Prophecy Update Newsletter
May 16, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Undeniable Sign Of Christ's Return - By Britt Gillette -
The signs of the Second Coming are all around us. When His disciples asked Jesus to describe the signs, He gave them several. The Jewish people back in possession of Jerusalem (Luke 21:24-28)... the Gospel preached throughout the world (Matthew 24:14)... the arrival of the exponential curve (Matthew 24:3-8)... and more.
The Old Testament prophets also pointed to a number of signs. An increase in travel and knowledge (Daniel 12:4)... the rise of a united Europe (Daniel 2:42)... the rise of the Gog of Magog alliance (Ezekiel 38-39)... and more.
Today, all these signs are either present or in the process of being fulfilled. Yet for 1,800+ years, none of these signs were present. Think about that. None of the signs. But today? Today, they're all around us.
Nevertheless, most of the world remains ignorant of the soon return of Jesus Christ. While I can understand why some people might overlook some of these signs, I don't understand how they could miss one sign in particular.
It's a clear and unmistakable sign. I believe in and of itself, it not only shows the return of Jesus is near - I believe it proves the existence of God beyond all doubt. So what is this sign?
That's right. The existence of modern day Israel is a clear and unmistakable sign Jesus is about to return.
Israel Back in the Land
Centuries in advance, God foretold the modern-day nation of Israel. He promised to bring the Jewish people back into the land and re-establish the ancient nation.
Moses declared God's promise when he said God would gather the Jewish people back from the nations where He scattered them and bring them back into the land of Israel (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).
Jesus also foretold the rebirth of Israel. He said Jerusalem would be destroyed and the Jewish people taken away to serve as slaves in all parts of the world (Luke 21: 24). He then said non-Jewish people would control Jerusalem until the Jewish people come back into possession of it (Luke 21:24).
The prophets also foretold the re-emergence of Israel. Hosea said the people of Israel would go a long time without a king, sacrifices, sacred pillars, or priests.
Then, in the last days, they will return to the land (Hosea 3:4-5). Joel said God will judge the world at the time when He restores Judah and Jerusalem, bringing His people back from among the nations where they were scattered (Joel 3:1-2).
This regathering of the Jews back into the land of Israel is repeated over and over by the prophets. Jeremiah said God would gather them back in the land just before His return (Jeremiah 23:7-8) and restore them to the land of Israel from distant lands (Jeremiah 30:2, 10).
Ezekiel said God would call them from "among the nations" (Ezekiel 39:28) and welcome them home from the lands where they were scattered (Ezekiel 20:34). Isaiah said God would call them from "the farthest corners of the earth" (Isaiah 11:12).
King David said God would gather them from "north, south, east, and west" (Psalm 107:3). And Zechariah said, though "scattered among the nations," God will bring his people back into the land of Israel (Zechariah 10:9).
Jeremiah said a day will come when people will no longer refer to the God of Israel as the one who rescued His people from the land of Egypt.
Instead, they will refer to Him as the one who brought His people back into the land of Israel from all the countries in the world where He had exiled them (Jeremiah 16:14-15). Everyone alive on earth today is a witness to this fulfilled prophecy. It's an undeniable sign of the Second Coming.
Israel in the Last Days
The regathering of the Jewish people in Israel is a miracle in our time. But the prophets had much more to say about this monumental sign of the last days. They said Israel would be reborn in a specific way. Not only would the people be regathered, but the nation would have specific traits.
1) Born in a Single Day - Isaiah said the reborn nation of Israel would come forth in a single day. He likened it to a woman "who gives birth in an instant without labor pains" (Isaiah 66:7-9).
Written more than 2,500 years ago, Isaiah's prophecy seemed ridiculous. No nation had ever come into being in a single day.
But Israel did. On May 14, 1948, David Ben-Gurion read the Israeli Declaration of Independence, a document which declared Israel to be an independent state. That same day, the United States recognized Israel as an independent and sovereign nation.
2) One, United Nation - When Solomon died almost three thousand years ago, Israel broke into northern and southern kingdoms.
It remained divided throughout the lifetimes of both Isaiah and Ezekiel. Yet both proclaimed the regathered nation of Israel would be a single, united nation - just as we see today with the modern-day nation of Israel.
Isaiah said Israel and Judah would no longer be rivals (Isaiah 11:13). And Ezekiel said the regathered people would be unified into one nation (Ezekiel 37:22).
3) The Desert Will Bloom - Through the prophet Isaiah, God promised Israel would blossom agriculturally and fill the whole world with its fruit (Isaiah 27:6). He repeated this promise eight chapters later when He said the desert will bloom (Isaiah 35:1).
