Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Ongoing Temple Mount War - Alf Cengia -
We've come a long way since the attack on the Twin Towers. 9-11 was an event which triggered my interest in biblical prophecy. No doubt it did the same for many others.
The world sought to understand the motivation of the perpetrators. Some saw them as "freedom fighters." It was America's fault for dabbling in Middle East affairs - especially in supporting Israel. Some blamed poverty. There were even those who claimed it was a "spiritual" New Age event.
Since 9-11 we've seen the "Arab Spring" turn into a Middle East meltdown. The subsequent Arab Winter has spilled over into the West. Terrorism in the West is routinely accompanied by shouts of Allah Akbar. "Freedom fighters" point to verses in their Qur'an as motivation for their deeds. Yet apologists protest that this is a perversion of Islam.
The media has generally ignored the recent bloody violence surrounding the Temple Mount. Inflammatory sermons and rhetoric from Imams, the PA and Hamas has had tensions brewing for years. The people who perpetrate this violence are often rewarded by the Palestinian leaders.
In case you're not up to speed, I suggest watching John Haller's "Flashpoint Jerusalem." The Jerusalem Journal's Chaim Report (top right hand side) is recommended reading. Dr Randall's website is also an excellent resource for issues regarding prophecy, the Temple Mount and the Jewish temples.
We've come along way with the Mount since 9-11. Back then, building a third temple was a whisper of a dream in the minds of hundreds of "prophecy nuts" and the Temple Mount Faithful.
The whisper has become a murmur among a growing amount of Jews looking for their own place to worship in Jerusalem. But for Muslims in the Middle East and around the world, Jewish presence is turning into an escalating roar. In 2015 thousands of Iranian soldiers staged a mock siege of the Temple Mount.
The Mount is said to be Islam's third holiest site. Yet it's no secret that when Israel recaptured the Mount, it was in a neglected condition. In fact what's commonly referred to as "Palestine" was largely a forgotten, ruinous land.
A Bloomberg article by Noah Feldman offers insight into a 1929 Temple Mount conflict and how it relates to the current status. For instance, the conflict isn't about "metal detectors" unless they happen to be imposed by Israel. Neither is it really about other excuses.
This isn't about alleged Palestinian oppression by Israel. Nor is it Israeli Temple Mount hegemony. Like the 9-11 tragedy and all the other terrorist events; this is about ideology. Feldman's thoughts are interesting:
The truth is more subtle. Jews in Palestine in 1929 didn't have a state, much less a plan to take over the Temple Mount. But some did aspire to a Jewish state that would rule all of historical Israel - and Palestinians knew that.
As was the case in 1929, the status quo at the Temple Mount/Haram is the occasion for the violence, not its underlying cause. The occasion matters, however, because it tends to frame the conflict as one about religion.
The Temple Mount Palestinian-Israeli conflicts bring to mind Spanish Andalusia and the principle of Islamic possession (Dar al-Islam). Jews aren't welcome on the Mount, or in "Palestine." As Hugh Fitzgerald notes:
For on the To-Do list of Muslims, the lands that were once part of Dar al-Islam are those that should be the first to be recovered for Muslim rule. As it says in the Qur'an 2:191, "Expel them from wherever they have expelled you."
We live in a secular culture where criticism of Islam is treated as a xenophobic hatred of Muslims. We're compelled to find other causes related to conflicts connected with Islamic aggression. As frustrating as all this is, I find the Christian anti-Israel position more so.
Why do some Christians go out of their way to implicate Israel in humanitarian crimes they haven't committed? Why do they squarely blame the Arab-Israeli problem to the creation of the Israeli state?
Theologian Colin Chapman recently shared some snippets derived from James Barr's theories in Line in the Sand. He writes:
France supported Jewish terrorism in Palestine before and after the establishment of Israel in 1948 as a way of taking revenge on Britain for the way it had undermined French rule in Syria and Lebanon.
The mention of "Jewish terrorism" isn't incidental. It's a subtle appeal to moral equivalence. There's a vast difference between a state which punishes terrorism and one which condones it. One side celebrates the slaughter of citizens of the other, while the other is vilified for defending itself.
The Arab-Israeli conflict isn't the result of an earlier power play between France and Britain, as some would prefer. Hitler and those before him found their own excuses to exterminate the Jews.
Those Christians who aren't directly anti-Israel aren't helpful by ignoring or rejecting God's revelation concerning Israel. The church has appropriated Israel's blessings, but not its curses. We sing praise hymns based on Psalms about Israel, and have made the church the recipient.
