Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Jerusalem: A Burdensome Stone - by Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2018/07/jerusalem-burdensome-stone.html
"And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
v.15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God." (Amos 9:14-15)
Has God cast away His people, Israel? Of all the nations of the earth, no other has been so blessed as Israel when she followed after the ways of God. But no other people has been so cursed, as when she forgot her God and followed after pagan gods and idols. Some will say that God divorced Israel and cast her away and the Church has replaced her. But is that true? Has God cast away His people who He brought up out of Egypt in ancient times. Has He cast off the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? The history of the nation of Israel is over 4000 years long and details cannot be fully covered in one offering, but we will touch on the high points of the historical events leading to the modern day establishment of the nation of Israel and the promises made to her.
ANCIENT ISRAEL INTO CAPTIVITY
Israel provoked God by her idolatry and following after the gods of the Canaanites who they drove out before them, but not all. God warned them repeatedly through the prophets that judgment and an evil was coming upon them if they refused to repent and come back to the true God of Heaven, Jehovah (YHWH). Till finally, God had had enough of their idolatry and unrighteousness and cast them from His site.
"For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger." (1st Kings 14:15)
" For I have set my face against this city for evil, and not for good, saith the LORD: it shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire." (Jeremiah 21:10)
"Behold, I am against thee, O inhabitant of the valley, and rock of the plain, saith the LORD; which say, Who shall come down against us? or who shall enter into our habitations?
14, But I will punish you according to the fruit of your doings, saith the LORD: and I will kindle a fire in the forest thereof, and it shall devour all things round about it." (Jeremiah 21:13-14)
And so it was according even to historical records that Israel was cast away from God's sight for 70 years into the Kingdom of Babylon. But God was not done with Israel and history shows that Cyrus, King of Persia decreed in 538 BC, the returning of the Jews to Judea and authorizing the rebuilding of the Temple, which was nothing out of the ordinary for this unusual monarch (II Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-11; 6:2-5). God used a pagan king to return the nation of Israel back to their homeland. This was Israel's first dispersion and it's return to their ancestor's land. Israel dwelt in the land even under the rule of other nations, including the Roman Empire until the appearance of the Messiah, as they never regained their independence until recent modern times.
The Bible shows that from the time of the rebuilding of the Temple by Israel until the coming of the Messiah, Yeshua Moshiach , Jesus the Christ was exactly 483 years when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a foal of a donkey and the city proclaimed Him King with a loud voice "Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest"
It was the only time that Jesus allowed the people to proclaim Him their King. Three days later on the day before Preparation Day for the Passover week, Jesus would be crucified on a cross by the Romans with the Jewish authorities as accomplices. From that hour, the prophetic time clock for the prophecy given to Daniel by Gabriel the ark angel stopped. God gave Israel 40 more years from the crucifixion to recognize Jesus as Messiah, until in 70 AD, Jerusalem and the Temple of God were destroyed by the Romans. Then putting down revolts with the last in about 135 AD, Jerusalem was completely destroyed and the land plowed under with salt and the Jews and Israel were no more. Remaining Jewish people were dispersed to distant lands by their conquerors and Israel was basically forgotten with her name changed by Rome to "Palestine" in recognition of the Philistines, Israel's most hated enemy.
JEWS, A MUCH PERSECUTED PEOPLE
Down through the ages, the Jewish people were persecuted and were forced into submission to other nations and cultures, and no other people would endure such a treatment and continue their own culture, besides the Jewish people. Fast forward to the 20th Century and a push for creating a nation for the Jews starting with the Balfour Declaration in 1917. History shows us that the declaration read as follows:
"His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country"
Due to rising antisemitic prejudices in the nations that harbored the Jewish people, the land of Israel was divided up for a homeland for Jews and Arabs, but almost immediately the Arab-Israeli conflict erupted and Jewish travel to Israel was minimal at best. Enter Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich for the persecution of the Jewish people we now know as the Holocaust where 6 million Jews died in gas chambers, ovens, and other means of extermination such as firing squads.
I read in horror the account given by Jack Kinsella in the Omega Letter concerning what happened in central Europe nations such as Poland in cities including Auschwitz, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, Sobibor and Treblinka. Of the millions who entered these camps, only a handful emerged.
"Can you imagine the outrage, had the Allies known of these camps? Clearly, the moment the Allies discovered that the Germans were systematically exterminating the entire Jewish population of Europe, the entire tenor of the war would have changed.
