Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
God's Prophetic Timepiece - By Matt Ward - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/10/25/gods-prophetic-timepiece/
"Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world" (Winston Churchill).
Strictly speaking, the Jews should not exist. For over 3,000 years the Jewish race has managed to persist and survive, while all others before them have been relegated to forgotten pages of world history. Nations and empires that at one time threatened the existence of the Jewish race have themselves suffered the fate they wished to mete out to the Jews. Empires of the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Media-Persians, the Romans, and the Greeks all ceased to be, including in more recent times, Hitler's vision of a Nazi empire.
Despite spending 2,500 of the 3,000 years of their existence scattered to the four corners of the world in diaspora, the Jews remain and survive. When Blaise Pascal, the great Christian philosopher, was asked by King Louis XIV of France to give him proof of the existence of God, Pascal answered simply, "Why the Jews, your Majesty, the Jews!"
The Jewish race is unique to all human history; there is quite simply no other race like them on Earth.
Leo Tolstoy, the writer of War and Peace, acknowledged this truth: "What is the Jew? ... What kind of unique creature is this whom all the rulers of all the nations of the world have disgraced and crushed and expelled and destroyed; persecuted, burned and drowned, and who, despite their anger and their fury, continues to live and to flourish."
Even the vehement atheist and self-proclaimed enemy of God, Friedrich Nietzsche, who wrote the infamous statement, "God is dead," in several of his works, acknowledged the uniqueness of this ubiquitous people: "The Jews are beyond all doubt the strongest, toughest, and purest race at present living in Europe; they know how to succeed even under the worst conditions."
From earliest antiquity there exists account after account detailing frequent, state-sponsored antisemitism all over the known world. There are accounts of pogroms, of indiscriminate violence, and of persecution. 2 Maccabees (124 BC), written in antiquity, provides just one example of many. It tells of a Jewish woman who had seven sons. This Jewish mother is forced to watch as one son after another is executed before her eyes, all because Antiochus IV Epiphanes tried to force them to eat pork. They all refused, so they all died.
Today is no different from any age past. Antisemitism exists today and is as pernicious, persistent and increasingly pervasive, especially in Europe, as it has ever been. History is beginning to repeat itself with Jews being murdered from Paris to Copenhagen, synagogues attacked, burned and mobbed; and Jews, in increasing numbers, are leaving.
Even within mainstream Christianity there is no longer solace for Israel and the Jewish race. The old antisemitism, that in part fueled the fire for such horrors as the Crusades and the medieval Inquisitions, is returning to the modern-day church.
It is one of the great tragedies of our time that many Christians completely miss the significance of Israel existing in our own day. This tiny nation, that occupies only half of one percent of the total land mass of the Middle East, is the true cornerstone of all end-times Bible prophecy.
The ceaseless and increasing castigation and persecution of Israel, and of Jews still in diaspora, is not without purpose; God is still very much in control. Israel is a beacon which indicates exactly where we are on God's prophetic timetable. It is a huge prophetic marker pointing to the increasingly imminent end of this age.
Prophetically everything begins and ends with Israel. God has guaranteed the people of Israel a national existence forevermore. Israel, in turn throughout her existence, has brought immeasurable material and spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ to the Gentile nations of this world: "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (Genesis 12:3). Indeed we have been blessed.
As well as these innumerable blessings, Israel and the Jews also define and determine the primary focus of the whole eschatological program of God past, present and future. Yet most today, because biblical illiteracy abounds, have completely missed the point of Israel. This is the season of the Lord's return; the rebirth of Israel in 1948 absolutely guarantees it.
Jesus will come someday soon, "like a thief" (Rev. 16:15). However, His coming is not meant to be a surprise to those who know His word, only for those who reject it. For those that are watching, the return of Jesus for His bride is meant as a "blessed hope" (Titus 2:13), with a specific reward attached for those actively anticipating His at any moment return (2 Tim. 4:8).
Israel is God's very own super sign, and the majority of Christians have either missed the point of Israel, or worse, actively rejected her. Israel allows us to discern, with a reasonable degree of specificity, exactly which "time" and "season" it is we are living in today, as all other end-time prophecy is gauged through the prism of Israel.
This is the primary reason why many within the Church today are so completely clueless about the days we live in, even actively rejecting the lateness of this hour. They fail to recognize the significance of the rebirth of the nation of Israel in 1948, seeing no importance to modern Israel at all. As a result of this, they miss the first, most important prophetic marker through which all other end-time prophecy is to be understood.
This means that they cannot even begin to interpret "times and seasons" because they have no starting point, the rebirth of Israel in 1948. They make this mistake because of bad doctrine, an adherence to replacement theology and, though it is uncomfortable to say it, because of the rise of antisemitism within Christianity today.
Israel is an active demonstration of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Israel has returned to its ancient land, its Abrahamic inheritance, after two thousand years of harsh diaspora, and she remains, just as predicted, in unbelief to this day (Isaiah 11:11-12). Just as the prophet Isaiah foresaw, a nation was born in just one day, on May 14, 1948.
"Who has ever heard of such things? Who has ever seen things like this? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children" (Isaiah 66:8).
