Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
"In the Selfsame Day" - By Kit R. Olsen -
Scripture reveals that the Tribulation (Day of the Lord) will begin hot on the heels of the Rapture. The Lord gives us powerful symbols of the Rapture in the Old Testament. Noah is a symbol of the Rapture; he was carried away to safety in the Ark just before the flood came.
In the book of Genesis we see that the flood began on the same 24-hour day that Noah entered the ark. This is symbolic of the Rapture.
"In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah's wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark; And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lifted up above the earth" (Genesis 7:13, 17 emphasis added).
The situation with Lot is another symbol of the Rapture. On the very same day that Lot fled Sodom, God brought judgment upon it:
"And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, 'Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters that are here, lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.' But he lingered; and the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, Jehovah being merciful unto him; and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. (Genesis 19:15-16 emphasis added)
The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot came unto Zoar. Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the Plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground" (Genesis 19:23-25 emphasis added).
Again, in the book of Luke we read about Noah and Lot:
"They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot; they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all: after the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he that shall be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away: and let him that is in the field likewise not return back" (Luke 17:27-31).
The flood began on the same 24-hour day Noah and his family entered the ark. Sodom was destroyed on the same 24-hour day that Lot departed. A "day" must be a normal 24-hour day or the statement in verse 31 about not going down from the rooftop or back to the house does not make sense (Luke 17:31).
Jesus said that on the very "day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:27), and "in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all" (Luke 17:29).
He then said, "After the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed" (Luke 17:30). This is a reference to the Rapture of the Church.
The late Dr. John Walvoord made the following statement:
"When the day of grace ends with the translation of the Church, the Day of the Lord [the Tribulation] begins at once." (The Rapture Question, page 162)
Dave Breese was a beloved televangelist and pastor. He founded Christian Destiny Ministry, helped start the AWANA Youth Association and served with Youth for Christ for 13 years. He taught the Pre-Tribulation Rapture during his distinguished ministry, yet he did not teach that there would be a gap between the Rapture and the Tribulation. In his essay, "The Rapture," he explains:
The Tribulation is the beginning of "the day of the Lord." As we have seen, the Christians were conscious - because they read about it in the Old Testament - that there was a time of fearful judgment coming upon the world called "the day of the Lord." The churches, however, needed instruction as to how to discern the presence of the day of the Lord and the way to know that the day of grace was finished.
Concerning this, the apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, saying, "Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of the Christ is at hand" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2).
The apostle Paul is, therefore, saying that the Rapture of the Church, concerning which he had carefully instructed the Thessalonians, was the watershed point ending the day of grace and beginning the day of the Lord. In that the Rapture had not taken place, the day of the Lord was not yet present.
Here, the apostle Paul gives us a clear line of demarcation between the Church Age, the day of grace, and the day of the Lord, which is the day of divine judgment. That line of demarcation is the Rapture of the Church. (James T. William, Storming Toward Armageddon, pp. 298-299 emphasis added)
The Rapture is the event that separates the "Day of Grace" (Church Age) from the "Day of the Lord" (Tribulation). Some well-studied Pre-Tribulationists understand this, and do not allow for a gap between the two events. Remember what Jesus Himself said about the timing of the Rapture. He said that on the "day" the Church is raptured the Tribulation begins (Luke 17:29-30). Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed on the very 24-hour day that Lot departed Sodom. Jesus said it will be the same when He returns.
Dwight Pentecost was a theologian best known for his book, Things to Come. He was the Distinguished Professor of Bible Exposition, Emeritus, at Dallas Theological Seminary. He was a leading Pre-Tribulationist who did not allow room for a time gap between the Rapture and the Tribulation. In his book, Things to Come, he states that the Tribulation begins immediately after the Rapture:
The only way this day could break unexpectedly upon the world is to have it begin immediately after the rapture of the church. It is thus concluded that the Day of the Lord is that extended period of time beginning with God's dealing with Israel after the Rapture at the beginning of the Tribulation period and extending through the Second Advent and the millennial age unto the creation of the new heavens and new earth after the millennium. (Things to Come, pp. 230-231 emphasis added)
In 2006, the late Dave Hunt wrote this in a newsletter:
Not only is it logical that Satan will act quickly once the Church is gone, but he must. Only the sudden, terrifying disappearance of perhaps 50-100 million persons from this earth could unite the entire world under Antichrist and cause the world to worship him. Nothing else could do it. Satan won't let that opportunity pass! So I believe that the Tribulation under Antichrist and the rule of Satan will begin immediately after the Rapture. (The Berean Call, January 6, 2006)
Another beloved and respected man, the late J. Vernon McGee, a popular Bible teacher (Thru the Bible radio programs) taught the Tribulation (Day of the Lord) would begin immediately after the Rapture:
"The one event of the Rapture will end the day of grace and begin the Day of the Lord. It closes one day and opens another." (J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible, Volume Five, p. 400)
On the same page of the same book, J. Vernon McGee also discusses how the world will be expecting to enter a new era of peace, but instead will be "plunged" unexpectedly into the Tribulation, indicating that there will be a false peace just prior to the beginning of the Tribulation.
