Prophecy Update Newsletter
May 24, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Hagiasmos - Jack Kinsella -
One of the most controversial (and least understood) points of doctrine apart from eternal security or a pre-trib Rapture is the doctrine of predestination.
"For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." (Romans 8:29)
'Predestination' suffers from the same malady as do many other controversial doctrinal issues -- political correctness.
(WHAT? No, really. It's true. Hear me out.)
There are two main objections to predestination. One is doctrinal, the other, political. Let's look at the political objection first.
If the doctrine of predestination is true, then it follows that those who were not predestinated to be conformed to the Image of His Son were predestinated for hell. That is politically incorrect; it is hateful and exclusionary.
The second objection to predestination is that it negates free will. Of the two objections, this seems to be the one with the least ground to stand on. Because God knows what your decision is going to be doesn't mean that you don't have any choice.
I could offer you a million dollars, tax free, without any strings or a good swift kick in your behind. I could also predict in advance what your choice would be.
You may surprise me and choose the kick in the rear. But my prediction would not affect your choice.
The difference is that in my case, I could be wrong on my prediction, whereas God isn't guessing. He already knows. But YOU don't know what your choice is until you make it.
Your free will is unencumbered.
Many of the same people that just can't seem to get their head around the concept of predestination have absolutely no problem in believing in Bible prophecy. How is it that YOU view Bible prophecy?
Consider the following Scriptures:
"I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death."
"For dogs have compassed Me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed Me: they pierced My hands and My feet. I may tell all My bones: they look and stare upon Me. They part My garments among them, and cast lots upon My vesture." (Psalms 22:14-18)
Did Psalms 22 predestinate the Crucifixion? Or does it simply predict it? Is there a difference? In what way?
Did God foreknow Judas? Did God foreknow Caiaphas? Did God foreknow the Roman soldiers who scourged Him, spat upon Him, drove the nails into His hands and feet? Did God foreknow which of them would gamble for His robe?
Is this really even a question? Of course God foreknew each of them -- or He couldn't have foreknown me. Which then means the Bible cannot be true, since it says that He foreknows us all.
Foreknowledge is the same thing as predestination in the sense that God's knowledge is perfect. But since you don't know your own future, how can your free will decisions be encumbered by the fact that God does?
The politically correct response to predestination being advanced as a doctrine is to shout "Calvinist!" at the top of one's lungs, cover one's ears with one's hands and to run screaming from the room.
One needn't be a Calvinist to believe that God is omniscient. One needn't be a Calvinist to believe that the Old Testament prophets predicted Christ's First Advent. Isaiah wasn't a Calvinist when he wrote of the suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53.
"Calvinist" is a label applied to the five major points of doctrine outlined by French theologian John Calvin in the mid-14th century. Calvin's five points are identified by the acronymTULIP.
1. Total Depravity of Man
2. Unconditional Election
3. Limited Atonement
4. Irresistible Grace
5. Perseverance of the Saints
Calvinism teaches that salvation is entirely the work of God; God chose His elect, the Son died to pay their sin debt, and the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel.
I am not a Calvinist, primarily because the general understanding of Calvinism is that Calvinists need not witness to the lost because God's irresistible grace nullifies our obligation under the Great Commission.
So according to that understanding, I am not a Calvinist. But that understanding is so totally flawed that it astonishes me that anyone can actually believe it.
If prophecy is foreknowledge, why is it not predestination? And if it is predestination, then what is the argument against predestination? If prophecy were to fail, what would that mean? That man's free will trumps God's foreknowledge?
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the CALLED according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28)
The goodness of God in converting and saving sinners encourages others to hope in His grace and mercy. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of works, lest any man should boast. These things are not brought to pass by anything done by us, therefore all boasting is shut out.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5)
It is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by His power. It was His purpose, to which he prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of His will, and His Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our perseverance to holiness.
'Holiness' (Gk hagiasmos) means 'purification' which is a PROCESS, also accomplished by God through Jesus.
"Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath BEGUN a good work in you will PERFORM it UNTIL the day of Jesus Christ:" (Philippians 1:6)
There are no Christians more deserving than others. Because you have not yet achieved the state of holiness others have does not mean you are less favored. We all come to the Cross equally lost, and we all came away equally saved.
Salvation is an eternal state for which each of us were called before the world began, or else the Bible is not telling the truth.
"Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." (2 Timothy 1:9)
"In hope of eternal life, which God, that CANNOT LIE, PROMISED before the world began. . ." (Titus 1:2)
Let's bring it together. Nobody can come to Christ unless they are drawn by the Father, who provides us with both the extension of the offer of salvation and the faith necessary to receive it, a calling that was sealed in heaven before the world began, according to His purpose and grace.
Our salvation is immediate and eternal, but our purification is a process, which, having been begun in us at the moment of salvation, will be performed in us -- BY CHRIST -- until the day we stand before Him. Lest anyone should boast.
That's not my opinion of what the Bible says -- look up the verses in context and see if you can make them mean something else.
"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one." (Romans 3:10-12)
"For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" (Romans 3:23-24)
Legalism runs counter to the clear teaching of Scripture. This is a very difficult doctrine to both teach and understand. It sounds like a license to sin. It is not.
"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:21)
We don't think like God does, which is why He inspired the Scriptures. To provide us with the tiniest bit of insight into the way God sees things.
Our relationship to Christ is unique -- that God knows our hearts, and has already judged us accordingly. So that sin cannot reign supreme in our mortal body and thereby render us useless to our calling.
If the enemy can convince us of our own personal unrighteousness (of which each of us is acutely aware) or cause us to doubt the truth of Scripture or of our faith (which is a gift from God, lest anyone should boast) or cause us to doubt our own salvation, then we will not be able to effectively wield the Sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.
God has a plan for each of us, and His plan is to send us to seek out and introduce others to their Savior. That is our assignment on this earth. THAT is our 'calling.'
To spread the Gospel.
As Christians, we have an awesome responsibility before God. We have been assigned to seek out the lost and offer them the Gospel. To accomplish our mission, we need to be fully equipped for the task.
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" (1st Peter 3:15)
The most effective weapon we have in our war with the enemy is the knowledge that he cannot take away our salvation. We walk in the light of the Gospel, but we remain human beings and sinners, washed in the Blood of the Lamb, but still trapped in the "body of this death".
Consequently, there is never a time when we are unworthy to tell others of Jesus Christ.
"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." (1st John 1:7-8)
Bible prophecy isn't Calvinism. Is Bible prophecy predestinated? Well, it is written down in advance. The choices necessary for its fulfillment have not yet been made by the participants.
And God says that Bible prophecy will all be fulfilled to the letter. What else could it be?
Predestination plays no role in your free will, or in the free will choices of anyone else.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Trust Him. The more hopeless you think you are, the more you have to rely on Him.
Don't let the enemy convince you that you aren't worthy to carry the message. After all, your prospect is just as liable to say, "Heck, if he can be saved, then there must be hope for me."
God knew what He was doing when He gave you this job. Trust Him.
And get 'er done! Maranatha!
Netanyahu: Temple Mount will forever remain under Israel's control - By Marissa Newman - http://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-temple-mount-will-forever-remain-under-israels-control/
A day after Trump visit, PM says US president's pilgrimage to the Western Wall holy site 'destroyed UNESCO's propaganda and lies'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog went head-to-head in the Knesset on Wednesday over Jerusalem, with the premier saying Palestinian refusal to recognize the Jewish state and its capital in any borders is the root of the conflict, and pledging that the city, including the Temple Mount and Western Wall, will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty.
A day after US President Donald Trump concluded a 28-hour visit to Jerusalem, the prime minister vowed the city would not be divided again.
During a plenum session marking the passage of 50 years since the Six Day War and the reunification of the city's western and eastern halves, Netanyahu pointed to the US president's visit to the Western Wall as having "destroyed UNESCO's propaganda and lies," referring to a series of resolutions by the UN cultural body that ignored Jewish ties to the city and Israeli sovereignty.
Herzog, meanwhile, implored Netanyahu to seize a "historic" opportunity for peace and downplayed the importance of moving the US embassy to the city, which was a campaign promise made by Trump.
"We liberated Jerusalem, we made it one city, imperfect but whole," Netanyahu told lawmakers, at a session also attended by President Reuven Rivlin and Chief Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor.
Before the Jews came to the city, there was "nearly nothing" in it; it was "forsaken and in constant crisis," the prime minister said. During the 19 years between 1948 and 1967, the city again reached "a low," he added.
"We will never return to that situation" of the city divided, he pledged. "The Temple Mount and the Western Wall will forever remain under Israeli sovereignty," he later added.
