Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Seven Churches - By Pete Garcia -
We often speak about the imminent return of Christ as if it could have happened at any point in these last two millennia without really considering if that were really possible. Yes, the doctrine of imminence is a sound one. Yes the apostles themselves expected to see Christ in their lifetime, as have every generation since. However, could Christ really have returned at any point in the past 2,000 years, or was there always a predetermined time in which the Father would send the Son?
Let us consider His first coming.
From a human perspective, it would have made more sense for Jesus to make His incarnation around 185BC. This would have been three-decades prior to the Maccabean Revolt and Rome had yet to rise as a great world power. Christ then could have easily led the revolt against Antiochus Epiphanes IV and his Seleucid forces and then claimed David's throne in Jerusalem while the world powers were still in disarray. This would have completely dismantled one of the main arguments the Jews have today, chiefly, that Jesus did not throw off the gentile yoke of bondage (Gentile rule) when He was here.
But that is from a human perspective.
God being omniscient already knew the Jews of 185BC were not ready for the kingdom. They were not ready in 185BC; neither would they be in 27AD. Not because they did not have a temple (they did), and not because they were not religious enough (they were). They were only looking for a great leader to set Israel up as the head of nations. They were not, however, ready to change their hearts. Besides, the Jews were still largely divided on when and how the Messiah should come. Furthermore, if Christ had come earlier than when He did, Daniel 9:24-27 would not make sense. The prophetic word would have been broken.
Secondly, they were also divided on who would come. Would it be Messiah ben Joseph or Messiah ben David? There were two pictures of the Messiah in the Old Testament, and they in large part, could not reconcile the two into one coming. One was coming as a suffering servant (Isaiah 53), and the other as a conquering king (Zechariah 14). [Side note: similarly, many pastors, teachers, and Christian leaders today cannot reconcile Christ's return in two stages].
Would the Messiah be a priestly teacher and craftsman, or would he be a warrior-king? Alternatively, could he be another prophet and leader like Moses? It seemed most had already given up hope that anyone would literally come at all. Perhaps this is why only a handful of Jews were actively anticipating the arrival of the Hamashiach when He actually did arrive (Luke 2:8-38). Regarding this anticipation, however, was the arrival of the most unlikely of people, Gentiles (Parthians) from the East who came to pay homage to the One born King of the Jews (Matthew 2).
Lucky for us, we do not have to speculate on such issues. Regarding God's perfect timing and the infusion of His Son into His creation, the Apostle Paul writes, but when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons (Galatians 4:4-5). There was a specific time when God the Father knew He would send God the Son into the human realm to redeem mankind. This is why although I understand the scriptural concept of imminence and our inability to know God's timing; I am continually drawn back to the Seven Letters to the Seven Churches as found in Revelation 2-3.
The beauty and mystery of these seven letters from our Lord are that they are so rich in application and meaning, that we today (21 centuries removed) have been unable to fully plumb the depths of their meaning. However, many great Biblical scholars have over the past two millennia, have been able to give us a more insightful picture of the basic constructs of these two magnificent chapters. First, the letters themselves have a four-fold application.
Many Christian leaders I have spoken to about these simply write this off as nonsense. They only want to apply point number one to Revelation 2-3. However, Jesus could have addressed any number of larger and more important churches in the Roman Empire at that time. There would have been hundreds to thousands by 95AD. Yet, His message was to seven relatively unknown churches in Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), of which, He then addresses in a particular order. The order of arrangement, in conjunction with the names and specific issues they are undergoing, coincides with how history has largely played out. In other words, their arrangement serves as the order of the epochs or eras by which Christendom would proceed through the centuries. God does not do things either accidentally or arbitrarily. To think otherwise is to question God's omniscience.
If these letters speak prophetically to the unfolding ages of the Church, then surely, one of them should be identified as the time when Christ could return. And if that is the case, then the issue is not so much with diminishing or even denying the doctrine of imminence, but the imminent return during a particular period of time during those two-thousand years. Granted, nobody knows the day nor hour (Mark 13:32), so from our perspective, imminence still holds sway over every generation since that first Pentecost (Acts 1-2). Even Paul's writings were expectant of Christ's return in his day. Yet, as he drew closer to his impending death, Paul seemed resigned to the fact that the "catching up" (harpazo) that he himself taught, would not occur in his lifetime.
