Prophecy Update Newsletter
May 4, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Spiritual House in the Heavens - By Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2017/05/spiritual-house-in-heavens.html
5 "You also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ ...
2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." (2nd Peter 2:5-9)
I had a dear sister ask me what will we be (the saints borne of God) during the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ ? She understood that we will be given duties by our Lord and Savior, but her question was "will we rule over the people still living after the tribulation? Besides what will we be and will there be mortals able to sin during this time?" Good set of questions and those that I feel need further exploration by looking at scripture to get an idea of just what we will be and our task during this 1000 year reign after the rebellion during the great tribulation is put down by our King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. Let's start in Romans on our journey to identify what and who we will be and our responsibilities that our Lord will impart to all that are found in Him at His coming. Paul speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit reveals what we will be:
8:17 "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8:17-19)
Can you fathom what these verses means? It is almost too glorious to ponder and beyond our immediate comprehension of its full implications.. It is a infinite promise of future glory of those found in Christ. Verse 17 says we will be "joint heirs" of our Savior Jesus Christ. Heirs of what? Simple answer is that all that He is in spiritual nature, in His glory, in the ability of our mind to comprehend as we will have the mind of Christ (1st Corinthians 2:16), and in the inheritance that He, our Savior has, we will be given the same inheritance. For a lack of a better illustration, we will be adopted into the family of YAHWEH, Jehovah, God Almighty, God the Father. Jesus will be our "Big Brother" if we can even call Him that. He is our King, but He is our elder brother in a family type relationship. We will be adopted because Jesus will bring us into the family at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, when we are joined to Him, our bethrothed, our Groom spiritually, as a groom takes his wife and they become one.
I can't EVEN imagine it...my mind cannot wrap around such glory. Our God and our Savior will be the source of all of our glory and power upon this earth during a time when the earth is restored to its former glory as during the Garden of Eden. It will be a perfect environment with no war, no inclement weather, no disease, and no tempter of the nations. Satan will be given his Sabbath rest of 1000 years from being the source of all temptation and lies. But note, even though we will be on this earth during the Millennium, this planet is NOT our home, till God creates a New Heaven and new earth . Jesus told us where our home is and it's in 3rd heaven with our God and Father..
2 "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3)
As we will see, we will come and go from the heavens, which is our home, to the earth in instant of time, according to the desires of our Father in Heaven.
Even though this earth will become a near perfect world, sin will still be around. We, His Saints, will be sinless, immortal and of the same new body that our Lord was resurrected with when He came out of the tomb and appeared to the living. He was able to walk through walls, but be handled and able to eat, but disappear at will. He had a new glorious body, and we will have the same body as He does. Jesus explained this to Nicodemus when he came to Him in the night: John chapter 3,
3:3 "Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
This totally confused Nicodemus as the following verses after this show that he did not understand what Jesus meant. Jesus went on to explain of being borne of the Spirit and of water (baptism that shows that a man or woman understands that they are buried with Jesus Christ and are dead to the world, but raised a new creature in Him, by obediently following His footsteps in our life) a man cannot inherit the Kingdom of God or enter therein unless he is born again. He then said something that many overlook what we will be when He changes us into His likeness:
3:7 "Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
3:8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (John 3:7-8)
Did you catch that? We will be as the wind. On earth, we now see the effects of the wind through the trees, but we cannot see the wind,, but its effects on the material world. Spiritual bodies will come and go much as the wind, but appear at will to whomever we decide to let see us. It's the ultimate description (to illustrate something we can comprehend) of our bodies when Captain Kirk on Star Trek says "beam me up, Scotty." Our bodies will move at lightning speed without aid of some transporter as on some popular outer space program. It is how we will come and go from the heavens and our heavenly mansions to earth, in an instant.
HOW CAN THIS BE?
When Jesus comes for His saints, there will be an awards banquet in heaven. The Bible calls it the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Here Jesus will impart to each of His saints a measure of ruler-ship by the deeds they have done for Him in this life. Paul speaks of the revealing of what we have done in the body in this life, and what we have done for Jesus Christ and its eternal rewards:
3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
3:11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
3:12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
3:13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
3:14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
3:15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." (1st Corinthians 3:9-15)
What we have done in this life for Jesus Christ will stand and for that we will receive a reward, much like the following parable given by Jesus.
Note the parable of the talents:
25:14 "For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods"
Jesus is this man, who has gone to heaven and is sitting beside God the Father in Heaven and delivered unto us the servants, His goods. What goods? Let's read on.
