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Israel's Three "Last Days" Major Conflicts
- by Pastor Bill Hoganson - email@example.com
The COVID-19 Pandemic has led many prophecy teachers to focus on the coming New World Order. And rightly so. However, an unintended consequence of this new focus appears to have left Israel's prophetic role in the shadows... well, sort of. So, I thought it a good idea to write an article focusing on Israel's three "lasts days" major conflicts.
Israel's steady attacks in Syrian territory in recent years has led some prophecy teachers to conclude that the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion of Israel is months away, if not a couple of years away, at most. But, hold on, not so fast! Before jumping on that bandwagon, please take a few minutes to read the following article and then draw your own conclusions.
This article avoids newspaper exegesis as much as possible. It does contain speculation but is grounded in prophetic truth that will come to pass in the not-too-distant-future. How distant is the question?
Israel's Three Distinct Last Days Major Conflicts
Using a birds-eye view approach, the Bible delineates three distinct "major" conflicts that Israel must face in the last days. The BIG-picture-scope of these three "distinct" conflicts are outlined below.
Each major conflict is spear-headed by different "people groups," as follows:
* 1st Major Conflict - "surrounding" people groups contiguous to Israel's borders (Zec. 12:2-8)
* 2nd Major Conflict - "distant" people groups non-contiguous to Israel's borders (Eze. 38-39)
* 3rd Major Conflict - "all" people groups both near and far (Rev. 16:13-16; 19:11-21)
There is a "variation in duration" for each conflict, as follows:
* 1st Major Conflict - began in 1948 and continues to the present day, now covering 70+ years.
* 2nd Major Conflict - covers a short time period, perhaps weeks, and no more than a month.
* 3rd Major Conflict - covers final 3½ years of the Tribulation (aka, Campaign of Armageddon).
There are different military "victors" in each of the three conflicts, as follows:
* 1st Major Conflict - Israel's "powerful military" is always the victor (Zech. 12:2-8; Isa. 11:11-14)
* 2nd Major Conflict - The "LORD God" Himself, without Israel's help, brings victory (Eze. 38:18-23)
* 3rd Major Conflict - "Jesus Christ" physically / visibly returns as victor (Zec. 14:1-3; Rev. 19:11-21)
Let us now examine each of Israel's three last days major conflicts, keeping speculation to a minimum, lol.
Israel's 1st Last Days Major Conflict
Consider the following birds-eye-view sequential timeline of Israel's first last day's major conflict, and then you decide if the Ezekiel 38 invasion will take place in the next few months, or even years, as of May, 2020:
Israel's first major conflict involves "people groups" that "surround" Israel, contiguous to Israel's borders, for the most part. This major conflict began in 1948, when five "surrounding" Arab nations attacked Israel. This 70+ year conflict will continue until Israel finally assumes control of the region.
Do not think of the first major conflict as a single battle. It is a series of battles over a long period of time, much in the same way Daniel 10:1 presented the coming "great conflict" (NASB/ESV) as a series of battles between the kings of the North and the South (Dan. 11:5-35), which took place during the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Centuries BC. It culminates with a final great war at the "time of the end" (Dan. 11:36-45).
Much like Daniel 11:5-35, Israel's first major conflict also includes a series of battles, including the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, Palestinian Intifada uprisings in 1987 and 2000, and many tit-for-tat battles since 2005 involving Lebanon, Syria, Gaza (Egypt), and the West Bank (Jordan). All these people groups (and nations) "surrounding" Israel, currently seek Israel's complete destruction (Psalm 83:1-8).
However, the prophet Zechariah (520 BC) predicts the "surrounding" people groups will fail to defeat Jerusalem and Israel, which we have been witnessing for 53 years now. Here is what Zechariah wrote:
Zechariah 12:2-3 (NKJV) - 2 "Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to "all the surrounding" peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. ... 3 And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.
In other words, God emphatically exclaims that even though (if) all nations should gather against Jerusalem, they will fail to excise it from Jewish hands during the first major conflict! Why? The context tells us that Israel's military will be too powerful for them to overcome, as revealed in the following:
Zechariah 12:6 (NKJV) - "In that day I will make the governors [leaders] of Judah [Israel] like a firepan in the woodpile, and like a fiery torch in the sheaves; they shall devour [militarily] all the surrounding peoples on the right hand and on the left... "
At the time Zechariah wrote this, Israel did not have a powerful military. However, that all changed after 1948. Since 1948, the world has witnessed God's empowerment of Israel's military to "consistently" defeat the "surrounding" people groups and nations. Concerning the people of Israel, Zechariah clearly states that even the "feeble among them" shall be like the mighty warrior David, as follows:
Zechariah 12:8 (NKJV) - In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them.
What becomes of these people groups that "surround" Israel during the last days? For that answer, we turn to yet-to-be-fulfilled OT prophecies, that identify Israel's future powerful military in action.