Hebrew has returned as the spoken language of Israel (Zephaniah 3: 8-10), and preparations for the rebuilding of the temple is common talk, as is the news of Red Heifer births. No biblically acceptable, blemishless Red Heifers have been born for over two thousand years, until very recently.
Ethiopian Jews have returned to Israel, while Russia has risen and its Jews have returned "from the north country" (Isaiah 43:5-6; Jeremiah 16:15). Indeed, one day soon the Jews will look back and determine that this unique regathering from worldwide dispersal, that has happened in our lifetime, is a greater miracle than was their deliverance from Egyptian captivity under Moses (Jeremiah 16:14-15; 23:7-8).
Israel's deserts have bloomed (Isaiah 51:3), and her fruit, literally and metaphorically, fills the whole earth (Isaiah 27:6). Trees now grow again in Israel, a land that was a barren waste for two thousand years (Isaiah 41:18-20), and Israel has reached a point where she is more prosperous now than ever in the past (Ezekiel 36:11).
Israel has been completely rebuilt (Amos 9:11, 13) and has prevailed without exception against all of her enemies in modernity, up to this point at least (Isaiah 41:12-14).
Now established once again in these end times as a nation state (Ezekiel 37: 21-22), Israel is fast becoming the pariah of all the world, and the leaders of all nations seem utterly obsessed with finding a solution to the stalled so-called "peace process." In doing so they seek to divide Jerusalem in a "two state solution" that is already doomed to failure (Zechariah 12:2-3). When it reaches fruition this "covenant with death" will be annulled by God Himself (Isaiah 28:18). The wrath of God will fall upon all those nations that dare to divide Jerusalem, the City of the King who will return.
Israel, today mostly alone and isolated in the Middle East, is being increasingly surrounded, as predicted, by hostile Arab enemies who are baying for her blood (Ezekiel 35:1-36:7). At this point it is evident to all who have eyes to see that Gog from the "remote parts of the north" has swept down into the Middle East where, along with the "horde" he now leads, he will one day soon come against little Israel in order to "take a spoil" (Ezekiel 38:1-39:16). It will be the Lord God Himself who will fight for Israel on that fast-approaching day, and He will bring Gog and his hordes to utter ruin in the land of Israel, before the eyes of all the world (Ezekiel 39:1, 5).
The great apostasy of the Church, prophesied so powerfully in the apostle Paul's letters, is in full flow and bringing with it real antisemitism. There is something about antisemitism that cannot be explained rationally, but only from a spiritual point of view. Men and women are falling away, not just from sound doctrine and teaching (2 Timothy 4:3), but also from supporting the Apple of God's eye, His Holy inheritance, Israel (Zechariah 2:8; Isaiah 19:25).
It is a perverse irony that some of Israel's most bitter and intransigent enemies today can be found not in Gaza, Lebanon or Iran, or even amongst the barbaric hordes of IS, but in churches up and down our nation. Men and women who "...will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear" (2 Timothy 4:3) - men and women deliberately blind to Bible prophecy - mockers and scorners within our own midst.
It will be an uncomfortable truth for many to learn, but one of the main reasons that Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, will return at the end of the Tribulation is to save Israel and to enforce the everlasting land grant given to the Jewish people. This is the same land many today claim Israel "stole" from the Palestinians. Jesus, at that time, will publicly return to overthrow the nations of the world who are in league with the antichrist and who are trying to violently take this land from Israel (Zechariah 12 -14; Ezekiel 47:13 - 48:35).
The plan of redemption for Israel, and the world at large, focuses upon two universe-defining events: the First and then the Second Coming of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. In both advents, the Messiah did and will come personally to Israel. Just as the establishment of Israel was crucial to the First Coming of Jesus, so is the re-establishment of Israel in our own day crucial for the fulfillment of His Second Coming. It is the super sign which sets the scene for the unfolding and fulfilling of all other end-times prophecy, which will culminate in the personal return of Jesus to Israel.
Deny it or not, prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes; and one day soon Jesus Christ will return to the nation he loves, to rule all the nations of this Earth with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27; Psalms 2:9) from His eternal capital city, Jerusalem.
The end of this age fast approaches, though the question at this late hour is: Who is listening and who is watching?
Ask yourself honestly, will you be ready?
"Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon" (Isaiah 55:6-7).
Hezbollah To Leave Syria in 2018 To Prepare for Conflict with Israel - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=1715
The Hezbollah terror group is planning to withdraw its forces from Syria in 2018 in order to bolster its presence along Israel's northern border, the Lebanon 24 news website reported on Tuesday.
According to the report, Hezbollah's high command issued a new order mandating that the last remaining fighters from the Lebanese terror group must leave Syria in early 2018.
For the past five years, Hezbollah forces have been fighting alongside the Syrian military in the country's civil war. It is believed that Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias helped turned the conflict in favor of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The purported pullout from Syria is designed to ensure that Hezbollah would be able to have a sizable presence along the Lebanese border with Israel.
The report said Hezbollah's commanders realized that the organization's operatives were stretched too thin, to the point that 85 percent of the group's fighting force was in Syria.
More than 1,800 Hezbollah operatives have been killed in the Syrian Civil War.
