Prophecy Update Newsletter
May 3, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Seven Major Prophetic Signs of The Second Coming: 2017 Conclusion - Jack Kelley -
6. The World Will Accept A Single Government... Rev 13:3
The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
When you look at the deteriorating shape of the world over the past decades, it doesn't take much to imagine conditions getting to a point where people will cry out for a leader who can bring order out of chaos. Whether the issue is climate change, the decline of the US dollar, the slow motion economic collapse of Europe, war in the Middle East, or the price of oil, the one solution most leaders agree on is the need for some form of coordinated world government. With the things that already threaten our stability getting worse by the day, how much more frantic will people be after millions of their neighbors suddenly disappear in the rapture without warning or explanation, and there's been a war (Ezekiel 38) that brings destruction from Europe through the Middle East and into Russia? When people become convinced that their problems cannot be solved by human means alone they look to the supernatural for answers. In this regard, Paul wrote:
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing (2 Thes 2 :9-10)
A leader who promises to restore peace and safety and demonstrates miraculous power that astonishes everyone will quickly be given the reins of world government. By many accounts, this lawless one is standing in the wings as you read this, awaiting his cue.
7. Babylon Will Re-Emerge As A Prominent City In World Affairs... Rev 18:2-3
With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
You may not realize this, but Babylon is being made ready to accept its destiny as a focus of world power in the end times. It's just a ceremonial city right now, but 25 years ago nobody even knew it existed at all. One of the shocks of Gulf War 1 was the discovery of Babylon standing there on the banks of the Euphrates River. Today there's a concerted effort underway to complete what Saddam Hussein began and return Babylon to world prominence.
But more has already been accomplished than most people think. For example, if you take a close look at the dimensions and capabilities of the new US embassy in Baghdad you will see how easily it could be prepared to house a world governmental headquarters. At 104 acres, it is the largest and most expensive embassy in the world, and is nearly as large as Vatican City. Babylon is only about an hour away by car.
In addition, one of Saddam Hussein's palaces overlooks ancient Babylon and has been completely restored as a hotel and tourist destination. It could easily house the anti-Christ and his entourage. Finally, there are several large military installations nearby as well. In short, preparing Babylon to become the capitol of the world won't take anywhere near as long as most people think.
Because of Babylon's current lack of importance in the world, some students of prophecy search for an allegorical fulfillment of its destruction described in Rev. 18, and of course many see the USA or some American city as a logical candidate. But remember, even though in Revelation 17:9 John describes "mystery Babylon" as seated on seven hills, a prophecy in Zechariah 5:5-11 shows it being moved "to the plains of Shinar" a reference to ancient Mesopotamia called Iraq today. We can't switch from literal to allegorical interpretations of Scripture without clear direction, and where Babylon is concerned no such direction exists. In fact, the opposite is true. Almost from the beginning, the Bible has been a tale of two cities. Jerusalem is the city of God while Babylon has always been the city of man. Both disappeared from the world stage for many centuries, but when Jerusalem came back it was to its original location. The Bible says the same will be true of Babylon.
Birth Pangs ... Matt. 24:6-8
Jesus told us to watch for specific signs leading up to his return. He called these signs "birth pangs" (Matthew 24:6-7, Mark 13:7-8, Luke 21:9-11). No one knows the hour or the day when Jesus will return, but we are given these signs in Scripture that we may know the season. When these signs first appear, which many believe we are witnessing now, we are told to expect an increase in frequency and intensity of natural and man-made catastrophes and disasters as the time for the Lord's return is near. All these are the beginning of birth pangs.
Matthew 24:6-7 "You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places".
Mark 13:7-8 "When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pangs."
Luke 21:9-11 "When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away." Then he said to them: "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."
Wars and rumors of wars
All around the globe, nations are either preparing for war or at war. The civil war in Syria, being partly fought by proxy (including involvement from Russia, Turkey, Iran and the US) plus the ongoing battles Israel faces against the Palestinians, Hamas and Hezbollah could rapidly lead to the fulfillment of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17.
During a recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his concern for Russia allowing Iran (Russia's ally in supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad) a permanent foothold in Syria. He voiced Israel's strong opposition to the presence of Iranian forces, and those of its proxies, on Israel's northern border with Lebanon and in the Mediterranean Sea. PM Netanyahu also said "Victory over the terrorism of the Islamic State ( in Syria) cannot lead to an upsurge in terrorism by Iran and its proxies. We will not exchange terrorism for terrorism."