Through Ezekiel, God said His people would re-enter the land, produce much fruit, and be more prosperous than ever before (Ezekiel 36:8-11). Do we see this today? Yes. In a 1869 visit to what is today known as the nation of Israel, author Mark Twain described the land as "barren," "dull of color," and "unpicturesque in shape." All he saw were "unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation."
Yet today, the tiny nation is an agriculture giant. The land is fruitful and prosperous, and Israel is one of the world's leading fresh citrus producers and a net exporter of more than forty varieties of fruit.
4) Surrounded by Enemies - The Bible said the regathered people of Israel would be surrounded by enemies. "Come, let us wipe away the nation of Israel. Let's destroy the memory of its existence," they'll say (Psalm 83:4). "Let us take for ourselves these pasturelands of God" (Psalm 83:12). Ezekiel said Israel's neighbors would say "God has given their land to us" (Ezekiel 11:1417), and "Israel and Judah are ours. We will take possession of them. What do we care if their God is there?" (Ezekiel 35:10).
This is what we see today. Ever since the rebirth of Israel in 1948, the daily headlines have included these Bible verses. The surrounding Muslim nations claim the land of Israel for themselves. They have no regard for the God of Israel. The prophets foretold this exact situation more than 2,000 years ago.
5) A Small, Powerful Military - Centuries in advance, the Bible said the reborn nation of Israel would be a great military power. Ezekiel said the regathered nation of Israel would field "an exceedingly great army" (Ezekiel 37:10). Zechariah said it would be like a fire among sheaves of grain, burning up the neighboring nations (Zechariah 12:6).
It would be so successful even the weakest Israeli soldier will be like David (Zechariah 12:8). Since 1948, Israel has fought no less than four conventional wars against its neighbors. Despite being outnumbered more than 50 to 1, and despite being surrounded on all sides, Israel has experienced overwhelming victory every time.
A Miracle in Our Time
The reappearance of Israel on the world stage is a modern day miracle. More than 2,000 years ago, God promised over and over again to bring the Jewish people back into the land He gave Abraham. For 1,878 years, the nation of Israel did not exist. For all those years, the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world. Yet they remained set apart for God.
Unlike the Hittites, Amorites, Jebusites, and other conquered people, they did not assimilate into the nations where they lived. Then, in 1948, God fulfilled His promise and made Israel a nation once again. It was reborn in a single day (Isaiah 66:7-9).
It was unified as one nation (Ezekiel 37:22). It transformed a desert wasteland into an abundant land of fruit (Isaiah 27:6). And in the face of many enemies, God has given Israel military victory after victory just as He promised (Zechariah 12:6).
We are all witnesses to this miracle. How could anyone see the nation of Israel and not give glory to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? How could anyone deny this is anything less than God's doing? God promised to bring His people back into the land, and He did.
The rebirth of Israel as a nation is more than just a fulfilled prophecy. It's one of the biggest events in world history. Why? Because it's an undeniable sign of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Next to the convergence of all end times signs (Luke 21:28), it's arguably the biggest sign of all. For 1,878 years, Christians could not point to this sign. Since 1948, they can.
Isaiah said Jesus will return and establish His everlasting kingdom after the Jewish people return to the land of Israel (Isaiah 11:11-12).
Joel said, after the restoration of Israel, God will gather the armies of the world into the valley of Jehoshaphat (Joel 3:1-2). This is a direct reference to Armageddon (Revelation 16:16) which occurs just before the return of Jesus Christ. Micah said God will gather His exiled people and make them a strong nation, and then, God will rule from Jerusalem as their King forever (Micah 4:6-7).
The message is clear. It's undeniable. Israel is back, and Jesus is coming (Revelation 22:20)!
Learn more about the converging of prophetic events at this unique time in history with our brand new DVD release - The Coming Convergence.
Britt Gillette is author of the ebook Coming to Jesus: One Man's Search for Truth and Life Purpose as well as Signs of the Second Coming: 11 Reasons Jesus Will Return in Our Lifetime.
American Greatness and the PLO - by Caroline B. Glick - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Our-World-American-greatness-and-the-PLO-490819
The notion that a PLO state will make the region more stable as far more coherent Arab states collapse is absurd.
Eight years from now, China will outstrip the US as the world's largest economy. In three years, Israeli GDP per capita will outstrip Japan's. These two data points are useful to bear in mind as we consider the Trump administration's sudden decision to go retro and embrace the Clinton administration's foreign policy on Israel from the early 1990s.
When then US president Bill Clinton decided to embrace Yasser Arafat, the architect of modern terrorism, it seemed like a safe bet.
