is in quantity. In 2006, Hezbollah had approximately 15,000 rockets, of which it fired about 4,300 rockets during the 34 days of fighting, an average of 130 a day.
Today, the Iranian-backed group is believed to have around 130,000 rockets and missiles, and is expected to be able to fire approximately 1,000 a day in a future war.
The next five changes are in quality. Hezbollah's missiles today have, for example, a longer range. In 2006, the group could strike Haifa and north. Today it can strike almost anywhere it wants within Israel. The missiles also have larger warheads, greater accuracy, and the ability to launch from deeper inside enemy territory, and not just from southern Lebanon as in 2006. In some cases, it can even fire the missiles from within fortified and underground silos.
One example is the M-600. Made in Syria, the M-600 is a clone of an Iranian missile called the Fateh-110, with a range of about of 300 km. and a 500-kg warhead. It is also equipped with a sophisticated navigation system, meaning that Hezbollah can strike any target it wants to.
Israel believes that Hezbollah has several hundred M-600s stored in underground silos and homes throughout central and southern Lebanon. The terrorist group is also believed to have a handful of Scud missiles, including the advanced Scud D it received from Syria which has a range of 700 km.
This puts the Knesset in Jerusalem, the nuclear reactor in Dimona, and the power plant in Ashkelon all within Hezbollah's range.
Hezbollah has also improved its capabilities on the ground - it has around 5,000 guerrillas currently fighting in Syria, and while some 2,500 have been killed and another 6,000 or so have been wounded, the organization has gained real battlefield experience, meaning that it will be an even more difficult adversary in a future ground war.
The prevailing assessment in the IDF is that Hezbollah will fire its long-range missiles early on in the next war, the result of two motivating factors: first, the group will want to inflict great damage and devastation on Israel as quickly as possible. Second, it remembers the first night of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when the IDF destroyed most of its long-range missile stockpiles in a preemptive air campaign. Next time, it will want to use the missiles before they can be destroyed by Israel.
This expected devastation is something Israel has never experienced, and the likely high number of casualties will shock the nation. While Israel has made impressive leaps in its development of missile defense systems in recent years with the deployment of Iron Dome and more recently David's Sling, these systems will be busy protecting strategic installations such as military bases, airports and power plants, and will not be able to intercept every missile launched into an Israeli town or city.
That means if Israel wants to minimize the extent of the missile onslaught, it will need to be far more aggressive than it has ever been in the past.
One possibility would be targeting the Lebanese national infrastructure. This idea was raised in 2006, but was nixed when the government decided to distinguish between Hezbollah and the Lebanese government, based on an understanding then that Hezbollah was a small organization primarily focused on operations in southern Lebanon. In addition, the Bush administration was working hard to bolster Fouad Siniora, then Lebanon's prime minister, and would not have been happy with massive Israeli bombardments throughout the country.
What this meant in practice is that while the IAF bombed a runway at the Beirut International Airport as well as a few bridges throughout southern Lebanon, it held back from striking power plants, water facilities and military bases. The runway and bridges were bombed to prevent Hezbollah from being able to move the two abducted IDF soldiers out of the country and from receiving new weapon shipments from Iran.
A lot has changed since 2006. Today, a growing number of officers in the IDF, including Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, as well as some members of the security cabinet, are openly pushing for a change to Israel's approach in the event of war. This is based on the understanding that Hezbollah today is not like it was in 2006, when it could be written off as a small scale guerrilla organization that happens to be located in Lebanon. Today, nothing happens in Lebanon without Hezbollah's approval. Its members are in the cabinet, and the organization effectively controls the country.
Lebanon's president, Michel Aoun, basically said as much in a recent interview he gave Egyptian media during his visit to Cairo two months ago. "Hezbollah is a significant part of the Lebanese people," Aoun said.
"Hezbollah's weapons do not contradict the national project... and are, rather, a principal element of Lebanon's defense."
That is why in a future war, Eisenkot and those ministers see no reason to distinguish between Lebanon and Hezbollah - they are one and the same, and as a result, so are the targets.