Southern Damascus has been in a state of siege by pro-government forces for several years with neighboring areas controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq, ISIS and other former al-Qaeda affiliates. The Syrian army, affiliated Palestinian-Syrian militias, and Lebanese Hezbollah surround the remaining areas not controlled by the government. Hezbollah and Iran-backed militias are also present.
In spite of claims that ISIS is on the run in Iraq, coalition forces are still fighting holdouts and trying to come up with a workable plan to not leave a void to be filled by terrorists again as the coalition forces withdraw and Iraq is left to stand alone.
As we know, God has a plan for Babylon and Damascus, so none should be surprised to find it works out just as He intends.
China is building up its military presence by expanding its military capabilities including the construction of a second aircraft carrier, and building man-made islands in the South China Sea for "defense purposes." According to a US Department of Defense report, "the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is engaged in a massive, extensive modernization program, drawing upon the resources of a continually expanding economy (now the world's second largest) to support these improvements. In addition to the ground forces, the PLA Navy, the PLA Air Force, the Second Artillery (China's rocket forces), as well as space and cyber-espionage capabilities are all being expanded and upgraded."
In 2014 China launched its first aircraft carrier, nuclear-armed submarines, and a stealth fighter aircraft. In addition to the obvious threat this poses to China's neighbors, it has also been reported that China eventually expects to go to war against the US. In March 2016 Global Research reported, "The start of 2016 has witnessed a sharp escalation in the militarization of the South China Sea. The cause of the escalation is multifaceted and comes from both regional and international quarters. The militarization has been initiated and exacerbated by both China and the United States, both bearing responsibility for the current level of tension in the region."
North Korea's first atomic test was in 2006 and its nuclear weapons program was considered to be mostly an attempt to gain prestige and recognition as a world power so the US would have direct negotiations with them over the ongoing Korean/US conflict. Economic sanctions and a recent plea from China, its biggest ally, have failed to deter or restrict North Korea's weapons program.
Pyongyang has now developed and successfully launched both short and intermediate range missiles into the Sea of Japan, and claims to have nuclear submarine launch capabilities and to be working on a long-range ICBM that could reach Hawaii and the west coast of the US. They have certainly achieved their goal of getting the world's attention. Considered by many as being highly unstable, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's relentless pursuit of developing a long-range missile that could carry a nuclear warhead to our shoreline has U.S. officials declaring this to be a rapidly growing threat.
In response to that threat and to North Korea's repeated testing of other ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons, the United States is deploying an advanced missile defense system in South Korea called THAAD. Other potential in-range target nations closer to North Korea, such as Japan, are also considering the development of its own defense system; and to change its long-standing 'fire only if fired upon' policy to a 'preemptive strike' policy if the threat of any potential devastating aggressive action is determined to be imminent. All of these factors increase the risk that a mistake or miscalculation by any party could trigger massive devastation with both regional and world war implications.
Africa continues to be a major battleground as forces loyal to Islam continue in their efforts to gain control of the continent. Somalia and Sudan, the Congo, Nigeria and Libya are but a few of the hot spots that have created millions of refugees and internally displaced people. Thousands of people have been slaughtered from a number of conflicts and civil wars on the African continent. These wars are mainly along the northern coast area, but extend from northern Mali through southern Algeria and Libya into Egypt and the Sinai peninsula. Those not killed or displaced are suffering from devastating food shortages and a need for clean water and medical supplies.
There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. (Luke 21:11)
Around the world there are news reports daily of moderate earthquakes, volcanoes threatening eruption, hurricanes, cyclones and tsunamis, seasonally early tornado patterns, warmer than usual weather for some-colder than usual for others, floods in some places and drought in others. 2015 was reported to be the hottest year on record in the United States.
Many experts agree earthquakes have steadily become more frequent in recent years. They are now reported to be an everyday occurrence, averaging more than three earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or higher somewhere in the world every day.
A recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey acknowledges and warns that Southern California is overdue for a major earthquake with a likely magnitude 7 or greater on the southern San Andreas fault line, the longest in the US. Geologists have recently discovered a new fault line in Southern California, called the Salton Trough Fault, that runs parallel to the San Andreas Fault which could explain why no major earthquake has occurred over the past 300 years as expected in the San Andreas area. The southern portion of the San Andreas Fault normally ruptures every 175 to 200 years and is far overdue. It's possible that the newly discovered Salton Trough Fault may be helping absorb the strain from San Andreas, which could help explain why a major earthquake is long overdue. Definitive research, however, is not available to make the conclusion that there is interaction between the two faults.