After Babylon defeated Israel in 586 BC, Israel did not become a sovereign nation with a powerful military until the 20th Century AD. Isaiah 11:11 prophesied that after the dispersed Jews return to their land a "second time" (1948) they become a "banner" (sign) to the nations, united as one (Isa. 11:12-13), and militarily defeat the surrounding people groups (Isa. 11:14). Isaiah 11:14 states that a reunited Israel will (1) "fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines" (Gaza), (2) plunder the "people of the East" (Syria-cf Gen.29:1), and (3) "lay their hand" on Edom and Moab (Jordan), and Ammon (Jordan) "shall obey them."
Other OT Scriptures describe Israel's military defeat of Jordan, as follows: Zephaniah 2:9 (Ammon / Moab) and Jeremiah 49:1-2 (Ammon); Obadiah 18 (Edom) and Ezekiel 25:14 (Edom). We are still awaiting the complete fulfillment of these OT prophecies.
Some speculate these prophecies have been fulfilled. Others speculate they will be fulfilled "during" the Tribulation; still others speculate "after" the Tribulation! But, all three speculations are wrong, as follows:
* Firstly, "past" fulfillments of these prophecies lack evidence. The brief revolt by the Maccabees and John Hyrcanus against the Seleucids and the Idumeans do not fit the details of these OT prophecies.
* Secondly, "during" the Tribulation, Israel's powerful (IDF) military is absent. Zechariah 14:2 and Revelation 12:6 and 14 clearly indicate that by the middle of the Tribulation, Israel is in complete meltdown, without a military, no IDF anywhere in sight! It appears the Jews fight Antichrist forces with underground militias (Zec. 14:14). The Bible does not explain the mysterious disappearance of Israel's (IDF) military during the Tribulation. Perhaps, Daniel 9:27's seven-year covenant includes a reduction of Israel's (IDF) military capabilities.
* Thirdly, "after" the Tribulation, Israel and the nations "beat their swords into plowshares and theirs spears into pruning hooks, ...nor will they train for war anymore" (Isa. 2:4). So, that does not fit either.
Therefore, it is safe to speculate that Israel's powerful IDF military exists only "before" the Tribulation, at least, up until the start of the second major conflict, which we will examine later.
How does Iran Fit into Israel's 1st Major Conflict?
Scripture is not clear concerning Iran's involvement in Israel's first major conflict, except possibly in Jeremiah 49:34-37, when Iran's Persian Gulf (Elam) coast is destroyed. Some claim this prophecy was fulfilled 2500 years ago when the Persians conquered the Elamites, while others believe it was fulfilled after the 1979 Revolution, when many Iranians fled from dictator Ayatollah Khomeini-but, who knows?
Today, Iran works skillfully behind the scenes, stealthily using proxies to support the people groups "surrounding" Israel; including, Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the Bashar Al Assad regime in Syria. Iran's fingerprints are all over the region, including al Quds Force. Mostly made up of foreign nationals, al Quds is building and maintaining military bases in Syria and Iraq, financially fueled by Iran.
It is not clear why Scripture appears to ignore Iran's part in the first major conflict. Clearly, they are not one of the "surrounding" people groups. But it is clear, that Iran is using proxies to avoid a "direct" confrontation with Israel. Perhaps, Israel and the U.S. destroy Iran's Persian Gulf coast... possibly! What role does COVID-19 play in the U.S.'s future with Iran? We are left only with speculation.
In light of last year's withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria (October 2019), it appears that Iran is taking advantage by gaining a greater proxy foothold in the region. In any case, Iran is avoiding a "direct" military conflict with Israel by fueling their proxies, most of whom belong to the "surrounding" people groups. However, Iran does play a major role in the second major conflict, which we will examine later.
"Aftermath" of Israel's 1st Last Days Major Conflict
Ready for more speculation? Keep in mind, this speculation is integrated in prophecies that will be fulfilled. Perhaps the trigger that concludes the first major conflict will be Israel's annexation of the West Bank. In any case, Israel's victory over the surrounding people groups seems to be accomplished as follows: Israel eliminates Iran's proxy militias (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, and al Quds Force). How so? The Syrian Regime is destroyed, Damascus becoming a "heap of rubble" (Isa. 17:1) "because of Israel" (Isa. 17:9), and South Lebanon is made part of Israel (Oba. 20). Additionally, Jordan falls to Israel's military (Isa. 11:14; Oba. 18-19; Zep. 2:8-10; Eze. 25:14); and Egypt loses five cities to Israel (Isa. 19:16-18). These conquered lands become vassal entities under Israel's control. Like King David of old (2 Sam. 8:6), Israel may set up garrisons in these regions, establishing puppet governments that reluctantly submit to Israel's rule. Precariously, Israel's governance will be accepted due to welcomed economic prosperity and a long overdue peace throughout the region... It will not be perfect, but it will provide a respite of sorts.
As Israel pacifies the "surrounding" people groups with economic aid, Israel will enter a period of unprecedented peace and security (Eze. 38:11-14). Many Jews will declare they have entered "The Golden Age," prophesied in the OT. Perhaps this is when Israel builds their 3rd Temple on the Temple Mount.