The US had just won the Cold War. With the demise of the Soviet Union, US dominance in the Middle East was unquestioned. Even then Syrian president Hafez Assad provided symbolic support for the US-led war against his Baathist counterpart Saddam Hussein.
Assad had no choice. His Soviet protector had just disappeared.
The PLO, for its part, had never been weaker. The Gulf states reacted to Arafat's support for Saddam in the 1991 war by cutting the PLO off financially. The Palestinian uprising against Israel, which broke out in 1988, sputtered into oblivion in late 1990 because without Arab money, Arafat and his cronies couldn't pay anyone to attack Israelis.
As for the Arabs, operating under the US's protective shield, in 1993 the Arab world appeared impermeable to internal pressure. No one imagined that Arab nationalism or the reign of presidents for life, kings and emirs would ever be questioned.
As for Israel, its decision to bow to the US's demand during the Gulf War to stand down and do nothing in response to Iraq's unprovoked Scud missile attacks was informed by a sense that Israel could not afford to stand up to America. While many debated the wisdom of this conclusion, the fact was that Israel in 1991 was economically weak. Its per capita income stood at around $15,000. Its economy was entirely dependent on the US and Europe.
With America's power at an all-time high, Clinton and his people had every reason to believe that with minimal effort, they would be able to reach a peace deal between the Israelis and the PLO.
In the event, the assessment that peace would be an easy effort turned out to be entirely wrong. Arafat and his deputy Mahmoud Abbas played the Americans for fools. Worse, they humiliated Clinton.
In July 2000, when Arafat rejected Israel's US-supported offer of peace at Camp David, it wasn't just the notion of peaceful coexistence with Israel that he rejected. He rejected the notion that you cannot stand up to America.
Clinton aggravated the deleterious effect of Arafat's action when rather than either retaliate against the PLO chieftain or at a minimum cutting his losses and walking away, Clinton spent the last months and weeks of his presidency pursuing Arafat and begging him to agree to a deal. Clinton went so far as to present his own peace offer to the PLO chief with less than a month left in office. And Arafat stomped away.
A lot of people were watching what happened. And a lot of people drew the logical conclusion: the US is a paper tiger. You can humiliate it. You can attack it. And the Americans, secure in their belief that unlike every other world power in history their primacy was permanent, would do nothing to you.
When Clinton left office, it wasn't just the peace process that lay in shambles. America's reputation was also massively weakened. In contempt of Washington, North Korea was racing toward the nuclear finish line.
Iran was taking over south Lebanon through Hezbollah and murdering Americans in Saudi Arabia.
India and Pakistan went nuclear.
And al-Qaida bombed two US embassies and one US naval destroyer.
How could Clinton pay attention to these things when he was captivated by the notion that once a peace deal was signed with the PLO, all the problems of the region would disappear?
And in time, neither could his successors. George W. Bush and Barack Obama each in time adopted Clinton's near religious faith in the curative powers of embracing the PLO at Israel's expense. Why should the world's sole superpower deal with the difficult and bloody pathologies of the Islamic world? Why should it consider modernizing its alliances with its Asian partners as China rose seemingly inexorably? Why should it consider its inability to expand the US economy by 4% a year as a national security threat when all would be well the minute that the PLO agreed to a deal with a diminished and enfeebled Jewish state?
And so three American presidents have wasted 24 years ignoring serious and growing threats and changing global conditions while embracing the fantasy that the PLO holds the keys to global peace, or the ultimate deal or American exculpation of the sins of its past.
Israel for its part has followed its American friends down the garden path, even as the rationale for doing so has vastly diminished.
While the Americans surrendered their universities to the fantasies of anti-American multiculturalists and grievance mongers, Israel has modernized its markets, strengthened its society and revolutionized its economy.
One of the reasons Israel didn't dare to question the Americans in the early 1990s was its terrible credit rating. In 1988 Israel's credit rating was - BBB. And it needed to borrow billions of dollars to pay for the absorption needs of a million Jews from the former Soviet Union who moved to Israel from 1989 through 2006. US loan guarantees were the only way Israel could borrow money at affordable rates.
Over the intervening quarter century, those million Jews were the major driver in developing Israel's information economy.
The main reason that Israel has maintained its slavish devotion to America's PLO fetish is that our leftist elites, that dominate the media, share it. Like the American foreign policy discourse, Israel's elites' assessment of Israel's priorities has remained frozen in time for the past 24 years.
The same cannot be said of the public.
The vast majority of Israelis have greeted President Donald Trump's sudden embrace of his predecessor's obsession with the PLO with surprise and at best bemusement.
"Well, good luck with that," is the most polite response.
