Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Zero-Sum - Pete Garcia -
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
Many great expositors, preachers, and writers over the years have attempted to chronicle the zeitgeist of our day. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this, we often paint too small a picture. In so doing, we lose sight of the overarching themes and campaign plans being waged by both sides of the battlefield. Yes, in the end, God wins and ultimately, that is all that matters. There is however, major issues with treating bible prophecy as if it doesn't matter, or conversely, applying the historicist-approach of attempting to insert every new development into the pages of holy writ, regardless of whether it fits or not.
While it is impossible for us on this side of the veil to completely understand the prophetic picture in its totality, we must be diligently objective regarding our understanding of the ramifications the prophetic nature of God's timing. We must provide objective reasoning to our analysis if we are to do our research any justice. An idea struck me as I was sitting outside of my house a few weeks ago talking to my mom about Galatians 4:4-5. It was something about the word fullness that struck me oddly. Fullness is not so much about convergence (although that is happening) as it is capacity or volume. What we discussed was that at the perfect time, God sent His Son to become the Man who would redeem mankind.
So what made that time perfect? Why couldn't Christ have come earlier or later?
1. Christ was born at the turn of the first millennium before the scepter departed from Judah (Gen. 49:10), thus fulfilling the prophecy spoken of by Jacob some 1,700 years prior. Whether we attribute this 'scepter' and 'lawgiver' as the legal right to sit on David's throne, or if it meant the right to apply and enforce Mosaic Laws to include adjudicating capital punishment, either way, Jesus of Nazareth fulfilled this by being born prior to the scepter departing from Judah.
2. Christ's birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection occurred before the Second Temple was destroyed. Had Christ arrived after the destruction of the Temple and the beginning of the diaspora, all records would have been lost and His legal right to David's throne could have been challenged. As it were, both Joseph and Mary were from the tribe of Judah and had to go to Bethlehem (Micah 5:2) for the Roman census (Luke 2:1-5).
3. Pax Romana meant a "state of comparative tranquility throughout the Mediterranean world from 27 BC, to 180 AD." (Source) Although Christianity remained relatively small during the first few centuries of the Roman Empire, the conditions were ripe for Christianity to explode over the next two centuries until Constantine finally legalized it.
We now know why He could not have come later, but why couldn't Christ have come earlier? His arrival and support of the Maccabean Revolt could have resulted in His political ascension to the throne and physical rule in Jerusalem.
Well, primarily, because Mary and Joseph had not yet been born.
They were His chosen vessels by which His Incarnation would occur. There was also the promise of John the Baptist (Christ's forerunner) and the personal promises to Simeon and Anna the prophetess in that they would see the Messiah before they died. More importantly, there needed to be this fullness of time (Daniel 9:24-26, Gal. 4:4-5) by which all of the aforementioned variables would be at their optimal conditions.
This lends further credence to an oft-underrated truth regarding Christ's First Advent in that Satan did not see it coming. Genesis 3:15, along with other First Advent prophecies, never specifically said that God Himself would put on human flesh. We assume Satan knew roughly, when the messiah would come. However, Satan must have assumed, as did most Jews, that the coming messiah would be a man like Moses or David. We know Satan successfully corrupted Moses (fear of leadership, striking the rock twice) and David (Bathsheba, census). However, Satan's attempt to corrupt Jesus in the wilderness failed spectacularly, thus adding fuel to his rage so much so that he convinced that generation to crucify Jesus. Furthermore, Satan did not know about Christ's true intentions, because Jesus largely kept this to Himself and to His apostles, and spoke cryptically about this when He did mention it to them (Mark 8:31, 9:30-32, 10:33-34). The Apostle Paul expands on this thought in 1st Cor. 2:7-8,
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
The fact that Satan did not know how the Christ would come (i.e....the Incarnation), and what His intentions were (the death, burial, and resurrection), gives us some insight to the events surrounding the mystery of the Rapture of the Church.
God's purpose for sending His Son to cruelly die confounds human wisdom. It seems antithetical to all of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah's victorious physical rule on earth. They (along with Satan and his hosts) were unable to comprehend that God's overarching strategic plans was providing mankind a pathway to redemption, because He kept this close to the chest. God knew that Satan and his hordes would be so intensely focused on winning the battle (killing Jesus), that they would lose the war.
