Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Ezekiel's War on the Horizon - Pastor Mike Taylor -
2 "Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:
4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:" (Ezekiel 38:2-4)
On Christian forums that I host, many questions arise about when the prophesied war that is spoken of in this passage found in your Bible will happen. Especially the question is who will make up this vast invading force that will be decimated on the mountains of Israel.
"16 And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land, that the heathen may know me, when I shall be sanctified in thee, O Gog, before their eyes.
17 Thus saith the Lord God; Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?
18 And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.
19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone." (Ezekiel 38:16-22)
This is a massive invasion that God comes to fight against with Divine intervention that slays all but a 1/6 of this army that the bible calls a cloud "thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee." (Ezekiel 38:9b).
But the question is raised, who are these people, and where do they come from? Let us explore what is happening right now in our own news channels and what the Bible foretells who this invading army will consist of and how close we are to seeing this come to pass.
According to the prophet Ezekiel, there will arise in the last days, a massive military and political alliance known in the bible as the Gog-Magog Alliance.
Ezekiel prophesies that a conglomeration of many nations and their armies will think to come into Israel to finally destroy the nation and murder her inhabitants. The Bible also speaks of the disastrous results that will happen on the mountains of the reborn nation that was formed in 1948 and has been in existence now, near 70 years.
In Ezekiel 38, verse 3, Ezekiel clearly identifies Gog as a person, rather than a place, "3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:"
The Scofield Reference Bible's notes to Ezekiel claim that "Meshech" is a Hebrew form of Moscow, and that "Tubal" represents the Siberian capital Tobolsk.
This interpretation would make Gog both a "place" or the Russian Federation of Nations, AND a 'person' as in the sense of the leadership of this Russian Federation.
The Interlinear Bible (Hebrew - Greek - English) renders that verse as:
"Son of man, set your face toward Gog, the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal; and prophesy concerning him."
(In Hebrew, the word 'Rosh' meant, 'chief prince', or, the 'chief of the chief princes.') Would Vladimir Putin be considered the chief prince amongst princes of Communist Russia? Let us examine.
HISTORY OF THE ANCESTORS OF THE PEOPLE
In examining ancient history, we find that Magog was a son of Japeth, who together with his brothers Tubal, Meshech and Togarmah settled in what is modern day Russia and the southern steps of the Caucasus Mountains..
10 "Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood.
2 The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras.
3 And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah." (Genesis 10:1-3)
The prophet Ezekiel identifies 'Gog' as coming from the north of Israel. If you follow the compass to due north of Jerusalem, it will take you through the center of Moscow.
The army of Gog and Magog primarily includes people from the nations of Gog, Gomer, Tubal, Meshech, and the house of Togarmah from the "north parts." They will be joined by Persians from the East, Put from the West, Cushites from the South, and others.
"Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee. . . " (Ezekiel 38:5-6)
"Gomer" is mentioned in Genesis as well as Ezekiel. The Jewish-turned-Roman historian Flavius Josephus identified Gomer with the Galatians.
"For Gomer founded those whom the Greeks now call Galatians, [Galls,] but were then called Gomerites." (Antiquities of the Jews, I:6.)
Without getting too involved in the geographical landscape of the ancient land of Galatia, the land is part of Turkey and the modern capital of Ankara, Turkey is part of Ancient Galatia.
Historically, 'Gomer' is also linked to the ancient Cimmerians. The Cimmerians eventually settled the regions north of the Caucasus and the Black Sea, in what is now parts of Russia and the Ukraine. The same can be said for Gomerites who spoke a form of the Persian language, and the Soviet State of Georgia is where the son of Japeth, Tubal settled according to the historian Josephus.
Note that Ezekiel begins his listing of the Gog-Magog alliance by naming Persia as the main instigator of this invasion, but with help from his allies of Ethiopia and Libya, but known in Ancient times at Phut for Libya, and Cush for Ethiopia. Most likely, the Russian federation will be the financial supporters of these people.
(Some versions of Scripture render 'Libya' (as does the KJV) whereas others render it 'Put' -- a grandson of Noah.)
Put settled an area that included most of North Africa including Libya and parts of modern Egypt. Let us name the ancient followed by the modern names of each of these players that will comprise the coming Ezekiel prophesied invasion of Israel in the "last days".
-Rosh and Magog-Russia
-Meshech and Tubal-Turkish nation
-Gomer-from eastern Europe, even to Germany
Note that each of these invading nations have one thing in common...they are all Muslim and have a natural hatred of Israel that has festered since the time of Isaac and Ishmael.
WHAT DO WE SEE TODAY?
Let us stand back and look at what is happening right now in the Middle East. I have written about this in times' past, but the details keep getting stronger and more into focus as the days pass by. Nowhere has there been an alliance in the past, where Iran and Russia were thick as thieves in their relationship, as has been in the last 20 years or so. In the past, they have been natural enemies, but all that has changed. Russia has taken a major interest in propping up the Iranian regime with help in the military search for the nuclear bomb, by giving the Iranians nuclear reactors, thereby giving the Persians access to nuclear material. This was all done for Russian political purposes and control of the region.
Also, war in Syria has been raging for some years now, as the Russian regime seeks to keep Assad in power and use its military to build bases and airfields that are beginning to surround the tiny nation of Israel. We read about Iranian troops on the border of the Golan Heights to its east, Hezbollah creating more missiles that can reach every city in Israel to the north and are itching for the next war that will seek to destroy their hated cousins to the south. We read about Hamas feverishly building more sophisticated missiles in the Gaza strip, that Israel has been trying to keep tabs on both of these players on their borders with fighter jet sorties to knock out advanced chemical, biological, or computer directed missiles to deliver destruction to the tiny nation of Israel. And we read about the Muslim Brotherhood, into factions such as ISIS and AlQueda rampaging in northern Africa down into Central Africa and Egypt.
