Prophecy Update Newsletter
April 28, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Man for Such a Time as This - By Steve Schmutzer - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/04/27/the-man-for-such-a-time-as-this-by-steve-schmutzer/
The events and reactions surrounding President Trump's election may lend some perspective on portions of God's prophetic Word. Let me explain what I mean.
In the short time since a large number of this nation's voters soundly rejected a globalist agenda, I've watched the antics of the left with amusement and alarm. On one hand, they've reduced themselves to torrents of outright contradictions. On the other, they spew venom for which there's no earthly antidote. At minimum, it is intellectual inconsistency, but I feel the matter is much closer to dedicated depravity.
Regardless of which response captures our attention the danger is that these people believe they're right. Their intolerance of views unlike their own become a rabid determination to impose their values on others. And if anything is clear since November 8, 2016, it is this: The left justifies every means to achieve its agenda.
The disorderly Michael Moore is a case in point. He tweeted shortly after the election, "He's not president for four and a half weeks. Next idea?"
I'll translate, "We can still stop this! Our temper tantrums haven't gained us sympathy and the recount campaigns backfired on us, but there's no need to panic. Our deceptive propaganda and death threats to the electors didn't work either, but we've still got time to ignore the rules. So, what other lawless actions can we scheme to disrupt the inauguration of Trump as president?"
January 20th has come and gone. Donald Trump is our legally-elected president, but that has not assuaged the left. Millions of deranged progressives feel exactly as Michael Moor, and some of them are openly calling for Trump's assassination. There were over 12,000 such threats last I heard, and there will certainly be more. These sore losers feel justified in their despicable motives, because again-they think they are right!
The left's conclusions do not emerge from confusion. They are birthed in hate.
Liberals spout a kumbayah tolerance and acceptance, but the real truth is they hate anything and anybody that doesn't conform to their agenda. They're hard-pressed to have civil discussions with anyone who holds a different view. Those on the left are more likely to attack those who do not agree with them because they think alternate views are wrong.
Doubt me? Try standing up for Jesus, unborn babies, strong borders or gun rights on social media. Defend marriage as being between one man and one woman. Support Israel and see what happens. You'll face an assault on your intellect, your reputation, your genetics, and even your right to exist.
Those of us who subscribe to responsible views often fail to fully-recognize the intensity of this brewing storm. We feel secure behind our walls of tradition, order, and law-even as these institutions rapidly erode. While we boost with our like-minded friends congratulatory tributes since the election, we underestimate the intense hatred the globalists have cultivated against our values.
The truth is, two different sets of rules play out now-one for each side. Although the right has been deeply despaired with the elections of Obama, and with his "Make America Weak" policies, they never rioted in the streets, burned businesses, beat up bystanders, threatened to kill electors, shot cops, formed filthy communes in public places, encouraged assassinations, promoted anarchy, bankrolled mobs, shut down free speech, nor asked for safe rooms, teddy bears, pet therapy, and Play-Doh. The right is imperfect, but the conduct of the left is outrageously wrong.
It's self-evident that liberals embrace whatever means serve their intentions, and if that requires them to abandon rules of decorum, so be it. They'll shriek at Trump for his hesitation to support a Hillary win, then bawl "ad nauseam" that he's an illegitimate president. This same double standard applauds Obama's myriad of executive orders, but screams bloody murder when Trump signs his own to point our country back toward sanity.
Eight years of strategic attacks on sound morals, personal responsibility and godly standards have fractured our country's most important foundations. America is now a grossly divided nation, and specific events through this period haven't exposed this disunion as much as they've fostered it.
I know I speak for many when I say, "But I haven't changed!" I've always been a supporter of Israel, a proponent of legal immigration, and an advocate of the nuclear family. I continue to believe in traditional marriage, the right to own guns, and freedom of expression. I think the government should be limited and business opportunities should be expanded. Unborn babies deserve to be protected, and criminals deserve to be prosecuted. I feel nations are better off when they are strong and sovereign, and secure borders have always been part of that equation.
There was a time when most Americans regarded these issues as I do, because my views are not partisan. They are based on common sense. But most elements of common sense decency launch the left into a hedonistic rage since Donald Trump appeared first announce his candidacy for president.
It's not that the left doesn't understand the tenets of logic and virtue, but rather-they don't want them. This is why progressives are engaged in a calculated war against all things reasonable, noble, and proper.
How can we possibly comprehend what is happening here?
A number of Scriptures describe the future attitudes and behaviors of "those that dwell upon the earth" (Revelation 3:10; 6:10; 8:13, 11:10; et al). They're prophetic insights into the globalist dogma in the final years before Christ's Second Advent; they seem to describe what we're seeing and hearing now.
While these passages lay out the character of those who have rejected Christ and are forced to endure the judgements of the Tribulation, they also link the irresponsible spiritual choices of those within this group with their consequent senselessness. The first situation results in the second one.
The Bible affirms itself, so let's take a look at traits related in verses of Romans 1:18-32. They read like today's news, and it explains some of the mindless antics we've seen from the left lately.
The text describes a descent into full-blown depravity, beginning with a choice to "suppress the truth by their wickedness." Those who do this refuse to acknowledge the plain evidence of the Creator who is all around them. According to what is written in the book of Romans this evidence is sufficient to damn one's soul-since it points to who God is and what He has done.
This is partly why the angel's "eternal gospel" which is proclaimed to "those who dwell upon the earth" in Revelation 14:6-7, emphasizes God's role in creation. When God made the world He was not just making a nice place to live. He was saying something very important about Himself to all who live in it.