My church's reformed pastor recently preached on Psalm 130. To his credit, he went to Romans 9 and 11. He said a face-value take on these verses addresses Jewish salvation. Sadly, he also said he didn't think this meant national Israel. He missed the face-value connection between Rom 11:27 and Jer 31:31, 35-37.
Much lauded books like Peter Walker's Jesus and the Holy City have been written to refute physical Jerusalem in favor of a solely spiritual one. Proponents of these ideas often rebuke Zionism for being political, yet they indulge in Palestinian politics. They criticize the idea of a future Jewish Temple as being blasphemous, even while sometimes joining the fight to protect Temple Mount from Zionists.
We believe that a Jewish Temple will be built because of our literal understanding of prophecy. See the link to Dr Price's resource page above. The growing Jewish desire for a Temple may be a process back to God. Israel will only be redeemed at Christ's return, when it recognizes its Lord (Matt 23:39, 24:30). The temple wars will continue until then.
Finally, this comment in the above Bloomberg article was most interesting:
Two competing peoples could potentially live in the same land or lands, sharing the same space in a negotiated solution, whether two state or one state. But two competing religious truths can't both be true in the same sense.
Will part of that "negotiated solution" involve shared space on the Temple Mount with a Jewish temple? That would take some exceptional negotiating and peacemaking skills!
Keep looking up.
Palestinians: Metal Detectors or Lie Detectors - Who Is Violating What? - by Bassam Tawil -
The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: "lie detectors." They have exposed Palestinian lies and the real reason behind Palestinian anger.
Israel apparently removed the metal detectors from the gates of the Temple Mount as part of a deal to end an unexpected crisis with Jordan over the killing of two Jordanian men by an Israeli embassy security officer in Amman. The security officer says he was acting in self-defense after being attacked by one of the Jordanians with a screwdriver.
The crisis erupted when the Jordanian authorities insisted on interrogating the officer -- a request that was rejected by Israel because the officer enjoys diplomatic immunity. US intervention and a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah helped end the crisis peacefully and quickly, and the officer and the rest of the Israeli embassy staff were permitted to leave Jordan and head back to Israel.
Shortly after the embassy staff returned to Israel, the Israeli authorities started removing the metal detectors that were installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount after terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on July 14. The move sparked a wave of rumors and speculation, according to which the Jordanians allowed the embassy staff to return home in exchange for the removal of the metal detectors.
Israel and Jordan have denied any link between the shooting incident in Amman and the removal of the metal detectors.
The crisis that erupted between Israel and Jordan over the killing of the two Jordanians was solved in less than 48 hours -- much to the dismay of the Palestinians.
The Palestinians were hoping to exploit the crisis to exacerbate tensions between Amman and Jerusalem. Their ultimate goal: to cause the Jordanians to scrap their peace treaty with Israel and return to the state of war with the "Zionist enemy." The Palestinians were also hoping to exploit the crisis to incite Jordanians against Israel and the Hashemite monarchy.
Fortunately, the Jordanian authorities did not fall into the Palestinian trap. They realized that it is in their own interest to resolve the crisis swiftly and peacefully. King Abdullah was wise enough not to allow the Palestinians to drag him into a confrontation with Israel.
Since the installation of the metal detectors at the Temple Mount, the Palestinians have been waging yet another campaign of fabrications and distortions against Israel. This Palestinian blood libel claims that Israel is seeking to "change the status quo" at the Temple Mount by introducing new security measures such as metal detectors and surveillance cameras at the gates to the holy site.
Yet if anyone has violated the status quo it is the Palestinians themselves.
Status Quo Violation Number One: For the past two years, the Palestinians have been trying to prevent Jews from touring the Temple Mount -- a practice that has been allowed since 1967.
Status Quo Violation Number Two: The Palestinians and their supporters have long turned the Temple Mount into a battlefield for clashing with Israeli policemen and Jewish visitors. In an ongoing arrangement that ought to interest the international community, they pay Muslim men and women salaries to come to the compound and harass policemen and Jewish visitors by hurling insults at them and throwing stones and petrol bombs. These individuals belong to an outlawed group known as the Murabitun. This is a group of Muslim fanatics who receive money from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel to do their utmost to stop Jews from entering the Temple Mount.
