Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Satan's Jihad Against God and Israel
- By Kit R. Olsen - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/08/29/satans-jihad-against-god-and-israel/
God's Chosen People-Israel
"For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth" (Deuteronomy 7:6).
Lucifer (Satan) rebelled against God-trying to usurp Him. This caused the Lord God Almighty to cast him out of heaven along with his demonic entourage (fallen angels). Since that time Satan has been a maligning foe wreaking havoc anywhere and everywhere, and the conflict between God and Satan has been going full force.
Jesus Christ chose Israel as his earthly birth and dwelling place. His identity while on earth came through Jewish lineage, which places Israel at the center of this conflict. The majority of Jews have rejected Jesus-their Messiah, for thousands of years.
"He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not. He came to His own, and those who were His own [the Jews] did not receive Him" (John 1:10-11).
Israel generally does not recognize Jesus the Christ for who He is. Nevertheless, Satan is working day and night to destroy the Jews. Evil, vicious, satanic forces are behind the ongoing attacks against Israel. In Matthew 24:21 Jesus forewarned that a time is coming upon this earth when there will be great tribulation.
Close to the very end of that horrific unprecedented time, Israel as a nation will repent. Israel must (and will) recognize and acknowledge Jesus Christ as her true Messiah before He will return. The Lord tells us through Scripture that Israel must repent and urgently cry out to Him. That is what God says must be done before there can be a Second Coming (Matthew 23:39).
God's archenemy, the father of lies-the devil-is obsessed with eradicating the Jews. If the Jews can be eliminated, they will not be able to send that pleading, prophesied, necessary and urgent call to the Lord begging for His return. Satan would then have complete control of this planet. He knows Scripture states Messiah Jesus will not come back until Israel recognizes and accepts the identity of her true Messiah, and repents.
So it is Satan's ongoing mission to destroy the Jews (and Israel). No Jews, no Messiah. That is Satan's goal. But the devil cannot circumvent Messiah's plan of redemption for Israel and the world. Satan uses godless men to carry out his dirty deeds. God intends to put an end to the overwhelming influence the devil has over the day-to-day operations of this fallen world.
The hate campaign, the verbal and physical assaults engineered by Satan that threaten to totally demolish Israel will ultimately bring on Armageddon. Tragically, the prophet Zechariah forewarned that two-thirds of the Jewish population would be already wiped out before that final battle at Armageddon (Zechariah 13:8-9).
The Iranian news agency Tasnin reported on August 25, 2017 that the new Iranian army chief, Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi, has a message for the world: "Israel would no longer exist in 25 years, but would be destroyed by 'acts of devotion' from 'martyrs.'" Speaking at a cultural event in the Iranian city of Qom on Thursday, the new chief said that should any country's attempt to wage war against Iran, "Iran will be the one that will design the outcome."
Giving an example of the type of martyr who would make Israel's destruction possible, Mousavi cited Mohsen Hojaji, a member of the Iranian support team in Syria who was taken hostage and beheaded by the Islamic State earlier in the month. Mousavi stated the world has realized it would be "impossible" to win against Iran militarily, calling the country "a symbol of resistance against the global hegemony" according to Tasnin. 
The demonically inspired conjecture you have just read are predictions that will, of course, fail.
God will never allow Israel to be destroyed.
The enemies of Israel-the maniacal unhinged pawns of Satan, do not understand that it is God who will "design the outcome of war," not Iran. The wicked Iranian leaders and their military lackeys are no match for the true God of the Bible. They, nor anyone else will ever succeed in destroying Israel.
When the time comes and Almighty God unleashes His super-judgment on the Islamic enemies of Israel-they will be gasping for breath when they realize that their non-existent false god, Allah, has abandoned them. This will be evident when God intervenes to save Israel during the battle of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (Gog-Magog war), when He wipes out the Russian-led Islamic invasion.
God's all-consuming power will also be evident at the final battle at the end of the seven-year Tribulation, when all the nations led by the Antichrist will come together to try to destroy Israel and even "make war" with the King of the universe-the Lord Jesus Christ "and His army"-at His glorious Second Coming (Revelation 19:19).
Make no mistake about it, the Lord Himself will draw His enemies and the enemies of Israel to that last climactic battle. It might look like Satan and his yes-men are in control but ultimately it will be the Messiah of Israel who will gather together these enemy nations to their final place of expulsion as cited in Joel 3:2:
"I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land."
