Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Debating the Coming Rapture - Pastor Mike Taylor -
''These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.'' (John 16:33)
According to the publication of the "Word Christian Encyclopedia" which is a comparative survey of churches and religions, that from AD 30 to 2019 "There are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into 270 large religious groups, and many other smaller ones..
For eighteen of the world's major religions and its 270 sub-divisions, the concept of the sudden and instantaneous translation of millions of adherents from one form of existence into the next is completely unheard of. It is even a controversial doctrine within Christianity. There are entire huge subdivisions, or denominations within Christianity that totally dismiss the concept of the Rapture or harpazo as spoken of by the Apostle Paul in his epistles.
I read on the internet a column which is appropriately named "Againstdispensationalism.com" that argues that the rapture is nothing more than the "arrogance of the West". So we are the ones who came up with this theory of the instantaneous removal of the Church of the Living God and it was never spoken of until the 1880s by one, John Darby from the rantings of a mentally disturbed young girl, Margaret McDonald....I chose this article because it focuses on why the rapture is so controversial.
In another article, a one Jerry Johnson who is president of some so called Nicene Council, the rapture is nothing more than "paperback theology" and a recent concoction that was never taught by the historic church.
For context, the so called "historic church" is the one that embraces replacement theology and Anti-semitism and my bible is the paperback. Why do I say that? Because it can be easily proven that the 1st century church did indeed teach a sudden "catching away" of the Church of the Living God. I will address that momentarily.
Note this Johnson fellow lashes out that "one is hard pressed to link all of the great minds from St. Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Charles Spurgeon about the so-called coming rapture of the church. As each read 1st Thessalonians 4 and 1stCorinthians where Paul spoke of this "mystery" that had not been revealed to the OT prophets, Paul reveals a teaching that had not been taught, but was learned by revelation of Jesus Christ who taught Paul in the Arabian desert for 3 years after his conversion. Reading the Gospels, Jesus did not teach it, nor any of the apostles, till Paul revealed this information, and modern "theologians" failed to understand the important teachings of a pre-millennial, pre-Tribulation rapture of the church, called the "Harpazo" in scripture when read in Greek. It was Jesus our Lord and Savior's revealing to Paul to tell the world how the redemption of mankind would be accomplished and our Lord coming for His bride at the rapture, before the Tribulation and the outpouring of His wrath on a rebellious world.
This Johnson fellow further denigrates the doctrine of the rapture, calling it "a foundation of conceited theology". Amazing how those who fail to understand Bible prophecy lash out at things they do not understand. But he gave it his best "Sunday punch".
3 'Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men' (2nd Peter 3:3-7)
Looking at this Johnson fellow, his main objection, and frankly, the objection of many nay-sayers of the opponenets of this doctrine, is the misconception that the rapture is nothing but a "Great Escape". They reason why do Christians of this age get to escape the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation while others do not? They site that this is not fair, and this would make God unfair.
I wonder sometimes, if they find it equally unfair that some go to heaven and others go to hell. Not being a betting man, but I would wager that they find it totally unfair that God would send anyone to such an awful place called hell, but all would agree that murdering dictators of this age, such as Hitler, or Pol Pot do not deserve to go to heaven. What they fail to realize, God does not send you to hell, you do by rejecting His offer at salvation through Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son. God just gives you what you want because of that rejection. Oh, the conflict in their arguments as I go on will prove.
That's why God is God and theologians are not.
LET US DISCUSS WHERE THIS DOCTRINE CAME FROM
As noted, no other religion has anything resembling a Rapture doctrine, including whatever 'historic church' Jerry Johnson was referring to. So where did it come from and why is it there?
The first thing nay-sayers will do is to hopelessly complicate the issue so that whatever they come up with, is practically impossible to decipher.
First let us address where the doctrine actually came from and it wasn't by John Darby, but he did revive the belief that had been squashed during the Dark Ages by none other than the ruling theocracy of the Roman Catholic Church. It was the purpose of this ruling theocracy to blind the population and make them totally dependent on them, not God the Father, or Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.
PROPONENTS OF THE HARPAZO
In the first Century, men like Irenaeus (130 A.D. - 202 AD) was a bishop of the church in Lyons, France. He was an eyewitness to the Apostle John (who wrote the Book of Revelation) and a disciple of Polycarp, the first of the Apostle John's disciples. Irenaeus is most-known for his five-volume treatise, "Against Heresies" in which he exposed the false religions and cults of his day along with advice for how to share the Gospel with those who were a part of them.