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:6-8
So given that imminence is not diminished by holding to the Seven Churches as Seven Epoch's view, we can proceed easily with the prophetic picture in mind. While it would have been impossible to see the seven-churches as church ages to that first century audience, we must keep one thing in mind, God is not bound or constrained by time. He exists apart from it, and knows (and declares) the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:9-10). Time and how it unfolds is not a mystery to God. So why then would God give that to churches in the first century? Well, for two reasons;
Every generation would find meaning and relevance in the messages Christ gave to those seven churches. We here in the 21st-century, have the luxury of looking back and seeing how all these have unfolded historically. And history very much coincides with this idea of stages of the church. We know historically that the apostle John was the last apostle still living (being in his 80s or 90s) when he received the Revelation in 95AD. Church tradition holds that he left Jerusalem for Asia Minor around the early to mid-60s. He then became the bishop over a number of churches in that area. It was at this point, (after Domitian becomes emperor) that Domitian attempted to have John executed. However, John was neither harmed nor died in the process, therefore, Domitian had him exiled.
The church father Tertullian records the story of John being immersed in boiling oil and emerging unscathed. It was at Rome, Tertullian writes, that "the Apostle John was first plunged, unhurt, into boiling oil, and thence remitted to his island-exile" on Patmos (ANF, vol. 3, Prescription Against Heretics 36)
Source: Litfin, Bryan. After Acts: Exploring the Lives and Legends of the Apostles. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2015.
Since Domitian could not kill John, he did with him what he did with others (ex. the Empress Domitia Flavia). Contrast this with those who support an early writing of Revelation circa 65AD. Emperor Nero simply had his opponents killed and the two names we see this happen too is the Apostles Paul and Peter (John 21:18) (Foxes Book of Martyrs Chapter 1). Neither men were spared by the Lord but were allowed to die under Nero. We also have the words of Irenaeus (disciple of Polycarp who was a disciple of John's) in his Against Heresies, Book V, and Chapter 3.3 writes;
Inasmuch, then, as this name Titan has so much to recommend it, there is a strong degree of probability, that from among the many [names suggested], we infer, that perchance he who is to come shall be called Titan. We will not, however, incur the risk of pronouncing positively as to the name of Antichrist; for if it were necessary that his name should be distinctly revealed in this present time, it would have been announced by him who beheld the apocalyptic vision. For that was seen no very long time since, but almost in our day, towards the end of Domitian's reign.
Irenaeus, once removed from John's ministry, served directly under his mentor Polycarp, who was a personal disciple of John's. Clearly, this pinpoints the time of the Apocalypse (the Revelation) to the end of Domitian's reign (he died in 96AD). Still, the seven churches Jesus addresses in Revelation were literal churches in John's day. Not only that but because there were literally hundreds to thousands of churches by 95AD the Lord could have used, means that there was a specific reason He did so.
There were larger congregations at that time in places like the Corinth, Galatia, Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem, etc. He chose the quantity, type, and location for very specific reasons. He then gave them to John in a particular order because God does not do things arbitrarily or accidentally. These seven were not selected because they had issues only unique to themselves, but to all churches (he who has an ear). Furthermore, as the number seven holds (biblically speaking) to the number of plenitude or completion/perfection so that the seven churches then represent all churches of all time.
Even within each type of church, we can see the different types of believers represented by the corporate image of each church. For example, within the Sardis-era, (the era in which one type of church dominates Christendom) we can see Philadelphian or Laodicean types of believers. We also note that Jesus had seven kingdom parables, which overlap with His seven letters, which can be overlapped with Paul's epistles to seven churches (excluding duplicates, personal letters, and Hebrews [which remained unsigned]). These letters are to the churches at:
Image from Clarence Larkin: https://www.blueletterbible.org/assets/images/study/larkin/dispensationalTruth/c71.jpg
There are also seven subsections within each of the letters:
For five of the churches, they receive all seven. Two churches receive no criticism from the Lord (Smyrna and Philadelphia) and one receives no praise (Laodicea). Furthermore, the names of the churches hold significance. Most everyone is familiar with Philadelphia meaning "brotherly love," but the rest of the names hold significance as well. So we have the etymology of what the words mean, and then we have the definition that Christ uses as the overarching theme of the church (or epoch). For example, the word Ephesus derives from the Greek word ephoros, which means overseer.
