Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Why the Gaps in Prophecy? - Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/end-times-prophecy/gaps-prophecy/
Scattered throughout the Scriptures are prophecies that contain references to both the first and second coming of the Lord in what appears to be a single thought. These dual reference prophecies could only be identified as such after the first coming had already taken place. That's because they were written in such a way that it was impossible to tell beforehand that the Lord's first coming would only partially fulfill them. Often the writers switch from the first coming to the second coming in the middle of a sentence without so much as a punctuation mark to alert the reader.
In this study I want to share some thoughts on why I believe God had them written this way. But first, here are a couple of examples of these dual reference prophecies so you can see for yourself how cleverly they were written.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).
When the Lord had Isaiah write this prophecy 750 years before the fact, no one could have known from reading it that when the Messiah came, He would only fulfill a portion of it. The child was born and the son was given, but the government has never been on His shoulders, and in Israel, to whom He was sent, He has never been called by the names Isaiah attributed to Him.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2)
This prophecy calls for a ruler of Israel to be born in Bethlehem but gives no indication that 2,000 years would pass between the ruler's birth and His ascension to the throne of Israel. When the Parthian priests called Magi arrived in Jerusalem, they asked, "Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews?" (Matt. 2:2).
King Herod asked the Jewish leaders where the Messiah would be born, and they used this prophecy to confirm that He would be born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:4-6). The Magi hastened there believing they were going to anoint a boy king who would grow up to rule over Israel. For his part, Herod had all the young boys in Bethlehem killed in an unsuccessful effort to eliminate what He perceived to be an imminent threat to his rulership. But while the coming king was born, He has yet to take His place on the throne in Israel.
The Secret Revealed
30 years later, it was Jesus himself who revealed the fact that there was more to these prophecies than meets the eye. Standing in the synagogue in Nazareth at the beginning of His ministry, he called for the scroll of Isaiah and read from what we know as Isaiah 61:1-2.
"The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Luke 4:18-19).
Then He said He was the fulfillment of the Scripture He had just read. Comparing this to what Isaiah 61:1-2 actually says shows that He stopped before the end of verse 2, leaving out the phrase "and the day of vengeance of our God."
Without the benefit of Luke 4:18-19, a reading of Isaiah 61:1-2 would lead us to the conclusion that the day of vengeance, what we now call end times judgments, would take place directly after the Lord had finished preaching the good news, freeing the prisoners, giving sight to the blind and proclaiming the year of the Lord's favor. By stopping where He did and saying He was its fulfillment, He indicated He hadn't come to fulfill the part He hadn't read. There would be a separation of time between the year of the Lord's favor and the day of His vengeance.
There are several other dual reference prophecies that we who already know about the first coming can identify. Perhaps the most obvious is Daniel 9:24-27, the 70 weeks prophecy, where if you didn't already know that 2,000 years have passed since the fulfillment of the first 69 weeks of the prophecy (Daniel 9:24-26) without any fulfillment of the 70th week portion (Daniel 9:27) you wouldn't be able to tell just by reading it, because there's not even a hint of a gap between them in the text.
Why Didn't You Say So?
But our purpose is not to identify all these prophecies. The question we want to answer is why did God hide this dual reference aspect of Messianic prophecy so completely that it could only be discovered after the fact? Knowing the end from the beginning, He knew that Jesus was only going to partially fulfill the prophecies that spoke of His coming, so why didn't He have the prophets present them that way?
Some say He did it to provide "hidden" clues to the Church that He always knew about our time and place in history without alerting Israel to the fact ahead of time.
But as a result of some of my recent studies, I've concluded that God had these prophecies written in this particular way to show Israel that they could have been fulfilled just the way they were written. For generations, Israel had been reading and interpreting them to mean that the Messiah would come once and when He did He would fulfill all the prophecies written about Him. In fact it would have been impossible for them to interpret them any other way.
In the time leading up to the first coming, Israel believed when the Messiah came he would vanquish their enemies and restore their kingdom, because that's what these prophecies said He would do. In fact, even after spending three years with Jesus, the disciples still asked Him if the time had come for Him to restore the Kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6). This tells us in all His time with them Jesus never mentioned an extended period of time during which Israel would be set aside while His attention would be focused on the Gentiles.