Israel captured the Temple Mount - the holiest site for Jews - and the rest of the Old City and East Jerusalem from Jordan in 1967, and extended sovereignty there, but it left administrative authority atop the Mount in the hands of the Jordanian Waqf (Muslim trust), and instituted a status quo agreement that sees Jews permitted to visit but not pray there. The Temple Mount is one of the issues at the heart of tension between Israel and the Palestinians, with the latter frequently accusing Israel of changing or planning to change the existing arrangements - which Israel firmly denies.
After the prime minister concluded his remarks, Herzog took to the podium, delivering a speech in which he called on Israel to separate the Arab neighborhoods from Jerusalem, urged Netanyahu to seize Trump's peace offers, and promised to back the prime minister in the "brave, historic" process.
Herzog said Trump came with the message that "the region is ready for peace, the region wants peace."
"Mr. Prime Minister, this is the time to go to a brave and historic process to separate from the Palestinians and the implementation of the vision of two states for two peoples. This is the time, 50 years on from the Six Day War, to shake off the heavy burden of millions of Palestinians and ensure the continued existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state and homeland of the Jewish people for generations," he said, vowing his party's political support for peace talks.
"This is the time for leadership, not defeatism, the time to lead and not be led," he said.
"I urge you, Prime Minister, not to miss the opportunity," Herzog added. "Don't allow your name to go down in the history books of the State of Israel as the prime minister who missed the greatest opportunity that Israel has known to avoid 50 more years of tears and bereavement."
He also took a dig at efforts to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem, saying the city was desperate for other social and economic reforms and citing poverty and the rapidly growing Arab population threatening to eclipse its Jewish population.
"Therefore, will all due respect, it is not the US embassy that is the more important thing the city is lacking, but rather tools and resources and significant decisions on changing directions," he said.
Following Herzog's speech, the prime minister addressed the plenum again, emphasizing that moving all embassies - but specifically the US embassy - to Jerusalem was "not a trivial matter."
"The current situation is absurd," Netanyahu said, referring to the fact that nearly all international embassies are in Tel Aviv.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog addresses a special Jerusalem Day Knesset plenum session on Wednesday, May 24, 2017 (Yitzhak Harari/Knesset press office)
The prime minister also defended his comparison of the Manchester bomber to Palestinian terrorists in his response to the deadly attack on Tuesday. He had said that had the attacker been Palestinian, he would have received a stipend by the Palestinian Authority.
"The root of the matter is the stubborn, violent refusal of the Palestinian side to accept the Jewish state - and the capital of the Jews - in any borders," he said. "Everything else is interesting, important, and certainly open for discussion and dialogue. These are the basic facts."
Herzog then returned to the plenum again, reiterating his call for peace talks, before the session was dispersed.
The sparring came a day after Trump, in his visit, stressed a unique opportunity for Israel to make peace with the Palestinians and Arab world. While he met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, the US president made no mention of Palestinian statehood or the US embassy move during his visit.
Trump vows Israel won't be destroyed on his watch - Tovah Lazaroff - http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Trump-vows-Israel-wont-be-destroyed-on-his-watch-493721
"I am pretty confident that gradually the world will recognize Jerusalem as its capital."
US President Donald Trump's personal pledge to protect Israel from its enemies, particularly Iran, won him the hearts of his audience during his keynote speech at the Israel Museum on Tuesday afternoon.
"Israelis have experienced firsthand the hatred and terror of radical violence," Trump said.
"Israelis are murdered by terrorists wielding knives and bombs. Hamas and Hezbollah launch rockets into Israeli communities, where schoolchildren have to be trained to hear the sirens and run to the bomb shelters - with fear, but with speed. ISIS targets Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues and storefronts. And Iran's leaders routinely call for Israel's destruction. Not with Donald J. Trump, believe me."
Thunderous applause greeted his words. It lasted for almost a full minute.
"Thank you," Trump said four times, waiting for the applause to die down, before ad-libbing: "I like you too."
Trump spoke to some 300 people, including Israeli ministers, politicians, business leaders, ambassadors and visiting dignitaries, including former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, US billionaire Sheldon Adelson and former Hawaiian governor Linda Lingle.
As the Israeli politicians waited for Trump to enter the museum's small auditorium, decked with an Israeli and US flag, they spoke with reporters about the high and low points of Trump's two-day trip.
National Infrastructure, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz (Likud) said that Iran had been the "main topic" of the visit, both on the president's first stop in Saudi Arabia and in Israel, as Trump sought to create an common regional alliance to Tehran.
