Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION IN CHRIST JESUS - by Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2018/10/there-is-no-condemnation-in-christ-jesus.html
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:1)
14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans 8:14-16)
Of all the passages that Paul wrote, Romans chapter 8 remains one of my favorites. The chapter is full of promises to the children of God. When I look at this particular passage, I become almost awe struck at its implications that speak of the plans that God has for each of His children. But let this passage sink in for a moment as you meditate on its deep meaning. "Heirs and joint-heirs with Christ" is what Paul under the Holy Spirit's direction wrote. What does this mean to the believer.?
I wrote about this very fact in times past about Church Age saints being adopted into the "family of God". It's a most glorious promise to those who have accepted the payment for their sins, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Besides being our Lord and Savior, our King and our God, Jesus could also be given the title in relationship to other children of God, as our "Big Brother" as He is our "Kinsman Redeemer". I've heard that expression plenty of times, and I find it very hard to use the term "big Brother" , as I would never speak it to Him as such, since Jesus is God in the flesh, but in the family sense of what God our "Abba" Father has planned along with His Son from the very beginning of time, it is a family relationship that has been planned since before time even began. Jesus became what Adam could not accomplish. He became the perfect man in His life upon this earth. And Jesus became the perfect sacrifice to cover the sins that each of us could not shed to join God the Father in a family unit.
In His resurrection, the old body that Jesus dwelt upon this earth became a glorious body, a body of flesh and bone. Jesus was the second Adam from the portals of heaven, as our common ancestor Adam was the first born from the dust of the earth. When describing the risen Lord, note that there is no mention of blood. Jesus was not alive as we are, in that the blood is the source of life providing oxygen to the cells of our body. But His life source was the Spirit of God, as ours will be. Note that in scripture, Jesus was able to perform actions that we are not able to perform, such as walk through walls, disappear while men looked upon Him, and rise into the clouds out of the apostles sight, but He could still be touched and felt, and was able to eat in front of the Apostles. There are many other actions that John said if they were all recorded, the books of the world could not hold them. Jesus became our redeemer in every sense of the word. He became what we will become, a new creatures that will follow the trail He blazed into glory. We will become the sons of God. We will be heirs of God's promises made to His Son, and by extension, to those of us who believe in the "One whom God hath sent." (John 6:29b)
WHAT DOES HE MEAN HEIRS AND JOINT HEIRS?
Just think of what Paul is saying when he says we will be heirs and joint-heirs with our King, our God, and our Savior. What is an heir? In Jewish thinking, being an heir speaks to adoption into a family. An adoption would make the adopted one legally eligible for an equal share in the father's estate.
Now Jesus was intended to be the firstborn among many brethren as Paul wrote further in this chapter:29 "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (many brothers and sisters) my emphasis.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:29-32)
This is beyond my comprehension, but within a finite mind that only grasp in part what Paul is saying that God will give us all things in an equal share all that belongs to our King Jesus. Jesus will be joined to His Church spiritually and the Church will have the same inheritance in a marriage contract that the groom has, so shall the bride. All the rights of a family member will be given in equal parts to each of those who have been called the "children of God". When we speak of sons or children of God, that is not to say that we will be Gods ourselves, as some so erroneously believe Paul is speaking of here. No, we will be Kings and Priest to our God for all eternity. We will be given duties and responsibilities that any family that is headed by a family Patriarch, will work for the family in following the commands and the will of the Head of the Family. The Head of the family is God our Father, whom we call our Father "Abba", and God Almighty. But I liken it to the phrase, we will be of the "God Kind". We cannot begin to know in complete knowledge or begin to comprehend all that God has got planned for us. 9 "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." (1st Corinthians 2:9-12)
God, who is a loving God, a Father to all of His children will and has given good gifts to us this side of eternity in this life. But can you even imagine what God who is infinite, without limit, and the Creator of all things will bestow on those that love Him in the next life?
First in this life, we have been pardoned, our sin washed away by the blood of Jesus and given eternal life and future immortality.