But when people choose to be wrong with God, it naturally follows they will be wrong with everything else. That's why "futile thinking" results from refusing God His rightful place. Such people would rather believe they came from a glop of goo than believe there is an Almighty God who created them in His own image.
This is a slippery slope, but it's just the start. According to the book of Romans, these people become delusional. They display irrational beliefs and behaviors. Delusional people resist truth and corrective interventions because they think they're right even when most people know they're wrong.
Does this hit the bullseye or what?
It's useless to argue with the far left because they're already convinced of things that make no sense. Moreover, they believe they are wise, educated, and civilized-while anyone who is not like them is primitive, racist, and all together dangerous.
Verses 1:21-22 in Romans reference such people as "fools." One translation says "they became insane." Either works for me. Liberals fight for the rights of rats while they excoriate anyone who defends unborn humans. The left have it all backward. They esteem earth's lowest creatures even as they despise their Creator. This is misguided godless fervor.
Man is inherently religious because he was made that way. He must worship something, and if he rejects God he will choose to give reverence to creation and the creatures within it. In this process, he will also see himself as a "god," presiding over the planet, and believing he can, and should-control it. He will expect others to conform to his ideals, and he'll rigorously proselytize these notions because his values refuse to bow to righteous standards.
What we are on the inside inevitably shows up in how we act on the outside, and according to what is recorded in Romans; the society that consciously rejects God is one wherein the expressions and forces of homosexuality rise. It was true for Sodom and Gomorrah long ago, and it's true for America now. It's no coincidence that our last president said "We are no longer a Christian nation." Then subsequently bathed the White House in the rainbow colors of the gay community.
This sepsis of moral decay infects America on many levels now, as the left celebrates corruption, endorses deceit, supports injustice, applauds chaos, and plots evil to unprecedented proportions. It's all in plain sight. Their choices to deny God have culminated in frank depravities which are now their norm.
Beneath the left's erratic frenzies, behind their constant lies and within their perpetual tantrums rests this one fact: They don't want God. They don't want His rules, His values, His followers, nor His chosen people of Israel. They don't want any element of Him that challenges their choices or forces an honest look in the mirror. They don't want God now, and they won't want Him later as the world continues to implode.
In the same way that unregenerate Man understands God is the Creator now, he will absolutely know that God is the Judge in the future (Revelation 16:9, 11, 21, et al). The world that God put together will be the world He destroys, and "those that dwell upon the earth" will see both displays to the same effect.
The evidence of God will be just as plain to humanity at the end of time (as we know it), as it has been since the beginning of time. But it will make little difference. The reactions of the deranged masses in the future will just be a whole lot more of what we see now.
And that end is coming into focus. Progressives have already embraced the fundamentals of the Antichrist's one world political system. Five years ago, we hardly heard a word about "globalism," but today it's the shiny "new" paradigm by which all the left's passions are measured. It's not really new at all, but where biblical wisdom is absent, foolish ideals are repeated.
The globalists desperately want a one world government and proofs of this are stout. They advance the sketchy premises of climate change in order to enforce a universal set of rules. They promote dissolution of borders to blur sovereign territories. They over-regulate economies to weaken nations. They violate basic laws to incite chaos and promote controls on society, and they defend illegal immigration to overwhelm political and legal systems and to introduce confusion.
Most notably, the left abhors Christians, and they covet any opportunity to suppress the power of the Bible. Sensible Judeo-Christian values which find origin within the divinely-inspired pages of God's Word restrain the agenda of the left. This is partly why the left hates Jesus (Mark 13:13), and His followers. They will stop at nothing to subdue those who would challenge their pagan Orwellian utopia.
William Golding's classic book, Lord of the Flies, is a dark story of a group of boys who became stranded on an island after a plane crash. What started as their wonderful adventure descended into full-blown barbarity. By the time they were rescued, they had killed two in their group and had set their island ablaze.
As the story goes, one of the boys was overcome with emotion when he was rescued, and he "wept for the end of innocence [and] the darkness of Man's heart." Golding's fictional story of what happened to a few boys who abandoned reason and acted without conventional restraints highlights the reality of what happens to men when they ignore God and resist His values.
In the end, the avalanche of godless reactions preceding and following Trump's election are little more than a taste of the attitudes and behaviors that will flourish unchecked during the Tribulation. Willful deception marinates both points of history, and the lies which unregenerate people support now will be the same lies they choose to embrace in the future.
I believe America's present politics are writhing in the clutches of a climactic spiritual battle. On one side there remain those who continue to support sound values, who clearly see right from wrong and who endure in exercising common sense. This group properly understands we are indeed a nation "under God."
On the other side, there are those who have chosen to remove every element of God out of their lives. Their motives are filled with hatred, and they reek of foolishness with the many things they do and say. This group worships at the altar of globalism, and they endorse any lie which serves to advance that plan.
I have gradually become convinced that legitimate concerns stalk those who claim to be in the faith, yet choose to identify with the left. This dilemma is especially true as the left moves dramatically toward a militant-socialist agenda which finds little, if anything, in common with the teachings and practices of God's Word.
Despite the fascist fits of the left, I believe Donald Trump is the man God wants in the office of president at this time-much the same way I believe God intended Barack Obama to be president for eight years. The Word of God teaches that God sets up and deposes rulers (Daniel 2:21), so no one assumes the leadership of the Oval Office without God's sovereign control.