"And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem" (Zechariah 12:9).
Jesus Christ, the sovereign Messiah of Israel and the world, will prevail and win this intense and complex spiritual war between good and evil with His breath alone:
"He shall strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall slay the wicked" (Isaiah 11:4b).
After a short seventy-five-day interval (Daniel 12:11-12), the long awaited literal 1000-year millennial reign of King Jesus on the newly rejuvenated earth will begin. That day cannot come soon enough.
 "Devotion of Martyrs Will Destroy Israel" Iranian Army Chief Proclaims, Abra Forman.
 Select excerpts taken from, Israel's Guaranteed Glory. (Updated May 2017 Edition, World Bible Society)
Six Major Problems with UN Chief's Statements Promoting a Palestinian State - by Aaron Klein -
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres visited Ramallah on Tuesday, where he made public remarks about the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict and key issues related to the region.
Below, in no particular order, are six significant problems with the views and ideology expressed by the UN chief on his visit to the West Bank city.
1 - Guterres promoted the failed so-called two-state solution.
"I want to express very strongly the total commitment of the United Nations but my personal total commitment to do everything for a two-state solution to materialize," he said. "I have said several times there is no Plan B to a two-state solution."
The two-state solution refers to creating a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern sections of Jerusalem.
Guterres ignored that a central problem with finalizing any two-state solution is that the Palestinian Authority has rejected every single Israeli offer of a state. State offers were made at Camp David in 2000, Taba in 2001, the Annapolis Conference in 2007 and more offers were made in 2008. It was recently reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu quietly made another such offer in 2014. In each of these cases, the PA refused generous Israeli offers of statehood and bolted negotiations without counteroffers. There is no evidence to suggest that the Palestinians would accept any future Israeli offer.
2 - Guterres wrongly assumes that there is a Palestinian partner for peace.
Guterres made his remarks today after meeting Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah. The PA would lead any talks aimed at creating a future Palestinian state. However, the PA and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, support terrorism, incite violence against Israel and routinely promote the delegitimization of the Jewish state.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a terrorist group responsible for scores of suicide bombings and deadly shooting attacks, is closely aligned with Abbas's Fatah party and is routinely referred to as Fatah's so-called military wing.
Only yesterday, Abbas exclaimed that he would continue official PA payments to convicted terrorists "until my dying day." Earlier this month, it was reported that the PA's 2017 budget for payments to terrorists and their families amounts to about half of all foreign aid the PA expects to receive this year.
Abbas's official PA organs and media outlets routinely glorify murderous terrorists. Breitbart Jerusalem recently reported on a Fatah summer camp named after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 Coastal Road massacre in which 38 people - including 13 children - were murdered.
3 - A Palestinian state would be at war with Israel and would not advance moderate interests.
The very basis for Guterres's efforts to create a Palestinian state are flawed. There is no significant evidence to suggest that such a state would be moderate and a force against regional radicalism.
The PA's official support for terrorism indicates that a Palestinian state would be an extremist entity in a constant state of war with Israel. This is highlighted by the PA's repeated use of maps that erase Israel and PA propaganda calling for the dismantling of the Jewish state. Today, Breitbart Jerusalem reported on a song featured on a children's program on official PA television calling the entire State of Israel, including major Israeli cities, "my country Palestine."
The ailing 82-year-old Abbas, meanwhile, is unpopular and hasn't held a presidential election since 2005. He is at odds with Hamas and a slew of other radical Palestinian factions that are either outright terrorist groups or support terror ideology. Hamas itself is under threat by the even more extremist Islamic State. There is no known moderate Palestinian leader or political party viewed as capable of taking over the PA. Indeed, there is no known moderate leader in any senior position in the Palestinian arena.
4 - Guterres promoted the falsehood that settlements are an impediment to peace.
Guterres specifically singled out Israeli settlements as an obstacle to peace in his statements in Ramallah today.
Settlements refer to any construction of Jewish homes beyond the so-called 1967 borders, meaning in the West Bank or eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, which houses the Western Wall, Temple Mount and the ancient Jewish quarter.
The reference to "settlement building" has become so routine that few notice the anti-Semitic undertones of singling out Jewish construction, promoting the concept that Jews should not be allowed to build in certain territories.