It isn't simply that unlike the American foreign policy establishment, the vast majority of Israelis are convinced there is no deal to be had with the PLO. Most Israelis simply don't care anymore. They view the PLO and the Palestinians as largely irrelevant.
When Israeli leaders outside the leftist elite's echo chambers prefer to speak with foreign audiences about anything beside the Palestinians, it isn't because they are trying to avoid an unpleasant conversation. It is because they don't see the point anymore.
The notion that a PLO state will make the region more stable as far more coherent Arab states collapse is absurd.
The notion that it is necessary to empower the PLO to win Arab allies when the Arabs are beating a path to Israel's door begging for help in defeating Sunni jihadists and Iran is ridiculous.
The notion that Israel's ability to expand its markets is contingent on peace with the PLO when every week more world leaders descend on Jerusalem to sign trade deals with Israel is not even worthy of a giggle.
As for demography, the American hysteria is bizarre.
The Palestinians already have passports and vote - when they are allowed to - in their own elections. Why would Israel be expected to let them vote for the Knesset?
Beyond that, Jewish immigration to Israel remains high. Israel's Jewish birthrates have surpassed its Muslim birthrates both within sovereign Israel and in Judea and Samaria.
So why would Israel give up Jerusalem for demography?
As for Israel's Arab citizens, the truth it that but for the meddling of foreign governments, Israel's Arab population would have integrated fully into Israeli society a decade ago.
Next week, President Trump will arrive here. His meeting last week with PLO chief Mahmoud Abbas and statements by administration officials since make clear that Trump intends to be the fourth US president to get sucked into the PLO vortex.
Trump will arrive in Israel believing that his campaign pledge to "Make America Great Again," and his goal of reaching the "ultimate deal" with the PLO are complementary aims.
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explains nothing else to Trump when they meet next week, he should explain to him that the two goals are mutually exclusive. And if he has any extra time, Netanyahu should give Trump the details of the massive price America has paid, since 1993, for its three past presidents' obsession with the PLO.
The UN's Obsession against Israel - By Pierre Rehov - Gatestone Institute - http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-uns-obsession-against-israel/2017/05/15/
The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met once again on March 20 to debate "Agenda Item 7," a mandatory subject of debate since June 2006, the only one whose goal is systematically to condemn the Israeli democracy for crimes the existence of which remain to be proven.
The agenda, officially designed to assess the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian territories, in the light of the reports submitted by Fatah, the PLO and various NGOs, is part of a wider campaign, carried out by countries such as Libya, Algeria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan and Yemen. Israel is thus the only country on the planet to benefit from the doubtful privilege of being scrutinized on the least of its actions, through an agenda decided by its enemies.
If it were only a question of expressing this obsession, born out of an old habit for the Arab-Muslim dictatorships to turn the Hebrew state into their scapegoat, responsible for all the misfortunes plaguing their societies, Agenda Item 7 would be a mere oddity, especially since the session is regularly boycotted by a majority of Western countries, and systematically by the United States.
Unfortunately, this Israelphobia has been spreading throughout the United Nations. In 1948, when Israel, after being officially recognized as a sovereign state by virtually all Western democracies, had just repelled the genocidal aggression of five neighboring countries, and hundreds of thousands of Jews were fleeing the oppression of Arab dictatorships, the UN gave birth to UNRWA, an organization designed to help Palestinian refugees exclusively. This was despite there already being a program for refugees at the UN, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
The mandate of UNRWA was for one year. Seventy years later, the organization, now a lavish UN jobs program, continues to function within the Palestinian territories and neighboring countries, with an annual budget close to one billion dollars. Part of that covers salaries and pension funds for 25,000 to 27,000 employees (including many members of Hamas); schools in which the descendants of descendants of "refugees", in suburbs or villages called "camps", are inaccurately told that Tel Aviv and Haifa had belonged to them and should be returned to them, and where the myth of an impossible "right of return" continues to hold new generations of Palestinians hostage and inciting hatred of Israel and Jews.
As Said Aburish, one of Yasser Arafat's biographers and a former adviser to Saddam Hussein, told this author:
"In order to conserve UNRWA rations, Palestinians had become accustomed to bury their dead at night, so that no one died in the camps except when it was possible to accuse Israel of it. As a result, the refugee figures have always been distorted, with the passive complicity of UNRWA, as its annual budget depends on the number of souls for which they are responsible."
It is no secret that, in fewer than 70 years, the UN has condemned Israel more often than all the countries of the world combined, including those guilty of slavery, mass executions, genocide - every human rights abuse imaginable - to the extent that it has almost became a joke.