That said, the current behaviors of "those that dwell upon the earth" suggest the world as we know it is drawing to a close. The conditions for the prophetic fulfillment of Christ's Second Advent are falling into place, and that means our "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), is nearly upon us.
Eternal glory awaits us!
Pardon me, as I hum a line from one of R.E.M.'s songs, "It's the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine..."
Netanyahu's bold move against Western diplomatic warfare - By Caroline B. Glick - http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0417/glick042817.php3
The Israeli PM sends a signal loud and clear
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adopted a new strategy for managing Israel's diplomatic relations with the West. Long in the making and increasingly urgent, Israel's new strategy is very simple. Foreign governments can either treat Israel in accordance with international diplomatic norms of behavior, or they can continue to discriminate against Israel.
If they act in accordance to international diplomatic norms, Israel will respond in like fashion. If they choose instead to discriminate against Israel and treat it in a manner no other democratic state is treated, Israel will abandon diplomatic convention and treat foreign governments as domestic critics.
On Monday, after his repeated requests for Germany's visiting Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel to cancel his plans to meet with Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem, Netanyahu gave Gabriel an ultimatum. Gabriel could meet with Netanyahu, or he could meet with Breaking the Silence.
Gabriel refused to cancel his meeting with Breaking the Silence. So Netanyahu canceled their meeting.
To understand the strategic significance of Netanyahu's decision and what further steps are now required to ensure the success of his strategy, it is necessary to understand what Breaking the Silence represents. It is then important to recognize how it is used by Berlin and other foreign governments.
But first, Netanyahu's move has to be seen in a general context.
Today's Western democracies are in a furor over the notion that foreign governments would dare to interfere in their domestic affairs. The uproar in the US over Russia and in Europe over Turkish efforts to drum up support for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan among Turkish nationals in Europe make clear how roundly democracies decry attempts by foreign governments to influence their internal politics.
This then brings us to Israel, and the unique rules that the West applies in its dealing with the Jewish state.
In the final quarter of the 20th century, European and other Western states abandoned their earlier support for Israel. From 1974 on, Europeans could be depended on to either support condemnations of Israel at the UN and other international forums, or to abstain from votes.
Whereas from 1974 to 2000, European hostility was largely limited to the diplomatic arena, beginning in 2000, the Europeans began to expand their anti-Israel policies to the Israeli domestic political sphere.
After the PLO abandoned the peace process with Israel at the July 2000 Camp David summit and initiated its terrorist war against Israel two months later, the Europeans began massively funding radical leftist groups registered as NGOs in Israel. The collapse of the peace process and the initiation of the Palestinian terrorist war all but dried up domestic support for groups like Peace Now, B'Tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights. But with millions of euros in their pockets and the unconditional diplomatic support of Europe, these groups were able to become players in Israel's domestic politics and cause massive harm to Israel's international standing.
As for the Europeans, their Israeli contractors gave them the ability to fend off allegations that they were antisemites engaged in systematic and prejudicial discrimination against the Jewish state.
Every time Israeli officials and others protested about their unfair treatment of Israel, the Europeans responded that they were simply restating allegations made by Israelis.
The fact that the Israelis they quoted were only able to speak because Europe paid for their microphones was entirely beside the point, as was the fact that those Israelis reflected the views of next to no one in Israel.
In the face of this assault - fronted by Israel-registered organizations staffed by Israelis, for the past 17 years, official Israel has been paralyzed. First it didn't know how to respond. And second, when it responded, it was beset with the prospect of Europe retaliating by backing its political war against Israel with economic warfare.
As a result, time after time, Israel buckled to European pressure. Consequently, it saw its international status undermined and its very right to sovereignty questioned.
The most significant example of that buckling came in 2008, when then-prime minister Ehud Olmert agreed to transfer Israel's postal codes to the EU and so enabled the Europeans to discriminate against Israeli products made beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
In another example, in 2013, then-minister Bennie Begin convinced the government to bow to European pressure - exerted through its Israel-registered nonprofits - to legalize Beduin settlements in the Negev built on stolen state land.
In both instances, far from placating the Europeans and their Israeli contractors, these actions convinced them to escalate their pressure against Israel and to adopt ever more prejudicial positions against the Jewish state.
The playing field between Israel and Europe has shifted in recent years. Today, the EU is fighting for its life. Donald Trump's victory in November, Britain's decision to exit the EU, and the growing power of anti-EU forces in Europe have all had a debilitating impact on Brussels' ability to throw its weight around in the global arena.
Moreover, over the past several years, the government has actively promoted expanding Israeli trade to Asia. One motivation for the policy is the desire to diminish Europe's economic leverage over Israel.
The diminishment of Europe's power advantage over Israel set the conditions for Netanyahu's adoption of his strategy for dealing with Europe's war against it.
And just in a nick of time. Because as Europe becomes less powerful, Europe's policies toward Israel become more toxic.
And this brings us to the nature of Breaking the Silence.
Breaking the Silence, which was formed in 2002, is a group dedicated to libeling the IDF and its soldiers and officers by constantly accusing them of carrying out war crimes. Since its inception, Breaking the Silence's budget has come almost entirely from European governments. Germany is a major backer.
Germany's interest in Breaking the Silence is understandable. As polls taken between 2011 and 2015 showed, between a third and half of Germans view Israel as the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany. The Palestinians, by their telling, are the new Jews.
Likewise, a large majority of Germans is sick of hearing about the Holocaust. And an even larger majority says that Israel is behaving unjustly toward the Palestinians.