"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." (Romans 8:1-4)
We have been separated, called out of this world to the glorious light of our Savior, who saved us and who loved us, before we even loved Him.6 "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him." (Romans 5:6-9)
Second we have been given an earnest deposit of God's Holy Spirit that seals us as His possession. I liken it to a layaway plan at your local department store. The down payment has been made and the contract signed for purchase. Along the way, more payments are made for the final purchase price until the day of taking possession of the prize. Paul speaks of this in Ephesians:13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)
There is a future reception of more of the fullness of God's Holy Spirit and a future redemption! The Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35). The apostle is teaching us that redemption, like salvation, is a process that has begun but has not yet reached its conclusion. Salvation is irrevocable and God will finish what He has begun. Both of these processes began when we believed and accepted Jesus Christ, but they will not end until we receive God's Spirit in full measure and are glorified in His Kingdom. That will come when we are called either in the removal of God's Church before the Tribulation in the Rapture, or the tribulation saints resurrection and glorification at the end of the Tribulation leading to the Millennium. This is all part of the 1st resurrection, which Jesus was the beginning of.
WE AWAIT OUR REDEMPTION
But in the meantime, we must be about our Father's business. As Paul writes that we are not of the flesh, but of the Spirit, as we walk after the things of the Spirit and do mortify the deeds of the flesh:7 "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."(Romans 8:7-11)
This almost sounds like an impossible task, as we are still mortal. I don't know about you, but I sin everyday, because of my flesh even if it's just a thought. Paul had the same problem when he lamented in Romans 7:14 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that I do.
16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do."(Romans 7:14-19)
But fear not brothers and sisters, Paul gives us the remedy for the sin that dwells in our flesh."O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin." (Romans7:24-25)
Each of us, who are the called of God battle the forces of evil. Sometimes, because of our mortal flesh, sin has it's way with us in our weakness. But if God's Holy Spirit rest in your spirit, then you, just as I am, are convicted of that sin, sometimes almost immediately. How do you get victory over sin? You put on the whole armor of God. Brethren, we do not war against flesh and blood, but against powers of spiritual darkness and the evil of this world. 10 "Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.12 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.13 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.14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;" (Ephesians 6:10-18)
Even with the armor upon us, and we fight the good fight as we use the weapons God has given us, we still fail...it's inevitable my brethren, because we still have the curse upon us, called the flesh and this side of glory we will continue the need to repent. John the apostle wrote what we must do when we sin:
6"If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1st John 1:6-9)
My brothers and sister in Christ, and all who read this message, it is God's Holy Spirit that cleanses us daily. When we fail, we confess. We are not suddenly lost from God's grace, but sin causes loss of fellowship with God our Father. But with remorse and prayerful repentance that relationship is restored, as if the sin never happened. Oh, but some say, "How can God forgive me for I have sinned a great sin?". I imagine that is what King David thought when his sin was revealed through Nathan the prophet and David repented of fornication with Bathsheba and indirectly murdering Uriah, her husband by placing him at the front of the battle. What did David do? David repented in anguish for His sin, and that was before God's Holy Spirit was given in it's fullness at Pentecost. David cried out to God in anguish and repentance for his sin:
"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee."(Psalm 51:1-13)
Even David, a man God called "a man after God's own heart" was subject to temptation and sin. King David humbled himself, and did not try to hide his sin from God, but confessed it and asked for forgiveness in tears and anguish. God honors a broken and contrite heart, when it is done in genuine guilt and repentance. And God said that our sin would be as far as the east is from the west, and would remember it no more. That's a long distance, as the west never meets the east.
Only Jesus and God's Holy Spirit can deliver us from the law of sin found in our flesh. Paul explains this even further in the chapter that I love of Romans 8:33 "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us." (Romans 8:33:37)
WE NEED JESUS MORE THAN EVER, ESPECIALLY NOW
We have evil all around us, and in this day and age, it seems evil is growing exponentially. When I was a little kid, I remember that there were bad people in the world around me, and I was warned to not accept candy from strangers, but most people were basically honorable and moral people in the majority. I would have not fathomed at such an early age, to see what I am seeing after almost 68 years of life.
