Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
September 23, 2017- Doomsday - J.L. Robb -
Here we go again.
If you have yet to hear the rumors of what is happening this date, get ready. It is our latest "sign in the heavens" phenom and may be bigger than the Blood Moons bust.
A nice lady in New Jersey who proofs my books sent me a link to the September 23 story, asking if I knew anything about it and what did I think?
I had seen a few articles pop up on the internet about this date but paid little attention. By the time I went through the Jupiter Effect in the '80s, the Harold Camping prophecies of The End on May 21, 2011 and then his next prophecy for The End on October 21 when the May 21 date did not work out, I was pretty disappointed in the accuracy. Bible prophecy comes true; man prophecy does not.
Then there was the Blood Moon Tetrad that was surely a sign in the heavens; only the moons were not blood-red but orange and had happened numerous times in the past. Lots of books were written and money made, but it was a stretch.
Those of us with an interest in the prophecies that have yet to be fulfilled sometimes have a tendency to make stuff happen to help the fulfillment along a bit. We have been looking for signs in the sky, hoping to be a part. We should be careful what we hope for.
There are numerous verses in the Bible pertaining to "signs" that God will send mankind in the last days. This should be no surprise since God has often used signs throughout history, but the signs in the last days will be different. There will be no question.
"There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea." Luke 21:25 NIV
And God said, "This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth." Genesis 9:12-13 NIV
These two examples refer to signs provided by sun, moon and stars and a sign provided as a rainbow, the first time it is mentioned in human history. Remember that there were no telescopes or any visual aids to enhance the images of the sun, moon and stars; but the night sky was clear, even in the city. There was little light pollution to block the heavens from view.
According to reports, there will be yet another special alignment of the stars and planets, indicating that something big is about to happen on September 23 of this year. There is even a web page that keeps you abreast of the countdown. The gist of the new prediction is that it will fulfill the great sign of Revelation 12.
The Jupiter Effect, written in 1974 by John Gribbin and Stephen Plagemann, detailed a future alignment of all the planets on one side of the sun. This planetary alignment would basically warp the solar system, causing great distress to Earth and the other planets; and the event was to happen in 1982, only it didn't. Like Harold Camping, Gribbin made an adjustment and revised The Jupiter Effect, claiming it happened in 1980 and was the cause of the Mt. St. Helen's eruption. Only problem with the revision, the planets were not aligned in 1980. In 1999, Gribbin admitted in another book that his predictions had been wrong.
The alignment of stars, moon and planets this coming September 23 appears to fulfill the prophecy in Revelation 12, at least at first glance:
"A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head." Revelation 12:1 NIV
According to www.watchfortheday.org, this event could be September 23 because of a very unusual alignment in the heavens, a sign.
The sign of Revelation 12 has many details that are common, but uncommon when all put together. The first part of the sign is the woman clothed with the sun. This happens every year, but it narrows the time down to one month around the autumnal equinox. That woman is represented by Virgo--the virgin. She is clothed by the sun from mid-September to early October. September 23, 2017 meets these requirements.
The next requirement is that the moon must be under the feet of Virgo. With the sun in Virgo and her feet to the east, the moon must be a few days past new moon. Since the Hebrew Calendar is lunar and the Feast of Trumpets (September 21, 2017) is on the new moon, September 23-25 places the moon in the correct position. This happens every year on the Hebrew Calendar as long as the new moon did not occur too early or too late in relation to the equinox, which would put the sun too high or low in Virgo. Here it is perfect. The requirement of the moon and sun narrows it down to a few days of the year. The rest of the parts of the sign must then coincide with this time if we are able to observe this sign.
On September 23, 2017 there are four planets in the vicinity that complete the sign and its ultimate uniqueness. Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter play their parts. Above the head of Virgo is the constellation Leo. In Leo at this time there will be Mars, Venus, and Mercury. With Leo being a constellation of nine principle stars, the three wandering stars make it twelve at this time. Thus the garland of twelve stars is upon the woman. For three planets to be in Leo at this time with all of the other preconditions makes this rare. Combined with the final piece of the picture below is what makes this sign difficult if not nearly impossible to replicate anywhere close to the time in which we live. How rare? A search 150 years before and 150 years after September 23, 2017 produced no results.
