Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The End of All Things - Part One
- Pete Garcia -
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ's at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 1 Corinthian 15:22-25
It's amazing to me (but not surprising), that there are so many views out there on the study of Eschatology (study of last things). I tend to harp on this a lot, but only because the confusion is rampant amongst Christianity, and in growing number, amongst Evangelicals. While most of the world could care less, he were are, squabbling over which view is right or which view is wrong.
I'm not saying that the squabbling is unwarranted, because there are very legitimate reasons why having the proper understanding is important, but the fact that there is squabbling and division amongst Christians over this, is telling in and of itself. And if this one topic is so 'divisive' that congregations abandon the study altogether, then Satan's strategy of putting to bed the discussion altogether, has in large measure, succeeded.
Let me just state in a brief summary, why there is different points of view on this topic, and why it matters in the long run.
The early Church started out almost exclusively Jewish. I mean, Jesus and the Apostles were all Jews, and Jesus instructed His disciples prior to His death, burial, and resurrection, to 'only go to the lost sheep of Israel'. (Matt. 10:5-6) Even after the resurrection and the ascension of Christ, we have in Acts 1-2, Peter preaching to the crowd of Jews gathered at the Temple for Pentecost, and about 3,000 Jews came to faith that day. (Acts. 2:41)
In reading, we don't necessarily see the amount of time that transpires over the book of Acts, but it's around forty years. So in a nutshell, the Church went from being exclusively Jewish, to increasingly not-Jewish. Compare Matt. 13:8 (written to a Jewish audience), to Mark 4:8 (written with a Gentile audience in mind), and you can see that Christ foresaw this transition.
From then (the cross plus forty years) to about the third century, we have a transformation taking place within the body of Christ. Jerusalem is sacked by the Romans in AD70 and the temple is destroyed in the process. Both in AD70, and AD135, Jews are being displaced from their ancient homeland and spread out over the face of the earth. But simultaneously, the Church is spreading throughout the Roman Empire, albeit, undergoing periods of intense persecution. The Church is becoming less and less Jewish, and more and more Gentile.
From a contemporary standpoint of a third century Christian theologian, the Jews were finished. After all, they crucified their Messiah, they rejected the Gospel, and because they had been hostile to the Gospel (Romans 11:28), two things were happening: they were hardening their hearts, and the Gentiles were increasingly assuming the promises and blessings that had belonged to the Jewish (Hebrew/Israel) peoples.
So one's Ecclesiology (the study of the Church) overwhelmingly drives your understanding of Eschatology. If one thinks the Church is Israel, well then that really and fundamentally changes how you view the prophetic passages concerning the end times. And hindsight is usually a perfect 20/20, and it's easy for us today (20 centuries removed) to sit back and point fingers at the early church fathers for allowing this to happen. They had a lot going on back, and were at that present time, dealing with varying levels of persecution, as well as attacks over core doctrines by the Judaizers and later the Gnostics who were trying to hijack the new Christian faith.
So there was a lot of confusion over not just eschatology, but over a lot of subjects and doctrines within the Scriptures. The Church would not begin to recover some of the even basic understandings of our faith until the time leading up to the Reformation. I will caveat that previous statement by saying, there has always been remnants who were saved, and had a good working knowledge of Biblical doctrines, but I'm speaking more for the majority of the body of Christ. We just have to remember a couple of things about back then: not everyone had a Bible (complete or otherwise), and nobody had 20 centuries of teachings to glean over and learn from.
While the Reformation era certainly had its positive highlights, it still carried over with it, a lot of baggage from the predominantly Roman Catholic middle ages. Like a man awakened from a long slumber, the Church was 'getting its wits' from the 13th-16th centuries. There was the good (Five Sola's) and the bad (growing Protestant anti-Semitism) that came from that era, and they certainly didn't have it all figured out...especially in the area of Bible prophecy.
The reason for that is, Israel had not yet been brought back as a nation. People had no concept of when they were on God's calendar of time. People still travelled at the speed of horse, and general knowledge (while growing), was still being hashed out at the philosophic, economic, and theological levels.
It wasn't until the Dispensational movements in the 18th-19th centuries that believers would begin to grasp where we were on God's calendar. There is no secret formula or creating anew of doctrines or teachings, it is simply to treat the entire Bible equally when it comes to interpretation. When you do this, the grandeur and beauty of the Bible becomes even more relevant and understandable when placed in its proper context. When you do this, you are understanding one, fundamental truth that puts into perspective ALL doctrines that are contained within our Bible, and that is, the Bible was not written by men, for people of a specific era, but was written by inspiration of God, who exists outside of time, for all mankind, in all era's.