However, we see Christ addressing them as loveless. So between the Greek etymology and Christ' definition, we have a picture of a church of overseers who have left their first love. Smyrna at its root means' myrrh, a fragrance used on dead bodies. However, the picture we get is one of a church who is being crushed by the world. However, you only get the sweet fragrance of myrrh when it is crushed. Pergamos means height, which corresponds with Rev. 2:13's mention of where Satan's throne is. This corresponds to Paul's mention in Ephesians 2:2 that Satan is the prince of the power of the air.
How much more significant do these last messages (epistles) from Christ to the churches become, when we see them in this prophetic light? Didn't Christ tell us that He would tell us things beforehand, so when they happened, we would believe (John 13:19, 14:29)? Finally, we know that when John was given the Revelation, he was told to write it in a specific fashion. John was not tasked with regurgitating history (like the destruction of Jerusalem 25 years earlier), but to write exactly what he is told. Revelation 1:19 states,
Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this.
What John sees is the vision of the glorified Christ in Chapter 1. The things which are (in 95AD until today) are the churches in Chapters 2-3. The things which come after the churches are the events found within and after the 70th Week of Daniel, as found in Chapters 4-22. That is the most simple, and logical way to understand the Revelation.
When the apostle John saw the glorified Christ, he saw Him walking amongst the lampstands (KJV) holding seven stars in His right hand. We know by Revelation 1:20, that the lampstands represented the churches, and that the stars (ä'n-ge-los) represented the messengers (I believe 'pastors') in that position of honor by holding them in His right hand. We know that God gave the Revelation of Jesus Christ to us in a particular descending order; from the Father to the Son, from the Son to the angels, from the angels to John, from John to book form, and the book was given to these ä'n-ge-los (messengers/pastors) to give to the people.
Author's note: These dates are estimates, not approximates. Also, after the dividing line, the churches overlap each other like layers.
Ephesus: (30-100AD) Paul had previously taught and written to the church of Ephesus (Acts 18-20, Ephesians) and devoted a significant amount of time and energy teaching them the deeper mysteries of Christ and the church. However, by 95AD, something had begun to happen. Here, they are reprimanded by Christ for having left their first love. What that is exactly we do not know, however, Paul had warned them (Acts 20:28-31) that after his departure, savage wolves would come in not sparing the flock. Paul instructs the young pastor Timothy to remain in Ephesus to prevent them from being divided over spurious and pointless issues (1 Tim. 2:3-4).
Ephesus is largely considered representative of the apostolic churches which largely died out after the first century since the apostles were tasked with spreading the gospel. Once the apostles died out, their disciples and the rest of the early church fathers were attempting to keep these churches intact. However, by 95AD, only John remained alive. There is no promise to return and remove these believers from the earth, but only to remove their candlestick, which is to remove them from being a church.
Smyrna: (100-312AD) Although the periods of intense persecution began prior to 100AD (Nero and Domitian), the subsequent two centuries would provide the next eight periods of intense pagan persecution and poverty for the fledgling church. According to the Foxes Book of Martyrs, the following emperors either encouraged or tolerated the persecution of Christians during their reigns: Trajan (108AD), Marcus Aurelius (162), Severus (192), Maximus (235), Decius (249), Valerian (257), Aurelian (274), and lastly Diocletian (303AD). Emperor Constantine would go on to convert and legalize Christianity across the empire. This letter from the Lord contains no criticism, only that they endure and their reward will be the Crown of Life.
Pergamos: (312-600AD) The Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) was given by Christ to His disciples to go out into the world and make disciples of all nations. Unfortunately, after the legalization of Christianity, instead of the church going out into the world, the world came into the church. Here, the merging of Roman paganism crosses the threshold of Christian churches. Lord's promise of return here is not a good promise, but a threat; that if they don't repent, the Lord Himself would come and fight against them. What had been the deeds of the Nicolai tan's in Ephesus, became doctrine in Pergamos.
Pergamos is the last of the seven letters to have the two subsections (task and promise) placed in that order. From henceforth, they are reversed to promise and task. It is my belief (as many others) that these churches no longer exist in shape, type, or form. However, we will see the remaining four churches come out of what was left of Pergamos.
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Thyatira: (600-Present) To the Church of Thyatira, Jesus commends them that their last works were more than their first. However, they tolerate a prophetess named Jezebel to teach sexual immorality in their church. He spends much of this letter condemning them for many things and His promise to return is limited to only those within this church who do not hold to the Jezebel doctrine nor have sought out the depths of Satan. This last part could refer to the numerous mystery and esoteric groups which have arisen from the Roman Catholic Church (e.g., Templars, Jesuits, Rosicrucians, Illuminati, etc.)