No matter how critical other military targets may have been, it is difficult to imagine that any of them could be more critical than the death camps. No matter how many lives might have been at stake because of other targets, there was nothing that compared to the carnage of the Nazi death camps.
What a terrible shame that they didn't know. Think of the millions of lives that could have been saved, had they destroyed those death camps, even as late as the last year of the war!
Except they did know. And they did nothing." (Jack Kinsella, Omega Letter)
You read that right. America did nothing. We knew, but we made excuses that the war effort did not allow us to use equipment and resources to save a people targeted for extermination. It was reported by a Jewish man, 19 year old Rudolf Vrba who informed the Allies through a Jewish Rabbi with what would become known as the Auschwitz Protocols of what Nazi Germany was doing to a whole race of people. Our war department had a policy in place and spoken of by Assistant secretary of war John McClory of the standing policy that no military resources should be allocated for "rescuing victims of enemy oppression."
('Victims of enemy oppression' was a code for "Jews". The Allies ACTUALLY had a policy in place to let them die.)
I am ashamed of my government duplicity talking from both sides of their mouths when it came to the war effort and the saving of people from Germany's goal of world dominance. But out of evil, came about the fulfilling of a long ago prophecy that God used the evil intents of men for good and for His own purpose.
ISRAEL WOULD BE REBORN
The prophet Ezekiel was given a vision by God in the valley of dry bones where God brought Israel back from the dead. Everyone thought Israel would be no more, but God had a different idea:
"And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land:
(22) And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." (Ezekiel 37:21-22)
The chapter speaks of the past, the present and the future of modern day Israel. Israel was regathered to her own land with more and more people from other countries from all over the world are making their aliyah, or immigration to Israel. National Israel was born in one day on Pentecost, May 14, 1948:
"(7)( Before she utravailed, she brought forth;Before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child
(8) Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day?Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children." (Isaiah 66:7-8)
It was and is truly a miracle and reinforcement that God has NOT abandoned His people Israel. Israel has had to defend herself since her inception and rebirth as a nation from her Arab neighbors having gone to war with her time and time again. Each time, Israel has been victorious over huge, seemingly, insurmountable odds that seemed impossible to overcome. "But with God, all things are possible". Even today, the world conspires to bring Israel to ruin. Her present Prime Minister and the man of the hour to lead Israel in these perilous times, Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed in many speeches of the resolve of his government to never allow the attempted extermination of the Jewish people.
"If anyone thought that following the horrific events of the Holocaust this malignant phenomenon would vanish from this world, it is today obvious that he was wrong."
"The sad fact is that while we mark the Holocaust Memorial Day here at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, some chose to attend the show of hatred against Israel held as we speak in the heart of Europe," Netanyahu said.
"We will not let Holocaust deniers carry out another Holocaust of the Jewish people. This is the supreme commitment of the state of Israel."
Speaking at the International Holocaust Memorial Day in Auschwitz, the PM of Israel was quoted in the Jerusalem Post:
"Israel, he said, must stand at the forefront of all civilized nations and warn them about impending danger - while also preparing to defend itself against all threats. "I promise, as head of the Jewish state, that never again will we allow the hand of evil to sever the life of our people and our state," he solemnly added. Netanyahu chose not to specifically refer to the Iranian regime and its nuclear drive, but has drawn a link between the Nazis and the Iranian threat to the Jews in many recent speeches." see:
Despite the lessons of the Holocaust, the world learned nothing. The burden of Jerusalem remains as heavy today as ever it has over the millennia.
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it." (Zechariah 12:2-3)
No other nation has caused so much division and world anxiety as the tiny nation of Israel. In the past quarter century, subsequent presidents of the USA have tried to broker a "Peace Treaty" with the Palestinians (a made up people) and Israel, but have failed. Why? Because the Arabs within and without Israel will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state and let them live in peace. Their goal, their intent, and their speech proves that their only ambition is to drive the Jewish people into the Mediterranean Sea to drown. They want the so called "Palestine" to be " Judenrein" (Jew-free). No free people can bargain with the likes of those who only wish your death and destruction, much like Hitler and Nazi Germany. To be against Israel is to go up against the God of Heaven who proclaimed that Israel would always be a nation before Him:
35"Thus saith the Lord that giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, that divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; the LORD of hosts is His name:
36,If those ordinances depart from before Me, then the seed of Israel shall cease from being a nation before Me forever.
37, Thus saith the Lord; If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the Lord." (Jeremiah 31:35-37)
It would be well advised that the Evangelical Church such the likes of the "Christ at the Checkpoint" (sic) which began in 2010 as a biennial conference with the idea that Jesus was a Palestinian who could be suffering under Israeli occupation today as he once suffered under Roman occupation.
