Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Worldwide Judgment Is Coming, Part 2 - by Pastor Mike Taylor -
1:2 " I will utterly consume all things from off the land, saith the LORD.
1:3 I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumbling blocks with the wicked: and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD."(Zephaniah 1:2-3)
This is part two of followup to my last message on "Worldwide Judgment is Coming".
Man is on a downhill slide into God unleashing His wrath upon this earth. If you wish to get a sense of the dread and the gloom of this time in this planet's near history, let us read Zephaniah chapter one. God has warned that His patience will run out and will judge this earth and every air breathing creature on this earth when it will be a day of darkness with no light at all. Only with fear and dread gripping all who have rebelled against God and He will consume mankind. God is a long suffering and patient God not willing that any should perish, BUT: II Peter,
3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
3:10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."(2nd Peter 3:9-10)
This will be a time of unspeakable horror, as God stretches out His hand on all who dwell on the earth, reading on in Zephaniah chapter one, let's re-examine:
1:4 " I will also stretch out mine hand upon Judah, and upon all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, and the name of the Chemarims with the priests;
1:5 And them that worship the host of heaven upon the housetops; and them that worship and that swear by the LORD, and that swear by Malcham;
1:6 And them that are turned back from the LORD; and those that have not sought the LORD, nor enquired for him."(Zephaniah 1:4-6)
When you start to read this chapter, it first appears that God is talking about Judah, or Israel because He mentions them by name, but as you read on, you understand and get a firm conviction that He is using Judah as an example of the end time populations that are inhabiting planet earth. As you read, you get a sense of utter destruction of the people that God is pouring out His wrath on. Very few will survive as God will wipe the surface of the earth clean.
1:7 "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord GOD: for the day of the LORD is at hand: for the LORD hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests.
1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. (false religious garments?)
1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit.
1:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills.
1:11 Howl, ye inhabitants of Maktesh, for all the merchant people are cut down; all they that bear silver are cut off.
1:12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
1:13 Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly."(Zephaniah 1:7-14)
Zephaniah is speaking of what I believe, we call the Great Tribulation that John also wrote of in Revelation. We have been leading up this time of God's wrath for a long time. It started, in earnest, in this last century. But let us look at another time that was parallel to what we have been experiencing and running into head long for the last 100 years.
EGYPT IN FAMINE AND WANT
The time was in the days of Egypt when famine came upon the land and shown in a dream that Pharaoh had that there would be famine in Egypt, which was revealed to Joseph by interpretation. You can read the account in Genesis chapter 47 that speaks of another time that may sound familiar when it is us, not Egyptians that are in want:
47:13 "And there was no bread in all the land; for the famine was very sore, so that the land of Egypt and all the land of Canaan fainted by reason of the famine.
47:14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, for the corn which they bought: and Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh's house."(Genesis 47:13-14)
Now we know that the Egyptians were an advanced civilization with property rights and great wealth among the people, but when the crops failed, the people came to the only source of being able to stay alive, and that was the government. In buying the only food source available, the monetary supply quickly dried up and the government possessed all the money and the people had none. The monetary system collapsed because of repeated crop failures. The next year, since there was no money, the people came to Joseph, who was the head of the government right under Pharaoh and the people sought more food, but of course, had no money. What happened? Reading on in Genesis:
47:15 "And when money failed in the land of Egypt, and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came unto Joseph, and said, Give us bread: for why should we die in thy presence? for the money faileth.
47:16 And Joseph said, Give your cattle; and I will give you for your cattle, if money fail.
47:17 And they brought their cattle unto Joseph: and Joseph gave them bread in exchange for horses, and for the flocks, and for the cattle of the herds, and for the asses: and he fed them with bread for all their cattle for that year."(Genesis 47-15-17)
The people owned property, horses, cattle, and all manner of livestock, but they traded it entirely to the government so they could live one more year. As the famine continued and they had traded all their livestock and means of production to the government, they gave up their means of livelihood for corn and wheat to make bread. As the famine continued, they came again to buy food.