Sardis: (1517-Present) If Pergamos represents the Roman Catholic Church, then Sardis represents the Protestant Reformers who came out of the Roman Catholic system here with Sardis. What began as a blazing torch leading millions out of the dark ages of Catholic subjugation and domination, quickly became a shrinking candle. This shrinking came in part from embracing the unbiblical principles of the Augustinian Amillennialism of Roman Catholicism. While Christ commends some within this church, He refers to the majority as a "dead church." In other words, they have a dead orthodoxy and dead orthopraxy. The promise to return to the church at Sardis was a warning (Rev. 3:3). Since they no longer watched for His return, His return would be like that of a thief. Since the mid-1800s, a growing schism has occurred within the Protestant churches, largely due to eschatological differences. Those who did not favor or believe in a literal, physical return of Jesus Christ, remained, while those who did, began the next great church age.
Philadelphia: (1730-Present) Out of the smoldering coals of the dying Reformation fires, came a Spirit driven spiritual revival in Europe and America called the First Great Awakening. Here, we see the great missionary movements begin to set out unto all the world, sharing the light of the Gospel to every nation. This was followed by the Second Great Awakening beginning in the 1790's, and the Third, in the 1850s. At this time, the United States and Europe were essentially Acts 2 (had basic Judeo-Christian foundations) audiences. As time moved on, the Awakenings would get smaller and smaller as the West became increasingly an Acts 19 culture. Out of all the letters, only this one has a promise to remove the Church altogether from this world. The rest of the letters', when taken in context, offer no such promise.
Laodicea: (1900-Present) Unsurprisingly, as the Great Awakenings began to spring up across the nation, pseudo-Christian groups also began to leech on and lead many astray. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when these apostate movements began to make serious headway, but by 1900, they were firmly entrenched into Western society through the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and so forth. We also see the Charismatic movement begin around 1906 with the Azusa Street Revival. While not condemning the charismatic movement writ large, many of the false teachers today (health and wealth, prosperity, dominionist gospel, as well as Hebrew Roots, and Emerging church movements) all seemingly have their roots connected back to someone in the charismatic movement. This church believes they lack nothing but are poor, blind, and naked in Christ's view. No promise is made by Christ to come, only a severe rebuke and chastening to repent. Christ stands outside this church knocking on the door.
The Eventuality of Apostasy
If history is any guide, every denomination ultimately ends up in the theological gutter. The key issue always involves a turning away from the literal understanding of the Word of God, and a turning towards embracing the world. Church services went from heartfelt worship to loud, gaudy, theatrical worship productions followed by a sugary message to comfort the masses. The preachers went from preaching the Word to preaching about Social Justice or how to get their best life now. What began as Seeker Sensitive, has now largely moved younger crowds into (or towards) the Emergent Church with its highly ambiguous doctrines, seeking after highly-subjective experiential worship. This, adding in services trying their very best to please everyone, while not offending anyone
Mainline churches are bending in all areas of contention these days with respects to where biblical standards clash with modern society. The culture war has been heating up at every level, and churches all across the fruited plain are falling left and right in order to avoid receiving either the heavy-handed media criticism, protests, and/or political abuse that comes to those who take a stand for biblical standards. Would this have been applicable even 50 years ago? Hardly. America has largely moved from the Acts 2 crowd (a crowd with a biblical understanding) to an Acts 19 crowd (largely ignorant pagans).
Furthermore, what is left of Christendom after the Church is raptured, will be nothing short of blasphemous, and antichrist to the core. Even now we are beginning to see this materialize with more and more clergy affirming (and even participating) in gay marriage ceremonies, promoting transgenderism and gender fluidity, pedophilia, "Christ-consciousness," promoting Chrislam (and other non-Christian mergers into Christianity), and the outright denials of biblical truths. This final variation of the "the church" is identified as the "whore" in Revelation 17, and is led by none other than the False Prophet (Rev 13) who ultimately ends up directing everyone to worship the Antichrist upon pain of death.
Author's second note: Some in the hyper-dispensational crowds have moved to further divide the New Testament Pauline Epistles from that of the General Epistles (to include the churches in Revelation 2-3). This is an attempt to link them to a "works-based" Jewish-Tribulation Gospel. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus tells the churches here "he who has an ear, let him hear," these messages were just as important to the churches then (1st century) as they are today. Furthermore, Revelation 1:19 states how we are to understand the whole of the book. The churches then (and their symbolic ages) were the things which are, not the things hereafter as these hyper-dispensationalists suggest.