Breaking the Silence's work not only legitimizes these views, shielding them from condemnation as indications of the growing virulence of German Jew-hatred. It also, to a degree, justifies the Holocaust. After all, if the Jews are as evil as the Nazis, then they are illegitimate actors who deserve to be defeated.
Europe's rapidly escalating campaign against Israel can be viewed through its rapidly escalating embrace of these groups.
According to senior Foreign Ministry officials, until very recently, European governments conducted their meetings with these organizations in private, far from the glare of television cameras.
This changed in February. During his visit to Israel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel shocked Netanyahu when in defiance of Netanyahu's request, he personally met with Breaking the Silence during his official visit to Israel.
Last month, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson went even further.
Johnson, who has a reputation for being a friend to Israel, surprised Netanyahu and his advisers when, during their meeting he all but refused to discuss anything but Israeli construction beyond the 1949 armistice lines.
Ahead of his meeting with Netanyahu, Johnson traveled to Judea with Peace Now and got himself photographed looking gravely at a map held by a Peace Now leader who pointed to where Jews were building in the area around metropolitan Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim.
When Johnson was asked by reporters why he wasn't meeting as well with representatives of the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, he scoffed. Netanyahu will give the other side of the story, he insisted.
In other words, for Johnson, Netanyahu was expected to answer the allegations launched against his government by a European-funded NGO. Johnson treated Peace Now as a more credible source of information than the government.
During his visit, Peace Now served as a general prosecutor of Israel. Johnson treated Netanyahu as the defendant. And he, whose government funds Peace Now, served as judge and jury.
Gabriel's decision to opt for a meeting with Breaking the Silence over a meeting with Netanyahu took matters one step forward. In acting as he did, Gabriel showed that as he sees things, Israel's elected leader is less legitimate than representatives of an organization that legitimizes German antisemitism.
By refusing to meet with Gabriel, Netanyahu made clear that new rules will now apply to Europe and other Western governments that have joined Europe's campaign against Israel. But his move - while important - is not enough.
To ensure that his strategy of demanding that Europe treat Israel in a manner that accords with diplomatic norms, Netanyahu needs to take additional steps. Like his decision to deny Gabriel diplomatic cover for his meeting with anti-Israel groups, Netanyahu needs to deny Western governments diplomatic immunity for their other actions aimed at undermining the government's capacity to carry out its domestic duties.
For instance, one of the major ways that European- funded groups subvert the government is by suing the government in local courts. The government must require the foreign governments that fund these groups to appear as sides in the court battles. In this manner, the government can ask the courts to compel these foreign governments to hand over documents relevant to the cases being adjudicated.
So, too, the government should require foreign government- funded groups to submit all communications between their representatives and those governments, and all internal documents of foreign governmental funders relating to their decision to fund the Israel-registered group. Given that the goal of the funding is to interfere with domestic Israeli affairs, those communications should not enjoy diplomatic immunity.
The penalty for failing to present all the required documents will be the imposition of a 100% tax on the foreign government contributions to the Israel-registered nonprofit.
Perhaps the most discouraging aspect of Netanyahu's diplomatic gambit this week is that opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog refused to support him. Instead, Herzog sided with Gabriel. He insisted that Netanyahu harmed Israel's relations with Germany by demanding to be treated in a manner that comports with international norms.
For decades, the political Left has claimed that it can manage Israel's diplomatic ties better than the Right, which it castigates as inept, incompetent and dangerous to Israel's international standing. By failing to recognize why Netanyahu's move was vital for Israel's international standing, or to understand that international conditions have changed sufficiently to allow Israel to stand up for itself, Herzog and his colleagues showed that their boastful claims to diplomatic capabilities are empty.
Netanyahu took a necessary first step toward implementing a constructive strategy for handling Western diplomatic warfare. More steps are still required for this strategy to succeed. But at least, for the first time in years, Israel is finally taking a constructive position in its own defense.
Israel-Syria Border Heating Up Leads to Tensions With Iran And Russia - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/87292/israel-syria-border-heating-leads-tensions-iran-russia/#UVULxSvbKZIaY1JL.99
"Take counsel together, and it shall be brought to nought; speak the word, and it shall not stand; for God is with us." Isaiah 8:10 (The Israel Bible™)
An Israeli Patriot Missile shot down a Syrian drone on Thursday, only a few hours after Israel was reported to have struck an arms depot near Damascus Airport containing Iranian weapons bound for Hezbollah. Russia condemned Israel's involvement in the multi-national fray taking place on her northern border.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, missiles hit a weapons depot reported to hold missiles destined to be transferred to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a staunch ally of Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
"The Syrian army and its allies will work to thwart the new Israeli plot on the occupied Golan border and will continue to destroy the enemy's collaborators," a Syrian military source said to Lebanese news site el-Nashra, claiming the missiles had destroyed fuel tanks. No casualties were reported.
The airport has also been cited as a pipeline for Iranian military support of Assad. In 2011, the US Treasury reported that Iran Air, a civilian carrier, transported missile parts and military supplies to Syria. JPost reported that according to a flight radar tracking site, flightradar24.com, four Iranian cargo planes had landed at Damascus Airport just hours before the alleged strike.
Israel has a policy of not commenting on attacks such as this, but in an interview to Army Radio, Israel's Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said, "I can confirm that the incident in Syria corresponds completely with Israel's policy to act to prevent Iran's smuggling of advanced weapons via Syria to Hezbollah in Iran. Naturally, I don't want to elaborate on this."