I must admit that this rendition is nothing I really considered, that the signs would have anything to do with astrology. Why would God give us an astrological sign when He made astrology a sin, and it was a serious sin? It came with a death penalty.
If a man or woman living among you in one of the towns the Lord gives you is found doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God in violation of his covenant, and contrary to my command has worshiped other gods, bowing down to them or to the sun or the moon or the stars in the sky, and this has been brought to your attention, then you must investigate it thoroughly. If it is true and it has been proved that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, take the man or woman who has done this evil deed to your city gate and stone that person to death. Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NIV
Additionally, the Israelites were told not to study the Zodiac; so how would they know to look for signs in the signs? In this case, the signs would be in the future, and now astrology is in many homes and newspapers. Bookstores are full of astrology books.
If this alignment is indeed a sign, who would see it? Not those of us who live where there are city lights or Walmarts. Most folk would not have a clue where to even look in the night sky to find Leo and Virgo.
My guess is this: Another false sign, like the orange Blood Moons, that will make eschatology look foolish.
When the signs pertaining to the Last Days occur, we will not need to scratch our heads and ask: Is that a sign? We will know.
We do not have to make it happen.
Israel and Hamas court catastrophe in high-stakes game of chicken
- By Judah Ari Gross -
With the PA riding shotgun and Egypt in the backseat, Israel, propelled by a tailwind from the Persian Gulf, dares Hamas to go to war
The Israeli government, the Palestinian Authority and, to a lesser extent, the Egyptian government are locked in a game of chicken with Hamas, which has brought along the two million unfortunate residents of the Gaza Strip for the ride. This death race is being fueled by a combination of internal Palestinian spats, various Israeli policies, military changes on the ground, and a diplomatic siege in the Gulf. A catastrophic collision seems increasingly likely.
Yet, speaking to the Knesset on Monday, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman indicated that he was unperturbed, noting that the past year was the quietest on the Gaza border since 1967 and that while there have been protests recently along the security fence, they have not been made up of huge, organic crowds but of "Hamas operatives that were bused there."
He also called for a strategy toward Hamas and Gaza in which Israel "does not blink and does not deviate."
In light of developments in recent months, the terrorist group is, in many ways, in dire straits.
The people it controls in the Gaza Strip are growing sick - some of them literally - of the conditions in the coastal enclave, where electricity is intermittent and raw sewage pollutes the surrounding sea because there's no power for its water treatment facility.
Meanwhile, work is poised to begin in the coming weeks on an Israeli subterranean border barrier that is meant to cripple Hamas's ability to send gunmen into the country through underground tunnels, one of the terror group's main weapons.
And one of Hamas's main benefactors, Qatar, is in the midst of its own crisis, and thus unlikely to step in and help in the near future. Its neighbor Saudi Arabia and many former allies cut ties with the small, oil-rich nation last week for a number of reasons, including its support for terrorist groups, among them Hamas.
But while all seems to be falling apart for Hamas, the group is in top military shape, having completely rebuilt its arsenal and infrastructure in the three years since its 2014 war with Israel, according to Israeli estimates.
Its ranks are said to have swelled to 27,000 fighters, nearly a tenth of them commandos. And the group is also believed to have invested heavily in both naval and aerial capabilities since the last Gaza conflict.
"They understand that their next attack on Israel might end 'Hamastan,' the Hamas government in Gaza," he said, speaking in a phone briefing organized by the Israel Project.
Gilad nevertheless advised Israel to work to prevent a full-blown humanitarian crisis in the Strip, because "a humanitarian crisis is chaos, and we need to avoid it."
A power struggle
On Sunday, Israel's security cabinet approved a request by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to halve the already paltry amount of electricity the coastal enclave receives. The hours of power supply in Gaza will likely be reduced from about six hours a day to between two and four hours.
Though the measure has been approved, it has not yet been implemented, as some technical aspects still have to be reviewed. When and if this decision will be implemented, it will place even more of a strain on the Strip's hospitals and on average Palestinians, who are forced to power their homes and businesses with personal generators (when they can afford it; with an unemployment rate estimated to be approximately 40 percent, there aren't many who can).