Another newly discovered fault line called the Cascadia subduction zone runs for 700 miles off the Pacific Northwest coast from Vancouver through parts of California and is considered to have the potential of a seismographic event with a much greater impact than San Andreas. An earthquake along this fault line would make disasters like Hurricane Katrina, San Francisco's 1906 earthquake, and Hurricane Sandy seem tame in comparison. If only a part of the Cascadia subduction zone moves, the magnitude of the resulting quake could be somewhere between 8.0 and 8.6. If the entire zone moves at once, causing an event that seismologists call a full-margin rupture, the magnitude could be somewhere between 8.7 and 9.2.
Compared to the San Andreas fault that has an upper limit of approximately an 8.2, Cascadia would rightfully be called a very big one. Unlike San Andreas, Cascadia also has the ability to generate a tsunami at the same time which would wipe out the coastlines of Washington State, Oregon and parts of Northern California, and Vancouver. FEMA estimates that such an event involving both an earthquake and tsunami could cause nearly thirteen thousand people to die, and another twenty-seven thousand could be injured. The agency expects that it would need to provide shelter for a million displaced people, and food and water for another two and a half million.
The Central US also has been experiencing a high number of earthquakes. The fault known for the most devastation historically in that area is the New Madrid Seismic Zone which potentially threatens parts of eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. The New Madrid fault is also labeled 'past due,' and some have speculated that a major rupture of that fault line has the potential to flood most of the Mississippi River Valley all the way from Missouri to the Gulf of Mexico killing thousands and wiping out valuable farm land.
Volcanoes are some of the most devastating natural disasters on Earth, and some services that routinely track volcanic eruptions are reporting an increase in frequency. The most devastating volcanoes are called super volcanoes for a good reason. Perhaps the best known super volcano in the US is in Yellowstone National Park. If Yellowstone were to erupt, the explosion could create a force that is 2500 greater than a Mount St. Helens eruption. Although the magma could explode as high as 30 miles into the atmosphere, the flowing lava wouldn't be the main problem.
Scientists have estimated that enough ash would come out of the volcano to cover all of the US with five inches of ash and would be devastating for much of the United States . Much of the California and Midwest agriculture industry would be damaged for years. Muck in rivers and streams could result in the death of many of the surviving wildlife and domestic livestock. Within 60 miles of the eruption, virtually all living plants and animals would be killed by falling ash, lava flows and the explosive force.
Such a cataclysmic event would fit Biblical descriptions where light from the sun is blocked for an extended period of time followed by a plummeting drop in temperature. Food crops in the fields would be covered with ash and be unharvestable or would die from the extreme cold leading to massive food shortages.
There's much more that could be said about such an extinction level event, but you get the picture.
The United Nations says the world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 1945 and has issued a plea for help to avoid "a catastrophe." UN humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien said more than 20 million people faced the threat of starvation and famine in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria. Unicef has also warned 1.4 million children could starve to death this year.
Hundreds of cases of mumps have been reported across the US since the start of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Though cases of the mumps fluctuate each year from a few hundred to a few thousand, the high number of cases so early in 2017 has some health officials concerned.
Yellow fever has broken out in the jungles outside Brazil's most densely-populated cities, raising a frightening but still remote possibility: an epidemic that could decimate that country's population and spread throughout the Americas, including the United States.
Large numbers of fish and birds have been dying for no explainable reason, and cases of Ebola and strains of bird flu are being reported worldwide.
Three stages of labor
(see Have Birth Pangs Begun?)
Since both the Lord and Paul compared the end times signs to a woman's labor, let me continue in that vein by comparing the three stages of labor to the end times signs.
The first stage is called early labor. It's the longest and least intense of the three stages. This is when a woman first concludes her time of labor is beginning. In my opinion, this is what Jesus was describing as wars, rumors of wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. I think this is where the world is now.
In the second stage, called active labor, things become more serious. A woman's contractions become much stronger and more frequent. I believe this stage will begin after the Church is gone, with the introduction of the anti-Christ as the rider on the white horse (Rev. 6:2) followed by the seal and trumpet judgments. This is the first half of Daniel's 70th Week, the beginning of the time of God's wrath.
The third stage is called transitional labor. It's the last, shortest, and most intensive part of a woman's labor. I believe transitional labor can be compared to the Great Tribulation where the world will experience the bowl judgments which will bring the time of God's wrath to a conclusion (Rev. 15:1) and set the stage for the Second Coming.