But OH, how the world has changed, and not for the better. How can the average person on this planet survive the evil that is becoming common place in this country and even more so in other countries around the world? No wonder the suicide rate is growing with people who have lost all hope. Or people who resort to crutches of alcohol, or dangerous drugs (either street drugs, or prescriptions) that rob them of the last shred of hope and security as they try and escape reality. Unfortunately, I see it all the time in the area of my ministry.
People are dying all around us and it seems we can't stop the destruction of people who are determined to bring on their own demise. But every now and then, one is saved from the fire. One person is reached that was thought beyond help. And what is the one thing, the one Person who brings them up out of despair? The answer is Jesus Christ. When a person finally sees that they are beyond hope, beyond fighting for themselves, and beyond anything on this earth used as a remedy. Not drugs, not alcohol, not bath salts, not promiscuity, and not main stream religion, because each fails the individual if its root is not anchored in Jesus Christ. When they hit rock bottom, the burden on their shoulder is weighing them down with their head hanging and the only place to look is up. We pray they see Jesus and someone is there to bring them to a saving knowledge of His mercy and grace. That person must cry out and seek safety from the only Source of that safety:
"I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." (Psalm 40:1-3)
HAVE YOU FOUND MY ROCK, MY SAVIOR?
To my unsaved friend out there, I say this. Jesus is the only way in finding safety in this life, leading to the next life. You can search from around the world from Los Angeles to New York City, from the USA to the far reaches of the third world and back, but you will be as your were, EMPTY and unfilled. We each have a void in our spiritual lives that must be filled. As mentioned, some search for it in pleasures of this world, in illicit drugs and alcohol, but in the end, many will attempt suicide because they just cannot cope with what is going on in this world.
We all search for a way back to God or their definition of God. They search for peace and a place called Heaven. They put their trust in "religions" and spiritual enlightenment or many put their trust in themselves and don't think they need God. Oh, how wrong each of them are. That void in your heart, that void in your mind, and that void that is searching for what makes life worth living, is found in only one place, AT THE CROSS. That is where our Savior died, my Savior, your Savior if you would only choose Him and repent of your sins and turn to Him in all humility and repentance:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day."(John 6:37-40)
Jesus further told us the truth further in the Gospel of John. Our Lord emphasized that there is only One Way back to God and that is NOT found anything of this world that people fill their lives with seeking fulfillment and happiness. What did Jesus say?6 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
Jesus is the ONLY way, and when you find Him, there is no one that can separate you from the love of Christ our Lord when you profess faith and belief in His saving grace, in His blood and resurrection that began on Calvary's hill and fulfilled at His resurrection from the dead.
We are told by Paul the Apostle in closing the chapter that started this message, that no one can separate us from Jesus Christ after we are saved by grace:38 "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,39 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 8:38-39)
I invite you to call upon the Lord Jesus right now. Humble yourself and realize that you can't do it alone anymore. You and I are the same, we are sinners. Only difference that may be between us, is that I have asked forgiveness of Jesus of my sins and as a faithful and loving God, He has done just that. He can do the same for you if you humble yourself and believe these verses that sum up the whole of the Bible."For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth inhim should not perish, but have everlasting life.17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
And when you believe and accept the free gift of salvation, a gift you cannot earn, as it is free for the asking...then tell someone and confess openly that Jesus is your Savior and Redeemer of your soul.
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." (Romans 10:8-11)
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Believe these words of John 3 and Romans 10 and the void in your heart and mind will be forever removed, and God will make you along with many others who have gone on before you as you just became....you will never again be condemned and you will become sons and daughters of the Living God.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, proclaiming my Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world. My God who came in the flesh and is coming again soon. If I can introduce you to my Savior and provide you with support from God's Word, then give me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , for more biblical instruction in Christian living or the way back to God. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly ear, drop me a line...God bless you all.