The idea that "settlements" are an impediment to peace is contradicted by history. In 1948, even before Israel controlled the areas referred to as "settlements," Arab states formed a coalition and went to war to destroy the newly established state of Israel.
The PA walked away from numerous statehood offers, which would have included the evacuation of major Israeli settlements and the creation of a state in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
If "settlements" were the obstacle, then why did the PA fail to respond to Netanyahu's unprecedented attempts to jump-start negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state, including the freezing of Jewish construction in the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem?
5 - Guterres promoted the disputed charge that settlements are "illegal under international law."
United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 calls on Israel to withdraw under a future final-status solution "from territories occupied" as a result of the 1967 Six Day War. The resolution does not call for a withdrawal from "all territories," a designation deliberately left out to ensure Israel's ability to retain some territory for security purposes under a future deal.
The Jewish Virtual Library explains:
The Security Council did not say Israel must withdraw from "all the" territories occupied after the Six-Day War. This was quite deliberate. The Soviet delegate wanted the inclusion of those words and said that their exclusion meant "that part of these territories can remain in Israeli hands." The Arab states pushed for the word "all" to be included, but this was rejected. They nevertheless asserted that they would read the resolution as if it included the word "all." The British ambassador who drafted the approved resolution, Lord Caradon, declared after the vote: "It is only the resolution that will bind us, and we regard its wording as clear."
Also, as the Committee for Accuracy for Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) pointed out in an email blast, international law does not make Israeli settlements illegal:
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions, which is relied upon by those who claim the settlements are illegal, does not apply in the case of the West Bank. This is because the West Bank was never under self-rule by a nation that was a party to the Convention, and therefore there is no "partial or total occupation of the territory of a High Contracting Party," as Article 2 of the Convention specifies. Moreover, even if it did apply, by its plain terms, it applies only to forcible transfers, and not to voluntary movement. Therefore, it can't prohibit Jews from choosing to move to areas of great historical and religious significance to them.
6 - Guterres ignored rampant illegal Palestinian construction.
Guterres's statements about Israeli settlements, which Israel maintains are not illegal but disputed, ignores undisputedly rampant illegal Palestinian construction taking place in key areas of eastern Jerusalem.
The illegal Palestinian construction has worked to generate facts on the ground, creating de facto Palestinian neighborhoods inside peripheral Jerusalem that are virtual no-go zones for Israeli civilians. The illegal housing has impacted previous Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Numerous Israeli-Palestinian peace proposals designated these very areas future Palestinian territory due to the large concentrations of Palestinians living in them.
Lost in the news media coverage of eastern Jerusalem is that major swaths of land there are legally owned by Jews, including at the Atarot Airport and in Qalandia where the plans for the new Jewish homes are centered.
In 2007, this reporter extensively investigated those areas and found Jewish-owned land was utilized to illegally construct Palestinian apartment buildings, a refugee camp and a United Nations school.
I reported at the time:
The properties in question include about 270 acres in the northern Jerusalem neighborhoods of Qalandia and Kfar Akev, located near an old Israeli airport, and about 50 acres in a north Jerusalem suburb known as Shoafat, which is adjacent to the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev.
The lands were legally purchased on behalf of JNF using Jewish donations in the early 1900s, immediately after the organization was founded in 1901 with the specific charge of repurchasing and developing the land of Israel for Jewish settlement.
A tour of Qalandiya and Kfar Akev found dozens of Arab apartment complexes, a Palestinian refugee camp and a United Nations school for Palestinians constructed on the land.
I also further reported in 2009 that these de facto Palestinian enclaves in peripheral Jerusalem neighborhoods have become virtual no-go zones for Jewish Israelis due to security concerns. The Jerusalem police confirmed at the time that security arrangements discourage Israeli Jews from entering the neighborhoods. Those security arrangements are still in effect today.
Putin to Netanyahu: We won't rein in Iran - David Rosenberg - http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/234703
Reports suggest PM, Russian president failed to achieve understanding on Iran, with Putin telling Netanyahu he will not act against Tehran.
Reports from Russian media outlets suggest Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin failed to bring the two leaders closer to an understanding on the Iranian threat and Russian backing for the Tehran regime.
