Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Trial of Mankind - by Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-trial-of-mankind.html
"Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; WHICH THINGS THE ANGELS DESIRE TO LOOK INTO." (1st Peter 1:12)
Mankind is a mystery to the angels. God has charged them as ministering spirits to the heir of salvation. They are given the understanding that the heirs of God will judge them in the end of time.
"Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? " (Hebrews 1:14)
We will instruct and judge angels, and that is why God created mankind in His own image, for the express purpose of being His family and judging in the world to come. It is something that one angel just could not handle, and rebelled against the purposes God laid out.
LUCIFER IS CAST OUT
Not being there, but imagining in my own mind, what must have gone through Lucifer's mind when God created man and gave him dominion over the whole earth. Lucifer was given the earth to administer for God and it is theorized that from Genesis 1 to verse 2 could have been a billion years, as God is outside of time and the planets could be that old. But here we have God giving what Lucifer must have imagined, an upstart called Adam priority over him. I mean, this was God's anointed Cherubim who was one of the ark angels that covered the mercy seat. Who was given an image that was glorious to behold. "What was God doing by giving my earth to a man"..Lucifer may have thought. Jealousy and pride made the anointed Cherubim rebel against the Creator of all of the universe, which included even, Lucifer.
The Prophet Isaiah introduces us to the first outbreak of sin in the universe when Lucifer, the most anointed of the angels, uttered the first of his five famous "I will's":
"For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." (Isaiah 14:13)
War broke out in the heavens, as Lucifer convinced 1/3 of the angelic host to follow him in rebellion.
For his sin of arrogance, God pronounced judgment on Lucifer, the most honored of His angels, and those rebellious angels who followed him;
"Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit." (Isaiah 14:12-15)
I've often wondered, why those who were created by God Almighty, the legions of angels would follow another created being and join Satan, (which means adversary) in open rebellion. Did they not know WHO they were standing against? Did they not know that the God who created them, could not be over come by even their power?
What made them so crazy? Perhaps they felt God was being unjust in His dealing with Lucifer and in so doing, were also guilty of sin and cast out.
Or maybe they joined with Lucifer at the moment that God unveiled His plan to create the human race and make the angels subject to their judgment. Maybe they were jealous.
It is a unanswered question, as the Bible doesn't specifically say what was their reasoning and join Satan. Did they really think they could win against Almighty God, YHWH?
It is worth thinking about and considering, while mankind is a mystery to the righteous angels who did not rebel, the fallen angels understood mankind only too well. That's because we have something in common with these fallen angels. That commonality is called "Sin".
Sin is the great equalizer between even fallen angels and fallen mankind. From the context of the story of the fall of Satan, reading the five "I WILLS" give the impression that Satan was upset over God's decision to put man in charge of the earth. It was a bone of contention of who was going to rule, who was in charge. ..Mankind, by implication, is the reason that Lucifer felt betrayed and his pride caused his rebellion. Lucifer just could not handle that mankind, an inferior race of created beings, was going to be served by the angels in submission and then at the end of the age, be their judge. Now Satan has a deep hatred of mankind.
Thinking about this and trying to picture what Satan must have thought when given this plan of God, Lucifer just could not handle that plan of God and his pride got in the way of his obedience to God's ultimate plan. This is where the Five "I WILLS" began and Lucifer decided he would rise above even God.
DESCRIPTION OF WHAT WAS, SON OF THE MORNING
As mentioned, Lucifer was the anointed angel of God. He was the most blessed, the most beautiful, the most entertaining, and not so much a stretch of the imagination to say he was the most popular of all the angels. The prophet Ezekiel speaks of the beauty of Lucifer :
13 "Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee."(Ezekiel 28:13-15)
From the description, Lucifer was adorned with precious jewels, and must have been a player of music, or singing praise to God around His throne.
It also, isn't much of a stretch to wonder what the other angels in heaven that did not join the rebellion thought about the severity of the punishment.
The existence of humanity is often described by theologians as the 'trial of Satan'. Why a trial? Because God is just.
Let us paint a picture of the scene of Satan being judged and awaiting the sentence that will finally be brought upon him.
Lucifer was highly favored before God, as he was the most beautiful, and God anointed him as a covering cherub, as verse 14 of Ezekiel 28 plainly says.
What was the rebellion that Lucifer pursued that brought judgment upon him?
Isaiah 14:14 defines that first sin as, "I will" -- the sin of pride. The trial is to prove what 'one little sin' can do -- the classic 'slippery slope' scenario.
This trial is really, on close examination of the age of human history from the perspective of God's angels who did not join in the rebellion, who have no knowledge of sin, or how it really works.
Let us examine the evidence in this trial of Satan before the heavenly angels, and mankind in general;
MANKIND AND SIN ARE PUT ON TRIAL
(First: Adam and Eve.)-God creates a perfect environment for two perfect people He created and give them dominion over the whole earth, with only ONE commandment. They were not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve allowed Satan to deceive her, and the thought of being wise and knowing what God knows appealed to her vanity, so she ate, and was deceived. But Adam was not deceived and ate the fruit against the commandment of God. He knew that Eve would be condemned, so some say, out of love for her, he decided to join her. Obviously, he never envisioned what the penalty would be when he did so, as they were cast out of the Garden of Eden and were destined to die in the future from their sin. So man inherits a sin nature.