John Nelson Darby didn't invent some kooky new doctrine in his mother's basement, he simply rediscovered (just as the Reformers had done a few centuries before), the fundamental truths that had existed in the Bible all along. People don't accuse Martin Luther of creating justification by grace through faith...neither should they accuse John N. Darby of creating Dispensationalism. John N. Darby, C.I. Scofield, and Clarence Larkin didn't get their ideas from reading the "Late Great Planet Earth". All they had was their Bibles, and all they did, was interpret all of it, with the same measure of interpretative integrity, that those before them had done when systematizing salvific doctrines.
So it is, that God works through a system known as "progressive revelation". God didn't give Adam the entire Bible to write, but spread it out over 1,600 years, and by over 40 different men on three different continents. There was a reason for this. God the Holy Spirit, moved upon men to write what He wanted them to say. He didn't want the Bible to be exclusively a Jewish book, or otherwise Gentiles wouldn't have contributed (Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4, and Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts), but He also didn't want there to be any doubt about, from whom our common faith came out of (ie...the Jewish people). And I say all this to end by saying that we as a body of Christ, have been in a maturing process over the last 2,000 years.
We know more now about the 1st through 19th centuries collectively, then many of them living in that time knew of themselves. A dispensational understanding of Scriptures, which in its essence, seeks to apply the literal style of biblical interpretation equally (but not woodenly), to all Scriptures, is the mature way to handle the passages contained therein.
That is not to say, that someone who doesn't have a dispensational understanding of Scriptures is not saved. It just means, that they (those who hold to other interpretational styles) will NEVER fully mature in a spiritual understanding of Scripture. This is not an attempt to belittle or put them down, but is a theological truth. And why is that? Because ONLY the Dispensational view, treats the ENTIRE bible equally in its interpretation. We don't categorize certain portions of Scripture, and then give precedence over which section has more weight or is more worthy of taking literally, than others.
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
Do Dispensational teachers have it ALL figured out? Absolutely not. None of us will, this side of eternity. But, I believe (and I'm not alone in this belief) that Dispensationalism is the best system we have for understanding our entire Bible, and gives the best understanding to Eschatology, (along with all the other doctrines) that can be understood this side of the Rapture. And I've heard those who say they've come out of Dispensationalism for one reason or another, either because of a bad experience in a dispensational church or from a certain dispensational teacher, and/or they couldn't mentally or theologically overcome certain passages of Scripture from a Dispensational perspective.
This shouldn't come as a news flash to anyone, but Dispensationalists are humans too, and are like everyone else, flawed sinners. I'm sure you could point to any given view (religious or otherwise), and find a few nuts tucked away somewhere. But that doesn't mean the system of interpretation is flawed, it just means people are. And even if there are passages we don't fully understand just yet, doesn't mean it won't happen. For example; look at how the disciples reacted when they saw the resurrected Christ, even after Christ told them on numerous occasions (Matt. 16:21) that He was going to Jerusalem to be accused, abused, crucified, and then rise again on the 3rd day:
Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have." When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.And He took it and ate in their presence. Luke 24:36-43
How many times had Christ told them of what was going to happen ahead of time and they still didn't understand? The truth is, there are things in Scriptures that we don't fully understand, but they will happen, not because John Nelson Darby or Hal Lindsey says so, but because the Bible says it's going to happen. Will there be a future Jewish temple in Jerusalem, one in which animals are sacrificed at certain feast dates? Yes. First, because Ezekiel's temple has never been built, and secondly, because the temple, as described in an exorbitant amount of detail in chapters 40-48, states it well.
So by faith, I take that for what it says (even though I don't fully understand it) and I move on. I don't have to get hung about the axle just because I don't fully comprehend the eternal nature of the Godhead, to believe in the Tri-une nature of God, why would I let some other lesser issue, plunge my faith into skepticism?
Next week: The End of Things: Part 2
Israel and the unexpected new world order
- Brian Schrauger -
Geographically, Israel is just off-center. Why then is it treated with such respect, especially by the likes of Russia and China?
In the new and surprising economic world order, Israel could gain a degree of wealth not seen since the days of King Solomon.