Satan is prideful, hateful, murderous, wicked, and the father of lies, however, he is no dummy. Most reputable scholars believe that Satan was the most powerful and intelligent angel ever created (Ezekiel 28:11-19, Isaiah 14:12-17). And although he may have had delusions of grandeur at the beginning believing he could somehow unseat God, he now knows that the best he can hope for is a zero-sum ending. So although he has been busy trying to either destroy or corrupt the church for the past two-millennia (because Israel had not yet come back as a nation), we are not his main objective. Satan does not want to take as many people to hell just to spite God; he himself does not want to spend an eternity in the lake of fire. However, to achieve zero-sum between himself and God, he has to destroy Israel. If he can destroy Israel before the end, then he would have theoretically broken bible prophecy, which is to say, made God a liar (Isaiah 46:9-10).
The fact that the church (Matt. 16:18-19) Christ is building has been able to withstand the rise and fall of two-thousand years of pagan, satanically-influenced gentile rule, is a testament to the power of Christ and the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit (Comforter/Restrainer) whom indwells and seals His believers (2 Cor. 1:21-22, Eph. 1:11-14, 4:30). The Holy Spirit uses the church as salt and light in a dark and dying world. However, as powerful as the church was (and is), even the church's influence would diminish in the last days as foretold in Scripture.
This waning is due to the proliferation of evil and wickedness causing many within Christendom to apostatize (Acts 20:25-29, 2 Timothy 3, 2 Peter 3, Jude 1:3-4, etc.). Furthermore, that waning has consequences such as leaving a spiritual vacuum. Like divine bookends locking the church in a specific period of time, the dispensation of the church (Eph. 1:10) would have a beginning (Acts 2-Pentecost) and have an ending (Rev. 3:14-22). Unfortunately, due to the proliferation of apathy and ignorance promoted across Christendom today, most professing believers do not have a clue where and when the end comes. Most Christians today are like the Jews at Christ's First Advent, either not knowing or not caring when the Messiah arrives.
So where are we today? What are the signs that we are at the fullness of times?
Strange and unexplainable phenomena
As the influence of Christianity declines in the world, the spiritual vacuum created is filling up with a return to paganism and occult. This then increasingly invites dark and malevolent entities to enter our domain. Aided by new technology, we are now able to capture verifiable evidence through video footage, high-definition pictures and audio, International Space Station (ISS) CCTV, Google earth and other satellites, military aircraft, air / ground radar, infrared cameras, etc. These are providing legitimate evidence that the bizarre is going mainstream. Numerous government agencies, to include the Department of Defense and NASA, are finding it harder and harder to dismiss the mounting evidence. In other words, disclosure as near at hand.
~The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders...2 Thessalonians 2:9
Wickedness and immorality
Conditions on the ground have been getting progressively worse for some time now (at least from the 1960s until today). Events like 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis serve as warnings to the Tribulation kingdoms that US dominance is ending. From 2008-2016, we saw a tidal wave of immorality and wickedness sweep across the United States in the form of federal and often, unconstitutional mandates. From the FBI to the IRS, to Supreme Court judges and other federal positions, people who should have never served in any appointed office were riding in on Obama's coattails. It is as if the floodgates had busted open and anything goes. Which explains why our current administration is finding so much resistance across all levels of government and private sector in their threats to "drain the swamp." While we may make some headway slowing this tidal wave of evil, we will by no means thwart it. If nothing else, President Trump's presidency has finally exposed the rotten-underbelly hiding out in the shadows for far too long. They will never cease in their efforts at redefining evil for good, and good for evil.
~But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come...2 Timothy 3:1
Technology in and of itself is not evil; however, where we are today regarding our technological progression is frightening. Cloud data storage, quantum computing, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence, unmanned space missions, lethal unmanned autonomous weapon systems, digital crypto-currencies, bio-metrics, and digital facial recognition are just some of the new technology available to mankind today. Despite all of this, the overarching agenda seems geared specifically toward erasing privacy and connecting everyone to a giant grid, whether they like it or not. Someday soon, all of this great and fantastic technology will be at the disposal of just two men, the false prophet and the Antichrist.