(Second piece of evidence)- Man is allowed to reign until the flood and do what was right in his own mind, or the so-called "Age of Conscience" Without direct interference by God, man was allowed to follow his sinful heart, whereas mankind became so sinful and corrupted, that God repents of even making mankind and decides to destroy mankind in a Great Flood. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, and his family are saved in a wooden ark that God commanded him to build.
(Third piece of evidence)- God makes a covenant with the Age of the Patriarchs beginning with Abraham, then Isaac, Lot, etc. Each of them having spoken directly with God commit a sin against God. Having come from the Age of Innocence with only one commandment of not eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, to direct confrontation with God during the Age of the Patriarchs, God progresses to giving mankind His Ten Commandments (the Age of the Law)
None of these men ever kept what God gave as what He expects from mankind, and broke all of the Commandments of God handed down by God to Moses at Mt. Sinai. Each of them sinned against God's standard for living a righteous life, no matter what the circumstance. Remember, King David broke all ten of them.
(Fourth piece of evidence)- During the Age of the Law, during which time that man corrupted the Law of God and perverted is so by following pagan gods from Moses to the Prophets who warned of judgment for sinning against God's Law, that God decided to scrap the whole Age of the Law, as man could not keep it..and replaced it with the Age of Grace.
(Fifth piece of evidence)- God knew that mankind could not stand before Him by keeping the Law of God, as all have sinned:
23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:" (Romans 3:23-24)
Knowing this, God stepped out of the Glory of Heaven, shed His Divine nature and became a man, kept the law perfectly on our behalf, and paid the price for our sin, by dying in our place.
25, "[Jesus,] whom God set forth to be a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
26, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:25-26)
By this unselfish act of supreme love for His creation, God through Jesus (God in the flesh) laid down His life, to save ours, an act of supreme sacrifice to redeem the family of man, to become the FAMILY OF GOD. In doing so, Jesus gave all mankind the free offer of mercy and grace.
6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:6-9)
MANY ARE CALLED BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN
But God knew that man's pride would not want to submit to God's offer of this grace and mercy. God knew that only a remnant down through the ages would accept this free offer, which is a gift that none of us can do anything to receive it, but by faith believing.
I can only imagine the shock that must have filled the angelic host who gasped in disbelief of the refusal of mankind to return to what was lost, and that is a relationship with God who created them and Paradise lost. The Angelic host see how "one little sin" in the Garden of Eden, has thus far brought mankind to the point it is in today. God has allowed mankind to earn the wages of his own willful pride and the sins he commits.
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
(Sixth piece of Evidence)- The Tribulation Period. The Age of Grace ends with Jesus coming to "snatch away" His chosen people, the Bride of Christ. This HARPAZO (the forceful snatching away by definition) spoke of by Paul the Apostle in several places and even found in the Old Testament in Hebrew, removes the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit, giving Satan and the sin of mankind to grow unabated and given free reign for seven horrifying years. The end result is the near complete destruction of all human life on this planet. As Jesus said:
"And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened."(Matthew 24:22)
Jesus returns in wrath in the 19th Chapter of Revelation, and Satan is bound for a 1000 years, while the King of Kings reigns from Jerusalem.
" And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand.
2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,
3 And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season." (Revelation 20:1-3)
IN this age of the Kingdom of God, man has no excuse. Jesus is right there in front of them. He is in Person, for all to see. Each man and woman is given the free will choice to accept Jesus as personal Savior, as the Saints of God, Kings and Priest to God have instructed them in the ways of righteousness and revealing the mercy and grace of God through Jesus, by even beginning Temple sacrifices during this time, to point to the only Savior of them also. Satan is restrained, lifespans increase like it was right after the Garden of Eden (up to a 1000 years), wars are banished, famine and poverty are but a memory, and the world is returned to the Eden-like state as it began...PERFECT.
(Seventh piece of Evidence)- With God Himself on the Throne of human government, ruling with a rod of iron for a thousand years, Satan is loosed for 'a little season'.
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea." (Revelation 20:7-8)
I can't even begin to imagine that having perfect harmony of God's creation, God reigning on earth for the entire time, and returning the world to what it was intended to be, when Satan is loosed "for a season" his influence is able to raise an army to come against the King of Kings, and the Lord of Lords Himself....To me, this is total madness to come against a Living God.
"For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law." (Romans 2:12)
7 "And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.
9 And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.
10 And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever." (Revelation 20:7-10)
MANKIND IS JUDGED AND SENTENCED
The trial of mankind is over. Sin has been judged according to it's works, and all appeals have been exhausted. Sentence of Satan and the rest of mankind is pronounced and justice is about to be served:
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. And I saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them." (Revelation 20:10)
This is the SECOND resurrection. Unlike the first resurrection, it has only one phase.