In his writings on Bible prophecy, he acknowledged the phrase "a time, times and dividing of times" in Daniel 7 to signify the 3 ½ year reign of the Antichrist as ruler of the world before the Second Coming of Christ. He also believed in a literal Millennial reign of Christ on earth following the Second Coming and the resurrection of the just. In his writings noted above. Irenaeus writes:
""Those nations however, who did not of themselves raise up their eyes unto heaven, nor returned thanks to their Maker, nor wished to behold the light of truth, but who were like blind mice concealed in the depths of ignorance, the word justly reckons "as waste water from a sink, and as the turning-weight of a balance - in fact, as nothing;"(1) so far useful and serviceable to the just, as stubble conduces towards the growth of the wheat, and its straw, by means of combustion, serves for working gold. And therefore, when in the end the Church shall be suddenly caught up from this, it is said, "There shall be tribulation such as has not been since the beginning, neither shall be."(2) For this is the last contest of the righteous, in which, when they overcome they are crowned with incorruption."
Irenaeus in this passage describes the church leaving the sinful world just before unprecedented disasters. Note his use of the term "caught up" which is Rapture terminology as that is the meaning of harpazo, the term for "caught up" in the King James Bible describing the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4. He then quotes Matthew 24:21 where The Lord Jesus Christ says: "
"For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."
And it is during this time that those who convert to Christianity during the final years will receive the incorruptible crown mentioned by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:25. In Irenaeus' belief, the Rapture took place prior to the end times GreatTribulation. (beginningandtheend.com)
This is but one of the early church fathers who believed in the doctrine of a pre-tribulation rapture or "catching away" of the Church, as others such as Cyprian and Ephraim the Syrian which wrote:
"With a sense of urgency and strong warning, Ephraim writes that the end times are upon this world and could start at any moment. This text very clearly states the saints and elect of God, all born again believers in The Lord Jesus Christ, will be "taken to the Lord" before the Great Tribulation. Ephraim also identifies the Old Testament "Day of The Lord" and the end times Great tribulation as the same event (in line with the teachings of the Beginning and End Rapture Series). Ephraim quotes Amos 5:18 which says:
"Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light."
TWISTING SCRIPTURE TO YOUR OWN END
But if you ignore these early church fathers, that some say was not taught during this period, and their writings disprove this absurd position of the church going through the Tribulation, you can take enough verses from the different places throughout the bible, and taking them out of context, make a case for Rapture, against a Rapture, for Pre-Tribulation, Mid-Tribulation, Post-Trib, amillennial, premillenial, or post millennial, with or without the 1000 year reign of Jesus Christ.
If you do enough research, you will find that there are scholars that adhere to each and every position I have quoted and they have names for them, and I refuse to believe that they hold these varied views without hanging some sort of scripture to hang from them. But of course, they must take them out of context, and twist them to fit their preconceived notions that their position is the true one.
If one disbelieves in the rapture of the Church and believes that it is some kind of "Great Escape," then it is easy to take verses from all over the Bible to refute it. Not because the Rapture is false doctrine, but because that isn't the purpose of the Rapture and knowing why provides valuable clues to when and how.
THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL NEVER LEAVE US
Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ promised His disciples that when He ascended into Heaven, the Holy Spirit would come upon them and indwell them and empower them. That indwelling Power would come upon and indwell all who believed.
16 " And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." (John 14:16-18)
Jesus promised that "the Comforter" would be with me and those He indwells forever and would never leave us.
SO DID JESUS TELL A WHOPPER? NO!
Let's examine the simplest questions first.
What does it mean when Jesus Christ makes a promise to the Church? Is it reliable? What does "forever" mean? Is there a time constraint on forever? When would forever run out? Does abide forever mean "abide forever for every generation but one?" Meaning our generation as the tribulation begins?
Houston, we have a problem. According to my paperback theology, the Comforter is:
"Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (John 14:7)
So the Comforter, known as the Holy Spirit of God is the Spirit of Truth and He indwells me. That's what the Bible, my "paperback" theology teaches me which is part one of that promise. Part two of that promises is again in the Gospel of John repeated here:
"I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you." (John 14:18)
Jesus plainly told the Apostle John in Revelation 3:
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)
As I have spoken time and time again, the phrase in that preceding verses is the phrase "KEEP THEE FROM the hour of temptation"...which in Greek is the small, descriptive word "EK"...which if you do a Google search of that word, you will find this definition:
ἐκ * (ek) (governs the genitive)
(of motion) Out of, from
from, with the source of
to denote change from one place or condition to another
to express separation of distinction from a number
(of position) outside, beyond
(of particular points of time) just, after
That is a long definition that was taken from a secular publication, but it gives the thought of being separated from the time and place of an event, even as "Harpazo" means being taken by force as Paul spoke of in 1st Corinthians 15 and 1st Thessalonians chp. 4 and ....Jesus told us plainly that we will be removed from the time and place of His coming wrath.