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
The Two Witnesses - J.L. Robb -
I had lunch with a good friend a couple of weeks ago. In her mid-fifties, she hardly ever misses Sunday Church but told me she had never heard of the rapture until she started reading my book series. I almost dropped my teeth!
This week I spoke to a Bible study group about the Two Witnesses in Revelation. I chose the subject because another Christian friend mentioned that he had never even heard of these witnesses. That was right after he told me that the rapture is not even in the Bible. I hear that a lot and usually answer that, neither is the word trinity in the Bible.
One thing I have learned from six-plus decades of life is, two people can read the same sentence and come away with two different interpretations. If they read the same story, the difference is even more drastic.
Rapture is the English interpretation of the Latin word, rapere. Rapere means "to snatch away" or "to be caught up." This has happened before but only twice and is documented in Genesis 5:24 and 2 Kings 2:11.
Enoch lived a long time ago, pre-flood and was the great-grandfather of Noah. Enoch is described in the Bible as a "man who walked with God." Then God "took him away" before he experienced death.
A couple of thousand years later, the same thing happened to Elijah, the Jewish prophet; and his disappearance was witnessed. Vanished. So there is precedence for the Latin word, rapere; and it is predicted to happen on a much larger scale in the near future, in my opinion. When it does, the people left behind will be astonished. This is sad especially for the many who believe that Jesus is the Christ but did not get the message about the rapture and the Two Witnesses.
God established the rule that a single witness was not enough evidence to convict someone of a crime.
"One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." ~Deuteronomy 19:15 NIV
The Two Witnesses are described in Revelation and are to begin their ministry during the tribulation period. The tribulation (distress) are described by Jesus:
"For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now-and never to be equaled again." ~Jesus
Unequaled distress is not a good thing.
The Bible does not name the Two Witnesses, but scholars have dissected the scriptures and come up with a few scenarios, once again proving that people can read the same thing and have different opinions.
One scenario of the scholars is that it is not about two individuals but two groups of people, or nations.
One scenario is that it will be two Messianic Jews from the future.
One scenario is that it has already happened prior to the Roman Army's destruction of Jerusalem in the first century A.D.
One scenario is that it will be Elijah and Enoch, under the notion that since these two men are the only two who did not actually die and went straight to heaven or "to be with God," they will come back again in order to die; because the Bible states that all mankind will die at least once. Of course, Enoch was not a Jew as he lived pre-Abraham.
"Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..." ~ Hebrew 9:27 NIV
Another scenario is that the two will be Elijah and Moses. Since Moses and Elijah are both mentioned in the book of Malachi and both appeared with Jesus during the transfiguration. :
"Remember the law of my servant Moses, the decrees and laws I gave him at Horeb for all Israel.
"See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction." ~ Malachi 4: 4-6 NIV
In my book series, I go with Enoch and Elijah; but no one knows for sure except God. However, the Two Witnesses will cause a bad day for a whole lot of folk. They are to be given Divine power to thwart their enemies, and their enemies will be the people in the last days who begin to actually worship a world leader, a leader that the Bible refers to as the anti-Christ and the Beast.
One of the powers bestowed on the Two Witnesses is the power to cause climate change. They can shut off the rain, cause massive hail and wind storms... a lot of things that are already beginning to happen according to the daily news.
Another power is to destroy their enemies by fire. This fire is to come from the mouths of the witnesses, which could be actual fire or could be a command for fire. Either way, the people who try to kill these two men during their 1260 days of preaching to the Israelis and letting them know the grave error of their ways, especially killing their Messiah, will be devoured by fire.
Possibly the gravest power the Two Witnesses have will be the ability to turn water into blood.
"They have power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want." ~ Revelation 11:6 NIV
And finally, they will have the ability to cause plagues throughout the world. Like Ebola. If the drinking water turned to actual blood or turned blood red due to an algae bloom, the result is the same. Lots of dead fish which brings lots of flies which brings lots of plague.