11 "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.
14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.
15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire."(Revelation 20:11-15)
The first resurrection had many phases, as Jesus was the beginning of that resurrection, and those raised at the end of the Tribulation will be the end of the 1st resurrection. Here, there is only one phase and it is the Great White Throne judgment of all who have ever lived and have died in their sins and not accepted the Free Gift of Eternal life found through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Man has been found to not be able to be trusted in his mortal state.
Even with God in the middle of them, man is prone to pride of what made Lucifer to fall. God will change all who belong to Him, into what the Church has been changed into....the image of Jesus Christ..
As the Apostle John wrote in explaining of what we will be, what mankind will be going into eternity...he wrote:
"Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2, Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1st John 3:11-2)
We will be just like our Savior, Jesus Christ. In all points we will be just as He is, save His deity. We will have the mind of Christ, be immortal, and unable to sin ever again.
In the grand Plan of God, as revealed in the Holy Bible, everything has a purpose. There is no omission, there is no mistakes, or inconsistencies.
From Genesis to Revelation, a central theme is that sin is the cause of death. Sin is what condemned Lucifer and all who follow his deception and sent all of them into the Lake of Fire to be forever separated from God Almighty for all eternity. Sin will be eradicated from existence. And all who have rebelled against God and have not received Jesus will receive the ultimate judgment.
BEHOLD I MAKE ALL THINGS NEW
This is not the end of the story...judgment has been passed on all sinful mankind, the Anti-Christ, the False Prophet, Satan and his demon angels and all sinful mankind. Men, Satan, and his angels were created immortal, so they had to go somewhere. The Lake of Fire was created for sentencing Satan to outer darkness and was not designed for mankind, but man chose to follow Satan's deception, just as the fallen angels did, because of pride and desire for sinful living. God gives them what they want, as He is a just God who is completely fair. Each of these beings had free moral choice to choose God, or choose evil. Judgment is passed, and sentencing is carried out...the Case against mankind is closed with this last judgment...but wait, God is not done yet.
"And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful." (Revelation 21:1-5)
Thus begins our Love and Devotion to God Almighty, as we bathe in His power and glory, never to see evil again, to ever shed a tear, or to depart from being obedient to God for all eternity. Reminds, me of a passage of scripture that as a finite, limited, and mortal man cannot fully grasp in this life what is coming for all who put their faith and trust in the Only Begotten Son of God for the remission of sins, and promise of future glorification:
"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. " (1st Corinthians 2:9)
TO ALL WHO WILL....COME!
But I close up this message with what is written at the end of the last book of the Bible. The Spirit and Bride beckon to all who will come to this place called eternity with God Almighty and become part of the Family of God..
"17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." (Revelation 22:17)
The Bride of Christ, whose names have been written down before the beginning of time, before the foundation of the world was laid, have had their names written in the Lamb's book of Life, as God foreknew who would be His. The passage beckons to all who will hear "let him who has an ear, let them hear what the Spirit says to the Churches,"...the Bride and the Spirit beckons all who will heed the call to come join them, in this glorious period of end of the Age of Mankind into eternity...
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
9 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."(Romans 10:9-11)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you find the door that is Jesus Christ, my Lord. If you should need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me online for more Biblical messages from the Word of God, at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com, God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Mossad Chief: Middle East Changing for The Worse - By Barney Breen-Portnoy -
The regional threat posed by Iran is growing, Mossad chief Yossi Cohen told Israeli cabinet ministers on Sunday, according to media reports.
The Middle East is "changing for the worse," the Hebrew news site Walla quoted Cohen as saying. "Israel is identifying a presence not only of Iran and Hezbollah, but also of Shiite forces, that are not Iranian, from all over the world that are making their way to the region, and our number one mission is to stop this."
The remarks, Walla reported, were made during a periodic briefing provided by the head of the Mossad to the cabinet. One senior official who attended the meeting told Walla that Iran topped the agenda.
Referring to the ceasefire deal brokered by the US and Russia last month regarding southern Syria, Cohen reportedly said that Israel's demand that Iranian and other Shiite forces leave the area had not been accepted.
Diplomatic efforts on the matter were continuing, he added, but "Israel's aspirations have not yet been internalized by the American side."
In a statement about Cohen's briefing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said the Mossad chief "emphasized that the main process taking place in the Middle East today is Iran's expansion" -- via its own forces and local proxies -- in countries such as Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
"In places where the presence of ISIS is decreasing, Iran is working to fill the void," Netanyahu's office quoted Cohen as saying.
Cohen also informed ministers that Iran had not abandoned its goal of becoming a nuclear-threshold state and that the Iranian economy had been growing since the July 2015 nuclear deal agreed to by the Tehran regime and six world powers.
This, Netanyahu's office said, was "clear proof that the basic assumptions of the deal with Iran were wrong from the start."
Israel, Netanyahu's office continued, was not obligated by international agreements signed by Iran and would continue to act "in a variety of ways" to protect itself from the threats it faces.