Iranian aggression all over the Middle East - in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza - is the main threat for Israel for the Sunni Arab states, Steinitz said, adding: "I am happy that the US, finally after three or four years of appeasement of the Iranians, decided under the Trump leadership to create some kind of regional alliance."
He was, however, concerned that the $110 billion dollar arms deal the US signed with Saudi Arabia during Trump's visit could, in the future, harm Israel's qualitative military edge in the region.
"No one can say in the Middle East what will be the Saudi position five or 10 years from now," Steinitz said. "Therefore this is a matter of concern for Israel."
Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi) spoke of his disappointment that Trump had not made good on his preelection pledge to move the US Embassy to Tel Aviv.
"I think it is time that the world community recognizes the laws of gravity. Jerusalem is Israel's capital and will remain so undivided," he said. "I am pretty confident that gradually the world will recognize Jerusalem as its capital," and that "it's unnatural that it has not happened yet."
Trump's trip, Bennett said, underscored the bond between Israel and the American people, even though he was not able to promise the Israeli people everything they wanted to hear.
Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) said that Trump's visit to the Western Wall was more important than relocating the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
Hopefully this will happen, he said, but the embassy will "be moved to west Jerusalem, a place that is not in dispute. The Kotel and the Temple Mount are in a disputed area, in the Old City," Hanegbi said.
By visiting the Western Wall, a US president was exposed for the first time to the love and the linkage the Jewish feel for their holiest sites, Hanegbi said, adding: "I believe that we heard an American president that loves Israel and understands Israel" and "is not going to change his commitment to this holy place."
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Llkud) said Trump's speech "was an expression of deep friendship to Israel and a fresh way of thinking," particularly with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Unlike his predecessors, Hotovely said, Trump did not try to dictate the terms of any future agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. She was particularly pleased that Trump has spoken out against the Palestinian Authority payments to terrorists and their families, and that he did not criticize settlement building, "after so many presidents speaking of an agreement that should be reached between Israelis and Palestinians in a certain way, and only in one direction."
MK Michael Oren (Kulanu), a former Israeli ambassador to the US, said Trump's visit was a message of support and love for Israel. He added that the Trump administration created the possibility of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by removing the two key demands: a two-state solution to the pre-1967 lines, and a settlement freeze as a precondition for talks.
Instead, Oren said, Trump has given the Palestinians and Arab leaders incentives to come up with more appropriate formulas for peace-building in the region.
He added that no Israeli government could have met the demands set by the Obama administration, which put so many obstacles in the path of peace that progress was impossible.
During this visit, Oren said, Trump "removed those obstacles."
Former foreign minister MK Tzipi Livni (Zionist Union) said that Trump "needs to know that in Israel there is a majority to make a big deal, peace between us and the entire Arab world. I agree with the president that there is an opportunity here, but it is time for leaders to seize that opportunity."
Livni said that "the trip to Israel is very important," but that "no less important is the day after. This is the visit embracing Israel. We embrace the US and the president as well. Now it is time for policy making."
DNA Testing Aiding Prophetic Return of Priestly Covenant - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com
"But the Kohanim the Leviim the sons of Tzadok that kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Yisrael went astray from Me they shall come near to Me to minister unto Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood saith the Lord GOD." Ezekiel 44:15 (The Israel Bible™)
In a powerful blend of science and religion, a rabbi has turned to genetics to reinstate the priesthood for the Third Temple. This rabbi believes that science has proven that the priesthood is exactly as the Bible described: An eternal covenant that will reappear to herald in the Third Temple.
"Genetics connects modern Judaism to the Bible, confirming 3,000 years of Jewish tradition," explained Rabbi Yaakov Kleiman to Breaking Israel News. "This is an amazing testament to God's covenant and the Jewish People. Despite more than 2,000 years of exile we have maintained our religion, our customs, our Torah, and our genetic identity."
Manifesting prophecy is Rabbi Kleiman's daily work. He opened the Center for Kohanim in Jerusalem nine years ago as a practical endeavor, and has authored a book on DNA evidence of the priesthood. Kohanim, or priests, are Jewish men believed to be descendants of Aaron, the first high priest of Israel. The Temple service may only be performed by kohanim.
In his effort to designate priestly candidates, Rabbi Kleiman has turned to genetics as an aid. This tools first became available 20 years ago when genetic researchers in Haifa discovered a Y chromosome, a genetic marker passed from father to son, that indicated a common ancestry for Jewish men whose family traditions hold that they are descended from the Biblical priestly class.