For the Western world, strong new alliances between certain non-Western countries constitute something of a mystery. But while the West is distracted by political uprisings and remains enamored with the idea of its own "manifest destiny," a new world order is emerging, dominated by up-and-coming global superpowers like Russia, China and India.
Over the past eight years, many unexpected diplomatic changes have occurred. The Islamic Republic of Iran has formed a partnership with the "infidel" nation of Russia. Less than two years ago, Russia moved into Syria, and shows no signs of leaving. And Syria, despite its own problem with radical Islam, has strengthened bonds with Iran's fundamentalist regime.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taunted Western Europe, preferring to pander to Moscow and Beijing. And China, though physically distant, has subtly installed troops in Syria.
China's fleets are also appearing in joint exercises with Iran in the Persian Gulf and Russia in the Mediterranean.
As for Israel, how is it that this small country, a mere sliver of land, is accorded such deference? The world's only Jewish state is making deals with Turkey, Russia and China, in spite of their alliances with Iran, which is dedicated to Israel's annihilation. Why is Jerusalem pursuing such deals? And, ambivalent at best about Israel, why are these nations agreeing to them? A new world order, difficult for the West to recognize, answers many of these questions.
About six months after Barack Obama began his first term as US president, a new partnership was born in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg.
On June 16, 2009, leaders from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) met to discuss ways to impact the global financial situation "to reflect changes in the world economy."
Reuters noted at the time that "BRIC nations account for 15 percent of the $60.7 trillion global economy, but Goldman Sachs predicts that in 20 years time, the four countries could together dwarf the G7 and China's economy will overtake the United States in total size."
Indeed, eight years later, those four nations - along with the addition of South Africa, hence BRICS - are rapidly moving toward a position of global economic dominance.
Economic growth is skyrocketing, especially in China and India. In comparison, GDP growth in the US and the UK already look like what Reuters predicted.
BRICS has also established its own international bank, called NDB. Under the auspices of the BRICS member states, its purpose is to finance infrastructure projects inside those member states.
China has started another initiative that, according to global economist Jean-Pierre Lehmann, could bring about "the most dramatic transformation of the world economy since the Industrial Revolution."
The project is called the Belt and Road Initiative. Unveiled only four years ago, it will take an estimated $7.5 trillion to develop. But the benefit is nothing less than an explosion of prosperity, not just for participating countries but for the whole world. No less than 75 nations have joined the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce.
Members include all the Eastern Goliaths: China, Russia and India. For those keeping an eye on Israel, other notable members along with the Jewish state include Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and the Palestinian Territories.
Because China's most important land "road" runs straight through the countries in this region. A second major route is noted below.
The land road begins in the Chinese city of Xi'an. Its path runs directly through Tehran. Moving into Iraq, it then either goes directly into Turkey or through Syria to both Turkey and the Mediterranean.
If China's land road goes through Syria, as Tehran hopes it will, it will connect at the Mediterranean for shipping exports to Europe, Africa, North America and South America.
Russia is guarding the Mediterranean with a fully developed and growing seaport. Iran may be connected to the western sea, but Russia is determined to hold its coastal key.
Israel is only miles south of the China land road, and only miles north of its proposed sea road.
The latter, sometimes called the Maritime Road, connects China with Southeast Asia, India, East Africa and, upwards through the Suez Canal, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
Geographically, Israel is just off-center. Why then is it treated with such respect, especially by the likes of Russia and China? Already, Israel is getting under the skin of other members in the Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce. Its huge gas and oil fields just offshore in the Mediterranean are on the verge of piping fuel directly to Europe, cutting into Russia's market.
Maneuvering its way into the transport of goods via China's land and sea roads, Israel is floating the idea of an alternate shipping route to Egypt's costly Suez Canal. It will be cheaper and faster, Israel argues, to deliver goods to Eilat, transfer them to a high speed train that goes to Ashdod on the Mediterranean, and from there ship goods throughout the world. In response, Cairo is already calling foul.
Most importantly, Israel is positioned to guard the world's Internet. Everything today is traded, controlled and administered online. And Israel is emerging as the world's number one guardian of the worldwide web. That means, regardless of being a few miles offtrack from China's Land and Maritime Roads, it is positioned to be the center of both belts.
Economists worry that China's ambition could trigger a global economic collapse; a currency collapse, specifically. Maybe BRICS and One Belt One Road don't care. A global currency collapse might be seen as a way to wipe the slate clean of nation-based currencies, especially the US dollar, and establish an international one: like Bitcoin, perhaps.
