Prophecy Update Newsletter
June 12, 2017
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Heaven Can Wait? - Part II
- Pete Garcia -
Is the Doctrine of Imminence still relevant?
If you take anything away from this and last week's article, let me sum it up by saying this; the greater the convergence, the lesser the imminence. The same is true in reverse, the greater the imminence, the lesser the convergence. It is impossible for both concepts to take up equal space on the same prophetic timeline. The only caveat to this then applies only to those who choose to remain ignorant of the signs of the times.
Because the world pushed the 20th century into the modern age with advancements in just about every field of knowledge. One would think that in an era of instant gratification and information, life on earth would become sublimely utopic. Rather quite the opposite has occurred with this world's out of control addiction to technology causing many to self-alienate and disconnect from reality. It is at this juncture that we come to a unique paradox matched only in one other time in human history, the pre-flood world.
On one hand, life for a majority of the world (the extreme third-world being the exception) has improved technologically, medically, economically, and socially. On the other hand, the Bible states that things will deteriorate morally, socially, and religiously as time goes on. Thus we have the convergence of increased knowledge and travel (Daniel 12:4) which has resulted in the overall increase wickedness and violence on a global scale. And the unintended consequences of man's increased free time and liberty due to said technological advancements (Gen. 6:5; Luke 17:26).
One of the consequences of the curse God put on Adam after the Fall, was that man was to toil and work the land to survive (Gen. 3:17-19). For most of human history, life on earth was brutal and tough. When a civilization reached its apex, what inevitability ensued was a rapid deterioration in that society's morals and values ultimately making societal collapse all but inevitable. We are again at this summit of where mankind need not struggle to eat, shop, buy, marry, etc.
Although there are still some undeveloped places on the planet, for a majority of the world, electricity, the internet, instant communication (cell phones, computers, landlines, etc.), and advanced travel are still accessible. Also consider that today, most of the world does not farm. Only a small fraction of the population actually labors to produce any food. The rest of us buy from stores the things we need and want. As to violence, more people have died in the past century than the previous twenty centuries combined. In Earth's Earliest Ages, G.H. Pember noted (this in 1884)...
...the fitness of man for a condition of extreme liberty, and the worth of a trust in the innate justice supposed to lie at the bottom of the human heart, have been already tested by the great Creator. Modern philosophers are urging a repetition of the experiment; but the history of the times of old proves the fallacy of their views. For the wickedness of man became great; all flesh corrupted its way upon the earth, and the earth was filled with violence. And as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man.
The Bible is quite clear when speaking about certain future events which have to happen. Scriptural logic leads one to understand that events rarely just happen instantaneously. There is an unfolding of connected or interrelated events that makes something that seemed either impossible or unlikely, all but inevitable. For example, the Bible speaks about Israel becoming a nation again for the second time (Amos 9:14-15, Isaiah 11:11-12, Ezekiel 37). But were it not for World War I and II, the rebirth of the nation of Israel could not have happened. Could God have brought Israel back into the table of nations without major global wars? Sure, but that is not how things have transpired. So it stands to reason that our recent history has unfolded precisely as God intended it, along with its intended results.
Transitional Imminence: 1917-1948
Israel, as John Nelson Darby taught it, was God's timepiece. If that is true, then Israel's entire history going back to Abraham should be the most chronicled and detailed of any people who ever existed. It is.
As many today note, Israel is the super-sign of the end times. Israel's rebirth as a nation after almost two millennia in Diaspora is absolutely a miracle. No other nation can make that claim. But before Israel became a nation again, there was the stirring of the Jewish people to return to their homeland. The Zionist Movement, which began in 1897 by Theodor Herzl, along with strong Dispensational and other Christian evangelical support, became momentum that would continue from 1897 through 1948. From a Christian perspective, that support didn't occur in a vacuum.
Darby's support in the early 19th century for the return of the Jews back to what was then just a backwater province of the Ottoman Empire became influential amongst other Dispensationalists. Many of the early Dispensationalists had come out of the Anglican and Presbyterian denominations to make up the Plymouth Brethren. Their influence in part helped later shape decision makers like Lord Balfour to instruct England's political position on the rightful return of the Jews back to what was then called Palestine. As World War I began drawing to a close, it was clear that the Ottoman Turks were in no position to continue ruling over the Middle East, thus European powers began to drawing boundaries to set different nations again.
With England's support for the now growing European Zionist movement, teachers and preachers of Dispensationalism were cautiously optimistic that they were witnessing God's word being fulfilled. Men like C.I. Scofield, Clarence Larkin, and others wrote decades before 1948, that the Jews would become a nation again just as the Bible predicted it (Jeremiah 31:35-36, Ezekiel 37, Amos 9:15, Isaiah 2, 11)...and so it was. This Balfour Declaration encouraged and renewed the strength of the literal view of scriptural interpretation and they began to understand that as Israel goes, so goes God's clock for the world. Watching the progress of Israel becoming a nation again, meant for these early watchers that the fullness of the Gentiles and the time of the Gentiles would soon be drawing to a close. I call this period of time Transitional Imminence simply because although the Church could see God moving and shaping events, Israel had yet to become a nation again.
