Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Becoming Antichrist: Vol. I - by Pete Garcia & Randy Nettles -
I do not think about the Antichrist often, nor do I want this to seem as if I am glorifying him in any way, shape, or form, but I have at times, wondered about a few things. How does Satan go about selecting the Antichrist? Is he alive today? Does he know he is the Antichrist? If he does know, when and how did he find out? What does he hope to achieve? Does he have a long-term plan, or is it more like playing out things as they unfold? Is he like the Hitler with the unsustainable four-year economic plan? Or is he like the Hitler with his thousand-year Reich plan? Does he know his fate? Does he care?
The Scriptures has much to say about antichrist. Not only is it a real person(s), or a human condition, but it can also be a zeitgeist (spirit of the age). Not only are there antichrist(s) (little 'a'), but a final, literal, future Antichrist (big 'A') who assumes control over the entire earth. Here are the four passages (all New Testament-all from John) that use the actual term antichrist.
[Deceptions of the Last Hour] Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. 1 John 4:3
Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22
And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 1 John 4:3
[Beware of Antichrist Deceivers] For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 2 John 1:7
In a broader sense of the word (referencing both the Old and New Testament), an antichrist is one who opposes God, His agenda, or His people. Although there are only four New Testament passages using the term antichrist (antichristos, Greek-ἀντίχριστος), Scripture affords us an abundance of clues as to the nature of the coming future Antichrist. He is called the worthless shepherd, little horn, man of sin, the lawless one, son of perdition, the beast, the dragon, and the rider on the white horse. However, we are not told who he is. Granted, every generation has had their favorite candidates, and up until now, they have all been wrong. The reason we know they were wrong, was well, all of those Roman Emperors, Catholic Popes, and brutal tyrants have thankfully come and gone and yet we are still here.
Fortunately, as born-again believers, we will not be here to find out who he is when he is finally revealed. The Apostle Paul writes in his second epistle to the Thessalonians that the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (2nd Thess. 2:7-8). First, the Restrainer can be none other than God the Holy Spirit. Second, Christ must destroy the Antichrist at His coming; no other death will suffice.
Some Preliminary Discussions
Since the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view is to my knowledge, the only eschatological view that identifies the Holy Spirit as the Restrainer, critics of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view scoff at the Holy Spirit/Restrainer interpretation. The reason they scoff is because the Holy Spirit is the third Person of the Godhead and as such, is both omnipresent (everywhere at once) and will remain in the salvation business even after the Rapture.
I (as do other Pre-Trib believers) whole-heartedly agree with them.
However, let us deconstruct this passage even further.
What this phrase taken out of the way does notmean, is that God the Holy Spirit is physically (or spiritually) removed from the earth, because that would be impossible. What it does mean is that His role will change, specifically, because of the Rapture (or removal) of the Church from the earth will necessitate a change in function. For those who do not understand this idea of what changing roles means, just think back to Acts 2 Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit to those Jewish believers' fifty-days after the Resurrection. Keeping that in mind, ask yourself-
1. Did God the Holy Spirit exist on the earth before the Acts 2 Pentecost? Yes He did.
2. Did His role change from Old Testament to New? Yes it did.
3. Can the Holy Spirit exist on the earth after the Rapture? Yes, He Can.
4. Will His role on the earth be different from before the Rapture? Yes, it will.
So the main question becomes, what will the primary role of the Holy Spirit be after the Rapture? Well, what was the primary role of the Holy Spirit before Christ came?
The Holy Spirit had many different roles over the history of the world. During Creation, He was the energizer or life-giver (Gen. 1:2, 2:7). From Adam to John the Baptist, the Holy Spirit's role included empowering select persons to accomplish specific missions (for ex. Moses and David). He could infill someone from a young age (Samson) or even before birth (John the Baptist), but could also depart from people for whom He once indwelt (for ex. Samson and Saul). He overshadowed Mary at the Incarnation (Luke 1:35), visually descended upon Jesus at His baptism, and at the incarnation of the Church at Pentecost (Matt. 3:16, Acts 2:1-4).
However, after He was given as The Helper at Pentecost, His role in this dispensation was to permanently seal those believers into the universal, singular, Body of Christ (ex. 1 Cor. 12:27, Eph. 5:23) until the day of Redemption, which is the Rapture (or Harpazo). For those who have already died, will receive their glorified bodies just ahead of those of us who are alive at His coming for the Church. We shall be instantaneously translated from mortal to immortal and from corruptible to incorruptible. This is in part why we groan within ourselves for, awaiting our birth into glory (Romans 8:23). The groaning gets worse as the days get darker. What changes after the Rapture, is that the Holy Spirit will no longer restrain the dark forces from interacting here in the human domain.