25:15 "And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey." (Matthew 25:14-15)
In ancient times, a talent was a measure of gold. It was the most precious of all possessions. I ask you, what is the most precious possession our God has given us? I tell you plainly, it's HIS WORD! God doesn't need our gold, He already owns it all. He is giving us something much more valuable and He wants a return on imparting us with the responsibility of spreading His Word by personal witness. God's Word is His instructions for living, for His reaching us by His Holy Spirit unto repentance and using that same Word to reach others. That Word is our handbook for living this life, your Bible.
25:16 "Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
25:17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two." (Matthew chp. 25)
Each of these servants added to what he was given, by sharing that Word with the world around him. And receive an increase by winning the lost to Christ. How much of an impact does that Word have on the world? We may never know fully till it be revealed to us at this Marriage Supper, but we are commanded to share it with all who will listen.
25:18 "But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
25:19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
25:20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
25:23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
25:24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25:25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
25:26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
25:27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. This unfaithful and unprofitable servant hid His Masters goods, His Word, away and shared it not with those around him. Woe to those who fail to follow the command of our Lord Jesus.25:29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew chp. 25)
Did this man believe or just mouthed the words? Only God knows, but to hide away what we have been given determines our reward or our lack thereof. Each of these faithful servants were given a reward. They were made rulers over many things! Listen to what Jesus reveals to John the Beloved in Revelation:
» Revelation 2:7, 26; 3:21: "To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. . . . I will give power over the nations. . . . I will grant to sit with Me on My throne."
» Revelation 5:9-10: . . . "You . . . have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
» Revelation 21:7: "He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son."
Note that verse 9 of Revelation chapter 5 says we will be kings and priest before God on this earth. We have established that we will rule on this earth in the coming Kingdom of God according to our deeds done in this life for our Lord and Savior, but what about priest? What will be our duties as priest? Jesus Christ embodies all that is royal for a King, but is also our High Priest. He calls us kings and priests. If priest, then who will be minister to?
In ancient Israel, the priest were the ministers of God. They provided direction to the people and point them to God. They did the sacrifices given by the people for the atonement of their sins daily. Although the nation of Israel became blinded by the ceremonies of sacrifices in the Temple being a forerunner of the Supreme Sacrifice in the body of our Lord and Savior, they were the keepers of the oracles of God and were to be a priestly nation to shine before the Gentile world and lead them to God. We know that they failed miserably in their departure from following after God in spirit and in truth. They knew scripture inside and out, but failed to glean the central message when their Messiah was standing right before them.
PRIEST BEFORE GOD
There are four things that we can learn here about a priest, and actually three of them are spin-offs of the first one, which is this:
A priest has access to God in Israel that other people did not have. Now because he had access to God, we therefore understand that the priest served God personally. Think of this in relation the life that's coming, but do not detach it from today. Remember, you are a royal priesthood.
The priest ministers to others.
The priest was actually ministering to the average Israelite who came to him whenever he represented him before God. in the Old Testament and we will minister to the mortals who need still a Savior.
He therefore had to have something to give. He had to have something to give to the Israelite, and he also had to have something to give to God. So it will be in the Millennium. You ask, "are mortals in the Millennium"? That was one of the questions needing to be answered.
During this time of blessed peace and security that comes upon the earth, men will enter into the Millennium as mortal men and women. The Bible speaks of them in Isaiah,
65:20 "There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner being an hundred years old shall be accursed.
65:21 And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them.
65:22 They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.
65:23 They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them.
65:24 And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.
65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent's meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD." (Isaiah chp. 65)
Verse 20 speaks of the sinner? Yes, men will still have a mortal sin nature, but not to the extent as in our world now, as the tempter has been locked away for a 1000 years. We will be the teachers of the ways of God as spoken in Isaiah:
Isaiah 30:21 "And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. "
We, as priest, will teach them the Way of the Lord and point them to the cross.
Understand, Jesus will be known to all, as the sea covers the earth.
8:11 "And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest." (Hebrews 8:11)
All people on earth will be subject to the righteous rule of Jesus Christ as He sits on the Throne of David and all the earth will know Him.....in their mind they will know, but in their heart they still possess a sin nature. That's where we come into our responsibility. As kings of the King of kings, our job, our commission is to be rulers, yes....priests to the people to point them to the Savior, most definitely. We are being instructed in righteousness right now, on this earth, in this time we have left.
9 "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."( 1st Corinthians 6:9-11)
We were saved before the foundation of the world, in God's foreknowledge, He knew who would be in His Kingdom, but are not the elite of this world....not at all.