Limited Imminence: 1948-Present
On November 29th, 1947, the United Nations approved a Partition Plan that agreed to divide up what was then Palestine into a separate Arab and Jewish state. The Jews declared their independence some six months later on May 14th, 1948, and were immediately attacked by their Arab neighbors. And from then until now, Israel has tenuously and cautiously lived in a neighborhood hell-bent on her destruction. The significance of her rebirth has worn off since many are not old enough to remember a time when there wasn't a nation of Israel. There are many today who don't even remember a time when Israel wasn't in complete control of Jerusalem. Much time dulls the eyes of many in the church.
The idea of imminence being limited might sound odd to the reader, but what is implied is that our window for Christ's return is rapidly shrinking, thus limiting the timeframe in which imminence can be completely unknowable. Again, we can't know the day or hour, but we will recognize the season. We know this as a certainty, because when Jesus gave His Olivet Discourse...He added a comment about convergence that matches up with the later revelations that were given to Peter, Paul, James, Jude, and John.
"Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Matthew 24:32-34
We know from the rapid advancements in the past century with technology, communications, warfare, digital currencies, medicine, natural and manmade disasters, that it is quickly placing us in a time that matches the capabilities present in the seven-year window known as Daniel's 70th Week. Along with the geopolitical arrangements with nations aligning themselves as they are (The United Nations, the European Union, Russia, Iran, Turkey, etc.) also point toward the world in which final day events play out.
On top of that, we see what was once the stronghold of the Christian faith in the West is crumbling. Just as political and military power have primarily moved westward over time, we now see the Christian faith moving eastward as God the Holy Spirit once again moves mightily in the Old World. Adding to this is the world's continued attempts to divide and destroy tiny Israel. All of these (the ultimate convergence) points to the conditions in which both Jesus and Paul called birth pangs.
In the final book of the Bible, Jesus addresses seven churches with seven letters. We understand that these were real, literal, historical churches in what was then Asia-Minor in whom John was familiar with. They were also relatively unknown. Why not a letter to the church in Rome? Or the church in Christianity's birthplace, Jerusalem? Antioch? We also know there are other applications in these letters because of how they are constructed and arranged. They contained seven parts: the Lord's title, a commendation, a criticism, an admonition, a call, a challenge, and a promise. Two of the churches received no criticism (Smyrna and Philadelphia), and one received no commendation (Laodicea). Also, the challenge and the promise are reversed for the last four church. For review:
They were real, historical churches in the 1st century
They had a corporate application (admonitory to all churches of all times)...i.e....he who hath an ear, let him hear...
They had singular and personal applications...i.e....admonitions and challenges to the believers
They had prophetic applications by the order of their selection and arrangement
Skeptics might debate that last bullet, but let's say hypothetically that the letter to the church at Laodicea was placed anywhere other than at the end of the seven letters. If that were the case then this prophetic application wouldn't make sense and skeptics would be correct in their rebuke of such a claim.
But because the letter to Laodicea is at the end of the letters, we can see a clear progression that also matches what we know from church history. In other words, the church ages (or epochs) can clearly be seen when we review how Christendom has unfolded around the world over these last two thousand years. Remember, Laodicea was just as real a church at the same time as Ephesus or Smyrna was. While it is not necessary to hold to seven-letter seven-epochs as the gospel truth, it is noted that throughout church history, one type of church tends to be the dominant face of Christendom.
Each of the churches unfolded in an age in which their brand (or their type) tended to dominate any other form of Christendom. There was an Ephesus era that had the Apostles who were still walking the earth. But that time came to an end when John passed on into glory. There was a Smyrna era in which the Church then (100-313AD) came under intense persecution from the Roman Empire. There was an era when the Roman Empire legalized Christianity, and thus we see the mixing of paganism into Christianity that is exemplified in Pergamum. So on and so forth. Put an another way, they unfolded individually as eras, but they continued on and overlapped, thus waning in power and influence and giving heed to the next type (or form) of church era.
At the very least, the last four letters to Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea are all still in play. Since the 1960's, the West has rapidly digressed into antichristian territory with the onset of the Sexual Revolution, the reemergence of Eastern mysticism, embracement of socialism, and rapid increases in violence and the occult in entertainment. All of these have morally weakened societies around the Western world, and have enforced a compromise-or-die type of mentality upon western churches in particular. Thus in trying to remain relevant, we have the compromised Laodicean era who is hell-bent on making being lukewarm the hottest trend around.
All that to say this, that if these churches are in fact chronicles heralding the stages the church would go through, then it is equally reasonable to assume that they had to play out first, in order for Christ to return for His church. So while it was reasonable to assume that no sign preceded the Rapture of the Church for most of its history, we now have the luxury of hindsight and can see we are at the last stage of development in the age of the Church. It is not until the conclusion of this last Laodicean church, that John see's the door in heaven open, and hears a voice as a trumpet call from there "Come up here!"
As one with many children and having witnessed pregnancy many times, birth pangs do not go on forever...as all births come to a moment of truth when the child arrives. This writer's belief is that while blind imminence may have been a valid assumption for the first portion of the last two millennia, it is quickly becoming something we can no longer hide behind. Too many events are pointing to too many signs for Christians to simply shrug their shoulders' and say who knows or who cares? It should be a call for us to wake up and wake up our brothers and sisters in Christ and to put on a sense of urgency that our blessed hope is about to be realized. Christ promised a special warning to His believers who did not bother to watch and chose to remain ignorant about His return. To the dead church at Sardis He said...