Do you as you read this message, see a contradiction in scripture from what the main stream religions spue out as their version of the Truth? So how do we resolve this obvious contradition? There is only one way. First one way, is the Holy Spirit indwells me throughout the Tribulation period. Therefore, by the authority of God's Holy Spirit and the Word of God, specifically 1st John that covers that authority:
4 "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." (1st John 4:4-6)
Since the indwelling Holy Spirit is greater than the powers of this world, and since He will never leave me or forsake me during the Tribulation, (if that position were true), then it is not possible that the Anti-Christ to overcome me and the Spirit of Truth indwelling in me, and making me pledge allegiance to him.
But that contradicts Revelation 13:
7 "And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.
8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
9 If any man have an ear, let him hear." (Revelation 13:7-9)
For the antichrist to overcome an indwelt child of the Living God, he must defeat the Indweller. Unless the Holy Spirit no longer indwells me. And if He doesn't, did He ever? And if He did, and we know from scripture that all who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, receive the Holy Spirit, then where did He go? And if He left me, how then can He do that and not break the promise of our Lord Jesus Christ to not leave us Comfortless? Remember that the Tribulation will be the greatest spiritual trial in all of human history.
And all through the history of the Church Age from those thrown to the lions in the Coll0sseum in Rome, to those that were massacred by ISIS and other terrorist groups in the Middle East today, had the benefit of the Holy Spirit and I have to go through the Tribulation without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and God will leave me Comfortless when I need Him the most?
Talk about contradictions. How does that work? If the rapture is the "great escape" from Tribulation for Christians, then wouldn't the opposite be when I need God and His support the most in all of human history and my mortal life and is suddenly without warning taken away?
For argument sake, if I am in the Tribulation and indwelt by God's Holy Spirit, then why are there 144,000 Jewish evangelist, the two witnesses at the temple in Jerusalem, and the angels of God preaching the Gospel to mankind during this time? Is that not my job? What's wrong with using me and others like me who have God's Holy Spirit also? That was the Great Commission delivered to the Apostles by Jesus before He ascended back to the Father:
18 "And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matthew 28:18-20)
SO WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?
If you take the positions noted above, the only one that makes sense and does not contradict what I just spoke of, in that the Holy Spirit will be with me always...and when God pulls His Holy Spirit from holding back rampant evil on this earth, then those who have God's Holy Spirit as a deposit of future glorification, will be removed at the same time. THEN, and only then will God reveal the Anti-Christ as Jesus opens the 1st seal of the title deed of His creation that He has bought with His own blood.
6 "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders," (2ndThessalonians 2:6-9)
The only Power that is holding back rampant evil being loosed on this world during the coming Tribulation, is God's Holy Spirit, and He dwells in every born again, washed in the blood Christian on this planet. And If God's Holy Spirit is being pulled back so that evil on this world can have full sway on an unbelieving, rebellious world, then those who have that deposit of God's Spirit dwelling within our own, will be removed as well. Either that then the Lord Jesus lied, and we know He cannot lie. SO HOUSTON to ground control, we are outta here when Jesus comes for His bride at the rapture.
THE GAP PERIOD BETWEEN RAPTURE & TRIBULATION
How long will the period be between the removal of the Church and the beginning of the Tribulation? It could be immediate, it could be days, or even years, as we are not plainly told. All we k now from Revelation chp. 4 forward, that the Saints of God are not called the Church, not one time. They are called the elect or elders. That means, if that amount of time is months or years, then we have less time than what Jesus spoke of in parable of the fig tree.
29 "And he spake to them a parable; Behold the fig tree, and all the trees;
30 When they now shoot forth, ye see and know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand.
31 So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand.
32 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled." (Luke 21:29-32)
We are that generation that saw the fig tree bloom, which is Israel in 1948. And the Psalms say that a generation is 70 years, 80 years by strength then we fly away, as written in Psalm 90....Note that Israel is 70 years old last year...so if we take the Lord literally, as I believe He was speaking as such, then 80 years is just around the corner. But we must subtract the coming 7 year Tribulation that I believe, the church will not see or go through. Simple math tells us we are in the last of the last days, and if there is a "gap period" we could be even closer than that. Only God knows.