A shocking night for Syria - By Seth J. Frantzman -
Airstrikes and active air defense across Damascus into the mountains near Lebanon and near Homs 160 km to the north awoke Syrians after midnight in the first hours of Monday. It was the largest series of airstrikes many had seen in months or years, according to social media accounts tweeting from Syria or in touch with people on the ground.
Houses were damaged, soldiers reported wounded and killed and in hospital, as well as civilian reported injured. Explosions rocked areas around Damascus, primarily to the west and into the mountains.
SANA state media says people were injured and homes damaged in Sahnaya near Damascus. But this is only one location and as the full picture emerges Syria's regime and its allies in Tehran and Moscow will take notice. Over the years Syria has accused Israel of numerous airstrikes and Israel's former Chief of Staff has said that more than 1,000 were carried out. However the larger picture is that the Syrian government must wonder what the message is.
Syria wants to put on a brave face, claiming that its air defense has downed incoming missiles. But in the past it has said the same and it has been shown that it cannot interdict airstrikes. Last fall Russia said it would provide the Syrian regime with the S-300 system. On Sunday images were released by ImageSat International showing four S-300 systems in Syria's Masyaf area not far from Homs.
In addition a report at Ynet in May indicated that an airstrike at T-4 airbase on the road to Palmyra from Homs destroyed an Iranian 3rd Khordad air defense system that is supposed to be similar to the S-300. The two details matter for the Syrian regime because in both cases these relatively sophisticated air defense systems were either all sitting in the same place, and thus not deployed to protect all of Syria, or one was allegedly destroyed in T-4.
Syria knows that its Russian ally held a high level meeting with Israel in June with US National Security Advisor John Bolton and Israeli counterparts. Russia has stressed that it does not want Syria to become a battlefield for any foreign power against Iran. However Israel has said numerous times last year that it views the Iranian presence in Syria as a threat. US-Iran tensions are at an all-time high. US F-22 raptors were sent to the Persian Gulf this week in position to deal with any Iranian threat.
Reports now indicate that an Iranian-backed group used a drone from Iraq to attack a pipeline in Saudi Arabia in May. With each incident, whether rocket attacks near US troops in Iraq, Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, or the Iranian downing of the US Global Hawk drone in June, the tensions are rising. The complex airstrikes in Syria on June 1 are the latest in what appears to be a much larger regional message to Damascus and its allies. The Within Syria Blog says "super heavy losses today." As news continues to emerge about targets in Damascus and Homs, spanning such a wide area, Syria's regime will have to weigh what it has lost. At the same time the US and Russia will be watching closely.
Approaching Our Blessed Hope - By Daymond Duck -
The Blessed Hope of Christians is steadily approaching (Titus 2:13), and could be much closer than many people think.
Below are three major reasons why this might be true.
First, on Mar. 6, 2018, it was reported that China is testing a program that requires every citizen to have a National ID number and a Social Credit Score.
Every citizen will be tracked, and their Social Credit Score will go up or down based on what groups they belong to, what they buy, what they read, the websites they browse, what others say about them, etc.
A high Social Credit Score means a person is a good citizen.
A low Social Credit Score means the person is not a good citizen.
People with high Social Credit Scores will be rewarded by letting them have better jobs, live in better houses, send their children to better schools, etc.
People with low Social Credit Scores will be given low-paying jobs, poorer housing, their children will be sent to poorer schools, etc.
How much a person earns, what they can buy and sell, etc., will be based on their loyalty to the government.
China implemented the Social Credit Score system, and millions of Chinese citizens have already been blacklisted from flying, riding trains, living in certain areas, etc.
On June 18, 2019, Facebook revealed its plans to implement a new cryptocurrency called the Libra in 2020 (Facebook originally planned to call it "Globalcoin").
The Libra (Globalcoin or Facebook coin) appears to be a major step toward the creation of a one-world trackable economic system.
The Libra's value will be attached to several major national currencies to try to keep it stable.
To give the Libra credibility and acceptance, Facebook has brought in 27 (and is seeking 100) investor partners that use the Internet such as Visa, Mastercard, PayPal, eBay, Bookings.com, stripe, etc., to back this venture.