After Christ's body (the Church) is removed fully from the earth, they will have unfettered access to our physical realm. Therefore, in strictly mechanical terms, although Christ ascended to the Father forty-days after His resurrection, He still has His body (the Church) here on earth carrying out the Great Commission. This is why I said the incarnation (putting on of flesh) of the Church. Once the Holy Spirit infilled those believers, we were not born, but began to grow and gestate much as a baby does after it is conceived. Remember what Christ said,
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:18-19
First, Christ is building His Church- not the Pope, not Martin Luther, not the Southern Baptist Association, nor any other human organization. Second, the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Clearly, when reading the summarized accounts of Daniel's 70th Week in Revelation 13, we see that authority has been given to the Antichrist to overcome the tribulation saints, so this group cannot be the Church. For two-thousand years, Satan has been trying to stamp out the Church. Moreover, the more he crushes it, the more it grows. This is not the case inside the 70th Week. This is also, why God has to resort to using Angels to proclaim the gospel (Rev. 14:6), because there are so few remaining on the earth during this time.
Secondly, at present, what the Church binds on earth means that the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). And since the Church has direct access to the throne of God (Heb. 4:16), the things we war against here on earth (Eph. 6:12), not only has heavenly authorization, but divine execution on our behalf. This is what restrains Satan and his demonic forces at present, from plunging the world headlong into darkness. Trust me, if Satan could have done this, he already would have.
Once the Church is physically removed from the earth, the path to salvation goes back to one similar to that of the Old Testament. Salvation by faith through grace, yet, the believers (tribulation saints) are not permanently sealed by the Holy Spirit as we are now. They must maintain their faith, and can lose it should they take the mark of the beast, or apostatize in some other way (Matt. 24:13, 2 Thess. 2:10-12, Rev. 12:17). In fact, the only ones we do see who are specifically mentioned as being sealed by the Holy Spirit, are the 144,000 Jewish male virgins, 12,000 from each tribe (Rev. 7:1-8).
It is for this reason, that the book of Revelation often paints strange and bizarre images of demonic beings waging war on mankind in a visually symbolic way. We often try to relegate these images to things we understand in order to make some sort of sense of it all. However, the reason we cannot understand it, is that for the past two-thousand years, the spiritual domain has not been open to us. Once we are removed, those "bizarre images" so many have relegated to pure symbolic mumbo-jumbo, will be mortified to see them fill their headlines and reality.
In summary, even though we cannot know the identity of this Antichrist this side of the Rapture, the bible is not silent on the nature of this wicked man. My hope and prayer is that this article may serve as a warning to those left behind and perhaps persuade some, to avoid him and his mark of damnation. In the next Volume, we will look at the forerunners of The Antichrist.
Deal Of The Century: From The Golan To Judea & Samaria - By Eyal Zisser -
This coming June, upon the conclusion of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the Trump administration will supposedly unveil details of its so-called "deal of the century" to bring an end to the century-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even before its birth, however, many have already been quick to bury the plan.
After all, many of the relevant parties aren't hiding their reservations, some openly declaring they will refuse to accept it.
The Palestinians are looking on forlornly as their dream of having all their demands of Israel delivered on a silver platter by the international community goes up in smoke.
While it might seek to meet the Palestinians' desires, the deal of the century is reportedly light-years from the concessions that previous administrations, from Clinton to Obama, were willing to grant them. U.S. President Donald Trump's proposal makes no mention of the creation of a Palestinian state, and also makes no demand of Israel to withdraw from all of Judea and Samaria to pre-1967 borders.
Arab countries, which can't afford to be viewed at home as "selling out" the Palestinian issue for a pittance in American economic aid, will follow in the wake of the Palestinian rejection. Arab rulers would be happy, of course, to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an end and turn their attention to the real problems afflicting them, such as the Iranian threat or their failing economies. But from there to a willingness to lie on the fence for the Palestinians, Israel and Trump, the distance is great.
Israel, too, particularly its right-wing camp, has expressed trepidation over the deal, which could call on the Jewish state to concede significant portions of Judea and Samaria. While a Palestinian state won't be established in these areas, the Palestinian Authority's presence there could become legitimized as a fact on the ground, recognized by the international community.
The script, therefore, is already written: The Americans will propose the plan, which will be rejected or squandered and relegated to the dustbin of history as "another plan" in a long line of them throughout the 100 years of conflict.