Rabbi Kleiman is using this science for a purpose the researchers probably had not envisioned: to help prepare for the Third Temple.
"According to prophecy, there will be a Third Temple, and when there is, we will need to identify the priests," Rabbi Kleiman explained to Breaking Israel News. "Kohanim are the manpower of the Temple. Without them, it is an empty building."
But the Kohanim the Leviim the sons of Tzadok that kept the charge of My sanctuary when the children of Yisrael went astray from Me they shall come near to Me to minister unto Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer unto Me the fat and the blood saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 44:15
As a kohen himself, Rabbi Kleiman has a personal interest in the work. He is essentially tracing his own family tree back 106 generations. For him and other kohanim, the results have prophetic implications.
The rabbi noted that this genetic phenomenon represents scientific proof of the most long-lasting unbroken tradition known to modern man. He attributes this to the eternal aspect of the priestly covenant described in the Bible.
"This scientific proof is an affirmation that, as the Torah said, the priestly covenant would be eternal," the rabbi said, citing the Book of Numbers.
And it shall be unto him, and to his seed after him, the covenant of an everlasting priesthood. Numbers 25:13
Priests are a subset of the Tribe of Levi, but this genetic tool has proven ineffective in identifying the Levites, who also have a role in the Temple.
"Levi is the same concept and you would expect the same genetic markers but there is not the same percentage of the J group, the genetic marker showing that Jews originated in the Middle East. This indicated that the tradition of being a Levi is not as strong as that of kohanim," Rabbi Kleiman explained.
He speculated that the rituals and the stringencies connected with being a kohen strengthened the tradition. Kohanim are forbidden from marrying converts or divorcees. Also, the public nature and honor associated with giving the priestly blessing in synagogue make identifying kohanim a significant part of the Jewish community.
Similarly, genetics has been unable to find markers for the individual tribes of Israel.
Though "Jews have genetic markers that show that they are from the Middle East," Rabbi Kleiman explained, "There were many different nations living in the region. Even if we can show a common ancestry with Abraham, he had two sons. We can show a common ancestry but are unable to find markers for specific tribal haplotypes (genes passed from father to son)."
The rabbi noted that genetics will not have the final word. According to Jewish tradition, Elijah the prophet will appear before the Messiah to clarify precisely this issue: who is a priest and who is not, and the tribe to which each Jew belongs.
Behold I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of Hashem. And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the land with utter destruction. Malachi 3:23
Nonetheless, the rabbi does not feel that this final clarification will render his work futile. He hopes that when Elijah arrives, the genetically verified kohanim will already be hard at work in the Third Temple.
"When Elijah arrives, If he wants the DNA information, we will be happy to give it to him," Rabbi Kleiman joked. "But he will probably be making his determinations based on a higher source."
Nearing Midnight: The Police Stand Down and the Murder Rate Soars - Todd Strandberg -
The war on police has been going on for many years. All those who pursue a career in law enforcement must understand the bias that the media has against them. If they do a good job, only a small number of people seem to care. If they do something that can be reported in a negative light, they face a media storm of outrage.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke became a target for the left when he called Black Lives Matter a hate group, and blamed liberal policies for rioting and for other issues taking place in American cities. The press could not contain their joy when it was reported that an inmate at the Milwaukee County Jail had died from dehydration. Clarke wasn't charged with his death, but the media presented the situation in such a way as to cast doubt on Sheriff Clarke's character and reputation.
The favorite game of the liberal media is race-baiting every time a person of color is shot by a police officer. When officer Roy Oliver shot and killed a 15-year-old high school freshman, the press immediately had him tried and convicted of the slaying.
It doesn't even matter if police officers are overwhelmingly proven to have acted within the law; accusations of guilt immediately follow. After the shooting of Michael Brown, a slew of state, federal, and local agencies showed that Officer Darren Wilson was justified in using deadly force. Nevertheless, the left has continued to portray the incident inaccurately; they dismiss the truth in favor of reinventing what actually took place (fake news). The liberal gatekeepers never fail to reference their perceived injustice of Brown-every time another black person is killed by the police.
A key high point in demonizing the police came with the death of Freddie Gray. When he died in the back of a police van, it became clear that cities run by liberals are on the side of criminals. Six officers were charged with second-degree murder. The mayor and prosecutor of Baltimore openly condemned the officers. The mayor even told the police units to stand down to allow gangs of hoodlums to destroy property and businesses.