Hezbollah is believed to have an arsenal of between 100,000 and 150,000 short, medium and long-range missiles available to fire at Israel.
Israeli leaders are issuing their own warnings, making it clear that any provocations by the group can lead to devastation for both it and Lebanon which harbors the group and recently announced it would join a coalition government with Hezbollah.
"The next conflict, if it erupts, will have a completely different character. Our enemies will try first to strike our population centers and civilian infrastructure. And if our red lines will be breached, the other side must know in advance that it is going to pay very heavy prices," said Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
Earlier this year, tens of thousands of Israeli soldiers participated in the largest military drill since 1998, simulating war with Hezbollah for 10 days.
Israel-Hezbollah war is inevitable, sure to be devastating - defense experts - By Judah Ari Gross -
International High Level Military Group paints grim picture of potential conflict between Jewish state, Iran-backed terror group, and what, if anything, can prevent it
A war between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah terrorist group is inevitable, though not necessarily imminent, and will be unavoidably bloody for both sides, according to an assessment by a number of former generals from around the world, known collectively as the High Level Military Group.
In an extensive report, published Wednesday, the organization details both the IDF's and Hezbollah's reorganization in the 11 years following the Second Lebanon War, the last time the sides engaged in all-out combat with one another. The High Level Military Group (HLMG) also describes the strategies each side will use in the apparently approaching war, as well as the potential pratfalls of those plans.
"Hezbollah doesn't want a conflict to break out at present, given it is still seeking to consolidate its gains in Syria and continue preparations in Lebanon. However, its actions and propaganda suggest that it considers its ability to fight a war with Israel as a given," according to the report.
"The timing of such a conflict is likely to be determined by miscalculation as much as decision-making in Iran and Lebanon."
The group said that should such a war break out, it will likely be "more violent and destructive than the previous ones," due to the improvements that both sides have made to their respective military capabilities in the interim.
The report, "Hezbollah's terror army: How to prevent a third Lebanon war," offers limited recommendations for avoiding such a conflict, instead painting it as a war waiting to happen.
The retired generals and defense officials from the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Colombia, India, and Australia who make up the HLMG also express significant criticism of the United Nations for its "evident severe failure" to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War, a dereliction that they credit with exacerbating the situation.
The former military leaders found that the UN Interim Force in Lebanon peacekeeping mission is not enforcing the aspects of Resolution 1701 that are meant to keep armed non-state actors like Hezbollah out of southern Lebanon.
The 76-page report, which is based on interviews solely with Israeli representatives during a fact-finding mission, comes to many of the same conclusions as those of Israeli defense officials. In preparing the assessment, the HLMG did not meet with Lebanese, Hezbollah, or UN officials.
Yet the High Level Military Group maintains that its assessments are "based purely on the accumulated military and strategic experience of its members."
The HLMG, which includes a former chairman of the NATO military committee, a former chief of staff of the Italian army, a former US ambassador-at-large on war crimes, a former director-general of the Indian Defense Intelligence Agency and the outspoken Israel supporter Col. (res.) Richard Kemp of the British military, was created by the Friends of Israel Initiative, a group founded by former Spanish Prime Minister JosÃ© MarÃa Aznar in 2010 to fight an "unprecedented campaign of delegitimization against Israel."
This is not the group's first foray into Israeli security. In December 2015, the organization also released a report that defended the IDF's actions during the previous year's Gaza war, finding that the army had abided by the rules of armed conflict and even surpassed them.
Hezbollah is all grown up
Hezbollah was founded in 1985, three years after the start of the First Lebanon War. It was created with Iranian support, and began killing Israeli soldiers stationed in IDF outposts in southern Lebanon with anti-tank missiles, improvised explosive devices, and small arms fire.
Over time, however, the group grew from a terrorist nuisance to a full-scale nemesis with significant sway in domestic Lebanese politics. What was once a two-bit terrorist group now represents the benchmark by which the IDF measures its preparedness.
In its report, the former generals and defense officials describe Hezbollah as being "widely considered to be the most powerful non-state armed actor in the world."
As the Lebanese terrorist group has taken part in the fighting on behalf of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, it has gotten stronger through combat experience and improved access to advanced weaponry from its benefactor, Iran.
"Hezbollah has the political clout of a government, the firepower of an army and the strategic approach of a terrorist organization," according to the report.
Israel believes that Hezbollah maintains a force of approximately 25,000 full-time fighters - 5,000 of which underwent advanced training in Iran - with another at least 20,000 fighters in reserve units.
The terrorist army boasts of possessing attack drones, air defense systems, armored personnel carriers and even tanks. It is also believed to have the Yakhont shore-to-sea missile, with which it can threaten Israeli Navy ships.
But its weapons of choice are missiles and rockets, which it has been amassing and improving, with Iranian assistance, at a fantastic rate.
Hezbollah is believed to possess between 100,000 and 150,000 projectiles, most of them short range. Israeli officials assess that in a future war, the terrorist group would be able to sustain a firing rate of over 1,000 missiles per day.
Increasingly, the IDF believes, the group has been focusing on making its missiles more precise so that it can direct attacks to key Israeli strategic sites.