Status Quo Violation Number Three: Over the past two decades, the Waqf (Islamic Trust) that manages the affairs of the mosques on the Temple Mount, and other parties, have been carrying out illegal excavation and construction work at the site in a bid to create irreversible facts on the ground. The Waqf and the Palestinian Authority claim that the excavation work is aimed at refuting Jewish claims to the Temple Mount and showing the world that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem.
Status Quo Violation Number Four: The Palestinians and their supporters have been using the Temple Mount compound as a platform for spewing anti-Semitism and calls to murder Jews and all "infidels." This abuse of the holy site as a podium for spreading Palestinian poison is far from a new practice. Palestinians and other Muslims have been doing this at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other mosques around the world for decades.
Take, for example, when the imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque predicted that the "White House would turn black, with the help of God."
This prayer, attended by thousands of Muslim worshippers, came only a few weeks before the 9/11 terror attacks. Last week, another imam prayed to God that Israeli policemen guarding the Temple Mount would be widowed and orphaned.
These are only a handful of the countless examples of how mosques are being used to indoctrinate the hearts and minds of Muslims with hate.
Status Quo Violation Number Five: The murder of two policemen on July 14 is the mother of all status quo violations. Until the murder, Muslims had resorted to less deadly weapons such as stones and petrol bombs to attack Jews and policemen. July 14 represents the first time that Muslims used firearms at the Temple Mount. While it is not unusual to see Muslims blowing up mosques and committing atrocities against fellow Muslims in many Arab and Islamic countries, the shooting attack at the Temple Mount was still unprecedented.
Smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount is a grave desecration of the holy site. Murdering two police officers, who were stationed there to safeguard the site and protect Muslim worshippers, takes the level of violation and desecration to new lows. It is worth noting that the two police officers were not murdered during a confrontation or a violent incident. One of them was shot in the back while he was standing at one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.
After the July 14 murder, Palestinians began waging daily protests by refusing to enter the Temple Mount through metal detectors installed by the Israeli authorities to prevent weapons smuggling for the safety of the Muslim worshippers themselves.
Instead, Palestinians gather every evening at the entrances to the Temple Mount, where they complete their prayers with a volley of stones and petrol bombs lodged at police officers.
Crucially, and contrary to Palestinian claims, there has been no Israeli decision to ban Muslims from entering the Temple Mount.
Rather, we are witnessing precisely the opposite situation: there has been a Palestinian decision banning Muslims from entering the Temple Mount until Israel removes any security measures, whether metal detectors or surveillance cameras. This particular, and serious, breach of the status quo on the part of the Palestinians and Muslims has yet to receive appropriate mention: for the first time since 1967, the Palestinians are denying Muslim worshippers free access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Unsurprisingly, the removal of the metal detectors this week has not sated the Palestinians' and Waqf's lust for Jewish blood. Quite the contrary: the removal has increased their appetite, voracious as they are for Israeli capitulation and retreat. Now the Palestinians are demanding an end to all security measures imposed after the murder of the two officers on July 14.
So, here we are in a situation where Israel is damned if it does and damned if it does not.
In other words, the Palestinians and the Islamic religious authorities are protesting against security measures that are intended to save the lives of Muslim worshippers and prevent the desecration of their holy sites by terrorists and rioters. They are protesting because Israel is trying to make it hard for them to murder Jews. The message is: How dare you try to stop us from murdering Jews?
To clarify what is actually going on: it is not the security measures that really anger the Palestinians; for them, this crisis is not about a metal detector or a security camera. Rather, it is about sovereignty over the Temple Mount, Jerusalem and the whole of Israel. For the Palestinians, the real struggle is not over the Temple Mount, but over the presence of Jews in what they consider "occupied Palestine, from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea."
In the face of the metal detector removal, the Palestinians are calling for yet more "days of rage." The Palestinians were hoping to drag the Arab and Islamic countries into a confrontation with Israel. This is a hope they have thus far failed to achieve, especially as the short-lived crisis with Jordan proved. The Palestinians now feel disappointed that they were unable to drive a wedge between Israel and Jordan.
So, what else is on the Palestinian agenda of violence? They are aiming to stop Jews from visiting the Temple Mount. They are also hoping to show Israel and the rest of the world that sovereignty over the Temple Mount belongs to Muslims and to Muslims alone. In short, this is about strong-arming Israel and portraying it as weak and volatile and scared -- a country ripe for intimidation and taking apart.
First, the Palestinians demanded that Israel dismantle metal detectors. Then, they were demanding that Israel end all forms of security measures at the Temple Mount. It is not difficult to imagine what the next demand will be. It is not the security measures that the Palestinians want dismantled. It is Israel that they want dismantled.