"While they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they [unbelievers] shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:3 emphasis added).
Please notice what Paul states next to Christians of the Church Age in 1 Thessalonians 5:4: "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day [Rapture/Tribulation] should overtake you as a thief." Believers should be watching and be aware of unfolding events and situations leading up to the Rapture of the Church and the Tribulation (Luke 21:36).
Scripture is clear that the Tribulation begins when the Antichrist signs the covenant with Israel (Daniel (9:24-27). But that does not negate the Scriptures that tell us there is no gap between the Rapture and Tribulation. Some who want to place a time gap between the Rapture and the Tribulation say that Scripture does not say the Tribulation begins with the Rapture, which is of course true. But by saying that does not mean there is a time gap or negate the Scriptures that show there is no gap.
The Scriptures show us that very quickly after the Rapture, in the "selfsame day" which means within a 24-hour hour period, the Tribulation begins. Therefore the signing of the covenant must take place, then. The Rapture will be the perfect epic event that would set-in-motion the signing of the covenant. To be clear, I am not saying the Rapture triggers the Tribulation. I am saying the Rapture would trigger the signing of the covenant, which then inevitably marks the beginning of the Tribulation.
To try to place a gap between the Rapture and the Tribulation discredits the Lord's Scriptures which disprove such a hypothesis. The very day the Rapture takes place, the seven-year Tribulation will begin within a 24-hour period. If we diligently study our Bibles we will see that Scripture does not permit a time gap between the Rapture and the Tribulation.
Footnote: "Anyone who loves God's chosen people will want to read Kit's book, Israel's Guaranteed Future Glory. The most recent May 2017 edition includes a powerful, updated Presidential Inaugural chapter and additional information of historical value. Kit's wonderful book highlights the State of Israel showing that God's prophetic promises have not been broken, and that He still has a plan for mankind.
The history of the Jews proves the validity of His Holy Word; and the geopolitical climate unfolding today falls in line with God's prophetic messages. Kit has been my dedicated editor/writer for the site since 2012. I am very pleased to share some of her additional work with our readers and feature her new book on the site in our Recommended Resource Section." -Todd Strandberg
Iran Uses Star Of David As Missile Test Target
- by Deborah Danan -
Iran recently used a Star of David as a target for a ballistic missile test, Israel's envoy to the UN said Wednesday, releasing satellite images of the site to the United Nations Security Council.
The Star of David was used as a target for a mid-range "Qiam" ballistic missile test in December last year, a statement from the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations said.
"This use of the Star of David as target practice is hateful and unacceptable," Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said to the Council.
A grainy image shows the Jewish symbol and next to it an impact crater can be seen.
"The missile launch is not only a direct violation of UNSCR 2231, but is also a clear evidence of Iran's continued intention to harm the State of Israel," Danon said, adding that "the targeting of a sacred symbol of Judaism is abhorrent."
"The Security Council must act immediately against this demonstration of hate and Iran's provocative violations that threaten the stability of the entire region," added Danon.
"It is the Iranians who prop up the Assad regime as hundreds of thousands are killed, finance the terrorists of Hezbollah as they threaten the citizens of Israel, and support extremists and tyrants throughout the Middle East and around the world," he added.
A senior Iranian official said last week that Tehran's retaliatory strike against the Islamic State in Syria earlier this month was also a warning to Israel, and the Jewish state has "reason to worry."
"I think (Israel) understood the message ... it now has to worry" about every move it makes, Sheikh Hussein al-Islam, an advisor to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said after the attack, "I have one message for Iran: Don't threaten Israel."