By the way, I think His uncharacteristically vague response to their question is a hint that restoring the Kingdom to Israel at that time was still a possibility. They had just presented Him with a perfect opportunity to lay everything out clearly to better prepare them for the years ahead. But instead, He left them hanging. "It's not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority" (Acts 1:7). To me that indicates the offer of the Kingdom to Israel was still open.
They didn't know for certain that Israel was being set aside in favor of the Gentiles until 20 years later when James told them (Acts 15:13-18) and even then they didn't know for how long. James only said that when the Lord had taken (carried away) a people for Himself from among the Gentiles He would turn back to Israel again. In other words, He would resume His focus on Israel after the rapture of the Church.
It Could Have Happened Just That Way
The dual reference prophecies were written in a way that would have made the total fulfillment possible at the time of the first coming. Had Israel accepted Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world and let Him die for them, the six objectives laid out by the angel in Daniel 9:24 could have been met within the prescribed 490 year period.
Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and your Holy City to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most Holy (place) (Daniel 9:24).
Sitting upon His heavenly throne, God decreed that six things would be accomplished for Daniel's people (Israel) and Daniel's Holy City (Jerusalem) during a specified period of 490 years.
We should be aware that in Hebrew these things read a little differently. Literally, God had determined to;
1. restrict or restrain the transgression (also translated rebellion)
2. seal up their sins (as if putting them away in a sealed container)
3. make atonement (restitution) for their iniquity
4. bring them into a state of everlasting righteousness
5. seal up (same word as #2) vision and prophecy
6. anoint (consecrate) the most Holy place (sanctuary)
In plain language, God would put an end to their rebellion against Him, put away their sins and pay the penalties they had accrued, bring the people into a state of perpetual righteousness, fulfill the remaining prophecies, and anoint the Temple. This was to be accomplished through their Messiah (Jesus) because no one else could do it. Had they accepted Him as their savior their rebellion against God would have ended. Their sins would have all been forgiven, and the full penalty paid for them. They would have entered into a state of eternal righteousness, all their prophecies would have been fulfilled and the rebuilt temple would have been consecrated. It should be noted here that although it appears to have been accepted by Him, God never dwelt in the 2nd Temple, nor was the ark of the covenant and its mercy seat ever present therein.
Make no mistake about it. Jesus had to die so these 6 promises could come true. No one else in Heaven or on Earth could accomplish this. We can only imagine how different things would have been if they had accepted Him as their Messiah and let Him die for their sins so He could bring them into everlasting righteousness with His resurrection.
The Sign Of The Prophet Jonah
And even though the religious leaders had fought Jesus tooth and nail throughout His ministry, He gave them one more chance by offering the clearest and most convincing sign possible. He promised that when they put Him to death He would come back to life three days later (Matt. 12:38-40). Since they wouldn't know if He fulfilled this promise until after the fact, He determined to wait for them to recognize that He had. I believe this is why He stayed around for 40 days after the resurrection.
Even though there were over 500 witnesses who could attest to having seen him after the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:6), there's no indication that any official inquiry was undertaken to confirm that He had fulfilled His promise to return from the dead. Finally He left, but only until they admit their guilt (Hosea 5:15). As soon as they do He will forgive them (Joel 3:21) and restore their kingdom as He always intended to do.
In the mean time the Church was born into the gaps in these prophecies. Not as an alternative fulfillment like the replacement theologians would have you believe, but as a parallel track. When time stopped for Israel, it began for the Church, and when it ends for the Church it will begin again for Israel.
This is what the Lord says:
"Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out
will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done," declares the Lord (Jeremiah 31:37) You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah 05-16-15.
Russia said to reject Israeli plea to keep Iranians 60 km. from Golan frontier -
Putin reportedly agrees only that Iranian- and Iranian-backed fighters will stay 5 kilometers away
Russia has reportedly rebuffed an Israeli demand to ensure that Iranian forces and Iran-backed Shiite militants not be allowed to operate within 60-80 kilometers of the Syrian frontier with Israel in the Golan Heights.
Russia has reportedly rebuffed an Israeli demand to ensure that Iranian forces and Iran-backed Shiite militants not be allowed to operate within 60-80 kilometers of the Syrian frontier with Israel in the Golan Heights.