~He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Revelation 13:16-17
From crime in our cities, to war-torn regions across the equatorial region (the 10/40 Window), lawlessness is on the rise. Opioids, pornography, alcoholism, socialism, racial tensions, economic disparity, synthetic drugs, laissez faire attitudes and subjective reasoning, have all contributed to increased lawlessness around the world. Moreover, where there is lawlessness, there is violence. Because the West led from behind for the previous eight-years, and because the government then, refused to deal with the lawlessness, violence flourished across the Middle East and Europe. Furthermore, the more urbanized the world becomes, the more lawless it becomes, and with a global population pushing past 7.6B people, things are getting crazier by the day...just as it was in the days of Noah (Luke 17:26-27).
~The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. Genesis 6:11
Unsolvable global issues
There has been noticeable increase in seemingly unsolvable dilemmas compounding the world. From the ever-elusive threat of climate change, energy and water shortages, potential pandemics, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), man is increasingly finding himself in dire situations. Although these issues vary in size and scope, they do however, have one common denominator, forcing mankind into uniting. By doing this, more and more individual liberty is sacrificed on the altar of the collective good, making way for the acceptance of the Beast.
~And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Luke 21:25-26
Geopolitical alignment along the biblical framework is the true telltale sign that major prophecies are on the verge of fulfillment. The exact alignment of the nations in Ezekiel 38 for instance, takes considerable time and resources. More importantly, it takes a shared common goal amongst its varied participants, which frankly, never existed in the past. The fact that Russia, Turkey, and Iran are all participating in major military operations inside of Israel's immediate northern neighbor, is striking. Furthermore, the fact that Scripture talks about a revived Roman Empire (Rev. 17:9-11) coming about, and seeing this transpire from 1942 until today, is equally compelling. However, the glaring absence of the most powerful nation the world has ever known, the United States, is what is truly shocking. Even today, we are in the process of divorcing ourselves from the United Nations and all its varying entities whilst the EU begins preparing for their end-times role.
~ Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name. Revelation 13:1
Currently, there are three nations and one political union who are in the midst of major demographic shifts in their populations. The changes these nations are about to experience will signal massive shifts in their demography that frankly, disqualify them from being major role players beyond 2040. Russia and Japan are suffering from massive population declines due to falling birthrates. China is suffering from a massive imbalance between male and females, as well as a burgeoning geriatric population. Within twenty-years, the European Union will cease to be ethnically European (even of varying nationalities) due to the massive influx of Middle Eastern and African immigrants who are currently fleeing their homelands. Of note, is that these nations know this, and know the longer they wait, the worse it will get. Which is why we are seeing them make the geopolitical, economic, and militaristic moves they are currently making (Dan. 2:42-43).
The further we move along God's timeline, the more militantly ignorant the world has to become, in order to ignore the giant, neon-flashing signs pointing at the nearness of the end. All one has to do is turn on the news and see wickedness bleeding through every facet of our society. Every time humanity has reached its fullness in iniquity, there has been a divine reckoning by way of a reset. The first reset ended with the flood in Noah's day (Genesis 6-9). The second reset occurred at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11). The third reset occurred with Christ's first coming. The last reset will occur at Christ's second coming.
Nestled securely and shrouded in mystery between the First and Second Advent, is Christ's removal of His own change agents / ambassadors, the Church. I believe that the Rapture of the Church (1 Thess. 4:13-18, 1 Cor. 15:51-55, Rev. 3:10) will reset the global world order into one fitting the final governmental system we see in the last week of years as described in Scripture. Upon our departure, Satan knows he has but a short time left. He will turn his full attention towards destroying Israel (Jer. 30:7-11, Dan. 9:27, Matt. 24:15-22), and wickedness will explode upon the earth ushering in a new and final dark age.
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake those days will be shortened. Matthew 24:21-22
The Palestinian Victimhood Narrative No Longer Sells - By Mitchell Bard - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=2562
After decades of accepting the idea that Palestinians deserve American financial assistance without offering anything in return, President Trump has finally said, "Enough." Fed up with their lies and obduracy, he decided the Palestinians are not entitled to US taxpayer dollars to pay terrorists, support phony refugees, and line the pockets of corrupt leaders who enrich themselves, their families, and their cronies.
Cutting aid to UNRWA was long overdue because UNRWA is a poster child for the fraudulence of Palestinian claims. UNRWA has invented five million refugees and created a welfare system to guarantee their perpetual misery.
