Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Daniel's 490 Years and the Coming of King Messiah - By John McTernan -
Daniel 9:24 "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."
Daniel 9:25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
Daniel 9:26 "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined."
Daniel 9:27 "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate."
Because Israel failed to repent of the sin which caused the captivity, the law called for an additional 490 years of punishment. This prophecy involved exactly 490 years or the period of time that Israel should have been punished. This 490 period can be looked at as probationary time.
The people were allowed back in the land and Israel was again formed; however, the people did receive punishment as the kingdom was taken away. Additionally, for approximately 2500 years, from 586 BC until 1948, the nation was under the authority of a foreign power. Israel never again had a king from the messianic line of David to sit and rule.
In Daniel 9:24, the time frame for the prophecy was set for 70 weeks. The Hebrew word for week, shabuwa, literally means seven. The context determines whether it means weeks of a month or it could mean seven of years. The context of Daniel 9 determines it meant seven of years or 70×7 (weeks of years) which would equal 490 years.
The 490 years also perfectly matches the period of time for the additional punishment under the law of Moses. The idea that this Hebrew word for week could mean seven years can be seen when Jacob was taking a wife. He was tricked into marrying Leah, but he actually wanted to marry Rachel her sister. He was then told he would have to work one week (shabuwa) for Rachel which actually was seven years. Jacob agreed to work for the seven years, and he was given Rachel to marry.
The Scriptures to show this follow:
Genesis 29:26-28 - "And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also."
The underlying factor of this prophecy is that Israel was given 490 years to deal with the sin of the nation and prepare for the coming of King Messiah. The prophecy would start with the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Messiah, the prince, would come exactly 483 years (69 weeks) after the command was given.
Then the Messiah would be cut off or killed for others. After the 69 weeks, King Messiah would be killed, and Jerusalem and the temple would once again be destroyed and made desolate. There would be wars and desolations of Jerusalem for an unspecified period of time and then the end would come. This prophecy allows for the exact time for the first coming of King Messiah to be determined.
Daniel separated the 70th week, the last seven years, from the previous 69 weeks. The 70th week was specially separated from all the other years. This prophecy gives conclusive proof that only Jesus of Nazareth can be Israel 's King Messiah, the Savior of mankind.
The Problem of Sin
Daniel 9:24 - "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."
The prophecy starts with the problem of sin. Man's sin has to be addressed before King Messiah can rule over His world-wide kingdom. All of man's rebellion was touched in this verse which includes transgressions, sins and iniquities. The people would have to come face to face with their rebellion against God and be cleansed of these transgressions, sins and iniquities. God made it clear that sin would not be tolerated under King Messiah's rule.
Ezekiel chapters 40-48 covers the period when King Messiah reigns from His temple in Jerusalem . God makes it very clear that during this period of time He will not tolerate the sin that was done during the kings of Judah . The end of this sin was a prerequisite for the Messiah to rule from Jerusalem . Sin has to be dealt with before King Messiah can rule over the nations:
Ezekiel 43:7 "And he (The LORD) said unto me (Ezekiel), Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. (9) Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever."
The law clearly shows Israel how to be clean before the LORD. On the Day of Atonement after all the rituals were completed, Israel would be clean before the holy God of Israel. To deal with the transgression, sin and iniquity, the law specifies that first the offenders must repent of the sin and then realize that the death and atoning blood of an innocent animal was needed to pay the penalty for these sins.
The people first must repent or as the Bible states, "ye shall afflict your souls" over their iniquities, transgressions and sins. Without the affliction of the soul, the rituals would have no meaning. It would take repentance of sin and the death of an animal with the atoning blood to pay the price for sin. In doing this before the holy God of Israel, the people were made clean.
Leviticus 16:31 "It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for ever."
Leviticus 16:30 "For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD."
Next, the high priest performed one sacrifice that was in two phases. Two goats were used in this sacrifice. The first was killed, and its blood was brought into the holy place of the temple and sprinkled on the top of the Ark of the Covenant. The Bible states the presence of the holy God of Israel hovered just over the Ark.
Exodus 25:22 "And there I (God) will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel."