"The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act," Katz added.
After the attack Thursday morning, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, "We continue to consider that all countries need to refrain from any kind of actions that lead to an increase in tension in this already restive region and call for respect of the sovereignty of Syria."
His statement was echoed by Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who said, "Gross violations of Syrian sovereignty, no matter how they are justified, are unacceptable," she said, adding that "Moscow condemns acts of aggression against Syria."
Later on Thursday, the IDF acknowledged they downed a Syrian drone over Northern Israel.
"The IDF will not allow any breach of Israel's airspace and will act against any attempt of infiltration," the army said in a statement.
This comes two days day after a senior IDF official confirmed that Israel An Israeli Air Force (IAF) strike last month destroyed approximately 100 Syrian missiles, many of which were believed to be headed to the Lebanese terrorist organization Hezbollah.
Why Islamists Attack On Holidays - By Noah Beck -
On Palm Sunday, nearly 50 people were murdered when Islamic State terrorists bombed two Coptic churches in an Easter celebration-nightmare. The next day, on the eve of Passover, the Islamic State's Sinai affiliate launched rockets at Israel.
Just before Christmas, a terrorist claimed by the Islamic State rammed a truck into Berlin's crowded Christmas market, killing 12 people. At the same time, in Australia, a group of self-radicalized Islamists planned to attack St. Paul's Cathedral. In 2011, Nigerian Islamists murdered nearly 40 Catholic worshipers in a Christmas Day attack.
Terrorists attack where and when they can. But they seem keenly aware that turning holidays into horror can carry greater shock and terror.
In 2002, 30 Israeli civilians were massacred and 140 were injured by a Hamas suicide bomber who blew himself up during a seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya.
And it isn't just terrorists who see advantages in striking during holidays. The 1973 Yom Kippur War may be the most famous example, when the armies of two Muslim-majority states, Egypt and Syria, attacked Israel on the most sacred day of the Jewish calendar. That war produced an estimated 20,000 deaths.
What's more, Christians and Jews aren't the only religious groups that have been targeted by Islamists during non-Muslim holy days. The Hindu festival of Diwali has also been attacked.
In 2005, a series of bombs killed over 60 people and injured hundreds in Delhi; a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist group, the Islamic Revolutionary Front, claimed responsibility. Last October, Indian police arrested an Islamist cell inspired by the Islamic State for planning an attack during Diwali.
Muslims are also being victimized by Islamist attacks in increasing volume. A 2015 mosque bombing in Yemen killed 29 people during prayers for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.
Last July, during Eid al-Fitr, three people were killed at a Bangladesh checkpoint when gunmen carrying bombs tried to attack the country's largest holiday gathering, which attracted an estimated 300,000 worshippers.
Last May, as the Muslim holy month of Ramadan approached, a spokesman for the Islamic State urged jihadists to "make it, with God's permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere."
Days later, as Ramadan celebrations stretched past midnight in central Baghdad, a minivan packed with explosives blew up and killed at least 143 people.
Terrorists also target secular holidays.
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian resident of France, killed 86 people and injured hundreds more in a truck-ramming terrorist attack as people gathered for a Bastille Day celebration. And in New York City last fall, dump trucks were deployed to protect the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, after the Islamic State called it an "excellent target."
Holidays are often chosen because they are "optimal attack days," in terms of gathering large crowds into soft targets like houses of worship, religious markets, ceremonial gatherings and parades.
Last November, US officials warned that the coming holiday season could mean "opportunities for violent extremists" to attack.
A terrorist attack on a holiday is also more likely to attract media attention. And because holidays draw tourists, well-timed attacks can amplify the economic damage wrought by terror, even on a non-holiday.
After a spate of attacks toward the end of 2015, "about 10% of American travelers have canceled a trip ... eliminating a potential $8.2 billion in travel spending," reported MarketWatch.
But ISIS, Al Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups believe that they are waging a holy war above all else. Attacking infidels, be they Christians, Jews or Muslims of other sects, motivates jihadis more than anything else.
"Those who targeted churches on holiday celebrations tend to be professional terrorist groups," Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
By contrast, "mob attacks happen either on a Friday, after an especially potent sermon, or whenever infidels need to be put in their place (e.g., a Christian accused of blasphemy)."
In 2015, Islamic State warnings of future attacks against Christians noted that Christians were their "favorite prey," and no longer protected as "dhimmis" -- a reference to non-Muslims in Islam who may, in exchange for paying the jizya tax, receive some state protection.
Thus, within the larger context of a holy war, attacks on non-Muslim holy days can be viewed as part of the more general Islamist strategy of humiliation, forced submission to Islam, and the denial of any competing religion.
Attacking on Diwali or Christmas or Yom Kippur is essentially declaring that such "infidel" holy days ought to be desecrated rather than respected. The symbolic message is akin to the one communicated by the two Islamists who entered a French cathedral and beheaded an octogenarian priest, Jacques Hamel, during mass services last July.
Attacking places of worship on holy days -- when they are most used by and relevant to their congregations -- is also a good way to undermine these religious institutions and their supporters.
If Islamist terror makes churches the most vulnerable on the days when they are most crowded, how will those houses of worship attract enough followers to sustain themselves? And how will their congregants practice their faith?
The Coptic Pope curbed some Easter celebrations in Egypt after the recent Palm Sunday blasts.