It didn't matter that all six officers were cleared of the charges; the lack of support for the police has had a devastating impact on morale. Two years ago, I illustrated that the crime rate would rise. What I did not anticipate is just how much crime would soar. The murder rate in Baltimore is the worst ever, and it's on track to overtake all other cities in America.
There have been 110 homicides so far this year in Baltimore. The only year that came close to recording so many murders in just the first 4 months of the year was in 1993 during the height of America's gang wars. Back then, Baltimore had about 110,000 more residents than it has now.
Crime statistics show murder rates are greatly increasing in most major cities. In Baton Rouge, homicides are up 80 percent compared to the same time last year. Chicago is on pace for a record high murder rate.
Our urban centers are rotting away. The Crime Prevention Research Center just released a report showing the vast majority of homicides have occurred in just 5 percent of U.S. counties. Those counties had a full 68 percent of the homicides. The study also shows that 54 percent of other U.S. counties had zero murders.
A major reason why we have crime raging out of control is because of the "politically correct" refusal to recognize black on black crime. At no other time in history could we have had the murder rate soaring to record highs without triggering panic. Chicago newspapers have decided to not print pictures of murder victims in order to cover-up the fact that the majority of people killed are black.
Rather than taking direct aim at the problem, politicians are using gimmicks to deal with the matter. Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh requested federal help from the FBI to combat the surging homicide rates in her city:
"I'm calling on all the assistance we can possibly get because I can't imagine going into our summer months with our crime rate where it is today, what that's going to look like by the end of the summer. Murder is out of control. We are looking for all the help that we can get."
New York Governor Cuomo plans to reduce violent crime by investing around a million dollars for electronic surveillance equipment.
Getting the FBI involved and adding new surveillance equipment is not going to do any good. The problem stems from welfare state programs and the political correct agenda that turns a blind eye to race relate crimes.
You can't have a civil society with police that have to pretend to do their jobs. A growing number of criminals who have outstanding arrest warrants are walking freely on the streets because of the insanity of liberalism.
At least we now have a president who is taking steps to restore some respect, honor and justice toward the police. President Donald Trump lit up the White House in blue light last Monday night to honor fallen cops for Peace Officers Memorial Day. Trump's action began Police Week, which honors 118 officers who died and 66 who were injured in the line of duty in 2016-a 40 percent increase over 2015.
The significance of President Trump's patriotic gesture stands in opposition to Barack Obama, who was asked by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation last July to light the White House blue after the deadly attack on police in Dallas, but Obama declined. The Washington Examiner reported Obama had flags flown at half-mast for police, but did not shine the blue light on the White House. The former president did, however, illuminate the White House in rainbow colors after the Supreme Court declared same-sex marriage legal in June 2015.
Jesus warned that the last days would be like the wickedness during the time of Noah. Since the vast majority of society cannot discern good from evil, there is little to stop the world from descending into total lawlessness.
"And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it also be in the days of the Son of Man" (Luke 17:26)
Has President Trump Laid the Foundation for Better Days with Israel? - Dr David Reagan - www.lamblion.com
This week President Trump made Israel his priority stop during his first foreign trip as president, a trip notably scheduled quicker than the past five U.S. presidents who visited Israel before him. The original purpose of the trip was to signal tighter US-Israel ties. Trump also wished to erase the acrimony many felt festered between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama.
After eight years of the stormiest relationship with Israel in U.S. history, has President Trump laid the foundation for better days ahead?
This question was asked of Bill Koenig on our television program Christ in Prophecy. Bill has been a White House Correspondent for the last fifteen years. He is president of a news website called World Watch Daily, and he publishes a weekly report called "Koenig's Eye View from the White House." Bill is also the author of a telling book titled Revealed: Obama's Legacy.
[Note: Bill's answer below has been edited slightly for grammar and clarity.]
New Relations With Israel
Bill Koenig: Chapter 3 of my book is titled, "Israel's Existence in Danger and Middle East Chaos." It examines the contemptuous relationship the United States fostered with Israel due to President Obama and the many repercussions since his departure.
At the beginning of Obama's first term, as soon as Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, she had this misguided idea of putting the squeeze on Israeli settlement construction. That certainly started the relationship off on the wrong foot. US-Israeli relations fared no better after her while John Kerry was Secretary of State. He didn't treat Israel well at all.