The blood was brought before the very presence of God. This was to make an atonement for the sin of the people that affected God's temple. This ritual showed clearly that people could not pay the penalty for their iniquity, transgression and sin which was death. God provided His way of reconciliation for the people's sin, as an animal died in their place.
Leviticus 16:15 "Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the veil, ... and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: (16) And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness."
In the second part of this process, the high priest laid his hands on the remaining goat and confessed over the goat all the iniquities, transgressions and sins of the people. The goat was then taken out from the temple into the desert to die. This goat also atoned for all the sin of the people. God's way to deal with sin was clear. First, the person was to afflict their soul and then believe an innocent animal died in their place for the sin. The death and shed blood brought atonement from the sin.
Leviticus 16:21-22 - "And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness."
God gave Israel 490 years to prepare for the coming of King Messiah by applying the law of Moses' method of dealing with sin. Their heart was to be repentant before God, and they were to see the need that they could not atone for their own sin. They needed an atoning death and shed blood to pay the price for their sin. This would prepare the people for the ministry of King Messiah to reconcile the people with the holy God of Israel.
To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness
This prophecy directly connected the problem of sin and bringing in everlasting righteousness. There is only one source of everlasting righteousness, and that is King Messiah. The Lord Jesus was God's righteousness. The Messiah and His kingdom will be the source of everlasting righteousness. He will reign forever in righteousness.
Jeremiah 23:5 - "Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. (6) In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."
When the Messiah rules over the nations from Jerusalem , the city will reflect His righteousness. King Messiah is called the righteous Branch of David, and Jerusalem will show this by being referred to as, "The LORD our righteousness." Because the Messiah is located in Jerusalem , the city will mirror His righteousness.
Jeremiah 33:15 - "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. (16) In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The LORD our righteousness."
Everything about King Messiah is righteous. When He is reigning as King, He will actually be called the LORD our righteousness. When He is reigning on Mount Zion in Jerusalem , the city will be called, "The LORD our righteousness." He will judge the nations in righteousness. The Lord Jesus is the righteousness of God.
Isaiah 11:4 - "But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked."
Isaiah 42:6 - "I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;"
1 Corinthians 1:30 "But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:"
When the prophecy of Daniel chapter nine mentioned bringing in everlasting righteousness, it was speaking of receiving the Messiah and His kingdom. He alone is righteous and is to be received by the people. The entrance of everlasting righteousness connects directly with the people facing their sin because the problem of man's sin must be addressed before King Messiah can reign over the nations in righteousness.
Unto Messiah the Prince
Daniel 9:25 "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."
The Bible gives the exact time reference when the people will be required to bring in the everlasting righteousness. The everlasting righteousness is of course King Messiah or as He is addressed, "Messiah the Prince."
The time for the revealing of the Messiah will be 69 weeks or 483 years from the command to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. The key to this prophecy is the command to restore and rebuild the city of Jerusalem . The prophecy starts with the rebuilding of the city including the street and walls. The time clock or countdown to King Messiah starts with this command. This Scripture is very clear that it is not the command to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem , but the city itself commences the countdown.
The focus of Daniel's prayer had been the desolation of Jerusalem and that God would end the judgment and restore the people to the land and Jerusalem . Daniel's prayer actually made reference to the "desolation of Jerusalem." The 70 years were in reference to destruction of Jerusalem.
God honored Daniel's prayer and used Jerusalem as the catalyst for identifying the exact time King Messiah would be revealed to Israel. Jerusalem plays a critical part in determining the timing of Messiah's coming. Remember, it is not the rebuilding of the temple which is critical, but the actual decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem which is the key to this time frame.
The 69 weeks, or 483 years, were broken in two segments. The first is seven weeks or 49 years while the second is 62 weeks or 434 years. There is a very important reason that God divided the 483 years for the coming of the Messiah into two sections. The first section is divided into 49 years to get the people ready for the coming of King Messiah. The end of every 49 years was a Jubilee year. The seventh Sabbath rest (7×7=49 years) of the land was a Jubilee year. Thus the 50th year was a special Sabbath rest of the land.
Leviticus 25:8 "And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine  years . (11) A jubilee shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed."