It is worth recalling that between 1981 and 1986, when Israel had set up a social program to rehabilitate Arab refugees based in Gaza, the only response from the UN, under pressure from Fatah Chairman Yasser Arafat, was to condemn the Hebrew State for its initiative, concluding each of its resolutions by this distressing order: "Return the refugees to the camps".
There is also no need to go back to 1975, to remember the infamous UN Resolution 3379, "Zionism is a form of Racism," under the Secretary-Generalship of a former Nazi, Kurt Waldheim, a week after Uganda's brutal Idi Amin received a triumphant reception at the UN headquarters.
It is enough, however, to refer to the General Assembly of December 21, 2016 to find that Israel, once again, was condemned 20 times while all the tragic events on the planet, massacres in Syria, the North Korean threats, the Crimean crisis and the ill-treatment of women and minorities in both Iran and Saudi Arabia were penalized almost reluctantly by a tiny half dozen resolutions.
The list of the injustices done to the Jewish state by an organization supposed to preserve peace in the world, which De Gaulle scornfully called "le machin", "the thingy," is so long that it would take several volumes of an encyclopedia to expose them.
None, however, has made as much noise or provoked as much rejection on the international scene as that enacted by UNESCO on October 26, 2016, followed by a similar text on April 29, 2017, the very day Israel was celebrating its 69th year of independence.
Submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan, this text, ratified by the automatic Arab majority, and benefiting from the abstention of almost all the European countries, including France, offered a new and surprising rewriting of history by denying any connection between Judaism and Jerusalem's Temple Mount, including the Western Wall, described in each paragraph by only their Arab names, the Haram Al Sharif and the Al Buraq wall. The counter-factualness of this resolution, led the new Secretary-General of UNESCO, Antonio Guterres, to contradict it, by a declaration that the Palestinian Authority withdraw it, together with issuing an apology.
Although it may seem outrageous systematically to target the Hebrew state, the UN framework enables it. First, there is the composition of preponderance of anti-democratic members of the United Nations, as well as the challenges posed by the terrorist hammer and the oil anvil.
On the other hand, why should UNESCO, whose prescribed function is precisely the preservation of history and the preservation of peace, participate in a farce whose conclusion, strictly speaking, would be that Jesus chased the merchants of the "Esplanade of the mosques" six centuries before the birth of Islam?
As for the religious context, Jerusalem - especially the Old City and the Temple Mount - are sacred places for the three monotheisms. When they were in the possession of Jordan, which had illegally seized them in 1948 until the Israelis liberated them in 1967, all the Jews were driven from the Jordanian-controlled part of the city; their property and belongings taken, and their holy sites desecrated.
In the dissenting opinion of Dr. Yussuf Natshe, in charge of the Waqf, the Muslim organization in charge of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, and Sheikh Omar Awadallah Kiswani, director of the Al Aqsa mosque, these places are not to be shared: "They have belonged to Islam from all eternity, as God and UNESCO have wished." (Remarks collected by the author).
The goal of the Palestinians, supported by the Muslim world, would be to give the name of the Al Aqsa mosque to the whole Haram Al Sharif (Temple Mount) so that access to it would definitely be forbidden for any non-Muslims, as are Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.
In this case, why did France become an accomplice, by abstaining on the votes of October 26, 2016, and followed by a similar text on April 29, 2017.
It was part of a broader program. The American president at the time, Barack Hussein Obama, had recalibrated the US stance in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. At the heart of Obama's credo, the famous Israeli "settlements" seemed to symbolize only absolute evil, while international terrorism, including Palestinian terror, could, under no circumstances, possibly emanate from the excesses of a religion described as one of love and peace.
This position, rational or not, may also have been considered by many a way of gradually disengaging the United States from a moribund peace process after its umpteenth failure in 2014, under the leadership of US Secretary of State John Kerry.
French President François Hollande's government may well have thought that the vote was a great opportunity to put France back on the front line of international diplomacy by plunging daggers into the knot of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Hence the plan for an international conference convened in Paris (but from which the main stakeholders, Israel and the Palestinians, would be excluded. (One has to wonder what the French would have said if other countries had gathered, without including the French, to discuss the future of Paris.)
Arab policy, as instituted by De Gaulle in 1967 and followed by successive French governments, was not a matter of leaving the Jewish state alive, albeit officially still called Israel. In terms of security, France had to support its conference by appealing to the countries on which it imagined its energy supply depended, disregarding the small fact that the Arabs had to sell the oil rather than drink it.
The new US administration of President Donald J. Trump, however, with US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, rebalanced the American position again, and, by extension, those taken by Europe and France, in a conflict which has for too long been suffering from double standards such as those mentioned above.