In March of last year, Iran tested two ballistic missiles bearing the Farsi inscription, "Israel must be wiped out."
So What Was Iran's Missile Strike on Syria Really About? - Ariel Ben Solomon -
While Iran routinely threatens Israel and its Lebanese terror proxy, Hezbollah, has a vast arsenal of rockets pointed at the Jewish state, experts say the Islamic Republic was sending messages elsewhere through its first missile strike on another country in three decades.
Iran struck Islamic State targets in Syria on June 18, in retaliation for Islamic State's twin terror attacks against prominent Iranian institutions June 7. Iran had not launched a missile strike on another nation since the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s.
Situated nearly 1,800 kilometers (1,118 miles) away from Israel, Iran reportedly has missiles capable of reaching the Jewish state. The precision-guided Zolfaghar missiles Iran fired Sunday into the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor have a range of about 750 kilometers (466 miles). Iran proceeded to showcase Zolfaghar missiles Friday during anti-Israel "Al-Quds Day" rallies.
The Israeli government has ongoing concerns about Iran's nuclear program, ballistic missile program and state sponsorship of terrorism, but the Iranian missile strike in Syria seemingly had little to do with the Jewish state.
Dr. Raz Zimmt, an Iran expert at two Israeli think tanks, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) and the Forum for Regional Thinking, told JNS.org Iran's missile attack was "a direct response to the [June 7] terror attack in Tehran and a message both for domestic, regional and international use."
Zimmt explained that, internationally, Iran "wanted to send a message that it considers its missile capabilities to be vital to its national interests, especially in light of the growing U.S. criticism against this capability." The U.S. Senate passed new sanctions against Iran's ballistic missile program June 15.
"The Iranian regime wanted to send a message to its rivals, especially the Saudis, and to a lesser extent, in my view, Israel, showing its strength as a regional power," Zimmt said.
Missile Accuracy 'the Lesser Issue'
IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said the Iranian missile launch was "smaller" than what was reported and achieved "far from precise hits."
Yet accuracy "is the lesser issue," said Dr. Eado Hecht, a military expert at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
"If [the Iranians] launch towards targets in an Israeli city, then it really does not matter on which street the missile falls-their capability of hitting a target area the size of Haifa or Tel Aviv is a given," Hecht told JNS.org.
Hecht said the strike in Syria demonstrated Iran's ability to reach a target area as far as 700 kilometers (435 miles) away. That does not prove Iran can strike Israel with its missiles, but the regime is assumed to have such a capability, according to Hecht, who added that it is difficult for the Jewish state to gather information on Iranian missiles solely from test-launches.
Overall, Iran's "message is more to others rather than to Israel" through the strike on Syria, said Hecht.
"I think demonstrating this capability and the willingness to use it was directed more to the Saudis than to Israel," he said.
Iran Showcases Its Strength
INSS analyst Zimmt said he sees the recent escalation between the Shi'a power of Iran and the Sunni power of Saudi Arabia as contributing to Iran's efforts to showcase its strength.
"Iran considers current developments in the region as an expression of a combined effort by the Saudi-American-Zionist alliance to curb its influence in the region, while it continues its own efforts to expand its influence," he said.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) military force has come under criticism domestically following the Islamic State terror attacks in Tehran, "so it had to react," said Zimmt.
"The bottom line," he said, "is that Iran always tries to turn a challenge or weakness, such as the terror attack, into an opportunity to show its strength."
Why Is Russia Buying So Much Gold? -
Many U.S. politicians believe the dollar is better than gold. Other nations are not as convinced.
Russia is loading up on gold. Since May 1, the Central Bank of Russia has added 700,000 troy ounces to their national gold reserve. That's as much as the combined weight of 33 full-grown Kamchatka brown bears. These new purchases have pushed Russia's total gold holdings up to 1,707 tons-half over again what they were when Vladimir Putin first came to power in 2000. Russia now has the seventh-largest gold hoard on the planet.
Both Russia and China are stockpiling gold in a bid to cut their economic dependency on the United States dollar, according to Russian state media outlets, such as Sputnik News. "According to our estimates, there will be a downward trend in the dollar exchange rate in the next 15 years," financial expert Philip Klinkmüller told Sputnik Germany. "In the long run, it cannot be guaranteed that the dollar will remain a global reserve currency."