25 "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord."(I Corinthians 1:25-31)
God has chosen the humble, not the proud. He has chosen the poor, not the rich. He has chosen the weak, not the noble or strong. He has chosen a select group of people of this earth that you would not consider leaders in this life, but by the Holy Spirit, as 1st Corinthians 6:11 states,
11 "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." (1st Corinthians 6:11)
We are being changed into His likeness, one day at a time. We are being sanctified, as He also justified us by His blood.
8:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." (Romans 8:29-30)
JESUS WILL SHOUT, "COME UP HERE".
We have an appointment with the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, very soon. One of these days in the near future, Jesus will break out of eternity into our time and say "come up here." And we will be changed in an instant in the twinkling of an eye.
15:49 "And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1st Corinthians 15:49-54)
If you're like me, before I became a follower of Jesus Christ, I wondered, "how can I become someone that Jesus trust so much that He gives me rulership of anything in His Kingdom. It is beyond my imagination. Yes, it will be glorious, and we can't grasp it right now, but to start your road on building a house, that is YOU, that is made without hands, becomes something anyone who says "yes, Lord, and believes on Him by faith. It's so simple, that a child can do it. Want to know the secret to obtaining such a high honor of a king and a priest in God's Kingdom? It's not really a secret, but it escapes many on this earth.
6:28 "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
6:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." (John 6:28-29)
That's it in a nutshell. Believe with your heart and ask Jesus to come into your heart and life, and by example, live as He lived, as humanly possible.
Paul gave us a simple formula that it guarantees us to enter into the service of a Holy God,
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:8-11)
We are being made a spiritual house, made without hands, and will begin our eternal destination of being kings and priest before our God, to lead other men who enter the Millennium to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We will rule righteously and give the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ unto the living mortals who still have their free moral will to accept or reject the message. And we will serve God for all eternity in works we have no ability to comprehend.
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him." (1st Corinthians 2:9)
We will not coerce anyone to believe and accept, but as Jesus does by His Holy Spirit now, we will point them to the same cross that we came to know, and the same perfect sacrifice that we accepted upon our own lives for the remission of sins by our God in Heaven. So come Lord Jesus, yes, Amen. Come my Lord. We await our glorification of being kings and priest before You. That is our glorious future of all who believe on His name, by faith and obedience to His call.
AND THE ETERNAL QUESTION
Will you be counted as being changed into the likeness of Almighty God and our Lord Jesus our Messiah? Or will your future be different, because you have rejected His call, rejected His payment for your sins in His own blood. Today, not tomorrow, is the time to make your futue sure and set in stone. In comes down to the object of the whole writing of Holy Writ, your bible, in this one verse:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting (eternal) life." John 3:16.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying for your salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord. If there be any need for prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , God . bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Putin & Trump discuss Iranians on Israel's border -
Israel was seriously dismayed Wednesday, May 3, when first reports reached Jerusalem about the telephone conversation between Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin Tuesday, during which Trump agreed to consider Putin's plan for "de-escalation zones" in Syria, in place of the American security zones proposal. The Russian president's plan includes the posting of Iranian military officers as co-monitors for those zones, one of which is to be located on the Syrian-Israeli border.
President Trump described the conversation as "Very good."
The four "de-escalation zones" proposed would be situated at:
1. The northwestern province of Idlib up to the Turkish border;
2. The central Syrian province of Homs (where also the Al-Shariat air base hit by US Tomahawks last month is located);
3. The East Ghouta suburb of Damascus (including also a big military airfield);
4. The Southern region along Syria's borders with Jordan and Syria.
The Russian president explained that the "guarantor countries" - i.e. Russia, Turkey and Iran - would appoint the monitors for the de-escalation zones.
debkafile's military and intelligence sources report that Israel was deeply concerned to discover that President Trump had nodded to Putin going forward with his plan, despite Iran's active involvement. He was even ready to send a US official for the first time to the fourth round of the Syrian peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition in Astana Wednesday, although this process is jointly sponsored by Russia, Turkey and Iran. Stuart Jones, acting assistant Secretary of State, was sent to attend the meeting in the Kazakh capital as an observer, thereby elevating the former American representation from ambassador..