Abbas is able to make such a request of Israel because, while Hamas levies taxes on residents of Gaza, it refuses to pay for the approximately 125 megawatt-hours of electricity that get wired in from Israel, forcing the PA - its bitter rival - to pick up the tab. Historically, the PA did just that, though the Strip hasn't enjoyed round-the-clock electricity since Hamas took over some 10 years ago.
With the PA paying the bills, Hamas, awash in cash and unencumbered by responsibilities, was able to sink its money into defensive and attack tunnels, as well as a new arsenal of rockets, mortars and drones to be launched at Israel.
But this year Abbas adopted a more aggressive strategy. He refused to pay the taxes for the diesel fuel that supplied the Strip's own power station and to cover the NIS 40 million ($11.3 million) a month for electricity into Gaza, agreeing only to pay NIS 20-25 million ($7 million) a month to power the Strip.
In April, when Abbas first requested that Israel stop supplying the Gaza Strip with power in light of the debts it had racked up, this led to a minor tiff within the Israeli government. Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz balked at the notion, saying he was "not in the habit of taking orders from the Palestinian Authority, directly or indirectly, on matters under my authority." It took two months, but the Israeli government came around.
During Sunday's cabinet meeting, the military warned that the move might prompt Hamas to attack Israel, but it nevertheless reportedly supported the decision to cut power to Gaza on the grounds that it was preferable to a standoff with the Palestinian Authority over the issue.
Ignoring for a moment the diplomatic and political reasoning behind the cabinet's decision, on a purely economic level, should a further reduction in electricity to Gaza indeed be the catalyst for another war, Israel will have proven itself to be agora-wise and shekel-foolish.
The millions that it would cost for Israel to supply Gaza with power would pale in comparison to the billions that a large-scale military operation would end up costing the country in materiel, reservists' pay, insurance payouts for buildings and infrastructure damaged by Hamas, lost work days, a drop in tourism and - it should go without saying - human lives.
Though it is involved to a far lesser extent, Egypt is also part of the electricity calculus, as it provides Gaza with about 20 megawatt-hours through two power lines from Rafah. On Monday, apparently sensing Hamas's desperation, Cairo offered to increase the flow, in exchange for the terror group meeting certain conditions, according to the London-based Arabic newspaper Asharq al-Awsat.
Hamas would have to hand over 17 men wanted by Egypt on terrorism charges, stop smuggling weapons into the Sinai, provide additional protection at the Egyptian border, and give Cairo a heads-up on the movement of terrorists into Gaza through its underground tunnel network.
On the issue of electricity, the ball is very much in Hamas's court. The group does have its own funds, which could be used to settle its debts and ensure a steady supply of both power from Israel and diesel fuel into the Strip to allow the local power plant to provide residents with much-needed electricity. To date, though, it has refused to pay up.
A last hurrah for the tunnels
However, the game of chicken is not fueled by a power shortage alone.
Beginning later this summer, the Defense Ministry will begin work on an underground barrier designed to counter the threat of Hamas terrorists burrowing into Israel through attack tunnels.
The barrier will run along the 60-kilometer border with Gaza. It is expected to take several months to complete and cost NIS three billion ($850 million), while another billion shekels ($280 million) will be invested in other projects to shore up Israel's defenses against the subterranean threat.
IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot also revealed to the Knesset earlier this year that the military has capabilities that allow it to target the tunnels from the air.
While Hamas was once known for its rocket arsenal, with which it pummeled the town of Sderot and much of southern Israel for nearly a decade, it has increasingly turned to tunnels as its go-to means of threatening Israel.
In a speech last year, Hamas's then-politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh vowed that the group would live by "the rifle and the tunnel."
Hamas's network of tunnels is said to crisscross the entire Gaza Strip, as well as penetrate Israeli territory, giving it a veritable underground fortress from which to conduct attacks against Israeli security forces and civilians.
While the underground barrier along the border would not have an impact on the internal tunnel system, it is designed to neutralize the threat of tunnels that enter Israeli territory.
As work picks up on the barrier, Hamas might perceive a "use it or lose it" scenario regarding its border-crossing tunnels, and feel forced to send fighters through to carry out terror attacks while they still can.
Widening gulf with the Arab world
While Hamas has found itself pushed to the edge financially and militarily before, the difference this time is that its foreign support is in peril.