After 1260 days the witnesses will be killed by the Beast, since no one human seems to be able to do so. The Two Witnesses will be left lying on the Temple Mount from which they preached, for three days. This is indicative for the anger of the Israelis, because their religious custom calls for burial by sundown.
The story gets even more interesting from this point on.
Curse of the Dead Sea Has Ended, Ushering in Ezekiel's Prophetic Vision - By Eliana Rudee -
And it shall come to pass that fishers shall stand by it from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim; there shall be a place for the spreading of nets; their fish shall be after their kinds as the fish of the Great Sea exceeding many. Ezekiel 47:10 (The Israel Bible™)
For those who have visited the lowest point on the face of the earth, Ezekiel's end-of-days prophecy of the Dead Sea coming to life seems impossible, yet recently, scientists have been shocked to discover that the sinkholes appearing around the sea are quickly filling up with fish and other forms of life previously unseen in the inhospitable region.
Speeding atop the water, saltwater playfully splashing each smiling person on the boat, each individual's eyes are wide open despite the stinging salt. Nobody wants to miss a second of the beautiful Israeli sunrise - the multisensory experience makes everyone feel so alive that they begin to question why the body of water upon which they are riding can possibly be called the 'Dead Sea.'
Known as the Dead Sea in English because of its hypersaline environment (37% salinity - almost ten times saltier than the ocean) and scarcity of aquatic life, Israeli photojournalist Noam Bedein of the Dead Sea Revival Project says that the term Dead Sea - "a political term used mostly by the Romans" - is a misnomer.
The Dead Sea is "anything but dead," he said, calling it the "eighth wonder of the world."
Bedein has witnessed fish in Dead Sea sinkholes, microorganisms, growing vegetation and millions of visitors each year who come seeking life through the body of water's high oxygen levels and special minerals.
Indeed, the existence of fish in the Dead Sea, a reality that seems to contradict the laws of nature, has been explained by science and Biblical prophecy alike.
On the shores of the Dead Sea - more than 400 meters below sea level - are freshwater sinkholes, created as a result of dropping water levels. These large sinkholes were discovered in 2011, carpeted with microorganisms and on the sea's shores - fish and algae.
"One hundred and sixty researchers and almost every university has something to say about saving the Dead Sea," said Jackie Ben Zaken, Dead Sea guide and expert on the Dead Sea ecosystem. Sinkholes, he said, are caused by "fresh water running under the ground, meeting the sediment layers and melting them."
"As a result of these sinkholes, we see habitats with less than 1.5% salinity - water you could drink - surrounded by salt water as well as minerals like bromium, magnesium, and potassium," he told Breaking Israel News.
But this is no scientific miracle, said Bedein - it's Biblical prophecy coming to fruition.
"Coming to the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, you see prophecy coming true," he said.
According to the Bible, the landscape changed with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, which turned the valley into a wasteland. The Bible also describes the area as fertile and well-watered in its narrative of Lot looking out onto the valley where the Dead Sea is now:
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere, before Hashem destroyed Sdom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Hashem. (Genesis 13:10)
"A place that was once cursed in Biblical times, now you can come here to the Dead Sea, explore the sinkholes and see fish where the water has receded - fulfilling prophecies from Ezekiel who talked about the land flourishing and blooming when the Jews return," said Bedein.
Indeed, Biblical prophecy also holds that water will flow east from Jerusalem into the Dead Sea, filling it up with fish and the surrounding desert with life:
"Then said he unto me: 'These waters issue forth toward the eastern region and shall go down into the Arabah; and when they shall enter into the sea into the sea of the putrid waters the waters shall be healed. And it shall come to pass that every living creature wherewith it swarmeth whithersoever the rivers shall come shall live; and there shall be a very great multitude of fish; for these waters are come thither that all things be healed and may live whithersoever the river cometh." (Ezekiel 47:8-9)
"The curse is over, and this place and its minerals are now bringing life to people around the world," he added.