Think about it: a global information system (the Internet), a global social-media system (Facebook), and global financial institutions (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) are being integrated into a one-world tracking system.
Almost everything that is known about a person (that person's location, contacts, finances, buying and selling records, face scans, where all of the world's wealth and goods are, all electronic communications records, texts, e-mails, etc.) will be in one database and available to one central authority.
Facebook can develop a Social Credit Score system like the one used in China.
As if this isn't ominous enough, some experts are predicting that all jobs will be eliminated by robots in the future (but people will still need income).
At that point, people will be paid with a currency (such as Libra); the amount they receive can be increased or decreased based upon their Social Credit Score (such as a Facebook Social Credit Score); every transaction will be conducted electronically (so they can be tracked); and compliance with certain criteria will be put into law (such as the proposed Equality Act: accept LGBTQ, speak well of Islam, don't mention or worship Jesus, etc., or you will be prosecuted for offending people).
It seems less than coincidental that this is happening when Israel is 71 years old and the UN wants a world government by 2030.
Second, in Feb. 2018 the Jewish Sanhedrin minted a coin (or medallion) to honor king Cyrus for his contribution to the building of the Second Temple and to honor Pres. Trump for recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Proceeds from the sale of the coin are used to train priests to serve at the Temple and, if needed, to help pay for the rebuilding of the next Temple.
On June 18, 2019, it was reported that the Jewish Sanhedrin has plans for minting another coin.
This coin is to honor King David in preparation for the coming Davidic Dynasty (remember that Jesus is a Descendant of King David, and He is coming back to establish an earthly kingdom).
It is also a reminder that, in addition to rebuilding the Temple, the Jews must re-establish the Davidic Dynasty.
The name of King David, a crown, and a verse of Scripture written in three languages (Hebrew, Arabic and English) are on the coin.
The verse reads, "So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekalim of silver" (II Sam. 24:24).
The three languages are a reminder to Jewish, Arabic and English-speaking people that the Bible says Israel bought the Temple Mount.
According to the Sanhedrin, there is a debate about whether the Temple will be rebuilt before the Messiah appears or when He appears.
But either way, the Sanhedrin believes that the Jews should start rebuilding the Temple as soon as possible.
Anyway, the Sanhedrin believes the Temple must be rebuilt and a descendent of King David must come to reign in Israel.
Third, this week, the U.S. came within a few minutes of an attack on Iran.
A U.S. attack on Iran could (I said could) have led to other wars such as an attack on Israel, the destruction of Damascus, the Battle of Gog and Magog, etc.
Some prophecy teachers believe these are Tribulation-Period events, but I believe they are pre-Trib events.
Thankfully, these things may have been delayed, but they haven't been cancelled (God's Word must be fulfilled, but that is only going to happen on His schedule).
Anyway, if an attack upon Iran had started these end-of-the-age events this week, they would have come upon the world like a snare.
Most people would have been caught eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, going about their daily business as if nothing very significant is going on, etc., in the Middle East.
For whatever it is worth, in late April 2019, Israel hand delivered information to Pres. Trump about Iranian plans to attack U.S. bases and ships in the Middle East.
U.S. Sec. of State Mike Pompeo warned Iran that the death of U.S. troops would be met with an attack on Iranian troops on Iranian soil.
When Iran shot down an unmanned drone, Pres. Trump asked the U.S. military to recommend a proportional response.
One military recommendation was to attack several sites in Iran.
After he approved the attack, Pres. Trump learned that approximately 150 Iranian troops might be killed.
He decided that killing 150 Iranian troops for destroying an unmanned drone was an excessive response, not a proportional response.
He was told that if he killed Iranian troops, Iran might use it as an excuse to kill U.S. troops, and that could start a war that would get a lot of people killed.
He called off the original attack, ordered severe sanctions on Iran's leaders, and a virus attack on the computers at Iran's command and control center for its rocket and missile systems (FYI: Iran said the virus attack didn't work).
Put another way: Pres. Trump retaliated against Iran for shooting down the U.S. drone, but he selected a plan that will not kill Iranian troops because he didn't want to give Iran an excuse to launch an attack that will kill U.S. troops.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
The 'Cat-And-Mouse' World of the Ayatollah - by Amir Taheri -
....sanctions are working not by wrecking the lives of ordinary Iranians, who do suffer nevertheless, but by denying the mullahs the means to indulge in their deadly Tom-and-Jerry shenanigans
Each time the US imposed sanctions, the mullahs took a bite of humble pie and briefly modified aspects of their behavior as if playing a Tom-and-Jerry script. However, once sanctions were eased, their Jerry lost no time to revert to its old tricks.