While Sputnik News is a state-media outlet known for spreading propaganda, it cannot be denied that Russia, China and Germany are increasing the amount of gold held on home soil. Just as Russia increased its gold holdings by 56 percent in the last 17 years, so China has increased its gold holdings by 74 percent.
While Germany hasn't added any gold to its reserves in 17 years, it has repatriated 300 tons of gold stored in the vaults of the U.S. Federal Reserve back to the German Central Bank in Frankfurt. According to Handelsblatt, the reason for this repatriation is that German financial controllers were unsure whether the gold being held by the United States actually existed. So storing the gold in Frankfurt is a way to build consumer confidence.
"In a major crisis or a breakdown of the monetary system, the demand for gold, and therefore its price, would shoot up," said economist Jörg Guido Hülsmann. "The Bundesbank's gold would then be worth so much that it could save the euro solely based upon the confidence the markets place in it."
While the U.S. allegedly has the largest gold reserves of any nation, it also has the largest economy of any nation. When you divide America's M2 Money Supply by the market value of its gold reserves, you find the Unites States holds a mere 2.2 percent of its money supply in gold. Meanwhile, China holds 2.8 percent of its money supply in gold, Germany holds 3.9 percent, and Russia is swiftly approaching a point where it will hold 10 percent.
While gold is great disaster insurance, none of this is tremendously significant as long as the global economy stays healthy. But if the world plunges into a second Great Depression, Americans could wake up and see the dollar dislodged from its position of global primacy by currencies that are backed by more than paper. Many U.S. politicians have deluded themselves into believing that the dollar is better than gold, but other nations obviously are not so convinced. Russia and China have been vocal for some time about their desire to increase their gold holdings and move away from the U.S. dollar. But now even U.S. allies like India and Germany are announcing their desire to diversify away from a dollar-denominated economic system.
A Righteous Nation - Nathele Graham -firstname.lastname@example.org
The United States of America will soon celebrate Independence Day with parades, fireworks, and barbecues. It's a fun time, but do we stop and think about the history of this nation? The first settlers came to escape from religious persecution. They were Christians who loved God but the government dictated the ways of worship and sermon content. This was in conflict with God's word and the pilgrims chose to leave for the shores of what we now call the United States of America. The Mayflower sailed to the East Coast of America and landed at Plymouth Rock where the first order of business was to establish a government of sorts. The Mayflower Compact was drafted and signed and was the first document to establish governing in this new land. The first words of that document are "In the name of God, Amen" and elsewhere it says "Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and the advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country..." That was then and this is now. As a nation we have turned far away from God. Shame on us. Many years after the Mayflower Compact was enacted, the Declaration of Independence was signed. That document acknowledged rights given by God. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". This acknowledges there is a Creator and there are God-given rights. The Apostle John tells us who that Creator is. In speaking of Jesus as the Word, John wrote "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:3. Jesus Christ is the Creator.
America was founded on Godly principles but has lost her moral footing. The last man who occupied the White House declared that we were no longer a Christian nation, as if that's a good thing. It isn't good at all. "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." Proverbs 29:2, The moral decay in America is astonishing and that is a sad comment about Christians today. It's also a reflection upon the leadership of America. We have had a long line of leaders who openly reject Christ and the evil they've embraced has polluted the lives of Americans. President Trump isn't perfect but he isn't ashamed to stand before this nation and acknowledge God Almighty. Obama is a Muslim and legalized sin. He's a prime example of "... when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." Oh, there are those who don't mourn, such as Kathy Griffin who thinks it's funny to pretend to behead President Trump then whine because there was a backlash against her. Or how about Johnny Depp who "joked" about an actor killing a president. Not funny. Not funny at all. These are just a couple of the mentally sick people who are given attention from the liberal media. Where is the outrage from Christians? Have we become a part of the problem? We need to take a stand for Christ and make our voices heard. America will only become a Muslim nation, an atheistic nation, or an amoral nation if God-fearing men and women keep silent. Each one of us can take a stand in our own community. If we make a difference locally then that will spread nationally. Don't compromise your walk with Christ.