Repeating that verse for emphasis about the church being removed:
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." Revelation 3:10-11)
Remember all these verses and hold onto them in faith with both spiritual hands and never let go, never waver, but believing.
Note that God will KEEP us from this hour of temptation, or tribulation that will try all who dwell upon the earth....these are called the nations, and they are separate from God's people.
SUMMARY OF WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED
The age of Grace began at Pentecost with the indwelling of God's Holy Spirit on those who accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their life. That's a given.
God will remove His Holy Spirit back to Pre-Pentecostal times and the Anti-christ will be revealed as scripture reveals.
Those who have God's Holy Spirit will be removed at the precise time that God pulls back from holding evil at bay and Satan will have full sway over the destiny of mankind to destroy them and those who worship the Beast.
Jesus promised He would never leave us Comfortless, or leave us forever.
Israel is the door to end time prophecy and Jerusalem the key per the fig tree parable Jesus spoke of.
The Anti-Christ, will overcome the saints of the Tribulation, as God's Holy Spirit has been pulled back. The AC cannot overcome the Church, as he can't overcome God, so it is another point for confirmation of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church.
The Promise to the Church is kept precisely as it was given by the Lord Himself.
Now, if one really works at it, one can find creative ways to portray the Rapture as the Great Escape and from there, all kinds of creative ways to dismiss it as paperback theology.
But the simplest answer is still the only one that makes sense using Occam's razor as the simplest answer is probably the most correct. What does the idea of Occam razor tell us? Definition follows:
"Occam's razor. : a scientific and philosophical rule that entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily which is interpreted as requiring that the simplest of competing theories be preferred to the more complex or that explanations of unknown phenomena be sought first in terms of known quantities." Sum it up as "keep it simple"...you know the rest.
One other point to consider. We all know that when Jesus comes to rule and reign for a 1000 years, that He will destroy all rebellion on earth and change those who are His into immortal/spiritual beings. If those who are in rebellion are destroyed and those who belong to our Lord are changed to spirit beings.. In the Post-Tribulation model, then who is alive to enter the Millennium as mortals? Answer!!..NO ONE...Jesus is not coming back to rapture the Church, as that has been done 7 years prior, but is coming back to set up His kingdom on earth and those who have survived the "holocaust" of the AC and environmental disaster will repopulate the earth for that 1000 year reign and live extremely long lives, as Jesus will restore this planet as it was in the Garden of Eden and those who lived pre-antediluvian lived lives approaching 900 years and beyond...The only model that makes sense and lines up with Bible Prophecy is the Pre-Tribulation rapture of the Church.
SO WILL YOU BE LEFT ON YOUR OWN?
It will be the most trying spiritual time in all of mankind's history upon the earth. Many will take the easy way out and be damned because of them taking the Mark of the Beast. Will you, if you be so unfortunate to endure that time?
"And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. " (Revelation 14:11)
It will be a time, when one can actually loose their salvation, because of all the trials and the threats of death by the Anti-Christ and his henchmen. With all the delusions that seem right, but are dead wrong, and those who actually have pleasure in their unrighteousness and think it's party time in the beginning at the rapture, as those who stood in the way of their "Utopia" have been removed.. But quickly will realize that the time comes to be "hell on earth" and there is no party, but severe physical, emotional, and spiritual torment that no man or woman should have to live through.
But since the offer is open and the gift is free, why not take God at His Word and accept His mercy and grace? Avoid something we deserve but do not receive because of His mercy, and receive grace or something we cannot earn, but is given freely by a Loving and Righteous Creator, God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ. His mercy and grace is only a prayer away, when you repent of your sins and take Him at His Word.
"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, or 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)
If you believe the above verses, then confess them to God and make that decision for Christ today.
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
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.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:8-13)
In the end, let them scoff that it is a "Great Escape" as you and I know that it is not what God has it designed for, but I believe it can be summed up in three words...not the "Great Escape" but "VICTORY IN JESUS". All we can do is pray for them and witness while we have time the wondrous glory of God's love for all of mankind. We are His ambassadors and it is up to us to reach those around us, our family, our friends, our co-workers, and the man/woman on the street. Jesus is coming soon, so don't be left behind.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying you make that decision for Christ today, and join me and others like me when we stand before our Savior. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , . God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Under a Spell (Part 2) - By Jan Markell - https://olivetreeviews.org/
A few years ago I wrote an article about the loyalty the Jewish people show to the Democrat Party. I titled it "Under a Spell" because they truly are. I watched this spell among my own Jewish family members who all came from Minnesota's Iron Range west of Duluth, MN.