Right after he took office in January 2009, President Obama went to the Turkish parliament and then on to Cairo, Egypt. On June 4, 2009, he addressed the Muslim world directly, talking about how great Islam was and the importance of Islamic relations here in the United States. One misstep after another after another came out of the Obama Administration in order to appease Islam and pressure Israel.
Obama wouldn't even entertain a formal press conference with Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu. At one time even, Obama snuck Netanyahu into the White House through the kitchen, leaving him there unannounced, and then went up and had dinner alone with his family. Obama didn't treat Netanyahu very well.
So, obviously, Netanyahu is very happy about the new Trump Administration. President Trump greeted Netanyahu during his first visit back to the White House with full honors, and held a press conference with him afterwards. I was there to see it in person, and the meeting was fantastic. Spirits were very good!
A Shift in Policy
The good news concerning a potential new war in the Middle East is that the Trump Administration is operating the best, most realistic, most pragmatic security team in history. Men like Mattis, McMaster, Pompeo with the CIA, and others are key people who fully understand the number one threat to Israel and to the United States, and frankly to the International community at large, is the state of Iran. They are not afraid to call Iran for what it truly is - an Islamic terrorist state. That's absolutely a huge shift in our government's position concerning Islam.
Clearly, I'm rather optimistic that our relations with Israel will continue to improve under a Trump presidency, without a doubt. They started off from the first day on the right foot to improve significantly. The Sunni countries are even excited about the Trump Administration's security team, because they already have had a good working relationship with Mattis, McMaster, and the other generals. These men are true warriors. We had the warrior mentality taken out of the Pentagon during Obama's time in office, but the warrior mentality has returned and is back in charge of the Pentagon. The warrior mentality is vital to our national security and is key to our national defense, and also helps protect our good friend Israel.
General Mattis, the Secretary of Defense, went on his very first trip over to South Korea and Japan. While there he said that the United States would stand and defend our allies. It was a veiled message to North Korea and China. China has been usurping islands within Japanese territory, and Mattis made it clear that the U.S. was going to defend them. His next trip was to NATO, and while meeting with the NATO leaders he conveyed that the U.S. was committed to NATO, but stipulated that every nation needed to pay their fair share. It was a great meeting!
Mattis is incredibly popular. He even was approved 98 to 1 in the Senate, which gives you an idea of his clout. The Media gave Mattis the nickname Mad Dog, which he doesn't fully appreciate, but the guy's a warrior and an intellect. He's read probably 5,000 or 6,000 books on history. The man truly understands history.
McMasters' strength is being an out-of-the-box thinker. Pompeo's got a proven track record as a great Christian congressman and now head of the CIA. He was probably the most outspoken member of Congress about the bad Iran Deal. He's already been over to the Middle East before. Good things will be happening with these guys!
Hope for Israel
Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world, about the size of New Jersey. The country's dimensions are only about 300 miles long and about 75 miles wide. Israel's population remains very small at nearly 6.5 million Jews, with 1.5 million Arabs living within its borders. Surrounding the nation of Israel are 350 million Arabs, many who want Israel destroyed. The situation looks hopeless for Israel.
Myself though, I believe there remains hope for Israel's survival, because the God of Israel will always protect and defend His Name. Our Heavenly Father neither slumbers nor sleeps.
As a watchman in these end times, I keep informing people of what's happening from a biblical perspective. We are living during the most exciting time of biblical history. Bible prophecy plays out right before our eyes!
I used to speak 15-20 years ago about the two or three final day events playing out at the same time. Today, though, we have every sign of the end times the Bible gives us playing out all at once. Prophecy has accelerated at a breathtaking pace. The time-clock to look at for when prophecy will be fulfilled is Jerusalem. Every nation in the world wants to divide the city of Jerusalem. Virtually almost every nation in the world wants to give Judea and Samaria to a future Arab state. None of this should surprise us, for the Bible prophesied about these events long, long ago.
The book of Zechariah states that in the end times the whole world will come against Israel over the issue regarding who controls Jerusalem. Jerusalem will become a burdensome stone to the world. We are seeing that specific Bible prophecy being fulfilled, played out in the daily news. Jerusalem remains the focus of the world. When some Palestinian throws a rock at a Jew in Israel, or vice versa, well it's front page news heard all around the world. When a suicide bomber runs his truck into an Israeli crowd, the story makes front page news. For every Middle East peace conference that is held, or if Israel starts building homes in Judea and Samaria, that's front page news throughout the world.