This development caused Israeli disquiet on a number of grounds:
a) The Iranian monitors for the new zones will sit directly opposite the Israeli border. Notice has gone out to Washington and Moscow that the Israeli government will on no account countenance an Iran military presence along its border.
b) Israel also eyes with mistrust the possible deployment of Russian and Turkish offices along its border with Syria.
c) Declaring eastern Damascus a protected zone would obstruct Israel aerial operations for keeping Iranian air shipments of advanced weapons via Syria out of Hizballah's hands. Iran would be able to renew its shipments under full protection.
You can read more about the Russian and American "zones" for Syria in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly out Friday, May 5.
d) There were also some misgivings in Israel about the way National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster characterized President Trump's approach to foreign policy, shortly before Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived at the White House on Wednesday.
"The president is not a super-patient man," he said. He does not have time to "debate over doctrine, and instead seeks to challenge failed policies of the past with a businessman's results-oriented approach," McMaster said.
The trouble is that Middle East issues, such as the Syrian conflict and Israeli security, demand patience and rather more than a businessman's results-oriented approach, else they may lead to such potentially disastrous consequences as an Iranian military presence that is far too near and dangerous for Israel to countenance.
Abbas Misleads Trump: 'We Are Raising Our Children on a Culture of Peace'
- by Aaron Klein -
Standing alongside President Donald Trump at the White House today, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attempted to whitewash decades of official PA incitement to violence and anti-Israel indoctrination that continue unabated until today.
"Mr. President, I affirm to you that we are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace," Abbas claimed. "And we are endeavoring to bring about security, freedom and peace for our children to live like the other children in the world, along with the Israeli children in peace, freedom and security."
Despite the PA's repeated use of maps that erase Israel and PA propaganda calling for the dismantlement of the Jewish state, Abbas claimed that the "Palestinian people recognize the state of Israel."
The PA's media and education arms incite against Israel regularly. Here are a few examples from Breitbart Jerusalem's coverage from the past two weeks alone:
During today's joint appearance, Trump lectured Abbas to end anti-Israel incitement.
But there cannot be lasting peace unless the Palestinian leaders speak in a unified voice against incitement to violate - and violence and hate. There's such hatred. But hopefully there won't be such hatred for very long. All children of God must be taught to value and respect human life, and condemn all of those who target the innocent.
Trumps Ultimate Negotiation - Israel/Palestinian Peace Deal - By Sean Savage -
President Donald Trump and Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas met for the first time at the White House Wednesday as Trump's nascent administration ventures down the road of its predecessors, making a fresh bid to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
"We want to create peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We will get it done. We will be working so hard to get it done," Trump said alongside Abbas during a press conference.
Later, in a luncheon with senior advisers, Trump expressed even greater confidence in achieving peace.
"It's something that, I think, is frankly maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years," he said.
Trump made a similar claim in an interview last week with Reuters.
"I want to see peace with Israel and the Palestinians," the president said. "There is no reason there's not peace between Israel and the Palestinians--none whatsoever."
In his remarks at Wednesday's press conference, Abbas flattered the American leader, expressing confidence in Trump's "great negotiating ability" and saying he looks forward to working with Trump to "come to that deal, to that historical agreement to bring about peace."
Yet Abbas also reserved some airtime for criticizing Israel, saying, "It's about time for Israel to end its occupation of our people and our land."
Abbas proceeded to lay out familiar negotiation parameters that most Israeli leaders have dismissed, including a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem and borders based on the pre-1967 lines.
Grant Rumley, a research fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) think tank, told JNS.org it was apparent in the language of Trump and Abbas how far apart the two leaders might be on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I think it's noticeable that Trump referenced peace, while Abbas referenced the two-state solution," Rumley said.
"I think fundamentally, the two sides are going to have divergent views on just where they see this relationship going," he said. "Trump wants a deal, however that may look. Abbas wants the traditional two-state solution peace process."
Ahead of the Trump-Abbas meeting, senior administration officials, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo and international negotiations representative Jason Greenblatt, had what many viewed as surprisingly positive meetings with Palestinian officials in Ramallah, with Abbas telling Greenblatt he believes a "historic" peace deal is possible under Trump's guidance.
Meanwhile, in State Department documents published last month by Foreign Policy, the Trump administration is planning a 4.6-percent increase in American aid--amounting to $215 million for the fiscal year of 2018--to Palestinian-controlled areas in the West Bank and Gaza.
Direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been stalled since 2014, when peace talks brokered by the Obama administration collapsed, marking the latest setback for American involvement in the Middle East peace process.
"Here we go again. The same old pretense that the Palestinians are morally equal with the Israelis, the same ignoring of Palestinian rejectionism, the same illusion that another signed agreement will end the conflict, another president believing he can succeed where his predecessors failed," Daniel Pipes, president of the Middle East Forum think tank, told JNS.org after Trump and Abbas met Wednesday.
