Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Rapture Will Occur Before The Tribulation - By Daniel Payne - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/08/11/rapture-will-occur-tribulation-daniel-payne/
For generations, true believers-born-again of the Spirit-have been waiting for their Savior to suddenly appear in the clouds above them, and deliver them from their earthly trials.
Many of these watchful believers have been mocked and scorned for their patience and hope in the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ. False teachers, who either do not understand or deny God's Word, have led the charge against the hope of the Rapture occurring before the Tribulation.
How can anyone - after actually reading and believing God's Word - conclude that the Rapture happens after the wrath and horrors of the Tribulation and not before?
God's Word lists the order of events as plain as day:
"Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Then-just two verses later...
"For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3).
Rapture: (1 Thess. 4:17) before Tribulation: (1 Thess. 5:2-3).
Again, first "we shall be caught up together...in the clouds". "Then sudden destruction comes upon them"-not us.
The Apostle Paul had just revealed the Rapture to the Thessalonians in chapter four. Then, literally just two verses later, he answered the obvious question as to when the Rapture would take place:
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you" (1 Thessalonians 5:1).
It's obvious that the Rapture is to take place before all of the destruction of the Tribulation (Day of the Lord), otherwise Paul wouldn't have focused on the fact that the Day of the Lord will arrive as a thief in the night.
Paul was associating the timing of the Rapture with the arrival of the Day of the Lord.
What difference would the sudden arrival of the Day of the Lord make if the Rapture was to take place at the end of it? Remember, Paul was still on the subject of the Rapture when he said that the Day of the Lord arrives suddenly and unexpectedly, as a thief in the night to those who are not ready.
If the Rapture was to take place at the end of the Tribulation, then Paul would have talked about the events that will take place at that time (cosmic signs, etc.).
He said that those who are ready and watching-the true believers-have no need to be concerned about the arrival of the destruction of the Day of the Lord. We need not concern ourselves with the judgment of the Tribulation because we will not be here.
If Paul was teaching that the Rapture is to take place at the end of the Tribulation, then 1 Thessalonians 5:2 should say something like:
"For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord lasts seven years, so..." or "the time of wrath during the Day of the Lord lasts seven years, as spoken of by Daniel...."
However, Paul did not speak of any of the events that are to occur during the Tribulation or how long they will last; Paul only spoke of the arrival of the Day of the Lord. It's obvious then that the Rapture has no part during the Tribulation, let alone after:
"For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
We are commanded to watch and be ready for the Rapture, when we will meet our Savior face to face and when:
"We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Corinthians 5:10).
"But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief... Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober... For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thessalonians 5:4, 6, 9).
Now, concerning Paul's second letter to the Thessalonians.
Apparently, false teachers had used Paul's teaching of the Rapture from his first letter, and its associated timing with the arrival of the Day of the Lord, as a pretext to trouble them into a cold-hearted deception.
They were tricked into believing that the persecution they were currently enduring was in fact the actual Tribulation, i.e. the wrath of the Day of the Lord. They were frightened into believing that the Tribulation had already begun.
(Side Note: This cruel tactic is vulgarly similar to that used today by those who seem to enjoy ridiculing those of us who believe in the doctrine of the Pre-Trib Rapture. Just as the false teachers in Thessalonica knew full well that the Thessalonians were taught that the Rapture will occur before the arrival of the Day of the Lord, so also do the false teachers of today know that we're also taught that the Rapture will occur before the Tribulation.
Both sets of cruel-hearted false teachers try to deceive those who long for the return of their Savior into believing that they will miss a gathering to meet the Lord in the air before the Tribulation. Consequently, we will then have to endure the trauma and pain of God's Tribulation judgment on the world that currently rejects His salvation and the legitimacy of His nation Israel.
They love to mock us as if it's some sort of satisfaction for them that we'll be suckered into having to endure the wrath of the Tribulation, exactly like the false teachers did way back in Thessalonica).
How was it that the Thessalonians could be so easily deceived by the false teachers? Because they were already enduring persecutions and tribulations that they were no doubt told by the false teachers were signs that the Tribulation had already begun.