Thus, dismantled or intact, the metal detectors have played a vital role by exposing Palestinian and Muslim lies and blood libels.
Catholic Churches Using Replacement Theology to Deny Divinity of Temple Mount: Christian Leader - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"For rebellion is like the sin of divination, Defiance, like the iniquity of teraphim. Because you rejected Hashem's command, He has rejected you as king." I Samuel 15:23 (The Israel Bible™)
The Catholic Church's response to recent turmoil over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem confirms that the Church is using Islamic replacement theology, in "direct violation of the Torah", to "promote heresy" and deny the Jewish and Biblical connection to the Mount, said prominent Christian and Jewish voices in a harsh takedown of anti-Israel Christian vitriol.
"These so-called 'Heads of Churches in Jerusalem' are false prophets," Laurie Cardoza-Moore, an influential Evangelical figure in the global pro-Israel Christian movement, told Breaking Israel News in an exclusive interview. "Their words are in direct violation of the Torah, the prophets, the writings and the New Testament."
Cardoza-Moore, President of Proclaiming Justice to The Nations and special envoy to the United Nations, referred to a declaration made last Wednesday by a group of churches under the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem which placed blame for flaring tensions on the Temple Mount solely on Israel.
The statement transparently sought to placate and pander to Muslim interests by referring to the Temple Mount as "Haram Ash Sharif" and "Al Aqsa" without any reference to the Biblical connection to the site - seemingly rejecting the religious leaders' own Christian beliefs.
"This [statement] should serve as a warning to anyone - flee from these false prophets and their churches," Cardoza-Moore declared.
"Had they read their Bibles instead of promoting heresy, they would have discovered that the Temple Mount (not Al Aqsa) is the holiest place on earth according to God, Judaism and Christianity."
In the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the Vatican has consistently expressed a pro-Palestinian bias overlooking the violence and terror perpetrated on Israel. Pope Francis referred to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, a major inciter of violence, as an "angel of peace", and has insisted that Islam is not associated with violence. The Vatican has also recognized the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem by placing its embassy to the PA in East Jerusalem and its embassy to Israel in Tel Aviv.
Cardoza-Moore accused the Catholic Churches of transgressing the law from Deuteronomy.
Accursed is the one who moves the boundary of his fellow. Deuteronomy 27:17
"These church leaders are promoting heresy in direct violation of God's commandments and the most vile form of anti-Semitic revisionist history and replacement theology," she asserted.
Replacement theology is a Christian doctrine which holds that the Church "replaced" Israel in God's plan and in the covenant with the Biblical patriarchs. Replacement theology has been a core tenet of the Catholic Church for the majority of its existence. Some mainstream Christian theologians and denominations have rejected this belief, perceiving the modern State of Israel as the physical manifestation of God's everlasting covenant with the Jewish People.
Officially, the Vatican no longer adheres to strict Replacement theology. In 1965, under Pope Paul VI, the Second Vatican Council released the monumental Nostra Aetate document signaling a shift away from replacement thinking. However, the belief remains a core aspect of Catholicism for many.
Indeed, charged Cardoza-Moore, the Catholic Church has actually taken a radical step beyond traditional replacement theology beliefs. By rejecting the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, she believes the Church has actually embraced Islamic theology.
"Not only have they rejected God's eternal covenant with our Jewish brethren, but they have replaced Christianity entirely with a radical Islamic ideology," Cardoza-Moore told Breaking Israel News. "These leaders were either forced at gunpoint to make this heretical claim, or they have replaced their brand of Christianity with Islam."
Islam espouses an even broader and more extreme version of replacement theology than Catholicism, establishing Islam as the one true religion usurping both Judaism and Christianity. The Islamic doctrine of tahrif teaches that earlier monotheistic have been corrupted, while the Koran presents a pure version of the divine message that they originally contained.
Rabbi Tovia Singer, founder and director of Outreach Judaism and an expert educator on all three Abrahamic religions, told Breaking Israel News that the Catholic Church's attitude in this crisis essentially "nullifies God's Covenantal promise of land to the Jewish people."
"People are understandably perplexed when spiritual leaders of the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Armenian Church refer to the Temple Mount with the Muslim name 'Haram al-Sharif'," Rabbi Singer said, noting that the Temple and Judea are holy places in the Christian Gospels as well as in Jewish writings.
"An ascription like 'Haram al-Sharif' and the West Bank were unknown to the writers of the New Testament."