Several top Israeli and American experts on nuclear proliferation and Iran say the failure to successfully deal with North Korea sets a precedent for a similar result with the Islamic Republic.
"The aspect of the North Korean case that needs to be taken into account with regard to Iran is the fact that despite all the differences between the two states, they share a determination to acquire nuclear weapons in violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) commitment they took upon themselves to remain non-nuclear," said Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies.
Although North Korea exited the NPT in 2003, the international community did not view that move as giving the rogue state carte blanche to become nuclear, she noted.
"The international community faces a similar challenge in getting [Iran and North Korea] to back down and return to the fold of the NPT," Landau told JNS.org, "and in both cases the strategy chosen for this was negotiations and diplomacy."
The North Korean case entails 25 years of failed negotiations. The country has been a nuclear state for at least a decade and now has demonstrated the ability to reach the US with an intercontinental ballistic missile.
"This raises a question regarding the outcome of negotiations with Iran as well," said Landau. "In 1994, there were celebrations of the deal with North Korea that were viewed as ending the nuclear crisis, but it continued to move forward."
The Obama administration had celebrated the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers with even greater fanfare, but Landau believes "there is no indication of an Iranian strategic U-turn in the nuclear realm, and the deal itself is severely flawed."
"If a short-term delay causes the international community to be lulled into a false sense that the deal 'is working,' as we are hearing lately from deal supporters, it is likely to wake up with a nuclear Iran that will be as firmly entrenched as North Korea," she said, noting Iran "has been emboldened" in the Middle East since the nuclear deal was reached.
Landau also expressed concern about military collaboration between North Korea and Iran in both the missile and nuclear spheres. This activity needs to be closely monitored by intelligence agencies, she said, explaining that North Korea "will sell anything to anyone for hard cash, and Iran can pay."
Michael Rubin -- a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official, whose major research areas include the Middle East, Iran and diplomacy -- said the current dilemmas with Iran and North Korea relate to how both nuclear deals were negotiated.
"American diplomats in both cases were so afraid talks would fail that they would agree to a bad deal, and ignore backsliding and cheating just to keep hope alive," Rubin told JNS.org.
"There was also hope in both cases that the regime was at the turning point," he added. "Those negotiating with North Korea were convinced that the regime wouldn't live out the deal anyway, and those negotiating with Iran fooled themselves into thinking reformists mattered."
While the Iranian and North Korean ideologies may be different, their hatred of the West brings them together, according to Rubin.
"Add into the mix that Iran wants technology and North Korea wants cash, and it's a match made in hell -- one could even say it's an axis of evil," he said.
The Middle East is watching North Korea
Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay, director of research for the Institute for Policy and Strategy at Israel's IDC Herzliya research college, said Middle Eastern states such as Iran are watching how America deals with the North Korean crisis.
"North Korea had supported Syria to build the nuclear reactor in Deir ez-Zor and Tehran used North Korean knowledge to build its nuclear program," Shay told JNS.org.
Shay said failure to thwart North Korea "may be a prelude to a more challenging threat from Tehran." The Americans should use a combination of military and political threats while recruiting China and Russia to defuse the tensions and prevent North Korea from going nuclear, he advised.
"So far, Iran is responding to the US sanctions with further provocations," he said. "Iran's parliament voted Sunday to allocate $520 million to develop its missile program to fight Washington's 'adventurism' and sanctions, and to boost the foreign operations of the country's Revolutionary Guard."
Ali Alfoneh, an Iran analyst and non-resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told JNS.org that "as long as Tehran complies with the JCPOA (the nuclear agreement's formal name), as it apparently is doing, as the US government recognized on July 18, I see no similarities" between the Iranian and North Korean issues.
If Tehran fails to comply with the nuclear deal, Alfoneh said, then resemblances with North Korea may emerge.
"The campaign against North Korea," said Shay, "may define the American position against Iran."
Israel Hit Nearly 100 Arms Convoys in Five Years: General - http://www.breitbart.com/jerusalem/2017/08/17/israel-hit-nearly-100-arms-convoys-five-years-general/
Israel's military has carried out nearly 100 strikes in the past five years on convoys carrying weapons to Hezbollah and other militant groups in Syria and elsewhere, a general said Thursday.
Former air force commander Amir Eshel told Haaretz newspaper that "since 2012, I'm talking about many dozens of strikes... the number is close to being three digits".
"An action could be an isolated thing, small and pinpointed, or it could be an intense week involving a great many elements," he said of the strikes.
Since Syria's civil war erupted in 2011, Israel has maintained a policy of attacking arms convoys intended for its Lebanese arch-foe Hezbollah, which is a key supporter of the Syrian regime and fought a devastating war against the Jewish state in 2006.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last year that Israel had "taken military action" against Iranian convoys leading weapons to Hezbollah "dozens and dozens of times".
Israel also carries out strikes in retaliation for spillover in fighting on the Golan Heights facing Syria when rockets or other projectiles have landed over the demarcation line.