Scriptures do not indicate when the 3rd Temple is built. So, it is possible that it is built "before" the Tribulation. The Jews will be motivated to build the 3rd Temple primarily for two reasons: 1) Religious Jews will herald the Temple as God's mandate from heaven, while 2) secular Jews will point to the Temple as a monument testifying to their "historical" right to Jerusalem as their undivided Capital. Undoubtedly, this move will anger regional Muslims, so Israel will be forced to severely restrict Muslim worship on the Temple Mount due to security concerns. Many Muslim nations will see this move by Israel as catastrophic (nakba) and wholeheartedly object to the new Temple. This will lead to "Israel's 2nd Last Days Major Conflict." This is speculation at its best, rooted in sound inferential logic. AMEN!
But, how long all this, and what about the Rapture?
So, does all the above takes place within the next few months, or even next few years (as of May 2020)? Highly unlikely! What about the Rapture? It can take place at "any moment." So, is it possible believers might be present for the entire first major conflict? Yes! How? Since the first major conflict takes place "before" the seven-year Tribulation and the Rapture "might" not take place until the "start" of the Tribulation, believers "could" witness the first major conflict in its entirety.
Israel's 2nd Last Days Major Conflict
Let us speculate again! Ezekiel 38-39, Israel's second major conflict, may take place "before" the Tribulation (suggesting believers "might" witness it in its entirety, the same way believers "might" witness the first major conflict in its entirety). So, what events lead to the start of the second major conflict?
Israel's acquired great wealth, Zionistic land expansion, and a newly built Temple on the Temple Mount seems to provoke an invasion by the Ezekiel 38-39 nations, supported by primarily two motives, as follows:
1. Scripture reveals Russia's motive is "great plunder" (Eze. 38:11-12). Russia (Gog) will resist invading Israel at first, that is, until God puts "hooks" into his "jaws" (Eze. 38:4), and then drags them into Israel.
2. Albeit, no Scripture reference, speculation suggests that Islam's motive is one of revenge, taking back "occupied" Islamic lands, including the Temple Mount. "Great plunder" is of less interest to them.
Let us now examine the second major conflict as found in Scripture, using much less speculation.
The Ezekiel 38-39 Russian Confederation is made up only of those people groups non-contiguous to Israel's borders, including Iranians, Turks, Sudanese, N. Africans, and possibly Germans, as follows:
Ezekiel 38:2-6 (NKJV) - 2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog [Russia], the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, ... 3 and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal [Russia, et al]. ... 5 Persia [Iran], Ethiopia [Sudan], and Libya [northern Africa] are with them, all of them with shield and helmet; ... 6 Gomer and all its troops [Turkey and/or Germany]; the house of Togarmah [Turkey / Armenia]...
This is where Iran plays a major role in attacking Israel directly. But, the leader of the confederation is Gog of the "land of Magog," located to the "uttermost" north of Israel, which is Russia, as follows:
Ezekiel 39:1-2 (NKJV) - 1 "And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog [of the land of Magog], and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; ... 2 and I will turn you around and lead you on, bringing you up from the "far" north [or uttermost north, which can only be Russia] , and bring you against the mountains of Israel.
The Russian Confederation's invasion of Israel takes place in the "latter days," as follows:
Ezekiel 38:16b (NKJV) - "...It will be in the latter days that I will bring you against My land,"
The LORD God Himself will thoroughly destroy this Russian Confederation, as follows:
Ezekiel 39:2-4 (NKJV) - 2 "and I will turn you..." [Gog and the Russian Confederacy] "around and lead you on, bringing you up from the far north, and bring you against the mountains of Israel. ... 3 Then I will knock the "bow" [qeseth - launchers] "...out of your left hand, and cause the "arrows" [hes - that which pierces, e.g. arrows, bullets, or missiles]... "...to fall out of your right hand. ... 4 You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you;..."
Notice, Israel's powerful military does not defeat the Russian Confederation. The LORD God does! God makes their weapons useless against Israel! The Hebrew in verse 2 reads "I will turn you around and lead you on," suggesting that God so thoroughly destroys the Russian Confederation that very few will survive. The KJV translates this passage as follows: "I will turn thee back and leave but the 1/6th part of thee."
Only God gets the glory in this victory, and no one else, so that "many nations shall know" Him, as follows:
Ezekiel 38:22-23 (NKJV) - 22 And I will bring him to judgment with pestilence and bloodshed; I will rain down on him, on his troops, and on the many peoples who are with him, flooding rain, great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. ... 23 Thus I will magnify Myself and sanctify Myself, and I will be known in the eyes of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the LORD." '
Confirmation of the Daniel 9:27 Seven-year Covenant
I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, so let us continue to speculate---ready? Here we go: With the defeat of the Russian Confederation, Antichrist makes his appearance, convincing Israel and the world that his power and leadership played a key role in their defeat. He will convince Israel and many other nations that God sent him to defeat the Russian Confederation and bring peace to the Middle East.