Netanyahu met with Putin for more two hours last Wednesday in Sochi, during which time the Prime Minister detailed Iran's push for hegemony in the region, its efforts to destabilize the Middle East, and the need for Russia to take steps to rein in its ally.
"Iran continues to threaten Israel's existence, and it funds terror organizations and missile plans," Netanyahu told Putin. "Wherever ISIS disappeared, Iran has taken over. Iran is already on its way to taking control of Iraq, Yemen, and in many ways has already taken over Lebanon."
According to a report by the Pravda newspaper, however, Netanyahu's warnings may have fallen on deaf ears.
During the meeting, Putin reiterated his country's support for the Tehran regime.
"Iran is Russia's strategic ally in the Middle East," Putin told Netanyahu.
Witnesses present during part of the nearly two-and-a-half hour meeting say that following the Prime Minister's entreaties to the Russian leader, Putin sighed, telling Netanyahu his government would be unable to assist.
"Unfortunately, we cannot help you here."
According to the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu's meeting with Putin is just part "of a wider international effort led by Prime Minister Netanyahu and intended to impress upon the world how dangerous Iran's foothold in Syria is."
Netanyahu: We Will Not Allow Iranian 'Noose' to Tighten Around Israel -
Jerusalem cannot be expected to sit idly by as Iran entrenches itself in Syria and Lebanon and declares with Hezbollah that they are planning a two-front war against Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday.
"Iran is busy turning Syria into a base of military entrenchment and it wants to use Syria and Lebanon as war fronts [in] its declared goal to eradicate Israel," Netanyahu said before his meeting in Jerusalem with Guterres. "It is also building sites to produce precision- guided missiles toward that end in both Syria and in Lebanon. This is something Israel cannot accept. This is something the UN should not accept."
During the meeting, Netanyahu said: "It is our right not to allow this noose to tighten around Israel."
Diplomatic sources said Israel sees Guterres's first visit here since taking office in January as a good opportunity to present its case before having to take action in Syria or Lebanon, well aware that any action it takes will lead for calls of condemnation in the UN Security Council.
During a day packed with meetings with the country's senior political and military officials, Guterres was shown intelligence information on Hezbollah's build-up in southern Lebanon.
Israel's leaders, from President Reuven Rivlin and Netanyahu down through Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and new Zionist Union head Avi Gabbay, bombarded Guterres with a litany of complaints about the organization he heads.
For his part, Guterres said Israel should expect impartiality from the UN secretary-general, and he will strive to be an "honest broker."
He stressed during the day, on a number of different occasions, that calling for the destruction of Israel is modern antisemitism.
But, he said during a meeting with Rivlin, "you also understand that I sometimes disagree with positions of the government of Israel or any other government, and that is absolutely normal in a society where many of your citizens have exactly the same expressions of opinion."
Netanyahu welcomed Guterres by saying that he has demonstrated a desire to turn a new page in relations between Israel and the UN, but then lashed into the organization's "absurd obsession with Israel," and its "flagrantly discriminatory tactics."
The UN mandate is to advance peace, security and international cooperation, but it "has failed when it comes to Israel to live up to its mandate," he said.
Netanyahu said UNESCO is mandated with preserving world heritage, but denies the Jewish people's 3,000- year connection to Jerusalem. And the UN is mandated to pursue peace, "but allows Palestinian hate speech to flourish in its institutions."
Also, he said, the institution is mandated to stand up for human rights, "but it allows in its various forms the worst human rights violators to take up the cudgel and to accuse Israel of violating human rights."
Netanyahu said the most pressing problem Israel faces now is Hezbollah and Syria.
Referring to Security Council Resolution 1701, which set the terms for the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Netanyahu said the UN was mandated with preventing weapons shipments to Hezbollah, but that UNIFIL has not even reported one of the "tens of thousands of weapons smuggling into Lebanon for Hezbollah, contrary to 1701."
Guterres responded: "I will do everything in my capacity to make sure that UNIFIL fully meets its mandate."
UNIFIL's mandate is up for renewal next week, and both Israel and the US are pressing for its mandate to be strengthened in order to more effectively combat or at least report on Hezbollah's weapons build-up.
France, on the other hand, has raised its voice against changing the mandate.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley took UNIFIL Irish commander Maj.-Gen. Michael Beary to task on Friday.
"Gen. Beary says there are no Hezbollah weapons," she said. "That's an embarrassing lack of understanding on what's going on around him."