The Lord said these birth pangs would be the early warning signs of the approaching End of the Age, so I have included the above examples to confirm my belief that we're very close to our last days on Earth. While predictions of what 2017 may bring are all over the spectrum, Christians needn't worry because we walk by faith not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Our citizenship is in Heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20). Therefore, having seen these things beginning to take place we stand up and lift up our heads because our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28).
These promises have never been more important to us than they will be in 2017. If you have not yet confessed to the Lord that you are a sinner in need of a Savior, repent now and accept His free gift of Salvation. All that is required is to believe that Jesus died for your sins and ask for forgiveness. John 3:16
The Beating Drums of War - By Matt Ward -
On Thursday last week, a huge explosion ripped through a military base, located just outside the Syrian capital, Damascus. It was a brazen attack carried out by Israel against an enemy that is already deeply entrenched inside Syria. The target, believed to be an arms depot operated by Lebanese terror group Hezbollah, was almost completely destroyed. This military base was believed to contain substantial amounts of Iranian weaponry, due to be transferred directly to Hezbollah, likely for use against Israel.
Without explicitly admitting responsibility for the strike, Israel Katz, Israel's intelligence minister, told Israeli Army Radio that, "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."
Katz continued, "The prime minister has said that whenever we receive intelligence that indicated an intention to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah, we will act." 
This current strike follows on the heels of an Israeli attack just last month, when several strikes near the Syrian desert city of Palmyra targeted what were also believed to be "advanced weapons systems," belonging to Hezbollah.
The last time Israel attacked targets based within Syria, Bashir Assad tried to retaliate by launching several ground to air missiles, a number of which managed to penetrate Israeli airspace. The world awaits his reaction, if there is one, this time.
Israel took this action because they are growing increasingly worried that Hezbollah are gaining in strength, and that the Lebanese group are proactively preparing for an imminent confrontation with the Jewish state. Several recent indicators suggest a climactic war may be just around the corner. The drums of a third Lebanon war are already beating loudly.
Officials on both sides of the Israeli-Lebanese border are actively anticipating a third Lebanon War. It would be no exaggeration to say that at this point both Israel and Hezbollah already believe they are in a state war with each other; it just hasn't been admitted or declared yet. Additionally, both sides are jockeying for position, taking every opportunity to improve their strategic position ahead of a war they both know is coming.
This next war, when it arrives, will be different from the first or second Lebanon wars. Unlike previously, the next war in Lebanon will be a real doomsday situation for both Israel and Hezbollah. Israel simply cannot afford to lose the next fixed conflict it fights in, as it did in the 34-day Lebanon war of 2006, when Israel was supposed to annihilate the Iran-backed "party of God," Hezbollah. It didn't quite work out that way and many today describe this war as a disaster for Israel, even though they didn't actually lose it in any definable way.
This time around there is simply too much at stake. With IS on its border, with Iran and Russia swamping Syria with men, military hardware and advanced weaponry, and the eyes of an increasingly anti-Semitic world watching closely, the Jewish state cannot under any circumstance afford to look weak. It cannot allow itself to look in any way "defeat-able."
The political stakes are equally as high. After the Arab-Israeli war of 1973, then-Prime Minister Golda Meir was forced to step down - not because she lost the war but because she did not win it. In 2009, Ehud Olmert also resigned, not for defeat but again, for not winning the Lebanon war of 2006. There will be no turning back and no hesitation from current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once this shadow war comes out into the cold, hard light of day. It really will be an "all or nothing" type of situation.
Yet this next war will also be a battle of survival for Hezbollah too. Loose and they will likely be finished, and so too will be Iran's influence in the Arab world. Both sides cannot afford to lose, or even look like they have lost. This is why military planners from both sides are openly declaring that when this next conflict does come, it will be a brutal one, with no quarter given by either side.
Hasan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's chief, has long been shouting about how ready he is for this next round of conflict, declaring that when it begins, his troops will be on the offensive against Israel, capable of raining long-range missiles down on Israeli cities and marching deep into the Israeli heartland, perhaps even occupying settlements and towns.
A climactic war is on the horizon for Israel and Hezbollah. The indicators of this future conflict abound. In mid-April, Israel announced it had successfully layered its airspace with the most sophisticated anti-missile tripartite defense system ever developed.
The U.S. made Arrow defensive system will, Israel believes, handle all long range Iranian missiles, whilst Israeli made David's Sling will deal with all shorter range projectiles, leaving Iron Dome to intercept all rockets and drone cross border attacks. This is the theory at any rate. Wars, unfortunately, rarely work out so neatly in their execution. The cold, hard reality will likely be that Israel, and all its advanced and sophisticated defensive counter measures, will be utterly swamped by the sheer volume of missiles and rockets fired at it.