If Bitcoin is the model for a new Internet-based global currency, Israel is likely to be its guardian too, protecting that currency from hackers around the world.
As chief of security for the world's information and currency, and with energy independence, Israel stands to gain substantial wealth.
It is a position that explains the willingness of Russia and China to negotiate with Israel today; it is also a position that will invoke resentment tomorrow.
Feeding that resentment will be the small matter of Iran's determination to annihilate the Jewish state. Inasmuch as it becomes Israel's neighbor in Syria and Lebanon (as, arguably, it already has), Tehran's ambition to destroy Israel becomes all but irresistible.
For the sake of trade, China does not want this war. For the same reason, neither does Russia.
Perhaps someone will come along and, strictly for the sake of business, bring peace to the Middle East. But if such a treaty failed, or if for any reason Israel becomes an economic threat to BRICS and One Belt One Road, it is feasible that Russia will descend, China will march and Tehran will launch.
Why? To extract the sliver-sized country, to unblock the flow of commerce, and to deal with "the Jewish problem" once and for all.
President Rivlin 'Threat of Hezbollah growing with Iranian aid' - Gary Willig -
President Rivlin addresses memorial ceremony for fallen of 2006 Lebanon War, says Iran arming Hezbollah to kill Israeli citizens.
President Reuven Rivlin delivered a speech Monday at the Memorial Ceremony for the fallen of the Second Lebanon War, marking the 11th anniversary of the war, at the Memorial Hall on Mount Herzl. The ceremony was attended by of Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Bezalel Smotrich, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, Supreme Court Justice Yoram Danziger, Northern Command Chief Yoel Strick, and members of the families of the fallen.
The President opened his remarks to the bereaved families and said: "Together we count the years of your lives and the years since their loss. We painfully remember their passing, and we look with pride and joy at your growth, Sadness and life intertwined with the reality of our lives, loving families which were inseparable. Each one of you is a whole world that will never return."
"In this war, the full extent of Israel's civilian society's strength was revealed as well, and in this campaign our men and women [in uniform] displayed tremendous bravery and courage, acting with determination and heroism," the president continued, stressing that there are warning signs highlighting the importance of continued preparation and vigilance, the danger of terrorism, and the danger of missing equipment and weapons.
"Public criticism, followed by the commission of inquiry, continued to ring those warning bells. The IDF and the security forces were required to make significant revisions [to their operations]. Indeed, investigations were conducted and improvements were carried out in every field, from intelligence to operations, from readiness to training and logistics. The lessons of that war continue to be applied both in the daily routine and in times of emergency, which unfortunately have continued to occur since then."
The president spoke about the quiet on the northern border following the war, but emphasized: "We must not be mistaken in [seeing] this silence [as permanent]. The threat is still great. Hezbollah is growing stronger with Iranian support and arms aimed at threatening Israeli civilians and carrying out military operations that flagrantly violate UN Resolution 1701."
"Under no circumstances will we allow the establishment of Iranian outposts on our borders. The nations of the world must recognize what is happening and understand the possible consequences. We were greeted, as always, with silence. But we have red lines. And if a campaign is imposed upon us, we will fight with courage for our lives, our independence, and our citizens.
"Our national strength is the source of the strength of Israeli society," said the president at the end of his speech. "Our shared commitment to this home, to this country, is the basis of our strength and it must rise above any debate on a current issue. This is our land, and there is no other country for us - that is the basis on which this state was built, and this is the root of our existence. "
Israel Grapples With Iran's Growing Military Presence In Syria
- Yaakov Lappin -
With the help of its powerful allies, President Bashar al-Assad's regime is gradually consolidating its grip over parts of Syria.
The six-year Syrian conflict has long ceased being a civil war, and Assad is no independent actor, but rather, he is part of an Iranian-led regional coalition.
Assad's recent victories are setting the stage for the continued spread of his steadfast backer, Iran, and its network of heavily armed Shi'a proxies.
Israel has been issuing stern warnings to Iran, telling it not to repeat past efforts to use its presence in Syria to set up bases of attack against Israeli targets.
The Jewish state has been frequently dealing with errant fire from Syria landing in Israeli territory in the Golan Heights--nearly 20 such instances in recent weeks.
Israel usually responds by firing on Syrian regime targets and vowing to respond to every breach of its territory.