Questions remain, however, about the utility of such strikes. Those opposed to them argue that attacking the national infrastructure will turn Sunni forces in the region against Israel, which will need those forces to help stabilize Lebanon following a war. Those in favor of such strikes believe that they will deter Hezbollah from future attacks, and motivate other actors in the country to restrain the group.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah also remembers what happened in 2006, and how the war ruined the Lebanese tourism industry and economy. As it is, Hezbollah is under criticism in Lebanon for siding with Bashar Assad and fighting on his behalf in Syria. A new war, even more devastating than the last, would not be easily forgiven by the Lebanese people, who could take to the streets in an Arab Spring-like protest to try to get rid of Hezbollah once and for all.
Whatever is decided about Lebanon's national infrastructure, Israel is unlikely to respond to Hezbollah aggression with a gradual escalation scale as it did in 2006 or in the various anti-Hamas operations it has fought in the Gaza Strip.
During those operations, the IDF traditionally started with a week or two of aerial operations, and only then - if that didn't work - sent in the troops. Due to the extent of Hezbollah's missile arsenal, Israel will need to hit the organization with everything it has from the beginning - on the ground, at sea, in the air and in online cyberwarfare as well.
Why is any of this relevant today? Because as Syria continues to disintegrate, the chances increase that a new conflict with Hezbollah will erupt.
Israel's attack against an arms depot in Syria in March demonstrates just how fragile the situation is. Imagine for a moment that one of the Israeli fighter jets had been shot down by the missile Syria launched in retaliation to the Israeli air incursion. Or that the missile had struck an Israeli town. How would Israel have responded, and how would Syria and Hezbollah have responded in return? This is a slippery slope that has the IDF and the security cabinet on edge, with some officials openly speaking about a preemptive war under which Israel would strike first to significantly degrade Hezbollah's capabilities before they could be used in a full-fledged conflict.
Now don't get me wrong. As strong as Hezbollah might be, Israel is significantly stronger and whatever damage Hezbollah can inflict on Israel, Israel can inflict far worse on Hezbollah. It is also important to keep in mind that for all its rockets and missiles, Hezbollah can not conquer and hold on to - for an extended period of time - a single village along the northern border. It can inflict damage and cause casualties, but it is nowhere near becoming an existential threat for the State of Israel.
Either way, in a volatile region like the Middle East, Israel needs to be prepared. The Third Lebanon War is looming on the horizon.
US envoy: Iran and Hezbollah want to destabilize the Mideast - By Edith M. Lederer - http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-envoy-iran-hezbollah-destabilize-mideast-46922415
U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley accused Iran and its ally Hezbollah on Thursday of conspiring to destabilize the Middle East - a charge "categorically" rejected by Iran's U.N. envoy as a misleading propaganda campaign perpetrated by Israel and others in the region.
Haley is the current Security Council president and she asked members to focus on the factors causing conflicts across the region during their monthly meeting on the situation in the Middle East instead of engaging in what she called routine "Israel bashing."
Her targets at the open meeting, where over 50 countries spoke, were Iran and Hezbollah who are supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, training "deadly militias" in Iraq and arming Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen.
"For decades, they have committed terrorist acts across the region," Haley said.
"Iran is using Hezbollah to advance its regional aspirations," she said. "They are working together to expand extremist ideologies in the Middle East. This is a threat that should be dominating our discussion at this Security Council."
Iranian Ambassador Gholamali Khoshroo minced no words when it was his turn to speak, accusing the U.S. and Israel of seeking "to remove the Palestinian issue that is central to all the conflicts in the Middle East from these open debates."
As for the U.S. accusations, he dismissed them as "unsubstantiated allegations ... designed and perpetrated hysterically by Israel and certain countries in the region including those who fully supported Saddam Hussein's aggression against Iran." Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations backed Saddam in the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.
Only one of the 14 other Security Council members mentioned Iran while they all talked about the current worsening state of the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well as Syria.
Nickolay Mladenov, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, didn't mention Iran either - just Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iraq, Yemen.
He stressed that a two-state solution in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "remains a potent symbol and rallying cry that is easily misappropriated and exploited by extremist groups."
Haley thanked him "for going beyond the usual Israel bashing" and looking at the broader issues.
British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, the only council member to mention Iran, also accused that nation of playing "a destabilizing role in the region," especially in Syria. He cited a U.N. report saying Iran supplies all the weapons and missiles to the Assad government.
But Rycroft also focused on this year's 50th anniversary of the Six Day War between the Arabs and Israel.