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:3
Even so, Maranatha!
Convergence Of Signs Prepares The Way For Third Temple -
For millennia, it was a scene that would have been unimaginable. Soldiers of the Jewish state, under the banner of the Star of David, crying exultantly, victoriously, "The Temple Mount is in our hands!"
It has been 50 years since Israel captured the Temple Mount and Old Jerusalem after brutal house-to-house fighting during the 1967 Six-Day War. Five decades later, the sacred site remains politically explosive, with even the simple act of prayer generating huge conflict.
Yet, the biggest battles undoubtedly lay ahead. Competing claims to sovereignty are always at the center of any negotiations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
More importantly, there is a steady progression of signs indicating Jews are making real progress towards actually building the Third Temple, an act that would have profound geopolitical and spiritual ramifications.
Passover sacrifices are being held near the Temple Mount.
The specific breeds of animals needed to engage in the Temple sacrifices described in the Torah are being reintroduced into Israel.
Modern DNA technology allows the identification of those who can serve as priests in the Temple once it is constructed.
An altar, priestly garments, and other materials which would be needed to conduct services at the Temple have been created.
Many believers argue there is deep eschatological significance in how all of these unlikely events are coming together so swiftly and dramatically.
"Israel is the plumb line of prophecy," said Joseph Farah, author of "The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christianity and the End of the Age." "That there is so much chatter and activity within the Jewish state about the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem represents we live in an exciting time of history - the one about which all the prophets looked with hope for restoration of the world.
"Israel is a living miracle amidst us - the one and only nation in the world resurrected from the dead after nearly 2,000 years, its language re-created, its people regathered from the four corners of the world. Had this happened to another nation, it would be amazing indeed. That it happened to the one and only nation in history about which all this was prophesied, it can only be the result of God's direct, supernatural intervention."
"The last days aren't near, they are here," said Jan Markell of Olive Tree Ministries. "We have the convergence of all of the predicted signs. The re-birth of Israel started the convergence in 1948. We see the push towards globalism as outlined in Revelation 13. We see all nations having 'distress with perplexity' as foretold in Luke 21:25. We see the persecution of Christians and the rise of anti-Semitism. We see the world turning against Israel as predicted in Zechariah 12. These and dozens of additional 'signs of the times' remind believers that the hour is very late.
"I have often said that Israel's re-birth is the primary sign, followed by issues surrounding Jerusalem, followed by Temple Mount activity. Israel is the watch, Jerusalem is the minute hand, and the Temple Mount is the second hand. It took the recapture of Jerusalem in June of 1967 to allow this to unfold. That is why the world has tried to divide Jerusalem for decades. This is a way in which Satan can slow the end-time plan."
Markell also believes there needs to be a literal temple rebuilt for the end times events described in the Bible to take place.
"It says in II Thessalonians 2:3-4 that the Antichrist will enter the Temple in Jerusalem and declare himself to be god," she told WND. "This is at the three-and-a-half-year point in the Tribulation. He will demand that the Jews worship him. That means there is a Temple and there isn't one now. So one has to be built. The Jews are making preparation to build that Temple, but they have no idea that such a 'lawless one' will occupy it someday and demand worship.
"They are already looking for a perfect red heifer to sacrificial purposes. Priestly robes are being prepared. Unfortunately, after the Six-Day War in 1967, they gave away the Temple Mount to the Muslim world and that is the area that is needed for this Third Temple."
However, there are mixed views on whether there will actually be a literal, physical Third Temple in the short term. Indeed, Mark Biltz, pastor of El Shaddai Ministries, author of "God's Day Timer" and one of the leading advocates for reincorporating Jewish practices into the Christian faith, argues a renewal of faith is more important than obsessing over details of physical construction.
"While many Christians get excited about the building of the Temple from mostly an eschatological point of view, my hope for a rebuilt Temple is based on how badly the world needs the presence of God back on Earth in a real, tangible way," Biltz told WND.
"God asked the prophet Haggai why Israel was content to dwell in their houses while the House of God lies in waste. Today the same question is being put forth. I find the answer to be because of political reasons and a question of who will be in control, the political establishment or a Torah court. It may be a matter that will have to wait for the Messiah to establish when he rules and reigns from Jerusalem. May it happen in our day!"
Joel Richardson, the New York Times bestselling author of "The Islamic Antichrist" believes there will be something on the Temple Mount. However, what that will actually be, he cannot say.
"Certainly, we are nearing the time where biblical sacrifices will be reinstated on the Temple Mount, as the Scriptures state will take place in the acharayit yawm, or last days," he told WND. "Personally, I believe that this will not take place until after there is some significant restructuring of geopolitical realities. I believe that we will see a few drastic Middle Eastern wars and a shifting of present conditions before any such construction will begin. But only time will tell, and God knows best.