The refugee problem could have been solved decades ago, as UNRWA originally envisioned, if the leaders in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria gave the Palestinians citizenship, took them out of camps, and allowed them to assimilate into their societies, where they already shared a common language, religion, and culture.
And how can anyone justify the fact that Palestinian leaders keep their people confined to camps. After Israel evacuated Gaza, the Palestinians said that they would build housing for refugees on the rubble of the settlements, and received billions of dollars for the project. I don't think a single house was built for a single refugee.
Where did the money go?
To Hamas, for building rockets and tunnels, and taking care of themselves at the expense of the people. Perhaps one day the refugees will grow tired of uselessly railing against Israel, and protest their jailors from Fatah and Hamas.
The Palestinians' enablers immediately predicted the loss of US funding would create a humanitarian catastrophe in the territories. But where are the other 190 countries in the world that could fill the gap? Most of these countries declare their fealty to the Palestinian cause and vote for every UN resolution that feeds Palestinian fantasies.
Of course, casting a vote is easy, because it costs them nothing. If they really cared, do you really believe a coalition of states, or the EU alone, could not replace the few hundred million dollars the United States was providing? The Arab oil producers could fund the Palestinian Authority's annual budget out of a week's oil revenues.
What if all the groups and individuals promoting the antisemitic boycott of Israel gave money to help the Palestinians rather than spending their money on convincing artists not to perform in Israel, pushing propaganda on college campuses, or interfering with employment opportunities for Palestinians who want to work for Israelis? I'm sure Roger Waters, Viggo Mortensen, Penelope Cruz, and the other thousand or so celebrity BDS advocates could come up with enough money to take care of the people they claim to care for so much.
Come to think of it, why haven't the Palestinians, who love to copy the pro-Israel community's ideas, sold Palestine Bonds. Israel raises more than $1 billion from donors in the US alone. Surely all the supporters of JVP and SJP, CAIR, and the other groups professing concern for the Palestinians would rush to their brokers to buy Palestine Bonds.
But the PA has no money to repay the bondholders. Maybe if tens of millions of dollars were not going to pay terrorists in Israeli jails and the families of martyrs they could have a bond campaign. But, if they did raise money from bonds, would the corrupt Palestinian leaders just embezzle it and continue to pay the terrorists?
People complaining about Trump have forgotten that the Palestinians conceded nothing to Obama. To the contrary, the Palestinians grew more obstinate in reaction to Obama's sympathy for their cause. Mahmoud Abbas, who had been negotiating with Ehud Olmert before Obama took office, refused to negotiate with Benjamin Netanyahu for his entire term.
Obama followed the tired, cliched playbook that produced 70 years of failure in US diplomacy. Trump's team is blowing up the entire Arabist approach. Unlike their predecessors, they understand the Palestinians' negotiating strategy has been to secure Israeli compromises without making any of their own. They would then use the last Israeli position as the starting point for new talks, aimed at drawing further concessions from their interlocutors.
According to The New Yorker's Adam Entous, Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt, and David Friedman compare the Palestinians' decision to reject Israel's previous offers to missing out on a chance to buy Google stock 20 years ago. Now it's too late to get the old price, and they must pay a lot more in return.
Equally important, Trump has smashed the sacred cows of the peace process -- Jerusalem and refugees. The Arabists believed that Israel needed to re-divide Jerusalem and predicted an apocalypse when Trump decided to take Jerusalem off the table by recognizing it as Israel's capital. Once again, they were wrong. Trump's move was critical to disabusing the Palestinians of their fantasies of solely claiming Jerusalem as their capital city.
The Arabists bought into the Palestinian narrative about five million refugees expelled in the Nakba, and expected Israel to accept at least a limited "right of return," knowing that this was suicide for Israel as a Jewish state. Trump, however, refuses to accept the UNRWA definition of refugees and the administration is calculating a realistic figure for the actual number of refugees -- probably more like 150-200,000 -- that would be near the 100,000 number that Israel has long offered to accept on a humanitarian basis.
Israel will be expected to make concessions, including perhaps evacuating some settlements, but these will likely be consistent with past Israeli offers.
With the exception of the fanatics in Tehran who care about the Palestinians only to the extent that they can be used to advance Iranian interests and threaten Israel, most Arab and Muslim leaders have grown tired of the Palestinian issue. Arab leaders were said to fear the "Arab street" rising up against them if they dared abandon the Palestinian cause. It was always a myth. When the street did not react after the US recognized Jerusalem and moved its embassy, the lack of concern for the Palestinians became clearer than ever.