In addition to meeting Rivlin and Netanyahu, Guterres also met with Liberman, and the Zionist Union delegation that included Gabbay, opposition leader Isaac Herzog and MK Tzipi Livni.
He also met with head of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Herzl Halevi, and Maj.-Gen. Yoav Mordechai, the coordinator of government activities in the territories.
In addition, Guterres met the families of the Israelis held by Hamas in Gaza, and was urged throughout the day to use his influence to bring about their release. Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called the meeting "emotional."
Guterres is scheduled to go to Gaza on Wednesday, but will not be meeting any Hamas representatives there.
On Tuesday he will go to Ramallah for meetings with Palestinian Authority leaders.
Soon after arriving Sunday evening, Guterres met with US negotiator Jason Greenblatt and discussed the diplomatic process as will as the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Guterres began the day Monday with a visit to Yad Vashem, which he said serves as a reminder "that we need to be in the first line of fighting against antisemitism and also fighting against all other forms of bigotry, be it racism, xenophobia or even anti-Muslim hatred, and to promote understanding and to promote dialogue."
After his visit to Yad Vashem, Guterres - a former Portuguese prime minister - planted an olive tree in the KKL-JNF Grove of Nations in the Jerusalem forest.
Guterres's maternal family name is Oliveira, which means "olive tree" in Portuguese. He said during the ceremony that when he was born, his grandfather planted an olive tree in his honor. "That tree remains standing, meaning we have many things in common," he said.
In the late afternoon, Guterres joined Netanyahu at the Israel Museum to see an exhibition on Israeli innovation.
Nearing Midnight: Afghanistan: Our Most Costly War Goes On - Todd Strandberg -
The liberal media have trained themselves to exploit any misstep or inconsistency that President Trump makes. When he announced his plan to continue the Afghanistan war, it's very strange and ominous that the press gave little coverage to President Trump's previous twitter comments on the subject:
"It is time to get out of Afghanistan. We are building roads and schools for people that hate us. It is not in our national interests." (February 27, 2012)
"Afghanistan is a total disaster. We don't know what we are doing. They are, in addition to everything else, robbing us blind." (March 12, 2012)
"We should leave Afghanistan immediately. No more wasted lives. If we have to go back in, we go in hard and quick. Rebuild the U.S. first." (March 1, 2013)
President Trump freely admitted that he has changed his mind about our involvement in Afghanistan. The war will go on, but our focus will be on killing terrorists and not nation building. He promised to pressure Pakistan to crack down on terrorist cells along its border with Afghanistan. He called on the Afghan government to rein in corruption. President Trump also wants India to become more involved in the situation.
The war in Afghanistan is America's longest military conflict. Unlike earlier wars, most American families don't feel impacted by the Afghanistan War. Unlike the Vietnam War and World War II, there has not been a draft, and no ration cards have been issued for goods and services. There has not been a special tax imposed to pay for the war.
The 2,400 death toll from the Afghanistan War is very low. In the Civil War and World War II we lost half million people in each conflict. Our losses in Afghanistan are so light, every time a soldier dies his or her name is reported in the national news.
The problem I have with Afghanistan war is this: money. War is an expensive endeavor, and a military campaign cannot be sustained without bleeding a nation dry. The Cost of Wars Project at Brown University has estimated that total war spending in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan since 2001 is approaching $5 trillion. Of that, roughly $2 trillion is attributable to Afghanistan. This massive price tag will only keep rising, as President Trump has now vowed to increase troop levels in Afghanistan.
The cost of this Afghanistan War doesn't include future spending that will be needed for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Because of the advances in medical science, we have been able to save soldiers who lost their limbs or have suffered profound brain injuries. The cost related to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans over the next 40 years will be more than $1 trillion.
The government can only think in the short term, so budget planners have no grasp of the long term cost of an endless war. Linda Bilmes, a senior lecturer in public finance at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government said, "The cost of caring for war veterans typically peaks 30 to 40 years or more after a conflict." But we are already at the point where we face a financial crisis every three or four months-which shows how much financial peril we are in.