During his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February, Trump expressed openness to Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolutions other than a two-state solution, breaking with American presidential administrations' longstanding exclusive support for two states.
"I'm looking at two state and one state, and I like the one that both parties like...I can live with either one," Trump said at the time.
Hamas's political maneuvering
Amid the Trump-Abbas meeting, Hamas has also been stepping up its political maneuvering. Earlier this week, the Gaza-ruling Palestinian terror group released a policy document indicating its willingness to accept the premise of a future Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders.
In an interview with CNN following the document's release, Hamas's outgoing political leader Khaled Mashaal said Trump has a "historic opportunity" for peace, mirroring Abbas's language.
"This is a historic opportunity to pressure Israel...to find an equitable solution for the Palestinian people," Mashaal said. "And it will be to the credit of the civilized world and the American administration to stop the darkness that we have been suffering from for many years."
Experts have dismissed Hamas's policy document as a smokescreen by the terror group to gain greater appeal among the international community and the Palestinian population.
"This is not a sign of moderation so much as a ploy to end the faction's international isolation," the FDD think tank said in a policy memo. "The other element of this new document is the internal Palestinian political angle. In acknowledging the 1967 borders and dropping its call for Israel's destruction, Hamas is making a play at the rival party Fatah's supporters."
Hamas drove Fatah forces loyal to Abbas, the latter faction's leader, out of Gaza in 2007. Since then, the Palestinian factions have waged an ongoing struggle as repeated reconciliation efforts failed.
The latest tensions between Abbas and Hamas flared Wednesday, when Abbas's PA announced it would stop paying for electricity Israel sends to Gaza, worth at least $11 million per month. Hamas leaders accused Abbas of attempting to "dry up" the terror group's financial resources.
The Israeli government also dismissed Hamas's stated policy changes, with Netanyahu spokesman David Keyes saying Hamas is "attempting to fool the world, but it will not succeed."
"Daily, Hamas leaders call for genocide of all Jews and the destruction of Israel," he said. "They dig terror tunnels and have launched thousands upon thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians. Schools and mosques run by Hamas teach children that Jews are apes and pigs. This is the real Hamas."
Get Your Head Out of the Sand - Nathele Graham -
Probably the most neglected Bible study is prophecy. The entire Bible is inspired by God and not meant to confuse, but to inform and guide. When Christmas comes around we know a few prophetic Scriptures from the Old Testament regarding the birth of Jesus, such as Micah 5:2 which says He would be born in Bethlehem, or Isaiah 7:14 that says a virgin will give birth to the Messiah. Other than that most Christians don't dig deeper into what God wants us to know. The world headlines of today show that Biblical prophecy is being fulfilled, but if you aren't informed you can't see that God's prophetic word is coming to pass just as He said. For instance, are you watching what's happening in Syria, and more particularly in Damascus? "The burden of Damascus, Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap." Isaiah 17:1. This prophecy is being fulfilled today, but keep reading in that chapter to see more. Viewing world events through Scripture will open your eyes to just how urgent it is to get out there and share the Gospel. The end of time is coming fast and God has given us a guide to these end times. It's up to us to study and be informed. Daniel prophesied 70 weeks of years leading to the end of time and the final week is rapidly approaching. Only Christians will be snatched away and protected from the events of that week. Be sure of your own salvation and be a bold witness to others.
Many people don't understand that most of the Bible is centered around Israel. The Old Testament tells of the creation, the Flood, and then moves on to describe how God called Abraham out of the pagan culture in which he lived to become the father of the nation of Israel. God's chosen people weren't always obedient and moved in and out of favor with God. God spoke through the prophets and gave plenty of warning before judgment came. When the Southern Kingdom had been defeated, Daniel was a young man who was taken as a captive to Babylon. Because he studied the words of the prophet Jeremiah he was able to know when the captivity was about to end. "In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." Daniel 9:2. Even though he had been young when taken captive and had lived in that very pagan city for 70 years, Daniel honored God and respected prophecy. Jeremiah's prophecy said: "And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years." Jeremiah 25:11. Daniel was paying attention. He walked close to the Lord and knew a true prophet from a false one. Jeremiah was a true prophet of God. God wants His people to know what's coming. Christians need to get our heads out of the sand and pay attention to prophecy in order to understand the times in which we live.