47:18 "When that year was ended, they came unto him the second year, and said unto him, We will not hide it from my lord, how that our money is spent; my lord also hath our herds of cattle; there is not ought left in the sight of my lord, but our bodies, and our lands:
47:19 Wherefore shall we die before thine eyes, both we and our land? buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will be servants unto Pharaoh: and give us seed, that we may live, and not die, that the land be not desolate.
47:20 And Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh; for the Egyptians sold every man his field, because the famine prevailed over them: so the land became Pharaoh's.
47:21 And as for the people, he removed them to cities from one end of the borders of Egypt even to the other end thereof."(Genesis 47:18-21)
What was the end of the time of famine in the land of Egypt? Note that it is a time of "seven" years. Sound like anything that we speak of that's coming? Coincidence, you say? I think God doesn't do anything by coincidence. Note that as the famine progressed, the people became servants of the state.
47:24 "And it shall come to pass in the increase, that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own, for seed of the field, and for your food, and for them of your households, and for food for your little ones.
47:25 And they said, Thou hast saved our lives: let us find grace in the sight of my lord, and we will be Pharaoh's servants."(Genesis 47:24-25)
This illustration in God' s Word makes an illustration what men will do to live one more day. They will give up their safety, their very lives for bread to eat. In this story, God did it for the benefit of the House of Israel to survive, but led them into bondage for bread. It became their hurt, as it started out to save them. So it will be in the future. Modern men will give up their freedom to have a semblance of safety. Benjamin Franklin, one of our founding fathers of this country once said "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO US?
How does this lesson speak to us and what we are fast approaching? Before this famine, the people of Egypt were considered a fairly free people. In the early 20th century, another famine was upon the people of earth and was called the Great Depression. Now I am not comparing the famine in Egypt with the Great Depression, but it shows a comparison of how the people gave up their individual freedoms to be able to eat. There are four major comparisons that are striking to our modern times.
First, as it was in the times of Egypt and their famine, Americans were basically farming communities with many family farms that were the bread basket of the world. As time of want and hunger spread in both cultures, people were moved from the farm into urban areas out of necessity and looking for a better life, because as it was in the days of Egypt, Americans found themselves unable to pay their mortgages due to crop failures of the dust bowl era and lost the family farm. They were forced to move to the cities.
As an example, the federal bureaucracy grew in that time probably about as fast as Egypt's did in Joseph's day. At the same time, Americans witnessed a major abridgment of their freedoms, one of which continues unabated to this day. Just as in Joseph's day, when the Egyptians volunteered to sell their livestock, lands, and lives to the government, Americans of the Depression Era seemed to ask for increased government involvement in and control of their lives. They voted for Franklin Roosevelt, as he would say it, "Again and again and again and again." Today, the Constitution with its Bill of Rights counts for little more than a piece of memorabilia. Even today, the unconstitutional law of Inheritance Tax forces families to give up the family farm that have been in their family for generations.
Another example, as it was in Egypt's day, American lost the ability to own gold by the edict of Franklin Roosevelt and were forced to use paper and now plastic that has done nothing but drive up the huge credit bubble that threatens to destroy our economy to the tune of a 22.5 trillion dollar deficit and growing. In Roosevelt's day, as it was in Egyptian history, the government was the law. If you read FDR's second inaugural address, it will give you pause of what FDR was threatening Congress with. In so many words Roosevelt said , Do it my way, support my programs by federalizing and socializing the American economy, or I will make myself dictator. Congress obviously got the message, as executive orders came fast and furious that has not abated even to this very day. America is headed for tribulation and it has started in the economy. What will tip the scales to allow the government to own all who are called citizens of this land as it was in the days of Ancient Egypt? Answer: another Socialist in the White House. We now have a leader who is trying to "Make America Great Again", but the push for "socialism" that is being embraced by the young people in colleges, the same ones that will run this country in the future, are calling for a "socialistic" form of government to get "free stuff". Repeating the verses of Zephaniah:
1:13 "Therefore their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation: they shall also build houses, but not inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, but not drink the wine thereof.
1:14 The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly.