World War II, in inflation-adjusted dollars cost $4.1 trillion. In the 1940s people were willing to pay that high price tag because they deemed it necessary to save the world from the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo. I don't think our investment in Iraq and Afghanistan has been worth $5 trillion. After we pulled out of Iraq, the military that we had painstakingly built-up collapsed in spectacular fashion, and ISIS used "our weapons" to completely destroy dozens of cities.
Afghanistan has been a hopeless cause for any empire trying to colonize or tame it. The British and the Soviet Union tried and failed to subjugate that land of warring tribes. Our wishful goal of just making Afghanistan a peaceful place is delusional.
Our relationship with Afghanistan is so disorganized; we don't even have an ambassador to Kabul. A good reason why that post is empty is because every single year there has been at least one major attack against a Western embassy. Our troops operate from behind fortified compounds because the natives hate us.
I have to wonder if the reason why America is not clearly mentioned in Bible prophecy is because we will implode under the financial weight of our vast military complex. It might not be Afghanistan that breaks us, but someday the dollar is going to collapse and the reformed Roman Empire may just step in to take our place.
"After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things" (Daniel 7:7-8).
Is the Great Sign of Revelation 12 Valid? - Nathan Jones -
Few people know that long before I graduated from Bible College and eventually ordained as a minister, I dreamt of becoming an astronaut. Fueled by the limitless imaginations from popular science fiction, many a late night I'd stare up at the twinkling stars and dream big dreams that one day I would finally reach one of those distant lights.
Looking up at the stars has gotten a lot easier due to the newest Astronomy software called Stellarium. This amazing program actually calculates and then maps out the locations in the sky of all the stars past, present, and future over thousands of years.
As amazing as this software is to amateur astronomers, some Bible teachers believe Stellarium's projections can be utilized in the study of Eschatology, unlocking the unsolved mysteries of Bible prophecy, especially those concerning the end times signs in the sky.
For example, researcher Frederick Larson utilized this fantastic tool in building his interpretation of the identity of the Star of Bethlehem. Others, such as Pastors John Hagee and Mark Biltz, utilized Stellarium's projections in their Blood Moon research.
And today, new researchers including Scott Clarke of ERF Ministries, Kade Hawkins of Prophecy News Watch, and geologist Phil Moser have pushed Stellarium's insights into a whole new direction, believing they have found yet another remarkable discovery. They call it "The Great Sign of Revelation 12."
Google "The Great Sign" and you'll encounter one of the hottest trending topics of 2017. Search results report this sign as "one of the most monumental signs in the history of Christianity" and "the biggest debate in prophecy." Bold claims! And what's so great about this Great Sign? Supposedly, a unique alignment of stars will tell the story of Jesus Christ's return to rapture up His Church.
The Gospel in the Stars
The Magi of Matthew 2, who studied the alignment of the stars and constellations, gaped up at the "star in the East" and concluded correctly that the prophesied birth of the Messiah had finally arrived.
Likewise, the amateur astronomers of today also stare up at the constellations and believe they have discovered the story of the Messiah's return being played out like a Gospel in the stars. They are so excited by Stellarium's findings that they claim humanity teeters on the cusp of God rolling out some of the most astounding series of prophetic events in all of human history.
Speculations run wild that maybe the Great Sign pinpoints when the Church gets raptured away, or the Tribulation begins, or maybe the War of Gog-Magog wages, or even Damascus explodes, or a combination thereof. All theories lie on the table, though the most prominently held view theorizes the event will be the soon Rapture of the Church.
When looking up at the sky, what do these modern day magi think they are witnessing? They see Revelation 12:1-6 being playing out, which reads:
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth... And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there 1,260 days.
Those who study Bible prophecy know that Revelation 12 stands out as a crucial prophetic chapter because it portrays a major theme of the Bible - the spiritual war between God and Satan. The traditional interpretation of Revelation 12's symbols can be derived from other passages.
The imagery is taken directly from Joseph's dream in Genesis 37. The Woman is Israel, who birthed the male Child - the Messiah. The Dragon, Satan, tried to "devour" Jesus using Herod's slaughter of the babies of Bethlehem. But, the male Child ascended to God's throne where He waits to return to earth and "rule the nations with a rod of iron" during His Millennial Kingdom.
Adherents of the Great Sign share that traditional interpretation of the symbols up to a point, but for the Child. They swap Jesus with the Church. It is the Church, and not Christ, who will be caught up to God and His throne. And there's a date - September 23, 2017.