Last Monday, a group of Sunni Muslim countries, led by Saudi Arabia, announced it was cutting diplomatic ties and shutting down all borders with Qatar over the emirate's support for terrorism and other actions that destabilize the region.
Qatar has long been a source of consternation for Israel.
"On the one hand, it's a friend of the Americans. On the other, it's a friend of the Iranians. Sometimes it's with the Saudis; sometimes it's not with the Saudis," said Eldad Shavit, a former high-ranking official in both IDF Military Intelligence and the Prime Minister's Office.
As the Middle East is being divided along the Shia-Sunni (perhaps more accurately, the Iranian-Saudi) fault line, Qatar remains something of a wild card.
And so at the beginning of last week, apparently emboldened by the supportive words of US President Donald Trump during his trip to Riyadh last month, Saudi Arabia got together a group of countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain, to lay down the law for Qatar and get it to toe the Sunni coalition line.
Riyadh has considerable leverage over Doha, more so than the other countries in the Sunni coalition. Surrounding Qatar on three sides, Saudi Arabia controls the land borders through which approximately 40 percent of its food supply enters.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir demanded that Qatar stop supporting Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood if it wanted a resumption of ties with its former allies.
Qatar, it should be said, does not openly or directly fund the terrorist group, but assists it peripherally, acting as host to its leadership and financially supporting the people of Gaza so that Hamas can focus on its military strategy.
There have already been reports that Qatar is prepared to expel some Hamas officials from the country, but the extent to which the Qataris will ultimately cave is still open to debate.
"I don't see [senior Hamas official Khaled] Mashaal getting kicked out of Qatar," said Shavit, who is now a fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies think tank at Tel Aviv University.
With so much on the line, Shavit said, he expected that Qatar would capitulate to the Sunni countries' demands quickly.
But the diplomatic crisis is liable to have a twofold effect on Hamas:
As this severance of ties goes on, Qatar - while a rich country - would likely be more inclined to keep its money at home, feeding its citizens and keeping businesses afloat, rather than sending it out to Gaza. That would make it harder for Hamas to keep the Strip's citizens happy. And, if Doha does eventually cave to the pressure, it would be cutting its more apparent support for the terrorist group, which will hurt Hamas directly.
"All this pressure on Hamas, coming from Egypt or coming from Qatar... puts them on this track to make a decision," Shavit said.
So what will that decision be? Will the game of chicken end in a horrific wreck, a fourth round of fighting in the beleaguered and battered coastal enclave? Israel, it seems, is prepared to take a gamble and stay the course, relying on Hamas to blink and swerve out of the way.
Hamas to Increase Deployment Along Egypt-Gaza Border - by Aaron Klein and Ali Waked -
A delegation of Hamas leaders currently visiting Egypt reached a new understanding with Egyptian officials regarding security arrangements along the border between Sinai and the Gaza Strip, a knowledgeable source within Hamas told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The delegation, led by Hamas Gaza political chief Yehya Senwar, has been in Egypt since last week.
According to the source, one of the main understandings reached is that Hamas' security forces will be deployed over the length of the Gaza side of the Egypt border and not only at specific problem spots, as has been the case until now.
The renewed deployment is expected to take effect at the beginning of July, the source said. The source noted that the delegation, which is expected to return to the Gaza Strip today or tomorrow, had a successful visit that did not deal solely with security arrangements.
Al Jazeera separately reported generally that the Hamas delegation agreed with Egypt to tighten security along the Egypt-Gaza border.
Another issue discussed in the meeting, according to the source speaking to Breitbart Jerusalem, was that of Gaza-based Islamic State and Hamas members wanted by Egyptian authorities for their involvement in terrorist activities against the Egyptian army in the Sinai.
"The heads of the delegation told Egypt that investigations of involvement in terror are ongoing against certain individuals ... and regarding a number of individuals, our brothers in the delegation said there was proof of their involvement in terrorist activities against the Egyptian army."
The source noted the leaders of Hamas said that in any case it would be difficult for them to extradite to Egypt those who don't hold Egyptian citizenship.
He added, "The Egyptians said they expect all (smuggling) traffic from the Strip to Egypt to cease completely and that Hamas must take all steps necessary to prevent jihadists from leaving the Strip for Sinai and that they must arrest and extradite to Egypt all those from among the jihadists who try to do the opposite and make their way from Sinai to the Gaza Strip while fleeing from the Egyptian army."