Such questions may help to explain why Christians, who have lived in the Middle East -- the birthplace of Christianity -- for millennia, now constitute only about 3 percent of the region's population, down from 20 percent a century ago.
Indeed, Israel, the only non-Muslim country in the entire Middle East is also the safest place for non-Muslims in the region, including Christians, Druze and Bahai.
"Christians and other minorities in Israel prosper and grow," says Shadi Khalloul, founder of the Israeli Aramaic Movement, "[w]hile in other countries in the Middle East, as well as in the Palestinian Authority, they suffer heavily from the Islamic movement and persecution -- until forced to disappear."
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey - www.hallindsey.com
President-elect Trump traveled to the White House to meet President Obama after last November's election. Mr. Obama told the President-elect that his most pressing foreign policy problem would be North Korea.
Unfortunately for President Trump, if that is true, it's true because U.S. Presidents have been kicking this can down the road for decades. Every President in recent years has chosen to simply contain the North Korean regime and placate it by sending humanitarian assistance in return for empty promises to make nice.
In the meantime, we've allowed North Korea (NK) to develop an extensive nuclear weapons program. We've also allowed it to become a supplier of nuclear weapons technology and advance missile technology.
It hasn't helped the situation that China has provided North Korea cover at the United Nations during that time. China has done that for selfish reasons.
The Chinese can get away with a lot more mischief if the world's attention is focused on their fellow communist regime. China uses NK to provide some strategic depth and a first line of defense from the Sea of Japan. China gets coal from NK and sells a lot of oil to it. In a pinch, North Korea would even be a potent ally in war -- and China doesn't have very many of those.
Lastly, China does not want millions of North Korean refugees fleeing into China if there is conflict. Neither does Russia, which lies to the northeast.
In the light of Bible prophecy, I believe North Korea figures in prominently.
First, it might one day be one of the mysterious "kings of the east" mentioned in Revelation 16:12.
But I think North Korea has a more immediate connection to Israel: Iran.
North Korea has long been Iran's primary supplier of weapons technology. And Iran has publicly and repeatedly informed the world that its primary goal is the destruction of Israel -- at its earliest opportunity.
Most Iranian missiles are based on North Korean models. And since most of the West considers Iran to be the foremost state sponsor of terrorism, much of that missile technology (and maybe even the weapons themselves) gets passed on to Iran's proxies, most notably Hezbollah, and now Syria.
In fact, it is estimated that more than 130,000 of Hezbollah's missiles are aimed at Israel at any given moment. That makes its "offensive arsenal bigger than all of Western Europe combined." (The Weekly Standard)
But it gets even more immediate. China seems to have recently made an about-face in its attitude toward North Korea. After pressure from President Trump, China has stopped accepting North Korea's shipments of coal. It has also stopped sending oil supplies to NK. Some analysts believe NK receives up to 90% of its vital oil supplies from China.
The Chinese government has also moved an estimated 150,000 troops to its border with NK. Russia has moved troops to its border, as well.
If China permanently stops the flow of oil to North Korea, what would Kim Jong-un do? Probably turn to Iran, which is flush with oil and desperately in need of cash.
North Korea needs Iran's fuel and trade. Iran needs North Korea's nuclear and missile technology.
It's a marriage made in hell.
Iran's most elite military unit is the "Quds Force." That translates to: "Jerusalem Force."
That alone should tell the world that Iran intends to one day take Jerusalem in battle. Ezekiel 38 tells us that in the future Iran will attempt just that. The Bible also says that Russia will join Iran and other Islamic nations in that invasion.
As Russia ratchets up its belligerence, it is becoming more isolated from the world. Its number of friends is dwindling, dramatically increasing the importance of its few alliances.
The same thing is happening with Iran and with Turkey (accelerated by its president's recent dramatic seizure of dictatorial powers).
These nations fought one another for millennia, but their recent, uneasy alliance is growing stronger every day. Just as the Bible predicted.
As I always say, Israel is God's timepiece. Make no mistake, the countdown has begun.
Recently, President Trump said that he hopes to meet Pope Francis when he attends the G7 summit in late May. That should be an interesting conversation.
President Trump is overtly disdainful of "globalism" and the many notorious alliances and trade agreements that cede America's sovereignty to shadowy tribunals of unelected bureaucrats. Pope Francis is one of the world's most powerful proponents of "globalism," one-world government, and the destruction of national borders and national identities.
Some are hoping that the Pope will be able to "educate" the American President about the advantages -- and necessity -- of globalism. I'm hoping that, instead, President Trump will teach Francis a few things.
But we must remember that these are the end-times. I suspect that the Pope's active promotion of one-world government, and the subjugation of the nations to it, is going to be a critical component in the preparation of that apparatus for the Antichrist.
So I'm not realistically expecting the President to change the Pope's mind. And I'm praying that the Pope won't change the President's.
There's a controversial new movie that is stirring up quite a bit of debate and more than a little opposition. It's called, "The Promise." It relates the story of the Armenian Genocide of 1915-1923.
Most people, Americans especially, know very little about the Armenian Genocide. Turkey still denies that it even occurred. Of course, that's to be expected since the Turks are the ones who killed more than 1.5 million Armenian Christians.
Here's something else most of us do not know. The now-much-used word, "genocide," was first introduced into the public square in 1944. But it was not in reference to the Nazi Holocaust. At the time, the world didn't fully realize what Hitler was wreaking on the Jews.
Instead, it was coined by a Jewish lawyer named Raphael Lemkin to describe the mass murder of Armenian Christians and the displacement of hundreds of thousands more by the Ottoman Empire.