David Neff, who co-convenes an annual evangelical-Jewish leader dialogue, said his Jewish friends have expressed some nervousness over recent gatherings and activities, including Christ at the Checkpoint, which took place in March, 2010.
"I think it's more anecdotal at this point, but nevertheless, it is reasonable to think that with Christ at the Checkpoint people getting the attention of some," Neff said, referring to Lynne Hybels, wife of megachurch pastor Bill Hybels, and progressive evangelical leader Tony Campolo. "There's no question: People who have sympathies for the plight of the Palestinians have more access than they used to."
WARNING TO THOSE WHO ARE ANTISEMITIC
As we approach the end of days and the beginning of the Tribulation, we find more rabid disinformation and bias, and outright antisemitism against the nation of Israel. Do the likes of the above mentioned organization and it's leaders defy God's command to support His chosen people? Are we begging for judgment to come upon them and us, those of us especially who live in the USA as the past supporter of the nation of Israel?
"And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." (Genesis 12:3)
The wise bible believing Christian would do well to stand with Israel and have God on their side, as God has called Israel the apple of His eye:
"For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye." (Zechariah 2:8)
That is why I say that God chose POTUS Trump as supporting Israel in this hour, just as He did King Cyrus. There has never been a better friend to Israel, than this present administration, and frankly, I believe it is God's doing.
ISRAEL AND THE COMING TRIBULATION
According to dispensationalists, when Jesus was on earth He offered the earthly kingdom to the Jews. Because they rejected it, the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies in regard to their rulership of Palestine and predominance over the nations could not be immediately put into effect. Of necessity there came a gap of centuries during which the Christian Church has played a separate and distinctive role designed by God.
But this role is not a spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel. The period of Christian Church history is a parenthesis, not foreseen by the Old Testament prophets and not designed to fulfill their forecasts. This period of the Church will come to an end when the Christian saints are forcefully removed :
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1st Thessalonians 4:17-18)
This happens seven years before the glorious appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven and his coming rule and reign on earth, when His Feet touch the Mount of Olives.
God has set aside Israel temporarily for the Church Age, as we are as mentioned a parenthesis between Israel being set aside and the coming Tribulation, when God the Father will turn His full attention to the national salvation of Israel. But God will not let Israel go unpunished for their national rejection of Him. God said that He would try them as silver and gold is refined in the fire. Many will die, many will be saved, and many will proclaim Jesus as their Messiah.
"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3, And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4, Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. " (Malachi 3:2-4)
The last seven years of this earth's history after the rapture of the Christian saints and before the glorious second coming of Christ are said to be the final week of Daniel's seventy-week prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27). During this seven-year period the great tribulation predicted by Daniel and Christ will occur.
The seven-year period is divided into two periods of three and one-half years each. During the first three and one-half years Israel enters into a covenant with the Antichrist. But at the end of this period the Antichrist breaks the covenant and begins a three and one-half year persecution of the Jews. This is all said to be in fulfillment of Daniel 9:27:
"He will confirm a covenant with many for one 'seven,' but in the middle of that 'seven' he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And one who causes desolation will place abominations on a wing of the temple until the end that is decreed is poured out on him"
Notice that Israel is still a nation, even then. They have been through more wars such as Ezekiel 38-39, or Psalm 83, but Israel still stands, but by making a peace treaty with the prophesied Antichrist, they will realize half way through the Tribulation that they have made a deal with the devil when he enters the newly built temple of God and sits in the Holy of Holies and proclaims himself to be God in the flesh. The AC is not their national savior, but will become their risen Hitler on steroids. He will attempt to eradicate Israel and finish what Hitler only started, but he will ultimately fail. For God comes to fight for them and their enemies can only mourn their eventual destruction.
"Behold, the day of the Lord is coming,And your spoil will be divided in your midst.2, For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem;
The city shall be taken,The houses rifled,And the women ravished.
Half of the city shall go into captivity,But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3, Then the Lord will go forthAnd fight against those nations,
As He fights in the day of battle.4, And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,From east to west, Making a very large valley;Half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south." (Zechariah 14:1-4)
This is at the Battle of Armageddon and the King of kings and Lord of lords will come a destroy all rebellion upon the earth and save the remnant of national Israel.
11," Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[e] a name written that no one knew except Himself.
13,And he was clothed with a with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.