Why, indeed, would the Palestinians make the slightest concession, if it were enough for the international community to hand them a state, cost-free, on a platter?
In the opinion of Bassem Eid, a Palestinian human rights activist and political analyst:
"The Palestinian Authority is like an opposition party. It is enough for it to criticize and accuse Israel, it has nothing else to do or to prove, to receive all the support and all the money it needs. And while France and Europe offer medals to Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian people continue to suffer under its dictatorship. "
Unfortunately, on April 29, at the UNESCO, France abstained again.
It is now time for France and the European Union to recognize that if they want to keep the glimmer of credibility they still have as participants to any peace process, they should cease demonizing Israel at the same time as they accept all demands, including the use of terrorism, threats of terrorism and payments for terrorism from Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority - all delivered with the approval of an organization, the UN, which Palestinians have long ago swallowed up.
It is high time that such a toxic organization was defunded. Agencies deemed helpful, such as the World Health Organization, can be funded separately.
Iranian-backed militia offensive raises tensions near Turkish border of Iraq - Seth J. Frantzman -
The developments have made local Iraqis wary of creeping Iranian influence and Turkish intervention in an area already plagued by infighting and a combustible mix of ethnic and religious groups.
An Iranian-backed Shia militia offensive in Iraq has cut off ISIS supply lines west of Mosul but risks exacerbating tensions with Kurds in nearby Sinjar who say the operation breaches an agreement over who would liberate the area.
The developments have made local Iraqis wary of creeping Iranian influence and Turkish intervention in an area already plagued by infighting and a combustible mix of ethnic and religious groups. A regional Kurdish commander accused Tehran of wanting to "open a corridor" through Iraq to Syria.
The fighting may also complicate American goals of seeking a smooth finish to the operation in Mosul without the controversy of any Kurdish-Shia fighting or Turkish problems, especially with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visiting Washington this week. Sinjar is increasingly a hinge that connects several conflicts in northern Iraq and the Yazidis who were victims of ISIS are once again victims of the regional politics.
The offensive in Iraq is the most important yet launched by the Iranian-backed Shia militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), since November, when they crossed 50 km. of desert to cut off Mosul and surround the Turkmen town of Tal Afar.
The militias aim to capture Qairawan and al-Ba'aj, two Iraqi towns held by ISIS that border Sinjar, which was liberated by Kurdish Peshmerga in November 2015.
Local news sources said the offensive has been dubbed named "Muhammad Rassol Allah 2", and it is designed to cut off ISIS supply lines that run across the Syrian border. Since skirmishes began on Saturday the Shia militias have captured more than a dozen villages from ISIS and are within 40 km. of the Syrian border.
The fighting has a wider context. Iraqi security forces, backed by the US-led coalition, are close to conquering the last pockets of ISIS in Mosul. The PMU wants to strike Westward to bring attention to their role in the war effort. In January a PMU spokesman named Ahmed Assadi told CNN that "we've received information that [ISIS leader] Abu Baqr Baghdadi is hiding between the towns of al-Baaj and al-Qairawan, near the Iraqi-Syrian border." PMU leader Abu Mahdi Muhandis was quoted by Rudaw, a local Kurdish channel, on Sunday that within 48 or 72 hours his forces would take Qairawan.
However the Shia offensive has raised eyebrows in the Kurdistan Regional Government. Peshmerga commander Sarbast Lazgin told reporters he was concerned that the PMU was advancing on former Yazidi villages near Sinjar.
"[President Masoud] Barzani is aware of violations made by Hashd al-Shaabi [PMU] and informed us that Hashd should not be allowed in there," tweeted Baxtiyar Goran, a reporter for Kurdistan24. "Any advance of Hashd al-Shaabi in Ezidi areas is a violation of Kurdistan-Iraq agreement and is not acceptable," the Peshmerga commander said.
The Yazidi villages between Qairawan and Sinjar were the site of many ISIS atrocities in 2014. A woman from Tal Qasab told The Daily Beast that she was captured by ISIS and witnessed mass killings by ISIS. "I saw so many corpses on the road, it was terrible. I remember one of the saddest moments there, during those terrible months, was this little girl, twelve years old. They raped her with no mercy." Now the PMU is on the verge of taking many of these villages, including Tel Banat, Kocho and others, including the site of suspected mass graves ISIS left behind.
A local Yazidi leader said that behind the PMU offensive they fear Iranian influence. The Peshmerga in Sinjar, who initially hoped to liberate the Yazidi villages, have been distracted over the last year by internal Kurdish clashes on Sinjar between the Kurdistan Workers Party and KRG Peshmerga. In late April Turkey bombed PKK forces on Sinjar and killed five Peshmerga in error. The local politician in Sinjar says that the current advance by the Iranian-backed PMU and the presence of the PKK "will give the Turkish government pretext to intervene under the pretext of the existence of PKK and occupy the region and the biggest loser of these international and regional situations are the Yazidi."