According to Eshel, who was commander of the air force for five years, the strikes had been precise enough to avoid escalation, but at the same time they had served as a deterrent to war with Israel.
"I think that in the view of our enemies, as I understand things, this language is clear here and also understood beyond the Middle East," Eshel told Haaretz.
He did not specify the location of the strikes, but Haaretz said they were carried out on a number of different fronts.
Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
Around 510 square kilometers remain under Syrian control.
US Military Exercise Near North Korean Border on Day of Eclipse Sparks Fears of Nuclear War - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com
"And the sun stood still And the moon halted, While a nation wreaked judgment on its foes -as is written in the Book of Jashar. Thus the sun halted in midheaven, and did not press on to set, for a whole day." Joshua 10:13 (The Israel Bible™)
On Monday, tens of thousands of US soldiers will simulate battles just south of the volatile border that separates North and South Korea, causing several world governments to worry that this huge multinational military exercise could inadvertently spark World War III. In a strange coincidence, the military maneuvers commence while a rare solar eclipse, prophesied as a bad omen for "kings of the east", passes over America.
On Monday, the US will begin a large-scale ten-day multinational military exercise in South Korea named Ulchi-Freedom Guardian (UFG). Approximately 25,000 American service members will participate in the exercise, with about 2,500 coming in from off-peninsula. Forces from South Korea (ROK) will participate, as well as militaries from nine other countries: Australia, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Italy, Philippines, United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The US holds two major exercises annually in Korea focused on defending South Korea from the north: Foal Eagle and Key Resolve in March or April, and the UFG in August. These joint exercises have been held since the Korean War ended in a ceasefire in 1953 and have always been a point of contention, but this year, as tensions rise between the US and North Korea, the exercise has become a major source of concern.
Every year, the exercises trigger threats from North Korea, which sees them as acts of aggression, but the threats coming out of North Korea recently took on a decidedly bellicose tone. The state-run Korean Central News Agency published a report Monday quoting their supreme leader:
"[Kim Jong Un] said that if the planned fire of power demonstration is carried out as the US is going more reckless, it will be the most delightful historic moment when the Hwasong artillerymen will wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks, underlining the need to be always ready for launching into action anytime our Party decides."
The threat of escalation due to the military exercise is so serious that other nations have stepped in to encourage the US to cancel the exercise. Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said in a statement to the media last Friday that Moscow was deeply worried and considered the risk of military conflict between the US and North Korea "very high". He suggested a plan under which North Korea would halt missile tests if the US and South Korea would cancel the military exercises.
The Russian suggestion has an unfortunate precedent. In 1992, Washington and South Korea suspended an annual exercise called Team Spirit as part of diplomatic efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear program. North Korea later reneged on its agreements and the US resumed military exercises.
Objections to the exercises have also come out from China. "The drill will definitely provoke Pyongyang more, and Pyongyang is expected to make a more radical response. If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise," read an editorial in China's Global Times.
The already-tense international situation began to heat up in the beginning of August when the US and the United Nations enacted harsh economic sanctions against North Korea in response to illegal nuclear tests and test flights of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
North Korea responded by running more tests, leading to a US warning in the form of two US B-1 bombers overflying the Korean Peninsula two weeks ago. North Korea responded by threatening Guam, where the US bombers were stationed, with nuclear retaliation.
Undaunted, President Donald Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury like the world has never seen". He doubled down on Friday by saying that the US was "locked and loaded" to take on North Korea and that the rogue nation's supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, would "regret it fast" if he attacked the US territory of Guam. Though the North Korean leader retracted his threat, spy satellite photos released four days ago revealed North Korean mobile missile launcher movement.
The fears that the upcoming military exercises may set off a real-world conflict are well-grounded. In March, in reaction to the Foal Eagle exercises, North Korea test-fired four ballistic missiles. This led to a Pentagon announcement that it was deploying a missile defense system known as Terminal High Altitude Area Defense on the Korean Peninsula with the approval of the government in Seoul.
The commencement of the military exercise coincides with a rare solar eclipse that will traverse the entire United States. An esoteric Jewish book written in Safed (Tsfat) over a century ago warned that a solar eclipse on the eve of the Hebrew month of Elul, beginning Monday night, signals that the "kings of the east will suffer great destruction". Rabbi Yosef Berger, rabbi of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, told Breaking Israel News that in light of current rising political and military tensions, he interprets this to mean Kim Jong Un is clearly the eastern leader referred to in this prophecy.
Stunner! Eclipse aligns with biblical day of repentance - http://www.wnd.com/2017/08/stunner-eclipse-aligns-with-biblical-day-of-repentance/
Pastor: This is a direct warning to American church
For centuries, one particular day has signified repentance for God's people. It had deep meaning for Jonah, Moses and Jesus Christ.
And this year, Aug. 21 - the first of Elul on the biblical calendar - contains a critical message for American Christians, as it will be the date of a total solar eclipse that will traverse the entire United States.