"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34. What does it mean to be righteous? Merriam-Webster defines it as "Acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin". Moral law was established by God. If a nation rejects God there can be no righteousness in that nation. A good example of a nation that rejects God is North Korea. The atrocities that happen there are truly inspired by Satan. America was once a righteous nation, but it seems as if there are few people today who hold God's moral guidance as a way of life. What has gone wrong? There are many causes of this unrighteousness that is gripping America, but rejection of God Almighty is the main reason. It's been happening over time and is finally becoming so open that Christian morals are becoming illegal. Was it the invention of television that did it? That certainly is a factor. Families stopped eating at the dinner table and talking with each other. Then it became a status symbol to have more than one television. No longer was the family gathered together in the living room but the kids had to have their own TV in their bedroom. There is no parental guidance in what they watch. Do your kids watch MTV? Christians shouldn't. Television has more influence on children and teens than parents. In a short time we've gone from "Father Knows Best" to programming that belittles men, glorifies sin, and laughs at righteousness. Movies aren't any better. What used to be considered R rated is now PG. Music has gone from the Beatles singing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" to Katy Perry singing about having sexual relations with an extraterrestrial. Schools don't focus on the 3 R's but teach kindergarteners that it's OK to have two mommies and that they can choose if they are a girl or a boy. This is morally wrong and against Biblical truth. Parents, where are you? Christian parents, put your foot down and stop the madness. Turn off the TV, restrict the movies your children watch, censor the music, homeschool your children, and get your family back to worshipping God. Lead by example. Sunday mornings aren't a day for you to sleep in. Sin is a reproach, and America is full of sin.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance" Psalm 33:12. The psalmist understood that no nation can be great unless God Almighty is honored as Lord. We know that this psalm was written about Israel because they are the people that God chose as His own. The Jewish people were entrusted with the Law of Moses, Jewish prophets spoke God's words to His people, and most importantly it was through the Jewish nation that the Messiah was born. Yes, Israel was blessed and through them the entire world is blessed because of Jesus Christ. In reading Psalm 33 we can see that this isn't just written to Israel, but to the entire earth. "Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him." Psalm 33:8. Every person on earth is admonished to fear the Lord and stand in awe of Him. Are there any nations today that truly honor the sovereign God and look to Him for guidance? I can't think of a single one. A favorite song Americans hear is "God Bless America" which contains a plea "...stand beside her and guide her, through the night with a Light from above". God cannot and will not bless any nation or person who stands against Him. It's time for the Christians in America, and indeed the entire world, to stop listening to the god of this world (Satan) and turn your heart, soul, and mind to God Almighty. Bless Him by following Him.
"The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God." Psalm 9:17. David knew God's truth and He loved the Lord. There are many prophecies regarding judgment day and it's coming quickly. America is becoming a nation that has forgotten God and is on the edge of no return. Brothers and sisters, stand firmly upon God's word. When any law is enacted that is contrary to God's Law, reject it. Write to your congressman and let the Christian voice be heard. Pray. America was given a reprieve from God's judgment when Hillary lost the last election. Christians prayed and God answered, but now we need to continue in prayer. We need to take a stand and live our life to honor God and lead others to salvation through Jesus. "Arise, O LORD; let not man prevail: let the heathen be judged in thy sight. Put them in fear, O LORD: that the nations may know themselves to be but men. Selah." Psalm 9:19-20. We are mere mortals and our time on earth is very short. We can make a difference in the course of our nation if we turn to God and pray for our leaders. We also need to live our daily life according to Biblical ways.
This world is not our home. We are passing through life and a Christian has much to look forward to in the next life. "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." 1 Peter 2:11-12. People watch Christians and see how we represent Jesus Christ in our daily life. In this verse, the King James translation uses the word "conversation", but this means how we conduct our life. Other translations more clearly say "having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles" (NKJ) and "be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors" (NLT). It all comes down to the fact that we are not supposed to live like the world lives and Christians in America must turn away from the evilness around us. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14. I know this was written to the nation of Israel, but most of the Old Testament was. That doesn't mean we ignore the truth behind the words. I am a Christian. I am called by the name of Christ. Because I have accepted Him as my Saviour, I have a responsibility to live in a way that honors Him. So do you. If every Christian in this nation would humble themselves before the Lord, pray for our nation, seek the Lord with our entire heart, soul, and mind, and turn from the wickedness of sin, we would see a difference in America.
As we celebrate the independence of America from the tyranny of English rule, let's remember that we are first and foremost Christians and may this nation return to our dependence on God. Righteousness only comes through Jesus Christ and may His righteousness be upon America.