"Now, whether the forthcoming Temple will be an actual brick and mortar structure or merely something as simple as a tent, we simply do not know. What we do know is that a physical structure of some sort will be re-established on the Temple Mount. The Scriptures make this clear. Theologically speaking, this is going to be one of the most profoundly controversial and divisive realities in all of redemptive history."
Richardson warns the reconstruction of the Temple, or whatever structure is created, will open up a huge debate within Christianity, especially about whether "Jewish" practices should be reintegrated into the lives of believers.
"Today there is already tremendous controversy within the Body of Christ over matters of Torah observance such as whether or not Gentile Christians should keep the Sabbath, or eat Kosher, etc.," he said. "Because there is not presently a Temple, however, we have been spared the far greater controversy of whether or not we should participate in the various Temple rituals and sacrifices, etc. Many Christians will point out that the time is coming when the Antichrist will sit in the Temple, and thus Christians should not be involved in any forthcoming Temple.
"Now, at a certain point, the Antichrist will indeed enter and defile the Temple. Before that happens, however, the Scriptures refer to this structure as 'The Temple of God.' One cannot defile something unless it was first considered 'holy.' Other evangelicals will be quick to say that Christ's sacrifice was once and for all, and thus any Christian participation in any Temple rituals or sacrifices would be akin to blasphemy. But the Apostles themselves obviously understood the once-and-for-all nature of Jesus' atoning work, yet they continued to take part in the Temple activities long after His crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension."
Richardson suggested Christians excited about efforts to rebuild the Temple should think long and hard about the questions that will be raised after its construction.
"When the Temple is rebuilt - and it will be - the question will not be as simple as whether or not it is OK for followers of Jesus to participate in the Temple rituals, but rather the questions will be much more complicated and theologically nuanced," Richardson explained. "Should only Messianic Jews participate in Temple rituals or should all Christians do so? What aspects of the Temple rituals may we be involved in? Obviously, the time will come when the Antichrist will defile the Temple and cause offerings to cease, but before that time, how exactly will we relate to it?
"Again, as I said, this will likely be the single greatest controversy to ever face the Christian movement, in all of its history. Although that time is not yet here, it is coming quite soon and it is time to begin seriously wrestling through these very real issues."
Bill Cloud, head of Shoreshim Ministries, author of "Esau Rising" and another vocal proponent of incorporating Jewish practices into Christian worship, is excited about the prophetic environment set in motion by the Israeli capture of the Temple Mount half a century ago. However, he has mixed feelings about the legitimacy of whatever new structure emerges on the Temple Mount.
"Without a doubt, the reunification of Jerusalem and the capture of the Temple Mount in 1967 was a significant prophetic event," he told WND. "In my view, it set in motion other situations whereby other prophecies might be fulfilled.
"As far as rebuilding the Temple, I believe the Bible suggests that it will happen; however, I'm not convinced that the next Temple will be the residence of the Sh'kinah (Presence of God). I'm of the opinion that when the next Temple is built - maybe before it can be dedicated - the one we know as Antichrist will come in and put a stop to it and kill the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7-10), thus fulfilling what Paul spoke of in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4."
Still, Cloud said it is undeniable there is a palpable sense that prophetic fulfillment could be taking place within our own time.
"The efforts of the Temple Institute to create all the necessary components and furnishings for the Temple demonstrates the growing messianic expectations that exist in Israel today," he observed. "That, in conjunction with the instability in the world and particularly the Middle East, has set the stage for the prophecies concerning a temple in Jerusalem to be fulfilled."
Carl Gallups, the author of several books including his latest end times examination "When The Lion Roars," agrees the current generation is living during an extraordinary time in history. Most importantly, the pastor told WND, events are accelerating.
"There can be no doubt that we are living in intensely prophetic times," he said. "I maintain that these are the most prophetically significant times since the first coming of Jesus Christ. There is a particular convergence of at least a dozen prophesied events and/or elements occurring right before our eyes as chronicled in 'When The Lion Roars.' And we are the first generation in history to see them happening.
"I think it is no small coincidence that in this particular Jubilee Year of 2017 there is such an unprecedented upheaval in the Middle East involving major world powers. Russia, China, Iran, Syria, and Turkey are interconnected like never before. North Korea even figures into the mix with its connections to Iran and China in particular. From Brexit to the ongoing 'Trump Factor,' the globalist powers are in a frenzy. Now, in Israel, there is an unparalleled and renewed focus upon the Temple Mount and the potential for a much stronger Jewish control of the Mount, including the possibility of an actual Temple project."
Gallups suggested the 50th anniversary of the Israeli capture of the Temple Mount could see extraordinary events, not just in the near future, but in the current year.
"Fifty years earlier, in 1967, the Temple Mount was finally repossessed by Israel in the Six Day War," he noted. "And, 50 years before that, in 1917, the British Empire captured the Temple Mount from the Islamic Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Jerusalem. The last two Jubilee Years saw unmistakable 'redemption' moments involving the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, particularly involving some sort of 'liberation' from the hands of Islam. It will be interesting to see what this year might hold."
Gallups, stunned at everything that is unfolding right in front of the eyes of contemporary Christians, urged believers to stand up and take notice: Something extraordinary is coming.