At one time there was a substantial Jewish population in northern Minnesota as they escaped all the anti-Semitism in the bigger cities, particularly Minneapolis/St. Paul where Jews were persecuted and marginalized until more recent decades.
In the 1940s, the Jews overwhelmingly supported a President who was their enemy -- Franklin Roosevelt. Over 90% of Jews voted for him in 1944. He looked the other way to the evils of the Holocaust. He could have saved hundreds of thousands if American troops just would have bombed the railroad tracks going to the camps.
Roosevelt had no interest in intervening.
God removed him from the presidency before 1948, as he would not have voted for the independent State of Israel.
Many Jews voted for two anti-Semites -- Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama. No two U.S. Presidents did more damage to Israel than these men -- yet they got the Jewish vote by and large, though the Jews grudgingly voted for Carter!
Today, we have two Muslim Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar from Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan. Ilhan Omar is a shady character at best and would delight in the destruction of Israel, but many Minnesota Jews voted for her! I know because I live here! It makes no sense. Isn't it time to move on to someone who does??
Many Jews in Congress were outraged that Representatives Omar and Tlaib were banned from Israel recently. Some, such as Sen. Chuck Schumer, Jerold Nadler, Elliot Engel, and others, were vocal about this. Liberal values came before the cause of Israel and her safety and prosperity.
Prominent Jewish organizations also scolded Israel for this decision including The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), The Jewish Federation of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, and the American Jewish Committee.
I was present a few years ago at a local AIPAC meeting that featured another Muslim, Keith Ellison. What is a Muslim doing at ANY Jewish gathering?? He was celebrated that night with cheers. Ellison wants Sharia Law in Minnesota and other states! Yet Minnesota Jews were among those who voted Ellison in as Minnesota's Attorney General.
Over 70% of American Jews voted for Hilary Clinton rather than Israel's greatest Presidential friend, Donald Trump. They overwhelmingly voted for Bill Clinton in the 1990s.
So How Do We Make Sense of This?
* Just as Evangelicals are taught to embrace candidates with more biblical principles and worldviews, Jews are taught to value the underdog in life -- the persecuted, the minority, the downtrodden, the helpless. They have been told that only the Democrat Party can do that effectively. Since THEY are a minority, they must stand with other minorities who might be misunderstood, persecuted and marginalized. They haven't learned that government only makes things worse.
* Many Jews just lack a loyalty to Judaism and Israel. They actually have MORE loyalty to liberalism than to the Jewish State or their heritage. These are inconveniences.
* Most often their grandparents fled from Socialist nations that were oppressive, yet leftist politics seems to remain in their DNA.
* Israel was founded on Socialist principles. That is why President Eisenhower was not a friend of Israel, as his focus was defeating Socialism and Communism. He felt that Israel's Socialism would end up in Communism eventually.
* The Jews remain in spiritual blindness. Does this blindness bleed over into other areas? Perhaps. They cannot even see the Messiah in Isaiah 53. But Paul wouldn't give up on the Jews and neither should we!
* Today, many Jews are secular and not religious. Secularists have no loyalty to traditional marriage, pro-life causes, religious freedom, etc. The result is their affinity for the Democrat Party and liberal values.
* There is the perceived mistreatment by the Jews of the Palestinians, which drives some Jews away from conservatism and any identity with the "religious right."
* More religious Jews and Orthodox Jews have voted Republican consistently.
It Is Not Just the Jews Who Are Blind
The blindness of the Jews has already been referenced here, but it is not just Jews who are blind today. Much of the world cannot see truth. Even church members are blind to the signs of the times breaking all around us! Most Christians are focused on earthly interests, lacking the eternal view.
Those who see the truth and love the truth are few in number, be they Jew or Gentile! I call the real truth seekers today "remnant believers."
And, I continue to pray that their numbers increase!