It is important to realize that God uses cycles of seven years or weeks of years in dealing with Israel and counting time. The Seventy weeks or 490 year prophecy of Daniel that began with the decree to restore and build Jerusalem is a continuation of seven-year cycles that included the Sabbath rest of the land. God did not end these Sabbath cycles when Israel returned to the land. However, He made it clear they would continue until the coming of the Messiah and the fulfillment of the prophecy.
North Korea at nuclear threshold. What about Iran? -
In a White Paper published last week, the Japanese Defense Ministry concluded that there is evidence that North Korea had achieved miniaturization of nuclear weapons, meaning that it could build a nuclear warhead small enough to fit onto an intercontinental ballistic missile. "North Korea's development of ballistic missiles and its nuclear program are becoming increasingly real and presenting imminent problems for the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan, as well as the rest of the world," said the Japanese report.
The report caused more shock than it should have when it finally reached the world media on Tuesday, Aug. 8, because their US intelligence sources were fully aware of what was going on for some time. They are now reporting that there may be as many as 60 nukes in the North Korean arsenal.
It was time to take seriously Kim Jong-un's threat Monday of "physical action" in response to the sweeping sanctions the UN Security Council passed in punishment for Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programs. President Donald Trump tweeted back: "After many years of failure, countries are coming together to finally address the dangers posed by North Korea. We must be tough & decisive."
US intelligence also estimates from recent tests that North Korea is likely to be able to launch intercontinental ballistic missiles by next year So America now faces is a ruthless, unpredictable dictator who will soon be capable of of launching a nuclear attack on its mainland. This threat confronts President Trump with a scary test..
But while all eyes were fixed on the burly dictator in Pyongyang, hardly anyone noticed that North Korea and Iran this week signed a series of new military accords which are no less dangerous to world peace.
Parliament Speaker Kim Yong Nam, who is rated No. 2 in the Kim regime, ended a 10-day visit to Tehran on Monday, Aug. 7 by inking the new agreements. His official errand in Tehran was to represent Pyongyang at the swearing-in ceremony of President Hassan Rouhani and inaugurate the new North Korean embassy building in the Iranian capital. But he came with a large delegation of North Korean military officers who spent hours in conference with the heads of Iran's nuclear and missile programs, as well as the leaders of the powerful Revolutionary Guards.
The precise details of Pyongyang's continued contribution to the upgrade of Iran's technology in those areas under close wraps. But for Kim, the important thing is Iran's multibillion dollar investment in the partnership in return in return for allowing Iranian engineers and scientists to work alongside North Korean experts in the two fields.
The irony is that, while the Security Council unanimouslyy approved tough economic sanctions estimated to cost North Korea an estimated $1bn in state revenue - for which President Trump praised the world powers - Kim has managed to lay his hands on enough cash from Tehran to keep his nuclear and missile programs moving apace. Some of that cash comes from the sanction relief the Americans and Europeans granted Iran for signing its 2015 nuclear deal.
Trump Threatens North Korea With "Fire and Fury Like the World Has Never Seen" - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz -
"The earth is breaking, breaking; The earth is crumbling, crumbling. The earth is tottering, tottering." Isaiah 24:19 (The Israel Bible™)
The exchanges between North Korea and the US are taking on even more ominous tones as President Donald Trump takes a strong stand against a despotic regime that is responding with threats containing explicit nuclear threats.
"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States," President Trump said in a press conference at his New Jersey resort of Bedminster on Tuesday. "They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen."
Clearly unintimidated, the North's Korean People's Army (KPA) released a statement on Wednesday in state-run KCNA news threatening to attack Guam, a US island territory 2,100 miles distant from North Korea. The threat went even further to include mainland America.
"The US should [remember], however, that once there observed a sign of action for 'preventive war' from the US, the army of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will turn the US mainland into the theater of a nuclear war before the inviolable land of the DPRK turns into the one," the statement said.
"It is a daydream for the US to think that its mainland is an invulnerable Heavenly kingdom. The U.S. should clearly face up to the fact that the ballistic rockets of the Strategic Force of the KPA. are now on constant standby, facing the Pacific Ocean and pay deep attention to their azimuth angle for launch."
