Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Connecting the Dots of the Apocalypse - By Jonathan Brentner - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/05/12/connecting-dots-apocalypse-jonathan-brentner/
Would you purchase a nonfiction book and read only the introduction? Or, would you skip the intro assuming it had nothing to do with the rest of the book?
When it comes to the book of Revelation, many divorce the opening chapters from the remainder of the book. They do so by regarding the opening chapters as "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:1), but not the remainder of the Apocalypse (a term often applied to the book of Revelation).
In a previous post, From Patmos with Love, I provided the basis for our literal understanding of the book of Revelation versus the popular, yet erroneous allegorical approach. John wrote Revelation and his gospel in the same way; in both he provides an eyewitness account of what he heard and saw.
Jesus' words to the seven churches represent not only Jesus' message to seven current congregations, they reveal the future of the church as a whole. The Lord's promises to these churches are only the beginning of His prophetic promises to believers of all ages (that's us), which the Lord displays before the eyes of John in the chapters that follow.
Here are a few examples of how we can connect the dots from the introduction to the remainder of the book of Revelation.
Jesus Promises Paradise
Jesus concludes His message to the church at Ephesus with these words, "To the one who conquers, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God" (2:7). In the last chapter of Revelation, the Lord reveals that this is not merely a symbol of eternal life, but a real tree that exists in the New Jerusalem (22:1-2). This physical paradise exists now in this glorious heavenly city just waiting for our arrival.
Do you see the connection of the promise with the main issue Jesus identified in the church? To remedy their departure from their first love for the Lord (2:4), He reminds them of their glorious future in the paradise that awaits their arrival.
With their eyes refocused to the paradise within the New Jerusalem, how could such an expectation of bliss not rekindle their love for the One responsible for it? This promise consists of so much more than eternal life; the Lord promises them nothing less than a spectacular paradise.
Please note: In each of Jesus' messages to the seven churches, He makes a promise to the faithful of that congregation, or "to the one who conquers." This phrase does not refer to a special level of spiritual maturity but applies to all believers (see 1 John 5:4-5).
Jesus Promises Eternal Life
To the suffering church at Smyrna, Jesus promises they "will not be hurt by the second death" (2:11). Later in the book, John provides an eyewitness account of the white throne judgment and the horrible "second death," which consists of eternity in hell, a lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15).
"What's the significance of that for these suffering saints?" you might ask. The words remind those facing physical death for their faith of a far worse outcome. Their opponents may cut short their life on earth, but they could never take away their heavenly inheritance.
Polycarp, the bishop at the church in Smyrna when the book of Revelation arrived in the city, understood the significance of Jesus' promise of eternal life. Notice his response to the Roman proconsul who threatened to burn him with fire if he did not reproach Christ and deny his faith:
"You threaten me with fire which burns for an hour, and is then extinguished, but you know nothing of the fire of the coming judgment and eternal punishment reserved for the ungodly. Why are you waiting? Bring on whatever you want."
Polycarp connected the dots from the Lord's promise to John's description of the second death in Revelation 20:11-15. He saw the future of those who burned him at the stake versus the glorious eternity that awaited him on the new earth and New Jerusalem.
Jesus Promises We Will Reign Together with Him
Although much wickedness and immorality plagued the church in the city of Thyatira, Jesus found some who had "not learned what some called the deep things of Satan" (2:24). To those saints He said this:
"The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father" (2:26-27).
These words, taken from the Father's promise of the nations to the Son in Psalm 2, promise the faithful in Thyatira a share of Jesus' inheritance from His Father, that of ruling over the nations. While many in this church likely felt helpless to deal with the evil surrounding them, Jesus promises a rule in righteousness where they will have authority to judge the evil before them.
This cannot be a reference to the eternal state; it must be the millennial kingdom that John describes in Revelation 20:1-10. "Ruling with a rod of iron" depicts a time when people rebel against the reign of the Savior. Such a time precedes the eternal state in which Jesus eliminates all sin, death, suffering, and pain.