14, And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[f] followed Him on white horses.
15, Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[g] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16, And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS ANDLORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:11-16)
"And this shall be the plague wherewith the LORD will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem; Their flesh shall consume away while they stand upon their feet, and their eyes shall consume away in their holes, and their tongue shall consume away in their mouth." (Zechariah 14:12)
Israel will never be uprooted from her land again, as the Lord promised. They will be tried and purified, but those who survive the Tribulation as alive mortal men and women will go into the Millennium to repopulate the earth during the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ. Amazingly, the Church will join Jesus Christ as the judges of the earth and those who have been killed during the Tribulation and raised to life and those that live during this Millennial reign.
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." (Revelation 20:4)
We are those (the Church of the Living God) who sit on thrones judging righteously according to what is given to us by God. We will sit on thrones with our Lord and King Jesus just as He sat down on His Father's throne. Revelation chapter 3, promised by Jesus our Savior:
"' He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21)
And Israel will become the center of the Kingdom of God with Jerusalem lifted high and all people of the earth will stream to Israel to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
"All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin's gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king's winepresses.
11, and men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited." (Zechariah 14:10-11)
3, Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain.
4, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
5, And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof.
6, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If it be marvellous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, should it also be marvellous in mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts.
7, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;
8 , And I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness" (Zechariah 8:3-8)
ISRAEL IS GOD'S TIMEPIECE
Israel is the centerpiece of Bible prophecy. Its existence and history are proof positive of the accuracy of Bible prophecy. To this point in the historical record, Bible prophecy -- where it can be proved at all -- has proved to be 100% accurate, 100% of the time.
It continues to unfold before our eyes. We've only touched on the high points in the Big Picture, but the pattern is unmistakable. Events foretold to take place in the history of Israel and in a single generation, somewhere in time are happening now-- events that can only happen once -- are coming together -- all at once and in THIS generation.
The same God that predicted what has already occurred with such unerring accuracy will continue to perform His Will until His Purpose is accomplished. Bible prophecy proves God is still on His Throne and is intimately concerned with the affairs of men.
"Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:" (Isaiah 46:9-10)
Yes, my reader, Israel will be tried, but a remnant will fill the earth with children and their children for a 1000 years. Israel will be the center of the Kingdom of God and Jesus will rule from Jerusalem and those who go into the Millennial Kingdom will never be afraid again for a thousand years. As God promised, Israel will NEVER AGAIN be uprooted from the land that God gave their forefathers. God made a promise to Abraham, and God keeps His promises...let God be the truth and all other liars. Remember, our God, the true God of Heaven, YHWH, the great I AM, that I AM will bring all that He has said come to pass. Best get on the side of God and His people.
All who stand with Israel, stand with the Lord Jesus Christ and His Word. God's Word cannot lie. He is coming soon for a chosen people unto Himself and this age will end. Next, comes the purification of Israel and rebellion extinguished from this earth. Since Israel is back in her land , Jesus prophesied:
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
(33) So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
(34) Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
(35) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:32-35)
Israel being reborn is that fig tree that has blossomed, and Jesus proclaims His nearness when that happens.
A generation by God's Word is 70 years, 80 years by strength. Israel just celebrated 70 years of being a nation. How much longer is this generation? We are that generation...we are the people who watch Israel and know that our Lord and Savior is close, very close, even at the door...don't wait any longer, not a moment can be wasted. To wait too long will send those who disbelieve or are slow to embrace the Gospel message to be alongside Israel as SHE is purified. Your chances at salvation are today, for tomorrow we are not promised. The world could turn upside down any day now. Don't let the coming of our Lord catch you by surprise. Believe what the Lord God said:
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
"Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
(v. 11) Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)
Israel is in her land, never to be uprooted again, proclaiming because of her habitation of God's land that Jesus is coming soon...are you ready?
This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying you make that decision for Christ today. If you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear then email me at email@example.com , . God bless you my brethren,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Watchman Warning: Pax Antichristo - By Hal Lindsey -
We often hear that peace in the Middle East cannot happen - that the region is doomed to perpetual war. Even optimistic estimates have said that the current turmoil will last for at least several more generations.
But the Bible indicates that in the next few years that region is destined for two eras of peace. I call the first one Pax Antichristo - the peace of Antichrist. It will not last long, and it's not the kind of peace a sane person would want.
Right now, it may seem difficult to imagine peace of any kind in the area. There's a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, but Hamas continues its terror attacks along the border, and Israel retaliates. I wonder how bad it would be without the cease-fire.