Though the North Korean statement seemed to follow President Trump's strong warning, it was actually released the day before. The North Korean statement was a response to an incident on Monday in which two B-1B bombers from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam flew over the Korean peninsula. The bombers were joined by Japanese and South Korean aircraft.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reassured concerned Americans that the president's incendiary statement was intentionally framed in extreme language the North Koreans would be sure to understand.
"In response to that, North Korea's rhetoric is just ratcheted up, louder and louder and more threatening," Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday. "What the president is doing is sending a strong message to North Korea in language that Kim Jong Un would understand because he doesn't seem to understand diplomatic language."
"I think Americans should sleep well at night, have no concerns about this particular rhetoric of the last few days," he added.
Guam's governor, Eddie Calvo, reacted to the threat in a statement he made on Facebook on Wednesday, reassuring the civilian residents of the island.
"I have reached out to the White House this morning," he wrote. "An attack or threat to Guam is a threat or attack on the United States. They have said that America will be defended."
This bombastic give-and-take is an ongoing cycle that has been characteristic of the growing tensions between the two countries. After the US Treasury Department recently enacted economic sanctions on North Korea in response to two illegal intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) tests last month, the UN Security Council followed suit with additional sanctions against the rogue nation.
In conjunction with their missile program, North Korea exploded two nuclear devices last year, raising concerns that the improvements in their nuclear weapons program matched with their new ICBMs pose a serious threat to other countries.
Japan confirmed this fear when they released a statement on Tuesday warning that they believe North Korea is now capable of miniaturizing its nuclear weapons and mounting them on ICBMs. Guam is acknowledged to be within range of North Korean middle and long range ICBMs.
Preparing for the post-Abbas era - Caroline B. Glick -
The post-Abbas era will pose new threats and opportunities for Israel. It is up to Israel to ensure that the opportunities are maximized and the threats are neutralized as quickly as possible.
PLO chief and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas scored a victory against Israel at the Temple Mount. But it was a Pyrrhic one.
Days after the government bowed to his demand and voted to remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount, Abbas checked into the hospital for tests. The 82-year-old dictator has heart disease and a series of other serious health issues. And he has refused to appoint a successor.
It is widely assumed that once he exits the stage, the situation in the PA-ruled areas in Judea and Samaria - otherwise known as Areas A and B - will change in fundamental ways.
This week, two prominent Palestinian advocates, Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi, published an article in The New Yorker entitled "The end of this road: The decline of the Palestinian national movement."
Among other things, they explained that Abbas's death will mark the dissolution of the Palestinian national identity. That identity has already been supplanted in Judea and Samaria by local, tribal identities. In their words, "The powerful local ties made it impossible for a Hebronite to have a genuine popular base in Ramallah, or for a Gazan to have a credible say in the West Bank."
It will also be the end of the PLO and its largest faction, Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat in 1958 and led by Abbas since Arafat's death in 2004.
Fatah, they explain, has "no new leaders, no convincing evidence of validation, no marked success in government, no progress toward peace, fragile links to its original setting abroad and a local environment buffeted by the crosswinds of petty quarrels and regional antagonisms."
One of the reasons the Palestinians have lost interest in being Palestinians is because they have lost their traditional political and financial supporters in the Arab world and the developing world. The Sunni Arab world, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, is now willing to publicly extol Israel as a vital ally in its struggle against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. The so-called Arab street is increasingly incensed at the Palestinians for monopolizing the world's attention with their never-ending list of grievances against Israel even as millions in the Arab world suffer from war, genocide, starvation and other forms of oppression and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.
As for the developing world, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's refusal to visit with Abbas during his recent visit to Israel marked the official end of the Third World's alliance with the PLO.
After Abbas departs, Agha and Khalidi identify three key actors that will seek to fill the military and political void. First and foremost, the Palestinian security services (PSF) will raise its head. The PSF is heavily armed and has been trained by the US military. Agha and Khalidi argue reasonably that as the best armed and best organized group in the area aside from the IDF, the PSF will likely seize power in one form or another.
The Palestinian forces pose a major threat to Israel. It isn't simply that their members have often participated in murderous terrorist attacks against Israel. With their US military training they are capable of launching large-scale assaults on Israeli civilian communities and on IDF forces.