Jesus made this same promise to those in Laodicea who would let Jesus into their lives (3:20). They also will rule with Jesus in the kingdom John later describes for us (3:21).
Jesus Promises Deliverance
Jesus promises many blessings to His church in the city of Philadelphia. He started with these words:
"Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. I am coming soon" (3:10-11a).
What is this "trial that is coming on the whole world?" It's the tribulation described in Revelation 6-16, which the Old Testament prophets referred to as the day of the Lord. The dots not only connect from Jesus' promise to the church, but from the Old Testament prophets as well.
The verse break between 10 and 11 is unfortunate. The words "I am coming soon" (better translated as "I am coming quickly") come in connection with Jesus' promise of deliverance from this worldwide "trial." Jesus will deliver His church from the time of tribulation by taking all those who belong to Him to His Father's house in heaven. This is the promise of 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Jesus will not allow His saints to experience the wrath of the day of the Lord.
Jesus introduces His church in Philadelphia to the New Jerusalem (3:12-13) of which John describes for us in chapters 21-22. Both the new earth and this glorious city comprise our future.
Do not let anyone rob you of this glorious expectation by denying the physical reality of this city. Those who turn John's description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21-22 into allegory deny the reality of Jesus' specific promise to His church in Philadelphia. They not only turn John's description of the city into an illusion, but negate the essence of Jesus' promise to us.
My intent here is to bring you a sampling of how, from beginning to end, the book of Revelation provides a unified message revealing the Lord Jesus' intervention in history as righteous judge, conquering warrior, and sovereign King of kings.
Chapters 1-3 provide a wonderful introduction to the remainder of the Revelation where the Lord uncovers the magnificent power of His person and provides details of the wonders of His glorious promises to the seven churches.
In each of Jesus' addresses to the churches, He says this: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." It's Jesus Himself who testifies to the truth of the words in Revelation; and to that we say, "Amen. Come Lord Jesus!"
Please do not cover your ears to its message with allegorical interpretations that turn Jesus' promises to His churches, which includes the entire book of Revelation, into symbolic illusions that not only diminish our hope, but reduce the power and glory of our Savior.
The apocalypse is "The revelation of Jesus Christ!" (1:1). From beginning to end John provides an eyewitness account of the events he saw and the words he heard.
Yes, Jesus is coming again, and we will reign with him for one thousand years in His millennial kingdom! This is the promise of Jesus to us!
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The drums of war in the Persian Gulf - by Oded Granot -
We need to understand that the shockwaves from a clash between the U.S. and Iran, if it indeed occurs, will reach us. If attacked, Tehran will unleash it proxies, chief among them Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, against Israel.
Tensions between Iran and the United States inched closer to a boiling point as Israelis were celebrating their country's independence on Thursday - as the drums of war are beating ever louder in the Persian Gulf even though both sides clearly don't want one.
The escalation began with a verbal exchange. On the one-year anniversary of the United States' withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told global powers that his country would cease fulfilling its obligations as part of the deal. At this stage, this mostly means Iran will stop shipping abroad its surplus of enriched uranium and heavy water, as it prepares to enrich uranium at a greater pace.
In response, the White House said it would impose additional sanctions on Iran - not just on its oil production, banks and foreign trade, but on its metals industry. This sector is Iran's top job provider and hurting it could leave many Iranians unemployed, which in turn would increase internal strife.
But the main factor behind increased tensions in the Persian Gulf over the past two days was the Pentagon's decision to deploy the "Abraham Lincoln" aircraft carrier and four B-52H bombers to Qatar. The backdrop, as conveyed by the Pentagon, were fears that Iran was planning to attack American forces stationed in Iraq, perhaps via Shiite militias that it controls.