Iran continues to fund the Hamas military machine. That's interesting because Iran is a Shiite nation, and Hamas is a Sunni group. Iran usually supports only fellow Shiites. Sunnis and Shiites have been in a life and death struggle for the direction of Islam since Muhammed died in the year 632. That's 1,386 years of anger, war, suspicion, and strife. But Shiite Iran supports Sunni Hamas because they know Hamas is a thorn in the side of Israel. And they hate Israel so much that they are willing to cross their most revered lines in order to attack it.
Iran also supports Hezbollah, a Shiite terror group operating out of Lebanon. Western intelligence sources say that Hezbollah has an arsenal of 130,000 missiles aimed at Israel. As I've pointed out before, that's more than all the missiles of western Europe combined. A terror group was able to amass that many missiles because Iran was paying for it.
Israel recently shot down a Syrian warplane that crossed into the Golan Heights. Syria is another proxy for Iran. Even with Iranian troops on the ground in Syria, they prefer to have their proxies fight for them.
With the Syrian Civil War winding down, there's no longer an excuse for the presence of Iranian troops in Syria. But don't hold your breath waiting for them to leave. With actions all over the Middle East, Iran is in no position to take on Israel directly, but they've been remarkably honest about their goal. They intend to utterly destroy the Jewish State. Sitting on Israel's northern doorstep puts them in a good position for future invasion.
Ezekiel 38 says that in the end-times, Iran will attack Israel. But they won't do it alone. They will be part of a coalition of nations led by Russia and including Turkey. It's no accident, then, that both Russia and Turkey also have troops in Syria and are in an alliance with Iran.
So far, Russia has stayed out of Israel's way in Syria. Prime Minister Netanyahu has met with Putin or his subordinates several times over the last few months. Syria seems to be the primary point of the discussions. The United States also has a presence in Syria, but, for now, Russia sits in the catbird seat. It looks like Putin will decide what happens next in that war-torn country.
After President Trump's Helsinki summit with Putin, the President seemed to believe the Russians were working toward a secure Israel. "We discussed Israel and the security of Israel," he said, "and President Putin is very much involved now with us and the discussion with Bibi Netanyahu on working something out with surrounding Syria... and specifically with regards to the security and long-term security of Israel."
But it would be deeply surprising if the long-term security of Israel amounts to much of a priority for Vladimir Putin.
So, how will the Antichrist pull off a peace treaty between Israel and her enemies? Surprisingly enough, movement is already underway. Recently, Saudi journalist Sukina Meshekhis called on all Arab nations to take bold steps for peace. She said, "We must advance peace with Israel, even if we have to make concessions."
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seems to be thinking along the same lines. As regent for his ailing father, King Salman, the Crown Prince now effectively runs Saudi Arabia. In an interview with Time Magazine, he said that Israel and Saudi Arabia "have a common enemy" - an obvious reference to Iran. He said that both Israel and the Palestinians "have the right to live and coexist."
Those kinds of remarks from the leader of Saudi Arabia would have been unthinkable a few years ago. It foreshadows a time when Antichrist will be able to bring the parties together - though only briefly.
In English and in much of the western world, the word "peace" has come to mean "the absence of war." The Hebrew word for peace - "shalom" - includes much more. It carries the connotation of total well-being. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary, it literally means "completeness, soundness, welfare."
Strong's Concordance says "shalom" refers to being "well, happy, friendly" and having "health, prosperity, peace." The King James Bible translates it as "favor," "good health," "peace," "prosperity," and "rest."
That describes the kind of peace we all long for - the kind of peace Jesus will bring to the whole world at His second coming. "Shalom" will be a hallmark of Christ's millennial reign. Isaiah 11:6-7 says the peace of that time will be so great that it even extends to the animal kingdom. "The wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the kid [baby goat], And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze; Their young will lie down together; And the lion will eat straw like the ox."
Isaiah 2:4 also speaks of the peace during that era when it famously says, "They will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war."
Since the earliest days of the human race, young men (and in many generations young women) have learned the arts of war. But when Jesus returns, such learning will never be needed again.
A Last Call - By Alice Childs - http://www.raptureready.com/2018/07/19/last-call-alice-childs/
People get ready; very soon there will be a great "vanishing" that will occur. It can (and will) happen at any time now - literally. Are you ready?