"Thus, not only has the sheer numeric scale of the threat increased exponentially, but the lethality is greatly increased on account of larger payloads, range and higher targeting accuracy," the HLMG wrote in its report.
Israel has been working to counter that threat through advanced missile defense systems like the Iron Dome, David's Sling, Patriot and Arrow. But military officials regularly stress that these batteries will not provide perfect, hermetic protection.
On the defensive side, Hezbollah has been embedding itself in the southern Lebanese civilian population "for tactical advantage (making the IDF hesitate to attack) and strategic advantage (using images of civilian harm to delegitimize the IDF)," according to the report.
The HLMG said that Hezbollah "transformed almost every Shiite village in the country's south into a military asset."
Inside and under those villages, Hezbollah is believed to have prepared extensive fighting positions from which it could confront the more powerful IDF.
Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah has also threatened that the terrorist group would not be fighting alone, but would have the support of Iran-backed militias in Syria and other fighters from across the Middle East. This which would force the Israeli army to fight on two fronts or even more, if Hamas in Gaza joins in the conflict as well.
But the terrorist group has another advantage: the Israeli citizenry is unaccustomed to and unprepared for sustained conflict.
"Policymakers expressed concerns about how prepared the Israeli public is for the level of devastation that would be wrought in a major military clash with Hezbollah," the HLMG wrote.
"Younger Israelis are less familiar with the threat of direct attack than older generations, and Israel's success in neutralizing less sophisticated rockets fired from Gaza may have led to inflated expectations of its capacity to intercept the volume of rockets likely to be fired by Hezbollah."
While Hezbollah's arsenal contains "more rockets than many European armies," according to the HLMG report, Israel's military is considered by many analysts to be the most powerful in the Middle East.
"Israel is equipped with the most advanced fighter jets, high-tech armed drones, and is widely assumed to be a nuclear weapons power," the retired generals and defense officials wrote.
"Statistical data available for 2014 suggests that the IDF has 410,500 active frontline personnel, 3,657 tanks, and 989 aircraft."
Israel has also dramatically improved its intelligence on the terrorist group in the 11 years since the Second Lebanon War, an important development, as a severe shortage of accurate information has been blamed for causing many of the conflict's failures.
By combining the overwhelming military force at its disposal and the intelligence required to direct it, the IDF would seek to end a future war quickly, before the Israeli home front would sustain heavy casualties.
"However, as a potential conflict progresses, it will become harder for Israel's military superiority to translate into battlefield victory," according to the HLMG.
In their report, the former generals wrote that Israeli officials told them they expect there to be "thousands of casualties in Lebanon, many of whom will be civilians despite the IDF adhering to the highest standards of the Law of Armed Conflict."
Conspicuously, while the High Level Military Group provides a general estimate of Lebanese casualties, it offers no such assessment of Israeli civilian deaths, beyond saying that the number is "likely to far exceed previous conflicts." (There were 50 Israeli civilian deaths in the 1982 Lebanon War, and 46 in the 2006 conflict.)
Hezbollah is Lebanon, or is it?
One of the lingering questions in the High Level Military Group's report is how Israel perceives the country of Lebanon, if it is fundamentally intertwined with Hezbollah or distinct from it.
"During the HLMG fact-finding, it was clear that an intense policy debate in Israel's upper echelons increasingly sees some senior voices making the case that a conflict should probably be conceived as including the state of Lebanon as an adversary," the former generals wrote.
For instance, Education Minister Naftali Bennett has been leading the charge that the two cannot be separated and that Lebanese national infrastructure should also be counted as a legitimate military target in a future war.
This was not the case in the 2006 Lebanon War, when the IDF's policy was to differentiate between Lebanon and Hezbollah, but developments inside the Arab country could change that.
In its report, the HLMG noted an "increasingly symbiotic relationship between Hezbollah and the Lebanese Armed Forces," which is believed to include intelligence sharing, as well as material cooperation.
"Israel shared evidence with the HLMG that suggests that at least some military equipment which the LAF receives from international patrons, including the United States, ultimately finds its way into the hands of Hezbollah units," the retired generals wrote.
However, some analysts, who are not cited in the HLMG document, make the case, against the view of Bennett and other Israeli officials that Lebanon is Hezbollah, and Hezbollah is Lebanon.
One of these is David Daoud, a researcher analyst for the United Against a Nuclear Iran think tank and advocacy group, who argues that by attacking Lebanese national infrastructure, Israel could end up helping Hezbollah by proving to the Lebanese population that the terrorist group is, as it claims, the country's defender against the "Zionist regime."
The HLMG puts significant focus on the role and failures of UNIFIL, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon.
The international force is generally seen by Israel to be feckless and incapable, or at least unwilling, to take serious action against Hezbollah's force build-up, while in Lebanon the group is perceived by many as being a shill for the IDF.
UNIFIL's activities in southern Lebanon are dictated by UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which, among other things, calls for no non-state armed forces to occupy positions south of Lebanon's Litani River.
According to the HLMG, the United Nations force understands Resolution 1701 "in a very narrow sense with regards to the authority to search for weapons in Lebanon and curtail the activity of armed groups."