Scandal Uncovered - By Hal Lindsey -
When Israel refused admission to two members of the US House of Representatives, the media made it sound like disrespect for America. They didn't mention that Israel is a sovereign nation. As such, it has the right and obligation to follow its own laws. In this case, that means it has the right to refuse entry into Israel to anyone who supports the Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions movement. But the biggest scandal involves the sponsor of these Representatives' trip - a radical Islamic group called "Miftah." On this subject, the media has been almost completely silent. Miftah is a scandal in itself. It praises suicide bombers for "sacrificing their lives for the cause." The founder of Miftah, Hanan Ashrawi, is a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's executive committee. In 2017, she denounced the idea of calling terrorists "terrorists." She said, "They are seen by the people as resistance." Miftah strongly supports BDS. In an official Miftah document, they say, "Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions give us hope." That's the basis on which Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were barred from entering Israel. They keep telling us that it is because they are Muslim, but there are Muslims all over Israel. The Knesset is that nation's ruling body. About one in ten members of the Knesset is a Muslim. A sovereign nation has the right to say who can and who cannot enter that nation. In this case, Israel's laws make it explicit that support for BDS is grounds to refuse entry into the country. That's because BDS is designed to destroy Israel. Is it a slight against the United States House of Representatives? No. In July, that body passed a resolution against BDS by the huge margin of 398-17. Happily, one columnist for the New York Times, Bari Weiss, went on CNN's "Reliable Sources" program and pointed to the scandal in the mainstream media's reporting. "Another huge story," she said, "one that has not been covered by any mainstream paper or network is the fact that their trip to Israel, or as they're calling Palestine, was being sponsored by a group that literally published neo-Nazi blood libels and said that it supported female suicide bombers. You know, hailing them as heroes. That's a scandal." After Representative Tlaib decried the Israeli government for not allowing her to visit her aging grandmother who lives on the West Bank, Israel relented. They said she could enter the country on the condition that she not participate in any protests while there. She refused their offer. So much for Grandma! In a press conference on August 19, Tlaib laid out what the agenda would have been if she and Omar had been allowed to enter the country. She told who they would have talked to and she even told what those people would have told them! Imagine that. If you already know what you're going to learn on a fact-finding trip, you might as well stay home. When the house voted for the anti-BDS bill earlier this summer, it seemed like a good sign. At last, both American political parties appeared to be returning to their long-held positions supporting the Jewish state. But in just a few days, that seems to have disappeared. On August 17, Fox News said, "House Democrats are reportedly considering retaliatory moves against two top American and Israeli diplomats in response to Israel's decision to block Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib from entering the country." Are Democrats as a group now turning away from their party's traditional support of Israel? If so, it could be an indicator that we are deeper into the end times than generally thought. A Democrat will eventually win another presidential election. It could happen as soon as next year. Will that future Democratic President support Israel? I hope so. But what was once a foregone conclusion is now shrouded in doubt. With US support greatly diminished, Israel would be in trouble. That would make it vulnerable to overtures from the Antichrist. And the Bible says that it will be a peace treaty involving Israel and the Antichrist that will mark the beginning of the Tribulation.
Prophet, Priest, and King - Nathele Graham -
We've heard Jesus described as our Prophet, Priest, and King, but have you really thought about that? All three were offices established by God and each had a purpose, but no one person could be all three. A king could be a prophet (many of King David's Psalms contain prophecy), but a king could not be a priest. Kings were from the tribe of Judah while priests were from the tribe of Levi. Let's take a look at each of these offices and see how it's possible for Jesus to be our Prophet, Priest, and King.
A true prophet is a spokesman for God. Most prophets are men, but there are a few women who are called prophetesses. Prophets were very important to Israel because God spoke through these men. Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and others all spoke amazing prophecies. One special Prophet would be different from the rest. "The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken...And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him." Deuteronomy 18:15 & 19. This, of course, pointed to the Messiah. When Jesus walked the earth, the Pharisees were looking for this special Prophet, and even asked John the Baptist if he was the one. "And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No." John 1:19-21. John knew that he fulfilled some of prophecy, but was only the one who would point to the true Prophet...the Messiah. Regular people were also aware of a Prophet to come and many believed that Jesus was that Prophet. One miracle Jesus performed was when he had mercy upon a widow whose only son had died. Jesus had compassion upon her and brought the young man back from the dead. "And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people." Luke 7:16. This story spread like wildfire and John the Baptist heard it. He sent two men to ask Jesus if He was the One. In answer, Jesus healed people, cast out demons, and gave sight to the blind. He told them to tell John what they had seen. That was Jesus' way of saying "Yes". Once when Peter and John were about to enter the Temple, a lame man asked for money. Instead, Peter gave him what he really needed. In the name of Jesus Christ, he told the man to get up and walk, and the man did. Peter took that opportunity to preach truth to those who saw the miracle. In no uncertain terms he explained that Jesus was the Messiah and they had called for His crucifixion. He pointed out that Jesus was the Prophet referred to in Deuteronomy. "For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people." Acts 3:22-23. The writer of Hebrews also began by declaring that Jesus is the Prophet. "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in the time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds" Hebrews 1:1-2. Jesus is the Prophet foreseen in Deuteronomy. Don't look to Chinese fortune cookies, Nostradamus, or any other source to find out the future. They are all false prophets and don't speak the word of God. On the other hand, Jesus not only spoke the word of God, but He was the Word of God. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." John 1:1 & 14. Don't be deceived by any false prophet, but look to Jesus Christ.