Russian has rejected the plea, according to reports Thursday on Israel's Channel 2 TV and in the Haaretz newspaper. Instead, it has committed only to keeping Iranian forces five kilometers from the Golan Heights frontier.
Israel had wanted a buffer zone of between 60 and 80 kilometers from the border on the Golan Heights, and has been repeatedly warning against Iran's military ambitions in the area, Tehran's bid to establish a territorial "corridor" all the way to the Mediterranean, and an increased Iranian presence on Israel's northern border.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the ceasefire deal, putting him publicly at odds with US President Donald Trump, since it did not sufficiently address Israel's security needs.
Israeli intelligence expects the Iranians to try to establish a military and intelligence presence closer to the border to allow for the opening of a second front against Israel in the event of another conflagration between the Jewish state and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization in Lebanon, Haaretz said.
It said Iran plows around $800 million per year into Hezbollah and additional hundreds of millions into the Assad regime in Syria, Shi'ite militias fighting in Syria and Iraq, and Shi'ite Houthi insurgents in Yemen. (It also supports the Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror organizations in the Gaza Strip to the tune of $70 million annually.)
Israel sees attempts by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah to improve the latter's missile accuracy as a major threat.
A week ago, Israeli warplanes allegedly struck the Syrian military's Scientific Studies and Research Center (CERS) facility near Masyaf, in the northwestern Hama province, damaging several buildings and killing two Syrian soldiers.
Western officials have long associated the CERS facility with the production of precision missiles, as well as chemical weapons.
Over the past five years, Israel has carried out dozens of airstrikes within Syria, hitting conveys of weapons bound for Hezbollah, as well as weapons storage facilities.
It rarely acknowledges specific attacks. Last Thursday's operation was reported by foreign media.
On his current trip to Latin America, Netanyahu has stressed the dangers posed by Iran, through its quest for nuclear weapons, its involvement in conflicts across the region, and via terrorism.
The Iranians "have a terror machine that encompasses the entire world, operating terror cells in many continents," he said in Argentina on Tuesday. "In the case of Iran, it's not only merely terror but the quest for nuclear weapons that concerns us and should concern the entire international community. We understand the danger of a rogue nation having atomic bombs."
Israel will 'act to enforce' Syria red lines, its US ambassador says - By Ron Kampeas - https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-will-act-to-enforce-syria-red-lines-its-us-ambassador-says/
Ron Dermer: Jewish state won't tolerate Iranian presence on its border, will prevent delivery of advanced weapons to Hezbollah
Ron Dermer, Israel's ambassador to Washington, told a Rosh Hashanah event packed with US officials that Israel would enforce two red lines in the civil war in neighboring Syria: the transfer of major weapons to Hezbollah and the establishment of a permanent Iranian beachhead in the country.
"Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been very clear about Israeli red lines in Syria and Israel has acted to enforce those red lines," Dermer said Tuesday evening at a Rosh Hashanah party at his residence in suburban Washington, DC. "The transfer of game-changing weapons to Hezbollah and the opening of a front" for anti-Israel terrorism.
The Netanyahu government has been wary of what the end-game could be of US efforts to end the war in Syria. There is a concern among Israelis - articulated most often by the defense minister, Avigdor Liberman - that the Trump administration might defer to Russia, which is allied with the Assad regime. Russia's Assad alliance means it is in a de facto alliance with Iran and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, because they also are allied with the Assad regime.
In an attack Syria blamed on Israel, combat planes last week hit what is believed to be a chemical weapons facility in an Assad-held portion of western Syria. Israel has not acknowledged responsibility.
Dermer cast the intensification of Iranian influence in Syria as a consequence of Obama administration policies, particularly the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which traded sanctions relief for rollbacks in Iran's nuclear program. He said Iran hit the "double jackpot" with the deal, earning money while not truly giving up its nuclear ambitions, and has since used it to expand its influence.
Outside of concerns over the possible outcomes of the Syria civil war, Netanyahu and Dermer have made no secret of their preference for US President Donald Trump over former US president Barack Obama. Dermer twice said he was "deeply grateful" to the Trump administration for its role in brokering closer ties between Israel and Sunni Arab nations - a closeness spurred in part by shared concerns about Iran and Islamist terrorists - and for Nikki Haley's "unequivocal support" for Israel in the United Nations, where she is US ambassador. He called for applause for Jason Greenblatt, who was present and who is Trump's top negotiator.