Israel's wider concern, however, is that wherever Assad's forces end up rolling into, Iran's influence tends to appear.
Most recently, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautiously welcomed a southern Syria cease-fire, brokered by the U.S. and Russia, that came into effect Sunday.
The cease-fire followed Israel's reported push for Russia and the U.S. to establish a buffer zone in southern Syria where the Hezbollah terror group and other Iranian proxies would not be allowed to operate.
Tens of thousands of Iranian-backed Shi'a militia members are currently operating across Syria. Under Iranian command, they combat Sunni rebel organizations seeking to depose the Assad regime.
Tehran is also working to link up its forces in Iraq together with those in Syria, with the goal of creating a continuous land corridor that stretches from Iran to Lebanon.
Meanwhile, Iran continues to use Syria as a transit zone for the trafficking of weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran has overseen the construction of weapons factories in Syria--and now in Lebanon, too--that can produce accurate missiles for Hezbollah.
Dr. Eitan Shamir, former head of the National Security Doctrine Department in Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told JNS.org Israel should deal with Iran's threatening activities in Syria by setting up and enforcing "a number of red lines."
Red lines would include a ban on actions directly threatening Israeli security, such as the construction of a missile launch system in the Syrian Golan Heights, said Shamir, a researcher at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.
"Secondly, there should be a continuation of what the [Israeli] military calls 'the war between wars,' the continuous offensive intelligence and thwarting activities. At the same time, there should be serious preparation for the scenario of war," Shamir said.
During the last six years, Israel has reportedly waged a low-profile campaign to selectively target the Iranian-Hezbollah weapons trafficking network in Syria.
In Shamir's estimation, the IDF needs to safeguard its size and strength in light of the developing threats to the north.
"Mainly, it must continue to strengthen the ground maneuvering army, in case of an eruption on multiple fronts. That means continuing to invest a lot in the IDF, and not making cuts because it's fashionable," he said.
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its overseas elite unit, the Quds Force, have in the past attempted to exploit their presence in southern Syria to orchestrate attacks on Israel, resulting in reported deadly Israeli airstrikes.
Israel's defense establishment is closely monitoring the crowded Syrian arena, always on the lookout for a renewed Iranian attempt to set up bases of attack, or attempts by Hezbollah--Iran's Shi'a-Lebanese terrorist army--to move into southern Syria, thereby threatening Israel from both Lebanon and Syria.
Iran's push into Syria has been successful so far, Shamir said.
"The Iranians have obtained an outpost in this area," he said, explaining that the Islamic Republic is using forces such as Hezbollah, Shi'a Iraqis and foreign Shi'a legions from across the Muslim world "so that the price is less painful" for Iran.
Dr. Ely Karmon, a senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya, told JNS.org the Iranians are trying to exploit Russia's intervention in Syria.
Prior to Russia's entrance into Syria and its management of the air war against Sunni organizations, the Iranian-backed forces failed to stop the rebels.
Russia's intervention "changed the map," Karmon said, noting the "big victory" for Assad and his Shi'a allies in Aleppo. Now, he said, "they are trying to do the same in south Syria.
But here, they have a problem. Israel, Jordan and the Americans are opposed to their spread." All three nations could act to prevent Iran from moving into southern Syria.
Currently, Iran is commanding some 6,000 Hezbollah fighters, 7,000 Iraqis and some 20,000-30,000 Afghan Shi'a combatants in Iran, as well as some 100,000 Shi'a militia members in neighboring Iraq.
The Iranians also built up a pro-Assad militia composed of local Syrians, called the National Defense Forces, which has tens of thousands of members.
"The fact that the Iranians are integrated with Assad's army, and are trying to link up their forces from Iraq and Syria," Karmon said, shows how they are trying to create the land corridor from Iran to Lebanon.
The Iranians could come back and try to attack Israel from southern Syria, and are also seeking to create a port on the Syrian Mediterranean coastline, he warned.
"There's no doubt that this is their strategy," Karmon said. "At this stage, they are succeeding--hence we are seeing warnings by Israeli leaders." Yet Karmon expressed hope that the U.S. could work with Russia to create Iran-free zones in southern Syria.
He said reports of Israeli cooperation with moderate Sunni rebels near the Israeli border could form a part of Israeli efforts to keep the Iranians at bay.
But Israel cannot rely on America stopping Iran in Syria, Karmon cautioned.