1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,
1:16 A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers."(Zephaniah 1:13-16)
The prophecy mirrors what John wrote in Revelation to the horror that will be experienced during this time of wrath and men's wickedness:
6:2 "And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. (this is the prophecy of the Anti-Christ coming to power)
6:3 And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
6:4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
6:5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine."(Revelation 6:2-6)
What will cause war and following after the beast power? The answer is famine, pestilence, and environmental disasters that will begin killing 2/3 of mankind on earth. As it was in the day of famine and want in Egypt, this world will be in want and men will die of starvation. Men will die and their numbers will be so great, that animals will eat their flesh in the streets.
6:8 "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."(Revelation 6:8)
Mixed with war and famine, God's wrath will be poured out on unrepentant mankind making it impossible for anyone to live under such circumstances.
6:15 "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
6:16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
6:17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?"(Revelation 6:15-17)
It will be the time of Great Tribulation, as God has had enough of man's rebellion. He will cleanse this earth with divine retribution. He will wipe the earth clean of sin, by fire.
1:17 "And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.
1:18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of the LORD's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he shall make even a speedy riddance of all them that dwell in the land."(Zephaniah 1:17-18)
Zephaniah and John the Apostle seem to agree that it will be a most horrible time to be a living, breathing human being on this earth. It will be a day like no other that it will be a challenge just to stay alive. If it's not hunger, it's war. If it's not divine wrath, it's ravaging beast stalking the weak and the sick looking for their own prey. Men in their sin will look for anything to keep them alive. They will even give their allegiance to a man who heads a One World Government as earthly prince of this confederation of loosely held regions and will be willing to take a mark and worship one they perceive will keep them alive, temporarily. Satan will deceive all who dwell upon the earth to take a mark and worship a symbol of himself, the Anti-Christ. He will stand as a dragon that promises to eat them last. They will survive temporarily, only to be destroyed and become damned to a devil's hell. Revelation chapter 9,
9:2 "And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.
9:3 And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.
9:4 And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.
9:5 And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.
9:6 And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."(Revelation 9:2-6)
Even with all this calamity of divine retribution, mankind so unfortunate to be alive on earth will not repent of their wickedness, but curse the God of heaven and not realize, it is their due for their unrighteousness:
9:20 " And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk:
9:21 Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."(Revelation 9:20-21)
God will send plague after plague, much like he sent tribulation to the children of Israel to turn them from their wickedness, but those that populate the earth in the last days will not turn from their evil ways and will be so foolish to think they can do battle with the God of Heaven. I submitted in previous sermons, that they may even be led to believe they are fighting against an alien invasion, through deceit of Satan, his Anti-Christ and false prophet that lie to the people who have vested their existence and their worship of the wrong "Christ", this false messiah.
In a final blow to rebellion on this earth, God the Father will send His Son to redeem what He purchased 2000 years ago by shedding His blood on the cross and now comes as a warrior with great wrath to cleanse His creation:
19:11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
19:12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
19:13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
19:14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
19:16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."(Revelation 19:11-16)
This is what a true Christian has his hope in. Jesus said through John, that we would return with Him riding a white horses, clothed in fine linen, clean and white. (Which was explained to be the sign of the saints in previous verses). The "true Church" will not suffer His wrath, as that has never been His nature to subject His people to His righteous wrath, but to remove them out of the way, beyond receiving His condemnation. Some say that the church will endure right along with the evil men of this age, but is that so?
19:17 "And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;
19:18 That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
19:19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.
19:20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh."(Revelation 19:17-21)
Our Great God and King, Jesus Christ is coming to destroy all rebellion, and we are not a part of that rebellion or to receive His wrath, as that would be akin to Catholic purgatory, as we have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and our redemption is sealed, and there is no need to refine us, even as Israel is being refined and evil is put down all over this earth. These are the two reasons for the coming Tribulation, Israel refined and rebellion destroyed utterly.
LET'S MAKE AN ASSUMPTION AND ALLOW A CONCLUSION
God has had a plan for mankind to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to burn the tares in the fire of His indignation. Let us think of it like this, to those who believe that all of mankind will endure the tribulation, let us make a hypothesis and seek a conclusion here. If Jesus comes post tribulation and as the above verses speak of, He will destroy rebellion with the sword of His mouth. Paul speaks that at the last trump that the dead in Christ will rise and those alive will be caught up to be with the Lord, and so will be ever be with the Lord.