"This year either we move towards peace, with the strongest support of the region and the international community, or we face an uncertain and dangerous future," he warned. "Unless the parties show leadership, including the willingness to make tough compromises, the risk of terrorism and instability will increase. Israelis and Palestinians cannot afford another 50 years of that."
Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador, Petr Iliichev, said Moscow wanted "to express our categorical disagreement with the attempts to tailor this meeting to the domestic context and exclusively to American foreign policy focus."
He questioned why the U.S. in a "concept note" for the meeting remained silent on the Palestinian question and didn't mention threats from extremist groups like the Islamic State and the former Nusra Front "who cause suffering to civilians in Syria, Iraq and Libya."
"Indeed we're invited to consider as terrorists those who are fighting these groups," he said.
As for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he called for coordinated efforts on a Middle East settlement and repeated Russia's offer to host a meeting in Moscow between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to start direct negotiations.
Haley, predictably, got strong backing from Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon.
"Where there is terror. Where there is death. Where there is complete disregard for human life, there is Iran," Danon told the council.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also sharply criticized Iran and Hezbollah.
Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador, thanked almost every speaker for keeping the Palestinian question at the center of the debate and speaking out strongly in support of a two-state solution.
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey - www.hallindsey.com
The world held its breath on Saturday, April 15, when North Korea celebrated "The Day of the Sun." That was the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung. He was the founder of the repressive communist regime that we know as North Korea.
He was also the grandfather of its current loony-in-charge, Kim Jong-un.
There was reasonable speculation that Kim would test a nuclear device on that day to demonstrate to the world his defiance and North Korea's menacing prowess.
There was also reasonable speculation that the United States might respond militarily. After all, the U.S. had just dropped a MOAB -- the "Mother of All Bombs" -- on the tunnels and caves of the Taliban and ISIS in Afghanistan.
We also know that North Korea conducts its nuclear weapons program from tunnels and caves near its coast. Was the recent use of MOAB just a coincidence? Or was President Trump sending Kim Jong-un a warning?
In the end, Kim opted for testing a missile instead. He probably regrets that now. The missile launch failed after just four seconds.
Of course, the U.S. isn't the only nation in the world where the media manipulates the news. Footage of the launch failure was withheld and I'm sure the population of North Korea continues to think the test was a brilliant success.
But Kim's failure isn't much reason for celebration. In fact, I wonder if the humiliation might spur him to make up for it and try something else to shake up the world.
The BBC reports that North Korea has "a fleet of about 70 submarines." We know Kim has, at least, some crude nuclear devices that could conceivably be delivered via submarine to the coasts of various nations around the world.
So until the question of North Korea is resolved, the world will rightfully continue to be a bit on edge over Kim and his toy chest of missiles and nukes.
But there may be a little progress on that front. After Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent visit with President Trump in Florida, China seems to be more willing to use its relationship with North Korea to tackle the issue. Or, at least, put a lid on it.
Only time will tell, though.
Speaking of unresolved issues. Syria continues to top that list.
Following a brutal chemical attack on the rebel stronghold of Khan Shaykhun that left scores dead, including dozens of children, President Trump ordered an attack on the Syrian airbase from which the attack was purportedly launched.
In the span of one minute, 59 Tomahawk missiles rained down on the airfield in western Syria. Mostly aircraft and and support facilities were destroyed, but the attack sent a shocking message to the world: the rules of engagement have changed.
The following week, the United States dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on a series of tunnels and caves in eastern Afghanistan. In the raid, many tunnels were destroyed and almost 100 ISIS fighters were killed. No civilians died.
The world in general seemed appreciative. However, quite a number of American celebrities and leftists were mortified. No surprise.
Many of them accused the President of using a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD) in Afghanistan. And that's generally considered to be a war crime.
Clearly, though, the MOAB -- as impressive and destructive as it is -- does not qualify as a WMD. Far from it! However, it is undeniably effective, both as a weapon of war and as a warning to other criminal forces who attempt to hide their activities beneath the earth, i.e., North Korea and, perhaps, Iran.
One thing is certain, though. The American actions in the last few weeks have put the world on notice that things have changed. It appears that America is back as a stabilizing force in the world.