When the Law was given to Moses, God established the priesthood. The Tribe of Levi was given the duty of tending to the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. The priesthood was specifically given to the sons of Aaron. It was the duty of the priests to make the sacrifices and intercede between the people and God. Once a year, one priest was chosen as the high priest, and on the Day of Atonement he would enter into the most holy place, where the Ark of the Covenant was kept, and placed the blood of the sacrificed animal on the Ark of the Covenant. "And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, This is it that blongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more: but shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge." Numbers 8:23-26. Aaron was a Levite and he was the first high priest, and the priesthood would follow through his line, subject to the age restriction. Do you see a problem here? How could Jesus, who was from the Royal line of Judah, qualify to be our priest? Also, if He is a priest forever, what about the age restriction? God always makes a way. The title of priest isn't unique to Jewish Law. Pagan temples had priests (Satan always tries to corrupt things that are of God) and we know that Jethro, Moses' father-in-law, was a priest, as disclosed in Exodus 3:1. Of course, that was prior to the Law being given. There is an even older priest mentioned in Scripture. In a prophetic Psalm about the coming Messiah, David wrote "The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek." Psalm 110:4 (also quoted in Hebrews 5:5-6). The writer of Hebrews recalls the event (Genesis 14:18), which happened long before the twelve tribes of Israel were established. Abraham met a man named Melchizedek, who was a king and a priest. He is described as "Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually." Hebrews 7:3. There's a debate as to whether Melchizedek was an Old Testament appearance of Jesus or just a man, but at the very least he was a picture of the everlasting Priesthood of Jesus. Under the Law only the high priest could approach the Ark of the Covenant once a year and put the sacrificial blood of an animal on it to atone for the sins of the people. That's no longer necessary. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" Hebrews 9:11-14. Because of Jesus Christ we no longer need priests to go between us and God. Through Jesus Christ we have access to God's throne. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:16. Don't let anyone persuade you that you need a man-made priest to go between you and the Father. The only Priest you need is Jesus and it's only to Him you need to confess. "For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, Every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall to God." Romans 14:11. Only Jesus, God incarnate, can forgive sin.
The nation of Israel wanted to be like other nations. They wanted a king. When the time was right, God would provide a king, but they weren't willing to wait. So, Saul was made the temporary king. He didn't qualify...he was from the tribe of Benjamin, not Judah, and his heart was far from God. People get less than God's best when they go their own way rather than waiting upon God's better plan. David was God's chosen one and when the time was right, he became king over Israel. He was from the tribe of Judah and the spirit of Samuel told Saul he would no longer be king and described David as a Godly man. "But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be a captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee." 1 Samuel 13:14. David wasn't perfect, but his heart's desire was to please God. When he sinned he was broken over that sin. God told the prophet Nathan to tell David that his throne would be established for ever "And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever." 2 Samuel 7:16. When the angel visited Mary and told her she would give birth to the Messiah, he confirmed this. "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." Luke 1:32-33. Jesus' earthly heritage was through King David and He is the rightful King forever. Had the Jewish people accepted Him as their Messiah, the last 2,000 years would have been quite different. Jesus had been illegally arrested and Pilate presented Him to the mob as their king. Instead of embracing Him they rejected Him. "But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar." John 19:15. They were looking for a conquering king who would save them from earthly troubles, but they didn't understand that in His first appearance He conquered death. "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? Or grave, where is thy victory. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Corinthians 15:54-57. Jesus will return and when He does, He will be the conquering King that they wanted the first time. Anyone who rejects Him today will face His judgment. Only faith in His death, burial, and resurrection can make a person worthy to avoid His wrath. When He comes again, everyone who has ever lived will understand who He is. At the judgment they will bow before Him. Jesus will return soon. In the last 2,000 years many people have come to know Him as Lord and Saviour. There will be a final battle which will bring an end to the Great Tribulation. Christians will have been Raptured prior to the Tribulation and we will be with Jesus as those who follow Satan fight against God. "These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful." Revelation 17:14. If you want to be with Him on that day of battle, instead of against Him, you need to make your decision today.