I see a problem here on the post trib hypothesis. If this is so, the dead and those alive are changed into spirit beings and join Jesus Christ in the air, and He destroys all rebellion with the sword of His mouth, who will be those who enter into the Kingdom of God as mortals? See the problem? Answer is NONE! Those who follow the AC will take a mark and be destroyed, those who follow Jesus Christ will be changed in the twinkling of an eye. Population left? Nobody is left. In that period of time, there is no fence setting. There will be no excuses, no middle ground, as you are either for Jesus Christ and His salvation, or you have succumbed to the desire to live another day on the government dole, as Egypt did, or as the Depression Era American citizens did. You will do anything to survive, anything to live one more day, even if it's to take a silly old mark....who cares, right? God cares and it will provide the ultimate judgment into the Lake of Fire along with the Beast and False Prophet. You see, if you logically approach this, that a pre tribulation return of Jesus Christ is the only logical explanation of how God will perform His will. Any other hypothesis of questions and answers makes no sense.
God, in His mercy, has warned all who will listen, that His patience will end and His wrath will be for all who are in rebellion. He has given man 6000 year, give or take a few years, to govern himself and look what a mess we have made of that freedom to do so. There fast approaches a Sabbath rest of 1000 years of Satan's influence upon this earth, and the earth to return to its former pristine state as was in the Garden of Eden. A remnant are said to enter the Kingdom Age of the rule of Jesus Christ as mortal, but I stress the word remnant, because Jesus Christ will come as a Lion, and a Warrior King and will put down all rebellion in blood.
In the short time we have left, Jesus offers Himself, as the substitution of having to endure His righteous wrath. By accepting the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord , "We are not appointed to wrath, but to receive salvation through Jesus Christ, our Lord." II Thessalonians 5:9. To reject this free gift of eternal life will give God no choice but to number you with the rebellious legions that will be destroyed at His coming to reign and rule for a 1000 years in the run-up to all of eternity. Won't you accept His free gift today?
John 6:44 "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me."
If you hear His voice, respond by accepting His free gift and confess with your mouth, that God has raised Jesus from the dead and made His name above every name, to the glory of the Father. You time grows short, as Jesus promised . Matthew chapter 28:
v. 20, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
v. 21, For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
v. 22, And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."
When people ask about who will be saved the answer is, many spiritually, but very few physically, as the level of destruction will surpass anything that mankind has ever witnessed. God in His wrath will destroy every man, beast, and fowl of the air in divine retribution to the rebellion of His Commandments and the failure to believe in the only payment for their sins, Jesus Christ, His only Begotten Son. Only a few will survive to enter into the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ as Ruler of this world and Satan is chained for a 1000 years and ended his reign of tempting man for a Sabbath's rest. The choice is yours....death or eternal life? Choose wisely.
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
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.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)
Do not make that mistake to think that world-wide judgment couldn't happen in your lifetime, or mine. We see the events that growing stronger and stronger happening around us, here in the USA, the Middle East, Europe and every country around the world. Natural disasters are happening near non-stop. Is it the run-up when Divine wrath is unleashed in all its fury?
Don't be caught unawares, and flat-footed thinking that you have plenty of time to live your life the way you want to in its most unrighteous way and repent at the last moment. When the time comes, you will be caught looking around at what has happened and realize that you have missed the greatest event next to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, that being the rapture of the church, the HARPAZO, that being defined is "to be taken by force". Paul spoke of it, "as in the twinkling of an eye"..it will be that quick and that unexpected. Then strap on your seatbelt, as the ride will get most fearful and many, (possibly including you) will not survive but be damed to a devil's hell. Don't play Russian Roulette with you eternal soul. Reach out to Jesus in true repentance, as God will honor a humble and contrite heart and become your Lord, RIGHT NOW!!
16 'For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise." (Psalm 51:16-17)
15" For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15)
Humbly approach a Most Holy God and repent of your sins, and do what is mentioned in Roman chp. 10. If you believe in your heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, and is the Son of God who is coming back for His people, you will be saved...Believe John 3:16-18, as it is the point of the whole Bible.