But it would be a mistake to think that Trump's deal will be completely inconsequential: It could have far-reaching implications for the future of Israeli-Palestinian relations, and more importantly, the future of Israel itself.
First, the details of the plan will become the starting point for any future discussions about the conflict. And thus, instead of or in conjunction with the Clinton outline or former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's offer to P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas, Trump's plan will also be evoked and used to significantly improve Israel's bargaining position opposite future American administrations and even the international community, which still views the Clinton and Olmert proposals as the basis for any Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
Second, the Trump proposal could pave a path to a solution by essentially removing several central issues from the agenda for both sides, chief among them the issue of Palestinian refugees. The American plan, which calls for refusing these refugees the right of return and settling them in their current countries, could materialize even without a final-status agreement and hence make it easier to achieve one in the future.
And finally, the Trump plan could give the Israeli government an opportunity to advance its vision of applying Israeli law over swathes of Judea and Samaria, primarily the large settlement blocs with regard to which there is wall-to-wall consensus in Israel.
In light of the Palestinian rejection, which means Trump's deal most likely won't gain any traction, Israel will be able to claim, justified from its point of view, that it cannot wait for the Palestinian side any longer and wants to take unilateral steps in the spirit of the Trump plan, which the administration will presumably support.
And thus, 52 years after the Six-Day War in June 1967, June 2019 could bring tidings of change, even to the point of another revolution in the status of Judea and Samaria. This revolution, we can assume, will receive American recognition similar to Trump's recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
End-of-the-Age Indicators - By Daymond Duck -
Every day, there are indicators in the news that the end of the age is near.
Consider these examples.
First, Jerusalem will be a cup of trembling and a burdensome stone for the whole world at the end of the age (Zech. 12:3).
On Apr. 7, 2019, Pope Francis and the King of Morocco issued a joint statement that said Jerusalem is "common patrimony of humanity and especially the followers of the three monotheistic religions."
As I understand it, the pope and the king said Jerusalem is the world's inheritance and it is especially the inheritance of Christians, Jews and Muslims because those religions trace their roots back to Abraham.
This "joint statement" fulfills Bible prophecy by challenging the ownership of Jerusalem and by documenting another step by Pope Francis toward a one-world religion.
On Apr. 16, 2019, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the PA, said, "As long as Jerusalem is not on the table, Trump's [Middle East peace] plan will not be on the table."
Notice in both of these examples that Jerusalem is the burdensome stone.
Second, many Bible prophecy teachers believe that Ezekiel chapters 36-39 pertain to events that are taking place or shaping up in modern times.
Notice these words from Ezekiel chapter 36:
"Prophesy unto the mountains of Israel" (Ezek. 36:1a).
"Ye, O mountains of Israel, ye shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people of Israel" (Ezek. 36:8a).
"I will cause men to walk upon you [the mountains of Israel], even my people Israel; and they shall possess thee, and thou shalt be their inheritance, and thou shalt no more henceforth bereave them of men" (Ezek. 36:12).
On Apr. 16, 2019, Pres. Trump's Mideast advisor released a new map that shows the Golan Heights are now part of Israel.
On Apr. 18, 2019, the U.S. State Dept. announced that it is changing the U.S. Foreign Affairs Manual so that U.S. citizens born on the Golan Heights will have their place of birth listed in passports as "Israel," not "Syria."
The Golan Heights are a possession of Israel.
Third, many Bible prophecy teachers believe Russia, Iran, Turkey and others will attack Israel on the mountains (Golan Heights, etc.) in the latter days and latter years to seize Israel's territory and wealth.
Notice these words from Ezekiel chapter 38:
On April 15, 2019, it was reported that another new gas field has been discovered off the coast of Israel, and this solidifies Israel's position as a global energy superpower.
In 71 years of existence (since May 14, 1948), Israel has been transformed from being a poverty-stricken wasteland to being a global energy superpower with great wealth.
Fourth, the Bible teaches that there will be a departure from the faith in the church when the return of Jesus is approaching (I Tim. 4:1).
On Apr. 13, 2019, it was reported that Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI has written an article for a German periodical called Klerusblatt. In the article, Pope Benedict wrote that if the Catholic Church really wants to be credible, it needs to return to God. He blamed immorality in the Catholic Church on the "absence of God."
As I write this article, it is the day before Easter Sunday, and I am thinking that many people will go to Church tomorrow (Easter), but God won't be there.
It never occurred to me that a pope (or Pope Emeritus) would say there is an absence of God in the Catholic Church, but I agree with him; and sadly, it is a problem in the mainline denominations too.