Rabbi Singer explained that the present conflict has placed the Catholic Church in an untenable situation in which espousing Islamic replacement theology is actually preferable to acknowledging modern Israel's claim to its holiest site.
"If the bishops of Christendom's most esteemed churches acknowledged that the Children of Israel returned to their homeland and were given sovereignty over Jerusalem, then all the Church fathers were wrong about their core belief on the fate of the Jews," he said.
"Although the Church battled Islam for more than seven centuries, it cannot concede this victory to the Jews. For Rome, better 'Haram al-Sharif' than the Jewish Temple Mount."
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey -
When you attend a major league baseball game or a concert in a civic arena; when you go to Disneyland or go to the airport to fly to Disneyland, you pass through a metal detector.
No big deal, right? Thanks to Muslim terrorists, it's pretty much a fact of life now.
But not if you're a Muslim who might want to smuggle weapons onto the most disputed few acres of ground in the world. Then it's a travesty of human rights that must be fought with violence, the burning of cars, and attacks on the police charged with protecting the public safety.
If the authorities dare challenge your right to enter this compound without inspection (even though Christians, Jews, and all others must do it), then it justifies a "Day of Rage" against them.
Sounds absurd, doesn't it?
But it's par for the course with the Palestinian Authority, who apparently want Muslims to be able to enter the Temple Mount in Jerusalem with weapons other than rocks.
After four Palestinian men smuggled weapons onto Temple Mount and used them to kill two Israeli policemen, Israel installed metal detectors at the entrances to the complex. Then they required everyone -- Muslims included -- to pass through the detectors before entering the compound.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for a "Day of Rage" in protest. He got it.
Palestinians rioted and attacked Israeli police and IDF soldiers.
The P.A., the Fatah Party, Hamas, and other Palestinian leaders deceptively told their people that the metal detectors were forcing the Temple Mount to be "shut down" or closed. Many believed them.
In fact, one young Palestinian man was so outraged at the supposed 'closure' of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he scaled the fence surrounding the Jewish village of Halamish. He entered the private residence of a Jewish family of ten who were just completing their Shabbat dinner. He attacked and stabbed four adults, killing three.
Fortunately, an IDF soldier on leave in the neighboring house, heard the screams and rushed to the rescue. He shot through the window and wounded the attacker.
Before he committed the murders, the young Palestinian man posted a message on his Facebook page. He was outraged at the "closure" of the Temple Mount and called on other Muslims to get their guns and fight the Israelis. He believed Abbas' lie and three Jews -- a grandfather and his adult son and daughter -- died. The grandmother lies in critical condition.
Yet Mahmoud Abbas had the gall to call the White House and ask the United States to intervene in a "dangerous" situation that he deliberately created!
After the United Nations, King Abdullah of Jordan, and many others called on Israel to maintain the "status quo" on the Temple Mount, the Israeli Security Cabinet relented and ordered the removal of the metal detectors.
They announced that "smart inspection" of entrants to the compound would be conducted through "advanced technological means," such as cameras and facial recognition scans. It will cost Israel millions of shekels, but the Cabinet felt it necessary.
Of course, Mahmoud Abbas is already protesting the "smart inspections" and I'm confident rioting and mayhem will return.
With every episode such as this, Israelis grow ever more tired of the constant trouble that accompanies Muslim control of Temple Mount. That's why so many world figures are suddenly calling for Israel to maintain the "status quo." They know that, at some point, the Israelis might finally say, "Enough is enough," and take back control of the compound.
It seems impossible, but it's not such a farfetched idea. In fact, Bible prophecy predicts it.
Daniel 9 tells of a time in the future when the Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel. That covenant will initiate the last seven years before Jesus Christ returns to the earth in the Second Coming.
It says that in the middle of that seven years, Antichrist will "put a stop to sacrifice and grain offerings" in the Temple. (Daniel 9:27)
Now, Antichrist can only stop the sacrifice and grain offerings if they are already taking place. And they can only take place in the Temple -- on Temple Mount. And they haven't happened there since the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 A.D.
That means that sometime between now and the middle of the Tribulation, a third Temple must be built. On Temple Mount.
As unlikely as it seemed just a few years ago, there is now a vibrant and growing movement in Israel to build a third Temple on Temple Mount. Which will surely mean war. Just as the Bible predicts.
As usual, not only is Israel fighting enemies within, they are fighting enemies without. Once again, the United Nations, through its agency UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), is attacking the Jewish state by attacking its heritage.