The PMU offensive increasingly stokes fears of a "Shia crescent" or Iranian-backed plan to increase control in northern Iraq. From the PMU's perspective they are only intent on killing ISIS and cutting of the route to Syria. But Turkey sees PKK flags in Sinjar and threats to Turkmen in Tal Afar and wants to intervene.
Nearing Midnight: Israel's Identity Crisis - Terry James -
It seems strange that the one nation on planet earth that God Himself calls His "chosen" suffers such low self-esteem. I use the term self-esteem in the sense that there is an internal, national uncertainty concerning where the nation fits within the international scheme of things. There projects from Israel an aura of not belonging.
I suppose this shouldn't surprise, considering that most countries making up the United Nations join in voting against Israel in almost every case that is brought against the nation. The history of such anti-Israel voting is stunning.
Israel completely outperforms all of its neighbors in productivity. Its ingenuity benefits not only the region but all the world. That tiny sliver of land encompasses only a fraction of the land grant the lord says is theirs. Yet it is an island of technological, agricultural, and societal creativity that is second only to that generated by the United States. And, fact is, much of America's such creativity and activity is directly due to the brilliance of U.S. Jewish citizenry.
Its tentativeness in national confidence has long been the concern of Israeli thinkers and innovators. Just this past week, initiatives to deal with Israel's identity crisis came to the surface as breaking news.
A proposal to anchor Israel's status as a Jewish state in a Basic Law was approved by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation Sunday.
MK Avi Dichter (Likud), who proposed the bill, called the vote "a big step towards establishing our identity, not only universally, but mainly towards ourselves, the Israelis, to be a free nation in our land," a line from Hatikva...
"I've been working on the Jewish State bill for six years," Dichter recounted. "Six years to establish the simple and most basic truth: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish People."...
The legislation states that "the State of Israel is the national home of the Jewish people, in which it realizes its aspirations for self-determination according to its cultural and historic traditions. The realization of national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish people."...
... It also mentions the Law of Return, and calls for the government to work to strengthen Israel-Diaspora ties.
It states that Hebrew is Israel's official language and Arabic has a special status, requiring all government services to be available in Arabic. (ISRAEL NEWS, Jerusalem Post, May 7, 2017)
The bill, if approved, was set for a preliminary vote on Wednesday. It will thus take place in the first week of the Knesset's summer session. The Justice Ministry will be charged with drafting its own version of the bill within sixty days. The two bills will then be combined.
The bill is receiving push-back by those who see it as a racist action that puts too much emphasis on Israel being Jewish and not enough on democracy.
Such an accusation has some validity. But, with things going on as of late, it is action that is warranted, in my view.
One example of the world doing all possible to strip Israel of its sovereignty and even its right to exist is that perpetrated by the U.N.
The UNESCO Executive Board passed a resolution in Paris that disavowed Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. The organization insists, thereby, that Israel should no longer have authority in the city. The vote was meant to delegitimize Israel's right to the city governance that was won during the 1967 Six Day War.
Because of continuing such actions by the U.N. against Israel, the Israeli government is considering ousting that organization from its facilities within the city of Jerusalem.
The government on Sunday is set to debate the question whether or not to oust the United Nations from its Jerusalem headquarters, but is not expected to take any action on the matter at this time...
In a statement to Channel 2, [Miri] Regev [Culture and Sports Minister ] said that clearly there was no longer any logic to the UN remaining at that location.
"We've been sovereign in the city for 50 years, so there is no need for UN monitors. They were given use of the compound to oversee the cease-fire agreement from the Six-Day war, it's an agreement that is no longer relevant. This saga has to end," she said. (ISRAEL NEWS, Jerusalem Post, May 5, 2017)
Israel's identity crisis is destined to become much more acute. Zechariah the prophet and other prophets foretell a time when all nations will seek to kill all Jews. Haven't we heard that before?
Anti-Semitism on the rise is only one symptom of the great hatred that Antichrist will foment, especially during the second three and one-half years of the Tribulation.
"Alas! for that day is great, so that there is none like it : it is even the time of Jacob's trouble; but he shall be saved out of it." (Jeremiah 30: 7)
Israel's identity will one day be firmly established, however. God has promised to make it the head of the nations when Christ rules and reigns from atop Zion in Jerusalem as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
New Evidence: Bible's Tower of Babel was Real -
An ancient tablet provides the first ever image of the tower of Babel and offers a "very strong piece of evidence" that it was a real building. That's according to Dr. Andrew George, professor of Babylonian at SOAS University of London. His work is featured in a new episode of "Secrets" on the Smithsonian Channel.