Trump's peace plan is unlikely to succeed, but this has nothing to do with the elements of the plan and everything to do with Palestinian irredentism. From an ideological, Islamic, psychological, and political standpoint, the Palestinians have no desire for peace with Israel.
Ideologically, the Palestinians are led by the old guard that has never been psychologically capable of abandoning the idea of liberating all of "Palestine," which means they are no more willing to give up Haifa than they are Jerusalem. From the Islamic standpoint, it is inconceivable that what the Palestinians consider Muslim land should be ruled by Jews or that dhimmis can rule over Muslims.
Psychologically, the Palestinians feel aggrieved, consider the establishment of Israel the "original sin," and need to feel their grievances (such as acknowledging the "right of return") are addressed. Politically, surveys indicate the Palestinian public has little interest in peace without Israeli capitulation -- and even if they felt differently, they have no say under their dictatorial leaders.
The Palestinians deserve better, but, as The Wall Street Journal editorialized, "If the Palestinians want to be treated with the respect of a peace partner, they have to first show a desire for peace." And it really has to start with the Palestinian people, who are suffering and discontented with the denial of their civil and human rights by their leaders, but have vented that frustration on Israel.
They will have to redirect their kites and rocks and bombs at the Muqata in Ramallah, and the headquarters of Hamas. They will have to demand control of their future and abandon the ideology, religious fanaticism, and politics of the past, and open themselves to new opportunities.
On the Move - By Daymond Duck -
I was in bed and it was about the same time that I wake up every morning.
Our TV was on and two guests were debating the hearings on Brett Kavanaugh, Pres. Trump's nominee for a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.
One guest said, "They don't really believe those things they are saying. They are just trying to rile up their base."
I thought: casting the truth to the ground, deceit, false accusations, and hating others are signs that the end of the age is near, and these sins are now an acceptable tactic to "rile up the base" (Dan. 8:12; Matt. 24:4-11; II Tim.3:3).
I got out of bed thinking: it is tragic for our nation, and I have never seen it this bad before.
A host said it is time for the news, and a reporter said Tesla stock plunged more than 6% yesterday following the live appearance of Elon Musk smoking marijuana on a YouTube program the night before.
I thought: that is just one company, but an economic decline and drug use are signs of the Tribulation Period.
That was followed by a story of a panel advising the Texas State Board of Education to stop teaching students that the defenders of the Alamo were "heroic."
I thought: that is PC nonsense and they are trying to replace patriotism and nationalism with globalism.
I am not against legal immigration, but God created nations and borders, and Satan is behind the World Government movement (Gen. 11).
I realized that it was Saturday morning and the Feast of Trumpets would begin at sundown Sunday night and end at sundown Tuesday night (Israel time); and I asked myself if it was possible that the Rapture could be less than 72 hours from now?
I wondered if anyone would be expecting the Rapture on Tuesday because Jesus said He will come back at a time when no one is expecting it.
It occurred to me that in a couple of hours I would be meeting with friends that love Bible prophecy and I needed to get my mind on what I am going to say.
I went to my desk to look over my notes and saw an article by Rabbi Tuly Weisz.
In essence, Rabbi Weisz said the Creation Story is the first story in the Bible because God wants everyone to know that He created the world, it belongs to Him, and He can do whatever He wants to do with it.
I will add that possibly the second story in the Bible is that Satan corrupted everyone on earth except for eight people, so God destroyed it with a Flood.
God wants us to know that He created this world and He has the power to destroy this world, if He chooses to do so.
Rabbi Weisz noted that another big story that appears early in the Bible is the beginning of the nation of Israel.
God made a covenant that says all of the land of Israel will go through Abraham and the descendants of Isaac, not Ishmael.
So, it doesn't matter what the world believes because the Creator of the world and the One that destroyed it with a Flood will have the final word, and Israel will get all of the Promised Land even if God has to send the Tribulation Period.
The next note on my list concerned the birth of a red heifer without blemish and spot in Israel, "paving the way for re-establishing the Temple service and marking the final stage of redemption" (provided it is perfect when it becomes 3 years old).