In my "Watchman Warning" on www.hallindsey.com last week, I wrote, "The world staggers like a drunk on the edge of a cliff." It desperately needs a strong -- and moral -- America for stability. But, even more than that, it needs God's help and intervention as never before.
So does America. The Washington Post reports that because Seattle is experiencing an epidemic of drug overdoses, it is creating "safe sites for addicts to inject illegal drugs."
Remember the drug craze of the late 60s? In 1968, we were horrified that 5,000 Americans died of drug overdoses.
In 2015, 52,000 Americans died of drug overdoses. No media outcry. Only yawns and sexual harassment lawsuits.
The Bible expressly predicts that one of the distinct signs of the end times will be a dramatic increase in drug use and our dependence on drugs.
In 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy declared that the famous "war on drugs" had failed. Today, there are popular television series in which the hero or heroes model drug dependency for their young viewers.
Accepting drug abuse means thousands of young people will die every year who need not have died. It also means the destruction of families and will ultimately lead to the death of our stable society.
Finally, I want to take a last look at the Resurrection this week.
One Easter Sunday I remember looking around the sanctuary where we celebrated the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I thought, "If this day did not happen, then we are nothing but a room full of fools. For we are following a liar. Or a lunatic."
The Resurrection of Jesus from the dead is a central tenet of the Christian faith. Remove it and there's little left.
That's because the veracity of everything else Jesus said and taught depends upon His declaration that He would rise from the dead. If He lied about that, how can we trust anything else He said?
Without the truth of the Resurrection, you can't even call Jesus a wonderful teacher or a great man.
People who cannot accept His claim of deity often say they still regard Jesus as a great philosopher and humanist; a dedicated teacher of truth. But that isn't even a credible option!
If a man claims to be God and isn't... if he offers to forgive sin and can't... if his claim to be the promised Messiah is false... then he is not a great teacher of truth. Jesus was either a liar and a charlatan, a pitiful, deluded fool, or He was who He claimed to be: the long-awaited Messiah-King of Israel.
Thank God that the record of historical evidence -- and the weight of fulfilled prophecy -- show why no other figure in all of human history has ever, or could ever, qualify to be the promised Messiah of God. Only Jesus of Nazareth.
This week, I will examine some of that evidence.
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, The Word Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings.
A NOTE FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO WATCH "THE HAL LINDSEY REPORT" ON TBN: Remember, the Report is now seen 30 minutes later, beginning at 6:00 pm Pacific/9:00 pm Eastern each Friday.
The Church Is A Buffer - by Grant Phillips - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/04/20/the-church-is-a-buffer/
The true Church on earth consists of people from all walks of life. There are different labels over the door of their assemblies. They may not even be part of a local group of organized believers meeting in what is commonly called a church (building). They all have one thing in common though. All have put their eternal soul in God's hands by their belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. They all believe that Jesus died for them and walked out of the grave just as He said He would. They are all sealed with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter that Jesus promised.
Jesus lives through His Church, and He is the Head of the Church. The Church is His bride who He will soon return to claim and transfer to His Father's house. While on this earth, the true Church, sprinkled in many geographic locations, witnesses and prays for others, that they may also know Him and be with Him for all eternity.
Since Satan's days are quickly running out, he has gone into full battle mode against the Church in America as he has elsewhere. This once Christian nation has become a cesspool of rebellion against the one and only true God. Satan is working in overdrive to destroy any witness the Church may have on others who do not know Jesus. He is like a spider that lures unsuspecting souls into his web of lies, binding them in their entrapment and killing them off at the end.
The voice of the Church was once heard loud and clear in America, but now the voice is not so loud, and the waters of truth have been muddied by false prophets and satanic lies. A fundamentalist Christian is today classified along with a fundamentalist Muslim. In other words, both are crazed lunatics, so says the world.
What is fundamentalism? To make it easier, maybe we should ask, "What does fundamental mean (since fundamental is the root word of fundamentalism)?" I'll explain it with an example. Two very important fundamentals of football are; blocking, tackling. If the players do not know how to block and tackle, the game will fall apart. If basketball players can't dribble a basketball, there will be nothing but chaos. The chess player must know what manner of move each piece on the chessboard can make, or there will be a quick defeat.
Fundamentals are the basics. They're sometimes called; meat and potatoes or nuts and bolts. The fundamentals hold it all together and cannot be altered.