"So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure" (2 Thessalonians 1:4).
Paul began his letter of comfort to them-2 Thessalonians-by commending them for their "patience and faith" in all their "persecutions and tribulations."
Paul then went on to speak of the rest that the faithful Thessalonians would have during the time "when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those" who are persecuting them (2 Thessalonians 1:7-8).
In order to make sense of exactly what Paul was teaching the Thessalonians in reference to the Day of the Lord-whether or not he taught them that they would have to endure through it or be raptured before it-let's make all of the Thessalonians part of either group 1, or all part of group 2 below:
Post-Trib Rapture Gathering: The Thessalonians were taught by Paul and believed that they would somehow have to endure through the entire Tribulation (Day of Christ, Day of the Lord), survive (to be alive for the gathering in the air) and not take the Mark of the Beast. They would have to wait to be gathered together to meet the Lord in the air until after the Tribulation ends.
Pre-Trib Rapture Gathering: The Thessalonians were taught by Paul that they would be gathered together in the air to be with the Lord forever before the Tribulation (Day of Christ, Day of the Lord) begins.
Again, we know from Paul's letter that the Thessalonians actually believed that they were already in the Tribulation. If they were all part of group one from above-and since they believed that the Tribulation had already begun-why then would they be upset (before Paul's second letter arrived) that Christ was absolutely about to return within seven years or less and end their Tribulation suffering?
You might say that they would be upset that they would still have yet to endure the remainder of the Tribulation woes, and that is why they were so troubled. That makes perfect sense except for one thing...
(Please keep in mind that we're still talking about Group 1 from above here.)
Why then would it be a comfort and a relief to them if the Tribulation time clock had not already begun counting down to the return of their Savior? How could the fact that the Tribulation hadn't yet begun-as Paul is telling them in this his second letter-and that now the return of the Lord would even be farther away, be of any immediate comfort to them? Especially when the true horrors of the Day of the Lord could still arrive at any time?
How is it such a great comfort to know that the Day of the Lord has not yet begun even though you're still going to have to be present on earth throughout the destruction once it does finally begin? That just doesn't make any sense.
It's far more likely that they belonged to Group 2, and they were upset that Christ had already returned and they missed the "gathering together to Him," and that He left them behind to endure the Tribulation.
The great comfort to them would then not be that the Tribulation has not yet begun and could still arrive at any time, but that the Lord Jesus had not yet arrived and the Rapture can still occur at any time.
In keeping with his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul associated the timing of the Rapture (2 Thessalonians 2:1) with the arrival of the Day of the Lord:
"Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3).
Paul told the Thessalonians that the Antichrist will "be revealed in his own time" (2 Thessalonians 2:6). Paul is still associating the Tribulation with a time ("his own time") after the Rapture. He was telling the Thessalonians that they could know that the Rapture (2:1) had not yet taken place because the apostasy and the revealing of the Antichrist had not yet taken place.
The Antichrist will be revealed-to those who read or have read a Bible-the moment he confirms the peace treaty with Israel. Many false candidates have come over the generations, but only one will be revealed by exactly matching the biblical description.
Paul's primary focus was not on the Thessalonians having to watch for the events that would occur during the Tribulation; his primary focus was on them being aware of the details that would happen before the Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:3; 5-7).
Then he explained what would happen after the Rapture, beginning in verse 8:
"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8).
Then, after Paul explained some of the events that would take place during the Tribulation, he reminded the Thessalonians that they would not have to endure such events:
"But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:13).
Interestingly, in the verse above, the Greek word used for "salvation" is "soteria." Its precise meaning is determined by the surrounding context.
The same word "soteria" is found in Philippians 1:19:
"For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."
Paul was assuring the Philippians that their prayers were powerful enough to affect his escape from a Roman prison.
Paul never spoke of any major celestial events that would immediately precede the Lord's return for His saints at the Rapture (in 1 Thessalonians chapter four). However, when the Lord returns with His saints, there will be great cosmic signs and wonders:
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory" (Matthew 24:29-30).
"Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, 'Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all...'" (Jude 1:14-15a).
In closing, God's Word explicitly lays out the timing of the Rapture as occurring before the arrival of the judgment of the Tribulation.
Jesus and His apostles warned us to specifically watch for only Jesus Christ Himself, not the many events that will take place during the Tribulation.
We were also exhorted by Jesus and His apostles that while we are watching for His return, we should not give ourselves up to the errors of the false teachers who increasingly say He is not coming.
"This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles" (2 Peter 3:1-2).
What "commandment of the Lord" is Peter referring to?
"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will" (Matthew 24:42-44).
The Lord Jesus exhorts us again in Revelation to persevere and continue to watch for His return:
"Because you have kept the word of My perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation 3:10).
Jesus commends us for our perseverance in holding to the traditions of our hope in His imminent return. Then He tells us of a crown we will receive if we continue to love, hope in, and watch for His soon return:
"I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown" (Revelation 3:11).
Paul describes this same crown:
"In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing" (2 Timothy 4:8).
Paul tells us again to stand firm in his teachings of our hope of the Rapture:
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us" (2 Thessalonians 2:15).
Peter also tells us to stay focused on the return of Jesus and not be deceived by the false teachings of unprincipled men:
"Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation'" (2 Peter 3:3-4).
"But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up" (2 Peter 3:10).
"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness" (2 Peter 3:17).
We cannot let the evil that is rapidly closing in around us cause us to lose our hope in the Rapture by being deceived by false teachers. We must continue to persevere, no matter how much longer we have to wait, while continuing in our hope and love of the imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
"He who testifies to these things says, 'Surely I am coming quickly.' Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20).
"God's Patience has a Time Limit" - Pastor Bill Hoganson - www.calvaryanaheim.org
2 Peter 3:8-9
I've been studying Bible prophecy for over 50 years. I no longer have any doubts that we are living in that last generation of which Jesus spoke. The exponential increase of converging prophetic signs make this obvious! God's patience has a time limit, as confirmed the parable of the fig tree! Let's take a look...
We read in 2 Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV) - 8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. ... 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering He's patient toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Peter declares that God is patient. True! But there is a flipside: God's patience has a time limit. Eventually, God's patience will end...
God's demonstrated patience in the Old Testament, has always had a time limit, with a start point and an end point. In the New Testament, Jesus also put a time limit to God's patience in His parable of the fig tree, which we will examine shortly. But, let's first look at the O.T.
Consider Noah's day. God told Noah in Gen 6:3 (NKJV) - And the LORD said, "My Spirit shall not strive with man forever God's time limit, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." God gave Noah 120 years to build the Ark. While Noah built the Ark, he was instructed to warn his generation of coming judgment. Peter comments on this in 1 Peter 3:20b (NKJV) - "...the Divine longsuffering God patiently waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared,..." God assigned a 120 year time limit to His patience; after that, the flood judgment would come!
We find another example of God's time limit on his patience when He spoke to Abraham about the Amorites in Gen 15:15-16 (NKJV) - 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. ... 16 But in the fourth generation they Israel shall return here to the LAND of promise, for the iniquity or sin of the Amorites is not yet complete." Here, God tells Abraham that after Israel lives four generations in Egypt, the iniquity of the Amorites will have reached a point of no return. At that point, God's patience ends with His instructions to Israel to drive the Amorites out of the LAND.
Another example of God putting a time limits on His patience is found in Jeremiah 25:11-13 (NKJV) -11 And this whole land of Israel shall be a desolation and an astonishment, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. ... 12 'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the LORD; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation. God put a time limit of seventy years on Babylon's iniquity. After that, His judgment will fall upon them.
In all three O.T. examples, God puts a time limit on His patience. God consistently warned people before He brought judgment. Just as God put a time limit on His patience in the ancient past, so today, He has given our generation a time limit. Jesus gave us God's time limit with His parable of the fig tree.