"I think Israel must be ready, if the U.S. won't take steps vis-a-vis the Russians [to curb Iran]," he said. "Israel must see an Iranian presence on its border as a casus belli [justification for war]."
Nearing Midnight: End Times Trending
- Terry James -
Setting the stage for prophetic fulfillment continues at a quickening pace. Progression related to end times matters spread across the eschatological horizon, making choosing which particular topic to write about somewhat of an exertion-but a not unwelcome exercise.
News of the hour presents some fascinating directions in which to aim our attention. I've chosen three items for consideration in this commentary.
The first area of possible, even probable prophetic relevance is China's increasingly hegemonic activity. Sino-expansionism is among the most blatant signals of stage setting for prophetic fulfillment.
Chinese leadership is projecting two-faced influence and manipulation through its new-found power as king of the kings of the east. They are employing their usual, inscrutable methodologies to convince the world community they are reliable partners with which to do business. On the other hand, the leadership-communists all-are not only building an enormous military capability, but making moves to intimidate their neighbors through provocative bullying encounters upon the high seas.
This bullying even includes flying military aircraft from the China Sea island bases they are creating in deliberate, near-miss incidents with American aircraft. China's increasingly powerful navy more and more moves near the point to ramming some of our naval ships in the region. Thus, as the U.S. military challenges China's obvious intention to claim increasingly territorial waters that are not theirs.
The following gives a flavor of China's dangerous activity as of late:
The expansion of China's military is no secret. Beijing raised the People's Liberation Army budget by 7% this year, typical of its annual increases...
On Wednesday, the PLA Navy announced it had finished work on a destroyer warship that can displace 10,000 tons, according to the state-run China Daily News website. This is a particularly major advance. The extra-hardy, domestically built destroyer not only helps Beijing double down on its disputed claims in the East and South China Seas but also gives it new deterrent weight against its most powerful Asian rivals such as Japan and India. ***[Source: New Chinese Navy Destroyer Can Best Japan, India And Maybe the United States, Rapture Ready News, July 2, 2017]***
Chinese leader Xi Jinping, despite meetings with American President Donald Trump while smiling, promising to make an effort to corral the North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, is presenting his own dictatorial propensities these days. Chinese President Xi Jinping has warned against "impermissible" challenges to Beijing's authority over Hong Kong.
Mr. Xi was speaking at the swearing-in of the territory's new leader Carrie Lam, as Hong Kong marked 20 years since its handover to China from Britain. In a speech, he said that Hong Kong needed to "improve its systems to uphold national sovereignty, security and development interests."
"Any attempt to endanger China's sovereignty and security, challenge the power of the central government... or use Hong Kong to carry out infiltration and sabotage activities against the mainland is an act that crosses the red line and is absolutely impermissible," he said.
There is growing concern that the Chinese central government is undermining Hong Kong's more politically liberal traditions, despite its promise to give it a high degree of autonomy. ***[Source: Xi Jinping warns Hong Kong over sovereignty 'red line' - BBC News]***
Secondly, in the matter of end times trending, we look briefly at the coalescing, Turkey-Iran relationship. It is a most fascinating element of the prophetic, stage-setting development in these closing days of this dispensation.
It is more than of curious interest to me that the new American president appears to have been, wittingly or unwittingly, again a catalyst for development of key Biblically prophetic preparation.
Donald Trump's recent visit to Saudi during his Middle East trip, and his more-or-less pledge to come down on the side of the Saudi Kingdom as they face increasing threats from the likes of Iran, has set in motion a closer tie of two key Gog-Magog partners.
The newly forming closeness between Turkey and Iran is in view as they deal with the controversy over Qatar.
The following excerpt enlightens a bit:
The latest Iranian comments, as well as Turkey's decision to send troops to Qatar amid a dispute with Saudi Arabia represent the creation of a new Qatar-Turkey-Iranian sphere of influence that has potential to influence the region and Israel. Qatar and Turkey have both had close relations with Hamas over the last decade. The creation of a warmer relationship between Doha, Ankara and Tehran could threaten Israel and could bring Jerusalem closer to Riyadh and Cairo. ***[Source: Turkey's power-play in Qatar leads to warmer relations with Iran, By Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post]***
Turkey, under the almost overnight dictatorship formed by Tayyip Erdogan, seems headed in the direction of becoming at some point the entity Ezekiel the Prophet called Torgomah. His regime is embraced, apparently, by the Ayatollahs of Iran (Persia). It is a most interesting development that presents even more interesting possibilities.