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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The 'Unwalling' of Jerusalem Proves Zechariah's Prophecy Coming to Life
- By Yoel Domb -
"Run speak to this young man saying: Yerushalayim shall be inhabited without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. For I saith Hashem will be unto her a wall of fire round about and I will be the glory in the midst of her." Zechariah 2:8 (The Israel Bible™)
Jerusalem, circumscribed by walls since it was a tiny hamlet inhabited by Jebusites thousands of years ago, is finally fulfilling its prophesied destiny as an unwalled city - a reality which seemed almost impossible until very modern times.
Numerous ancient walls have been discovered by archaeologists plumbing the depths of Jerusalem's past, including a 7-meter-wide wall from the First Temple period which was found beneath the modern Jewish quarter. The massive wall was built to shore up Jerusalem's northern defenses in view of the impending invasion by Assyrian king Sennacherib, but it is also testimony to the strategy required to defend a town topographically inferior to the mountains surrounding it.
It would have been unthinkable at this stage to envisage a Jerusalem without walls. David, king of Israel, prayed that God maintain the walls of his capital, asking:
Do good in Thy favour unto Tzion; build Thou the walls of Yerushalayim. (Psalms 51:20)
The walls of Jerusalem were destroyed by the Babylonians during the destruction of the First Temple, but immediately after the Jews returned to Zion, their initial task was to erect walls around Jerusalem. Nehemiah describes in extended detail the building of this wall (Nehemiah 3:1-32) as well as the attempts by the Samaritans to belittle the wall and harm its construction. (3:33-35).
These attempts led to a remarkable feat of construction being attempted by Nehemiah, with workers holding their hammers and chisels in one hand and their swords in the other to prevent the enemy from taking advantage of the unfinished wall.
It is against this backdrop that the prophet Zechariah made the remarkable prophecy that Jerusalem would one day be unwalled.
Yerushalayim shall be inhabited without walls for the multitude of men and cattle therein. For I saith Hashem will be unto her a wall of fire round about and I will be the glory in the midst of her. Zechariah 2:8-9
With such a struggle going on to complete the construction of the wall and its necessity so evident, it seemed utterly far-fetched to imagine a city being inhabited in a defendable manner without walls surrounding it. Indeed, even in subsequent eras Jerusalem remained a walled city and the wall's status was halakhically (adhering to Jewish law) defined by the requirement to eat certain tithes and sacrifices within the walls of Jerusalem.
At the end of the Second Temple period, with Jerusalem growing and sprawling further northwards beyond the original walls, a second fortified wall was built to the north, containing 14 towers according to the historian Josephus, as well as a moat in front of it. Later, during the life of Jesus, a third wall was built stretching the city even further north.
In subsequent generations, Jerusalem was renamed, repopulated and denuded of its walls, but no Jews were allowed to enter the city by the Roman conquerors. The walls of Jerusalem were erected once again later in a vain attempt to protect against Sassanian, Muslim and Crusader invaders but Jerusalem did not grow beyond its borders even as it gained influence in three religions.
Suleiman the Magnificent restored the walls of Jerusalem in 1536 and they have stood the test of time, but it was only 150 years ago that Jews seriously began contemplating establishing neighborhoods and communities outside the walls.
It was the dream of one Jew, Joseph Rivlin, to be the architect of the fulfillment of Zechariah's prophecy. Rivlin, a scion of the establishers of the Ashkenazic community in Jerusalem, wished not only to escape the crowded, squalid living conditions in the Old City but also to be surrounded by "the walls of fire" envisaged by Zachariah.
He was a practical dreamer and set about establishing the Nahalat Shiva neighborhood together with six other friends. The only problem was that none of those friends were willing to live in the neighborhood. With armed robbers and wild animals abounding and no walls of fire visible, Rivlin was the sole brave soul who ventured to move there.
Even his wife refused to join him there, and Rivlin led a solitary existence outside the walls for two years and eight months, suffering from frequent attacks by marauders until others finally racked up the courage to join him.