If you look at any map of the area, it can be plainly seen that Israel is surrounded on all sides by enemies that have longed to destroy her. It is prophesied in Psalm 83 that an inner ring of these Muslim nations will think to attack, much as they did in the 1967 and 1973 wars that caught Israel off guard in the last war listed and nearly caused their defeat, if it were not for the God of Heaven who was directing their paths and protecting their flanks from a fanatical enemy. We have been watching and wondering when this war of Psalm 83 might happen, and I believe the stage is being set right now for a skirmish that will bring a big increase in the real estate that Israel will claim for it's own. This is the run-up to the war we are discussing, but Israel will have a short-lived peace, when the enemies that border her are defeated.
2" For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. " (Psalm 83:2-8)
I believe this is the next war that is on the horizon. Maneuvers are being taken to surround Israel from all sides with military muscle that they feel, will insure their victory. Only one problem. The God of Heaven is in their corner of Israel, and will not allow that to happen. Our Amazing God will bring victory by His Hand, that will direct the nation of Israel to complete victory. We may see this coming war, before the Church leaves this world, and we may not for the timing of God's body of believers could leave at any moment.
LET US EXAMINE WHAT WE KNOW
We know that in the latter days, the chief of the chief princes of an alliance called Gog-Magog will arise from a location to the uttermost north regions of Israel. We know that Moscow is on the same longitude (south and north) from the city of Jerusalem and is directly north of the captial city of Israel.
We know that this 'Gog' will be reluctantly drawn into a conflict with Israel, to where that Ezekiel says that the nation that comprises Rosh and Magog will be drawn as "hooks in its jaws" into this conflict. It may be over natural resources that they covet, or an alliance that has formed that makes them obliged to honor with resources to support the effort...Both could be right.
The Gog Magog alliance includes modern Russia, the Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, North Africa, and the Middle East extending from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf.
We also know that the target of the Gog Magog Alliance is the restored nation of Israel. And finally, we know the time frame. Ezekiel says it will take place 'in the latter days'. Here is something else we know. Ezekiel's alignment of nations was never possible in previous generations.
To begin with Ezekiel's scenario, the nation of Israel must exist and was created in 1948, as spoken in this passage
"the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations . . " (Ezekiel 38:8-9)
As we all know, that day was completed in May 1948 and there was never a place called Israel until then. Prior to this date, Russia has no to little interest in the dry and barren land in the Middle East, as it had been part of the Ottoman Empire since the time of America being discovered by Columbus.
There has been 2500 years since Ezekiel's prophesy and the formation of a reconstituted nation called Israel, and the prophecy depends on the simultaneous development of two events. The rebirth of Israel and the birth of Mohammedan-style, radical Islam to fulfill this prophecy. How could Ezekiel have known that this would come to pass, unless God had him to write these words?
ARE WE IN THE SEASON OF THIS FULFILLMENT?
Look at Ezekiel's main protagonists. There are three.
The first is Gog and Magog, the modern Russian federation. Gog and Magog's participation in the invasion force, according to Ezekiel, comes as a result of God's promise to,
"turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth. . ." (Ezekiel 38:4)
I've wondered about the phrase "turn thee back" (Hebrew 'paqad' or 'call to remembrance')....There is a story is about when the new Russian parliament ca. 1992 rushed out of the halls of the Duma where newly admitted Western missionaries were handing out free New Testaments.
The people were so hungry for the Word of God, that the missionaries were welcomed with open arms. After a life long bout with Communism the people were eager to read the Words of God.
For several years, Russians were offered this 'call to remembrance' of Scripture before former KGB operative Vladimir Putin slammed the door shut on foreign missionaries. The Russian Orthodox Church -- which was heavily infiltrated by the KGB during the Communist era -- the only legal Christian religion in Russia was all that is allowed. All other outside Christian influence is banned.
This call of remembrance was now officially over, and when Russia entered into a nuclear alliance with Iran, the hook was set. The support of Iran by the communist country was now set in stone.
THE SECOND IS THE ALLIANCE ITSELF
As mentioned before, and it is part of the alliance is that every single nation and of the region of the Gog-Magog allies is part of the Islamic world. All of them.
Islamic North Africa, [Ethiopia and Libya] including the Sudan, whose Islamic government is currently conducted genocide against its Christian population.
Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and the heart and soul of radical Wahabbist jihadist Islam.
Turkey, (ruled by the Islamic Party), together with most of the Russian Republic's Islamic 'stans'.
Persia, or modern Iran, the 'hook' in Gog's jaw. Iran's nuclear program was built by, overseen, guarded and maintained by Russian scientists, technicians and military forces. Iran's leader has made it something of a habit to mention the destruction of Israel in every speech.
Which brings us to the third protagonist in Ezekiel's prophecy-Israel itself.
The focus of this alliance of Muslim nations has but one focus, the destruction of Israel. Israel now has two choices, and neither of them are good for Israel.
She can pray that the international community will restrain the mad mullahs, which with the climate we see of Anti-Semitism taking a rise in the last few years, the doesn't seem likely in the United Nations that is populated with mostly Muslim nations, and even with veto power by the USA, she may be powerless to stop the the forces beyond a official protest., as even the rest of the Gentile nations have risen to condemn her in the European Union and elsewhere.