Without provocation, the gay mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, recently publicly criticized V.P. Pence's stance on same-sex marriage.
According to Mr. Buttigieg, the Mike Pence's of the world have a problem with the Creator, not with him.
Rev. Franklin Graham spoke out on this. He said, "We don't define sin-God does in His Word, the Bible."
He said, "To set the record straight, Mr. Mayor, the issue isn't whether somebody has a problem with who you are - the issue is that we all have a problem with God because of our sin, and it applies to every single human being."
He added that God doesn't change.
One reason why there will be an absence of God in the Catholic Church and some of the mainline denominations on Resurrection Day (Easter) is because the pastor and many of those that attend have abandoned both God and His Word.
They will be like whited sepulchers, beautiful on the outside in their new Easter clothes, but full of dead men's bones and uncleanness on the inside because they are writing their own Bible, redefining sin, condemning the faithful, etc. (Matt. 23:27).
Pray that God will raise up more preachers like Rev. Franklin Graham with the courage to tell this lost and dying world the truth.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
The Palestinians' Own Goals - by Khaled Abu Toameh -
On April 24, two Palestinian software development companies came to Bir Zeit University, north of the West Bank city of Ramallah, to offer jobs to Palestinian students. The companies were invited to campus as part of the university's Annual Hiring Day -- an event aimed at helping students find jobs with major Palestinian firms.
The event, however, turned ugly when students protested against the presence of the representatives of the two companies on campus. The protesters expelled the company representatives from the university premises after accusing them of engaging in "normalization" with Israel. In other words, the students attacked, humiliated and expelled Palestinian companies that came to offer them jobs at a time when the Palestinian economy is facing a crisis and thousands of young Palestinians remain unemployed.
The first company is ASAL Technologies, a Ramallah-based software and IT services outsourcing firm founded in 2000. ASAL Technologies is the largest Palestinian information and communications technology company that supplies international companies with talented Palestinian professionals. The second company, also based in Ramallah, is EXALT, a software development center specialized in web services, backend/API development and mobile apps.
The students who expelled the companies' representatives from campus said they were acting on instructions from the anti-Israel movement for boycotting Israel. According to the students, the two Palestinian companies are guilty of cooperating with Israelis, especially Mellanox Technologies, an Israeli multinational supplier of computer networking products.
One of the student groups responsible for the expulsion of the companies' representatives is called Progressive Democratic Student Pole, which is affiliated with the radical PLO group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
In a statement explaining its opposition to the attempt of the two companies to hire students, the group accused the university administration of violating the instructions of the anti-Israel boycott campaign.
"Our comrades protested the participation of some technology companies involved in normalization, and which contribute to the 'economic peace' project during the Annual Hiring Day hosted by Bir Zeit University," the statement said. It claimed that the Palestinian companies were doing business with "Zionist companies involved in crimes."
"Our colleagues asked the delegates of these companies to leave the university campus, as part of a commitment from our comrades to resist normalization [with Israel] and our absolute rejection of the university's involvement in any normalization activity that would harm the reputation of the university and the struggles of its students. We reject normalization and adopt the approach of resistance until the liberation of the entire Palestinian territory."
This statement shows that for the Palestinian students, "resistance and the liberation of the entire Palestinian territory" is more important than providing badly needed jobs for unemployed university graduates. "Resistance" is a term used by Palestinians to describe the "armed struggle" against Israel, which includes carrying out various forms of armed attacks against Israelis. When the students talk about the "liberation of the entire Palestinian territory," they are actually saying that they want to destroy Israel because they do not believe in its right to exist. This, by the way, is the same rhetoric used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, two groups that also deny Israel's right to exit.
Ahmed Atawneh, a representative of another student group called Student Unity Bloc, defended the decision to expel the company representative from campus. "The students of Bir Zeit University, which is also called University of the Martyrs, reject the presence of companies engaged in normalization with the occupation on our campus," he said. University security personnel and officials escorted the representatives of the companies out of campus."
The only student group that has come out against the expulsion of the companies from the university campus is the Shabiba Student Movement, which is affiliated with President Mahmoud Abbas's ruling Fatah faction. The group's students, however, failed to take any measures to stop their colleagues from offending and intimidating the company representatives who came to offer them jobs.
A statement published by the Fatah-affiliated student group called on the university administration to punish the students who "offended" and "assaulted" the company representatives. "The rules of student work require us to respect our guests and express opinions without insulting anyone," the statement said. "We call on the administration of the University of Martyrs to clarify its position and punish all those who caused harm to our university and assaulted our guests."