A coincidence? Not likely, contended pastor Mark Biltz in a recent appearance on the "The Jim Bakker Show."
"We are about to enter the month of Elul," Biltz said. "And it just so happens that Elul was the month of repentance. It was on Elul 1 that Jonah left for 40 days to tell Nineveh to repent. It was on Elul 1 that Moses went up to Mt. Sinai after the sin of the Golden Calf, trying to make atonement while Israel was repenting for that. It was on Elul 1 Jesus went out into the wilderness for 40 days, coming out on Yom Kippur. Elul 1 starts the month of repentance and to have the solar eclipse happening at this time, it is of huge significance!"
Biltz, the discoverer of the "Blood Moons" phenomenon and the author of the new book "God's Day Timer," said he believes the solar eclipse falling on the first day of the month of repentance has meaning for believers.
"I believe this is a warning, that we need to take the lead!" he said. "As believers, God is telling us this starts first with us. And we need to repent.
"We, as the church, have 40 days to really repent, just like Abraham. He was interceding for Sodom and Gomorrah, trying to find 10 righteous men among them. I don't know how many righteous [men] are needed for America."
According to Jewish tradition, Biltz explained, because Gentiles go by the sun for their calendar, a solar eclipse represents judgment coming upon a non-Jewish nation, whereas a lunar eclipse, because Jews use a lunar calendar, represents judgment coming upon Israel.
And one of the best-known solar eclipses in history had a terrible message for the West.
"One thing I will mention, most people don't mention it now, World War I started in August of 1914 and there was a total solar eclipse over Eastern Europe and the Ottoman Empire," Biltz said. "And what happens? You have this total solar eclipse, the beginning of World War I, the Ottoman Empire is destroyed. It even went over Nineveh, the same place as where Jonah was."
The date of that eclipse? The same as the upcoming one - Aug. 21.
Biltz explained God often "prepares the ground" before judgment and the opportunity for repentance.
"Most people don't even know the story of Jonah except from the Bible," he said. "God was preparing the ground before Jonah went. Did you know there was a plague? They found these cuneiform tablets talking about Syrian history, and they said there was a major plague three years before Jonah came. That was followed by a civil war: Maybe they were blaming each other for the plague in Nineveh. That was followed by another plague. And NASA records this, one of the most famous eclipses in all history, called the Bur-Sagle eclipse. It happened, this total solar eclipse over Nineveh, a month before Jonah came.
"Jonah comes and he says repent. Well, that's why they were so willing to repent! They've already suffered from a major plague, a civil war, another plague, a total solar eclipse over Nineveh. Now obviously, they didn't receive judgment because they repented. It didn't happen for a while. I never set dates or anything. But what I do say is look at events that happen on God's calendar so you know if it's God who is speaking or not and then hopefully we repent and judgment is stayed."
Biltz referenced 1 Chronicles 12:32, which speaks of the children of Issachar, "those who had an understanding of the times."
"They were on God's calendar," Biltz said. "So my question to all of you is what time is it? Do we know what time it is right now?"
Biltz will explain the "signs of the times" to help believers know "what time it is" on the 2017 Alaska Cruise, beginning Sept 8. He will teach on the biblical feasts and the biblical calendar. WND Founder Joseph Farah will also be a featured speaker.
When Biltz returns, it will be just in time for another "sign in the sky."
"In Luke 21:25, Jesus says there will be signs in the sun and the moon and the stars," Biltz told Bakker. "And what do we have? We have solar eclipses, lunar eclipses and the Revelation 12 sign in the heavens!"
Revelation 12 speaks of a "great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."
Biltz argues this refers to an astronomical development that will take place on Sept. 23.
In a separate interview, Biltz explained the sign: "The woman clothed with the sun is the constellation Virgo and represents the nation of Israel. The 12 stars represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Interestingly, the constellation Leo, the Lion, which is above Virgo, is made up of nine stars. The Lion represents specifically the tribe of Judah. It just so happens this year during the Days of Awe, three planets will join the constellation Leo making up 12 stars. Virgo will be clothed with the sun, and the moon will be under her feet, fulfilling this sign to precise detail!"
Biltz will be interviewed about this further astonishing development for the television show "The Sign," which examines the remarkable astronomical arrangement. "The Sign" will air on AUDIENCE network on Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
But what does it all mean? As Biltz told Bakker, everything that is happening isn't so much a message to the world as to God's church.
"God wants His church to repent," he said. "Just like you're (Bakker) talking about. I saw this in the news the other day, I thought this was fascinating, Google this, they say the exact path of the solar eclipse across the United States voted 95 percent for Trump. And the fascinating thing for me is, God is not interested so much in wanting the heathen to repent as He is in wanting the church to repent. Judgment always begins with the House of God."
A Living Sacrifice for God - Nathele Graham -
"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:1. That's quite a challenge. When we accept Christ we know that our sin has been forgiven and our souls are acceptable for eternity with God. What about our life here on earth? Is the way we live our life acceptable to God? The way we conduct our life from day to day is important. The above verse admonishes us to present our body as a living sacrifice. This isn't a call to be a martyr. A martyr is a person who's killed for his or her faith in Jesus Christ. A living sacrifice means that we live daily in a manner that honors our Lord. We turn away from the temptations that come our way instead of giving in. We make choices in life that are based on "what would Jesus do" instead of "what's in it for me".