13 "Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil? hast thou gathered thy company to take a prey? to carry away silver and gold, to take away cattle and goods, to take a great spoil?" (Ezekiel 38:13)
The names of the protestors are Sheba and Dedan, most likely from Saudi Arabia, and young lions of the merchants of Tarshish, which is believed to be the British and the American continent, who are somehow powerless to stop such an invasion.
Second choice is that Israel can mount a military response to remove the threat themselves, but the from reading scripture, they are militarily overwhelmed by the extent of the invasion from all sides. I remember that they were surprised in the 1973 war and could have conceivably lost, as the invasion was on one of the Holy Days that the nation observes and they were not prepared for the sudden invasion, but regrouped and became victorious, and in some explanations of the events, Divine intervention was mentioned and was most obvious.
A third possibility, although not among Israel's choices, is that the United States will act to remove Iran's nuclear facilities before Israel faces the point of no return. The possibility the US will act in time is just that -- a possibility. But according to scripture, American is not in the mix when it comes to this war. Why? Has an event happened that could cripple their ability to respond effectively to this threat of invasion by this massive Islamic invasion? The Western nations of the American continent is the last bastion of the Christian world, although we have been going the route of Laodecia and have had major falls with the apostacy of the Church, but if those who still seek the Lord God in Spirit and in Truth, were suddenly removed from the military, from the halls of government, from government agencies, from the leadership of this nation in a flash and with out warning, then that might explain why the nation is not in a position to respond effectively to this threat.
Why do I say that American will not be able to respond? First, I believe that we as the Church will not see the war we speak of. When this war is finished and it will come in a flash, as God will be the Champion of Israel and will fight for them in His Fury.
18 "And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.
19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 38:18-23)
There are several reason why I believe that the Church will not be here.
First, the USA has always been the protector of Israel and its ally since her birth, and for the USA not to be in this war, says she is not able.
Second, God will not share His glory with anyone, not the USA or anyone else. God will show His people that He is still very much alive.
Third, on the heels of this war that slays 5/6 of the invading army on the mountains of Israel, and follows the survivors back to their homeland, where the plague of death follows them to the own countries, that this war will devastate the Muslim World to its knees.
Fourth, I see a man coming upon the scene who will try and prevent another war such as this one that has decimated the entire Muslim population and decimated Russia's hegemony war machine. This man will be a person of charismatic personality and will come from a premier nation that Israel will somehow trust. He will "confirm" a covenant with Israel, that could even be the Oslo Accords that no one has enforced yet. .The only nation that I could conceivably argue that Israel would trust, would be the USA. But who knows where this man will come from. Will he be from a revived Roman Empire, or from an outside Muslim country, or from Turkish background? Many possibilities, but only one solution. The glass is dark and we can't see the image just yet.
Note that Israel is looking for nothing more than peace and security to live their lives without fear, and have been looking for a "political messiah" since the time of Jesus to rid themselves of domination by other nations. In Jesus time, it was the Romans. In the modern era, it will be the Muslim nations, that even though they have been victorious, they will accept this "political messiah" who will give them permission in the international community to rebuild their Temple and resume animal sacrifices. Israel has never realized they needed a "Spiritual Messiah" found in the Lord Jesus Christ, as they had the law of Moses, and didn't need a Savior, at least in their blinded minds. They didn't believe it then, they do not believe it now...At least they won't just yet when this "confirmation of a covenant" is signed giving them what they have longed for "peace and security" within their borders...but it will be a false peace.
The Bible says that this "politician" ..this Anti-Christ will not come into view on the political scene until the Holy Spirit is removed from this planet to Old Testament manifestations that were present prior to the Day of Pentecost, some near 2000 years ago..
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,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2nd Thessalonians 2:6-10)
As I've preached in prior messages, the HE is a Person who is preventing the full sway of evil to rule this earth. The only Power that can hold back this unrelenting evil to engulf this earth, is God's Holy Spirit. It's not an angel, as they are equal in power to the fallen angel, Lucifer, now Satan, and it's not any person on earth. God's Spirit resides in every impregnated believer with God's Holy Spirit as an earnest deposit of our future glory and our being "BORN AGAIN" into the Kingdom of God.
13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)
From all indications, the event could happen in the next few years. If the Church is not present, as the Bible plainly says, if you discern with a Spirit directed mind, then when this war happens, the man of Sin, the son of Perdition will be forthcoming...and his revealing will be the trigger that starts the tribulation. Many believe that there is a "gap period" between the rapture of the Church, and the start of the Tribulation. That would be the period in Revelation between Revelation 4:1 and Revelation 6:1...how long is this period is conjecture on anyone's part, but how long will it be before the Anti-Christ is revealed after the Church is removed? It could happen at any future Holy Day, that I have offered as the Feast of Trumpets. Will it be this fall, the next fall, or the one after that? We don't know which Feast Jesus will break through the clouds and call with the sound of a trumpet, "COME UP HITHER"...It could be that soon, or wait a few years, as we don't know. BUT we keep our focus on the signs that are screaming of His coming...the signs in the heavens. The alignment of planets that have never happened in any recent past. The solar eclipses that spell trouble for the Gentile nations, according to many Jewish and prophecy related teachers. Then we all remember the past Blood Moons that spelled something happening to Israel. And recently, hurricane after hurricane coming from the path of this last solar eclipse. Was that the warning?
ARE YOU READY?
Should any of these prophecies happen tomorrow, would you be ready to meet Jesus? Note that the Bible says that they come in waves chronologically and each event triggers the next. The triggers that set this all in motion are right there on the horizon. It just takes one domino to fall for the sequence to begin. Will you be counted as ready to meet the Lord in the air?