"There is no doubt that Yahweh is up to something big in our lifetime. And and the central focus is on the Middle East and Israel, with the Jubilee-Year-epicenter being right in the center of Jerusalem - the Temple Mount!" he said. "Surely the return of the Lord Jesus Christ is near, and we have been raised up for 'such a time as this.'"
Why Israel will dictate any terms of a 'peace deal'. And why the 'Palestinians' will have no choice but to accept them - By Zev Chafets -
When Donald Trump visited Israel last month, he pledged to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Less than a week later, 15,000 members of the Israeli left, who evidently believed him, staged a monster rally in Tel Aviv under the banner: "Two States for Two Peoples."
Just a few years ago, that motto would have been taken for granted: the so-called two-state solution was seen as the only logical outcome for either side. The Palestinians were set on full autonomy, while Israelis worried that their identity as the world's only Jewish state was imperiled.
But now, at the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, things are not so clear. Israel is increasingly prepared to live with the status quo. And it would be best for both sides if the Palestinians took a more realistic view of their options.
After the peacenik rally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded in a radio interview: "In order to assure our existence, we need to have military and security control over all the territory west of the Jordan River."
This wasn't news. Once upon a time Netanyahu, too, talked of a two-state solution. But in January, he began talking about a "state-minus," in which the Arabs of the West Bank would be free to handle their domestic communal life, but under overall Israeli control.
This is essentially the same offer that Prime Minister Menachem Begin made back in 1977. A lot of water has flowed through the Jordan River since then, and it has wound up in the Dead Sea. After countless international peace initiatives, summit meetings, interim agreements, dire warnings, sporadic acts of terrorism and reprisal, settlement building and the condemnation of settlement building, it seems that we are back where we were 40 years ago. There is no Palestinian state, and I doubt very much if one is in the offing.
I'm not alone in this. In March, the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research found that a third of West Bank Arabs expect the occupation to last another 50 years. A slim majority oppose the two-state solution on the grounds that Israeli settlement has rendered it unfeasible.
Polls are just polls, but this one is makes sense. At the time of the Six-Day War, there were virtually no Jews in the West Bank -- then annexed to Jordan -- or East Jerusalem. Today there are more than 400,000, living in towns, villages and settlements. Hundreds of thousands more reside in East Jerusalem, which Palestinians (and the U.S. government) regard as occupied land.
Nothing is going to lead Israel to evacuate this many citizens to make way for a Palestinian state. If the Palestinians can't accept that, there is no two-state deal to be made.
Another obstacle is Israel's demand for security control over the entire West Bank, especially the Jordan Valley. The worry is that, otherwise, a fully armed and sovereign Palestinian state could open its eastern border to the Iranian army or its proxies, Islamic State, or whatever fresh hell appears. Palestinian negotiators swear on a stack of Korans that they would never do such a thing, but Israelis have too much experience to trust them. Any foreseeable Israeli government would insist that a Palestinian entity be demilitarized, and that Israel would control its borders. As long as the Palestinians can't agree, there will be no peace agreement.
In addition, one of the strongest arguments of Israeli peaceniks has now lost its punch. This was the claim that a failure to withdraw from Arab territories would lead to a single state that would soon lose its Jewish majority to what Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat called, in a typically inelegant phrase, "the weapon of the Arab womb." This may have been true in 1967, but it is far from clear today.
The Palestinian census bureau estimates that 2.9 million Arabs are in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. Some neutral demographers think this figure is inflated, but let's go with it. Add the 1.8 million Arab citizens of Israel and you get 4.7 million Arabs from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.
The Jewish population of Israel and the West Bank is roughly 6.5 million. In other words, there is a Jewish majority of almost 2 million. There are Palestinians in the Gaza Strip too, but Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and has no claim on it. If a West Bank Palestinian "state-minus" wanted to incorporate it, Israel probably wouldn't object. But there is no "one-state" scenario that would include Gaza. For Israel, that would be a deal breaker.
OK, but what about the dreaded Arab womb? Turns out that Arafat didn't take into account that Palestinians do not have a monopoly on baby-making technology. The fertility rate of Israeli Jewish and Israeli Arab women is now identical. The West Bank rate is slightly higher, but falling. In short, a one-state Israel would not lose its Jewish majority in the maternity ward.
It even seems likely that the Jewish majority would increase: Israel's Law of Return allows any Jew (defined as a person with at least one Jewish grandparent) and his or her family to receive automatic Israeli citizenship. Because of intermarriage, the number of people who qualify for citizenship has grown remarkably. Think John Kerry (Jewish grandparents), Drake (Jewish mom) and Caroline Kennedy (Jewish husband) and many millions of less celebrated, but equally eligible, potential immigrants.
So, Israel can live with a one-state option. It can also live with a Palestinian state-minus next door. Or it can continue with the status quo, which is not preferable but far from unbearable. Israel has flourished despite its occupation of the West Bank. It has concluded full peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, and is in a de facto alliance with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab countries against Iran.
Israel has also built close relationships with Russia and its former satellites, as well as China, India, Japan and the other Asian tigers. Sub-Saharan Africa, which once shunned Israel as a Zionist imperialist, now openly courts it.