Meanwhile in Syria, a combined Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah force has just begun a large offensive aimed at occupying the border area directly adjacent to Israel, southwest of Damascus. Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Defense Minister, has stated bluntly, "Israel will not allow the concentration of Iranian and Hezbollah forces on its Golan border." 
Yet occupying the Israeli Golan border is the specific intention of this Iranian-Syrian-Hezbollah force. They are clearly trying to establish a platform from which they can launch a future multi-front war against Israel.
In Israel, mass military drills have been conducted and border fortifications have been dug. Electronic surveillance and counter measures along the Lebanese border area have been prepared and plans for the mass evacuation of entire Israeli border communities have been drawn up and practiced in real time, in the real world.
War is coming once again to Israel, and soon. The consistent targeting and striking of Hezbollah assets held deep within Syria are an indicator of it, and also of Israel's utter determination to deny and destroy all advanced weapons systems transfers to Hezbollah, even at the very real risk of stirring up substantial Russian animosity against them.
In this next war, a further complicating factor is that Israel also know that they are unlikely to be facing Hezbollah alone. After all its service to the Syrian regime since the beginning of the civil war in 2012, after all its sacrificed soldiers and men, Hezbollah will no doubt be expecting some form of reciprocation from Damascus, against Israel. Equally, Iran-a long time backer of Hezbollah, is also expected to throw its hat in the ring against the Jewish state when war becomes a reality.
All of this, of course, leads to one other serious question; what would America under Donald Trump do in such a circumstance? Certainly the United States would expect Syria, Russia and Iran to stay neutral, something Iran and Syria almost certainly would not do.
How would this make America react? The one certainty in the Middle East right now is that the nature of U.S.-Israeli relations under this new administration have changed. Trump has made it abundantly clear, as had Vice President Pence and UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, that they will stand shoulder to shoulder and back to back with Israel against all comers. All comers. While comforting for those of us who hold Israel dear, nevertheless this raises the uncomfortable specter of a wider conflagration in the Middle East, should Israel and Hezbollah slide into a violent and potentially very messy war.
Already there are just too many competing, separate militaries operating over the skies of Syria; it is truly remarkable that there has not been a much more significant crisis up until this point. Yet a war between Israel and Hezbollah has the potential to further trigger just such a series of confrontations and standoffs. If that does happen, all bets would be off as to the outcome.
The stakes in the Middle East have never been higher, nor has the region looked so volatile. The situation between Hezbollah and Israel is becoming more antagonistic by the day. The pertinent question every thinking person should be asking right now is at what point will Israel deem it absolutely, and finally necessary to move against Hezbollah?
It is clear that Israel views Hezbollah as an existential threat against its existence; the status quo, as it currently stands, will not last, and a wider Middle Eastern chaos will likely follow in its wake. The Middle East today is a tinder box which is already alight. It may well soon explode before our eyes.
UN Condemns Israel's Presence in Jerusalem To Mark Israel's Independence Day - By Ben Cohen -
As Israel celebrated its 69th Independence Day on Tuesday, UNESCO -- the cultural arm of the United Nations -- voted by a 22-10 margin (with 23 abstentions and three absences) to approve a resolution that condemned what it called Israel's "illegal" presence in Jerusalem.
However, the number of "yes" votes was down from similar past resolutions -- a development one watchdog group viewed as progress.
"Israel lost the vote today, but it did score a moral victory by winning more votes than ever before, including from leading democratic members like the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands," Hillel Neuer -- executive director of the Geneva-based UN Watch NGO -told The Algemeiner.
"The Palestinians at UNESCO are hemorrhaging support for their ritual anti-Israel resolutions: last April they had 33 yes votes, then in October it was down to 24, and today it's down to 22.
And once again, India -- an increasingly important friend of Israel -- has voted to abstain, showing that its recent break from decades of lockstep voting with the Arab states is now a fixed policy."
The resolution passed on Tuesday stated that "all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the 'basic law' on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith."
Holy sites outside Jerusalem were also included in the resolution. Two shrines sacred to Jews -- the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem -- were defined by the resolution as the "two Palestinian sites of Al-Haram Al-Ibrahimi/Tomb of the Patriarchs in Al-Khalil/Hebron and the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque/Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem." Both, the resolution said, "are an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory."
The resolution also "deplored" what it described as "the continuous Israeli closure of the Gaza Strip, which harmfully affects the free and sustained movement of personnel, students and humanitarian relief items."
Israeli officials were likely to be pleased with the list of countries that either abstained from the vote or opposed the resolution.