One step in being a living sacrifice is to be humble and not puff ourselves up in order to gain recognition from people. "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Romans 12:3. Paul wrote this letter to Christians and urged them (and us) to not let self-importance get in the way of serving Christ. Each person in the body of Christ is important and nobody is more important than anyone else. Pride is a very self-centered attitude and gets in the way of living for Christ. As Christians we must understand that the women who organize charitable events are as important to the body of Christ as the man who preaches to the congregation. We all have abilities and gifts which need to be used to help brothers and sisters in their own walk with the Lord. "For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another." Romans 12:4-5. We are all one in the Lord. When you do what you can for the whole body of Christ then you're being a living sacrifice and giving a reasonable service to the Lord.
Our love towards fellow Christians should be sincere. "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;" Romans 12:9-10. Most congregations get together on Sunday, sometimes on Wednesday, and once in awhile for a potluck. Other than that we go our separate ways and blend in with the non-Christian world around us. We seldom abhor evil and usually see no problem in having friends who aren't Christians . As long as it's not on Sunday morning we join them in their ungodly activities rather than abhorring the evil, non-Christian activities they espouse. On the other hand our love for our fellow Christians is oftentimes hypocritical. We smile and say kind words on Sunday mornings, but come Monday we couldn't care less about their troubles. Recently I've been having some medical problems and some dear Christian friends who live many miles from me have shown true Christian love in my time of need and their kindness is a living sacrifice. Too often we forget that we are admonished to care for our fellow Christians with the love that Christ showed to us.
The way we conduct our daily lives is an indication as to whether we are dying to self or not...whether we are a living sacrifice for Christ. "Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality." Romans 12:11-13. There are many Scriptures translated in the King James Version which can be misunderstood simply because language has changed over the years. The phrase "not slothful in business" is better translated "not lagging in diligence" (NKJV) or "do not lag in zeal" (NET). Paul exhorted the Christians in Rome to have joy in their salvation and extend that joy to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Every Christian has troubles (King James says tribulation) in their life. Sometimes we can't physically help, but we can always pray. I have dear friends I pray for who are dealing with illness in their family, facing the death of a spouse, going through marital troubles, and making decisions as to a career that will honor God. How is prayer a living sacrifice? Thoughts are taken captive and moved from worldly thoughts to focus on the needs of fellow Christians and turning to God for His provision. This is true of all the exhortations in the above passage. Are you patient when troubles come your way? Do you see the needs of fellow Christians and help as you can? Hospitality takes time and effort on your part, but by welcoming others to your home for dinner or Bible study you're giving yourself as a living sacrifice.
One of the most difficult sacrifices we make is mercy towards others. "Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not." Romans 12:14. Human nature wants revenge upon someone who has done us wrong, but when you think of the mercy God has shown you and the blessings He gives so abundantly, then it's understandable why Christians should bless someone who has persecuted us. "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." Romans 12:19. How God deals with a person is up to His perfect love. How many times have you been shown mercy when you deserve vengeance? Jesus gave His life so all who accept His sacrifice can be saved...He doesn't want anyone to perish. Be a living sacrifice and let go of the desire for revenge upon someone and maybe you can turn an enemy into a brother or sister in Christ.
"Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men." Romans 12:17. Is that easy? No, but when living for Christ that's a sacrifice we should make for His glory. It's easier to "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." Romans 12:15. It's easier unless we allow jealousy to make us desire what others are rejoicing over. If a friend gets a promotion that you wanted, do you rejoice with them? Let's reverse that. What if you get a promotion that your friend really wanted, can you weep with them or do you gloat? When we live for Christ we die to our own selfish interests and care about others. The way we handle various situations is an example of Christ's love. Other people watch us and if they can see Christ living through us we can strengthen the walk of fellow Christians, or we can be God's instrument to lead someone to salvation. Let the Holy Spirit guide all your actions.
As Christians we need to be unified. There are many denominations and each one focuses on a different aspect of God's word. Some focus on the spiritual gifts while others look more to legalism and structure in worship. Should one look down upon the other? "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." Romans 12:16. Rich or poor liberal or conservative we are all one in Christ. You shouldn't view it as a sacrifice to mingle with fellow Christians who aren't of the same denomination or "social status" as you because in God's eyes we're equal. Sacrifice arrogance and conceit and live for Christ. This will bring peace among the brethren. "If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men." Romans 12:18. Be a living sacrifice.