Many Muslim nations that supported the Russian Confederation, but did not participate, will still be angry over the newly built Temple on the Temple Mount, next to Islam's third holiest site. It is in that context Antichrist makes his appearance. He will seek to diminish Muslim anger against the Jews and Israel.
Seeking to calm the nations, Antichrist will convince Israel, and others, that it is in their best interest to share the Temple Mount, allowing Muslims to worship in East Jerusalem, the "holy city" (Rev. 11:2). Israel will agree to this compromise, and a seven-year covenant "with many" is confirmed (Dan. 9:27). It will be Israel's covenant with Hell (Isa. 28:14-15). This covenant will allow Jews to continue to offer animal sacrifices on the Temple Mount, while allowing Muslims to worship on what is considered the Temple's "outer court" (Rev. 11:2). Of course, speculation plays a big role here, but seems to be sound speculation.
With all due respect to Robert L. Thomas, Gentiles do not "tread" upon the "holy city" during the second half, but during the first half of the Daniel 9:27 covenant, at which time Muslims are given full access to East Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount's "outer court." This fulfills Revelation 11:2 "the outer court... has been given to the Gentiles. And they will tread the holy city [East Jerusalem] underfoot for 42 months." After this 42-month period, the covenant is broken, and Israel will no longer be in charge of anything... On a side note: The 2020 Trump Peace Plan provides some insight into how Jerusalem may be divided; however, the "peace plan from Hell" will include more favorable East Jerusalem borders for the Muslims.
At the end of 42 months, Antichrist enters the Temple, and declares he is God (Matt. 24:15; 2 Thess. 2:4); he has the "two witnesses" killed (Rev. 11:7); and he takes control of Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2). The "holy city" falls under Antichrist's control for the next 3½ years. During that time, Antichrist slaughters the Jews (Zech. 13:8). He also attacks the Tribulation Saints and anyone else standing in his way (Rev. 12:17).
Once the Jews lose control of Jerusalem, half of them flee out of the region (Zec. 14:2) to Petra (Isa. 16:1-4), while other Jews remain in the region, forming underground militias, and fight (Zec. 14:14). This huge attack against the Jews takes place in the final 3½ years of the Daniel 9:27 seven-year covenant and begins Israel's third last days major conflict. It appears Israel will never control Jerusalem again. However...
Israel's 3rd Last Days Major Conflict
Israel's third major conflict takes place during the final 3½ years of the seven-year Tribulation, many call the "campaign of Armageddon." This final 3½ years begins after Antichrist enters the Temple and declares himself to be God (2 Thes. 2:4, Dan. 9:27). At this point, three demons are sent out to gather the nation's armies to Israel into the valley of Armageddon (Jezreel), to be used as a staging area (Rev. 16:13-16). Satan's primary goal will be to kill all the Jews in the world, beginning in Israel (Rev. 12:6-17). Antichrist convinces the nations that the Jews are the world's primary problem, and they need to be eliminated.
The "kings of the east" also join the conflict, seeking complete annihilation of Israel's Jews (Rev. 16:12).
The primary focus of Israel's third major conflict, Revelation 6-19, is the destruction of Zionism and the Jews! This conflict ends with the death of two-thirds of all Jews (Zec. 13:8). Satan seeks to prove that God is untrue to His promise to use Israel to bless all families on earth (Gen. 12:1-3). Partially fulfilled at Jesus' first coming, this promise is still awaiting its complete fulfillment with King Jesus ruling the world.
Israel's third major conflict ends after a Jewish majority repents (Isa. 64). Until that point, the Jews have been blinded to prophecy. At the end of the Ezekiel 38-39 invasion, God will pour out His Spirit on Israel (Eze. 39:29), and then all Israel will be saved (Rom. 11:25-29). Israel's salvation unfolds progressively, throughout the Tribulation, as the Jews increasingly cry out to Jesus: "Blessed is He that comes in the name of the LORD" (Matt. 23:39). After a Jewish majority cries out to Jesus, He will respond, as follows:
Zechariah 14:2-3 (NKJV) - 2 For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; ... 3 Then the LORD [Jesus] will go forth And fight against those nations, As He fights in the day of battle.
The LORD Jesus' response against those nations is a bloody slaughter of Israel's enemies as described in Isaiah 63:1-6, Revelation 14:18-20 and 19:11-21. Here are a couple of excerpts, and this is not speculation:
Revelation 14:20 (NKJV) - And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses' bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs [180 miles].
Jesus Himself strikes down the nations that come against Israel, as follows:
Rev 19:15 (NKJV) - Now out of His [Jesus] mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Israel's three "major" conflicts take place in Israel's "last days." All three major conflicts are fulfilled "within" the generation following Israel's rebirth as a nation in 1948 (Matt. 24:32-34). That suggests, "within" the next 30-40 years, our Lord Jesus will return to set up His kingdom here on earth! In the meantime, the Rapture can happen at any moment! How exciting is that? MARANAHTA!
(The underlying premise of this article came from Bill Salus' book "Israelestine"----thank you!)