The U.S. is Israel's greatest (but not quite indispensable) ally. Occasionally, American presidents have tried to leverage this to pressure Israel into concessions it regards as unwise. The Barack Obama administration made a habit of this, often warning Israel, mafia-style, of the damage that recalcitrance on the Palestinian issue could do to its reputation and popularity. These public warnings were meant, of course, to be self-fulfilling. But the tactic didn't work.
When Obama took office, Americans supported Israel over the Palestinians (according to Gallup) 59 percent to 18 percent. When he left, the margin was 62 percent to 19 percent. In today's America, there aren't many issues that lopsided.
Most Israelis were disappointed when Trump reneged on his promise to move the embassy to Jerusalem. It would have been a fine anniversary present. But nobody here thinks the U.S. is going to try to pressure Israel into a West Bank deal.
The reason is simple. Whether the Palestinians are willing to admit it or not, the Six Day War is finally over and they lost. If they want a deal, it will be on Israel's terms. Most of the settlers, present and future, will stay. The army will remain on the Jordan River.
The Palestinians can have a country with a flag and an anthem, elections and local government and, eventually, economic and strategic cooperation. Or they can be absorbed into Israel. There are worse things to be in the Middle East than a self-governing minority in a free and prosperous country.
Either way, in 2067, Israel will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Six Day War. It would be nice to find a way to celebrate together.
Does God Observe Jubilees?
- By Daymond Duck -
Christians know that the Bible is more than a collection of stories, allegories and illustrations. We know and truly believe that "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and it is profitable for doctrine" (I Tim. 3:16), etc.
Christians know that the things that happened to the Jews (blessings, curses, etc.) are examples or lessons for us. Paul said, "they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world (end of the ages) are come (I Cor. 10:11).
Christians know that "whatsoever things were written aforetime (in the Old Testament) were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).
"Whatsoever things were written" includes the stories, the history, the poetry, the Feasts of the Lord, the Jubilees, all of it. The whole Bible was written to give God's people hope.
Christians know that the things that Moses made in the wilderness (tabernacle, Ark of the Covenant, Table of Showbread, Golden Lampstand, etc.) were made "according to the pattern" that God showed him at Mt. Sinai (Heb. 8:5; Ex. 25:40).
The service of the priests and the things that were made were a copy or a shadow of what is in heaven (Heb. 8:5). That is why God warned Moses to follow the pattern carefully. God didn't want the earthly things to distort the picture of the real things that exist in heaven.
This brings us to the question, "Does God Observe Jubilees?" To be clear, I am not suggesting that people are slaves or that they own land or owe money in heaven.
But it is a fact that Jesus was crucified when He was because it was 9 a.m. in the morning, it was the Feast of Passover and it was 483 years after the command to restore and build Jerusalem (Dan. 9:25).
Jesus was in the grave when He was because it was the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And He was raised from the dead when He was because it was the Feast of First Fruits.
Even though God is in heaven He does things on earth because it is a set time. This can be said of the birth of Isaac (Gen. 17:21), the appearance of Jesus (Gal. 4:4), the time to restore Israel and Jerusalem (Psa. 102:13), and many other things.
Many Christians will agree that the Antichrist will stop the animal sacrifices at the future Temple at the middle of the Tribulation Period (Dan. 9:27) and that the Second Coming of Jesus will be 1260 days later (Rev. 12:6). These are set times and God will do things on earth according to these set times.
The thing that triggered this article is an e-mail with an attachment that I received from someone named Wuilmer Garcia. The attachment correctly states that every fiftieth year is a Jubilee year (Lev. 25:8-10) and that God instructed the Jews to return land to its original owner every fiftieth year.
For various reasons, Jews could mortgage their land, but the land went back to its original owner or the original owner's descendants on the first day of the next Jubilee year.
In the attachment to Mr. Garcia's e-mail, it is suggested that God used the British and the Balfour Declaration in 1917 to return the Promised Land to Israel because 1917 was a Jubilee year.
It is also suggested that 50 years later in 1967, God returned more of the Promised Land, including East Jerusalem, to Israel because 1967 was a Jubilee year.
If 1917 and 1967 were Jubilee years, that establishes 2017 as a Jubilee year and it has major implications for the return of additional land to Israel.
The idea is that God returned land to Israel to reveal to those on earth that these are Jubilee years. It is a very interesting possibility or likelihood.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Words to Live By - Nathele Graham -firstname.lastname@example.org
A scribe came to Jesus and asked "...Which is the first commandment of all?" Mark 12:28b, Once again the people who should have known better were trying to trap Jesus. The Pharisees had just asked if it was lawful to give tribute to Caesar and the Sadducees had asked Him about who a woman's husband would be in Heaven if she had been widowed multiple times. Oddly enough, the Sadducees didn't even believe there would be a resurrection. Then one of the scribes wanted to know about the commandments. "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29-31. Jesus quoted this from Deuteronomy so the scribes couldn't dispute this. These words are as true today as when Moses first spoke them. A Christian is to first love God, then love others. These are words to live by but they aren't being heeded by many Christians today. The world seems to be going berserk and many who claim to be Christians are just as berserk. Anger is everywhere and men's hearts are waxing cold. Brothers and sisters remember, God is love. God IS love, and we need to allow His love to show in all we say and do.