Earlier this month, UNESCO voted to declare the ancient Jewish city of Hebron a Palestinian world heritage site. They say it is "endangered."
Hebron is the site of the "Tomb of the Patriarchs." The Jewish Patriarchs, not the Palestinian Patriarchs. How can the Palestinians -- who have never existed as a people group (both their name and history are fabricated) -- have patriarchs?
To call Hebron "endangered" is scandalous and insulting. Unlike so many of the world's historic treasures under Muslim control, Hebron is fully protected by the government of Israel. It's not endangered. Just the opposite.
Yet once again, UNESCO (and much of western Europe) disregards the facts of history and continues its crusade to commit one of the most diabolical robberies in history. That is, the theft of Israel's 3,000-year-old heritage.
They embrace a version of Muslim history in the land that is not even possible. Islam was founded by a man in the 7th century. UNESCO buys in to the Islamic version of events even though the events in question happened thousands of years before Islam even existed!
Also this week, I want to share with you one of the most amazing aspects of the Gospel story: the story of God's righteousness and how it can become your righteousness, too.
To fully realize what this means is one of the most humbling things that can ever happen to us. It is truly amazing. And it is a free gift given by a loving God.
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings. HH
Abandoned: in the Twinkling of An Eye - by Alice Johnson Childs -
I rarely watch TV anymore. Everything that's offered on that thing that is truly the American "idol" is either useless and brain numbingly vapid, or else is utter trash and mind filth. So, outside of an occasional HGTV House Hunters marathon (which still glorifies narcissism, greed, and avarice) or the occasional "whodunit" on the ID Channel, TV has become unendurable. However, I do peruse YouTube some, yet another absolute black hole of intellect-sucking wasteland interspersed with a very few hidden jewels of truth here and there.
One of the things I stumbled upon while flipping through YouTube was one YouTube "channel" (I have since found out that there are many of these) whose entire purpose is to examine and document abandoned houses, buildings, hospitals, schools - you name it. In fact, there is apparently an entire global "fellowship" of people who do this, who call themselves "urban explorers." Who knew such an interest existed, and in almost every country on earth except probably places like the Middle East or North Korea for obvious reasons. I surely never knew such an interest in urban decay existed.
Anyway, long story short, I got hooked on looking at some of the abandoned homes that a few of these YouTube "urban explorers" were investigating. I became fascinated on three levels, and the more I watched, the more I began to see a glimpse of what it might be like after the Church is taken Home in that "twinkling of an eye" for which we are all so longing. Let's take a look.
As I was wandering via YouTube, following this particular "explorer's" camera as he documented several of these abandoned homes, three things in particular struck me:
1)The identity of the stuff that these former occupants had accumulated that they thought was important
2) The sheer amount of stuff left that at one time these former owners must have thought was important, but obviously had been left behind for whatever reason
3) The fact that all their "stuff," including their homes, was now up for grabs by anyone. Everything of this fallen world, including their once valued "stuff" is in a state of decay and dissolution - everything.
These observations struck me anew every time I watched these sad, pitiful episodes showcasing the wreckage of human lives. These videos brought home to me the truth of scripture that says that outside of the Lord, "all is vanity," and that for all of us who are vile and guilty sinners - for all who "neglect so great a salvation" while trying to hold onto the things of this world that wither and die like grass, is to be eternally foolish, truly deceived, and ultimately eternally damned.
The first thing that struck me when watching a few of these episodes was the worth or value of the things the former tenets of these houses thought were of value. I watched videos of houses that had obviously belonged to people who had very little of actual value, and some of the "stuff" left behind in places that were obviously at one time true mansions full of expensive things. And do you know what struck me immediately? Whether it was cheap, dollar store toys, low end, obviously cheap furniture, or whether there were thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of antiques, pianos, and linens, ALL of the stuff left in these places was WORTHLESS in the long run. ALL OF IT.
Whatever the reason these peoples' "stuff" was left behind - it was ALL worthless to them when they left, and worthless to those who found it later - damaged, molded, and falling apart. Some people just abandoned everything for whatever reason, but most of the former owners had died. Still, ALL of the stuff left was WORTHLESS to them once each one left his home for the last time.
Secondly, it occurred to me that at some point in time, each person had to have realized that all those important "things" they had amassed in reality added up to nothing really valuable - nothing of lasting value that could go with them beyond the grave. I wonder at what point, when those who lay dying or approaching death, realized that those antique chairs, or crystal chandeliers, or that grand piano, or closet full of expensive clothes was not going to follow them into eternity? How many of those people, I wonder, ever stopped to give a thought to where their Immortal souls would be when they drew their last breath? How many of them were ready to die?