Christians are made kings and priests in Him. "And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen." Revelation 1:5-6. The office of priest and king has been united in Christ and opened to Gentiles. Christians are now priests and kings under His authority. The Rapture is coming soon. It will happen prior to the Great Tribulation and you must decide today if you will follow Christ or reject Him. If you've accepted the blood sacrifice of our Great High Priest, then submit to Him now as your King. Let Him reign in your heart. God bless you all, Nathele Graham
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
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Daily Jot: Ghana financial crisis underscores humanitarian needs - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
ZeroHedge.com's Tyler Durden reports: "It's bad enough that drought-like conditions and rapid population growth have stoked a shortage of water and other vital resources in Ghana, a country that boasts one of the fastest growing economies on Earth (if it is still poor). But a banking crisis is just now roiling the country's economy, and has wiped out $1.6 billion." These are the very things that our Ghana ministry provides-water, food, clothing-as we make disciples and preach the gospel. I asked Pastor William Agbeti to provide an update on the economic conditions in Ghana, and he corroborates the ZeroHedge report, but also confirms that contributions to our ministry are secure and needed more than ever.
Agbeti writes: "The financial subsector of Ghana's economy, touted as the world's fastest growing economy, is in dire straits. The licenses of 23 leading microfinance institutions (MFI), constituting more than a third of the sector, have been revoked, owing to insolvency. It is expected that this major house cleaning exercise will extend to cover rural banks as well, which are suspected to also be harbouring the financial rot being exposed in the system. Unfortunately, the ongoing financial malaise is not only attracting bad international press, it is also exacting its toll on individuals, families, companies and the entire Ghanaian society. All of the collapsed MFI were cited for insolvency, bordering on inability to pay customers their invested capital and interest thereof.
"Unconfirmed reports indicate that a few investors have died out of shock. Many are distressed, hundreds embark on almost daily demonstrations and besiege the collapsed banks to demand payment of their investments. The Bank of Ghana has announced a bail-out plan, involving a loan it has secured to cushion off the hardships customers are facing. Government has owned up that even this intervention is not enough to pay off the investment of thousands of affected customers. Prior to the publication of this piece, I spoke with a 73-year-old customer of one of the affected MFI. She was traumatized, as she has been left with no income because she cannot access dividends from her savings.
"It's not all dark and gloomy, though. Some MFI and banks are operating pretty well in the system. These follow best international practices and have done well to safeguard the investments, savings and deposits of their clients, who are able to access their funds at various banks and on various digital platforms. Thankfully, our ministry is fortunate to operate its accounts with one such bank. As a result our operations are not affected and our beneficiaries continue to enjoy our free meals, safe drinking water, various forms of support and above all love. As Psalm 91:7 puts it: "A thousand may fall at your side, And ten thousand at your right hand; But it shall not come near you." We are grateful to His faithfulness and we exhort all to pray for the nation and people of Ghana, most especially for those who continue to need help from our mission."
Daily Devotion: Don't Hoard It. Share It. - by Greg Laurie -
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.-Proverbs
11:25 I believe the hardest part of evangelism is getting started. But once you get started, and once God starts speaking through you, it can be one of the most joyful things you have ever done. To think that God Almighty would speak through someone like you or me is indeed a great privilege. It is an honor to go and tell others about Jesus. The gospel was not designed to be hoarded; it was designed to be shared. You were blessed to be a blessing. Therefore as you take in, you need to give out that message again so others can come into a relationship with God. One of the greatest joys you will ever experience, next to knowing the Lord himself, is when you have the privilege of praying with someone to accept Christ. You start seeing the radical, even visible, changes that will take place in your life. We are told in Proverbs 11:25, "Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed." It is refreshing as you give back and help other people. We have a choice either to evangelize or fossilize, and a lot of people have chosen the latter. While it may be true that we are not all called to be evangelists, we are all called to evangelize. And the place to start is at the beginning. We reach the world with the gospel one person at a time. You can personalize Jesus' command to "go and make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19 NLT) by going to your world. Go to your workplace. . . . Go to your family. . . . You have a sphere of influence. You have a group of people who will listen to what you have to say. Go to that world-the world to which God has called you.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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