The first commandment that Jesus named is regarding God. Our understanding of God reflects in our relationship with Him. "Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD: and thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might." Deuteronomy 6:4-5. There is only one God and there's none like Him. The word "LORD" is translated from the Hebrew word "Yehovah". It means "the existing One". Yehovah had no beginning and will have no end. The word "God" is "'elohiym" which is a masculine noun and the "iym" ending indicates it's a plural noun. In Hebrew, a plural means there are at least three parts. When referring to God this indicates the three personalities of God (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit) are one. The Trinity is clearly in the Scripture. The first use of the word 'elohiym is in Genesis chapter one and it tells us that elohiym created everything that exists by speaking it into existence . The Gospel of John ties this all together. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1. The Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. The LORD our God is one LORD, and Jesus is God the Son.
God created everything, including humans. Adam was placed in the Garden of Eden where all of his needs were filled. God gave Adam one rule. "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis 2:16-17. This rule was given to Adam before Eve was created and it was up to Adam to adhere to God's rule. Adam needed a mate and God met this need in a special way. "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." Genesis 2:20-22. Adam was a direct creation of God, but Eve was taken out of Adam. Not only did God create Eve to be Adam's companion, but this established the one man/one woman marriage.
Then it happened. Satan entered into the picture. Eve was deceived into eating the very fruit that God said not to eat. "For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression" 1 Timothy 2:13-14. Satan's lies will befuddle anyone who doesn't adhere to God's word. Eve ate the fruit and then talked Adam into eating. God knew what had happened, but the finger pointing began. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. The truth is that instead of loving God with all their heart, soul, and might each made their own choice to sin. Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden and fellowship with God was broken. Since then sin has kept us from fellowship with God. Cain killed Abel, people multiplied and chose to sin through demonic worship and activities, and Satan continues to lie. Though sin has reigned throughout time, God wanted fellowship to be restored. He had a plan.
The first step in that plan was to separate a people to eventually bring salvation to this fallen world. "Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name." Acts 15:14. Before God called Abraham there was no distinction between the various nations or ethnic groups, but through Abraham's descendants the Jewish people were separated and the Messiah would be born. God would give the Law to the Jewish people through Moses and this would further separate them and teach mankind about how God views sin. "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." Galatians 3:24-25. The Law was filled with rituals and animal sacrifice. In and of itself, the Law could not save anyone, but it pointed to salvation through the coming Messiah. The plan had always been that God would step into His creation and become the once for all sacrifice. God's perfect love for us is seen in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17. That's perfect love. Love Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
This brings us to the second part of Jesus' answer to the scribe. "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:31. How do we love our neighbor as we love ourselves? By treating them as we would want to be treated. When Paul and Silas were asked by a jailer what he must do to be saved, they told him to believe on Jesus. "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." Acts 16:31. Could the jailers faith save his household? Each person must make his own choice to accept or reject Jesus. The jailers wife, children, and servants each had to make their own decision in order to be saved, but if they saw the jailer's life changed through Christ they would come to their own faith. Accepting Christ's shed blood for salvation should change a person and that change should be noticeable to people around you. The way you treat people should become more loving, forgiving, and kind. We don't know what kind of man that jailer was, but he had a job that would harden him. Paul and Silas had spent their night in jail singing praises to the Lord and didn't show bitterness. Then, there was an earthquake which would have allowed the prisoners to escape and the jailer would have been executed. Instead of escaping, Paul, Silas, and all the prisoners remained which was an example to the jailer of God's love. These two men treated the jailer in the way that they would have wanted to be treated had they been in each other's sandals. The jailer saw their example and believed. If he followed their example of how to treat others then his household would come to know Jesus through his actions.
Nobody wants to be mistreated and most people take pretty good care of themselves. When we get hungry we eat, when we're dirty we bathe. If you see someone in need, help them. Treat others as you would want them to treat you, but do all things for the Lord. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16. Don't "do unto others" in order to gain their praise, but do good works in Jesus' name so God will be glorified. That's how we show our love for God to others. Our actions just may be the example they need in order to give their life to Christ. Treat others how you want to be treated.
Quite often Christians focus on missionary work or food kitchens to reach out to the unsaved. This shows God's love to lost people who may not even know they're lost. Too often we forget to show love to fellow Christians. "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth." 1 John 3:16-18. John wrote this to Christians and used the words "brethren" and "brother". This indicates he's telling Christians to take care of fellow Christians. The first Christians were severely persecuted and they helped each other. That has changed over the years. It's easy to give money to a mission group to go somewhere else to help the unsaved, but we forget the needs of Christians in our own community or congregation. "And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also." 1 John 4:21. In loving others as we love ourselves, don't forget the local Christians in need.
"And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God." Luke 4:4. Every word of the Bible is inspired by the Holy Spirit and is for our instruction. If we love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength we will naturally love others as we love ourselves. Live by these words and you can't go wrong.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries
- Hal Lindsey - www.hallindsey.com
As we join our Israeli friends to celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem 50 years ago this week, my thoughts turn toward what lies ahead for the "City of Peace." Its future will be agonizing, then glorious.
The ancient Bible prophets foretold that Jerusalem will become the focal point of the world. In many ways, it already is.