Looking at those places makes my heart ache and sends a chill down my spine knowing that, in all likelihood, many of them went into eternity lost without salvation. It was a sobering realization to know that I was perhaps looking at both the best and the worst that this world had to offer them, and that now they are in eternity either in Heaven if saved, or in Hell if lost.
Lastly, the thing that haunted me watching these videos was that these homes, whether humble or grand, were now on an even playing field - they were ALL rotting and falling into the decay - that the wages of sin brought into the world to EVERYTHING. ALL of these places are rotting; all of them have been left open to the fury of the elements, to the destruction of insects and vermin, and to the wanton destruction of vandals who only seem to derive pleasure from creating yet more destruction. It was incredibly sad and sobering.
Yet, at the same time, I felt the Lord impress upon me the reminder that one day VERY SOON, my own home will be left just like this. At some future yet imminently close time, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" ALL of us who belong to the Bridegroom will leave our earthly homes as surely as our mortal bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible - from mortal to Immortal. At that blessed time our own houses will be left behind for perhaps some new "urban explorer" to find and to ruminate on what has happened - to us!
I know that many of us have already prepared "left behind" letters, boxes or bags of teaching materials, Bibles, and detailed explanations regarding what will soon happen, and some have even stockpiled food, clothing, and other materials for this very situation. To me, this is a good thing. We have no idea how long after we are taken that the left behind ones will have the freedom to move about unhindered, nor can we know who God will lead to our abandoned homes to find Bibles, sound scriptural teaching, and a truthful explanation of what has occurred - a meaning and answer to the great vanishing.
As I said, these videos struck a chord with me. Not only did they remind me of the folly of what we think is important, but of the transient nature of all of the temporal things to which we cling; but most importantly, that we will soon be leaving all this behind to be with our Father in HIS House among the mansions HE has prepared for us, and that even after we are gone from this world, our own abandoned homes can house a treasure trove of truth in our left behind Bibles, teaching notes, books, and letters to the left behind urban explorers, whomever they may be.
Do I care that one day someone will be exploring my own house? Ehhh, only in the sense that I hope it is relatively neat (as every woman understands), but do I care? No. I am more than anxious to leave this sewer - to go HOME.
And knowing that God has laid upon the hearts of many to have made the same such preparations for the left behind ones, I am excited and ready to go! My prayer is that multitudes will come to salvation after we are gone. I pray that our preparations will be used by the Lord to spread the gospel far and wide to all the left behind "explorers" who may come looking for treasure or adventure, but find instead eternal salvation.
10 Common Cons of Satan - Dwight Longenecker -
Satan is the Father of lies. Therefore it follows that one of his favorite tricks is to separate us from reality.
He's like that stage magician who uses distraction to keep you from seeing what is really going on. He pulls a trick to turn our attention away from reality.
What is "reality"? Reality is what is. Reality is the way things are in the natural world. Reality is the way we were created. Reality is the destiny God has in store for us. Reality is humble. Reality is down to earth. Reality is simple. Reality is true, beautiful and good.
The devil hates reality. He loves the superficial appearance, the whirligig of lies, the smoke of confusion, the shadowplay, the drama, the vanity, pomp and show. He loves to entertain us, confuse us and distract us with a whole range of tricks.
Anything to keep us from reality itself.
Here are ten cons he uses to keep us from reality. You can probably think of more.
The Screen - We love the screen. The tablet, the laptop, the PC, the smartphone, the movie theater and the TV. We become addicted to the artificial image, the pretend story, the entertainment and the juice and jazz of the screen. But the screen screens us from reality. Turn off the screen.
The News - We hear a lot about "fake news". Most of it is fake inasmuch as it is invariably written with a slant. The editors choose what stories are important and which ones are not. The secular news is always written from a foundation of a secular, atheistic viewpoint. We shouldn't stick our head in the sand, but on the other hand, we can cut back on the amount of "news" we think we need and be critical of the stuff we do read.
Fame - celebrity is not real. Its pretend. It is manufactured by publicity people to feed our appetite for gossip and scandal. Accomplishment is real. Focus on real people who have actually accomplished something real and good in their lives. They are very unlikely to be celebrities.