God gave us prophecy regarding the end times so that we, like Daniel, can know the signs of the times. "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: " Isaiah 46:9-10. God is eternal. He has always existed and always will exist. He's not confined to the time dimension in which we live and sees what will happen in the future. He spoke through the prophets of old and it's up to us to pay attention. I hear many Christians who are confounded by what's happening in the world, but only see isolated headlines and don't put the events together in light of prophecy. The world situation is about to explode and soon there will be Tribulation like never seen before. "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." Matthew 24:21. Jesus said that; He had been talking about events leading up to Daniel's final week. Study His words carefully and you will see that we are fast approaching that week.
Tensions are rising around the world, especially in the Middle East and specifically against Israel. Some misinformed people think that Christians have replaced Israel in God's heart. Wrong. God is not done with Israel and He will see them through to the end. He knew they would be dispersed, but He also knew they would be re-gathered. The prophet Ezekiel was given many interesting prophecies and God showed him that the whole house of Israel would one day be reunited. Ezekiel was carried by the Spirit of the LORD to a valley filled with dry bones. Those dry bones came together and flesh was on them, but there was no breath in them. As Ezekiel watched the bones were given breath and they lived."Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts." Ezekiel 37:11. Today we are watching the dry bones come together. It's exciting to see them return to the land that God gave them forever. There's also stirring in their spirits, and slowly they are truly coming alive, not only returning to the land but returning to God. Look up http://www.templeinstitute.org to read articles about what's happening in the spirits of the Jewish people and the effort to rebuild the Temple. God will put His spirit in them. "And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD." Ezekiel 37:14. We live in exciting times, but only those who study Bible prophecy can see what's really happening today. Only those who study Bible prophecy have pulled their heads out of the sand and have their eyes open.
Anyone who thinks that God has turned away from His promises to Israel is blind. Daniel was given a prophecy regarding the end times. It's specifically about Israel and it discloses that the Temple will be rebuilt. "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Daniel 9:24. The words "thy people" and "thy city", can only mean Jewish people and Jerusalem. Daniel wasn't a Christian so that lets out the replacement theology lie. The prophecy goes on to tell of a man who will come into power and seemingly bring peace. "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." Daniel 9:27. The Jewish Temple will be rebuilt very soon because sacrifice and oblation will be happening there and this man of sin will cause them to stop. Then he will break the covenant and place an abomination in the Temple. "And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." Daniel 12:11. Jesus confirms this when He talks of the end times. "When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:" Matthew 24:15-16. Jesus taught prophecy, but most pastors today are very lax when it comes to equipping the saints by not teaching prophecy. Most Christians just don't care anyway.
When Jesus told His disciples of the end times He told of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famine, and disease. We see an increase in all that Jesus spoke of and it will continue to get worse, but Christians have the promise that we won't be on earth for the final seven years of Daniel's seventy week prophecy. The harpazō (Rapture) will happen prior to the final week, also known as the time of Jacob's troubles (not the time of Gentiles troubles). Go back to Daniel 9:24 to see that this is about Israel. Christians will be caught up to be with Jesus and won't be subjected to the judgment which will come upon the earth. The Book of Revelation goes into much detail regarding the end times, but it's also clear that Christians will be called home before it all starts. Jesus dictated 7 letters to John that were to be delivered to 7 congregations. These letters are recorded in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation and summarize the history of the ekklēsia (translated "church"). After this history is finished there is a call for us to go Home. "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." Revelation 4:1. The words "after this" and "hereafter" both are translated from the Greek words "meta tauta" which denotes a sequence. The seventh letter was written and then the voice said come up hither, then the rest of Revelation takes place. Simple to understand, but complicated by those who don't take God's word seriously. Are you afraid of the Rapture? A Christian should find great comfort knowing we will be with Jesus and not face Daniel's 70th week.
There will always be scoffers who doubt God's word or complicate it by trying to interpret what God "meant to say" rather than accepting what He really said. That doesn't surprise God. The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to address this. "That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:" 2 Peter 3:2-5. Things have changed since the day of creation. There was a judgment by flood and prophecy says that there will soon be another judgment. This time it will be the final judgment. The only way to not face the wrath of God is to accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour. We can't know exactly when the harpazō will take place, but looking at the signs of the times we can be sure that it will happen very soon. Do you know someone who hasn't made the choice to follow Jesus? Study prophecy and explain to them what's about to happen and that only through the blood of Jesus can they escape God's judgment.