Thus, you and others like you will miss the greatest purging of this planet in fire and destruction, as World-Wide Judgment is Coming.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, wishing the salvation of Jesus Christ in your life. If you need help of any kind, counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, then drop me a line to email@example.com , or visit me online for more lessons from the Word of God at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , , God bless you, till we meet at Jesus feet.
Israel Must Prepare for Next War with Hamas - Caroline Glick - https://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2019/05/07/caroline-glick-israel-must-prepare-for-next-war-with-hamas/
Hamas's latest round of aggression against Israel ended with Israel agreeing to permit Qatar to transfer cash to the terror regime that rules the de facto Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
From last Friday through Sunday, Hamas and its junior partner Islamic Jihad subjected Israel to a massive assault. It began Friday when Hamas forces wounded an Israeli female soldier and an officer engaged in operations to protect Israel's border with Gaza from Hamas's ongoing terror offensive, which involves deploying large crowds to the border and using them as cover for various terror operations. These operations have been going on for the past year. Israel responded to the attack by bombing a Hamas installation in Gaza.
Then Saturday morning, Hamas and Islamic Jihad launched their most intensive missile and rocket offensive on Israel to date. As a military correspondent for one of Israel's large circulation Hebrew dailies noted, whereas over the weekend, in two days the Palestinians launched nearly 700 rockets and missiles at Israel and killed four Israelis civilians, during the entirety of Operation Protective Edge (Hamas's 2014 terror offensive against Israel, which lasted 51 days), the Palestinians launched 4,400 rockets and missiles at Israel and killed 5 Israeli civilians. In other words, the onslaught over the weekend was unprecedented.
Israel's retaliation entailed bombing some 350 Hamas and Islamic Jihad installations; and killing the Hamas operative responsible for transferring funds from the Iranian regime to the terror group; and killing a drone operator. Israel's counterattacks were qualitatively harsher than they were in previous rounds of Hamas missile barrages. Israel specifically targeted the homes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders and other targets of high value to the terror groups and their leaders. But in the end, Israel exacted no long-term price from either Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
According to media reports, under the terms of the ceasefire reached by mediators from Egypt's intelligence agencies, Israel agreed to loosen restrictions on the importation of dual-use products into Gaza. That is, Israel agreed to permit the terror regime to import civilian goods, like concrete, that are also used to produce armaments like rockets and terror tunnels. Israel also agreed to increase the size of the maritime fishing zones along Gaza's coast. And Israel agreed to permit Qatar to continue delivering cash to Hamas in Gaza.
IDF commanders told the media that they are satisfied with the results of the operation because Hamas didn't receive anything it didn't already have. But the flipside of that assessment is that Hamas paid no price for its aggression against innocent civilians. Millions of Israelis live in the areas targeted by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. In 48 hours of attacks, more than 14 missiles an hour, on average, were shot into Israel. Even worse, the widely shared assessment of Israeli military analysts and commanders is that Hamas's next round of attacks is around the corner, perhaps waiting for the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan in early June, or perhaps until the load of cash Hamas receives from Qatar this week is all spent. And, the military sources warn, the next round will likely be even more lethal than the one that just ended.
There are three reasons that every round of Hamas aggression ends so inconclusively. The first is that Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, will never accept any meaningful ceasefire with Israel. It is a jihadist group that exists to annihilate Israel. This is why it devotes all of its resources to attacking Israel rather than developing Gaza for the welfare of its residents. As a result, so long as Hamas controls Gaza, it will continue to use the area as a launchpad for attacks against Israel.
The second reason is that there is no alternative to Hamas among the Palestinians. Fatah, Hamas's main rival and the group that controls the Palestinian Authority, is no match for it. Hamas seized control over Gaza from Fatah in 2007 with little effort. And no other alternative exists, even in theory.
Israelis recognize that the only way to overthrow Hamas is to fight a major war, and o pay a huge price in civilian and military casualties. And then end of the war would leave Israel with no choice but to continue to control Gaza through its military. There is little appetite in Israel for this option. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated repeatedly that he will only employ it if he convinced that there is no other option.