It's hard to misread these developments. After a year of harsh sanctions, the ayatollah regime in Iran is exceedingly frustrated. This frustration stems from the country's drastic economic downturn, but also from the fact that European countries - who are co-signed to the nuclear deal - have not kept their promises to compensate European companies that continued doing business with Tehran despite the sanctions imposed by Washington.
There's no question the Trump administration is also disappointed. Although the sanctions are having an effect, they still haven't forced Iran to wave the white flag and agree to fundamentally amend the nuclear deal to include shelving its ballistic missile project and ceasing its subversive activities via its proxies across the region.
Moreover, if we can assess the situation according to the behavior of Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and the latest round of violence with Israel, Iran has only amplified its subversive efforts. This terrorist organization, which is completely subordinate to and entirely funded by Tehran, ignited the latest skirmish by sniping at IDF officers on the border and it is the one presently spearheading, at the behest of Iran, the most aggressive line against Israel.
How will developments in the Persian Gulf unfold in the weeks ahead? It's too soon to make a determination. The Iranians' move to cancel "some" of their obligations stipulated by the nuclear deal is not irreversible and was the least they could permit themselves without being accused of violating it. The main objective behind their move is to incentivize the Europeans to fulfill their promises, and Rouhani even declared a 60-day extension for global powers to reconsider - before Iran accelerates its uranium enrichment.
The Trump administration, for its part, stressed that its military reinforcements are only intended to deter Iran from attacking American forces in the region, adding that the purpose for increasing sanctions is to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.
The problem, of course, is that it's entirely uncertain any of this will actually transpire in the near future. We don't know if the Europeans will surrender to Iranian extortion, and it's almost assured that the White House will not halt sanctions before the Iranians agree to recalibrate their course of action.
This dynamic is a sure-fire recipe for heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf and opens the door for a military escalation. The ayatollah regime, if it feels it must, could renew uranium enrichment and risk a limited military confrontation with the U.S., over the prospect of regime collapse due to domestic revolt amid the country's increasingly dire economic situation.
We need to understand that the shockwaves from such a clash, if it indeed occurs, will reach us. During the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein launched Scud missiles at Israel. Iran, if it is attacked, will unleash it proxies, chief among them Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, against Israel.
Nearing Midnight: Never again!...? - Terry James -
While platitudes flow from the political left, claiming that their ideology as the most compassionate, the most tolerant, it's U.S. Mecca is showing otherwise. As a matter of fact, the city that never sleeps has apparently awakened in ways thought headed for extinction.
Antisemitism is manifesting significantly in New York City, according to a report by the New York Police Department. The report claims a tremendous rise in crimes against Jews and in acts involving crimes of hate in general.
The New York Police Department has reported a massive increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the city, with the data showing an 82% increase in such incidents in the first three months of 2019. The Anti-Defamation League's 2018 audit of anti-Semitic incidents published earlier this week found that there was an even bigger rise of anti-Semitic hate crime in New York State - an increase of 170% from the third to the fourth quarter of 2018.
In the latest in the ongoing series of incidents of harassment and assault against Jews in New York, a passerby spat at and cursed a Jewish man in Brooklyn on Wednesday, an incident which was captured on video and published on social media.
"The data released by NYPD today is deeply disturbing and should serve as an important reminder to all of us that we must continue to be vigilant in the face of hate," said Evan R. Bernstein, ADL NY/NJ Regional Director. ("Massive 82% spike in anti-Semitic hate crimes in New York City, NYPD finds," by Jeremy Sharon, Jerusalem Post, May 3, 2019)
Such rise of antisemitism is not unique to New York. Our news sources have been parading such reports for years across our daily headlines. The percentage of incidents have ratcheted up in hockey-stick fashion across the globe during recent weeks.
The breakout of hatred for Jews, not coincidentally, comes during time of a tremendous rise in Islamic populations across Europe and other places. All one has to do is to consider the dynamics taking place within the U.S. House of Representatives to understand that America and the world face troubles just ahead. They are troubles that are prophesied in God's Word.