To understand the nature of the threat, consider that last month, a lone terrorist armed with a knife sufficed to massacre the Salomon family in their home in Halamish before he was stopped by an off-duty soldier. Contemplate what a well-armed and trained platoon of Palestinian soldiers with no clear political constraints could do.
The second force Agha and Khalidi identify as likely to step into the leadership vacuum is the Israeli Arab political leadership. As Agha and Khalidi note, since the PLO-controlled PA was established in 1994, the Israeli Arab community and the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria have become more familiar with one another.
Due in large part to subversion by the PLO and Hamas and lavish funding of radical Israeli Arab groups and politicians by foreign governments and leftist donors, a generation of radical, anti-Israel Arab politicians has risen to power.
At the same time, since the Arab Spring destabilized all of Israel's neighbors, a cross current of Arab Zionism has captivated the Israeli Arab majority. Recognizing that Israel is their safe port in the storm, Israeli Arabs in increasing numbers are choosing to embrace their Israeli identity, learn Hebrew and join mainstream Israeli society.
Agha and Khalidi signal clearly their hope that the integration of the Palestinians and Israel's Arab minority will enable them to worth together to take over the Jewish state from within.
Finally, Agha and Khalidi note that as support for the Palestinians has waned in the Arab world and the developing world, the West has emerged in recent years as their most stable and enthusiastic political support base. Ethnic Palestinians in the West are more committed to destroying Israel than Palestinians in Syria and Jordan. Western politicians and political activists who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are much more committed to the political war against Israel than their counterparts in Asia and Africa.
The Western forces now aligned against Israel in the name of the Palestinians will certainly seek to play a role in shaping events in a post-Abbas world.
This then brings us to Israel and what it must do now and in the immediate aftermath of Abbas's exit from the scene.
The most important thing that Israel can and must do is send a send a clear message that it will not be walking away from Judea and Samaria. To do so, Israel should end the military government in Area C, where all the Israeli communities and border zones are located, and replace it with its legal code.
Militarily, it is imperative that the IDF be ordered to disarm the PSF as quickly and quietly as possible.
Since 2007, Abbas's fear of Hamas has exceeded his hatred for Israel. As a consequence, during this time, the Palestinian security forces have cooperated with the IDF in anti-Hamas operations.
There is every likelihood that the forces' calculations in a post-Abbas world will be quite different.
Israel cannot afford to have a well-armed force, steeped in anti-Semitic ideology, deployed footsteps from major Israeli population centers.
As for the Israeli Arabs, Israel can empower moderate, integrationist forces to rise to power. To do so, it must enforce its laws against terrorism-sponsoring groups like the Islamic movement and enforce its land and welfare laws toward Arabs with the same vigor it enforces them toward Jews. It must provide support for integrationists to enter the political fray against their anti-Israel rivals.
If Israel fails to take these actions, Agha and Khalidi's dream that the Palestinian war against Israel is taken over by Israeli Arabs supported by the West will become a realistic prospect.
This then brings us to the West.
Economically, Israel has already begun to limit the capacity of anti-Israel forces in the West to wage economic war against it by deepening its economic ties with Asia.
Politically, Israel must reform its legal system to limit the subversive power of the West in its Arab community and more generally in its political system. Foreign governments must be barred from funding political NGOs. Israel should wage a public campaign in the US to discredit foundations and other non-profits in the US that work through Israeli-registered NGOs to undermine its rule of law.
By applying its laws in full to Area C, and by asserting sole security control throughout the areas, while empowering the Israeli Arab majority that wishes to embrace its Israeli identity, Israel will empower the Palestinians in Areas A and B to govern themselves autonomously in a manner that advances the interests of their constituents.
As Agha and Khalidi note, the Palestinians have been in charge of their own governance since 1994. But under the corrupt authoritarianism of the PLO, their governance has been poor and unaccountable. As local identities have superseded the PLO's brand of nationalism borne of terrorism and eternal war against Israel, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria well positioned to embrace an opportunity to govern themselves under a liberal rule of law without fear of the PLO jackboot.