But the truth is that even among the no-good options that Israel confronts with Hamas-controlled Gaza, there are better scenarios than the one in which Israel now finds itself, where it is literally paying Hamas for temporary ceasefires in between its massive projectile offensives against Israeli civilians.
For the first few years following Operation Protective Edge, Hamas accepted that it would receive nothing in exchange for a ceasefire with Israel other than an Israeli agreement not to attack it. The informal agreement, of ceasefire for ceasefire, meant that Israel's responses to Hamas aggression only lasted as long as Hamas continued to attack.
It wasn't an ideal situation. But at least Israel wasn't rewarding Hamas for its aggression. Over the past two years, however, Hamas's financial situation grew significantly worse as Fatah and Palestinian Authority leader Abbas opted to end the PA's financial support for Hamas-controlled Gaza. Beginning in 2017, Abbas began suspending PA payment for electricity and water Israel supplies to Gaza. In 2018, Abbas began suspending salary transfers to PA employees in Gaza. Together, the moves rendered Hamas incapable of providing for the basic needs of the residents of Gaza.
Abbas had hoped that his move would force Hamas to accept his leadership. But Hamas had another idea. Rather than accept Fatah's authority, Hamas opened a new front against Israel. Last May, it began its assaults on Gaza's border with Israel and punctuated the assaults with incendiary balloons and rocket fire. Israel, which has a strategic interest in keeping Hamas-controlled Gaza separate from Fatah-controlled areas in Judea and Samaria, had no interest in pressuring Hamas to accept Abbas's authority or money. So, when Qatar entered the picture as an alternative funding source, Israel accepted it.
The problem is that at that point, the rocket assaults became a means for Hamas to extort monetary concessions from Israel. And its calculations seemed to shift from shooting at Israel when it felt like proving it was still in the jihad game, to attacking Israel to get money. And as the reported ceasefire terms from the weekend's offensive indicate, the balance of power has shifted in Hamas's favor.
To remedy the situation, and given Israel's reasonable aversion to carrying out a major operation to overthrow Hamas in Gaza, Israel needs to restore the balance of deterrence it maintained with Hamas for the three years following Operation Cast Lead. That is, it needs to restore the "ceasefire-for-ceasefire" reality that held until Abbas ended his transfer payments to Gaza. To achieve this end, Israel apparently needs to deliver the sort of blow on Hamas and its key terror masters that will force them to their knees. This sort of operation would involve two major components.
First, Israel needs undermine Hamas's ability to attack Israeli territory by restoring the kilometer-wide buffer zone on the Gaza side of the border to block assaults on its border, and by destroying Hamas's store of rockets, mortars and missiles.
Second, Israel needs to carry out strikes against Hamas and Islamic Jihad commanders.
Such operations will make clear that Hamas will receive no further payoffs for desisting from its wanton aggression against Israel. Gaza's economic plight can be solved through a combination of increased employment for Gazans in the northern Sinai on the Egyptian side of the border, and through humanitarian aid projects. The former will diminish Hamas's hold on the local population.
If Israel's military commanders are correct, and the next round of Hamas aggression is waiting around the corner, then Israel should use the coming weeks to prepare itself for an operation that will convince Hamas that it is wrong to view attacks on Israel as a means to ensure its economic survival.
Mothers - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth." Ephesians 6:1-3.
When God created the world and all that's in it, He had a perfect plan for family. A man to protect and provide for his family and a woman to be his helper and nurture the family. God created Adam on the sixth day then drew Eve from him. We know the history. Though God placed our first parents in a perfect place they chose to rebel. Adam and Eve knew God's one rule but disobeyed and ate the forbidden fruit. Because of that they were expelled from the Garden of Eden. "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said I have gotten a man from the LORD." Genesis 4:1. Eve was the first mother and recognized that her child was a gift from God. Some erroneous teachings say that Cain was conceived inside the Garden of Eden and his father was Satan. Scripture doesn't support that belief, but Cain had a sin nature and eventually killed his younger brother Abel. Eve must have been heartbroken. Her disobedience to God brought on Adam's sin, and the result of that disobedience is the sin and death first seen in her sons. Sin and death are still a part of our daily life. We all have a mother and she isn't perfect, but most of us have warm memories of childhood and how our mothers made things special.