If you are a believer in Christ - that is if you are saved according to the scriptures, then you are ready and your excitement should be at an all-time high. But if you are lost; if you have put your trust in anything or anyone (including your own self or your own morality); if your faith, hope, and trust is in ANYTHING OTHER than Jesus Christ - Him alone and what He has already done at Calvary for your salvation, then you are NOT AT ALL prepared for what is about to occur once the rapture of the Church takes place.
We plead with you now to repent and believe (place your trust) in the truth that Jesus Christ died in your place to pay the sin debt of which each human individual ever conceived is guilty. "For ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). "There is NONE righteous, no not one" (Romans 3:10).
You must BELIEVE that Jesus is God the Son come to earth in human flesh. Believe that He came to earth as the perfect God man, and that as such, He and He alone was qualified and able to live a perfectly sinless life, thus fulfilling the requirements of the Law of God that God's perfect justice and holiness demanded.
His sinless life (free of sin in thought, word, and deed) qualified Jesus ALONE (of all humans who have ever lived or who ever will live) to give His life as an atonement for the sins of all humanity so that His death in OUR place, bearing OUR sin guilt, could qualify to PAY IN FULL OUR sin debt - a debt NONE of us could ever pay.
ALL who believe that Jesus (who is God) was crucified, died, was buried, and arose again BODILY three days later, thus paying in full the debt of sin for ALL (EVERYONE) who will willingly come to Him by faith, accepting His freely offered pardon for sin - all who believe and accept this by faith WILL BE SAVED from eternal destruction and will have their sin debt canceled (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; John 3:16-17).
All anyone has to do to be saved is this:
1) Recognize that you are a justly condemned sinner who is guilty of violating God's perfect Law. Because you were born already infected by the curse of sin, as such you are born under eternal condemnation and you are unable to ever change that fact by or on your own efforts or merits. You must understand that you can NEVER "do" anything to make yourself righteous enough to live in the presence of a holy God, nor can you ever "be" or become good enough. You are guilty, and thus you are "condemned already."
2) Realize that Jesus, who is God the Son, LOVES YOU - that He LOVES YOU SO MUCH that He WILLINGLY gave Himself as a ransom for YOUR sin so that you (that ANYONE who is willing) "might have LIFE (eternal) and have it more abundantly," that you may be SEALED for all eternity in that new and ETERNAL life.
3) Believe that Jesus Christ died, that He arose again BODILY (not in a spirit form, but in a new and resurrected body) on the third day according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
4) Place your trust and faith in this truth; and by the authority of God Himself, you will be saved.
Do this NOW BEFORE the Lord Jesus returns to snatch away His bride - His Church which is comprised of ALL who have believed in Him alone for their salvation (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
If you do this NOW, you too will be ready for the rapture (the great and imminent vanishing). You will go with us when the Lord Jesus Christ comes to call His Church into the air to take us Home to Heaven to forever be with Him where He is.
For those left behind - those who CHOOSE to reject His offer of salvation, they will be left here on this earth that is already in its death throes; left here to endure God's wrath on a sin drenched, Christ rejecting world.
The time is now. The choice is yours. Please, with all that is in us we plead with you, come to the Savior. Come now.
Are You a Follower or a Disciple? - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
"And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him." Matthew 4:18-20. Jesus saw these two men as they were going about their daily business and knew that they would be faithful followers. Peter and Andrew were fishermen, not scholars, but Jesus saw their abilities beyond fishing. Not only would these two men follow Jesus, but they would be disciples. A follower doesn't necessarily have or want knowledge of what they follow, and many follow along for the wrong reasons. Some people only followed Jesus to be healed or because He was somewhat of a celebrity. On the other hand, a disciple is a pupil or student of a teacher and follows in order to learn.
It's easy to blindly follow someone, and perhaps that's what Peter was doing when Jesus first called him. Andrew had already talked with Jesus and realized that He was the Messiah. In the Gospel of John we learn that Andrew had been a disciple of John the Baptist who first recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God. Andrew and another disciple of John's decided to spend some time with Jesus and were impressed. "One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ." John 1:40-41. That's how we're all introduced to Jesus. We hear about Him from another person, then we have to make a choice. If we decide to follow Jesus, we need to become disciples. We need to learn the lessons that Jesus taught by studying Scripture to and applying it to our life. In Andrew's case he had followed John the Baptist until he saw Jesus. After visiting with Jesus he was convinced that he had met the Messiah, then told his brother Peter. When Jesus saw them fishing on the shores of Galilee they were both ready to follow Him. Andrew may have been ready to be a disciple, but Peter was only ready to follow. That's a start. He may have just been looking for adventure, but we can be sure that Jesus knew that he had what was needed to learn and eventually spread the Gospel.