The Egyptians, for their part, said they promised to consider opening the Rafah border crossing more frequently and for longer hours, the only way for Gaza's residents to reach the outside world. However, the source said the Egyptians stressed that the easing of restrictions would depend on the security situation in Sinai.
The Egyptians also promised to mediate with the Israelis to prevent any possibility of escalation in the Strip, but demanded that Hamas prevent provocation against Israel by Gazan organizations.
Scientists Discover the Bloody Fountain of Youth, But Does it Threaten Messiah? - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"Only be steadfast in not eating the blood; for the blood is the life; and thou shalt not eat the life with the flesh". Deuteronomy 12:23 (The Israel Bible™)
A new treatment involving transfusing the blood of young donors into older recipients is being lauded not only as a cure for disease but also as a possible treatment for reversing the effects of aging. But the unusual treatment, which evokes Biblical villains and dredges up medieval nightmares, has rabbis divided: is this a blessing or is it a curse?
Ambrosia, a biomedical startup in California, is running trials on a treatment that could help people suffering from heart disease, Alzheimer's, and certain forms of cancer. The treatment is based on a theory called parabiosis, which involves transfusing young blood from donors aged 16-25 into recipients 35 and older. The current version of the treatment involves transfusions of plasma, the liquid part of blood that doesn't contain any cells, from young people.
Since plasma cannot be patented, drug companies are not interested in this treatment and are not willing to fund the research. As a result, the human trials are expensive, with participants paying $8,000 per treatment.
Ambrosia claims they are running the trial at cost, with two liters of plasma costing $1,000 and the following evaluation of biomarkers in the blood of the recipient costing another $3,000. Nonetheless, the price tag places rejuvenation in the realm of the wealthy, hinting strongly at old archetypes.
One graphic case of the elite using the blood of the oppressed is in the Talmud, which describes Pharaoh bathing in the waters of the Nile, red with the blood of murdered Jewish infants, in order to cure his leprosy.
The subject of blood is central in Judaism, and the laws of kashrut (dietary laws) forbid the consumption of blood, requiring that it be covered after slaughtering of the animal.
Only be steadfast in not eating the blood; for the blood is the life; and thou shalt not eat the life with the flesh. Deuteronomy 12:23
The process Ambrosia is attempting, taking blood from the young, raises uncomfortable associations in the Jewish psyche. During the Middle Ages, Jews were often accused of spurious blood libels by their gentile neighbors, who charged them with murdering Christian children to use their blood for baking matzah (unleavened bread) for the Passover holiday. The first recorded blood libel was in England in the 12th century and the accusation was officially adopted by Pope Innocent IV in the 13th century, leading to centuries of baseless animosity between Jews and Christians.
The possibility of youth-for-sale raises moral concerns and law does not permit Ambrosia to directly hire the young donors. Ambrosia purchases its supply of young blood from donor facilities. With eternal youth on the table, a market could quickly appear, as it has for organs for transplant. Today, kidneys sell for as much as $150,000 on the black market. Currently, there is little demand for plasma and donors earn about $200 per month. If plasma is discovered to be the fountain of youth and a black market among the wealthy develops, this number may soar.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, rabbi of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, was cautious about the spiritual implications of the procedure.
"If the intention is to prolong or save lives, it is indeed a blessed endeavor," he told Breaking Israel News. "But if it is an attempt to usurp the place of God, to remove death from the world, that is like the generation that built the Tower of Babel in order to take the place of God in heaven.
"Life and death are from God, and resurrection of the dead is an essential part of the Messiah. People who want to eradicate death actually want to erase the resurrection of the dead."
Rabbi Moshe Avraham Halperin from the Science and Technology Torah Law Institute, which investigates modern technology within a religious Jewish framework, was unfazed by the vampiric appearance of the treatment.
"This is not at all similar to Pharaoh, who murdered the Jewish children out of his hatred of the Jews and our God," he told Breaking Israel News. "There is no problem with this treatment in Jewish law, since it is a cure and can prolong life. Prolonging life and rejuvenation is a blessed thing. The only thing forbidden in biology is to create a new life form."