Dermer expressed support for congressional legislation that would slash US funding for the Palestinian Authority as long as it continued payments to the families of Palestinians jailed for or killed attacking Israelis. In expressing support for Greenblatt's peace-brokering efforts, Dermer notably did not note that the centerpiece of the Trump administration's peace push is restarting talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Dermer said he anticipated a "dramatic change" in the US position on the Iran nuclear deal in coming weeks, saying there either would be changes to the deal or it would be scrapped. Trump has said he might not recertify Iranian compliance with the deal when he is due to do so next month.
Dermer did not mention anti-Semitism, in the United States or in Europe - notable at an event to which the embassy invites the US Jewish leadership. US Jewish organizations have repeatedly expressed alarm since Trump's election of the increasing influence of the "alt-right," a loose confederacy of anti-establishment conservatives that includes white supremacists, and also at the similar recent prominence of such views in Europe. They have also been alarmed at Trump's equivocation when called to condemn white supremacists.
Iran pays $830 million to Hezbollah - Anna Ahronheim -
Iran is also "the largest backer financially and militarily'' to Hamas's militant wing.
Two years after the nuclear deal was signed by Iran and world powers, the Islamic Republic is reported to have boosted its financial support to Hezbollah to $800 million a year, a dramatic increase from the $200m. it was said to be giving its proxy when sanctions were in place.
Hezbollah, one of the most prominent terrorist organizations in the world, has become bogged down fighting in Syria for Bashar Assad. Of its approximately 22,000 fighters, about 7,000 are fighting for the Assad regime, and some 2,000 have been killed in the four years the group has spent in Syria.
The US and European countries lifted sanctions against Iran in January 2016, releasing roughly $100 billion in assets after international inspectors found that Iran had dismantled large parts of its nuclear program. According to US media, officials say President Donald Trump is ready to extend those waivers that were issued under the Obama administration.
According to IDF assessments, while Hezbollah has increased its military capabilities due to its fighting in Syria, the group has spread its troops across the entire Middle East and is hurting financially.
The finances of the Lebanese Shi'ite group, designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by dozens of countries around the globe, also has been hit hard due to years of sanctions by the United States.
In June, a US congressional committee met to discuss enhancing sanctions targeting Hezbollah met with four security experts for advice on additional legal actions against the group's financial network.
According to the committee, the 2015 Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act (HIPA), which threatens sanctions against anyone who finances the group in any significant way, was a good start but needs enhancing because Hezbollah continues to remain a significant threat to Israel.
Iran also is reported to be spending hundreds of millions of dollars for its militias in Syria and Iraq, as well as supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen who are fighting pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition.
Although HIPA placed major restrictions and other measures of the Lebanese banking sector, lawmakers in Washington believe it needs to be widened to cripple the group, which is involved in fighting in those countries.
Tehran, which froze its financial support to Hamas in the Gaza Strip after the group refused to support the Assad regime in 2012, is now reported to be providing the Gazan terrorist group some $60m.-70m.
In August, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar said ties have been restored and that Iran is "the largest backer financially and militarily" to Hamas's military wing.
Meanwhile, the IDF on Thursday afternoon announced the end of the large-scale Or Hadagan military drill in northern Israel. The exercise, with tens of thousands of soldiers from all branches of the army simulating a war with Hezbollah, was the largest IDF drill in almost 20 years.
"The objective of the exercise was to improve the Northern Command, the Northern Corps and the ability of its divisions to fight the multi-branch operational system in the Northern Command, with an emphasis on the Lebanese front," the Spokespersons Unit said.
During the drill, large numbers of aerial, naval and land vehicles and equipment were used and troops were trained in joint exercises. Both defense and offensive capabilities, as well as fire power, intelligence and simultaneous military maneuvers were practiced in several sectors of the northern front.
The Home Front Command also practiced implementation of the plan to evacuate residents of communities that sit on the border with Lebanon.