Israel, and now the HLMG, argue that this mandate should be interpreted more broadly, which would allow UNIFIL to curb Hezbollah's efforts to prepare for war by actively preventing the terror group from possessing weapons south of the Litani, with force if necessary.
"A new and improved mandate is required to address the situation," according to the report.
What else can be done?
Beyond granting UNIFIL broader powers, the High Level Military Group offers scant advice for preventing a future conflict between Hezbollah and Israel.
What advice is offered is relatively vague, with no specifics to implement or mention of its feasibility. The main recommendation is to address not Hezbollah, but its patron.
"The international community must take actions to curtail Iran's activities, raise the cost of its behavior and engage in efforts at deterrence," the group wrote.
In terms of Hezbollah specifically, the High Level Military Group calls for Western nations to cease distinguishing the terror group's political and terrorist wings.
The international community must take actions to curtail Iran's activities
The former generals and defense officials also encourage the United States to make any future aid arrangements with Lebanon contingent "on a plan to strip Hezbollah of its de facto status as the leading force in the country."
More generally, the HLMG calls for the West to "strongly support Israel in its efforts to de-escalate the tensions."
Israel willing to resort to military action to stop Iran acquiring nukes -
Intelligence Minister Israel Katz says the Jewish state ready to act alone if international efforts don't produce results.
Israel is willing to resort to military action to ensure Iran never acquires nuclear weapons, the intelligence minister said on Thursday in Japan where he is seeking backing for US President Donald Trump's tougher line on Tehran.
Trump said on Oct. 13 he would not certify Iran is complying with an agreement on curtailing its nuclear program, signed by his predecessor, Barack Obama, opening a 60-day window for Congress to act to reimpose sanctions.
"If international efforts led these days by US President Trump don't help stop Iran attaining nuclear capabilities, Israel will act militarily by itself," Intelligence Minister Israel Katz said in an interview in Tokyo. "There are changes that can be made (to the agreement) to ensure that they will never have the ability to have a nuclear weapon."
Israel has taken unilateral action in the past without the consent of its major ally, the United States, including air strikes on a suspected nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007 and in Iraq in 1981. A strike against Iran, however, would be a risky venture with the potential to provoke a counter strike and roil financial markets.
An Israeli threat of military strikes could, nonetheless, galvanize support in the United States for toughening up the nuclear agreement but it could also backfire by encouraging hardliners in Iran and widening a rift between Washington and European allies.
So far, none of the other signatories to the deal - Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China, Iran and the European Union - has cited serious concerns, leaving the United States isolated.
Japan relies on the US military to help defend it against threats from North Korea and elsewhere. Tokyo's diplomatic strategy in the Middle East, where it buys almost all its oil, is to maintain friendly relations with all countries, including Iran.
"I asked the Japanese government to support steps led by President Trump to change the nuclear agreement," said Katz, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party. "The question of whether Japanese companies will begin to work in Iran or not is a very important question."
Katz's visit to Tokyo comes ahead of a planned trip by Trump from Nov. 5 for a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Officials at Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs were not immediately available to comment.
Israel, Katz said, wants the nuclear agreement to be revised to remove an expiration date, and to impose tighter conditions to stop Tehran from developing new centrifuges used to make weapons-grade nuclear material.
He also urged sanctions to stop Iran from establishing Syria as a military base to launch attacks on Israel and action to put a halt to Tehran's development of ballistic missiles.
"We will not allow Iran to transform Syria into forward base sea harbors, air bases and Shia militias," he said. "We will act together with the United States and other countries in the world until they stop the ballistic missiles that threaten Israel." The US House of Representatives on Wednesday backed new sanctions on Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah militia.
Spiritual Warfare - Nathele Graham - firstname.lastname@example.org
Ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties are more than things of myth. These entities come from the unseen spiritual world and are very real demons. Many people relegate them to an over-active imagination, but God's word tells us they're real. A spiritual battle rages all around us and we're the victims of satanic hatred. Everyone serves one of two masters: Jesus Christ or Satan. Jesus is God Almighty, but Satan is the god of this world and is evil. The people in this world who follow Satan act on his behalf and make life miserable for Christians. Most of them don't know that they're following the prince of this world, but by rejecting Christ they've made the choice to follow Satan. They don't have the moral guidance of Scripture and can only act in a way that pleases Satan. The battle is real, but if you're fighting people (your spouse, your boss, your parents, etc.) then you're fighting the wrong enemy. Satan and his minions are the enemy but will be defeated through Jesus Christ who said "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this word be cast out." John 12:31. Jesus has won the war, but we still face spiritual battle. The battle needs to be fought with spiritual weapons.
The Apostle Paul faced much satanic opposition as he went about his missionary journeys to spread the Gospel. The blessing for us is that he wrote a letter to the Christians in Ephesus in which he told how our spiritual battle is to be fought. "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood , but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand." Ephesians 6:10-13. It's important to recognize just who the enemy is. Our enemy isn't flesh and blood, but an unseen foe who attacks from the spiritual realm. Paul names the enemy as "principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world". These are ranks of angels, specifically fallen angels who follow Satan. The demonic world is real and that's where the battle truly lies.