"Selling organs may become problematic, but here we are talking about plasma, which is renewable," said Rabbi Halperin. "There should be systems created to make this available to the poor as well."
Watchman Warning: Gunfire in a War of Words
- By Hal Lindsey - http://www.hallindsey.com/ww-6-15-2017/
For a moment on Wednesday morning, it all changed. The vitriol died. Democrats huddled in prayer... for Republicans. The Speaker of the House of Representatives spoke for the entire House of Representatives. The Minority Leader of the House fully endorsed the Speaker's words, and spoke of prayer for all her colleagues' safety. She spoke of praying that the President have a successful term in office.
It took a tragedy. It always does. I'm sure you know the story. A man shot at some Republican Congressmen practicing for a charity baseball game. He shot Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a Congressional aide, as well as members of the Capitol Police. Only the gunman was killed. As of now, we don't know how badly the Congressmen and others were injured.
The vitriol in Washington and around the country seems to get worse every day. We expect it during elections, but this time it never ended. If anything, it grew worse. But for a moment on Wednesday, everything was better. Collegiality, empathy, and kindness seemed to fill the air.
Speaker Paul Ryan said, "We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us."
He was referring to the men and women of Congress, but he could have called this an attack on the entire nation. It was an attack on the Constitution - on the mechanisms put in place by our founders to ensure freedom and representative government for all. It was an attack on government of, by, and for the people.
During that moment on Wednesday, Washington stopped. Our leaders seemed to see anew that these American institutions of freedom are indeed precious and rare. Elected representatives looked across the aisle and, however briefly, saw human beings on the other side. Each realized that the gunfire could have been aimed at him or her.
It could have been the other way around, but the killer hated Republicans. Before the shooting, he asked if the players practicing were Republican or Democrat. He was told that they were Republicans. The killer, a Bernie Sanders volunteer, wrote on his Facebook page, "Trump Has Destroyed Our Democracy, It's Time to Destroy Trump & Co."
One Congressman who was there, Mark Warner of North Carolina, said it seemed that the "gunman was there to kill as many Republican members as possible."
I haven't heard anyone blaming guns, Democrats, or Senator Sanders, and they should not. The man responsible for the shooting was the shooter himself. He made the choice. He picked up the gun, and took it to a place he knew men were practicing for Congress's annual charity baseball game. He made sure of his target. Then he opened fire.
It could have been much, much worse. The Congressmen were hemmed in by the fence. Representative Mike Bishop of Michigan said they were "sitting ducks." He said the killer "had a rifle that was clearly meant for the job of taking people out, multiple casualties, and he had several rounds and magazines that he kept unloading and reloading."
Bishop added, "The only reason why any of us walked out of this thing, by the grace of God, one of the folks here (from security detail traveling with Scalise) had a weapon to fire back and give us a moment to find cover. We were inside the backstop and if we didn't have that covered by a brave person who stood up and took a shot himself, we would not have gotten out of there and every one of us would have been hit - every single one of us."
I hope the goodwill can continue, but the issues facing this country and the world are severe, and tempers will be raised again. The stakes in national capitals, and especially Washington, get higher every day. The decisions of a few can now impact billions of lives.
Leaders should be passionate about core issues. But they could also stand some kindness. I pray that God will do a work of love in the hearts of America's leaders.
God's Word gives the real answer, "Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
In times like these, we should meditate on these words.
Southern Baptists go 'gender-inclusive' on Bible -
Author warns U.S. slipping into abyss of declining Christian identification
The Southern Baptist Convention's 2017 meeting is underway during a time of crisis and division for the nation's largest Protestant denomination.
Much of the division centers on politics - and at the center of the firestorm is Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).
Moore spent last year waging a long and bitter war against President Donald Trump and his supporters, including penning frequent attacks on the then-candidate in the pages of leftist media outlets like the New York Times.
He also condemned Trump's immigration policies after the president's election.
Even before the rise of Trump, Moore had also been pushing the denomination to support amnesty for illegal aliens, skepticism of Israel and other stands with which most American conservatives would disagree.
During last year's meeting, the Southern Baptist Convention even took time to denounce the display of the Confederate battle flag. Some observers argue Moore may even break evangelical Christians' reliable support of the Republican Party.