Although the primary threat posed by Hezbollah remains its missile arsenal, which has been rebuilt with the help of Iran since the 2006 Second Lebanon War, the IDF believes the next war will see the group try to bring the fight to the home front by infiltrating Israeli communities to inflict significant civilian and military casualties.
News from Hal Lindsey Media Ministries - Hal Lindsey-
Last week, Hurricane Irma slammed into several Caribbean islands with a force that promised unprecedented destruction when it finally hit Florida.
Thank God the possible didn't happen. Irma made landfall in Florida as a Category 4 hurricane, not the Category 5+ that it had been while over the Atlantic.
Further, at the last moment, it veered to the west and moved up the less densely populated Gulf coast of Florida rather than the Atlantic coast and the population centers extending north from Miami.
Though still powerful and very destructive, it moved so quickly that it never wreaked the devastation that most forecasters feared.
While Irma was bearing down on Florida, on the other side of the Gulf of Mexico another natural disaster was unfolding. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. It was felt up to 1,700 miles away. It caused damage in Mexico City, 700 miles away from the epicenter. Almost 100 died.
Less than 24 hours later, Hurricane Katia made landfall on Mexico's Gulf coast. Though it weakened to a Category 1, it still did considerable flooding and caused at least two deaths.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose had formed in the eastern Atlantic and was headed toward the Caribbean. Fortunately, it, too, weakened and then veered north into the Atlantic.
And all of this occurred hard on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, the costliest storm in U.S. history.
Lost amid the hurricanes and the strongest earthquake in the last century in Mexico, was the biggest wildfire in the history of the city of Los Angeles.
Just a few hundred miles to the north, San Francisco was experiencing a deadly heatwave with temperatures up to 36 degrees higher than the seasonal normal.
The Associated Press observed, "With four big hurricanes, a powerful earthquake and wildfires, it seems that nature recently has just gone nuts."
One of the founders of Weather Underground said, "Nature's gone crazy."
The Apostle Paul wrote about these days. In Romans 8:22 he said, "The whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now." (NASB)
Paul wrote these words in the first century. Creation has been in severe stress ever since sin entered the world. It was already groaning in Paul's day.
It's interesting that the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to use the words Jesus used to describe the last of the last days -- "the pains of childbirth." We know from this (and from the characteristics of childbirth labor, that is, the pangs steadily increasing in intensity and frequency as the time for birth nears) that creation's groaning and travailing will get worse and worse as we near the end of the Age.
The Bible also speaks of other manifestations of this travail: famines, pestilences, earthquakes, and wars and threats of war. All coming faster and with greater intensity as time advances.
Though weather forecasting is an inexact science, I am thankful that modern forecasters are able to save lives by providing warning of the approaching danger. When the great hurricane hit Galveston, Texas, in 1900, about 12,000 people died. Mostly because they were caught by surprise.
But as thankful as I am for the life-saving benefits of modern weather forecasting, Jesus said there are other signs even more important than the weather -- the signs of the times.
He said, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' And in the morning, 'There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:2-3 NASB)
I believe these are the days the ancient prophets longed for. The signs they foretold are unfolding before our eyes. Yet relatively few Christian leaders are pointing them out to their followers.
Everyone pays attention when the weatherman gives weather warnings. We should give even more urgent heed to God's warnings for these days.
In 2012, President Barack Obama issued a stern warning to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He said that if Assad used chemical weapons in Syria's civil war, it would mean that he had crossed a so-called "red line." That would incur a military response from the United States.
The next year, Assad used chemical weapons.
I think Obama intended to respond, but when he sensed reluctance from Congress, he backed down.
So Russian President Vladimir Putin happily stepped in and saved the day for President Obama. He made a deal with Assad to allow Russia to remove Assad's chemical weapons from Syria to parts unknown.
Obama accepted the opportunity to save face and even reminded the world a couple of years later that, indeed, all of Assad's weapons had been forfeited. He said, "Assad gave up his chemical weapons. That's not speculation on our part...."
Well, it may not have been speculation, but it wasn't true. In fact, Assad used his chemical weapons again just last April.
The United Nations confirmed that fact just this week.
If you recall, though, President Trump didn't wait six months for U.N. confirmation. Within days, he ordered 59 Tomahawk missiles fired upon a Syrian airbase as warning.