A good way to put the various prophecies together is to study Revelation in a Bible with cross references. Also study Daniel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah to name a few. Then go to the Olivet Discourse. Three very informative YouTube sites that will bring current events into focus through the lens of Scripture are Prophecy Update End Time Headlines (https://www.youtube.com/user/farsider1975/videos ), Amir Tsarfati of Behold Israel (https://www.youtube.com/user/beholdisrael/videos ), and JD Farag (https://www.youtube.com/user/alohabibleprophecy ).
It's time to get your head out of the sand. God gave us prophecy and He expects us to study it.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
If you'd like to be on my mailing list to receive the commentaries just drop me an email and let me know.
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
The Bad Seed - by Grant Phillips - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/04/28/the-bad-seed/
Well, it's that time of year again. Spring is here, and guess what else is here? You got it. Weeds. Thanks Adam. By the sweat of our brow is right.
As soon as the rain stops here and the ground dries up, I need to address the weed situation that has already started. Many of you will be doing the same. The weed eaters will be running at top speed, spewing weed clippings in every direction. I don't like to weed eat. I used to work with a fellow who absolutely loved to weed eat. Not me. So a few years ago I chose another way to get around that little problem.
My weed eater comes in a jug. It's called Roundup. I run it down the fence line, the driveway, sidewalk, and a few other spots. Yes, I also kill the grass that is on the edge of these areas, but I don't have to weed eat either, so it works for me. I've noticed some of our neighbors are now doing this. Sure beats weed eating and it last about four to six months.
As far as weeds that may be out in the lawn itself, they will have to be dealt with individually by pulling them up.
I have no idea how many different weeds there are, but here are just a few you may have heard of.
Crabgrass, Pigweed, Chickweed, Quackgrass, Lamb's Quarters, Morning Glory, Purslane, Buckhorn Plantain, Cannabis, Dandelion, Sumac, Ragweed, Dead Nettle, Speedwell (Veronica), Goosegrass, Wild Onion or Wild Garlic, Indian Strawberry, White Clover, Ground Ivy (Weeping Charlie). Sheep or Red Sorrel, Mouse-ear Chickweed, Carpetweed, Shepherd's purse
The time is now upon us that many of you, and I, will prepare a small garden spot in the back yard just for the fun of it. I will till the ground up, mix in some cow manure, garden soil, a little lime, and some peat moss. Then I'll cultivate this until the ground is ready for planting.
Much time will be spent, enjoyable time though, laying the rows and planting the plants. When the tomato plants, for example, get high enough, I'll stake each one. Then ... I'll spend the rest of the Summer keeping it weeded. No Roundup here. Gotta use a hoe. Isn't it amazing that you don't have to do anything to get weeds to grow?
Jesus also had something to say about weeds in the following passage.
24 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.
27 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'
28 " 'An enemy did this,' he replied.
"The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'
29 " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' " (Matthew 13:24-30 NIV)
Apparently the zizania of this parable is the darnel weed. Before it ears, it will have an appearance of wheat. Now we can understand why the owner told his servants to wait until the harvest to separate the wheat from the tares. Sure don't want to pull up the wheat along with the weeds.
Jesus explains this parable in verses 36-43. We see from these verses that Jesus is the Sower (v.37). The good seed are believers (v.38). The tares (bad seed or weeds) are the unbelievers (v.38). The enemy who sowed the tares is the Devil (v.39). The harvest is the end of the age (v.39). The reapers are the angels (v.39).
Jesus said that this parable is an example of the kingdom of Heaven. The kingdom of Heaven, at this point, consists of those who are believers and those who are unbelievers, or wheat and tares (weeds).
The kingdom of Heaven has many tares growing alongside the wheat until the end of the age. However, the day is coming, perhaps very soon, that the harvest will separate true believers from those who are just believers in name only. At the harvest the wheat will be gathered and taken into the barn (go into the Millennium), and the tares will be gathered, judged and burned (thrown into the lake of fire).
Since part of the harvest refers to when Jesus judges the world in the Tribulation (Revelation 14:14-16), remember that the Church will be in Heaven. It was harvested at the Rapture. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)
We've gone this far, we might as well take a short look at the two parables that follow the wheat and the tares. They are all about the kingdom of heaven.
"He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches." (Matthew 13:31-32 NIV)
The Church started out very, very small, but as the mustard seed, it has grown from just a few original followers of Christ to millions and millions of true followers along with those who merely profess Christ but do not know Him. Unfortunately, the "birds" have come and are perching in its branches. To understand who the birds are read Matthew 13: 4, 19. They are Satan and his minions.