May God bless you as you seek Him!
Pastor Bill Hoganson, Calvary Chapel Anaheim
New Nuclear Threats to the U.S.: Better to Deter Them or Play Dead? - by Peter Huessy -
Now that 184 countries are grappling with the medical and economic convulsions of China's CCP coronavirus that seems to have originated in a bio-warfare laboratory in Wuhan, what other catastrophes might be headed our way, especially ones we have been forewarned about?
What if America's adversaries might start to believe that because the US has a Covid-19 crisis on its hands, the nation might be distracted and vulnerable, so that now might be a good time to strike? If such adversaries think the US does not have a strong deterrent, does that make it an even more tempting target?
Last month, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that by the end of 2020, Russia will have modernized 87% of its nuclear arsenal, up from its current 82%.
Many Americans might shrug it off and say that the Russians are simply being their normal selves, just like the Soviets, year after year, building and modernizing their nuclear weapons.
Many Americans might also assume that the United States would be keeping up to make sure that the Russians were not about to get the nuclear drop on the US, right?
The United States, in fact, remains considerably behind the Russians. For nearly three decades after the end of the Cold War, a euphoric United States stopped taking nuclear deterrence seriously. The current administration, therefore, inherited a nuclear deterrent 40-50 years old. Its submarines had first been deployed in 1981, its B-52 bomber cruise missiles in 1982, and its Minuteman land-based missiles in 1970.
At present, exactly zero percent of America's nuclear platforms are modernized.
This dangerous "procurement holiday" dates back to the end of the Cold War in 1991, when leaders in the West presumably imagined that modernized systems would no longer be needed.
The problem is, presidents and Congresses have been warned. The US has known for some time that the Russians are fully modernizing their nuclear weapons. The US has also been aware that the Russians were increasing the role of nuclear weapons in their security strategy, and had also adopted a policy of "escalate to win." In this strategy, the Russians would use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons early in a crisis, based on the assumption that in face of such threats, the United States would stand down.
Several years ago, for example, the Commander of U.S. Strategic Command, the senior U.S. military officer responsible for nuclear strategy, General John Hyten, told Congress that by 2020, the Russians would have fully modernized at least 70% of their nuclear arsenal.
Hyten not only warned about the Russia's new "escalate to win" policy; he also took stock of the fact that while the United States had decided -- belatedly -- to modernize its nuclear forces, it was still nearly 15 years away from fielding its first modernized nuclear platform. Regrettably, not everyone in Congress and the nuclear disarmament community listened. For many in politics, after all, it was assumed that the U.S. would "reset" relations with Russia and nuclear threats were happily diminishing toward a "global zero."
Worse, when, in 2017, General Hyten, (now Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff), warned of the Russian threat, a common counter-narrative in the U.S. arms control community -- and shared by some members of Congress -- was that simply by proposing to modernize a then-rusting nuclear deterrent, the United States was "leading an arms race."
Even these critics, however, had to know that it takes years to research, develop, test, and then build highly complex nuclear forces, so that no new U.S. nuclear deployments would even be able to start until 2029.
An ideological attachment to the arms control catechism of the day, particularly among the advocates of "global zero," trumped any common-sense support of the potential necessity, even to use as a deterrent, for U.S. nuclear modernization.
Instead, what many disarmers proposed was the elimination of more than half of U.S. nuclear armed submarines, and 100% of America's land-based nuclear missiles and air-launched nuclear cruise missiles -- all eliminated unilaterally, without the Russians reducing anything
In 2018, nuclear critics in the Democratic party, now in the House majority, called for the unilateral "roll back" of the entire ICBM leg of the US nuclear Triad (land, sea and air) to curtail a supposedly "overly aggressive nuclear strategy" by the Trump administration. The proposal appears intended to prevent a presumed "expansion" of the US nuclear arsenal.
Ironically, the Trump administration's nuclear modernization effort at that time was nearly identical to the Obama administration's effort: keeping America's nuclear forces strictly within the New START Treaty limits. The Trump administration's policy at the time did not seek to expand the U.S. arsenal by even a single nuclear warhead.
Even today, however, despite Russia's confirmation that its nuclear forces are nearly fully modernized, and that the new U.S. modernization effort may not be putting new forces in the field until 2029, the same nuclear critics still do not seem to understand the strategy of deterrence: if you look disarmed and easy to overrun, you are inviting aggression, but if you do not look easy to overrun, people might think twice before attacking you. Former President Ronald Reagan called it, "Peace through strength". It was how, in large part, by building up the US nuclear arsenal and promising subsequently to build robust missile defenses, he induced the Soviet Union, unable to keep up, to collapse.
Even so, one unilateral disarmer inexplicably wondered recently if the current U.S. planned nuclear modernization effort might somehow open "the door to an expensive nuclear arms race".
This critic may be unaware that Russia has already completed 87% of its arms race while the US is just putting on its track shoes. The door to an arms race was opened long ago -- but by Russia, not the United States.