Do Christians have enemies? Yes, and it's easy for us to want our enemies to suffer. That's not an attitude for a Christian to embrace. Doing good for someone who has persecuted you is a sacrifice we all have to make. "Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head." Romans 12:20. When we see our enemy in need, we need to sacrifice our feeling of victory over their plight. Before you became a Christian you were an enemy of God, but He still provided for you. You had air to breath, water to drink, and so on. God has provided for the needs of our enemy so how can we say we follow Christ if we choose to ignore the needs of others, even the needs of our enemy? "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Romans 12:21. Until the final battle there will always be evil in the world. Satan has already lost, but he's in denial. There's no love in him, only hatred. Our only defense is Jesus Christ. By choosing to be a living sacrifice we choose to do good no matter how others treat us. What's directed towards us that's meant for evil can be used for good if we make the choice to follow Jesus in all we do.
As we grow in our walk with the Lord, there should be changes that are evident for all to see. "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Romans 12:2. If we conform to the world we deny Christ. The word "transformed" means to change into another form. We become new when we accept Christ and have a fresh start in life. Worldly attitudes should be done away with. This change won't take place if you continue in your sin. Your sin has been forgiven, but that doesn't give you the license to continue sinning. If you're conformed to the world you aren't transformed by Jesus. Examine your life and see if you've become a living sacrifice for Jesus, or if you're still dead in your sin. If you haven't truly accepted Christ for salvation, then you're still dead in sin. If you have truly accepted Him, then start making choices that reflect your love and appreciation for what Jesus did for you on the cross.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Philippians 2:5-8. Christ died for you so the very least you can do is be a living sacrifice for Him.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Symbols - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Symbols. We all use them. I have some trophies on my office shelves. They are symbols of when I was coaching football and riding horses in competition. There are pictures on the wall. They are symbols of events in my life or the lives of family members. The elephants symbolize my days in politics. The copper eagle bust that my son gave me as a gift symbolizes the American Republic and freedom. The African artifacts symbolize my love for my ministry partner William Agbeti, Ghana and Christian service to its people. We have antiques that have been handed down through our family for hundreds of years, symbolic of our heritage. I've always thought it important to understand our history.
I've witnessed the violence over the statues in the South, which are to those who erected them, symbolic of the lives and commitment of the men and women who fought in the American Civil War representing the Confederacy. If you have ever spoken to a family whose relative fought for the South in the Civil War, there is a deep sense of honor to family, patriotism and service to country. There is also a deep sense of standing up for state's rights, for defending the family land. Little is ever mentioned about slavery. A lot is mentioned about the War of Northern Aggression. They see the tearing down of statues honoring Confederate soldiers as an attack on their families and their heritage.
To my friends of color, however, the Confederate battle flag, the statues commemorating the Confederate heroes of the Civil War, and the romanticism associated with the "glory" of the South has a far different heart-set. They are repulsed by the constant reminder, not of the historic past, but of the present. They see these as symbolic of the times, justification of being treated differently, of being disenfranchised, of an era of oppression that hits too close to home. They have legitimate concerns about the future of their children under what seems to be an increasingly hostile environment. If they are concerned about the safety of their children walking down the street, perceived or real, it is very real, irrespective of the cause, or, hear me now, the politics.
My friends of color are not part of Antifa or other subversive groups. They are hard working, loving, kind, God-fearing, Christian men and women. They are every bit American as I am. They would agree that some symbols, irrespective of their symbolic nature, should be preserved as a reminder not to repeat a certain aspect of history. They would also say that some symbols deeply wound their spirits. I hold that no man should own another. It is not Christian. Galatians 3:27-28 says, "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Symbols have meaning. Some symbolize the history from which we should all learn. Others glorify institutions, or the struggle to keep such institutions, of oppression. And there are those who wish to tear down a nation and their symbol is tearing down a statue. The sin of slavery has and continues to haunt our nation. Violence is not the answer. Being manipulated by subversive organizations that want to overthrow the government is not the answer. Compassion, empathy, understanding, all are a starting place to healing. Let us be ever mindful of our heritage and inheritance in Christ as we deal with these sensitive issues. How we behave, what we say and how we treat others is a reflection of Christ.
Daily Devotion: Who Will Go? - By Greg Laurie -
"Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?' Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'" -Isaiah 6:8
God said in the presence of Isaiah, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?" In a sense, God is still asking this question. Whom shall I send? Who will go for us? Will you go? Will you stand in the gap?
If God's Holy Spirit were to search among us today, I wonder if He would find men or women willing to stand in the gap. Willing to pray. Willing to be available. Willing to reach out to those who do not know Him.
A lot of Christians will say, "I'm too timid. I'm afraid of this and that." But I think a lot of Christians don't really have a burden for those who don't know the Lord. I think if that burden is burning with enough passion, a believer will work through the obstacles.
That is not to say there aren't things we should learn so we can share our faith more effectively. But, if the burden is really there, a believer will go out and do something with it.
The bottom line is that sharing our faith isn't really a big deal to many of us. This is why it is so important that we have a God-given burden for unbelievers.
I would rather make every mistake to be made in sharing my faith than to never do anything. At least I will hopefully learn something from my mistakes.
But when we do nothing for fear of being rejected or for fear we will not meet with resounding success, we are really missing what God has called us to do.
FROM THE HEART
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