Just as the tares have become mixed in with the wheat, so this parable is saying, for example, that many in the Church are not the true Church. They are Christians in name only. Jesus told the disciples to go into the world (Matthew 28:19), but since Constantine of Rome, the world has come into the Church. Only Jesus can separate true believers from those who are false, and this He will do.
He told them still another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough." (Matthew 13:33 NIV)
Since yeast always represents sin in the Bible, this parable of Jesus is saying that false doctrine leading to apostasy has infiltrated the church.
Jesus said of the last days before His return, "... when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8)
The apostle Paul warned his protégé Timothy, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables." (2 Timothy 4:3-4 NKJV)
From the pews and the pulpits, the tares stand along with the wheat. Who can tell them apart?
The birds of prey have brought the world into the church while they nest in the rafters of the souls of men.
The leaven of false doctrine rises forth and appeases itching ears.
Laodicea, the church that has come forth at the end of the church age, is eaten up with apostasy (Revelation 3:14-19). The Lord knows who are His and who are not. He will separate them at the harvest and put an end to the bad seed.
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: The double-edged sword of executive orders - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Hebrews 4:12 says, "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Now don't get me wrong, because I am not saying that anything that men or politicians write is even close to the Word of God, but there are some earthly parallels with Presidential Executive Orders. Think about it. Executive orders cut for and against people, they are powerful and live to regulate, and they certainly reveal the thoughts and intents of the heart of those who write them. The ex-"president" often used executive orders to undermine the intent of the law; so does the current President.
For example, the intent of the heart of the ex-"president" with regard to border security resulted in an invasion of undocumented aliens and so-called "refugees" from terrorist sponsoring nations. He did so by ordering enforcement offices to "stand down." The result has been crime and destruction for many citizens. The current President has issued executive orders to reverse these policies, many of which have been overturned by leftist-appointed judges of the previous "president." The result, however, has been a 60% decline in illegal aliens coming to the United States. While those who agree with the ex-"president" claim racism and bigotry, the heart of the current President is to protect Americans first.
The ex-"president" refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, a law defining marriage only between one man and one woman. This led to a Supreme Court decision that allowed marriage to be redefined to include individuals of the same sex. He amended 30 executive orders of other presidents, changing their intent or purpose. The current President is busy issuing executive orders to undo those issued by his predecessor. President Donald Trump, for example, signed an executive order to nullify a previous order on climate change that nearly shut down the coal industry. Trump claimed that the executive order of his predecessor put people out of work with unnecessary regulation using unproven science.
The previous "president" used the Internal Revenue Service to hold his opponents in check by not approving non-profit statuses and Gestapo-like fear tactics for political speech by religious leaders. Trump is also undoing that. In conjunction with the National Day of Prayer, Trump will issue an executive order directing the IRS to use "maximum enforcement discretion" on enforcing IRS policies against religious leaders speaking about politics and candidates from the pulpit. This relaxes enforcement of a 1954 law called the Johnson Amendment that prohibited government-approved not for profit organizations to speak about politics or candidates. Executive orders, you see, can be used for good or for bad. They can uphold or undermine law. But one thing for certain, they reveal the intent of the heart of those who issue them.
Daily Devotion: The Original 120 - Greg Laurie -
They all met together and were constantly united in prayer, along with Mary the mother of Jesus, several other women, and the brothers of Jesus. -Acts 1:14
The book of Acts is the story of a handful of men and women who, by the power of the Holy Spirit, did not leave their world the same way they found it. They were ordinary people who, empowered by the Spirit, were able to do extraordinary things.
This was the beginning of a movement that continues to this day, because the book of Acts is the story of the life-transforming move of the Spirit of God changing the lives of those who encounter Him. Thus, it is an unfinished book.
I am not suggesting, of course, that we add new chapters to the book of Acts. But we should not put a period where God has put a comma. God is still working, and in a sense, these acts of the Holy Spirit are still being recorded in our day.
The book of Acts was written to cover a period of church history spanning about thirty years. As we read it, we basically see nonstop action. One chapter ends with a miracle, and another begins with something supernatural taking place. Thus, we might falsely conclude these first-century believers had miracles at every moment.
I don't think that was necessarily the case. I think they, like us, had many days of simply walking by faith and applying biblical principles as they sought to obey God. Yet the book of Acts is the record of the intervention of the Holy Spirit, where He did amazing things here and there as He chose to do them. It is the record of the Spirit of God working through the Word of God in the hearts and lives of the people of God.
And within thirty years, this original group of 120 Christians and their converts were able to change the world.
FROM THE HEART
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