Sputnik News reports:
"Russia's nuclear forces have received or are in the process of receiving a series of new weapons in recent years, including the RS-28 Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, the Avangard hypersonic boost-glide vehicle, and the Kinzhal air-launched hypersonic cruise missile. The maritime leg of the country's nuclear triad has seen the deployment of the new Borei class of strategic missile submarines equipped with R-30 Bulava ballistic missiles. Russia has also upgraded its fleet of Tu-95MS 'Bear' and Tu-160 'White Swan' bombers, increasing their range and capabilities and equipping them with new cruise missiles."
The current U.S. administration is fully aware of the Russian challenge and has robustly funded a U.S. nuclear deterrent. The modernization plan was approved by Congress -- although there is a worrisome emerging decline in the margin of support.
Without nuclear modernization, unfortunately, the United States cannot keep a credible nuclear deterrent against its nuclear armed enemies -- not only Russia but also China, whose nuclear arsenal is scheduled to double in the next decade, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency.
It is widely anticipated that the scope of U.S. nuclear deterrent modernization might be a debate topic this election year.
Some members of the House and Senate, may again push unilaterally to reduce much of America's nuclear arsenal to a level even as low as 20% of Russia's current deployed nuclear arsenal.
U.S. lawmakers may also again push to require that Congress must first approve any presidential decision to use nuclear weapons, thereby making a timely U.S. response to a surprise enemy nuclear attack virtually impossible.
Still other members of Congress may push to pass a new legal requirement that the United States pledge not to use nuclear weapons, even if the country was attacked and suffered millions of casualties from enemy biological, chemical, or cyber weapons.
Is this, then, the right time for the U.S. to stop nuclear modernization or hamstring its nuclear deterrent strategy? History illustrates how deadly being unprepared to face real threats can be, as in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the terrorist attacks of 9-11 or the coronavirus pandemic.
However serious these events were, most people probably know how much worse the outcome would be if an adversary initiated the use of nuclear weapons against the United States.
By now, the U.S. should know that its nuclear-armed adversaries are serious about using nuclear weapons -- either straightforwardly or for coercive leverage -- if they think they can get away it and avoid painful retaliation. The only sensible plan, therefore, is for the United States to maintain a nuclear deterrent second to none, to deter not only the threat of nuclear weapons but their straightforward employment, should it come to that.
In the election this November, Americans face a choice -- whether to continue with the planned modernization of America's nuclear forces, or yet again to kick nuclear modernization down the road and again pretend that nuclear threats -- that are potentially existential to the United States -- do not in fact exist.
Power When You Need It Most - By Hal Lindsey -
For a long time now, my name has been associated with events of the end times and the expectation of Christ's soon return. For years, I have warned about a coming era of plagues and pestilence. I've talked about a rising tide of totalitarianism that would manifest itself in the time shortly before Jesus comes back.
Now, as we live through the times we knew were coming, let me encourage you.
We're watching a massive plague cover the world. We see the globalists acting fast to use the emergency to their own ends. Many of the things we knew were coming have begun to arrive - though not yet with the intensity the world will see later.
So, what's encouraging about that?
First, it tells us about something amazing just on the horizon - the return of Jesus! Signs pointing to the Lord's return should not make us cower, but lift our heads!
The other encouraging thing is this. God has not changed. He does not change. His promises remain true - regardless of the trouble in the world. Jesus was very specific. In Matthew 6:2526, He said, "Do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?"
In Isaiah 41:10, God spoke specifically to the people of Israel. But the wording makes it clear that it also applies to those who have been made righteous in Jesus Christ. God said, "Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
Sadly, there are Christians around the world right now who feel frightened, guilty, and powerless. For them it seems impossible to refrain from fear or from anxiously looking about them. They want to believe that He is their God, but they're not completely sure of their standing with Him. And it's all because they don't understand the last clause of that verse.
"Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
They think the upholding of their relationship with God depends on their own righteousness. But in fact, it depends on the strength of His righteous right hand. He does the upholding. Our righteous standing before Him depends on the strength of His righteousness.
Verse 13 of that same chapter says, "For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand, Who says to you, 'Do not fear, I will help you.'"
Is the message clear? Do not fear. Who upholds us? He does. Who will help us? He will.
Then verse 14 says something fascinating. It says, "'Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel; I will help you,' declares the Lord, 'and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.'"
He actually refers to Israel as a "worm." There are several reasons for that designation, but the main one is this. It's not their righteousness that He's talking about. He is the Holy One, and it is His holiness that redeems them - and us.
So here we stand in the middle of a terrible mess. We hear fearful news on every channel. It's good to be aware of what's going on the world, but mostly we need to tune in to God's channel. Listen to Him. Read His word. Be strong in His strength. Live in His grace!
And as you do that, it becomes easier to obey His command, "Do not fear."