The satanic entities which Paul names are seen throughout Scripture. Daniel chapter 10 tells us that Daniel had prayed for 21 days and then an angel appeared to him. The angel told Daniel that he had been delayed by the "prince of the kingdom of Persia" and that he would have to go fight the prince of Greece. These princes are the entities Paul refers to as "principalities". The "powers" referred to are evil beings that keep people under bondage to drugs, alcohol, pornography, infirmity, etc. We're told in Luke 13:11 that Jesus saw a woman who had a "spirit of infirmity" and had been doubled over for 18 years. Jesus loosed her from that spirit. In Luke chapter 11 Jesus talks about the eye being the light of the body, but if the eye is evil thy body is full of darkness. The ruler of darkness is evil indeed. Spiritual wickedness in high places is better translated "heavenly places". In Ephesians 2:2 Paul says that before accepting Christ we walked "according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in children of disobedience". The enemy is Satan and his minions, not people.
A spiritual battle calls for spiritual weapons, and Paul describes those weapons in Ephesians chapter 6. Weapons used in any war take knowledge and strength in order to use them properly. A Christian who is spiritually weak will find that the battle is difficult, tiring, and may eventually give up. The Christian who is spiritually strong will still have face battles but will have the strength to fight and win. Proper diet is an important part in having a strong, healthy body. The same is true to maintain a strong, healthy spirit ready for battle. Our spirit feeds on the word of God. When Satan tried to win against Jesus in the wilderness he challenged Jesus to turn the rocks into bread. Jesus had been fasting and His body needed food, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matthew 4:4. Jesus quoted Scripture, specifically Deuteronomy 8:3. It's important for a Christian to study and understand Scripture. A person who suffers from bulimia may put food into their mouth and swallow, but will vomit it out before it nourishes their body. They grow weak and become malnourished. Scripture needs to be taken into our minds and hearts and digested so it will feed and nourish our soul. If you never grow past the "feel good" verses you'll never be armed for battle. Verses which speak of God's love for us are wonderful to rest in, but when it comes to spiritual warfare we need to understand how to fight. The Holy Spirit is powerful but very few Christians understand the power we have available through Him. Peter is an example of a man who was dramatically changed by the power of God and was able to speak boldly with no fear once emboldened by the power of the Holy Spirit. Paul was changed from a murderous vigilante doing the biding of Satan into a powerful man of God who spread the Gospel and faced danger boldly because He understood the power of God. That power can be yours.
The Apostle Paul wrote many letters and if we study them we'll be well armed for spiritual battle. One such letter was written to the congregation in Corinth. Satan had a strong influence in the Corinthian congregation and they were losing their spiritual fight. They were giving in to the darkness of the pagan culture around them. Sin was accepted and they were proud of their open-mindedness in accepting sexual immorality. 1They could no more fight a spiritual battle than a newborn baby can. Paul couldn't write to them as mature Christians. "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able." 1 Corinthians 3:1-2. Unfortunately that's where most Christians are today. Sunday school lessons and morning sermons are milk. Has your pastor preached on Romans chapter 1? How about 2 Timothy chapter 3? Unless he preaches line upon line and precept upon precept I'm sure he hasn't. Don't wait for the pastor to feed you meat. Study for yourself. Read, study, digest, and apply Scripture to your life. Be armed for doing battle against the powers of darkness.
Parents, feed your children meat. They won't get it in Sunday school. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6. Today most parents turn their children over to public school. That's a big mistake. Reading, writing, and arithmetic aren't as important as teaching them to be sexually active, to accept homosexuality, and believe teachers above parents. Children who are only fed spiritual milk will grow to be weak adults who cannot fight in the spiritual battle. When Paul wrote to Timothy he reminded him that he had been taught truth as a child. "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; and that from a child thou has known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:14-15. Spiritually deficient children will lose every spiritual battle because they are unequipped. So will spiritually deficient adults. Children need to be taught to measure everything by God's word. If God's truth is brought into question then the spiritual weapons are weakened.
Another important part in becoming strong is to exercise. Physical exercise builds strong muscles and spiritual exercise builds strong Christians. Memorize Scripture so that when a spiritual attack begins you can have it ready in order to fight the powers of darkness. What do you do if you're tempted into sin by a co-worker or a friend? Counter the temptation with Scripture. Jesus quoted from Genesis when He said "And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." Matthew 19:4-6. Satan wants divorce, fornication, and other immoral acts. By knowing Scripture and exercising your knowledge of it you'll win spiritual battles. Sin weakens you and makes it easier for the powers of darkness to gain the upper hand in your life. Are you strong enough to resist any temptation that might come your way? "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7. It will take strong resolve on your part to resist temptation, but the more you exercise resistance the stronger you'll become. God won't force His will upon you, but if you submit to Him your strength will grow.