Matt 24:32-34 (NKJV) - 32 Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. ... 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors! ... 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. How does God establish a time limit in this passage? There are two important pieces to this prophecy: 1) the meaning of the "fig tree" and its leaves shooting forth, and 2) the meaning of the "generation."
Firstly, what does the "fig tree" symbolize? For that we turn to the O.T. where the fig tree is often used as a symbol of Israel's national prosperity. The prophet Joel not only used the fig tree as a symbol of prosperity, but he used the fig tree as symbolic of Israel's destruction and restoration. Let's take a look...
Joel 1:6-7 (NKJV) - 6 For a nation has come up against My land, Strong, and without number; His teeth are the teeth of a lion, And he has the fangs of a fierce lion. Joel prophesies an invasion of Israel... ... 7 He the invading nation has laid waste destroyed My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white. God refers to Israel as "My fig tree," which the foreign nation "laid waste." Here, the destruction of the fig tree symbolizes Israel's destruction.
Again, Joel uses the "fig tree" as a symbol for Israel. But, this time, the "fig tree" is symbolic of Israel's return to the LAND, as follows: Joel 2:22-23 (NKJV) - 22 Do not be afraid, you beasts of the field; For the open pastures are springing up, And the tree bears its fruit; The fig tree and the vine yield their strength. ... 23 Be glad then, you children of Zion Israel, And rejoice in the LORD your God; For He has given you the former rain faithfully, And He will cause the rain to come down for you- The former rain, And the latter rain in the first month. Just as God prospered Israel with the "former rain," in ancient times, so God will again prosper Israel in the future with the "latter rain" resulting in the fig tree yielding its strength.
So, in Joel 1:6-7, God described the death of "My fig tree" as symbolic of Israel's destruction. In Joel 2:22-23 God described the "fig tree" yielding its strength after Israel returns to the LAND.
Now, enter the N.T., where Jesus cursed a fig tree the morning after He rode the donkey into Jerusalem. We read Matt 21:18-20 (NKJV) - 18 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. ... 19 And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, "Let no fruit grow on you ever again." Immediately the fig tree withered away. ... 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither away so soon?" The focus should not be on how quickly the fig tree died, rather, the focus should be on "why" did Jesus destroy this fig tree?
We link this event to what took place the day before, on Palm Sunday, when Jesus called for the destruction of Jerusalem: Luke 19:41-44 (NKJV) - 41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city Jerusalem and wept over it, ... 42 saying, "If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. ... 43 For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, ... 44 and level you, and your children within you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation." The following morning Jesus cursed the fig tree, which is strongly linked to Jesus' call for Israel's destruction the day before.
Two days later, on the Mt. of Olives, Jesus brought up the fig tree again to His disciples, as follows: Matt 24:32-34 (NKJV) - 32 "Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. ... 33 So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near-at the doors! What "things" will be seen? They will witness the "great tribulation" and see Jesus' "return to earth" as explained in Matthew 24:21-22, and 30. So, how does the fig tree "putting forth its leaves" fit Jesus' timeline? Jesus' answer: ... 34 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Jesus said, that this generation shall witness and see all these things taking place, before that generation passes away.
Jesus' prophecy about the "fig tree" lines up well with Joel's prophecy of the "fig tree," as follows:
1. Just as Joel 1:6-7 used the "fig tree" to symbolize Israel's coming destruction by Babylon in 586 BC, so Jesus' curse on the 'fig tree" symbolizes Israel's coming destruction by Rome in 70 AD.
2. Just as Joel 2:22-23 used the "fig tree" to symbolized Israel's return to the LAND in prosperity after 537 BC, so Jesus' parable of the "fig tree" is symbolic of Israel's return to the LAND in prosperity after 1948.
Secondly, what did Jesus mean by "generation?" The Greek genea is translated generation and may refer to the Jewish race. So, the "Jewish race" (genea) will not pass away until all these things be fulfilled. However, that is only partially correct. The definition of generation (genea) also pertains to a definite, given time period. The Amplified Bible properly translates genea as "...the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period." In other words, "all these things" that are to "take place" have a definite and specific time period during which a whole multitude of people are living. The "generation" Jesus spoke about has a start point and an end point that affects a multitude of people.