It is the very day when the constellation Virgo (a virgin woman clothed with the sun) will have at her feet the moon. The nine stars of the constellation Leo plus the three planets Mercury, Venus, and Mars will align atop her head (on her head a garland of twelve stars). The "king" planet Jupiter (the Child) will end its nine months circling within Virgo and finally exit east past her feet (she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth) and be carried away (i.e. raptured).
Reading through the copious online writings of Great Sign adherents, including Phil Moser's book The Revelation 12 Sign, one cannot help but be struck by their passion for biblical authenticity and desire for the salvation of the lost. I did not encounter one researcher of the Great Sign whose heart was not earnestly seeking the truth.
But, they all struggled with a biblical paradox: the Bible's forbidding of astrology (Leviticus 19:26-28,31; 20:6; and Isaiah 47:13) versus Jesus commanding Christians to be watchful of the signs in the heavens that herald His Second Coming (Matthew 24:29-31,44).
To unravel this paradox, adherents decry the Astrology accusation and defend the Great Sign as purely Astronomy. Supporters point out how God uses Astronomy to convey important messages. God commanded on Day 4 of the Creation, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years" (Genesis 1:14). Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, King David proclaimed, "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge" (Psalm 19:1-5).
Not just the sun, moon and stars, but God paraded the constellations to Job (Job 38:31-33). Job learned of Orion, Pleiades and Arcturus, which are all names of clusters of stars found in the Zodiac. God asks Job if he can bring out the Mazzaroth in its season, which is the Hebrew word for the constellations of the Zodiac. Therefore, it is argued that the stars must have functioned as a tool for the faithful of the Antediluvian age, along with oral tradition, in communicating God's fundamental truths long before Moses ever wrote the Pentateuch. In other words, God wrote His Gospel in the stars of the Zodiac.
Satan is accused of having corrupted God's Zodiac with cultic Astrology and its practice of divination, which the faithful are prohibited from engaging. With Astrology properly denounced, the Great Sign is defended as the return to what God originally intended when Christ pointed Christians to the sky to be watchful for a heavenly sign. Paradox resolved, supposedly.
Three primary problems immediately come to mind with the Great Sign functioning as a true indicator for pinpointing the Rapture of the Church happening on September 23, 2017.
First, adherents correctly interpret the Woman as Israel and the Dragon as Satan, but ignore the plain sense interpretation of the Revelation 12 Child being Jesus Christ, and instead misidentify the Child as the Church. Israel gave birth to the Church? The Church ascends to Heaven on her own? The Church rules the Millennial Kingdom with a rod of iron? While these could technically be argued, the Church remains an echo of the Messiahs achievements. Many defenses have been given as to why the Child is believed to be the Church, but the interpretation struggles mightily to switch the two. The historical understanding of the Child being Jesus Christ resounds as the plain sense meaning, while the Church strains logic.
Second, Revelation 12 marks the midpoint of the seven-year Tribulation, when God supernaturally begins protecting Israel in the wilderness from the Antichrist's wrath for the remaining specific 1,260 days. The Church raptured away some 3.5 years earlier dates long before the Jews flee into the wilderness. Revelation 12 cannot then happen as a sign marking the date of the Pre-Trib Rapture, or even in kicking off the entire seven years of the Tribulation, because 3.5 plus years of prophetic events must happen before the Jews flee.
And third, despite their call for doctrinal soundness, the Great Sign adherents' various writings are steeped in sensationalist extra-biblical prophetic jargon such as Bible codes, Rapture dreams, September 23rd showing up in movie scripts, the rabbinic writings of Judah Ben Samuel, blood moons, numerology, Strong's numbers tied to days, the Blue Beam Project, NASA conspiracies to hide Planet X, and astronomical alignments with the Great Pyramid of Giza. The list scrolls mind-numbingly on! Whatever reputability the Great Sign may have is buried in the Outer Limits, and not the Bible.
I must concede one thing - the timing of the Great Sign is intriguing. The year 2017 intersects with some very curious anniversaries: 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, 70 years since the UN resolution allowing Israel statehood, and 50 years since Israel recaptured Jerusalem. Plus, the Feast of Trumpets - the Jewish New Year's celebration of Rosh Hashanah that many believe points to the Rapture - falls on September 21-22, 2017. The range of days preserves Jesus' proclamation that nobody can know the specific day or hour of His return (Matthew 24:36,44).