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)
In a nutshell, the above verses are how you are counted worthy and to be ready to meet the Lord in the air. The above scenario that I have outlined could happen very soon, and the coming of the Lord, even sooner...make that decision for Jesus Christ Today, as Ezekiel's war is on the horizon.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you be ready to meet our Lord Jesus Christ, If you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Israel Prepares to Confront the Hezbollah-Iran-Syria Axis - By Sean Savage - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=1582
A recent purported Israeli airstrike against a Syrian chemical weapons facility has added another layer of complexity to an already combustible situation in Syria.
With the Sept. 7 airstrike of the "Scientific Studies and Researchers Center," believed to be producing chemical weapons and precision missiles in central Syria, fears are growing that Israel may be ready to act with greater impunity against Iranian, Syrian and Hezbollah targets which could ignite a larger regional war in an already devastated country.
At the same time, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has been holding its largest military exercise in decades aimed at the threat from Hezbollah.
The exercise, involving tens of thousands of soldiers from all branches of the IDF including reserve forces, is overseen by the IDF's Northern Command. The drill simulates a scenario involving a rapid escalation with the Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah that progresses into a full-blown war, necessitating the IDF to defend Israel on all fronts.
Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS.org that Israel's airstrike in Syria and military exercises together shows Jerusalem's "seriousness and resolve, which backs up the statements Israel is making."
Aside from the significance of targeting a possible chemical weapons facility, Israeli strikes near the northwestern Syrian city of Hama is also consequential.
"[Israel's airstrike] was very important. Since the Russian intervention, they have not struck anywhere north of Homs, now they hit near a Russian base where there is frequent Russian activity," Badran said. "The idea is if the Iranians think they are going to establish military installations in close proximity to the Russias to deter the Israelis, they are wrong."
Badran added that Israel will not wait for the Russians and the Americans to cut a deal to accommodate Israel's core concerns.
"Israel is not going to shy away from taking direct action themselves."
Confronting Hezbollah-Iran-Syria axis
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has made it clear Israel will not tolerate Iran and Hezbollah's actions in Syria.
"We are not looking for any military adventure in Syria but we are determined to prevent our enemies from harming, or even creating the opportunity to harm the security of Israeli citizens," Liberman told Israel's Radio FM 100 shortly after the airstrike. "Therefore, everything will be done to prevent the existence of a Shi'a corridor from Tehran to Damascus."
The airstrike follows a consistent pattern over the last few years of striking at advanced weaponry to prevent a transfer by Iran or Syria to Hezbollah.
Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting in Sochi to restrain Iran, saying he would take unilateral action to defend the Jewish state's interests.
At the same time, Israel has been urging Washington, which has been in negotiations with Russia over a Syrian ceasefire, to not allow a permanent Iranian presence in Syria.
In July, the U.S. and Russia agreed to establish two safe zones in Syria, including one near Israel's Golan Heights. However, Israel expressed unease about the agreement and disappointment that its security was not taken directly into consideration.
"[Israel's] position on Iran in Syria is far more comprehensive than the conversation between Russians and the U.S. That's too narrow as far as Israel is concerned," Badran said.
Similarly, in Lebanon the U.S. faces a challenge working with the Lebanon government, formally controlled by Sunni leader and Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri, which is essentially controlled by Hezbollah, the most powerful actor in Lebanon.
The fundamental dilemma for the U.S. is any support for the Lebanese government or military ends up being unintended support for Hezbollah.
"Hezbollah dominates the Lebanese government from military officers to the cabinet and even the president," Badran explained. "The posture of the Trump administration vis-a-vie Iran and Hezbollah is different than Obamas, but the policy of U.S. support for the Lebanese government and armed forces continues."
Beefed up UNIFIL mandate?
While efforts to thwart Iran and Hezbollah's actions in Syria are ongoing, Washington and Jerusalem have attempted to target Hezbollah's activities in Lebanon as well.
Since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, the mandate set by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 ends every year and is automatically renewed. This year, the U.S. and Israel demanded that United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) no longer turn a blind eye to Hezbollah's violations of the resolution.
U.S. Ambassador the United Nations Nikki Haley said, in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, the new changes to the mandate will make "UNIFIL step up its patrols and inspections which will help disrupt Hezbollah's illegal activity..." and also "require UNIFIL to report when it is prevented from seeing something it wants to inspect."
Despite Haley's optimism, Badran sees little positive change.
"Within the existing mandate, they [Security Council] asked for them to increase their visibility and do more to report should there be any obstacles to doing their job," Badran said. "There is an element of it being mildly strengthened, but it doesn't fundamentally alter anything, it doesn't mean they are going to disarm Hezbollah."
At the same time, it was also reported that Russia - heavily involved in the Syrian civil war since 2015 in support of the Syrian government - worked behind the scenes to protect Hezbollah during negotiations over the mandate, Haaretz reported.
Several new paragraphs related to Hezbollah's terror activity were initially added to the resolution's draft, but during negotiations, Russia reportedly threatened to veto it at the Security Council unless all references to the terror group were redacted.
While Israel remains deeply concerned about Iran and Hezbollah's actions both in Syria and Lebanon, Badran doesn't believe a major regional war looms on the horizon, at least not as we understand it.
"The way the Iranians will target Israel is how they always do it, through assets like Hezbollah, which use Iranian weapons, commanders, officers etc," he said.
The State Department's strange obsession - Caroline B. Glick - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-State-Departments-strange-obsession-504808
The Iraqi Jewish archives were rescued in Baghdad by US forces in 2003 from a flooded basement of the Iraqi secret services headquarters.