The starting point for this generation is dependent upon what Jesus meant when He said ...when the fig tree ...puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near (Matt. 24:32). What did Jesus mean? Let's give it a try, as follows: Just as you know that summer is near, when the "fig tree" puts forth its leaves, so you will know that Jesus' return to earth is near, after Israel is back in their LAND in prosperity.
Technically, Israel was officially back in their LAND, after they reborn as a nation in 1948. Is the "fig tree" putting forth its leaves, in Matthew 24:32, a prophecy of Israel's rebirth in 1948? That appears to be the case. That being true, Matthew 24:32-34 also puts a time limit by mentioning that "this generation will not pass away before all these things be fulfilled."
How long is a generation? If the generation countdown began with the rebirth of Israel in 1948, and if the last person in that generation dies at age 100, then that generation will end in 2048. But, what if someone in that generation dies at age 120. Then that generation ends after 2068. The point is, we don't know for certain when the generation will end, but it does have a limit, that only God knows. In any case, God has given the generation born after 1948, somewhere between 100-120 years to repent. Since there will be no repentance and things will only get worse, then Jesus will physically come to earth within the next 30-50 years (after 2019). Seem far-fetched? Just food for thought! 😊
Peter wrote that "scoffers will come in the last days" "saying where is the promise of His coming?" (2 Pet 3:3-4). The scoffers will proclaim "Israel has been replaced by the Church!" "Israel doesn't fit into God's plans anymore" they will cry, while protesting "where is the promise of His coming to the earth to reign over Israel?" Then they will falsely declare "Jesus' coming will take place when we all meet, not on earth, but in heaven at the general resurrection of the dead!" "What does Israel have to do with Jesus' coming," they will complain. Seventy percent, or more, of today's so-called Christian leaders believe this lie...
But, in fact, Jesus tells us that He is coming to earth, to reign in Israel, and He has given us a time frame as to when that will take place, in His parable of the fig tree! But, time is running out on His patience...
To summarize the parable of the fig tree:
1. God's countdown to the earth's judgment began in 1948, when Israel was reborn as a nation!
2. The generation born after 1948 is currently witnessing this countdown, and its associated signs!
3. Just as we know that summer is near, as the "fig tree" puts forth its leaves, so we know that Jesus' return to earth is near.
4. Jesus will physically return to earth within 30-50 years.
5. When does the Rapture take place? ...at any moment! 😊
God bless you as you seek Him... Pastor Bill Hoganson
Nearing Midnight: Deal-of-the-Century Update - Terry James - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
One has to wonder how many times President Trump has heard the following words, or those similar: "You must not give away land God has given Israel, Mr. President."
Or: "Mr. President, America must never abandon Israel or deal treacherously with the Jewish people."
The reason it is reasonable to wonder this is, in part, because of recent developments in the process known as "the Deal of the Century."
Emails received have indicated on numerous occasions the trepidation the emailers feel-that is, the uneasiness about the probability of the Trump administration making a "deal" that will almost certainly include giving the Palestinians part of Israel's land in a "two-state solution" to the conflict in the region.
The deal, of course, involves the Trump Administration trying to broker a peace agreement between Israel and the so-called Palestinians. I say "so-called" because the word "Palestine" is a term concocted, many scholars believe, from the ancient people who were Israel's enemies, the Philistines. This is the people from whom, of course, the giant Goliath and his brothers came in the biblical David and Goliath account.
There has never been such a homeland for those called "Palestinians." The Arab/Muslim world has used its claim that Israel is an illegitimate occupier of the Palestinian homeland in recent times to foment hatred against the Jewish state.
There is fear amongst the diplomatic world that the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians could at any moment flare to trigger thermonuclear response from the Zionists, as the Muslim-haters of Israel terms that nation. Israel, it is known by all, although not officially admitted, has one of the world's most lethal nuclear capabilities.
The Trump administration has been working to construct what the president, in his usually outspoken manner, calls "the Deal of the Century." By that, he means he intends to come up with a plan that will make peace in the region, thereby eliminating the fears of war that might ignite because of the conflict.