Rants against Israel and, tacitly, against the Jewish race by a newly elected Muslim congresswoman give focus to the mounting evidence of the coming time of Jacob's trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). The rants come from an elected representative whose constituency views Israel and Jews as the central catalyst for most all the problems across the world. The Democrat Party Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi-and, for that matter, all of those in Congress-can't or won't govern the Muslim woman's caustic rhetoric against Israel and Jews.
They, instead, do everything to accommodate her wants and needs as a Muslim-for example, throwing out rules against headwear while in session, allowing her to wear her Islamic headdress.
They tolerate her vitriolic spewing of hate, while they and the mainstream media do their best to cover up any mention of Muslim involvement in the many jihad attacks that have been inflicted on thousands throughout the recent decades. We are castigated by those media types anytime we mention the words "Islam" or "Muslim" in conjunction with such hate crimes. We remember recently when both Shepard Smith and Neil Cavuto of FOX News cut off guests when they mentioned Islam as a problem within this context.
American presidents and American congressional members throughout the years since the conclusion of World War II in 1945 joined the Israelis in echoing their declaration, "Never again!"
So, what is happening? The dynamics have changed. The tolerance seems only for those who are adamantly against the Jews-and, for that matter, against Christians. The left goes deafeningly silent when Christians across the world are persecuted, tortured, and murdered. These same "tolerant" within Washington officialdom go ballistic when Israel does what is necessary to protect its people. Muslims should, these anti-Israel political ideologues shout, be allowed to do whatsoever they wish to the Jewish military forces defending the country, because they are being oppressed and kept from taking over their rightful homeland-though Israel's right to the land is based on longstanding biblical and historical facts.
All of this points to the coming second holocaust-the one that will be instituted by Antichrist, planet earth's final and most terrible tyrant.
The pledge "Never Again!" in regard to saying genocide against the Jewish people will never again be allowed will be overruled for a short time by the beast of Revelation 13. But, the God of Heaven says "Never Again!" too. We can be assured that pledge will be kept. Israel will never again be removed from her land. Israel will survive and thrive to become the head of all nations for Christ's millennial reign.
"Behold, he that kept Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep" (Psalms 121:4).
Rabbi: Trump Confronting Iran as 'Tikkun' of Esau - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - www.breakingisraelnews.com
"And now I will tell you the truth: Persia will have three more kings, and the fourth will be wealthier than them all; by the power he obtains through his wealth, he will stir everyone up against the kingdom of Greece." Daniel 11:2 (The Israel Bible™)
As tensions between Iran and the U.S. rise and the first sparks of an actual conflict appear, ancient prophecies concerning pre-messiah politics seem suddenly relevant like never before.
Last month, the White House officially designated the Iran Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization, saying it was the Iranian government's primary means of directing and implementing its global terrorist campaign. Iran responded by labeling the US military a terrorist group.
The White House ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4, to counter "clear indications" of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.
Four oil tankers including two from Saudi Arabia and one from Norway, suffered significant damage from "sabotage attacks" on Monday. The attack took place off the coast of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) less than 100 miles from the vital Strait of Hormuz shipping channel.
At the request of the UAE government, a U.S. team of investigators official went to investigate the incident. The team reported that each ship had a 5-10-foot hole near or just below the water line, probably caused by explosive charges.
Even before the attack, eyes were on Iran for such a possibility. Last week, the U.S. Maritime Administration issued a warning to commercial shipping companies that from the beginning of May there had been, "an increased possibility that Iran and/or its regional proxies could take action against U.S. and partner interests, including oil production infrastructure, after recently threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Iran or its proxies could respond by targeting commercial vessels, including oil tankers, or U.S. military vessels in the Red Sea, Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, or the Persian Gulf."
The possibility that the attack on the tankers came from Iran was underscored in a speech by President Trump on Monday in which he warned that Iran would Iran would "suffer greatly" if it targeted U.S. interests.