Abstentions included Albania -- which has a Muslim majority -- and four African states with whom Israel now enjoys revived relations: Ghana, Guinea, Kenya and Uganda.
The US voted against the resolution, as did key European nations like France, Germany, Greece, Lithuania and the Netherlands.
There was a similar lack of consensus among the Latin American delegates.
Paraguay voted against, while Argentina -- an ally of Iran before current President Mauricio Macri defeated incumbent Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in the November 2015 election -- also abstained.
Other abstentions included the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. Brazil was the only Latin American country to vote "yes."
Arab and Muslim states, among them Qatar and Iran -- both of whom have extensive financial and political ties with the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas -- voted overwhelmingly in favor.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon condemned the passage of the resolution, which was entitled "Occupied Palestine."
"This biased and blatantly deceitful decision, and the attempts to dispute the connection between Israel and Jerusalem, will not change the simple fact that this city is the historic and eternal capital of the Jewish people," Danon said. "Israel will not stand silently by in the face of this shameful resolution."
Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the International Bible Contest in his nation's capital, "There is no other people in the world for whom Jerusalem is as holy and important as for the Jewish people, even though a meeting will take place at UNESCO today that will try to deny this historical truth."
"We denounce UNESCO and uphold our truth, which is the truth," he continued.
Hamas Calls for Israel's Annihilation as Abbas Meets Trump - Tzippe Barrow -
Hamas, the Palestinian faction ruling the Gaza Strip, has released a policy statement that demands Jerusalem for a Palestinian capital and alludes to the total destruction of Israel.
The statement comes as Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas comes to Washington to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump.
The Islamist group Hamas says it would accept an independent Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 armistice lines and the right of return for an estimated 5 million descendants of Arabs who left Israel in 1948, both nonstarters for Israel.
Outgoing Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal said the policy statement reflects the group's "struggle against the Zionists who occupy Palestine," while preserving its right for "resistance and jihad" to accomplish its goal.
"Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea. However, without compromising its rejection of the Zionist entity and without relinquishing any Palestinian rights, Hamas considers the establishment of a fully sovereign and independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital along the lines of the 4th of June 1967, with the return of the refugees and the displaced to their homes from which they were expelled, to be a formula of national consensus."
The terror group's latest declaration is seen as a means to an end - an end of Israel that is - since their end goal is to liberate "Palestine, from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea."
"Hamas is attempting to fool the world, but it will not succeed," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes told The Times of Israel.
Netanyahu hopes the president will hold Abbas accountable for paying hefty monthly stipends to convicted terrorists and educating its youth to wage jihad against Israelis.
Nearing Midnight: Death Penalty Games - Todd Strandberg - http://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
The spectacle that has become the death penalty process recently came here to Arkansas. Events were set in motion by the state announcing its plan to execute eight men within a span of 11 days. The reason for the cluster of executions was because the state needed to carry out the executions-before its supply of midazolam would expire at the end of the month. I knew the process was not going to be that simple.
The left has become fanatically opposed to capital punishment. They don't care if Muslims are throwing homosexuals off rooftops or stoning women to death for being victims of rape. Their compassion is for people who are guilty of coldhearted murder.
The chief strategy in combating the death penalty is to gum up the justice system with endless frivolous appeals. The average time it takes to put someone to death for a crime is over 20 years. Some cases stretch out over 30 years. You would think that after multiple decades of legal wrangling, there would be little doubt about a convicted murder's guilt when the time comes for their sentence to be carried out.
There has been a huge legal battle over how the state purchased their supply of midazolam, which is used to sedate the person being put to death. To obtain the drug, a worker for the state had to travel incognito to a distributor. When McKesson Corp, the maker of midazolam found out about the plan to use its drug in the executions, it filed for an injunction. McKesson did receive one injunction, but it was later overturned.
With the appeals system staffed with liberal judges committed to the anti-death penalty agenda, disruptions have become routine. One of the first judges to stand in the way of the executions was Judge Wendell Griffen. Immediately after he halted Arkansas from executing six prisoners, he participated in a protest against capital punishment outside the Arkansas governor's mansion by laying on a cot, as though he were a condemned man on a gurney. Since then he has been barred from taking up any death penalty-related cases. This type of outrageous judicial misconduct should be grounds for removing Griffin from the bench all together.
It didn't take long for half of the planned executions to be canceled or receive a stay because of various court decisions. But time did run out for convicted criminal, Ledell Lee. It was the first time in 12 years that Arkansas carried out the death penalty.