The next step is to practice. Good soldiers don't neglect their weapons and Christian soldiers in a spiritual battle need to practice daily. Don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." James 1:22. Having a fish bumper sticker doesn't make you a strong Christian. Resist road rage when someone cuts you off in traffic and give God glory and you'll find yourself growing stronger in the Lord. Reach out to fellow Christians when you see they have a need. Witness to the lost people around you. If you practice doing these things they become easier. Satan would prefer that you sit home and watch television rather than reading Scripture and putting Christianity into practice. Speak out boldly for Christ and acknowledge Him in everything. Jesus commended Peter for declaring that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Matthew 16:18. Jesus Christ is the foundation of our faith. Hell will not prevail against Him. He is our strength and our salvation. Onward Christian soldiers! Start marching to war against the "principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places". Be prepared to fight a good fight.
Brothers and sisters, are you being fed meat or milk? If milk then you aren't armed for battle. Our victory comes through Jesus. "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39. Wickedness is growing stronger and this wickedness is caused by principalities, powers, and the rulers of the darkness. If your pastor isn't teaching the entirety of Scripture you may not understand that increased wickedness is a sign of the end times. Don't wait for a man who's paid to tickle your ears to feed you spiritual meat. Arm yourself for battle. Study prophecy and find out how Jesus described the end times. Understand the importance of Israel and keep an eye on the happenings in the Middle East. The end times are upon us and if you know anyone who has not accepted Christ for salvation then today is the day you need to share the Gospel...tomorrow may be too late.
Graduate from drinking milk to eating spiritual meat that will make you strong to fight the spiritual battle.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Surge in Spiritism: Most Americans Believe in Paranormal - www.wnd.com
It's official - if you don't believe in ghosts, you're in the minority.
The Chapman University of American Fears 2017 has revealed a surprising number of Americans believe in the supernatural. A solid majority - 55 percent - believe ancient advanced civilizations such as Atlantis once existed, and more than 50 percent also believe places can be haunted by spirits.
More than a third of Americans also believe aliens have visited and a quarter think some people are capable of telekinesis, or moving objects by the power of their minds.
The survey found certain types of people are more likely to hold such beliefs - especially unmarried women who claim to be religious and politically conservative but do not often attend formal religious services. Residents of the West Coast were also reportedly more likely to believe in the paranormal.
Pastor Carl Gallups, author of the end-times examination "When The Lion Roars," suggests there is something real behind how many Americans now report belief in the paranormal.
"I believe the relatively new all-encompassing media environment and the rapidly changing culture have contributed to the growth in reported 'haunting' experiences and other dark spiritual encounters," he said. "All of this is also supplying a greater stage for the demonic realm, which is very real and biblically prophesied. The Bible is clear that in the age just before the return of Christ that the world would experience a literal demonic outpouring. The Scriptures declare that this coming spiritual deluge will eventually bring about a desperate state of apostasy in the church, a diabolical delusion among the nations, and a spirit of abject lawlessness that will sweep the planet. We are at least in the beginning stages of all three of those prophesied conditions - and maybe further down the road than just the 'beginning.'"
Kari Paul reports in Marketwatch "interest in spirituality has been booming in recent years while interest in religion plummets, especially among millennials."
More than half of young adults believe astrology is a science and the "psychic services industry" has been growing for several years.
At the same time, the number of Americans who express belief in Christianity has been in continuous decline over the prior decades.
Karl Payne, author of "Spiritual Warfare," suggests many Americans are rebelling against a culture which dismisses the reality of supernatural experience. At the same time, the relentless cultural attack against Christianity means the hunger for spiritual experience is expressed via interest in the occult rather than a return to traditional faith.
"I think the reason people are so open to ideas regarding hauntings and spirits is because far more people have had paranormal experiences than strict empiricists want to admit or believe," he told WND. "The bottom line is that in today's hedonistic culture, demons or spirits are in, and a worldview embracing spiritism and occultism is growing," Payne told WND. "The media has not created this reality, it has just accelerated its expanse from a fringe curiosity to be ignored or scorned to a reality to be chased and embraced. From the point of view of a Christian theist the results of this hell bent express are paradoxical.
"I am glad that more and more people are shedding the shackles of atheism. God is real and He can be known through the Lord Jesus Christ, the only mediator between God and man. But I am sickened that the cost of the rise of spiritism and supernaturalism is that many people are now dancing with demons, who are also real, and their job is to ultimately destroy their dancing partners in time, regardless of what lie they had to spin to get the date."
Payne argues the decline of Christianity has essentially opened the belief in tenets and ideas which are anti-Christian but nonetheless supernatural.
"People are hardwired for faith," the pastor said. "The variable is the object of their faith. God has been worshiped. Man has been worshiped. And now, there is a growing fascination with embracing spiritism by playing games with demonic spirits. What is coming next?"
Both Gallups and Payne argue the world is moving closer to the end times, and the rise in occultism is preparing the ground for dire events.
"I believe this decent into hell is going to culminate in the open worship of Satan incarnate, who is promised to rule the world for a short period of time before the Lord Jesus Christ returns to destroy him and all of his followers and their works," Payne said. "For the world to be willing to embrace the open, blatant worship of Satan through his antichrist, it makes sense to me that there will have to be a conditioning of people to be willing to make this foolish decision, and think it is normal in the process.