Walking in His Ways - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of the world has been "self-isolating" and "social distancing" for the last few months. Hopefully Christians used that time to study God's word and draw closer to Him, rather than being inundated by the mainstream news and its reports on this flu which has caused so much panic. "Cabin fever" has been wearing away at our nerves. Some business owners are finally able to re-open their doors and many people are able to return to earning a living. Nerves will be on edge and there's a good chance that anger will cause many problems. As Christians we need to keep ourselves true to our Lord. We need to walk in His ways and be sure we represent Him well. Our walk with the Lord is a fulltime journey and we need to be sure that we don't falter. "ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Psalm 119:1-3. In other Bible translations, the phrase "keep his testimonies" is translated "obey His laws" or "observe His rules". His rules are for our own protection and by obeying Him we stay healthier and happier. Walking in His ways means we don't deviate from His law and his rules. We don't lie, cheat, or steal. It also means we love others as ourselves.
Jesus is always our example. Jesus showed love as He healed people, forgave people, and shared the Gospel. His life reflected the love of God but He always came against those in authority who twisted God's law. Jesus was God incarnate, but Christians have the Holy Spirit sealed within us. Since He lives in us, we should hear His guiding voice easily. Stress comes when we're tempted to go against God by those in authority or by our own self-interest. If we love Him, we need to follow His example. "If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15. Vines Expository Dictionary says this about "love" as it's used in this verse: "Christian love has God for its primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit obedience to His commandments. Self-will, that is self-pleasing, is a negation of love to God". If we love our Lord Jesus, we keep His commandments (His doctrines) and walk in His ways. The reverse of that is, if we don't keep His commandments then we must not love Him. When we keep the commandments of our Lord Jesus without deviation we are blessed with a clear conscience and a better life.
After being confined to our homes for so long it might be tempting to "go wild". We need to watch our own actions closely to be sure that we aren't influenced by people who'll cause us to stumble in our walk. We're going into the world and we need to be an example to the world instead of allowing the world to influence us. "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" 2 Corinthians 6:14-15. The answer to those questions is "none". There's a difference between associating with the unrighteous people of the world for business purposes and fellow-shipping with them as friends. Fellow-shipping with others means we visit with each other, seek advice in times of trouble, and share common beliefs. We need to work and many people we come into contact with aren't Christians. If we're walking closely with Jesus, others will see Him living in us and that opens doors for witnessing. We need to share our faith with the lost, but if we fellowship with them or join in their sinful ways, we deny our Lord. A Christian is only righteous because of our faith in Jesus...it's His righteousness that makes us righteous. If we choose to live in opposition to His ways then we're opposed to Him. So how do we remain uncompromisingly true to the doctrine of Christ and still live in this fallen world? To remain faithful to Him we must study His word and apply it to our life. Instead of measuring your choices against what the world accepts, measure your life against Scripture.
It's not always easy to resist the temptation to join others in sin, but it is a choice we make. We have freedom in Christ, but that freedom isn't a license to sin. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world." 1 Peter 5:8-9. Satan never rests and he wants you to stumble in your Christian walk. To him the battle for the souls of humanity is continuous, and it's his intention to stumble us at every turn. If you don't resist his ploys then non-believers will see your sin and mock Jesus. They will use your failures as proof that Christians are hypocrites. We are only human and we fail, but our failures bring us to our knees asking for forgiveness. Although Satan is always there trying to turn us onto the wrong path, Jesus is always willing to forgive our sin and lead us in the paths of righteousness. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. When we ask for forgiveness, we need to mean it and turn away from the sin that cripples us. It's easier to walk with the Lord if we aren't crippled by sin.
When we study Scripture, we find there's no middle ground for us. Either we're in fellowship with Him or with Satan. God says to have no fellowship with unrighteousness, period. Christians need to be the light that shines in this dark world and preach the truth to those who are condemned by their sin. We preach either with words or with the way we conduct our life. Until a non-believer comes to know Jesus, we aren't to fellowship with them. "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:" Ephesians 5:6-8. Every Christian was once an unrepentant and unforgiven sinner. Once we realized that we were dying in our sin and turned to Jesus we were forgiven. Praise God for that forgiveness. Now His light illuminates our path and we need to walk in His ways. The light of the Lord Jesus shines through us into this fallen world. If we reflect His light in all that we do then others will be able to follow too.
We face many things today that cause turmoil and upset. If we aren't vigilant, we may wander from His path of righteousness. This latest virus has been used by Satan to test all of us. As we draw closer to the Rapture things will get worse. Difficult choices must be made. Do you want to have a tracking chip placed in you? Or is that too much like the mark of the beast described in Revelation? This is a choice we may face very soon. The Rapture will precede that evil mark, but it's just one more sign of how close we are to the Rapture. Jesus never said our walk with Him would be easy, but He overcame the world. "These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33. The tribulation referred to in this verse is suffering, sorrow, and trouble. If you walk close to Jesus you may be mocked and persecuted by worldly people. If you choose not to take a chip into your body, you may lose a job. There are many challenges to our faith that we face each day and we have to choose wisely. The only way to choose wisely is to walk close to Christ.