Today, the anguish suffered by the Armenian Christians, as depicted in "The Promise," seems far away and long ago. It's almost unthinkable that it could still be going on. But it is. In fact, the number of Christians persecuted for their faith is at the highest level in history!
It also seems beyond imagination that similar things could happen here in America the Beautiful. But they could.
In fact, if the Lord delays His coming long enough, I am convinced such things will happen here.
Please, daily remember to pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who must choose between life and naming the name of Jesus. Also, daily strengthen and renew your own commitment to Christ so that you will be able to victoriously face the hard times that the Bible warns us are coming.
Finally, in the early 1980s, I wrote a book that was also called "The Promise." It goes into great detail about the fulfilled prophecies in the life of Jesus that confirms His identity as Messiah.
On this week's program, I will review much of the overwhelming evidence that Jesus was precisely who He claimed to be: The Messiah!
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 Hell You Say. . . - Jack Kinsella - www.omegaletter.com
"And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched. . " (Mark 9:43)
The other day I was chatting with an old friend and somehow we got around to the topic of the afterlife. My friend isn't a Christian, but is well aware that I am.
I used to Bible-thump him, but that only hardened his resolve - he was determined to hold out for the sake of holding out.
I planted the seed, but instead of letting the Holy Spirit water it, I kept replanting it, going over the same ground so many times that I scraped right down to the bedrock.
It isn't that my friend doesn't believe - I think that he does. But he isn't saved. He doesn't want to be.
"Heaven sounds too boring," he says. "Besides, all my friends will be in hell."
He's both right and he's wrong. He's right about all his friends. I've known this guy since the '70s and I knew most of the same people.
And sometimes, I admit that heaven does sound a wee bit boring. Don't look at me like that. It does. An eternity of no strife, no conflict, no pain, no sorrow, no tears . . . all that is wonderful and all, but if I had to eat chocolate cake for dinner every night for the rest of my life, I'd skip a lot of dinners.
It's pretty hard to sell heaven to a lost sinner. How in the heck do you explain what even the Bible says is beyond imagination?
"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." (1 Corinthians 2:9)
To my friend, that is the deal-breaker. He can't imagine heaven being any fun, but (unfortunately for him) he has no problem imagining hell as being far more interesting than heaven.
We used to start into these discussions and get about half-way into them before things would shift from a conversation between friends to a debate between competitors, each defending his own position, parry and thrust, block and counter-strike, until exasperated, we'd agree not to ever bring it up again.
Until the next time. My friend likes the debate (when he is in the mood) and often tries to restart it when he thinks he has some killer new argument. He'll ask a question, but it's clear he doesn't want to learn from the answer - he is just looking for a springboard issue.
When I think about it, my friend is not unique - I know several guys that find the battle more interesting than the topic under discussion, and others with whom I've agreed to disagree agreeably. Some are just flat hostile to the entire topic.
What does one do with a life-long friend who just flatly refuses to either believe or discuss it? It sounds like an easy question with an equally simple answer. At least, theoretically.
Some would answer in favor of immediate separation from that person, for "what concord hath Christ with Belial?" But Paul is talking about being "unequally yoked" - it can't mean "only associate with believers" or who would we share the Gospel with?
According to the Bible, Jesus had a reputation around town as a "winebibber" and a "glutton" that hung around with all the 'wrong' people. Mainly, publicans (Gk telones = "tax collector) and sinners.
"And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." (Luke 5:31)
The Apostle Paul confronted a situation in which a wife was a believer married to an unbelieving husband.
"For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?" (1 Corinthians 7:16)
Granted, one's spouse is a different case than a fishing buddy. But God puts people in our sphere of influence for a reason.
"But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches. (1 Corinthians 7:17)
"And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:45-46)
You're probably wondering why I repeated myself by opening the assessment with the same verses about hell. Look again. They are two different verses. The next sequence is as follows:
"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark 9:48-49)
Three times in succession, the Lord tells us there is a place called "hell" -- a place where "their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched".
Hell isn't going to be 'interesting'. And my friend isn't going to find his buddies, even if they are there. Elsewhere in Scripture, Jesus tells the story of Lazarus and the rich man. It isn't a parable.
When the Lord taught in parables, He clearly identified them as such.
In this case, Jesus began, "there was a certain rich man" - a specific rich man of Whom the Lord claimed knowledge - and "a certain beggar named Lazarus."
The Lord described the deaths of both men, whose bodies were both buried in the earth but whose consciousness continued, unbroken, into Paradise, where each had some form of spirit body recognizable by the other. Abraham also had a form of spirit body the rich man could recognize.
Finally, the rich man's spirit body was real enough to feel pain. We learn all that from just one verse:
"And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.(Luke 16:23)
So according to Jesus Christ, hell is real, the torments are real, and spirit bodies are tangible to be recognized from a distance and to feel pain while "their worm dieth not from "the fire that is not quenched."
"Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment." (Luke 16:27-28)
The rich man, while in hell and in torments, remembered his father's house, so his memories of his life on earth are intact. He not only remembered his brothers, but he was terrified at the prospect that they would end up there because "that's where all their friends went".
We cannot imagine Heaven and what little we can imagine is no doubt wildly out of synch with what it will actually look like.
Streets of gold with a tree standing in the middle with living water running through the middle of a garden, mansions, a giant apartment building with twenty-four doors, peace, joy, no more death, no tears, no sorrow . . . a man blind from birth would have an easier time describing the color red.