What also makes this gathering of constellations and planets so unusual is that, according to Stellarium, such an arrangement has never fully taken place, or will so ever again. The alignment stands out as unique. And, to add to this most unusual astronomical event, 33 days beforehand on August 21st, a super-rare 2-3 hour long solar eclipse will darken the world.
That the Great Sign actually converges with so many of these important anniversaries, prophetic events, and signs of the end times piques my interest, though not my support. Regardless of the latest date-setting theory for the day of the Rapture, the authenticity of the Great Sign of Revelation 12 will be revealed as either true or false on September 24th. Who wouldn't hope that on that day we will be celebrating the Bride reunited with Christ? But, I'm not putting any stock in an alignment of stars to reveal that day.
Daily Jot: Southern Poverty Law Center sued over hate designation - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The hate group that designates everybody that doesn't agree with their anti-American, leftist agenda as haters is finally being sued for defamation by a Christian ministry. D. James Kennedy Ministries is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center as well as Amazon and GuideStar for their false and illegal characterizations that "have a chilling effect on the free exercise of religion and on religious free speech for all people of faith." The ministry says these groups "illegally trafficked in false and misleading descriptions of the services" offered by the ministry which resulted in disgrace, ridicule, odium, and contempt in the estimation of the public." Hats off to D. James Kennedy Ministries CEO Frank Wright for taking a stand.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has consistently made news and raised money from anti-American leftists for its hate designations. Remember it was named the provocateur behind the attempted mass murder in the 2012 shooting at the Washington, DC, office of the Family Research Council (FRC). Floyd Corkins II was stopped by the FRC building manager, who was shot in the process. Corkins confessed to the FBI that he intended to commit mass murder and was motivated by the so-called "Hate Map" on the SPLC website that listed FRC as a "hate group." The D.C. shooter, who gunned down Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four others was a Facebook fan of the SPLC.
SPLC has equated numerous Christian ministries with the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis as hate groups because they are pro-life and also support the Biblical definition of marriage between one man and one woman. Matt Staver's Liberty Counsel is one of them. Staver says, "This malicious labeling has fueled increased threats against Liberty Counsel's staff and me, and forced us to take additional security measures. As we have seen first hand, there are unstable people who have listened to this reckless rhetoric and used it to justify physical harm and even attempted murder because of these false, politically-motivated labels."
The work of these ministries is proof enough that they are not hate groups. This is self-evident. The purposeful maligning of the reputation and the good work these ministries do is central to standing up to the SPLC. In listing Christian ministries as hate groups and asking for people who hate Christian ministries to report acts of hate against them is an act of hate in of itself. Even the FBI took the SPLC off of its listing as a reliable resource for monitoring hate groups. SPLC is a dangerous threat to the First Amendment. D. James Kennedy Ministries is proving to be an Ephesians 6:13 ministry: "Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Let us also stand in unity with this ministry.
Daily Devotion: When God Says No - By Greg Laurie -
"Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there." -Acts 16:7
The apostle Paul was concerned for the new churches he left behind in Asia Minor. He wanted to revisit those churches and check on their progress, but there was one small problem: God had a different plan. The Lord stopped Paul and Silas from going where they wanted to go.
We read in Acts 16, "Then coming to the borders of Mysia, they headed north for the province of Bithynia, but again the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them to go there (Acts 16:7). I find that fascinating. We don't know exactly how the Holy Spirit stopped them. But clearly God said no.
Sometimes the Lord will do the same with us. We have our plans, and the Lord says no. There are many ways God can stop us. Sometimes it's through the warning of a friend whom we respect. Sometimes it's through the absence of peace in our lives when we start to walk in a certain direction. Circumstantially everything is looking good, but internally, something isn't right. We have a lack of peace about it.
We are told in the book of Colossians, "And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts" (3:15). If you are starting to do something or starting to go somewhere and there is a lack of God's peace and blessing on it, you should learn to tune in and listen to that.
Sometimes it can be circumstantial. It can be something as simple as running late for a flight or a car not starting. Whatever it might be, something happens circumstantially that stops you. However it happens, the Lord is saying no.
Maybe you had some plans, and God said no. God is wiser than we are. He is always dealing with us for our best eternal good.
FROM THE HEART
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