It was rumored that the American administration intended to include as part of this plan for making peace the dividing of Israel's land in order to create a separate nation called Palestine.
Christians who are savvy about Bible prophecy and who observe the times in light of Christ's promised return have weighed in heavily on this possibility. They stringently oppose such division of Israel's land, based upon, in part, passages in the book of the prophet Zechariah and Joel.
Joel prophesied: "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land" (Joel 3: 1-2).
The prophet was foretelling about Armageddon, of course. He was saying that God will bring the nations of the world into the killing fields of the Plains of Esdraleon-the Valley of Jezreel surrounding Megiddo-to punish them for their maltreatment of His chosen people of Israel.
Those who hold to the premillennial, pre-Trib view of Bible prophecy believe that to be instrumental in dividing the land God gave Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will bring a curse on the perpetrators- based upon God's promises found in Genesis 12: "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee, and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Genesis 12:3).
There was, as I say, trepidation amongst these Christian believers that President Trump planned to make the division of Israel's land part of the Deal of the Century.
Something has, perhaps, seemingly put a stop to that troubling rumor. The following news excerpt explains in part.
There is no Palestinian statehood in the "deal of the century," only autonomy, as U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, a silent member of the administration's Mideast peace team, has revealed.
Friedman warned the Palestinians that the Clinton, Olmert, Kerry and Obama proposals are no longer on the table...
Now the architects of the peace plan are making clear that all those proposals are a thing of the past and there is no better deal on its way.
When Arab countries are disintegrating because of jihad on one hand and Iran on the other, no stable Arab government would see the formation of a new Arab state as a dream come true. A bold new peace plan should propose taking a completely different direction. ("There might be something to 'deal of the century' after all, opinion by Ben-Dror Yemini, Published: 8-01-19 Rapture Ready News)
Again, based upon this overt declaration that there will be no Palestinian state constructed as part of negotiating peace, one must wonder how many times President Trump has heard the words, or those similar: "You must not give away land God has given Israel, Mr. President."
It is fodder for conjecture whether Bible prophecy adherents close to the president, such as Dr. Robert Jeffress or John Hagee, have had an influence. Certainly the Holy Spirit is at work in these closing days of the Church Age (Age of Grace). We will keep watch, with great interest, on unfolding things surrounding this "Deal-of-the Century" process.
Can Palestinians in Gaza Revolt Against Hamas? - by Khaled Abu Toameh - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14713/palestinians-gaza-hamas-revolt
Hamas leaders are scared. Of what? That Palestinians will return to the streets of the Gaza Strip to demand that their leaders govern rather than tyrannize. The living conditions of Palestinians in Gaza have gone from abysmal to worse.
That is why the leaders of Hamas recently ordered their security forces to detain several Palestinian activists for allegedly planning another wave of protests similar to those that swept the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
Last March, Hamas security forces used excessive force to break up demonstrations held in various parts of the Gaza Strip under the banner "We Want to Live!"
The demonstrations were organized by Palestinians to protest the longstanding economic crisis, including soaring unemployment and increased taxes imposed by Hamas on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Dozens of Palestinians were injured and arrested during the demonstrations, including human rights activists and journalists.
Hamas managed to crush the March protests, thereby drawing strong condemnations from many Palestinians who accused the rulers of the Gaza Strip of acting like ruthless dictators against peaceful demonstrators.
Palestinian journalist and political analyst Hamadeh Faraneh said that Hamas has shown that it is not capable of ruling its people. "By resorting to repression and brutal force, Hamas has emerged as the loser," he said.
Palestinian professor Abdel Sattar Qassam denounced the Hamas crackdown on the peaceful demonstrations as "disgraceful," while several commentators in the Arab world lashed out at Hamas's "policy of breaking the bones" of its critics.
Hamas's rivals in Fatah, the West Bank-based ruling faction headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, also joined the chorus of critics. Osama Qawassmeh, a senior Fatah official, described the protests in the Gaza Strip as a "revolution of the hungry" against Hamas's corrupt and failed administration.