Others who have witnessed life in the Dead Sea have similarly pointed to prophecy. In 2016, a Breaking Israel News story about signs of the Dead Sea coming to life went viral, garnering more than a quarter million views. At the time, the presence of fish and other wildlife in the brackish waters of the sinkholes surrounding the Dead Sea went largely unnoticed by the scientific community. The phenomenon was brought to the public's attention by a remarkable young Jewish immigrant to Israel named Samantha Siegel who visited the isolated location to meditate. Siegel is still connected to the site and continues to see prophecy unfolding in the brackish waters surrounding the Dead Sea.
"I still go to the Dead Sea every week," Siegel told Breaking Israel News. "It is the best thing to keep me sane and connected to Hashem. It is a glimpse into another world. I went there for Yom Kippur. If I was going to be praying all day, I wanted it to be there, where I could see Hashem in front of my eyes."
Siegel's spirituality is rooted in nature and for her, the Dead Sea is the most powerful example of God's revelation.
"The Dead Sea is an opening into the earth," she said. "It is like Momma Earth breaking water before giving birth. It looks so harsh right now but that is just heaven being coated with a little bit of hell. When Moshiach comes and the goodness of creation comes out, it will be pure heaven. If you have the eyes to see it, you can see it happening already," she said.
And yet, there exists a dual complexity of the Dead Sea: while the current state of the sea with its salt chimneys (salt buildup formations around freshwater springs) and deposits (formed by pressurized crystallization of minerals - saturated acids - as temperature changes) make for stunning photos and prophetic occurrences, its illusory beauty is a result of the 600 Olympic pools worth of water that is emptied every day from the sea - 750 million cubic inches per year - a reality that Noam calls an "environmental catastrophe."
"The next generation is not going to be able to enjoy the Dead Sea as we know it today - over 1 billion people around the world are using the Dead Sea's 24 minerals for their therapeutic effects," he told Breaking Israel News.
Over the past two years, Noam has been documenting Dead Sea's changes and geological phenomena. His sunrise Dead Sea boat tours of the northern part of the lowest point on earth aim to educate guests about the changes the sea is undergoing as a result of water diversion from the Jordan River and Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) for agricultural purposes and evaporation caused by the Dead Sea mineral works.
Also focused on the magnificent, prophetic and endangered Dead Sea - and the healing that is necessary - Ben Zaken poses that many questions remain, such as how much and which type of water can be added to the Dead Sea without ecological damage in order to keep it as a life source for generations to come.
"The problem is not what evaporates, but what doesn't enter," said Ben Zaken. "To save the Dead Sea we need to fill in the Sea of Galilee, the source of water that is already in a state of ecological disaster. If we do nothing, we will have 80 years, until an ecological disaster - a point of no return - where the sea drops, minerals will crystalize but not sink and oxygen in the air will be blocked," he maintained.
Efforts toward solutions include the 'Red-Dead' canal, a desalination pipeline from Aqaba, Jordan and desalination plant in the Gulf of Eilat that would give water to Jordan - an idea discussed as a part of peace agreements that was supposed to be actualized nine months ago, but has yet to start because of political complications.
"We need to fill in the Galilee to the upper level, open the dam, let water flow in the Jordan River, which will fill the Dead Sea - without Jordan cutting off the supply. Lack of circulation means fish will die in Galilee," said Ben Zaken.
Additionally, posed Bedein, "Only 10% of what the Dead Sea actually needs is going to come through this $10 billion project. The ultimate and natural solution is restoring the historical flow: the Kinneret and the Jordan River. That will be our focus for the near future."
Bedein is no novice in rising to the challenges facing the Jewish people in their Biblical homeland. As director of the Sderot Media Center, Bedein has spent years speaking about the experience of the southern Israeli community of Sderot that is under constant threat of Hamas terrorism.
Now, he's using the Dead Sea's story, water treasures and beautiful complexities to inspire the next generation about Israel, hoping that it may also be a solution toward restoring the historical flow of the Dead Sea.