The post-Abbas era will pose new threats and opportunities for Israel. It is up to Israel to ensure that the opportunities are maximized and the threats are neutralized as quickly as possible. Failing that, Israel can expect to contend with military threats in Judea and Samaria several orders of magnitude greater than what it has dealt with in the past. It can similarly expect to find itself under political assault from a combination of radicalized Israeli Arabs and Western governments that will challenge it in ways it has never been challenged before.
Why God Gave Israel Back to the Jews - Dr. David Reagan -
Before the children of Israel entered the Promised Land, God spoke a series of stern warnings to them through Moses, their leader and prophet. The warnings are recorded in Deuteronomy 28 and 29.
These chapters constitute God's Land Covenant with the Jewish people. In this covenant, God made it clear that although He had given the Jewish people an everlasting title to the land, their enjoyment of it would depend on their obedience to the laws He had given them in the Mosaic Covenant.
The Hope of Blessings
The Land Covenant begins with promises of blessings if they are obedient (Deuteronomy 28:1-2):
1) "Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
2) "All these blessings will come upon you and overtake you if you obey the LORD your God..."
Moses then proceeded to enumerate the blessings in detail. They included such things as agricultural abundance, defeat of enemies, financial prosperity and abundant rain (Deuteronomy 28:3-13).
The Warning of Curses
But then, Moses started issuing warnings about curses that would come upon them if they were disobedient to the Lord (Deuteronomy 28:15ff). The variety of these curses was breathtaking - cities in chaos, youth in rebellion, an epidemic of divorce, confusing governmental policies, defeats by their enemies, rampant disease, drought leading to crop failures, foreign domination and even exile to a foreign land.
Moses concluded the list with a detailed explanation of what would be the ultimate judgment of God should they become entrenched in rebellion and refuse to repent (Deuteronomy 28:64-67). In summary, the ultimate punishment the Jewish people would receive for willful and unrepentant rebellion against God's Word would be ejection from their land, their scattering worldwide, and their persecution wherever they went.
The Curse on the Land
Nor would that be all. Moses further stated that God would put a curse on their land, and as a result of that curse, the land would become filled with diseases and plagues (Deuteronomy 29:22). The land itself would become "a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass [growing] in it..." (Deuteronomy 29:23).
The curse would be so terrible that when foreigners came to visit the land, they would cry out, "Why has the LORD done this to the land? Why this great outburst of anger?" (Deuteronomy 29:24).
And the answer will be: "Because they forsook the covenant of the LORD, the God of their fathers... [and] they went and served other gods and worshiped them... Therefore, the anger of the LORD burned against that land, to bring upon it every curse which is written in this book; and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and in fury and in great wrath..." (Deuteronomy 29:25-28).
The Promise of Hope
Fortunately for the Jewish people, Moses did not leave it there. He continued on to speak some words of hope. He assured them that if they were ever scattered all over the world, a day would come when God in His compassion would "restore them from captivity" by regathering them to their homeland (Deuteronomy 30:3). "If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back" (Deuteronomy 30:4).
The prophet Ezekiel picked it up from there, prophesying what would happen to the land when the Jewish people were regathered to it (Ezekiel 36:34-35):
34) The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by.
35) They will say, "This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited."
What an incredible panorama of future events that have been fulfilled precisely in detail!
After the Jewish people occupied their Promised Land under the leadership of Joshua, they immediately began to stray from God's Word. They violated God's command not to intermarry with the pagan peoples of the land. As they did so, they began to worship the false gods of these peoples.
God responded by sending prophets to call them to repentance. When they refused to repent, God began to afflict them with the very curses that Moses had outlined in his warnings. Finally, just as Moses had prophesied, they were taken into exile, first the northern kingdom of Israel (722 BC) and then the southern kingdom of Judah (586 BC).
After God allowed the Jews of the southern kingdom to return from their Babylonian captivity, they persisted in their rebellion, consummating with the rejection of the Messiah whom God had sent to them.
It was at that point that God allowed the Romans to destroy Jerusalem in 70 AD, including the Jewish Temple. This resulted in their ejection from the land and their worldwide scattering, a process that was accelerated after the Second Jewish Revolt in 132-136 AD.