The fundamentals for Christianity are those commands of God, in the Bible, that cannot be altered. For example:
God says there is one way to be saved, and that is through Jesus Christ. Regardless of what the world says, that cannot be altered.
God says that all have sinned against God and will face judgment if without Christ. That cannot be altered.
God says that we are saved by grace and not works. That cannot be altered.
No true Christian would ever try to force Christianity down someone's throat. Yet we are classified with a group of people who will take your life if you do not convert to their religion. That is their foundational belief and it cannot be altered. Those in their religion, who do not believe and practice that, are not being true to their own fundamentals.
The world still wants to stop the voice of true Christianity and follow the voice of Islam. Now why is that? Maybe it has something to do with Satan knowing he is running out of time. So which of the two fundamentalist are actually a crazed lunatic? (Hint: It isn't the fundamentalist Christian.)
The world wants the Church gone, just as the nations surrounding Israel want her gone. Israel's enemies will never succeed, and they will be dealt with personally by God, possibly very soon. What about the Church?
The Holy Spirit through the true Church is the only thing standing between sanity and lunacy, and the world doesn't even realize the danger approaching. As I said, the world wants the Church gone. Someone once said, "Be careful what you wish for." That day is fast approaching. When? Don't know, but it could be at any time. Jesus says He will come for His bride as a thief comes to break into one's house. There will be no announcement. There will be no signs, but it will happen.
Right now, the Church is still here. The Christian needs to warn as many as possible of the coming judgment of God. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord, call upon Him now to open your eyes while you open your heart to His invitation. Heed His call to you while you can. Once the Church is gone it will be much harder, perhaps impossible, for you to be saved.
When Jesus comes for His bride (the true Church), the Holy Spirit (the restrainer) will be taken out of the way and then the wicked one (the Antichrist) will be revealed to those left behind. (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12)
Those who are left behind will then be wishing for the "good old days" when the Church was still upon earth.
There are many false prophets today calling themselves "Christian." If you don't know someone you can trust, I would advise the following; Get a Bible. Ask Jesus to save you. Then ask Him to lead you in understanding as the Holy Spirit guides you in reading your Bible. Start with the book of John.
One more time, currently the Holy Spirit works through the Church to provide a buffer (if I may), but once the Church is gone, all the evil Satan can produce will be unleashed upon mankind. Currently, evil is rearing its ugly head and getting worse by the day, but what we are seeing today is nothing compared to what is coming during the seven years of Tribulation on earth.
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
Hell Is the Default Destination - By J. D. Greear - http://churchleaders.com/outreach-missions/outreach-missions-articles/301595-hell-default-destination-jd-greear.html
Most people assume that as long as they don't mess things up in their time here on earth, they'll go to heaven when they die. But Scripture says the opposite. God created us for heaven, but the rebellion of the human race, in which we are all participating, has destined us for hell.
Hell, not heaven, is our default destination.
Notice the breadth of who is described as going to hell in Revelation 21:8: "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (ESV).
Included in that list are the ones you'd expect: murderers, sorcerers, etc. The "really bad" guys. But it also includes a lot of people who could be found in the church, like:
Hell is an eternal place of torment, and all of us-no matter where we fall in that list-are deserving of its agony. That reality makes me think of the words of Charles Spurgeon: "These are such weighty things, such that when I dwell upon them, I feel far more inclined to sit down and weep than to stand up and speak to you."
The images described in Revelation are awful, including fire and burning sulfur. There is some question as to what is metaphorical and what is literal in Revelation, but even if these things are symbols, whatever they are pointing to is unspeakably awful.
And, we have to assume hell is eternal, because the same word that is used for "everlasting life" is used for "everlasting death."
You say, "But how is that fair? An eternity in hell for only 70 years of sin?"
Sin gains its wickedness by the one it's committed against. If you punch a hole in a wall, you have to pay for the wall. If you punch a dog, that's worse. If you punch the woman behind you in the grocery line, you're going to jail. If you approach the Queen of England with your fists raised, something worse than jail may happen to you. Sin against an infinitely holy God is infinitely wicked.
You say, "Why can't God just let it go?" Because he is just. And justice demands restitution in some way. The desire we all have for God to ultimately right all wrongs and restore justice to the universe-that necessitates judgment.