The third and last item I would like to look at with you in considering end times trending is the matter of the slap-down it looks as if President Trump is in process of giving the globalists within his administration. This, if it has legs-as they say-is, in my opinion, key to stage-setting for the days of Noah, days of Lot prophecy by the Lord Jesus. Again, that prophecy is found in Christ's Olivet discourse in Matthew 24: 36-42 and in Luke 17: 26-30.
In brief, I continue to believe that America-and much of the world-is about to experience not an economic melt-down, but an economic boom, based upon Jesus' words in that prophecy.
The globalists, I sense, we're feeling as if they about had Mr. Trump pulled over to their sides in the matter of America's trade relations. It looked very much like the president would put their agenda, rather than America first-continuing to let America's wealth drift out without quid pro quo. Now, because of the president's recent action, the Wall Street types are fearing a global trade war that would end their grasp on U.S. wealth in particular.
The news excerpt informs.
While one of Trump's recurring campaign promises was that he would "punish" China and other key US trade counterparties if elected, for taking advantage of free-trade by imposing steep tariffs and duties on foreign imports to "level the playing field," the president's stance changed drastically after the election, U-turning following his amicable meeting with China's President Xi Jinping in March, but mostly as a result of pressure by his ex-Goldman advisors to keep existing trade arrangements in place and not "rock the boat."
Now, all that may be about to fall apart.
And what may be even more striking is that Trump overruled his cabinet, as "the sentiment in the room was 22 against, and 3 in favor - but since one of the three is named Donald Trump, it was case closed." Axios adds that while "no decision has been made, the President is leaning towards imposing tariffs, despite opposition from nearly all his Cabinet." ***[Source: Trump "Overrules" Cabinet, Prepares To Unleash Global Trade War, Zero Hedge]***
Needless to say, if Trump follows through, the outcome would have a profound effect on U.S. economic and foreign policy; Trump will formalize his decision in the coming days.
Donald J. Trump might just be president at this moment for the end times buying, selling, building, etc., prophesied by the Lord Himself. It is at just such a time Jesus tells us the following: "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." (Lk 17: 28-30)
Transhumanism: A Culture of Self-Worship, Defying God and Nature - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker, as a potsherd with the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay say to him that fashioned it: 'What makest thou?' Or: 'Thy work, it hath no hands'?" Isaiah 45:9 (The Israel Bible™)
Transhumanism, an intellectual and cultural movement supporting the use of science and technology to improve human mental and physical characteristics and capacities, a concept once limited to the realm of science-fiction, is now becoming more of a reality than ever before. The once outlier philosophy is quickly becoming mainstream, an accepted part of the social conscience that is the new religion for the anti-religious, including its own Messianic vision.
There are many aspects to the transhumanism philosophy, often abbreviated as H+ or h+, including physical longevity through medical breakthroughs and/or merging mankind with machines. Many transhumanists advocate transferring the sum total of a person's knowledge and experiences into a computer and recreating the individual as a form of artificial intelligence (AI) in order to extend an individual's life.
In its most extreme form, transhumanism advocates limiting human population. This extreme philosophy is criticized for being eugenicist master-race ideology and infringing on basic reproductive rights.
Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman, director of Ohr Chadash Torah Institute, noted that as in any social reform, the driving intention behind the movement is the key element, the factor that decides whether it will be a positive or negative influence on human history.
"There is an aspect of this movement that is a culture of 'Me'," Rabbi Trugman told Breaking Israel News. "Individual freedom has become a form of self-idol worship. For example, having children for many people today does not fit into this emphasis on the individual as it necessarily limits one's personal freedom."
With technology as a central element of transhumanism, Rabbi Trugman noted that Torah is compatible with science and technology within certain limits.
"Science allows us a certain control, ruling over the natural world," Rabbi Trugman said. "But the verse that says we can rule over the world comes along with the commandment to be fruitful and multiply."
"And God blessed them; and God said unto them: 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth.' Genesis 1:28
Many environmentalists blame religion for ruining the environment," Rabbi Trugman explained. "But the Bible commands us to rule over the destructive aspects of nature, not to destroy the very earth that supports and nurtures us."
"The synergy of science and Torah is a positive thing, but it requires limits," continued Rabbi Trugman. "Technology cannot trump everything. There is an aspect of hubris, taking the place of God, when people set out to create a new being, which is forbidden by Torah law. Or ruling over creation and life through euthanasia or selective eugenics, choosing who reproduces."