The law of Occam's Razor, refined to common parlance, is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.
If we apply Occam's Razor to recently reported positions of the US State Department, then we can conclude that the people making decisions at Foggy Bottom have "issues" with Jews and with Israel.
Last Friday, JTA reported that the State Department intends to abide by an agreement it reached in 2014 with the Iraqi government and return the Iraqi Jewish archives to Iraq next year.
The Iraqi Jewish archives were rescued in Baghdad by US forces in 2003 from a flooded basement of the Iraqi secret services headquarters. The tens of thousands of documents include everything from sacred texts from as early as the 16th century to Jewish school records.
The books and documents were looted from the Iraqi Jewish community by successive Iraqi regimes. They were restored by the National Archives in Washington, DC.
The Iraqi Jewish community was one of the oldest exilic Jewish communities.
It began with the Babylonian exile following the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem 2,600 years ago. Until the early 20th century, it was one of the most accomplished Jewish communities in the world. Some of the most important yeshivas in Jewish history were in present-day Iraq. The Babylonian Talmud was written in Iraq. The Jewish community in Iraq predated the current people of Iraq by nearly a thousand years.
It was a huge community. In 1948, Jews were the largest minority in Baghdad.
Jews comprised a third of the population of Basra. The status of the community was imperiled during World War II, when the pro-Nazi junta of generals that seized control of the government in 1940 instigated the Farhud, a weeklong pogrom. 900 Jews were murdered.
Thousands of Jewish homes, schools and businesses were burned to the ground.
With Israel's establishment, and later with the Baathist seizure of power in Iraq in the 1960s, the once great Jewish community was systematically destroyed.
Between 1948 and 1951, 130,000 Iraqi Jews, three quarters of the community, were forced to flee the country. Those who remained faced massive persecution, imprisonment, torture, execution and expulsion in the succeeding decades.
When US forces overthrew the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein in 2003, only a dozen or so remained in the country.
Today, there are none left.
As for the current Iraqi government that the State Department wishes to support by implementing its 2014 agreement, it is an Iranian satrapy. Its leadership and military receive operational orders from Iran.
The Iraqi Jewish archive was not created by the Iraqi government. It is comprised of property looted from persecuted and fleeing Jews. In light of this, it ought to be clear to the State Department that the Iraqi government's claim to ownership is no stronger than the German government's claim to ownership of looted Jewish property seized by the Nazis would be.
On the other hand, members of the former Jewish community and their descendants have an incontrovertible claim to them. And they have made this claim, repeatedly.
To no avail. As far as the State Department is concerned, they have no claim to sacred books and documents illegally seized from them.
When asked how the US could guarantee that the archive would be properly cared for in Iraq, all State Department spokesman Pablo Rodriguez said was, "When the IJA [Iraqi Jewish archive] is returned, the State Department will urge the Iraqi government to take the proper steps necessary to preserve the archive, and make it available to members of the public to enjoy."
It is hard not to be taken aback by the callousness of Rodriguez's statement.
Again, the "members of the public" who wish to "enjoy" the archive are not living in Iraq. They are not living in Iraq because they were forced to run for their lives - after surrendering their communal archives to their persecutors. And still today, as Jews, they will be unable to visit the archives in Iraq without risking their lives because today, at a minimum, the Iraqi regime kowtows to forces that openly seek the annihilation of the Jewish People.
And the State Department knows this.
Then there is the second story that came out this week, whose implications are no less dismal.
Friday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is leading an effort by State Department officials to convince President Donald Trump to force Israel to return $75 million in congressionally authorized supplementary aid.
On the face of it, the demand is part of a turf war that the State Department has long fought with Congress regarding the scope of Congress's power to engage in foreign policy. In the final year of the Obama administration, Obama forced Israel to agree not to accept supplementary appropriations in defense aid from Congress beyond what was agreed upon in the memorandum of understanding he concluded. Obama's position was rightly viewed as a means to undermine Israel's relations with members of Congress.
But it was equally a means to undermine Congress's ability to assert its constitutional power to appropriate funding.
As negotiations between Israel and the Obama administration progressed last year, Senator Lindsay Graham implored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to accede to Obama's demand.
But in the empty hope of averting a last-minute move by the Obama administration to enable an anti-Israel resolution to pass at the UN Security Council, and concerned that a Hillary Clinton administration would offer Israel less assistance than Obama had offered, Netanyahu signed the deal.
Graham reacted to the MOU's conclusion by stating that it is unconstitutional and therefore Congress would disregard it.
After Trump was elected, his advisers assured Israel that they would not enforce the MOU's restrictions on supplementary funding. And yet, now, the State Department is seeking to do just that.
While in many ways this is an internal American fight, the unmistakable fact is that the State Department always seems to fight its turf war with Congress over issues relating to Israel. Moreover, the fight always involves bearing down on some of the dumbest aspects of traditional US Middle East policy.
Over the past 20 years, the State Department has fought and won two major battles against Congress relating to Israel. First, the State Department has continuously blocked the 1996 Embassy Act that requires the State Department to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
Second, the State Department fought and won a Supreme Court battle to block implementation of the law requiring it to permit US citizens born in Jerusalem to have Israel listed as their country of birth on their passports.
In both cases, the State Department's actions reflected a longstanding policy of mollycoddling anti-Semitic Arab regimes and terrorist groups at Israel's expense. No US interest has been advanced by these efforts. To the contrary, as Senator Tom Cotton argues in relation to the State Department's current efforts to force Israel to return the $75m. supplemental appropriation for missile defense projects, the US harms itself by undermining its key ally in fighting the enemies it shares with Israel.