Of course the liberal media has diligently kept track of the stats on capital punishment. They have implied we were doing well for a dozen years and then we lost our way. I could sense the dismay in the media coverage when it was announced that two killers would be executed within hours of each other. The last state that put more than one inmate to death on the same day was Texas, which executed two killers in August of 2000.
The last double execution in Arkansas took place last Monday April 24, ending the lives of Jack Jones and Marcel Williams. The lawyers for these convicted criminals proclaimed their clients were too fat to be put to death. Since both men had eaten themselves into poor health, the lawyers argued they may not respond to the drugs, causing them to suffer a painful death. Nevertheless, the executions went off without any major problems.
Since weight comes up in many death penalty cases, I can only conclude the likelihood that many of these criminals are being advised to become as overweight as possible, to try to prevent their death sentence from being carried out. (The obesity ploy may be the wrong way to get sympathy.)
The execution of a fourth inmate, Kenneth Williams, shows the problem of warehousing murders. One of the most common arguments used to do away with the death penalty is the suggestion that we can lock people away forever, without any chance of an innocent person being put to death.
Whenever a hardened criminal escapes prison, the innocent public often suffers. Williams was less than three weeks into a life term for killing a University of Arkansas cheerleader when he escaped by hiding in a load of garbage. In his short time of the run, Williams killed two people. Only now after his execution, can we be sure that his murderous rampage is over.
We don't have endless space in our prison system. The jails in Arkansas are so full, we have to rent space in other states to find lodging for our criminals. Every time we add a person to the prison population another prisoner has to be released. Quite often, the person being set free is someone who committed murder and was sent to prison for life. These murderers get back on the street and eventually kill some other person. As jails become a revolving door, it becomes clear that our approach to justice needs to be reexamined.
The following two passages of Scripture are often used to support the position of capital punishment:
"Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man" (Genesis 9:6).
"For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake" (Romans 13:3-5).
God does not play games with sin. Whenever He administers judgment in the Bible, He is very direct and to the point. These liberals who think they would have the God of heaven tongue-tied on judgment because they stood the moral high ground, are in for a big surprise. The Lord sees sin as such a serious matter, the death of His Son was the only way to lift punishment.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
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
Iran in Syria: A Gathering Storm? - P. David Hornik - http://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/266537/iran-syria-gathering-storm-p-david-hornik
The mullahs want to target the "Little Satan" from across the border.
The Iranian regime, as it has made clear in countless threats, rallies, and missile displays, wants to destroy Israel, the "Little Satan."
Given Israel's military might and, according to foreign reports, nuclear arsenal, Iran's goal is probably unattainable. But the nearer Iran gets-or perceives itself to get-to that goal, the more warfare and instability is likely to ensue.
At present, thanks to Syria's collapse into civil war and the Obama administration's-at best-inept policy there, Iran is within reach of establishing a permanent military presence to Israel's north-a surefire recipe for ongoing struggle and menace.
Israeli officials, Reuters reports, now estimate that Iran "commands at least 25,000 fighters in Syria, including members of its own Revolutionary Guard, Shi'ite militants from Iraq and recruits from Afghanistan and Pakistan."
Iran is also reportedly seeking a naval base in Syria, and, if it gains a lasting foothold in Israel's northern neighbor, will undoubtedly want an airbase there as well.
The Reuters report notes that Israeli intelligence minister Yisrael Katz has been on Capitol Hill urging stepped-up U.S. threats and sanctions on Iran and its Lebanese proxy Hezbollah. Israel wants Russia to rein in Iran, too-though whether Russia is willing is still in dispute.
Of particular concern are Iran's efforts to establish a beachhead for itself and Hezbollah on the northern Golan Heights, directly across the border from the Israeli-controlled southern Golan.
Two years ago an Israeli airstrike on the northern Golan killed both Hezbollah and Iranian commanders seeking to build a terror network there. Israel remains acutely concerned that such efforts will continue.
Iran's naked aggression toward Israel was in evidence this week in a different kind of attack. The Israeli daily Haaretz reports:
Cybersecurity experts are convinced that Iran is behind the large-scale cyberattack revealed Wednesday by Israel's Cyber Defense Authority. The attacks have been identified as being carried out by a hacker group known as OilRig, which has been tracked to Iran and is believed to be financed and directed by one of the Islamic Republic's intelligence agencies.
OilRig...is known to have attacked in both government and private sector targets the past, focusing primarily on Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United States and Israel.
The recent attacks were aimed at at least 120 Israeli targets, including private companies, government departments, research institutes and hospitals.... It is unclear at this point whether the attack had any specific targets beyond creating damage in Israeli computer networks, and the extent of that damage is still being assessed.