Many of the new techno-billionaires are attracted to transhumanism: Peter Thiel, the founder of Paypal, adheres to a form of the philosophy called "immortalism" and invests heavily in projects to extend life indefinitely. Rabbi Trugman explained that this aspect of transhumanism is an exaggeration of love of self, a necessary and positive attribute.
The rabbi warned, however, that this trait can be exaggerated to the point where it becomes harmful to the individual and to the culture.
Zoltan Istvan, known for his endorsement of transhumanism as his political party and own philosophy, puts forth the idea that all humans desire to reach a state of perfect personal power, to be omnipotent in the universe. In this, the movement is a form of alternate Messianic movement. And therein lies a much larger danger.
"I am sure that some of them have good intentions, to fix humanity and solve the economic and social problems of the planet," Rabbi Trugman said. "But as we have seen throughout history, science, guided just by human nature, can run amok. A higher morality is required as a guide to ensure that technology doesn't end up being hijacked by those who would use science for less than benevolent purposes."
Daily Jot: How things haven't changed in 12 years - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Rewind to June 2005, when I was a correspondent for a major Christian radio program. Here is a Jot I wrote then under President George W. Bush..."Christianity is under attack in American politics and if the Church, God's people, do not wake up and take action, this nation may be turned over to judgment. I see very dangerous trends that impact our nation and our faith. There is a group of people who are out to gain power, and in doing so, have absolutely no reservation about destroying whatever is in their way to gain that power. They will use anyone or anything that they believe will help them and they will eliminate anyone or anything that will hinder them.
"Last week, the House of Representatives was considering the Defense Appropriations bill. Wisconsin Democrat David Obey wanted an amendment to reflect the opposition of Congress against religious evangelism at the Air Force Academy. Indiana Congressman John Hostetler was offended and said that Democrats will take any opportunity they can to demonize Christians. Democrats immediately leapt to their feet and demanded Hostetler be censored for his accusation. Hostetler said later, "If you tell Christians they can't tell others about their faith, then they can't exercise their Christian religion." He said proselytizing involves a forced conversion to Christianity, something that did not occur at the academy.
"In the weeks leading up to this minor explosion on the House floor, Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean mocked the Republican Party by saying it was comprised of "white Christians." New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton said at a fundraiser that the Republican approach to politics was...messianic...meaning that, in her words, "Some honestly believe they are motivated by the truth, they are motivated by a higher calling, they are motivated by, I guess, a direct line to the heavens." The legislation introduced by both sides is also telltale. Typically, Democrats are busy with bills such as the Unification of American Families Act, a pro-homosexual bill, while Republicans are trying to stop child molesters.
"Republicans are not the "be all end all" for Christianity by any account, but distinct battle lines are drawn and fought each day. Christians have been given eight years under a Christian-friendly president to turn hearts toward God, yet the church appears to take this as a respite rather than as a time of labor. This is not a time to be angry at misguided politicians in either party. Ephesians 6:12 says, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." It is a time to act." Back to today. How have things changed? Or have they? Certainly, the rhetoric has heightened, but the more the years go by, the worse the same problems become.
Daily Devotion: Dangerous Assumptions - By Greg Laurie -
"For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end." -Hebrews 3:14
The great evangelist Billy Sunday said the problem with a lot of people is they treat sin like a cream puff instead of a rattlesnake.
Have you ever seen a baby rattlesnake? They are actually kind of cute. They have a little snake body, a little rattler, and little fangs. Someone might say, "Look at that little baby rattler. He's so cute."
Let me tell you something about that baby rattler. He might be smaller in size than an adult, but his venom is actually more potent, drop for drop, than the venom of an adult rattlesnake. And if that little rattlesnake were to give you a little bite, you would die if you couldn't get to a doctor quickly.
Make no mistake about it. Sin is powerful. It is elusive. It is tricky. And it can appear so appealing on the outside. I have seen people who knew better, Christians who have walked with the Lord for years and know His Word well, fall into sin and be deceived by it.
We must be very careful, especially when it comes to seemingly small sins in our estimation. Sometimes we look at something and say, "That isn't a big deal. It's just a small sin. Surely it won't do that much harm in my life." Watch out. Dynamite comes in small packages.
We are told in Hebrews 3:12-14, "Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called 'Today,' lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end."
We must be careful and not let sin harden our hearts.
FROM THE HEART
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