Rivlin went on to found a total of 13 neighborhoods outside the walls, until he earned himself the Yiddish nickname "Shtetlmacher", or Town-Maker. He died impoverished, unable to pay even the doctor who treated him, but his legacy as the harbinger of Zachariah's prophecy lives on in modern Jerusalem
Today, in a clear fulfillment of Zechariah's unlikely prophecy, just 5 percent of Jerusalem's 800,000 population live today within the walls, while the other 95 percent are spread over a vast municipal area. While Zechariah's "wall of fire" is not visible to the naked eye, few believers could deny that the modern, unwalled Jerusalem, simply by virtue of its blessed continuance, is protected by Divine grace.
Daily Jot: Fake media fight back armed with hypocrisy
- Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The new narrative among the mainstream fake news media is that President Donald Trump's war on the media is making it dangerous to be a journalist. Atlantic Editor in Chief Jeffrey Goldberg said he was concerned that there are people in the country that listen to the president repeating "that the reporters, journalists, are enemies of the state...and someone is going to do something violent against journalists in a large way, and then I know where the fault lies." This, however, is the atmosphere created by the leftist media in lying and slanting the news to a visceral level that prompted the assassination attack on conservative Congressmen. It's a bitter pill when they have to swallow their own medicine.
It's as if the entire leftist media got together and came up with the same talking points. CNN foreign correspondent Clarissa Ward opened a panel discussion saying that President Trump's "declaration of war on the media" emboldened people in war zones and made it more dangerous to be a journalist. Playboy White House correspondent (huh?) Brian Karem agreed and talked about journalists being jailed and killed. CNN political correspondent Chris Cillizza chimed in, saying, "I think it's already dangerous what the Trump Administration is doing...taking an honest mistake, or not even a mistake, and turn it into the norm." Making up stories to undermine the President is an honest mistake? Really?
Even the likes of Bob Woodward, the reporter who exposed the Watergate scandal, said the media, specifically the New York Times, was going overboard in its bias against President Trump. Woodward said in remarks after a film screening of "All the President's Men" in Washington, D.C., "Tone matters, and headlines matter, and you want people to trust you...I think a kind of brief, deeply fair-mindedness is essential." Yet, CNN, with its back against the wall, is coming out swinging, saying that President Trump is endangering reporters-and the left-leaning Atlantic, Playboy and CNN political correspondents agree. It's ok if they lie and twist the truth that results in violence against conservatives, but when the President, and quite frankly, the American people call them out with the truth, they cry like cowards.
Being a real journalist is not easy. In the quest to find the truth, enemies will be made. As an award-winning investigative journalist in the 1970s-80s, my job, my body, and my life were threatened for exposing the truth. It was part of the job and I didn't whine about it. I also didn't slant my stories or write lies to boost an agenda. These reporters are saying that the backlash against their reporting is a threat to the First Amendment. In reality, their biased, coup-promoting, violence-inciting reporting is the real threat to the entire Constitution. Psalm 93:16 asks, "Who will rise up for me against the evildoers?" It's not the evildoers, for sure-not the mainstream media. Only God is the refuge of the righteous. Those who do not have Jesus have no foundation for the truth. This includes these reporters, who claim to be guardians of the truth.
Daily Devotion: Divided and Conquered
- By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent.
I find it interesting that in the days of the early church when many were being saved, when miracles were being performed, and when the church was growing by leaps and bounds, people started complaining. Acts 6:1 tells us, "But as the believers rapidly multiplied, there were rumblings of discontent."
Doesn't that sound like today? You see, the devil is rather clever. He tried to stop the church through persecution. But instead of arresting their development, he helped them get on with the job of being what the Lord had called them to be. The church, instead of cowering in fear, became a lean, mean, preaching machine.
Then he tried to infiltrate the church through Ananias and Sapphira, two blatant hypocrites, and the Lord dealt with them. His next strategy was to try and stop the church through division-to divide and conquer. He slipped into their ranks, and people started complaining about the smallest things. It wasn't really a spiritual issue; it essentially was a clash over culture.
And we still have that today. Every generation has the musical style they prefer. They have the clothing they prefer. They have certain cultural mores they think are important. Sometimes they are built on a biblical concept, and at other times they are simply a personal preference. But we should never divide over these things.
It's okay to have personal preferences. It's okay to like one thing over another. But it is wrong when we divide from a fellow Christian over something of that nature.
People will leave churches over the silliest things. They don't like this change or don't agree with that. They get hung up on the smallest issues. Maybe the problem isn't so much with the church as it is with people. Let's not divide over minor issues.
FROM THE HEART
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