Moreover, the $75m. supplemental assistance for development of missile defense technologies is not a gift to Israel. As the current standoff between the US and North Korea makes clear, the US itself is in dire need of just the sort of anti-missile technologies that Israel is developing. Indeed, the US stands to lose if Israel cuts back its missile defense programs due to lack of funding.
So again, we return to Occam's Razor.
The State Department's determination to return the purloined Iraqi Jewish archive to the Iraqi government, like its efforts to convince Trump to demand that Israel return the supplemental aid, doesn't appear to be guided by any underlying concern for US interests.
Why would Egypt or Saudi Arabia object to Israel developing new means to intercept Hamas, Hezbollah or Iranian missiles? So like its fights against congressional efforts to recognize Israel's capital city, and indeed like the State Department's insistence that the US has no option other than recertifying Iranian compliance with Obama's nuclear deal with the ayatollahs despite overwhelming evidence of Iranian noncompliance, there is an undercurrent of obsessive vindictiveness to the State Department's current efforts.
In issue after issue, the same officials engage in behavior that appears to reflect a compulsive habit of always demanding that the US adopt positions that weaken US-Israel ties and undermine Jewish rights in Israel, and throughout the Middle East.
Perhaps there is another explanation for this consistent pattern of behavior.
But the simplest explanation is that the State Department suffers from an unhealthy obsession with regard to Jewish rights and the Jewish state.
EU pledges to 'make our planet great again' - By Daniel J. Graeber - https://www.upi.com/Energy-News/2017/09/13/EU-pledges-to-make-our-planet-great-again/1071505301093/?utm_source=fp&utm_campaign=ls&utm_medium=3
The EU president said Europe will be the global leader when it comes to combating climate change.
The EU president said in an annual address Wednesday that, with the United States stepping away, Europe will lead the global fight against climate change.
"I want Europe to be the leader when it comes to the fight against climate change," European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker said in the annual State of the Union address.
Economic growth in the EU has outpaced the United States over the last two years, with a gain in gross domestic product at about 2.2 percent so far. Unemployment, meanwhile, is at a nine-year low and, with more than 235 million people with a job in the European economy, Juncker said employment is at levels never before seen in the EU.
"Ten years since crisis struck, Europe's economy is finally bouncing back," he said.
The EU has embarked on an effort to advance a low-carbon economy and a secure energy sector through renewable energy avenues.
The British and French governments said this year they'd work toward a benchmark of banning the sales of new gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles from its roads beginning in 2040. For renewable energy, nine countries that share a border with the North Sea agreed last year to improve infrastructure to support offshore wind. Germany leads among European nations in terms of offshore wind energy growth, though Great Britain has more offshore wind capacity installed.
DNV GL, a Norwegian company providing risk management advice, said in an energy transition outlook that global demand for energy in general will level off by 2030 and then move lower as efficiency improves. For oil, demand peaks in 2022 because of the rise in the use of electric vehicles, though energy trends might not be enough to stave off the impacts of climate change.
Juncker said that it was Europe that set the rules of the game with the ratification of the multilateral Paris climate agreement. In an apparent swipe at U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign slogan of "Make America Great Again," Junker said it would be Europe that leads the way in the effort to combat climate change.
"Set against the collapse of ambition in the United States, Europe will ensure we make our planet great again," he said. "It is the shared heritage of all of humanity."
Trump's administration has taken the steps to leave the Paris climate agreement. Nevertheless, the U.S. energy sector has shown organic momentum for solar and wind energy. The U.S. Energy Department said some parts of the solar power sector, for example, reached benchmarks set by former President Barack Obama three years ahead of schedule.
Nearing Midnight: Putin Predicts Coming Prince - Terry James - http://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
One would almost think that Russian President Vladimir Putin has been pouring over prophetic Scripture in the Bible. He has predicted that the entity that becomes the ultimate leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will rule planet earth. His is a most interesting prognostication. Here's an excerpt from the news item laying out ol' Vlad's foretelling.
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin says that whoever reaches a breakthrough in developing artificial intelligence will come to dominate the world.
Putin, speaking Friday at a meeting with students, said the development of AI raises "colossal opportunities and threats that are difficult to predict now." (Source: Putin: Leader in Artificial Intelligence Will Rule World, Houston Chronicle, 9/2/2017)
The former KGB operative turned dictator/oligarch of the nucleus of what was the Soviet Union before perestroika, glasnost, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and finally the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., said further that "the one who becomes the leader in this sphere will be the ruler of the world."
The Russian warned that "it would be strongly undesirable if someone wins a monopolist position." He pledged that Russia would share its know-how in artificial intelligence with other nations.
Putin predicted that drones will fight future wars. He said, "When one party's drones are destroyed by drones of another, it will have no other choice but to surrender."
The Putin prediction would be amusing, if not so much on the eerie side-kind of like Gog of Ezekiel 38-39 "prophesying" the emergence of the prince that shall come of Daniel 9:26-27.
We have mentioned numerous times that Vladimir Putin displays characteristics that the future leader of the Gog-Magog attack will possess, according to the prophet Ezekiel. Putin, here, is delving into perhaps not the characteristics of Antichrist, but certainly into the technological realm Revelation seems to indicate that future fuhrer will have at his disposal.
The Russian says that the leader in such advanced technology will eventually rule the world. To be sure, Antichrist is prophesied to rule over most of the world at a point during the seven-year Tribulation era. His rule will be brief and chaotic, but it will be brutal and, according to Jesus Himself, will bring a time upon the people of the planet worse than any before or after.