We know the nations of the world will gather against it. And we know that, eventually, many of those nations will coalesce into formidable blocs that will oppose each other. Those groups of like-minded nations will become enemies that go to war against each other.
The Bible says that it will culminate in a final conflict that the world has come to know as "Armageddon."
"Armageddon" looms over the world. It's never far from the thoughts of even unbelievers.
Remember "Carmageddon" to describe several significant freeway traffic disruptions? Or "Snowmaggedon" to describe a major snow disaster in Canada?
The world has a similar fascination with the word "apocalypse."
Despite a prevalent lack of Bible literacy, fascination with Armageddon continues to grow. People seem to sense that something huge and awful will soon befall our planet, but few know any specifics.
The Bible, on the other hand, gives a great deal of specific information about both the war of Armageddon and the events surrounding it. Daniel 11 gives us one of the most compelling accounts.
There have been but the merest glimpses of Armageddon-like violence in world history. Dresden, Nagasaki, Hiroshima, to name a few. The real thing will be awful beyond words. The Bible predicts the number of deaths during that time as like nothing else imaginable.
The world system will fall apart in almost every way, starting with the totalitarian rule of the Antichrist and the False Prophet. War will rage with all the fury modern technology makes possible.
Never before in history could humanity do to itself what the Bible describes in the last 3 1/2 years before Jesus Christ returns to earth.
But now, it can do just that. And in today's newspaper you can read the specific names of the nation's described by the ancient prophets as they begin to align themselves in perfect accordance with what the Bible predicts.
Which can only mean one thing: the "time of the end" described to Daniel by the angel Gabriel is upon us.
If you are not ready for the sudden appearing of Jesus Christ to call away all true believers, then don't hesitate to accept the full gift of pardon that His death on Calvary purchased for you. And if you have received His pardon and follow Him, then now is the time to make certain your family, your friends, and those around you have heard the Good News and have had a chance to prepare themselves, too.
This week, I'll give you an overview of the run-up to Armageddon. You will recognize all of the players and be stunned by how close those days may be.
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings.
Daily Jot: The storm of persecution on the horizon
- Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (Vt) ripped Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget nominee Russell Vought for his Christianity during a hearing. Sanders, after questioning Vought about his Christian beliefs and Vought answering forthrightly, declared, "this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about. I will vote no." Over the weekend far left radicals countered peaceful protests against Sharia Law with violence, saying that protesters were motivated by hate. This country is not only divided along political lines, but also-and the case can be made-mostly along religious lines. This division is leading to persecution of God-fearing Americans.
The Founding Fathers worst nightmare is coming true. They believed that an overreaching government would naturally seek to control the freedoms of its people. That's why they put checks and balances into the system. But one of the problems with representative government is that it only works when the citizenship is engaged. John Adams, Founding Father and second US President, said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." The religion he was speaking of is Christianity. Aside from Judaism, other religions are incompatible with a republican form of government. They tend toward despotism of varying degrees.
This precept was part of the very fabric of America as far back as the 1600s when the Pilgrims came here to escape religious persecution at the hands of the Church of England. Pastor of the Pilgrims John Robinson wrote in a farewell letter to those leaving on the Mayflower: "Lastly, whereas you are become a body politic, using amongst yourselves civil government, and are not furnished with any persons of special eminency above the rest, to be chose by you into office of government; let your wisdom and godliness appear, not only in choosing such persons as do entirely love and will promote the common good...not beholding in them the ordinariness of their persons, but God's ordinance for your good."
Robinson's letter is credited as inspiration for the Mayflower Compact, which shaped the Founders view on self-government. Exodus 18:21 influenced the Founders in devising our representative form of government: "Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens." Sanders and the radical left are wrong. While not all the Founders were Christian, they agreed that the Bible contained the principles for self-government. We are a nation divided politically because the absolute moral truth of Christianity is contradictory to the rebellious and immoral agenda of the left. They are willing to persecute those who don't agree with them.
Daily Devotion: Be Careful What You Ask For
- Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: "Who will give us meat to eat?"
A story in the Old Testament tells of how God supernaturally provided for the children of Israel on a daily basis as they walked through the wilderness to the Promised Land. Every morning when they came out of their tents, something called manna would be waiting there for them. All they had to do was pick it up off the ground and eat it.
But after a while, they got sick of eating manna. They basically said, "We're sick of manna. We remember the good old days back in Egypt when we ate garlic, leeks, and onions. And most of all, we remember meat."
The funny thing is that when the devil reminds us of our past, we often look at it through rose-colored glasses. He will say, "Remember the good old days? Remember those times when you partied? Remember the fun?" But he never says, "Remember how empty you were? Remember the guilt that would never go away? Remember that depression you constantly found yourself in? Remember how afraid you were to die?" He never says that. Instead, he reminds us of the few good times we had. But the bad times outweigh them.
God gave the complaining Israelites what they wanted, and the Bible says it rained quail-so much so, they were knee-high in quail. But it turned bitter in their mouths.
How foolish we are when we try to keep God out of our lives as we blindly pursue our plans and passions. Many times God will not let us get what we're after. But sometimes He will. He'll let us get what we want so we'll see that it isn't what we thought it was.
Once you've tasted of the living water that Jesus gives, the polluted streams of this world never will satisfy again.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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