Shopping and Stuff - Okay. The possessions we own are real inasmuch as they are material things. However, Satan does not want us to appreciate them according to their worth. He wants us to use nice stuff to show off, to feel smug about our prosperity and to revel in un necessary and un necessarily expensive luxury. Love all things according to their worth. The rest is vanity and vanity is not real.
Gender Identity - I'm sorry. For the vast majority of people your gender identity aligns with your crotch equipment. This is reality. For most people anything else is a bit of fakery and no amount of fake hormones and surgeries by your favorite Dr. Frankenstein will change this.
False Religion - Any religion that is contrary to reality is false religion. Any religion that is contrary to common sense is false religion. Any religion that condones hypocrisy and humbug is false religion. Any religion that treats people badly while pretending to love God is false religion. Satan loves false religion more than extreme decadence.
Substance Abuse - Satan loves drugs of all kinds because they separate us from reality. Oh yes, street drugs and booze are real bad, porn and sex addiction are nasty too, but don't let's forget the other kinds of drugs: ego trips, addiction to success, financial security, rich boys' toys, property, prosperity and power. These other addictions are not only socially acceptable-they're praised.
Pride - Pride is a false view of ourselves. Humility is reality.
Self-righteousness - Believing we're good enough just as we are is not real. God loves us just as we are, but he loves us too much to leave us that way
Judging others - putting people into pigeonholes, stereotyping, labelling and excluding: that's not real. Everyone is more interesting and complex and dignified than the category you put them into. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt and get to know them. That would be much more real and true and kind.
Daily Jot: Light after night - Bill Wilson -
The murder rate in Chicago and Baltimore continues to climb. Hollywood and the radical left are outraged that President Donald Trump would ban transgendered people from the military. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) lied to the American people and voted against repealing socialist healthcare, effectively killing a chance of repeal for now. The House Intelligence Committee now says that the previous Administration unmasked the names of hundreds of US citizens who were spied upon to "achieve partisan political purposes." News reports claim tremendous in-fighting at the White House. A Democratic Minnesota State Rep wants to disarm police. All this news is a reflection of the darkness in our society.
We live in a society where the top TV shows depict homosexuality, violence, murder, and sexual content as normal. Our children are bombarded with agendas all day, everyday. Video games are increasingly violent and sexual, filling young minds with dark concepts and desires that are beyond the thought of many, if not most, parents. The nightly news is filled with murders, kidnappings, thefts, political corruption and liberal brainwashing. The government has made it so difficult to make a living because of taxes, regulations, political pressures that the two-income family is not only the norm, but folks are looked down upon if both husband and wife do not have "careers." This leaves the care of children to someone else.
Yes, society is a mess. The examples are evident. Guns don't kill people, people do. Homosexuality wouldn't destroy lives if homosexuals didn't practice it. Abortion wouldn't kill a single baby if doctors didn't perform them on willing mothers convinced there is no other way. Suicide would not take one life, if the person didn't commit it. I know these are oversimplifications, but it is true. We all have personal responsibility for our actions-either constructive or destructive. Life is not sterile labels that cause us to do things. It is our responsibility unto God to do what is right. If we do well, and engage society with true righteousness, things can ultimately change for the better.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23, "Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." It is not your pastor, or your best friend, or someone else who is going to stand before the Lord in your place. It is you. We will all be held personally accountable for our lives here on earth. If we are salt and light, overcome evil with good, and share the good news, our light in this present darkness may become the solution to much of society's problems.
Daily Devotion: Don't Even Think about It - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
"But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." -2 Corinthians 11:3
It is in the human mind that we can commit some horrible sins. We can reach into the past through our memories, and we can reach into the future through our imaginations. And often when the devil wants to tempt us, he will get us to simply think about something.
"You don't have to do it," he'll whisper. "Just think about it. That's all. It doesn't have to go any further than this." That's how Eve was hit: Eve, check it out. Have you ever seen a piece of fruit like this?
Satan attacked Eve's mind. The apostle Paul wrote, "But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Why do we get tempted in our minds? Because it is command central. It is here that we reason. It is here that we contemplate. It is here that we even fantasize. It is here that we dream. The Bible says, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
First you think about it. Then it transfers into your actions. After a while, thinking about it isn't enough. After a while, fantasizing about it isn't enough. You want to take it to the next level. So you start flirting. You start touching. You start tasting of it. You start playing with it. And the next thing you know, you are caught up in it.
The devil is subtle. He wants to get you to dabble. Stop listening to him. He is a liar.
FROM THE HEART
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