Artificial Intelligence will mark his despotic control. He will, through the most advanced computer (AI) technology, do the following:
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. (Revelation 13:16-17)
But AI is, perhaps, prophesied to go much deeper than Antichrist's 666 computer controls. Some would say there will come a destructive military force that appears to be completely robotic, commanded through AI to assault Jerusalem during that time known as the Day of the Lord. It is a terrifying description of a superhuman-or perhaps hybrid or robotic-force destined to riffle the city and ravish its women, according to prophecy.
Read about what some call Joel's Army (Joel 2: 1-11).
(I wrote a short story of a fictional nature about Joel's Army years ago for a filmmaker. That story can be linked below.)
Joel's Army - A Short Story
AI is a hot topic, causing an uproar even among some of the well-known leaders in its development.
SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk got into a spat recently on Twitter with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg over the dangers of artificial intelligence.
Musk urged a group of governors to proactively regulate AI, which he views as a "fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization."
"Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don't know how to react because it seems so ethereal," Musk said.
Zuckerberg shot back, saying fearmongering about AI is "irresponsible." (Source: "Humanlike Robots Provoke Questions about our Humanity," Rosalie Chan, Religion News Service)
Many scientists and futurists are declaring that from some point in the near future, major wars will be waged by beings of intelligence superior to that of mere mortals. However, Bible prophecy tells that, ultimately, it is human blood that will flow to the bridle reins following the fighting at Armageddon. It is the corpses of millions of human beings that will have to be buried following the battle of Gog and Magog.
Which U.S. President Favored Israel? - Dr. David Reagan -
Since the establishment of Israel in May of 1948, which American political party has shown the most favor to the Jewish state? And, spiritually, what difference does it make?
Let us delve into the various U.S. administrations from Truman to Trump to discern their views and treatment of the nation of Israel. We'll start at the beginning with a fascinating story about President Truman's embattled decision to recognize the State of Israel.
The Birth of a Nation
Our relationship with the state of Israel began on the best possible terms in 1948 when Democratic President Harry Truman recognized the State of Israel eleven minutes after David Ben Gurion read the Declaration of Independence. We were the first nation of the world to recognize the existence of Israel.
Truman had already shown a great heart for the Jewish people. He favored allowing Jewish refugees into the country after World War II, but the Congress balked at his proposal, so he just sat down and issued an executive order called the Truman Directive. He signed it on December 22, 1945. This order opened the door to Jewish immigration into the United States. Twenty-three thousand Jewish refugees came in in the next two years coming from Europe.
Truman continued to press Congress, and in 1948, he finally got legislation that permitted 80,000 Jews to enter our country in 1948 and 1949. Truman's swift action on May 14, 1948, made the United States the first nation to recognize Israel. Our recognition gave Israel legitimacy in the eyes of the world.
Truman took this action because he was a student of the Bible and he believed the Jewish people had a right to the land. Amazingly, he took this action despite the fact that almost every person in his administration opposed it. In fact, the only person in the Truman Administration who encouraged recognition was the President's legal counsel. Both James Forrestal, the Secretary of Defense, and George Marshall, the Secretary of State, vehemently opposed recognition of Israel.
The only person in the Truman Administration who encouraged the President was Clark Clifford, who was the President's personal legal advisor. Most of the people in the administration did not like Clifford. They just considered him to be a political operative. But, he was a person who also believed that the Jews had a right to the land based upon his knowledge of the Bible and based upon his feeling that they were entitled to that land as a result of their suffering in the Holocaust.
I've done a lot of study of the life of Harry Truman, concluding that most people don't know much about him. Let me just tell you a little bit about him.
First of all, Truman was a child prodigy. He was reading at the age of three. He had read the entire Bible twice before he entered the first grade. He knew the Jewish history backwards and forwards. It's amazing how God prepared him.
He ended up in Independence, Missouri. There you can count the Jews on one hand within a hundred miles. And yet, when Truman goes into World War I, who's his best friend? A Jew from Kansas City. They developed a wonderful friendship with each other. Harry Truman's best friend for life was Eddie Jacobson, a Jew from Kansas City.
When the men came back from World War I, they went into business together opening a men's clothing store. Truman continued that friendship throughout his life.
How interesting that when Truman was getting ready to make this decision whether to recognize Israel as a nation or not, everybody in the administration was saying he shouldn't recognize Israel. Everybody! Their argument was? If you recognize Israel, America will not have access to Arab oil. Sound familiar? Same old argument we've heard in the U.S. for the last 70 years.
It got down to the bottom line. On May 13, 1948, the day before Israel was about to declare itself a nation, Secretary of State George Marshall called over and said he wanted to come to the White House to make his final argument against recognizing Israel. The President said okay.
There was nobody on planet earth Truman esteemed more than Secretary of State George Marshall. He said in his memoirs, "I idolized the man."
George Marshall had been the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all throughout World War II. President Roosevelt relied on him so much that he would never allow him to enter into the battlefield. Roosevelt ordered Marshall to stay with him in Washington D.C. Marshall would be the strategist, and let Eisenhower fight the battles. For that reason, Truman appointed George Marshall as Secretary of State.
Marshall was a man of immense popularity. He was the one who proposed the Marshall Plan. He advised that America must rebuild Europe, because if we didn't, the Communist would take all of Europe over.
Marshall had been selected by Time Magazine in 1949 as the Man of the Year. Truman loved this man.