Today, most Christians have already allowed their fellowship with each other to be compromised. The fellowship we find in worship has been thwarted...don't shake hands, don't be close to each other, wear masks. This isn't what Scripture dictates. It says to call for the elders when we're sick so they can lay hands upon us and pray. Jesus went against the "social distancing" rule when He touched and healed lepers and had dinner with sinners. The first Christians didn't allow anything, even being thrown to lions or imprisoned, to compromise their walk with the Lord. We live in times that try men's souls and too many Christians choose to let the world dictate our standards instead of God. "Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you..." John 15:20a. If indeed we are His disciples then He is speaking to each of us. We will be challenged and persecuted when we walk in His ways, but that shouldn't compromise our walk.
The majority of Christians understand very little about what our Lord meant by His statement "...Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me" Mark 8:34b. Ear-tickling pastors don't preach about this. Instead the hone their sermons to be politically correct to sure not to violate their tax-exempt status. We must crucify our own selfish interests and submit our life to Christ. When we take up our cross, we must be prepared to be rejected as Jesus was, persecuted, maltreated, denied the fundamentals of God given rights. We may even have to die for our Lord. The first century Christians faced much persecution and torture, but would not compromise their faith. The government tried to force them to deny Christ, but rather than stop the advancement of Christianity it only fueled the fire. Do we have that same fire? Are we willing to walk in His ways rather than follow the ways of the world? When Peter and other Apostles were arrested for sharing the Gospel, he had an answer. "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." Acts 5:29. The doctrine of Christ is binding on all born-again believers. We may have to choose between friendships and walking with Christ, and there will be times when family will reject us because of our faith. We may even be jailed for our faith. None of that should hinder our walk with our Lord. When we obey God rather than men we will walk closer to Him.
As we gradually are allowed to step out into the world, be sure that your walk with Jesus is not compromised by joining in the ways of the world. Remember to obey God rather than men.
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: Coup chickens and coup-makers - Bill Wilson -
There is an old saying about the chickens coming home to roost. The more information that is revealed about the Democratic Party's impeachment investigations, the more information we are finding they hid from the public, and the closer the chicanery comes to implicating the former president, Hillary Clinton and many others. On October 14, 2019, The Daily Jot reported about the "secret dark path of impeachment" where it was documented that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) defended his secretive approach to the impeachment. Schiff admitted allowing only key Democrats in the hearings and controlling what information was made public-spoon feeding the media.
At the time, The Daily Jot reported: "The Democrats desire to keep the proceedings of their investigation secret. They can call who they want to testify and control the narrative with the news media because they are the mouthpiece of impeachment. The facts can be manipulated to sway public opinion because all the news surrounding it comes from a central source with distributed talking points. In a nation where transparency is valued, all this inquiry is done in the dark." Currently, records of those secret testimonies are being unsealed and the American public is seeing that the Democrats not only controlled what was released to the public, but also withheld information that implicated their own dirty deeds.
The released transcripts, in fact, show testimony of top Obama Administration officials who to the public claimed they had firsthand evidence of Trump-Russian collusion, but under oath said no such evidence existed. The New York Post's Lee Smith reports that "None of the former Obama administration officials who took to the airwaves immediately after Trump's election to claim collusion had any evidence of it. Here's Obama's director of national intelligence, and CNN analyst, James Clapper: "I never saw any direct empirical evidence that the Trump campaign or someone in it was plotting/conspiring with the Russians to meddle with the election.""
Smith continued: "The transcripts also represent yet another blow to the media's credibility. The Obama officials interviewed were among the many sources, like Schiff, the press tapped for its prize-winning collusion reporting. They lied for years about Trump and Russia and the press peddled their narrative without question." The news media and the Democratic Party leadership lied and perpetuated lies to the American people. These coup chickens are the coup-makers and their lies are beginning to come home to roost. As Ephesians 5:6 says, "Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." The wrath of America should be exercised on these deceivers come election day. Trouble is, many believe the lies even when the truth is revealed.
Daily Devotion: The Gift of Giving - by Greg Laurie -
Remember this-a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. -2 Corinthians 9:6
Research has found that it's actually good for you to do an act of kindness or generosity for someone else. Scientists have discovered that our brains release neurotransmitters that make us feel good when we do good.
Psychologists refer to this as the "helper's high."
The Bible tells us there is actually a spiritual gift of giving: "If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously" (Romans 12:8 NLT).
You don't have to be wealthy to have the gift of giving. I know some wealthy people who are very generous and have this gift, but I also know people living on a more moderate income who also have the gift of giving. They're just always doing things for other people. If you have that gift, then use it for God's glory.
While it's true that God has given certain people the gift of giving, it is also true that every Christian should give to the Lord on a regular basis. Have you discovered the joy of giving? Jesus said, "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35 NLT).
I'm not saying we should do this for endorphins; rather, we should do this because the Lord has told us to do it.
God makes this amazing promise to the faithful giver: "'Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,' says the Lord of Heaven's Armies, 'I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won't have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test'" (Malachi 3:10 NLT).
If we would obey God in this area, it could revolutionize our finances. And it could revolutionize our lives.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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