Over the next 1800 years the Jews were literally scattered to the four corners of the earth, in fulfillment of Moses' prophecy. And in further fulfillment of prophecy, they were persecuted wherever they went, and their homeland became utterly desolate.
The Nature of the Promised Land
Keep in mind that their homeland was one of great abundance when the Jewish people entered it some 1400 years before the time of Jesus (Deuteronomy 8:7-9). Moses further characterized the land as being very different from the arid land of Egypt because it "drinks from the rain of heaven" (Deuteronomy 11:10-11). Moses also described it as "a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year" (Deuteronomy 11:12).
Ezekiel affirmed this evaluation of the land many years later when he wrote that God swore to the Jewish people that He would bring them out of the land of Egypt into a land "flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands" (Ezekiel 20:6-7,15).
The Desolation of the Land
Yet, just as prophesied, this glorious land became "a haunt of jackals" and "a heap of ruins" (Jeremiah 9:11).
Rainfall diminished, trees were cut down, top soil eroded and excessive sedimentation in the valleys resulted in water-logging and the creation of swamps. With swamps came an outbreak of malaria which weakened the population and led to the abandonment of villages and formerly cultivated land.
The land became repugnant, and during the 1800 years the Jews were exiled from it, no one really desired it. It became a deserted wasteland, and Jerusalem became an incubator of disease. By the beginning of the 19th Century, it was a place people avoided, except for the most fanatical Christian pilgrims - like the Russians who would walk all the way to the Holy Land and die there.
A Strange Miracle
In a book published in 2007, an American Orthodox Jewish Rabbi named Menachem Kohen, asserted that the greatest miracle performed by God during the past 1800 years was one that occurred daily in the land of Palestine - namely, little or no rain. He refers to it as a "reoccurring miracle." And he asserts that this miracle of drought was for the purpose of fulfilling prophecies in Deuteronomy 28 which read: "The LORD will make the rain of your land powder and dust..." (Deuteronomy 28:24).
Additionally, Rabbi Kohen contends that this reoccurring miracle of God was for the purpose of protecting the Jewish homeland from occupation by foreign Gentiles. In other words, God purposefully made the land desolate so that it could be preserved for the Jews when He would regather them in the end times - at which time the land would be reclaimed.
Bethsaida, Lost Roman Home of Jesus' Apostles, Discovered in Israel - by Deborah Danan -
The birthplace of Jesus' apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip has been found in Israel, experts said.
The lost Roman city of Julias, formerly the village of Bethsaida, was uncovered during excavations last month at el-Araj on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee by archaeologists from the Kinneret Institute for Galilean Archaeology at Kinneret College, Israel and Nyack College in New York.
"The results of this season's excavation indicate that el-Araj should now be considered a leading candidate for the lost city of Jesus' apostles," the excavation team said in a statement to Fox News.
"There are indications that we're excavating Bethsaida-Julia - we have to continue digging to confirm and clarify," Prof. Steven Notley of Nyack College, the dig's academic director, told Fox News. "This is really one of the few [biblical sites] that has remained lost."
Julias was built around 30 AD on the ruins of Bethsaida - where the Gospel of John says Peter was born - according to the Jewish historian Josephus Flavius. In the New Testament, Bethsaida was home to Jesus' apostles Peter, Andrew and Philip. Jesus also healed a blind man at Bethsaida, according to the Gospel of Mark.
Until now, archaeologists mostly believed that el-Araj remained unpopulated during the Roman period. The recent excavations that unearthed - among other artifacts - coins and pottery proved otherwise. In addition, a Roman-era wall, assumed to have been part of a bathhouse, was discovered beneath a Byzantine floor - some 692 feet below sea level.
The presence of a bathhouse indicates that the area could have once been the city of Julias.
"The Roman layer was buried at a certain period by these sediments derived from the nearby outlets of the Jordan River and Meshushim stream," Prof. Noam Greenbaum of Haifa University, who participated in the excavation, said. "We hope to deepen and extend our study in the future in order to clarify the full picture."