You say, "Well, why doesn't God do something about it?" He has! He put on Jesus the full punishment for our sin. He took on every single ounce of it so nothing would be left for us.
There are only two ways to pay for sin: The eternal Son of God can die for it, or we can pay for it eternally in hell.
And if we don't receive what he has offered to us-the free gift of salvation through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross-then what other choice does God have? If we won't accept salvation, if we continue to push God away, if we insist on subverting his will and exalting our own, what more can God do? As C.S. Lewis said, there are, in the end, only two groups of people-those who say to God, "Your will be done," and those to whom God says, "Your will be done." Hell is a door locked from the inside.
The predominant image of hell in the Bible is that of fire. Fire represents insatiable desire. Leave a fire unchecked, and it continues to grow. Nurse a particular sin-jealousy, lust, racism, pride-and that fire will eventually consume you, burning brighter and brighter until you are indistinguishable from it. Hell is the place where God removes his hand and allows you to become your sin.
But it doesn't have to be that way for you.
Look at how John ends Revelation: "The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.' And let the one who hears say, 'Come.' And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price" (Revelation 22:17).
The last voice you will hear as you step out into a godless eternity is Jesus', pleading with you to take his hand, to receive life, to come.
Daily Jot: Freedom of speech and of religion - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The First Amendment to the US Constitution reads: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Yet our society in America seems to have come to a point where free speech is fine so long as you don't disagree with anything the news media, leftists, leftist politicians or certain political parties say. Then you are labeled a racist, bigot, homophobe, xenophobe, Islamophobe, misogynist, or some such other slur-especially if you respond with facts. Its free speech they say-that is, to insult you.
These folks would limit your free speech. Some of them think that people who voice concern about the flawed science of global warming should be put in jail. Others say that citing the Koran as the reason Islamists kill Christians, Jews and other infidels is hate speech and bigotry. Many believe that those who want people to immigrate to the United States legally are racists. If you believe that the safest place for a baby is the mother's womb, many consider you someone who is trying to take away women's health rights. These people have somehow taken what they consider a moral high ground and have boxed in those who disagree with their nonsense. Apply facts to support your ideals and you invite a personal attack.
If this isn't hate speech, it certainly is hateful speech. But it is free speech according to the shrill voices that accuse others of bullying while they, themselves, are the biggest bullies. When you or I make a statement based on facts, they immediately say we should have no voice, that we are hateful, and apply a label. Who gives them this right? In reality, free speech and free exercise of religion have their foundation in God's word. It is the laws of God that give us freedom. Galatians 5:1 says, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty with which Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage." Liberty, freedom, free will, life abundantly springs eternal from God. The labels applied to us by these hateful people are of sin. They have no moral ground. Yet they claim they are crusading for social justice.
Proverbs 28:4,5 says, "They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. Evil men understand not justice: but they that seek the LORD understand all things." These folks couldn't truly define social justice because they do not understand justice or from whom the law came. Freedom of speech and of religion comes with a responsibility to exercise such in reverence to Godly principles of love, truth, honor and justice. Those who do not know the one true God have no foundation to speak. We must do a better job. How? It comes through the free exercise of speech and religion as Ephesians 6:19 exhorts: "that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel."
Daily Devotion: Go Tell Peter - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
But go, tell His disciples-and Peter-that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you. -Mark 16:7
Perhaps the most notable of Jesus' resurrection appearances is when He met Simon Peter. We all know how Peter denied and deserted the Lord. Peter was devastated by his own unfaithfulness; and he really needed encouragement.
The last sight Peter had of his Lord was as Jesus was taken away for trial. Poor Peter, his world came crashing in on him. He had so many regrets. He was never even able to tell the Lord he was sorry.
But the Resurrection of Jesus changed all of that. Peter heard the incredible message, "But go, tell His disciples-and Peter-that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you" (Mark 16:7).
Isn't that amazing? Here is the Lord directly responding to the doubts, fears, and regrets of one of His followers. The message was not, "Go tell the disciples and James He is risen." Or, "Go tell the disciples and John He is risen." Or, "Tell the disciples and Matthew He is risen." No, it was, "Tell the disciples and Peter He is risen."
More than the rest of the disciples, Peter needed reassurance. His risen Lord knew that, and knew how to restore his faith.
FROM THE HEART
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