While President Trump has delighted many American social conservatives, especially with his actions against abortion, Moore has been largely frozen out of the White House and was noticeably absent from President Trump's signing ceremony for an executive order on religious liberty.
And Moore's strong stand against Trump has angered some Southern Baptist leaders who have pledged to withhold donations to the ERLC and the Southern Baptist Convention's "Cooperative Program."
However, the Southern Baptists are also facing serious issues because of reasons which go beyond politics. The Southern Baptist Convention has lost members for close to a decade, with most of the losses coming from those who leave the denomination after being raised in the faith.
Religion News Service reports the Southern Baptist Convention is also losing more members to evangelical and nondenominational churches than they are picking up as converts. And despite Moore's support for mass immigration, the Southern Baptist Convention is also losing out to other denominations when it comes to attracting immigrants.
Carl Gallups, the author of several books including the recent title "When The Lion Roars," has expressed concern about the future of the denomination. The pastor has a long history with the organization.
"I have served over 30 years as a senior pastor with the SBC, also spending over a decade of that time as an international youth evangelist with what was then called the Home Mission Board," he told WND. "During the totality of my affiliation with the SBC I have spoken, by invitation, before the Board of Trustees, of what was then called the Home Mission Board. I have also preached by special invitation in the chapel services of the SBC central headquarters in Nashville and in SBC seminary and university chapel services as well. I have also served for over a dozen years on the Board of Regents for a major SBC University."
Gallups praised the Southern Baptist Convention for its long record of being steadfast in defending the truth of Christian doctrine.
"The Southern Baptists have been widely acclaimed as one of the most doctrinally conservative Christian denominations," Gallups said. "Since Southern Baptist churches are autonomous and do not ultimately answer to a higher ecclesiastical body outside the governance of each congregation, there can certainly be variances among individual Southern Baptist churches regarding worship practices, style of local leadership, and even nuances of doctrinal positions. This rather unique style of denominational cooperation might well be a major reason why the Southern Baptist denomination is still so biblically sound in most areas of its ministry endeavors."
However, Gallups expressed concern that stance may be weakening. The Southern Baptists have now adopted a "gender-inclusive" translation of the Bible. And Gallups warns the denomination seems to be trying too hard to appeal to a secular, anti-Christian culture rather than simply standing for truth.
"Our national obsession with political correctness is destroying our nation and is heavily influencing even the 'conservative' Southern Baptist denomination and many of its churches," the pastor warned. "While every reliable poll indicates that America is slipping ever deeper into the abyss of a declining Christian identification, Southern Baptist membership has also been on a decade of decline. They simply are not hanging on to the younger generation of believers, or potential believers. There are a multitude of reasons why this is happening - too many to recite here - but the main culprit is the political correctness gremlin."
In June 2015, Thomas Kidd and Barry Hankins, professors of history at Baylor University, argued in The Washington Post Southern Baptists should become more active about evangelism and maintain doctrinal rigor to combat its falling membership rolls. Gallups enthusiastically agrees, but worries the denomination is being cowed by the hostile media climate against believers.
"Many believers are fearful of sharing their faith in an increasingly Christian-hostile culture," he said. "Conservative Christian young people are often marginalized by practically every aspect of the world in which they are now being raised. The mantras of 'inclusiveness' and 'tolerance,' as well as the ostracism techniques of relentlessly labeling Bible-believing Christians as 'homophobic,' 'xenophobic,' or 'racist,' are powerful weapons of the demonic realm. As a result, many pastors have become increasingly fearful in proclaiming the whole counsel of God's Word or discussing 'tough' matters because they are afraid of losing members. And so we have only 17 percent of Americans who identify as Christians actually holding to a biblical worldview. And these statistics are in spite of the United States being the largest 'Christian' nation on the planet and the home of the largest conservative evangelical denominations."
Instead of compromising with a hostile culture, Gallups urges the Southern Baptist Convention to stand boldly for biblical truth and stop trying to win fawning media reports by attacking conservatives or President Trump. He argues the churches which are doing well are those who have refused to cater to the anti-Christian bias of the mainstream media and the larger culture.