The 6th century B.C. tablet was discovered in Babylon more than 100 years ago. Because it was privately owned, linguists have not been able to study it until now.
George was able to interpret the text and found that its account of the tower's construction is identical to the biblical story.
But George also believes that the text shows that the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar II built the tower and that's where scholars disagree.
Bodie Hodge, a researcher with Answers in Genesis, told Christian News Network that he agrees that the tablet confirms the biblical tower and agrees that it dates back to 600 B.C. He thinks the Smithsonian and George are in error, however, in believing that the tablet shows that Nebuchadnezzar built it. "The Tower of Babel was built actually well before Nebuchadnezzar," he said, "It would have been built about 900 years before."
The relief that George studied depicts a step-like image of a tower with text that translates at the "temple tower of the city of Babylon." It shows the figure of a man wearing a conical hat and carrying a staff next to the text. George identifies the man as Nebuchadnezzar and says inscriptions on the tablet show that he commissioned the tower. Hodge believes that the ancient king may have overseen repairs to the tower, but not its construction.
The Bible tells the story of the tower in Genesis 11. It explains that it was built with bricks instead of stone and that tar was used for mortar. The people built the tower to make a name for themselves but the Lord responded by giving them different languages to confuse them and then scattered them.
Daily Jot: Pressured from all sides - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Headlines that are trending in the news currently are: Trump revealed highly classified info to Russians; Violence, intimidation against Republicans becomes new normal; Clinton launches new "Dark Money" organization; Deep State leaks classified info to Washington Post to smear Trump; If Trump says "Islam is Peace," he can have a travel ban; Trump EO violates First Amendment because honor killings are Islamic; Article of Impeachment; U of Penn Alumni to wear "Denounce Trump" buttons at reunion; Left attacks Miss USA for saying health care not a right; High School assistant principal resigns after cursing at pro-life student activists; and the list goes on and on. It's enough to make your head spin.
People of faith are watching the world turn to darkness before their very eyes. There is a huge bully-fest gang up on the truth. The extreme and radical leftist political spectrum is relentless in making unsubstantiated claims while at the same time calling their opponents names, accusing them of malicious intent, and labeling them as societal outcasts and haters. They are vocal that if you support this issue or that politician, you are not intelligent, not sane, not American, not right, not really a human being, but rather a sub-human. This has gone so far that these activists are unable to recognize any facts except that if you disagree with them you are wrong and deserve no voice in the public square.
This is a historic time for America. Our country is facing a revolution. These people intend on taking freely elected government down by impeding the ability to govern. They seek to replace the Constitutional Republic with a socialist/communistic globalist union of some sort. It is a nation that not only allows babies to be slaughtered in the womb, but celebrates it; a nation that has no gender; a country that has no borders; a nation state where only religions other than Christianity are welcome, even taught in public schools; a nation whose only moral compass is what the loudest shouting people believe it to be. The America of their vision is a far cry from freedom as protected by laws. Revolution is in the air.
The communists believe that they can foment revolution with just three percent of the population. It would appear that more than that percentage are now pressuring from all sides the American way of life. It's not only President Trump who is in a fight to maintain order, it is you and me and our families. We need to arise to awareness of this fact before it is too late. As the Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed." We need to find ways to engage with society remembering to not get angry or offended, but be persistent in revealing Christ through our mortal bodies. Be encouraged.
Daily Devotion: What It Means to Walk with God - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. -1 John 2:6
I have heard that if you walk three times a day at a brisk pace, it can help keep you in good shape physically. You won't move as quickly as you move when you are running. Walking is a regulated motion, but as you do it, you make progress. You move forward gradually.
If we want to abide in Jesus, we must walk as He walked. The Bible says, "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked" (1 John 2:6).
Walking with God is a picture the Bible often uses to describe the Christian life. Galatians 5:16 says, "Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Colossians 2:6 tells us, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him." And in Micah 6:8 we read, "He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Again and again the Bible tells us that we need to walk with God. It's something we need to commit ourselves to. An interesting verse in Amos 3 gives us an important aspect of walking with God: "Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?" (verse 3).
In the original language, the term together carries the concept of two people moving as a single unit. To walk with God means moving together as a single unit. We are united toward the same goal. We are putting our strength toward the same end. We are moving together at the same pace.
To walk with God means that we are moving in harmony with Him. We are staying close to Him. It is the same concept as abiding.
FROM THE HEART
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