But hell - that's a whole different story. Throughout history, man's vision of hell has been clear enough to inspire generations of painters and poets like Dante. There is far more secular literature on the subject of hell than there is of heaven.
My friend's other objection to hell is that, "If God was such a loving God, He would never send anybody to hell."
That is a valid objection and one that I completely agree with.
Hell wasn't created for sinners. It was created for Satan and the rebellious angels that followed him - when they were kicked out of heaven, they made their abode in hell.
Man is created in God's image -- as an eternal being. When the body dies, the eternal component lives on - somewhere - and the choices are limited to one of two possible places.
One choice is heaven, which is attained by recognizing oneself as an undeserving sinner that God loved so much that He stepped into time and space as a man, lived the sinless life God's justice demands, and paid the penalty due for sin on behalf of sinful humanity.
To accept the pardon extended, one must repent of one's sins and trust Jesus to keep them and preserve them whole into the next life.
Or they can choose to stand before the Judge the way they are, like my friend, who would rather take his chances in hell. But it is the individual that chooses - not God.
God's choice was to die -- so we wouldn't have to.
Daily Jot: First 100 Days of Trump - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Approaching the 100-day mark of Donald Trump's presidency, every media outlet and pundit is pontificating about what kind of job the "Donald" is doing. I'm going to weigh in on this at the risk of making everybody mad at me. Just remember, its my opinion and there are many others. First and foremost, Donald Trump is in his first 100 days a better president than the previous one, and most certainly a better president than Hillary Clinton would have ever been. While facing criticism on who he has appointed and how long it is taking him to do certain things, he has pragmatically accomplished a great deal of his campaign promises during his first 100 days--promises that are overall good for America.
Many Christians are complaining about Trump not being a true Christian and that he has appointed this liberal or that moderate to a position, proving he is not what he said he was. When was the last time you saw the ex-"president" attend church on Easter Sunday? The Trump family did, and it wasn't an uncommon appearance according to his pastor. Also, remember that we didn't elect a pastor, we elected a President. This particular President is different than anything we have seen in modern history. He doesn't fit the political mold to which we have been accustomed. He is pragmatic about how he gets things done-like a successful businessman would be. He doesn't care so much about the person's political ideals as he does about whether the person is competent to get the job done, meet deadlines, and accomplish goals.
Lets look at some of the drastic changes that have occurred that are good for your personal security and general welfare because of this new Administration: Jobs--he has received commitments from companies to stay in America or bring their business here to create and sustain-real jobs--not "shovel ready" government make-work jobs. Border Security--Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions have significantly decreased illegal immigration and immigration from terrorist sponsoring nations. Just because the courts have opposed them, doesn't mean the intent of their policies are not working. He appointed a conservative to the Supreme Court--imagine what Hillary would have done. Most importantly for our security from a prophetic standpoint, he reversed the caustic relations with Israel that have plagued America for a decade.
I'm not an apologist for this President, but he has accomplished these things in the face of the strongest opposition in modern history. I don't think people realize just how close we were to a Marxist coup of our government. Many don't want to believe that the forces working against Trump are real and, quite frankly, dangerous. Any normal man would be consumed by just defending our nation against these revolutionary evildoers. There are people who want to destroy the Republic and the Constitution and they have manipulated about half the country into believing their lies. This may be the gravest threat of Trump's entire presidency. Things might not be changing fast enough for some, but they are changing.
He's not perfect, but something to consider: It took us a long time to get into this mess-probably the only speed bump along the Post-WWII way was Ronald Reagan. So this globalist track is entrenched. It will not be removed over night. And there are some political realities that Trump faces in trying to remove people and ideals. I also don't know of any president in recent history who has faced such harsh opposition to everything he is trying to do. So I never expected Trump to be able to do all that he said he would do. I did expect him to put the brakes on some of the horrors that were running out of control--I think he has done that. Proverbs 29:2 says, "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked bear rule, the people mourn." Going forward, let's count our blessings and pray for the best for our country.
Daily Devotion: God's Trade-in Deal - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! -2 Corinthians 5:17
Imagine turning on your television and seeing a car dealer standing in front of a fleet of Ferraris. He says, "Hi, I'm Crazy Eddie, and if you'll bring in your car and trade it in, I'll give you a Ferrari. I don't care what shape your car is in or even if it's an old piece of junk. No need to put any money down. I'll give you a Ferrari."
Would you even bother driving over to see Crazy Eddie? Probably not. You wouldn't believe him, because you don't get something for nothing.
Yet God Almighty says, "I will give you eternal life. I will give you the forgiveness of sin. I will fill the void in your life."
You say, "What's the catch?"
"Give me your life."
"Yes, but what else? Surely there's something I need to do." It's hard to accept that God would simply forgive us. Aren't certain works of righteousness necessary on our part?
God says, "No, you have broken all the laws. There is no way you could earn My grace or forgiveness. I offer it to you freely. But once you have received it, then I expect you in return. I'm giving you everything. Now, give Me your life. I don't care what kind of shape it's in."
You say, "Lord, this is crazy. Talk about a trade-in deal. It doesn't even work anymore."
He says, "That's all right. I'm in the restoration business. Watch what I can do." So you bring your life. You bring your problems. You bring yourself to Him.
Jesus said, "If you give up your life for me, you will find it" (Matthew 10:39). This almost sounds contradictory. But He will give you the purpose and life you have been searching for. Don't be afraid to give yourself to God.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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