"The churches that are spiritually and biblically thriving are the ones that are unashamedly standing in the contextual Word of God, exalting the name of Jesus, engaging in meaningful biblical worship, boldly proclaiming the Gospel message, discipling the body of Christ, and thoroughly engaged in hands-on and true mission endeavors," Gallups said. "These are the churches that today's Christian youth are so desperately seeking. These are the churches where young adults want to serve, grow, and raise their families. These are the churches, Southern Baptist or otherwise, that will continue to make a real difference in the advancement of the kingdom work of Jesus Christ."
Daily Jot: Creating the hate crime atmosphere
- Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Democrats across the land are appalled at the assassination attempt of Congressional Republicans by Illinois leftist James Hodgkinson, who wounded four and left Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) in critical condition. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that her prayers were with Scalise and the others, as well as for President Donald Trump. She said that while there are differences among the parties, that they are all family. Other Democrats took a similar conciliatory tone, and socialist Senator Bernie Sanders even issued an apology because Hodgkinson was part of his campaign. Virginia Democratic Governor Terry McCauliffe expressed empathy, but used the opportunity to promote gun control. But wait.
These people, while they are acting all sympathetic and empathetic saying that we are all family, are the very same people who have stirred hate for Republicans and fueled the vulgar and nasty protests to resist, obstruct, undermine and overthrow the current Republican-led government. Look at the statements made by Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, the ex-"president," Keith Ellison, Ashley Judd, Madonna, and so on. Their hate-filled inflammatory rhetoric has people so stirred up that it was only a matter of time when a nut-case like Hodgkinson took matters into his own hands. How many more out there are about to cross that red line of no return because of the national rhetoric of the left?
Between radicalization of Muslims and the Democratic Party rhetoric, our country is becoming a very inhospitable place for the law-abiding. In this case, leadership of the Democratic Party, who are now expressing their contrite condolences, were part and parcel to this hate crime by Hodgkinson. Those who marched on Washington wearing their little pink vagina stocking caps and cheered in support of the speeches are also responsible for creating this atmosphere. Shame on them. Because of this heightened rhetoric, our way of life is threatened. This hate speech, and that is truly what it is even when they are saying peace out of the other side of their mouths, begets violence. Hodgkinson is not alone. There are others. Hopefully, they will stand down. But how much rhetoric can some of these leftist radicals endure before they turn violent?
George Washington, in his 1796 Farewell Speech, warned against divisions and suggested a higher duty to country and to one another when he said, "The name of American, which belongs to you in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of patriotism more than any appellation derived from local discriminations. With slight shades of difference, you have the same religion, manners, habits, and political principles." We should act as such. Jesus said in Mark 3:25, "And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." Lincoln used this in his June 1858 speech forewarning the Civil War. As Christians, we know how Christ taught civility and solving our differences without hate and vulgarity. For the sake of our way of life and our eternal hope, let us exemplify Christ in this hate crime atmosphere.
Daily Devotion: When the Supernatural Invaded the Natural - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Peter saw his opportunity and addressed the crowd. "People of Israel," he said, "what is so surprising about this? And why stare at us as though we had made this man walk by our own power or godliness? For it is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-the God of all our ancestors-who has brought glory to his servant Jesus by doing this."
It was a sink-or-swim moment for Peter. Either it would be a great victory, or it would be a horrible disaster. Either the lame man would stand to his feet, or he would collapse in a heap on the ground. But Peter was going for broke. And on that day, the supernatural invaded the natural. God decided to shake things up.
Simon Peter did not, in and of himself, have the faith to do what he was about to do. It was a miracle. God gave Peter a special measure of faith that enabled him to say to the man, "I don't have any silver or gold for you. But I'll give you what I have. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!" (Acts 3:6). Then Peter helped him to his feet.
Having done this, the Lord then showed Peter that he was to preach the gospel. And Peter gave a great presentation of who Jesus Christ is.
Sometimes we'll take a step of faith-if there is a backup plan, a safety net. I think this is one of the reasons young people often are the ones starting new works for the Lord. They haven't lived long enough to become overly cautious. They don't know any better.
Don't get me wrong. There is a place for caution. There is place for prudence. And certainly if you are young, there is a place for seeking the counsel of older people who have lived longer than you.
But having said that, there is also a place for faith. There is also a place for taking chances and taking risks. And as we get older, we are less willing to do that than when we were younger. Peter was willing to take steps of faith. Are you?
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