The key question here is whether Trump... will want or be able... to sit back and let time do its chastising work on the... Khomeinist regime.
A few weeks ago, the Islamic Republic's "Supreme Guide" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei described his regime's decades-long conflict with the United States as a real-life re-enactment of the Tom and Jerry cartoons from Hollywood, in which a crafty little mouse provokes the clumsy big cat into all manner of threatening gestures but always ends up emerging safe and sound.
In Khamenei's bizarre depiction, the Islamic Republic is the little mouse (Jerry) and the United States the big cat (Tom). Why should Khamenei make a conflict that has done so much damage to Iran as a nation the subject of so frivolous a depiction is something beyond the scope of this article.
No serious political leader would see a conflict with an adversary as no more than a childish game. But, we never accused the Ayatollah of being a serious leader. Like Jerry, he is only interested in attracting attention by provocation and then dodging punishment, prolonging the life of his regime by a few more minutes, hours or even years. Khamenei does not see the difference between the behavior of a cartoon mouse and a nation of 85 million real human beings. Jerry can be as provocative and playful as he wants because he does not need a job, a school, a hospital, a roof above his head, some food (cheese?) on his table, and a rule-based system to protect his rights and dignity. Like all ideologues, fantasist to a fault, Khamenei has little time for reality.
But what is the reality?
Khamenei says the sanctions imposed by the United States must be regarded as "blessings in disguise" because they preclude the quest for a modus vivendi between Tom and Jerry. "The sanctions have no effects but strengthen our resistance," he boasts. However, his lobbyists in the West, especially in the United States, know they cannot win any sympathy for the Islamic Republic with so vacuous a claim. They have to persuade the Western public, or at least the bleeding-heart do-gooders and the useful idiots, that the sanctions imposed by the "Great Satan" are destroying the lives of ordinary Iranians without having any effect on the Khomeinist leadership.
The truth is that sanctions are affecting the lives of many ordinary Iranians in the context of what has morphed into an economic war.
Contrary to claims by Khomeinist lobbyists in the West, Iran is not facing any shortage of food or medications, items not affected by sanctions. However, factories closing for lack of imported spare parts cause mass unemployment while the plummeting value of the national currency fuels stagflation. Last week the government announced that more than 4,800 projects have been slowed down or frozen for lack of funds. To maintain its current average levels of expenditure, the Islamic Republic government would need to export 1.5 million barrels of crude oil a day. Since last March, however, exports have never risen above 500,000 barrels a day.
Sanctions have also led to some modification of the regime's behavior at home and abroad. According to reliable sources, handouts to such groups as the Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Islamic Jihad and Hamas in Gaza have been cut by an average of 10 percent. This is certainly not enough to force any significant change of behavior by those groups but sends a signal that Tehran's traditional generosity may not be forever.
The export of jihadis to Syria has also dwindled to a trickle. This is partly due to the relative calming of the overall situation in that country and that Iran's presence has been reduced to enclaves in Deir az-Zour and Albukamal. Nevertheless, when it comes to hiring Pakistani and Afghan mercenaries, shortage of money must also be a factor.
The regime's cash-flow problem, partly caused by sanctions, has also led to virtual freezing of the controversial missile project at a range of 2,000 kilometers.
That sanctions are working could also be seen in other domains. This year the Islamic Republic did not organize its annual "End of America" and "End of Israel" jamborees that usually attracted hundreds of professional America-haters, Trump-bashers and Holocaust deniers from all over the world including the US itself. This year, no international Holocaust cartoons competition, held since 2006, was held while a TV serial depicting "the Great Satan's crimes" has been scrapped.
A long-talked-of seminar of African-Americans to discuss the creation of a "black Muslim republic" in the United States was scrapped for lack of money. As far as we know, there was also no sign of Nation of Islam chief Louis Farrakhan, an annual visitor, coming to extract contributions from the Islamic Republic.
Interestingly, it seems that the fading star-spangled banners, painted to be trampled under feet at the entrance of most public offices, are no longer repainted, undermining one of the Khomeinist revolution's most cherished rituals.
In another register, shortage of money forced the mullahs to release over 65,000 prisoners, more than a quarter of those jailed in the Islamic Republic. That meant that Iran lost its position as the world-number-one nation in the number of prisoners relative to population; it is now number three, after China and Turkey.