I read that there is speculation that there might not have been a red heifer for the last 2,000 years because God was not ready for the Temple to be rebuilt; but now that a red heifer has been born in Israel, we should ask if our generation is the one that needs one.
A friend and I speculated that this is interesting timing because Israel has been in existence for 70 years, Pres. Trump is pushing his peace proposal, the Battle of Gog and Magog could be looming, a Muslim defeat in the Battle of Gog and Magog could open the door for rebuilding the Temple, etc.
I continued to look at my notes: If Syria uses chemical weapons at Idlib, the destruction of Damascus and the Battle of Gog and Magog could be looming; a 6.7 earthquake in Japan; 9 inches of rain in Manhattan, KS in one night; God said the towns in Israel would be rebuilt, and there are now 1,215 towns in Israel, etc., etc.
God is on the move and people need to be ready.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
The Source of Real Hope - Lee Strobel -
In his great mercy [God] has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
"Where is the hope?" asked Christian statesman Chuck Colson. "I meet millions who tell me that they feel demoralized by the decay around us. The hope that each of us has is not in who governs us, or what laws are passed, or what great things we do as a nation."
Then where is the hope? In spite of how frequently people banter about hope, this is still a challenging question. Colson pointed out that hope is not to be found in government, laws, or a renewed sense of national pride. And hope doesn't come from mere wishful thinking, blind optimism, or hopeful dreams. And, as it turns out, hope is an elusive commodity in most of the popular worldviews and religious options as well.
Thankfully, we have a good answer that is grounded not in wishful thinking, but in a historical event that gives us a solid reason to trust God for better things ahead, both in this life and the next. Specifically, I'm talking about the resurrection of Jesus.
If you read and reflect on the Gospel accounts about Jesus, you'll soon realize that he was a walking dispenser of hope! He lived a life that instilled in his followers the hope that they could find greater meaning and purpose in their lives. He spread tangible hope as he healed the broken hearts and diseased bodies of countless people. He embodied hope for our earthly lives, and he promised a hope-filled existence in heaven for eternity to those who would trust and follow him.
And when Jesus was challenged to explain the reasons for such hope, he staked it all on one imminent event: "Destroy this temple," he said, "and I will raise it again in three days." John explained in his gospel that the "temple [Jesus] had spoken of was his body" (John 2:19, 21). He was predicting not only his death, but also and especially his resurrection from the dead three days later.
So for Jesus' followers, both then and now, the Easter miracle is the make-or-break event. Either Jesus would rise from the dead, proving he was who he said he was and could do what he promised to do, or he would not, and he would be exposed as a fraud who was spreading false hope.
See why the resurrection is so important? That's why it's the lynchpin of Christianity. Said the apostle Paul: "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins . . . . If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19).
Thankfully, Paul didn't stop there! He went on to declare, "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:20-22, emphasis mine).
The resurrection of Jesus is a powerful and miraculous event on which we can confidently pin our hopes.
A Red Heifer!...? - Jim Fletcher - Jim1fletcher@yahoo.com
Word has come from Israel that a (tentatively) spotless red heifer has been born. IF it is the long-awaited red heifer, huge prophetic implications are in place. Of course, in order for the New Temple to be dedicated, a spotless red heifer will have to be sacrificed in Jerusalem. Such has not existed for millennia (and Jews are considered impure until this is done).
According to a report, the Temple Institute has made the announcement:
"Last Tuesday, the Temple Institute's Red Heifer program was blessed with results; an entirely red female calf was born, paving the way for re-establishing the Temple service and marking the final stage of redemption.
"Almost three years ago the Temple Institute inaugurated its Raise a Red Heifer in Israel program. Due to laws restricting the importation of live cattle into Israel, the Temple Institute imported frozen embryos of red angus, implanting them in Israeli domestic cows. The pregnant cows were raised on cattle ranches in different locations throughout the country. The cows are giving birth this summer with several calves already having been born.
"One week after it's birth, the newborn red heifer was certified by a board of rabbis as fulfilling all the Biblical requirements. The rabbis emphasized that the heifer could, at any time, acquire a blemish rendering it unsuitable. They will be inspecting the calf periodically to verify its condition."
Well, this is news indeed!
The red heifer was perhaps the key element in a biblically mandated purification ritual.
You can read for yourself the description in Numbers 19.