Why is it important to be a disciple? Today there are many cults that claim to be Christian but deceive many people who have no knowledge of the truth. These people are unable to discern the Gospel truth from Satan's deception. If you haven't learned God's truth you'll follow the wrong path. The best teacher of Scripture is the Holy Spirit. The Bible is one single book from Genesis through Revelation and if you skip verses or chapters you'll miss some important teachings. The Torah (the first books of the Bible) teaches about how God defines sin and the penalty for disobedience. The New Testament reveals God's remedy for sin. Every Bible is a translation and to gain a deeper understanding of what Scripture says you should look up words in their original language by using a good concordance. By doing this your understanding will grow. Never take a verse out of context, but use the 20/20 rule. That means read at least 20 verses before and 20 verses after to understand the context. If your Bible has cross references to related Scripture, take the time to look at them. There are many books and commentaries regarding Scripture and some are very good and informative. There's nothing wrong with studying what others have already studied, but don't believe what they say just because they've written a book. Unstudied people are easily deceived by false teachers. Pray for discernment. When you do look at commentaries, it's a good idea to look at more than one in order to get more than one perspective. "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." 2 Timothy 2:15. Remember, God hasn't changed. His word was absolutely true in the beginning and it will be absolutely true in the end.
It's possible to follow Christ without really being a disciple. Crowds of people followed Jesus, but they followed without learning. Not even the twelve disciple really knew who He was at first. As Jesus patiently taught them, some of His words sank in, but they first had to get past their preconceived ideas. For instance, Jesus gave them a long talk about humility and forgiveness. Peter listened, and like a good student he asked a question in order to learn. Out of all the things that Jesus had taught that day, Peter wanted to understand forgiveness. "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?" Matthew 18:21. Peter must have been struggling with forgiveness and thought forgiving someone seven times was a great accomplishment. Was he thinking of some hidden hurts that had been done to him and people he needed to forgive? "Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." Matthew 18:22. That's a lot of forgiving! It isn't easy to forgive even once, and to forgive 490 time takes an act of God. Peter was learning, but he still had a lot more to learn before he would become the leader that Jesus knew he would be. Ask questions when you don't understand something and the Holy Spirit will lead you to the truth. It may not be the answer you hoped for, but it will be God's truth.
Erroneous doctrine is nothing new. In times long past there were some who tried to muddle God's prophetic words to Israel. As we draw near to the end of time it's very important not to follow false teachers who modify Scripture to "modernize" it or make it fit today's traditions. Peter learned because he eventually stopped following and became a disciple. It was Peter who warned us against following false teachers. "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." 2 Peter 2:1-2. Many denominations have gone apostate and teach "damnable heresies". New Age teachings, yoga, and contemplative prayer are just a few of the errors being accepted today. Homosexual relationships are embraced because instead of following God we allow our doctrine to be shaped by people. A person who is a disciple and studies Scripture will know how wrong that is. In Old Testament times, during the time of the judges, there was a problem with people not respecting God's truth. "In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes." Judges 17:6. Today the King of kings, Jesus Christ, has come to show us the way so we have no reason to do what is right in our own eyes. A person who loves Jesus and wants souls to be saved before it's too late will study God's word and mold their life to fit Scripture. Then they will speak in Christian love to others and begin teaching and encouraging them to become disciples of the Most High God and learn His ways.
It's easy to be deceived if you don't learn God's doctrines. Peter had followed Jesus, seen many miraculous things, and asked questions, but was he truly a disciple? When Jesus was arrested, Peter denied even knowing Him. When Jesus was crucified, Peter was nowhere to be found. It could have been the end of Peter's discipleship, but Jesus hadn't given up on him. On that glorious Resurrection morning a group of women went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. They entered the tomb and saw a young man sitting there. He told them he knew they were looking for Jesus and not to be afraid. "But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you." Mark 16:7. Did you catch that? Tell His disciples and Peter. At that point Peter wasn't counted among the disciples but was just a follower. They did go to Galilee and there they met the risen Christ. Gently and lovingly Jesus talked with Peter and at last he became a true disciple. Peter listened to Jesus and let Jesus' words become a partof him. Because he chose to learn from Jesus, Peter not only was restored as a disciple but was also an Apostle. He became a strong leader among those first Christians and today we can learn lessons from both his failures and his victories.