Contrary to what Pat Buchanan in the US and Jeremy Corbyn in Britain say, sanctions are working not by wrecking the lives of ordinary Iranians, who do suffer nevertheless, but by denying the mullahs the means to indulge in their deadly Tom-and-Jerry shenanigans.
The question is whether, once again, we are going to witness a Groundhog Day rerun. Each time the US imposed sanctions, the mullahs took a bite of humble pie and briefly modified aspects of their behavior as if playing a Tom-and-Jerry script. However, once sanctions were eased, their Jerry lost no time to revert to its old tricks.
The key question here is whether Trump, regarded by opponents to have an attention span no longer than a tweet, will want or be able, as a patient Tom, to sit back and let time do its chastising work on the playful, provocative and perverse Jerry that is the Khomeinist regime.
Daily Jot: NY Times, Washington Post advocating for hate - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The beacon of socialism and the standard-bearer for political intolerance and ideological bigotry, The Washington Post, published an editorial by Stephanie Wilkinson. You may recall that Wilkinson is the infamous owner of a restaurant in Lexington, VA who in June 2018 refused to serve White House spokeswoman Sara Huckabee Sanders because she was part of an administration that is "inhumane and unethical." She explained refusing Sanders and her family service because her restaurant must uphold standards of "honesty, and compassion, and cooperation [see the hypocrisy?]."The Post is sending the message that it's OK to deny food and harass people because of their political beliefs.
Wilkinson also defended another recent incident where a waitress spat on President Donald Trump's son Eric in a trendy Chicago bar. Wilkinson wrote in the Post, "If you're directly complicit in spreading hate or perpetuating suffering, maybe you should consider dining at home....no one in the industry condones the physical assault of a patron," and then she declared that Americans should understand that a "frustrated person" such as a restaurant employee will "lash out at the representatives of an administration that has made its name trashing norms and breaking backs...If you're an unsavory individual, we have no legal or moral obligation to do business with you."In other words, if you disagree with Wilkinson's standards, you should be denied food.
Another editorial in the New York Times perpetuated the myth of the ignorant resistance that border facilities for illegals were akin to concentration camps. Writing for the Times, Kate Cronin-Furman, an assistant professor of human rights at University College London (really?), outrageously claimed that the border guard treatment of illegal immigrant children is the type of behavior "which has been shown to have played a huge role in atrocity commission and desistance in the Holocaust, Rwanda, and elsewhere. The campaign to stop the abuses at the border should exploit this sensitivity."Her solution was to publicly identify and shame customs and border security workers for their association with such jack-boot policies.
These are the ones who judge and accuse of hate while hating and stirring up hatred against those who disagree with them. The Post and Times are culpable co-conspirators for lending their platforms to such nonsense. Imagine what would happen if a Christian business refused service for someone because of their political views. Oh, wait! They have and were taken all the way to the Supreme Court over it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, over a wedding cake. But this isn't an apple to apple comparison. The Times and Post are advocating public harassment, violence, and refusing food to those with whom they disagree. This is dead wrong. What did Christ say in Matthew 7:12, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets." It's the Golden Rule, and it should be widely practiced by all.
Daily Devotion: Turn Your Worries into Prayers - by Greg Laurie -
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. - Philippians 4:6
There are so many things today that can cause us to worry. There are the worries of the world. There are the worries in our own country, including the threat of terrorism and the threat of North Korea. Then there are personal worries, such as health worries and family worries.
It seems as though worries are always there, always closing in on us. But worry isn't productive. In fact, it's a failure to trust God. The word worry comes from an Old English term that means "strangle" or "choke." That is what worry does. It chokes us. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.
Modern medical research has proven that worry breaks down our resistance to disease. It actually diseases the nervous system and, more specifically, the digestive organs and the heart. In fact, 79 to 90 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are stress related.
Philippians tells us, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (4:6-7).
We need to turn our worries into prayer. That requires developing a conditioned reflex. We all have natural reflexes, like when we touch something hot and immediately pull back. Then there's a conditioned reflex, something that becomes natural after we've done it so many times. For instance, standing during the national anthem or placing your hand over your heart during the Pledge of Allegiance is a conditioned reflex.
We can't control our universe, as hard as we may try, but we certainly can pray about it. The next time you're tempted to worry, pray instead. Turn your worries into prayers.
FROM THE HEART
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