Fast forward to last week. Israel launched an airstrike against a factory inside Syria. Contrary to the usual international brouhaha that usually accompanies an Israeli action against any of its adversaries, the world has been silent.
That's because everyone knows that Syria was producing chemical weapons at that plant. Apparently, they were also developing precision missiles there.
A former Major General in Israel's Defense Forces thinks that the lack of response to the strike from Syria and Hezbollah indicates another retaliation is underway. Yaakov Amidror said, "I think the main response will be an acceleration of Iranian efforts to entrench themselves in Syria."
Recently, Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said, "Everything will be done to prevent the existence of a Shi'ite Corridor from Tehran to Damascus."
I fear that it's too little, too late. The corridor exists and it's already longer than the one Lieberman described.
Hezbollah largely controls Lebanon. Iran controls Hezbollah. Hezbollah is actively fighting in Syria on behalf of Assad. It gets most of its money and all of its high-tech military hardware from Iran.
That means the Shi'ite Corridor already extends from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal noted, "Iran is using Syria's civil war, and the battle against ISIS, as cause to gain a permanent military foothold in Syria...."
That puts Iran on Israel's northern border.
Russia used President Obama's reluctance to act as an invitation to establish a military presence in Syria. And we know that Russia's war there against ISIS is allowing its military entrenchment in Syria to quietly solidify.
That puts Russia on Israel's northern border.
2600 years ago, God revealed to the prophet Ezekiel that in the last days, Iran and Russia would be part of a huge assault on Israel. Today, the actors have taken their places on the stage.
Finally, this week I will conclude my discussions of "Law" and "Grace." I want to share with you what I believe is one of Satan's cleverest tricks to deceive sincere believers: Legalism.
We must realize that "Law" and "Grace" are completely different systems in themselves. And, they are mutually exclusive.
To mix these principles robs the law of its bona fide terror, and grace of its creative freeness. What does this mean to us in a practical way?
It means that, after receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior, there is nothing we're required to do to earn God's favor. Under grace, our acceptance with God is based on the fact that we are IN Christ and God accepts HIM completely. Our acceptance is based solely on Christ's performance for us.
If we insist on relating to God by the principle of law (legalism), then our acceptance with God is based on our own performance.
And trust me, it is impossible for you to perform to the level that God (the law) requires to earn His acceptance.
That is why I thank God every moment of every day for GRACE!
Don't miss this week's Report on TBN, Daystar, CPM Network, various local stations, www.hallindsey.com or www.hischannel.com . Check your local listings.
Please continue to pray for the victims of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Katia. Also pray for God's mercy on the hundreds of thousands who are suffering because of the earthquake in Mexico.
As I said last week, we can help with relief and aid, but only God can bring peace and hope to those in such distress.
The Enigma of the Lost Ark of the Covenant - By Harry Moskoff -
As Rosh Hashanah and the new year of 5778 approaches, most people tend to become more introspective and spiritually sensitive. What always seems to capture the minds and hearts of people from all backgrounds and cultures is the topic of the Temple in general, and the Ark of the Covenant in particular. The disappearance of the legendary Ark over 2700 years ago is an enigma that has given rise to much speculation by biblical archaeologists and explorers. There are many contradictory theories as to what really happened to this sacred artifact, and where it might be today. As such, I wrote a book ("The ARK Report") based on 25 years of research on the Jewish perspective, where I quote primary sources from the Bible and the Talmud, with Midrashic and Haggadic references throughout. What I found is something compelling.
I found that the Ark was not "lost" as many assume. In fact, it has been situated in the same place for all this time. Reminiscent of that great Disney movie with Nicholas Cage, National Treasure, this particular priceless Jewish treasure is about 4 stories (15m) underneath the present-day surface of the Temple Mount, to the southwest of the Dome of the Rock.
Any biblical archaeologist worth his/her salt will tell you that there are over 45 known tunnels underneath the Temple Mount, with several entrances that may lead to this subterranean area. But before we go there, perhaps a brief history on the subject is in order first?