The fact that the whole world obsesses over this tiny little country, a country the size of New Jersey, stands out as biblically significant. God remains the God of Israel as always before. I've been watching this scenario play out for a long time, and it's really exciting, and it helps me keep world events in a healthy perspective. Because, for the first time, all the signs of the end times are converging.
Also significant to me is the year 2017. We have some historical patterns converging in 2017 and 2018. Many don't realize that 2017 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. Next year is the seventieth anniversary of Israel becoming a state.
I feel that those who understand Bible prophecy are so blessed. Sure, sadly we're a small percentage of people who attend church, and even understand the biblical significance of the times in which we are living. We are such a small minority who fully understands that Genesis to Revelation is the Word of God, and when we understand God's Word, how awesome it is to watch His divine plan play out!
Daily Jot: A challenge to Islam - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Manchester, England bombing of an Ariana Grande concert that killed 22 and maimed another 64. While there is a hunt for accomplices and three suspects have been arrested, the bomber has been identified as Salman Abedi, a British-born Muslim. He is suspected of receiving terror training in Syria while ostensibly visiting his family in Libya. An eight year old girl was among the dead as well as many others in their teens and 20s. But the carnage also reaped the lives of parents and relatives who were waiting to pick up their kids after the concert. Muslims blowing up youngsters is the height of cowardice and evil. Muslims around the world need to take responsibility.
While there is no end to the evil that man perpetrates upon mankind, and there are many examples across all cultures, Islam consistently throughout its history has advanced by extreme violence, beginning with its warlord prophet Mohammad. All peace-loving people should challenge members of the Islamic faith to denounce its religion's violence. Peaceful Muslims, who like many Christians and Jews might not even read the Koran or know what it means if they do, should stand up and say "No More." But those that do are labeled infidels and are marked for execution. When Muslims are not killing non-Muslims, they are killing Muslims. They are following the instructions of the Muslim holy book, the Koran, to kill infidels-Muslims who are not complying, non-Muslims, and Christians and Jews specifically.
Here are a few verses from the Koran. They are not taken out of context: Sura 9:5 "...slay the infidels wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush." Sura 8:12 says, "Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes." Sura 4:55 says, "Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise." These are just three of many.
As President Donald Trump said in his Saudi Arabia speech, "Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death...If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing-then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God. This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between Good and Evil." All Muslims who believe they are good should stand up and demand that the instructions of violence be denounced and ripped out of their holy book. They should join with the rest of civilization against terror and death and tyranny.
We know, however, that this will not happen. As prophesied of Ishmael, the patriarch of Islam, in Genesis 16:11-12, "Behold, thou art with child, and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Ishmael...And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren." It is impossible to live in peace with this lineage and these people, for they are the very same who are named as coming against Israel when Christ returns. Muslims, however, should be challenged worldwide to denounce this violence and stand against it. Otherwise, their silence is considered consent.
Daily Devotion: Hypocrites among Us - Greg Laurie -
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. -Matthew 16:18
I know it is very easy to be critical of the church today, and granted, there are a lot of things wrong with it. But don't forget this: When Jesus Christ walked this earth, He started only one organization, and it is called the church. And He said, "The gates of Hades shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).
Some might say, "Yeah, but there are a lot of hypocrites in the church."
Guess what? That isn't new. There were hypocrites in the first-century church as well. In fact, one of our Lord's handpicked disciples turned out to be a hypocrite. So yes, hypocrites and hypocrisy are nothing new. That is not to even mention that in the early church, there were rivalries, heresies, and some flat-out immorality.
Jesus told an interesting parable that we call the parable of the wheat and tares. In this story, He talks about a farmer who goes and sows wheat in his field, and at night his enemy comes in and sows tares, or weeds, among the wheat. Now the tares Jesus was describing are also known as darnel seeds, which look exactly like wheat initially and even through the growth process. But in the end, the darnel, or the tare, uproots the wheat. Jesus was saying, "You're going to have the fake right next to the real, the counterfeit right next to the genuine." The tares and the wheat will grow together, and we won't necessarily know who is who and what is what until that final day.
Yes, there will be hypocrites among us. Only God knows who they are. But let's also remember that every one of us has moments of hypocrisy. What we need to concern ourselves with is whether we are hypocrites and whether we are living godly lives.
FROM THE HEART
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