RECONCILIATION - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." Genesis 1:1. God filled the earth with everything we need in order to survive. There was food, water, and a perfect place for Adam and Eve to live. Then sin entered. Satan twisted God's words and convinced Eve to take a bite of the forbidden fruit. The only rule God had given to Adam and Eve was not to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. "But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." Genesis 2:17. Instead of believing the Creator of the universe, Adam and Eve chose to believe Satan's lies. From the very beginning of all things, God's love was evident. God has never stopped loving us, but humans moved away from Him. Because God didn't want people to be robots He gave us free will. That gift was given in love. Forced love is not love, and God doesn't force us to love Him. Free will gives us choices. If we choose to disobey then we choose to suffer the consequences of our own choice.
What's so bad about disobedience to God? First of all understand that God knows everything. He knows that if you swipe a candy bar you hurt other people. You didn't pay for the candy bar, but the store owner had to buy it. He has lost money because you stole his merchandise. A candy bar may seem like a minor offence to you, but to God it is a sin to steal. Sin always separates us from God. The first of the Ten Commandments says we aren't to put any god before the one true God. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Exodus 20:3. This doesn't mean that as long as we don't worship Zeus it's OK. A false god is anything we desire more than God Almighty...a candy bar, a neighbor's wife, drugs, riches, etc. It could also be the denomination you attend. When I was growing up my family attended a particular denomination. As time went on there was an official stance taken by that denomination that was opposed to God's word. That denomination wasn't my god, so I stopped attending services there. God's truth is always more important than a denomination's interpretation of Scripture.
Scripture is our guide in all things. It tells us how a Christian should live life. Just as God told Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, He makes it clear to us what our behavior should be in order to be in obedience to Him. When Adam broke that one rule it shattered into many pieces. There are many sins we commit daily that separate us from God, but it all boils down to lust of the flesh. Jealousy, anger, drugs, alcohol, sexual encounters, and lies are just a few of the things which come between us and God. "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." 1 John 2:15-17. Is John telling us that we should deprive ourselves of everything and become cloistered nuns or monks? No. God gave us things in order that we can function. We need sexual relations in order for humanity to continue, but that is only to be within a one man/one woman marriage. Ignoring God's ways leads to more sin and much unhappiness. Following Satan's way leads to multiple sexual encounters, homosexuality, AIDS, unwanted children, abortion, and all of this leads to shattered lives and separation from God. Wine is not forbidden in Scripture, but drunkenness is. Drugs are forbidden, but the world says "tune in, turn on, drop out"; doctors prescribe mind-altering drugs to children and adults alike. Yes, Adam's sin shattered into many pieces and Satan wants it that way. He doesn't want us to be reconciled to God.
Is there any hope? Has God given up on humanity? God never wanted to be separated from us and He did the only thing possible in order to make the only way for us to be reconciled to Him. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved." John 3:16-17. If people don't know any other verse in the Bible, they usually know this one. It tells us that God loves us so much that He gave us the only sacrifice possible to take sin away. Go back and read that verse carefully. It says that you have to believe. God wants you to be reconciled to Him, but you have to believe in Jesus Christ in order to find forgiveness. You have to recognize that you're a sinner. We all sin. I accepted Christ at a very young age, but I still stumble into sin. When that happens I have to repent and ask God to forgive me. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9. Then, the responsibility on my part is to try not to keep on sinning. God doesn't condemn us, but we condemn ourselves by rejecting the only way that our sins can be forgiven.
If you claim to have accepted Christ as your Savior but continue to embrace sin then you may be fooling yourself. We are saved by grace through faith, but that isn't a license to continue to sin. "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" Romans 6:1-2. Accepting Christ should bring about a change in your life. Studying God's word is the way to know Him better and you will begin to hate your sin as much as God does. When you read His word, don't pull Scripture out of context. Don't twist Scripture to make it look as if your particular sin is acceptable. That was the very ruse which Satan used to hoodwink Eve into eating the forbidden fruit. "And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Genesis 3:4-5. Satan always calls God a liar, but it's Satan who lies. Is he whispering to you that God doesn't really mind if you're in a homosexual relationship? Is he urging you to go ahead and use those mind altering drugs even though you might have to steal to pay for them? Rather than believe the lies of Satan, believe the truth of God. "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23.