The three main criteria for establishing THE red heifer are 1) no spot or blemish (actually, the heifer can have no more than two "non-red" hairs) 2) it hasn't been used for labor and 3) it has never been pregnant.
The whole story is one of fascinating details. The report goes on to say that such red heifers are extremely rare and in fact, Moses prepared the first one and from that time until the destruction of the Temple, only nine heifers were prepared (the amount of ashes needed is very small).
Now here's where it gets especially interesting. According to Jewish tradition-tradition, not Scripture-there will only be a total of 10 red heifers in history, with the tenth ushering in the Messianic Age.
I have heard for years that THE red heifer had been born, but each eventually became unsuitable for the ritual. This one might pass from the scene as well, but if it does not, then we are privileged to live in this Age in a special way.
As our dear friend Tommy Ice likes to say:
Daily Jot: A rapture ready nation - Bill Wilson -
Psalm 33:10-12 says, "God brings nothing to the plans of nations, he foils the plans of the peoples. But the counsel of God stands forever, his heart's plans are for all generations. How blessed is the nation whose God is God, the people he chose as his heritage!" Recent headlines are showing just how far this world has fallen, and continues to fall away from the precepts of God. A lot of folks say that if the rapture occurred, America would be like Sodom and Gomorrah because all the Christians would be gone. My question is, "What does America look like now?" Point is, the moral high ground has been taken by the immoral, and it happened without any rapture. Oh, it could be worse, but, really, who are we fooling?
What we need in this country is an honest look at why things are as they are and how we can impact them by a return to the ancient paths of our Lord; a revival of understanding of, and relationship with, the one true God, and his son Jesus the Messiah. This revival is not the showy mega church version of revival. It is a revival of the heart--a return to the gospel and the scriptures in their traditional form and meaning. If we became a nation of Christians so passionate in our relationship with God, we would be described like the apostles and disciples in Acts 17:6 "These who have turned the world upside down are come here also." We would be as Jesus described in the Sermon on the Mount, "salt of the earth."
I've heard many say, "Who cares, we'll be out of here and with the Lord when we are raptured?" My answer is that we should be better than that. I believe the Lord expects better than that. The Great Commission says that we are to make disciples. Romans 12:1 says that we are to "present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 12:21 says, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." Throughout the scriptures are calls to action for those who believe. We are not supposed to be a royal priesthood sitting around a rapture waiting room, but rather showing "forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light."
First and foremost, we need to get right with and have a close personal relationship with God and Jesus Christ. In that relationship we will be inspired to be more than just members of an exclusive club waiting for the blessed hope. We will be a living testimony to the one true God, and by our example and actions, we will make disciples. These disciples will organically begin to change the nation from its current state to one whose God is truly the one true God. This is far different than sitting in a church pew listening to self-indulgent, extra biblical, out of context concepts disguised as Christianity. Let us be an Acts 5:29 people where we "obey God rather than men," and in our obedience present a true rapture ready nation whose God is God upon the Lord's return!
Daily Devotion: Where Revival Begins - By Greg Laurie -
"When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; and my prayer went up to You, into Your holy temple." -Jonah 2:7
God told Jonah to go and preach to the people of Nineveh, but Jonah boarded a boat and went in the opposite direction. When a violent storm hit, the sailors began to cry out to their gods. But Jonah told them, "Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me" (Jonah 1:12 NKJV).
You know the rest of the story. They followed Jonah's advice, and the Lord brought a "great fish" to swallow Jonah. I have to say that Jonah was stubborn. He spent three days and three nights inside that fish's stomach . . . wrapped in seaweed . . . fish smacking him in the face . . . humidity like you wouldn't believe. Yet he refused to budge.
Eventually, Jonah came to his senses. He prayed. There in the belly of that fish, he had a personal revival. Jonah was ready to do what God had called him to do. He was revived and recommissioned by God.
First God sent revival to Jonah, then Jonah brought revival to Nineveh. That is because nothing can happen through us until it first happens to us. It has to start with us.
If you want to raise your children in the way of the Lord, then make sure you are walking in the way of the Lord. They will listen to your bedtime stories and mini-sermons, but they will be watching your life to see if you live that out. Some things are caught, and other things are taught.
If you want to tell people you work with about Jesus Christ, then make sure you are a model of what it is to follow Christ.
Revival starts with you and me.
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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