The New York Times reported on Monday that a top U.S. defense official presented an updated military plan to President Donald Trump's senior security aides that included dispatching up to 120,000 troops to the region should Iran attack American interests or escalate work on nuclear weapons.
As political experts try to make sense of the situation, the more prophetically-minded turn to an 800-year old source that describes the conflict in no uncertain terms. The Yalkut Shimoni, a collection of Biblical teachings believed to have been arranged in the 13th century, predicted our present political reality, describing how an Iranian-Saudi conflict will lead Saudi Arabia to ally with the U.S.
Rabbi Yitzchok said: "The year that Melech HaMoshiach [Messiah the King] will be revealed, all the nations of the world will be provoking each other. The King of Persia (Iran) will provoke the King of Arabia (Saudi Arabia), and the King of Arabia will go to Edom (the West) to take counsel, but the King of Persia will in turn, destroy the entire world. The nations of the world will be outraged and panicked. They will fall on their faces, and they will experience pains like birth pangs. Israel too will be outraged and in a state of panic and ask, where do we go? But say unto them, 'My children, do not fear, the time of your redemption has come. And in the last redemption will be different from the first which was followed by further bondage and pain. After this last redemption, you will not again experience any further pain or subjugation.'"
The Yalkut Shimoni describes a conflict that threatens to "destroy the entire world," a scenario that would not have been possible at the time the prophecy was written. Yet this does seem to be a possibility today since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known commonly as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed in 2015, the Iranian nuclear program has advanced as has its ballistic missile program. In response to the JCPOA, Saudi Arabia is also aggressively pursuing a nuclear program.
"These are ancient conflicts coming full circle," Rabbi Winston explained to Breaking Israel News, referring to the tensions between the U.S. and Iran. "People who do not believe in the Torah discount prophecy and get confused and amazed when history works out that way. But these are prophecies made for the end of days."
"Several of the prophecies do speak about Iran, or Persia, being a major player in the end-of-days but on the wrong side of the line. Right now, we are getting occasional sightings of what will be a very big thing."
Rabbi Winston cited a powerful aspect of prophecy that frequently goes unnoticed. He noted that describing Iran as the arch-enemy of Israel and the U.S just 40 years ago would have been unthinkable.
"Before the Iranian revolution, Persia was a staunch ally of the West," Rabbi Winston said. "Before the 20th century and the importance of oil, the Arabs were a practically powerless part of the Ottoman empire. It is only recently that the Yalkut Shimoni's description of Persia as an enemy of the world is relevant."
The rabbi concluded with an enigmatic warning. He noted that the erev rav (mixed multitude) played a major, albeit destructive, role in the Exodus from Egypt. Winston suggested that as the final redemption will mirror the Exodus, this erev rav aspect would be played out as well.
"In the end-of-days, the enemy is going to have friends on the inside," he said.
Rabbi Ken Spiro, a historian and Senior Lecturer and Researcher for Aish HaTorah Yeshiva, notes how the complex relationships being played out in the Middle East today mirror conflicts described in prophecy.
"In end-of-days scenarios, there are two parallel tracks for Gog and Magog: the world united against Israel, and another in which Ishmael and Esav fight each other," Spiro told Breaking Israel News. "I always wondered how it could be both and now I realize that is really what is going on today."
"There has been a struggle between Islam and the Arab world against the West as to who will be the successor, replacing Judaism," he explained. "They have been fighting since the inception of Islam in the 7th Century. But at the same time, they put those issues aside to passionately fight Israel."
Rabbi Spiro cited Rabbi Mendel Kessin who comments extensively on current events from a Torah perspective. In a lecture given two years ago, Rabbi Kessin described Trump's victory as "a revealed miracle," saying that the new president was the "Tikkun (fixing) of Esau."
"Trump is the Esav (West) that fights with us against Ishmael (Islam)," Rabbi Spiro said. "He is openly a staunch ally of Israel. It is even more interesting that the greatest superpower in the world is currently confronting the greatest existential threat to Israel, which is Iran."