Since then, the situation in the Gaza Strip has seen no improvement, mainly because Hamas cares a great deal more about investing millions of dollars in amassing weapons and preparing for war against Israel than about its own people.
Hamas's leaders have nothing to offer their people other than fiery anti-Israel rhetoric and empty promises, such as the pledge to "thwart" US President Donald Trump's upcoming Middle East peace plan, also known as the "Deal of the Century."
Aware of their embarrassing failure to alleviate the economic crisis or offer their people any kind of hope, Hamas leaders, once again, appear to be wary of the possibility that another wave of protests could erupt in the Gaza Strip.
As experience has shown, when the Hamas leaders are feeling unsettled, they issue instructions to their security forces and militiamen to act quickly against potential "troublemakers."
Several Palestinian political activists have been taken into custody by Hamas security officers in the past few days. They include: Amin al-Hajeen, Mohammed Kheir al-Din, Samed Abu al-Jidyan, Ghassan al-Arabeed, Mohammed Daher, and Shawkat Abu Safiyeh.
The detainees, known as outspoken critics of Hamas, are currently being interrogated by Hamas security forces on suspicion they were planning fresh protests against extreme economic hardship.
Abu Safiyeh, a representative of the PLO's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in the Gaza Strip, was arrested after he published a Facebook post criticizing Hamas's corruption. Here are some of the things he wrote that landed him in prison:
"Fifteen years ago, Hamas raised the slogan of 'Islam is the solution' -- the solution to liberate all Palestine and not give up an inch; the solution to eliminate cronyism and corruption; the solution to bring economic and social security; the solution to a happy and enjoyable life. Hamas came to power through deception and after having misled the people. Now, there is rampant corruption [under Hamas]. The corruption is in all institutions, including the judiciary and the police. Today, the corruption is organized and managed by Hamas. The corruption is at the top of the pyramid. It is the corruption of politics, the corruption in the administration, the corruption in employment, the corruption in relief aid.
"As for economic security, this is a major calamity that befell the Palestinian people in Gaza. Palestinians are lamenting their poverty. There are no businessmen left: they have either been arrested for unpaid debts or have fled the Gaza Strip or are standing in line to receive relief aid. As for Hamas officials and their affiliates, they have become owners of real estate, agencies and companies."
These are powerful words coming from a Palestinian living under Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip. In fact, after his critique of Hamas, Abu Safiyeh is lucky that he is still alive.
Last week, reports surfaced that a Palestinian activist detained by Hamas had been rushed to hospital in critical condition. He had apparently tried to commit suicide while in Hamas detention. Palestinians who have spent time in Hamas detention say they were subjected to various types of physical and psychological torture.
A human rights group in the Gaza Strip called for setting up a commission of inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the detainee's purported attempt to take his own life.
The appeal, however, is unlikely to leave an impression on the rulers of Hamas, whose only concern seems to be to ensure that no Palestinian dares to raise his or her voice against the corruption and repressive measures.
Commenting on Hamas's growing predicament and paranoia, former Palestinian Authority minister Hassan Asfour concluded:
"Hamas is well aware that its isolation in the Gaza Strip is increasing, and that it has become a burden on the people there. Hamas has totally failed in ruling and administering the Gaza Strip. Were it not for its security force, Hamas would have been uprooted without mercy."
The voices emerging from the Gaza Strip are anguished and reflect the Palestinians' growing sense of disillusionment with Hamas. These voices, however, are still small in numbers. Hamas's brutal methods of suppression and torture have deterred a large number of Palestinians from speaking out.
These voices will grow only if the international community heeds them and calls out Hamas for its brutal crackdown on Palestinians. This opposition, though, would require a shift in perspective: from obsession with the faults of Israel - whether real or imagined - to an interest in the real and deadly world of Hamas.
Unless Hamas's violent repression of its own people sparks some concern among the international community, the prospects of Palestinians revolting against their Hamas leaders are slim. Hamas is carrying out its current crackdown against Palestinian activists because it knows full well that the world will probably not utter a word. Why would it? Bashing Israel is much more rewarding than identifying Palestinian leaders as the champion violators of human rights that they are.