Many mothers are singled out in Scripture and women can learn from them. One of my favorites is Hannah. She was one of two wives of Elkanah. Polygamy was practiced at that time, though it didn't follow the example of a one man/one woman marriage which God ordained in the Garden of Eden. Elkanah's other wife was named Peninnah and she wasn't a very nice person. Hannah had no children and Peninnah, who did have children, treated Hannah awful. Though Hannah hurt inside she didn't allow bitterness to ruin her life. She yearned to have a child, so she prayed. What a blessing a woman of prayer is to her family. "And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. And she vowed a vow and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head." 1 Samuel 1:10-11. Hannah's desire for a son was strong and her love of the Lord was stronger. She knew that God could allow her to have children and promised Him that if He gave her a son she would be sure that he would know the Lord. The vow she made was a Nazirite vow. She promised that he would be set apart for God's service. God answered her prayer and Hannah gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel and was true to her promise to God. Hannah sent her son to live with Eli the priest and Samuel did serve God his entire life. "And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD." 1 Samuel 2:21. Scripture doesn't tell us about her other five children, but with a mother like Hannah they were loved and prayed over. Children who are born to a Godly woman are very blessed to have her as a mother.
There are special mothers in the New Testament too. None of them is more special than Mary. She had all the hopes and dreams of a young woman and her future was clear. She would marry Joseph, raise a family, and live out a normal Jewish life. She must have been a special person because God chose her for a very unique and important task. She would give birth to the Messiah. Mary was no different than any other young woman of that time, but God knew that she would be a good mother to His Son and chose her to fulfill prophecy. An angel made the announcement to Mary that she had been chosen. There was nothing supernatural about Mary, but she did love the Lord and was humble before Him. When the angel appeared to her she was afraid, but he put her at ease. "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favour with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS." Luke 1:30-31. Mary wasn't married and only asked how she could become pregnant. When the angel explained that the Child would be the Son of God, Mary was humble and obedient. "And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her." Luke 1:38. Like Hannah before her, Mary humbled herself and declared she was a "handmaid of the Lord". Mary had no idea what heartache she would face, but submitted to God. Everybody knew she was pregnant but not married and that was forbidden under the Law. She could have been stoned to death, but Joseph was also visited by an angel and understood that he needed to stand by her. After Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary were married and had other children together. Mary knew that Jesus was the Son of God, but she was also a human mother and didn't want Him to be mocked. There were times when she even tied to stop Him from fulfilling His purpose, but it was only because she loved Him. Jesus understood and He loved her. As He was dying on the cross, shedding His blood for the forgiveness of her sins, as well as the sins of all who will accept Him, He looked down and saw her there along with John. Before Jesus gave up the ghost He gave the care of Mary over to John, who took care of her until she died. Yes, Mary was a very special mother.
Many times mothers are a quiet influence upon their children. There's one mother who is only mentioned by name in one verse and we are better acquainted with her son. We first learn of her when Paul was on a missionary journey. "Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek: which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium." Acts 16:1-2. The first time Paul was in Lystra he had quite a time convincing the people that he and Barnabas weren't Greek gods. He preached the Gospel and established a congregation of believers. When he came back to check on the congregation he found a young believer named Timotheus, who we know better as Timothy. Timothy's mother was Jewish but had accepted Christ. His father was Greek and apparently not a Christian. This quiet mother had a strong influence upon her son. Paul became close to Timothy and established him as a pastor in Ephesus. Paul wrote two letters to Timothy and in the second he mentioned Timothy's mother and grandmother. "When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also." 2 Timothy 1:5. Paul was aware of the strong faith of the two women who grounded Timothy in his faith. Many mothers today are the only Christian influence in their children's lives. Those mothers need to be encouraged, because the influence of an unbelieving father can damage the faith of the children. Timothy was blessed to have Eunice for a mother and Lois for a grandmother.