Despite what UNESCO and the PA believe, the legendary Herodian Temple that stood for 420 years at the center of Jerusalem had all the splendor and glory that one could imagine. Even by today's standards. Our sages in the Talmud say that when the pilgrims made their way during the festivals to pray at the Temple, from afar the building looked to them like it was gleaming with moving waves as the sun refracted off the imported blue and white marble. Alas, the one item it did NOT contain was the most valuable man-made object ever, the Ark of the Covenant.
I get asked this often at the end of a lecture or presentation: Why didn't the exiles that came back from the Babylonian destruction just find the Ark and put it where it belongs, i.e. - in the Holy of Holies of the Second Temple? Answer: The leaders of that generation, including Ezra the High Priest, tried to find it, but it wasn't meant to be. The Talmud in fact states that there were 5 things that were in King Solomon's Temple that were missing in the Second Temple, and yes, the Ark was one of them.
The fact is, approximately 35 years before the destruction of the First Temple in 586 BC, King Josiah ordered that the Ark be brought into a special (what I call) "off-site" chamber that King Solomon had built as part of the original plan for the Temple as found in a special Temple scroll that was given to him by his father King David, and the prophets Samuel and Nathan (II Chronicles 35:3).
After happening upon an ancient Torah scroll of his ancestors, the righteous King Josiah foresaw that the Temple would be destroyed, and ordered the Ark's placement into this secret chamber well before Jerusalem was even being threatened. Nobody knew that the Holy of Holies would be then be empty, except for the King himself, the High Priest at that time and some other priests that helped place it into the chamber below. It's interesting to note that while hidden in this place, the Ark unfortunately wasn't able to help the Jews win the war that destroyed Jerusalem at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar many years later. I mean, let's face it, the Ark of God has a reputation as an indestructible war machine, having proven itself downing the great walls of Jericho, splitting the mighty Jordan River (or at least it was "mighty" back then), inflicting stomach diseases and plagues on the Philistines, etc.
So what about the other theories as to its whereabouts? What with all this hullabaloo about the Ark being in a church in Ethiopia? Every single television channel that deals with ancient treasures has some kind of documentary starring explorers going off to Ethiopia. After researching the matter though, my person view is that there really is something in that chapel, but not the authentic gold Ark that Betzallel made at the command of God containing the 2 Tablets of the 10 Commandments, etc. It would appear that this might be one of the duplicates that was made, as each Temple vessel had at least one duplicate in case the original contracted impurity. The fact that the Christian priests that guard it all seem to die younger than normal is also a sign, as we know that while the Israelites camped in the desert, the tribe of Levi was always the lowest in number in its male population, since the Ark consumed them and affected their longevity due to the Levites' constant proximity to the Tabernacle, where it was housed. And no, it's not in Tanis, Egypt or Tel Shiloh, where excavations were held in Israel this summer.
The Rambam (Maimonides) quotes the Talmud in a number of places that state that the Ark was buried "in its place" and for "generations after generations," and "to this very day" (I Kings 8:8) in the warren of tunnels beneath the Temple Mount. In fact, directly beneath the Holy of Holies. According to the theory I developed, the site of the Temples were NOT where the Dome of the Rock currently stands today, but further to the southwest, as indicated previously above.
The truth is, barring an existential war with Israel, the only reason for fetching the Ark nowadays and bringing it out into the open (at great personal risk by the way), would be theoretically to (gingerly) place it into the Third Temple, which will presumably be somewhere on the Temple Mount in the future. Like in the famous movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, I don't think the Ark itself would take well to being in a foreign environment, even if it was in a brand new Smithsonian Museum for Ancient History, or something of the sort.
Now, about those subterranean tunnel entrances. Even if one would theoretically obtain all the permits from the Israel Antiquities Authority, as well as the halachic permission from the Chief Rabbis of our day, it is simply too dangerous from a spiritual, as well as physical perspective to enter into these tunnels (which I mention in my book). The Ark seems to have this profound ability to sense who is around it, and if they have permission (as it were) to be there. And if not, the consequences are lethal! Why take the risk? After all, even Moses couldn't enter the Tabernacle (that he himself built) to speak with God without permission.
Who is worthy today?