Daily Jot: The things people say - Bill Wilson -
My mother always told me, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." It's a good axiom to live by, although her son would grow up to be an investigative journalist who had a lot of things to say that some people may not consider nice. Hey, I try. One of the horrible things that has happened in our country is the nonsense, visceral, slanderous culture of late where it seems that my mother's saying has been twisted to: "If you can't say something mean, don't say anything at all." Now there is enough of this ill-will being pushed into the 24/7 news cycle that very few people can escape the poisonous impact of the things people say, and who is saying them. Here are just a few, judge for yourself.
During CNN's "Situation Room" Monday, Representative Denny Heck (D-WA) said, "the president hates all immigrants, except his mother- and father-in-law and his wife, evidently. He hates them whether they're here without documents, they're here with a green card, they're here seeking asylum. He hates them all." On Monday's broadcast of MSNBC's "All In," 2020 presidential candidate former HUD Secretary and former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro (D) said, "this administration is not just against undocumented immigrants, it's also against legal immigrants...And it goes back to what he's displayed from the beginning of his political career, from birtherism, to the way he started his campaign, to those comments about the Mexican-American judge, to his comments about Ilhan Omar and her colleagues. He wants a whiter, wealthier nation."
The Washington Post, owned by billionaire Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, released an editorial this week blasted enforcement of national immigration law as "cruel" and said U.S. businesses should not be deprived of employing illegal alien workers. Bette Midler tweeted Sunday, "After two years, we are all experts on Donald Trump!!! A racist, white supremacist nutjob with a coterie of criminals to enable him." Monday on MSNBC's "MTP Daily," network political analyst Zerlina Maxwell said, "If you are supporting a president that is caging brown babies and you are okay with that, then I'm sorry, that is supporting racist policies, and that is not distinct from supporting a racist president. I think that often we try to get into this semantic game because people take the label of racist so personally as if I'm saying that you're a terrible human and that you're evil."
Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) Sunday said Trump, "has been fueling the flames of hate. I said recently on the issue of El Paso...when people ask me is he responsible for these killings? Well no he obviously didn't pull the trigger, but he's sure been tweeting out the ammunition." Actress Sophia Bush tweeted about the recent mass shootings: "Trump is to blame. His incitement of hate is grounds enough for impeachment." In reading these quotes, and they are just a small sampling, who is spewing forth the hate and incitement? Notice how the media is a willing vehicle. As Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-20, "But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart...For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies"
Daily Devotion: Big Doors Swing on Small Hinges - by Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. -Ecclesiastes 3:11
Sometimes in life we say, "I don't get why my life is going this way. I don't know why I am where I am right now."
But does it ever occur to us that we are exactly where God wants us to be-that He has a plan and a purpose for where we are? That certainly was the case with Esther.
Her story begins with Xerxes, the king of Persia, also known as Ahasuerus, the grandson of Cyrus the Great. The people of Israel had been taken into exile by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar, who turned his kingdom over to Belshazzar. When Belshazzar openly mocked God, judgment came upon Babylon, which was conquered by the Medo-Persians. Cyrus the Great changed Babylon to Persia and released the Jews. Some returned home, but many did not.
The Jewish people in the book of Esther were those who stayed in Persia, where Xerxes ruled a massive empire. His wife, Vashti, was a woman of incredible beauty. During a drunken feast, the king gave the decree for Queen Vashti to come out wearing her crown. Some commentators believe this implied he wanted her to come out wearing only her crown. He objectified his wife, treated her as a servant, and didn't value and love her as he should have. He wanted to parade her around, and she flat-out refused. So the king, in his rage, decided to remove Queen Vashti and replace her.
God was at work behind the scenes, rearranging events and changing minds in the most secular of settings, reminding us that big doors swing on small hinges. Exit Vashti, enter Esther.
God is in control of your life, and He will accomplish His purposes in His time. He makes all things beautiful in His time-not before and never after.
FROM THE HEART
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