Times are changing and many women have placed a higher priority on working outside the home rather than doing the most important job they can do, being a wife and mother. Raising a son to be a God-honoring man and a daughter to be a God-honoring woman is the most important thing a woman can do. Circumstances or poor choices may have required her to be a single mother and work to support her children, but teaching them about Jesus and not to make the mistakes she has made will give the children a solid foundation on which to build their lives. I was very blessed to have had a mother who was a beautiful Christian lady. She faced many tests of her faith but always came out stronger. Though she died over 40 years ago she is still an influence over my life. Like Timothy, I also had a grandmother who found strength in her faith and is still an example to me. God has blessed me with three children whom I love very much and pray they see God's love shine through my life. None of us are perfect, not even our mothers. Take time to thank God for your mother and say a prayer for her.
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.
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Daily Jot: The perils of Pakistan, nation building and persecution - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Christians around the world are rejoicing that Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, is now at a safe haven in Canada after a decade-long ordeal that found her on death row for blasphemy of Islam. Bibi was sentenced to hang in 2010 for allegedly blaspheming Mohammad after an argument while picking berries in 2009. In October 2018, Pakistan's Supreme Court acquitted her based on insufficient evidence after intense political pressure from the world community, including Christian organizations. This is an example of the consequences of America's nation building under the Bush Administration in 2008 and as continued by the next president. It should serve as a reminder that Islam and freedom are incompatible.
Let's roll back the clock to December 2007, when for several months The Daily Jot pointed toward Pakistan as the new front in the war of Islamic aggression. The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto indicated that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal was a target of al Qaeda and the Taliban. The Bush Administration pushed hard to "democratize" Pakistan to protect an already $10 billion nuclear investment in the Islamic country. The new democratically-elected government of Pakistan in March 2008 was the fifth "democracy" aggressively supported by George W. Bush where the end result was a Sharia law-based Islamic government with verbal agreements and some vague constitutional language to allow religious freedom.
America traditionally upheld religious freedom all around the world--that is, until Bush and the previous Administration began nation building in Islamic countries. The US insisted that religious freedom language was in the constitutions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan and so on. The problem, however, is that these constitutions also carried language that established Islam as the religion of the land. Islam, as an official religion, will not co-exist with Christianity or Judaism by virtue of Islam's theology. Therefore, no matter the toothless, symbolic language on religious freedom, Islam, and all that it is, became the official religion. All laws and religions must submit to Islam.
Attacks against Christians in the Middle East caused the Christian church to go so far underground that the US State Department said it couldn't find them. We rejoice that Asia Bibi is released. Also remember that our own government policy of appeasing Islam likely contributed to her horrible and tortuous ordeal, and to the persecution and deaths of Christians in other Islamic countries. These presidents claim they are Christian, but their policies were responsible for the suffering of Christians around the world. Titus 1:10 begins, "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers... " And in verse 16 concludes: "They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." Draw your own conclusions, Asia Bibi knows first hand.
Daily Devotion: What Happened to the Fear of God? - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
The secret of the LORD is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant. - Psalm 25:14
We don't hear much about the fear of the Lord anymore. We used to say things like, "He's a God-fearing man" or "She's a God-fearing woman." This was meant as a compliment, by the way.
Today we hear a lot about the love of God. Of course, the Bible teaches about the love of God, and we should preach about the love of God. But it seems to me that in the days in which we're living, we never hear about the fear of God.
We hear a lot about the glories of Heaven, but we never hear warnings about Hell. We hear a lot about forgiveness, but we don't hear much about repentance. All of that is the gospel, you see, and it all needs to be proclaimed.
In days gone by the criticism of the church was about hellfire-and-brimstone preachers. My question is where are they? I want to hear one. I hear preachers talking about health and wealth and prosperity and free parking spaces and blessings galore, no matter what. But I would like to hear a hellfire-and-brimstone message. And I would like to hear something more about the fear of God.
The fear of God doesn't mean cowering in fear before Him. That is not what I mean by the fear of God. Replace the word fear with respect, reverence, awe, or honor. One definition of fearing God is "a wholesome dread of displeasing Him." It's thinking about the repercussions of sin.
We need to know the love of God, and we need to have the fear of God. They're both important. As Oswald Chambers put it, "The remarkable thing about fearing God is that when you fear God you fear nothing else, whereas, if you do not fear God, you fear everything else."
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