In a recent interview on Coast to Coast AM Radio, I answered a question that dealt with the supernatural properties of the Ark, and how the golden cherubim angels on top of the Ark cover would turn their faces towards each other or away from each other depending on if God was pleased with the Jews or not, at that time. It was a heavenly sign of favor or the opposite. The Midrash relates a story that when the Temple was temporarily broken into towards the end of the First Temple period, the Ark was briefly taken out of the Holy of Holies chamber and paraded around by the Midianites (present-day Jordan). They marveled at how the angels, one male and one female embraced each other in a sensual, almost erotic fashion, and proclaimed in laughter and contempt: THIS is the most holy object of the Jews?!
Even as God was about to decree the destruction of Jerusalem and exile the Jews to Babylonia (Persia), He nevertheless wanted to show His divine love for His People. Similar to when a couple must part ways before a long journey and they are intimate that one last time, so too God is with Israel, and even to this day. Not sure if the angels are embracing right now, or even facing each other in that golden, underground chamber, but my bet is that they still are. One thing's for-sure though: the deep connection between God and Israel is no enigma. It's as strong as ever.
May we all be inscribed for an inspiring New Year - Amen!
Daily Jot: The trend against Christ and liberty - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Many point to the social issues in the United States and conclude that Americans are turning away from Jesus Christ. It is an obvious statement. Polls indicate that America is at the very least a type and shadow of 1 Timothy 4:1, "Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." According to Pew Research, "While nationwide surveys in the 1970s and '80s found that fewer than one-in-ten US adults said they had no religious affiliation, fully 23% now describe themselves as atheists, agnostics or "nothing in particular." There is no doubt, Christianity is losing ground. The problem, however, is even deeper and more complex.
Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shared the results of its poll of over 100,000 Americans. It indicated that the religions of youth in America are becoming more non-Christian: "At least one-third of Muslims (42%), Hindus (36%), and Buddhists (35%) are under the age of 30. Roughly one-third (34%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans are also under 30." According to an August Annenberg Public Policy Center poll, 37% of Americans could not name any rights guaranteed by the First Amendment; 85% did not know the First Amendment guaranteed freedom of religion; 86% didn't know it guaranteed freedom of the press; and 52% didn't know that freedom of speech was guaranteed.
On January 10, 1963, Congressman Albert S. Herlong Jr. of Florida read a list of 45 Communist goals into the Congressional Record. Number 17 read: "Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for Socialism and current Communist propaganda...Put the party line in textbooks." Numbers 27-29 were: "Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a "religious crutch." Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state." Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis."
The infiltration of communist doctrine against our children and us has had a long-term impact on our nation. This, combined with the extra-biblical, self-indulgent and emotional teachings of much of the "Church" in America, and we have a perfect storm. Many people are unaware of the truth of Christ, and as a whole they are ignorant of the fundamental rights that protect the truth of Christ and their very liberty. Moreover, the fastest growing demographic of these aimless souls are among our youth, which in half a generation is our nation. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, "...where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." In truth, without the Spirit of the Lord, our nation's freedom will fall away. Let us be more diligent and intentional in letting our light shine before men.
Daily Devotion: From Your Story to His Story - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. -Hebrews 11:5
Enoch was one of two men named in the Bible who never saw death. The Bible tells us that Enoch walked with God (see Genesis 5:22, 24). But it also tells us that he was a witness for God (see Hebrews 11:5).
Enoch had a testimony. And every Christian has a testimony, a reputation. It may be a good one. It may be a bad one. It may be a mediocre one. But we all have a testimony. And before we can effectively witness for God, we must first walk with God.
I think if your life is filled with Jesus Christ, then sharing the gospel will come pretty easily. It is not something you will have to psych yourself into doing. Rather, it is something you will simply find yourself doing because the Lord is so good to you.
When you are walking with the Lord as you ought to be, you will find that permeating your life and influencing you in the way you live, in the decisions you make, in the friends you choose, and in the things you say. And people will pay you the ultimate compliment when they say, "I have been watching you. There's something different about you. What makes you tick? Why are you the way that you are?"
Then you can say, "Let me tell you about my relationship with Jesus Christ." Instead of preaching at people, tell them your story. And as you tell them what happened to you, you can build a bridge from your story to His story. You can start by sharing what happened to you. Then tell them about the greatest story ever told: Jesus was born, lived the perfect life, died on the cross, and rose again from the dead.
You have a story to tell.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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