"Maybe inundating young people with walking and talking with the dead is a first or second or third step in conditioning or grooming people to reject the worship of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Christian faith. It seems almost anything and everything is open for exploration emulation in our public square except loving Jesus Christ or teaching the Bible as the inspired Word of God."
"There can be no doubt that Satan is a decidedly 'religious' being," Gallups added. "He often operates within the realm of apostate beliefs, where he plies his diabolical trade of rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while at the same time replacing true faith with the false spirit of religiosity. I am convinced that much of the world's fascination with the occult realm flows from the ubiquitous presence of this last days spirit."
Payne concludes the best way for Christians to combat the rise in occultism and the decline in faith is to teach an uncompromising and sincere version of the faith, rather than something which seeks to be simply inoffensive.
"Promoting a Christian faith that makes blending into culture a virtue rather than a vice represents nothing more than a religious inoculation against genuine Christianity," he said. "When the real thing comes along, a body has already produced antibodies to attack it. If faith is hardwired into our soul, and I think it is, and if Christianity is so demonized that Jesus Christ is rejected, it leaves a vacuum to be filled by something religious that does not involve the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Savior. Demons are very happy to step into that void by representing or misrepresenting Jesus Christ and religious inclinations."
Payne suggested this is also why the survey found those who identify as religious but are not going to church regularly were more likely to believe in the paranormal.
"Demons do not care if a person is religious, they just do not want them to be disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ," he said. "Theists are far more open to experimenting with the paranormal than naturalists or atheists. It is easier to locate a counterfeit $20 bill than a counterfeit $3 bill.
"I believe there is going to be and increasing interest in the Spiritism, the paranormal and occultism the closer we draw to the return of Jesus Christ for his bride, the dhurch. Again, it represents a cheap imitation of the real thing, satisfying the need, but not the soul."
Daily Jot: New Russia findings reveal widespread corruption - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The Washington Post, as confirmed by Fox News, reports that the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid Fusion GPS for opposition research against Donald Trump. After being leaked to the news media, this false story about Trump and prostitutes cavorting in Russia was used by the ex-"president" to justify spying on Trump during the presidential campaign. This, in conjunction with the reports of the Clinton Foundation, the ex-"president," and Russian uranium interests participating in an influence peddling scheme that resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars lining the pockets of the Clintons and their minions, is an indicator of a widespread web of corruption among Democrats.
The Democratic Party narrative, embraced by Clinton, the ex-"president", the Chairman of the DNC and the mainstream news media, aimed to discredit President Trump and to provide justification for the ex-"president's" administration to convince the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to allow spying on Trump's campaign. In November 2016, HeatStreet reported "that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of 'US persons' in Donald Trump's campaign with ties to Russia." These Democrats paid somebody to fabricate a story then they used that story to publicly discredit Trump and as a lever to spy on Trump's campaign. After such scurrilous and possibly illegal acts, they still lost. This organized corruption makes Watergate look like child's play.
But wait, there's more. This, in conjunction with the "influence for hire" money trail on Russian uranium when Clinton was Secretary of State, suggests that the Russians were busy influencing powerful Democrats who were using their positions to enrich themselves at the expense of US national security. When Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State she sent nuclear grade uranium to Russia scoring $145 million to the Clinton Foundation, Bill Clinton received $500,000 for a speech in Moscow, Clinton's campaign Chairman John Podesta did a $35 million energy deal with Russia, and the Clinton Foundation received $2.35 million in donations from Ian Telfer, head of Russia's uranium company.
As recently as October 17, the FBI has released information indicating both the Clinton's and the immediate past "president" were involved in what appears to be a bribery/kickback scheme with Russian officials in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. It appears that the Clintons and the ex-"president" pushed the Russia-Trump narrative hard with the news media, and used federal government actors in their control to influence the news media and spy on Trump's campaign. At the same time they were covering up their own dealings with the Russians. In John 3:20, Jesus said, "For everyone that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed." The more light shining on the Clintons and the ex-"president," the more corruption is exposed.
Daily Devotion: What We Can Always Know - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
The next morning a group of Jews got together and bound themselves with an oath not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul. -Acts 23:12
If you could know everything about your future, would you want to? If you could know about every plot or every bad thing that anyone ever made against you or said about you, would you want to have that information in your head? I wouldn't. I think it would be quite disillusioning.
In Acts 23 we read that while Paul was in Roman custody, "The Lord appeared to [him] and said, 'Be encouraged, Paul. Just as you have been a witness to me here in Jerusalem, you must preach the Good News in Rome as well' " (verse 11). The Lord came to him in his hour of need because He knew Paul needed this special touch.
Paul didn't know there were forty men who had taken an oath to not eat or drink until they had killed Paul. He wasn't aware of it because he didn't need to know.
In the military they have a term for this. An officer might tell a subordinate, "It's on a need-to-know basis. You don't need to know."
In the same way, sometimes we come to God and say, "What is going on with this thing in my life?"
And God says, in effect, "Well, that is on a need-to-know basis. You don't need to know right now. But in time I will make it known to you."
The Bible says, "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them" (Romans 8:28).
We can't always see how things are working together for our good, but we can always know. God will let us know as much as we need to know when we need to know. Until that time, we must trust Him.
FROM THE HEART
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