The Byzantine structure at el-Araj also offers a fascinating glimpse into the site's biblical past. Small gilded glass blocks called tesserae that form part of a mosaic were found, suggesting that the building was once an important church. Archaeologists note that Willibald, the bishop of Eichstatt in Germany, visited the Holy Land in 725 A.D., and described visiting a church at Bethsaida built over the remains of the house of apostles Peter and Andrew. "It may well be that the current excavations have unearthed evidence for that church," explained the archaeologists in their statement.
Other archaeologists have been looking to prove that the nearby site of e-Tell is the location of Bethsaida-Julias.
Excavations at el-Araj will start again in June 2018. "We're looking right now at trying to do another five seasons," said Notley.
According to Dr. Mordechai Aviam, who is also leading the dig, the discovery will no doubt make waves, especially among researchers of early Christianity, the New Testament, the history of the land of Israel and the Jewish Galilee in the Second Temple period.
Daily Jot: North Korea: judgment or consequences? - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Many Christians have been asking whether the threat of a North Korea nuclear attack was judgment on the United States for its sins against God. I tend to believe that the leader of North Korea is crazy like a fox and in the end is doing what his father before him did-rattle the sabers hard enough to get concessions to stop his nuclear program. Translated: get paid for secretly continuing his nuclear program. Notwithstanding, the North Korean nuclear situation is the consequences of having bad leadership in the White House at a critical juncture. A US President gave North Korea nuclear technology under the auspices of using it for peaceful power. Today, we are faced with paying for that decision.
President Bill Clinton's long-held belief on nuclear weapons was that if everyone had them, nobody would use them and the world would be a safer place. On June 11, 1993, the US agreed to not use force or nuclear weapons against North Korea if it remained in the nonproliferation treaty. North Korea continued to develop its nuclear weapons program. On October 18, 1994, after 17 months of negotiations, Clinton signed a deal to give North Korea light water reactor nuclear technology if it stopped building nuclear weapons, saying, "Today all Americans should know that as a result of this achievement on Korea, our Nation will be safer and the future of our people more secure."
In his commitment to communist North Korea, Clinton is quoted as saying, "This US-North Korean agreement will help to achieve a long-standing and vital American objective: an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean peninsula." Heritage Foundation archives document in an October 20 letter to North Korean strongman Kim Jong Il, (father of current dictator Kim Jong Un) Clinton vastly expanded America's commitments under the formal agreement to finance fuel shipments and reactors, ease its long-standing trade embargo and move toward first-ever diplomatic relations with North Korea. North Korea went on to develop nuclear weapons and to assist Iran in its nuclear weapons program.
Instead of having a safer future, the world is far more dangerous because of Clinton's reckless shenanigans. President Donald Trump has not hesitated to say he will use military force if North Korea persists. We need to realize that, thanks to Clinton, North Korea has lethal power, and future peace might only be secured with the price of many lives. Romans 12:18 says, "If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men." Peace is a two-way street, especially when millions of lives are at stake. Sadly, Trump may be forced to end what Clinton foolishly began. To me, this is the consequence of electing a bad and immoral leader rather than the judgment of God. Free will has its responsibilities.
Daily Devotion: Daring to Obey - By Greg Laurie -
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." -Acts 9:17
Saul of Tarsus . . . his very name would have sent chills down the spines of followers of Jesus. Yet God spoke to a believer named Ananias and said, "Go over to Straight Street, to the house of Judas. When you get there, ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul. He is praying to me right now" (Acts 9:11).
This was Saul, the hunter of believers, the killer of Christians. We certainly could understand the reticence of Ananias. Yet I love his response: "So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, 'Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit'" (verse 17).
Did Saul ever, in a thousand years, think he would hear a Christian call him "Brother Saul"? But what a difference a day makes-or even an hour makes.
There will be times when God will put a burden on your heart to approach a certain person or say a specific thing or go to a specific place. You have a choice in the matter: you can go, or you can not go. God came to the prophet Jonah and told him to go to the city of Nineveh and announce his judgment against it. But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction. You can be a Jonah, or you can be an Ananias.
Ananias is truly an unsung hero of the Christian faith for doing what he did. He never preached any sermons that we know of. We don't read of any miracles being performed through his hands. He never wrote an epistle. But he did reach someone who did all of those things and more.
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