How do you become a disciple of Jesus today? You pray and study Scripture. As you study, look at your life and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the sin hidden there. We all have it and we need to change our life to become more like Jesus. Sin will always hinder our walk with the Lord. If you have a favorite sin that you hold onto, don't twist Scripture to make that sin seem acceptable. Choose to become like Jesus by repenting, asking forgiveness, and taking up your cross to follow Him. "And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me." Luke 9:23. Jesus took your sin and my sin upon Himself. He shed His blood on the cross so that we can be reconciled to God. Every day you need to make a conscience effort to turn away from the sin you hold onto. Study Scripture and apply it to your life. Be a disciple and not a mere follower. Other people will see the change in you and that will allow you to be a witness for Christ.
If you don't study God's word you're in danger of following a false teach down the wrong path. Don't be follower of deception, but be a disciple of Jesus.
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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Daily Jot: The Communist threat and the Christian response - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Remember Daniel Ortega, the Castro-trained communist who overthrew Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua in 1979? Ortega became Nicaragua's "president" and nationalized all the land, redistributed wealth and largely made the country an impoverished horror story. Later Ortega was defeated in a free election, then conned the people into thinking he was no longer a Marxist and was elected again in 2006 with the help of the Catholic Church. Now, he is back to his old communist ways of military oppression and has sent death squads to churches to quash dissent. Nicaraguans thought they had put away the communist past, but the wolf in sheep's clothing is again revealing its true nature. Such is communism.
Communists lie and deceive; they promise everything to those who have nothing; they cause class and economic warfare, plying unwitting minds with words like equality, peace, open borders, and fairness. When they gain control, they enrich themselves, establish a ruling class and a peasant class, and suck the wealth out of the nation. Look at Venezuela, Cuba, China, and now Nicaragua. The wealthy minority are very wealthy, and the middle class and poor keep getting poorer. Islam is a cousin to Marxist communism under the deception of compelled religion. Look at the lack of freedom and economic opportunity in Islamic-controlled nations. Communism has no religious freedom as the state replaces God.
America is facing a communist revolution. It is being fomented by the Democratic Party and aided by so-called moderate Republicans. That's the motivation beneath the Mueller investigation, the attacks by Hollywood, the media, and all the leftists groups on President Trump. Communists have infiltrated our government over the years, especially during the last two administrations. They have essentially taken over America's education system and are destroying our children with gender diversity, the focus on sex, entitlement, misplaced equality, and the downplaying of traditional God-centered values. Anyone saying they are a progressive, socialist or a Democratic Socialist are communists. Most Democrats and Moderates are also influenced by this revolutionary juggernaut. Many Christians have also fallen into this hell-trap.
Communism/socialism is rooted in the Communist Manifesto, which calls for the abolition of all morals and religion, rendering the state as god. Christians who believe socialism is in step with the Bible point to Acts 4:32, which says, "And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that any of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common." Socialism forces the redistribution of wealth. it is given freely in Christianity. Christians who believe they have no stake in the national condition are wrong-minded. They should try living in Cuba or China or Venezuela and openly practice Christianity. Sadly, many refuse to stand against this communist-inspired revolution in America. Believe me, as a Christian, you don't want to live under this oppression.
Daily Devotion: All Show and No Go - By Greg Laurie -
But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God's love. -Jude 1:20-21
To me, it seems that for a lot of people, faith is like a four-wheel-drive vehicle. People will buy an amazing four-wheel-drive and then add lots of after-market equipment. They'll raise it. They'll get giant wheels and a big winch on the front, and then they'll add huge lights. And when they drive up behind you, all you can see is the chassis of their vehicle in your rearview mirror.
Maybe they pull up next to you at a gas station, and you strike up a conversation while you're fueling up.
"That thing is cool," you say. "Do you do a lot of four wheeling?"
"What? Are you kidding me? Do you know how much I spent on this thing? There's no way I'm going to take this out in the dirt. I'm on my way to the car wash."
In a way, it is all show and no go. That is what faith is like for some people. They like to talk about faith, but they don't use their faith.
Jude tells us, "But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray[ing] in the power of the Holy Spirit" (verse 20 NLT). This is telling us that faith does things. Faith is active. Jude is saying, "Be praying. Be staying. Be keeping." In other words, do things with your faith. Don't neglect it.
Faith is a lot like a muscle. The more you use a muscle, the stronger that muscle becomes. But if you neglect your muscles, they won't develop. And if you neglect them for too long, they can even atrophy.
Faith doesn't live in the realm of theory; faith lives in the world of activity. So let's use our faith. Let's put it into action. Then watch what God can do.
FROM THE HEART
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