From both a political and prophetic perspective, Rabbi Spiro perceives the current situation as potentially explosive.
"Iran is playing brinksmanship diplomacy," Rabbi Spiro said. "We really need to see what is going to play out in the next few days."
Daily Jot: What to do Part 1 - Bill Wilson -
In response to the congressman admitting that there is an ongoing coup attempt by the President's opponents, many Daily Jot readers ask the question, "What do we do about this?" It's not only about the constant haranguing, bullying and labeling of anyone who disagrees with the coup-makers, but also about our freedoms of religion and speech and way of life. One reader was representative of the others, writing, "Please, help us, tell us what we can do!! It surely seems the silent majority just doesn't know what to do, who or how we get into action and stop this...I truly believe if you would give some direction this would help tremendously." It's not my place to tell you what to do, but here are some considerations.
First, this takes some self-examination. This young man asked what he had to do to receive eternal life. Jesus said you have to give up your self, take up the cross (which was very offensive for it was the most demeaning way to die), and follow him. In counting the costs, the young man could not bear to do what the Lord advised. Considering the depth of the situation, you will have to determine how far you are willing to go. When the powers that be can ruin your life, as they have tried to do to President Donald Trump, the cost beyond writing letters and making phone calls becomes very high. This is, however, not about politics or even government. We are seeing the results of not taking up the cross and following Jesus.
What are you willing to do? How far are you willing to carry the cross? Christ said in Matthew 5:13, "You are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out and to be trodden under foot of men." The reason I do not often tell you what to do is because I believe you need to be seeking the Holy Spirit, studying your Bible in its context and true meaning, and determining your course of action. For myself, I speak out. I find people at the grocery store, gas pump, athletic gatherings, etc., to use the news to speak out. If you think attending your church's "be all you can be in Christ" seminar is speaking out, perhaps you need to think this through a bit more.
Society has become so dark because the light is dim. As Christ said in Matthew 5:14-15, "You are the light of the world: A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house." Similarly, changing the world cannot be done inside the four walls of churches and conference centers. Don't allow these things to hide your light. Your light is the light of Christ and it needs to shine. If it's extra-biblical, emotional and self-indulgent, your light is not going to shine because it becomes about you, rather than Christ. So the first step in What to Do is self examination and counting the cost. Then you need to bend over and pick up that cross. Politics and government have nothing to do with this, it's about relationship with Christ and following him.
Daily Devotion: Fault Finders - by Greg Laurie -
And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? - Matthew 7:3
Someone has defined gossip as news you have to hurry to tell someone before you find out that it isn't true. As Nehemiah worked to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, Sanballat challenged his personal motives. He sent a letter saying, "It is reported among the nations, and Geshem says, that you and the Jews plan to rebel; therefore, according to these rumors, you are rebuilding the wall, that you may be their king" (Nehemiah 6:6 NKJV).
Nehemiah was being accused of the very thing that Sanballat and Nehemiah's other enemies were guilty of themselves. Nehemiah wasn't trying to be the king; he was serving the king. Nehemiah had been underwritten in this project by the king. He was a close friend and confidant of the king, and the king had even sent a bodyguard to protect them.
But Nehemiah's enemies were saying, "No, you want to be the king. This is all about you. You're on some kind of an ego trip." They were, in effect, projecting their sins on Nehemiah.
This is what Jesus was talking about in the Sermon on the Mount when He said, "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3 NKJV).
You cannot judge the motives of another person. You can judge their actions and even make evaluations about their actions, but you cannot judge the human heart. That is exactly what Jesus meant when He said, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1 NKJV). Another way to translate this would be, "Condemn not, lest you be condemned."
Stop judging the motives of others and take a long look at yourself. Take care of your character, your personal integrity, and God will take care of your reputation.
FROM THE HEART
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