And so, Marshall came to the White House with a large staff of about ten guys that he brought with him. He appointed one of them to speak ordering, "Now, you get up and you give an argument for why we should not recognize Israel as a nation." This subordinate gets up and for 30 minutes he gives this impassioned argument as to why the U.S. should not recognize Israel.
After Marshall's team's plea, President Truman turned to Clark Clifford and requested Clifford to give the counter-argument as to why America should recognize Israel as its own nation. Well, Secretary of State Marshall went bananas! He considered Clark Clifford to just be a political operative. Marshall vehemently said to the President like, "I object to this man speaking! I don't even know why he should be in this room. Why is he even here?" The President calmly replied, "Because I invited him." And so, at that point, Clark Clifford got up and presented his arguments. All the while Secretary of State Marshall was sitting there steaming.
When Clifford finished his counter-argument, the Secretary of State stood up, looked hard at the President, and stated in front of the entire room of people, "Mr. President, if you recognize the State of Israel tomorrow, I will vote for your opponent in the November election." One person in that room reported it was like all the air was suddenly sucked out of the room. Everybody was astonished. They just sat there stunned.
It seemed like an eternity before finally President Truman responded. He simply recommended, "I think we all need to go home and sleep on it."
Well, the next morning, Secretary of State Marshall called the President. "Mr. President, I've slept on it. I'm still opposed, but if you recognize Israel, I will back you publicly." And so, eleven minutes after Israel's Declaration of Independence was signed, Truman recognized Israel as its own sovereign nation.
Truman's Miraculous Reelection
But, that is not the end of the story.
The Bible says God will bless those who bless Israel, and He'll curse those who curse Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). President Truman was facing the toughest presidential election in U.S. history. When it came to November 1948, the Democratic Party was split three ways. Truman was the nominee for the Democrats. Strom Thurmond had pulled out and formed the Dixiecrat Party, which all the Southern states were supporting. Henry Wallace, the former Vice President, had formed the Progressive Party, which all the Socialists and Communist sympathizers were members.
While the Democrats were split into three different parties, the Republicans had the sophisticated, handsome, erudite governor of New York, Tom Dewey, as their candidate. Truman had no hope whatsoever of beating Dewey. None! Newspapers across the country had already printed their headlines in advance - "Dewey Defeats Truman." To this day, no political scientist has ever been able to explain how in the world Truman won that election. But, I know how he did it. God blesses those who bless Israel, and He curses those who curse Israel.
Truman referred to his decision about recognizing Israel as quote, "The proudest day of my life."
Daily Jot: Hurricane victims benefit - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Last night there was a star-studded telethon to raise money for victims of the Harvey and Irma hurricanes. It was on all the major networks. I didn't watch it because I knew that it would be a backdoor leftist lecture about global warming and the ills of the current White House. Guess what? I was right-according to press reports. It is a good thing that these "celebrities" want to use their platform to assist those in need. It's too bad that America has to endure their uninformed lectures on politics in the process. Of course, I'm sure all the celebrities felt really good about themselves afterwards and about bashing people who don't accept the fallacy of global warming. Isn't this about helping people? No confusion here.
According to The Daily Caller, Stevie Wonder began the Hand in Hand telethon by saying, "Anyone who believes that there's no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent"--Interesting, coming from a blind man. There most certainly is a blindness going on with these people. They are blind to the need for America to come together as a people, a diverse people nonetheless. Even in a time when people's lives have been devastated by a natural disaster, these celebrities cannot find it in their hearts to encourage people to unite, galvanize, and overcome. Instead, America is subjected to a political sermon based on emotions rather than facts. It was a big show using people's misfortunes to advance an agenda. It is not, however, for us to judge.
As Americans, we do need to reach out to one another in times of need. As Christian Americans, even more so. Prayer, money, empathy, a helping hand, boots on the ground are all important witnesses to those who lost everything they had, who may never financially recover. I recall a time when our community church made sure that a family across from the church had food, clothing, and a place to stay after their house nearly burned to the ground. These people were not even "members" of the church, but they were members of our community. Likewise, they possessed a rugged individualism to rebuild and reestablish their lives as soon as possible so that there was no appearance of taking advantage. That's how things should work.
We didn't lecture them about whether they should attend church. We didn't tell them how to vote. We showed love, empathy and respect. We assisted them in a time of need. There were no conditions. It was acting out what Christ told us to do when he said in Mark 12:30-31, "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these." And as is written in 1 John 3:17, "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his heart of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him?" In this witness, the Holy Spirit can work the miracle of salvation. No show or judgmental comments needed.
Daily Devotion: What's Most Important - By Greg Laurie -
"I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said." -1 Corinthians 15:3
Someone once asked the great British preacher C. H. Spurgeon if he could put his Christian faith into a few words. He said, "Yes. I can give it to you in four words: Jesus died for me."
That's what it comes down to. You may not be a theologian or the greatest intellect of all time. But you can tell the story of what Jesus did on the cross, how he died on the cross and shed His blood for us. There is power in that message. Time and time again I have watched it transform people, because God anoints it. He blesses it. And He uses it to penetrate the defenses that people put up.
A good summation of the gospel is given to us by Paul: "Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said" (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The gospel in a nutshell is Christ died for our sins and was buried and raised on the third day.
The apostle Paul was known for his great oratory skills and his grasp of culture and languages. If anyone could have intellectually convinced a person of the validity of something, it was the apostle Paul.
Yet here's what he said when it came to preaching the gospel: "I didn't use lofty words and impressive wisdom to tell you God's secret plan. For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:1-2).
We can actually hinder the message of the gospel by complicating it. It's that simple, powerful, yet profound message that can change lives. It changed your life, and it changed mine.
FROM THE HEART
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