A video of the protest at Bir Zeit University posted on social media shows dozens of angry students surrounding the company representatives, and chanting: "Normalization [with Israel] is Treason."
The incident at Bir Zeit University drew mixed reactions from Palestinians. While some seemed to oppose the expulsion of the company representatives, others expressed full support for the move.
This is just another example of how the movement for boycotting Israel is causing damage to Palestinians. Perhaps the real motive of the people promoting these boycotts of Israel is not to help the Palestinians at all, but, like terrorist groups, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, to destroy Israel.
The biggest losers are the hundreds of students who could have been hired by two leading software companies in the context of efforts to find a solution to soaring unemployment in the West Bank. This incident shows that hatred for Israel remains the top priority for the anti-Israel boycott campaign. The organizers of such campaigns prefer to see university graduates join the fight against Israel than find jobs with software and technology companies. The Palestinians have once again scored an own goal.
Daily Jot: Modern scribes and enemies of the people - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The White House Correspondents Dinner is usually an upscale roast of the president in tongue-in-cheek manner. This year's dinner was different. The White House Correspondents Association President Oliver Knox (Sirius XM) told a story about how his son asked him if Donald Trump was going to put him in prison. He was using his son to illustrate his point that during the Trump Administration, journalists are under threat of personal harm. Knox said that he has had death threats and decried that fake news and being called enemies of the people are not punch lines, but rather assaults on the "men and women whose hard work makes it possible to hold the powerful to account." Once again, these guys are leaving out details.
Those covering the White House are still sore about Trump tweeting on March 26, "The Mainstream Media is under fire and being scorned all over the World as being corrupt and FAKE. For two years they pushed the Russian Collusion Delusion when they always knew there was No Collusion. They truly are the Enemy of the People and the Real Opposition Party!" The media may be really angry with Trump over the tweet, but the truth of the matter reflects that the mainstream media actually did foment a false narrative about the President colluding with the Russians. They continue to do so. There were so many false stories over the last two years that it is difficult to count them. This is not counting other falsehoods.
For example, the coverage of the Charlottesville, VA, riots in 2017 is still rearing its ugly head as Senator Joe Biden (D-DE) is using a false quote from CNN to condemn the president as a neo-Nazi supporter. CNN's Chris Cuomo deceptively edited Trump's remarks to give the impression that the President said there were "very fine people on both sides" of the protest in support of the white supremacists. Trump actually condemned the neo-Nazis and in explaining that many people were present to protest the taking down of Robert E Lee's statue and renaming the park, he said, "You had some very bad people in that group (neo-Nazis). But you also had people that were very fine people on both sides." CNN finally admitted Friday that Trump didn't refer to neo-Nazis as very fine people, but the damage has been ongoing for nearly two years.
There are countless examples of how the media has twisted facts or lied in their efforts to hammer Trump. Yet the president of the White House Correspondents Association is crying about assaults on the people who are "holding the powerful to account." This type of accountability is nothing less than coup-making propaganda. The media is not the victim, but the perpetrator. They are the thugs of deception because they not only deceive with their false news, but they also bully people who disagree with them. They are like the scribes that Christ referred to in Matthew 23:27, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness."
Daily Devotion: Pray . . . and Do Your Part - by Greg Laurie - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14141/palestinians-own-goal
And the LORD said to Moses, 'Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.' - Exodus 14:15
The Israelites finally were allowed to leave Egypt and return to their homeland. But as they made their way home, they arrived at the Red Sea. Talk about an insurmountable obstacle. There was no way they could cross it. Then they turned and saw the Egyptian army in hot pursuit. What did they do? They started praying.
I love what God said to Moses: "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea" (Exodus 14:15-16 NKJV).
There's a place for the practical, and there's a place for the spiritual. There comes a point when we should stop praying and start doing. We have to find a balance. Yes, it's good to pray. But what is the plan of action? What's the first step?
Maybe you're praying, "Lord heal my marriage. It's unraveling. My spouse is so messed up." Hold on. What about you? Pray that you would be the husband or wife God wants you to be. Husband, are you loving your wife as Christ loves the church? Why don't you just start there?
Maybe as a wife, you're praying, "Lord, change my husband. He's such a loser. He's such a disappointment." Maybe that's part of the reason your marriage is failing. When is the last time you showed him a little respect? When is the last time you complimented him or thanked him?
Yes, we should pray about it when trials come our way. But let's make sure we're doing our part. There's a place for the practical, and there's a place for the spiritual. They both work hand in hand.
FROM THE HEART
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