Other reports, like this one, claim the cyberattack was successfully thwarted.
What is not in doubt is that the-for now-low-level war between Iran and Israel is not only continuing but intensifying. On Thursday it was reported that Israeli missiles fired from the Golan Heights hat hit and destroyed Iranian arms supplies in a Hezbollah depot near Damascus International Airport.
Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz, mentioned above, appeared to confirm that Israel was behind the strike, saying it "exactly matches our declared policy."
Iran's harassment of a U.S. warship in the Persian Gulf this week suggests that its cockiness toward the "Great Satan," too-after a period when it seemed to have waned-is returning.
A cyber attack on Israel, arms shipments to Hezbollah, and provocative moves against the U.S. navy are-among much else-all in a week's work for Iran.
Israeli officials are, though, well aware that the current administration has a much more sober view of the problem than the previous one, and more hopeful that, this time around, the forces of civilization will push back against a regime that has been sowing discord and death for almost four decades.
Daily Jot: The White House budget spin - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Congress is passing yet another Continuing Resolution to kick the budget can down the road to September. It's a stop-gap measure that gives the socialists an early Christmas. It continues to fund Planned Parenthood, expands spending to a trillion dollars and gives the Democrats a very strategic position in getting all their tax and spend programs over the next several years. It's a risky political strategy on the part of Republicans and it is a win-win strategy by the socialist Democratic Party. In the worse kind of way, it is bad optics for a President who made promises to drain the swamp and put Americans first--That's the take from the media, but the White House has a different spin.
Vice President Mike Pence is making the rounds to explain why the Trump Administration is supporting the Continuing Resolution until September. A big part of it is defense spending-a $21 billion increase to fund improvements to an aging military that was left to decay under the previous administration. Pence told Rush Limbaugh, "I mean, in a very real sense this was a game-changer because we're just back to putting the safety, security, and the national defense of the American people first, and...I think this sends a decisive message to the world that under President Trump's leadership we're gonna make the strongest military in history even stronger."
Pence said the number one priority for this Continuing Resolution was to strengthen America's defense capabilities. He said, "to get Democrats in Washington, D.C., to agree to a $21 billion increase in a short-term budget bill - and, you know, the president's calling for the largest increase in military spending since the Reagan administration in the upcoming budget, I think is no small - it's no small accomplishment." Pence further said that the bill includes the biggest increase in border security in ten years and reminded Limbaugh that illegal immigration was down 60% since Donald Trump took office. Pence also said that the President signed a bill into law that allows states to block Planned Parenthood funding and that the socialist healthcare replacement bill defunds Planned Parenthood.
Pence also set expectations on repealing socialist healthcare. He said that it will take two phases: first, repealing the taxes and penalties of socialist healthcare, and second, to allow people to buy healthcare across state lines. Pence said the two steps will "sweep the final vestiges of it away." Pence reveals a strategy to achieve success while making the other side think they are winning. It's the art of the deal. We must discern whether these explanations are spin or truth. Certainly, Trump knows how to deal. But he is dealing with extraordinarily cunning swamp dwellers. Let us pray that the President be an Ephesians 4:!4 person: That is not "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lay in wait to deceive." Pray that he has the wisdom of Solomon.
Daily Devotion: Upside Down Living - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too." -Acts 17:6
It was said of the early church that they turned the world upside down. And that, by the way, was offered as a criticism, not a compliment. When Paul and Silas were in Thessalonica preaching the gospel, it was said of them critically, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too" (Acts 17:6).
This is the church that changed the world through prayer and through preaching. But it seems today the opposite is happening. We have double standards, moral compromise, and little to no power. We need to get back to what the early church experienced as given on the day of Pentecost.
Some would say we need another Pentecost. However, we don't need another Pentecost any more than we need another Calvary. Let's just appropriate what was made available at the first Pentecost. The power that was given to the first century believers is also available to twenty-first century believers as we bring the gospel to our generation.
What concerns me is that we are so worried about fitting in, so worried about relating, and so worried about being cool that we have forgotten what it is to make a stand for what is true. And instead of the church turning the world upside down, my fear is that the world is turning the church upside down.
Vance Havner said, "We are not going to move this world by criticism of it nor conformity to it, but by the combustion within it of lives ignited by the Spirit of God."
Believers today need to be involved in upside down living. The early church turned their world upside down (or should I say right side up?). And in this crazy, topsy-turvy world where wrong is right and right is wrong, we need to do the same.
FROM THE HEART
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