One sin leads to another until you're sure that you're beyond redemption. That's just not true. "And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith grounded and settled and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;"Colossians 1:21-22. The sins we commit are wicked and separate us from our Lord, but Christ's blood was shed to take away those sins so we can be reconciled to Him. When you truly accept Christ for redemption then the Holy Spirit is sealed within you. You can never sin more than God will forgive, but you can condemn yourself by not accepting His redeeming sacrifice. "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." Colossians 1:20. God wants you to be reconciled to Him. He won't force you, but if you choose to reject His sacrifice then you choose eternal death.
You can do nothing to earn your way to eternal life. You can't be good enough because even one little white lie is enough to condemn you. "Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." John 6:28-29. The only works that you can do is to believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You need to believe, repent of your sin, and let the Holy Spirit work in you to lead you along the path of righteousness. It isn't easy to turn from sin, but the pleasure of sin is only temporary. It lasts a few minutes then you're left empty and in need of another drug or another prostitute. Sin never satisfies.
You may be reading this while you're sitting in a jail cell paying the price for your sin, or you may be sitting in an abortion clinic about to allow your sin to result in the death of your baby. Don't despair. Jesus loves you. He shed His blood for you. Yes, for you. He will forgive you but you have to ask Him and you have to mean it. Recognize that you are a sinner and cannot save yourself. Ask Him to forgive you. Then do whatever you need to do in order to turn from your sin. Even if you're sitting in a pew reading this, if you haven't truly accept Christ then your sins haven't been forgiven. Turn to Him right now and be reconciled to God.
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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Daily Jot: Prophetic perspective - Bill Wilson -
Following is an unsolicited comment from Pastor William Agbeti in Ghana, Africa after reading yesterday's Daily Jot "Christianity and the public arena." 'Kind of puts things in perspective. William writes, "Today, I read the Daily JOT deep inside a forest area in Ghana, Africa...From where I sat, under a thatched roof structure begging for a retouch in the midst of a huge storm gathering overhead, I saw impoverished children playing football that our Ministry bought for them. Poverty could not take away their great joy, unleashed by a common thing as a leather football; an item they had been crying for all these months. I sat with two elders of the local church whose worship facility my ministry was helping to build.
"The elders of the local church were seeking my opinion on an Islamic invasion of their village that was happening only three minutes walk away from the church. I could clearly hear the heavy sounds of a bulldozer in the background. The elders told me a group of Muslims was right at the back of huts, in their village, and on their land, clearing the topsoil of the land, dumping it into tipper trucks. The group was forcefully winning sand on their land for profit. With that approach they would come back to attempt to sell the land to others. The village elders asked my opinion as to what to do. They said they had reported to the police and there had not been any response.
"I wanted to go over and take a picture of what was going on. They discouraged me, saying members of the group were armed with machetes and even pistols. There we sat in silence, totally cowed into inaction as the Muslims had a field day. I had no suggestion to give them. I found myself helpless, except to advise we pray. I also advised the elders on the need to quickly register their land. This is the grim reality of Islamic arrogance and impunity some of us are facing. On the other side of the divide, I have just finished reading the content of today's Daily JOT. It was about "Christianity and the Public Arena", and talked about Christians verbally attacking Christians. Here, it's about Muslims taking over whole communities of Christians.
"Which would you rather have, to stay focused on the word and how to share it? Or find excuses to attack each other as Christians, while Muslims attempt to take over the world?" As William states, "Which would you rather have?" What we are dealing with in Africa impacts lives-often life or death. Jesus said in John 13:34-35, "A new commandment I give unto you, That you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another." As a prophetic people living in a prophetic time, we need to leave aside the extra-biblical, emotional and self-indulgent nonsense and be about the Fathers business. If we were in the midst of hostile Muslims in Africa, we would be united against the enemies of the Lord rather than condemning one another.
Daily Devotion: What the Devil Doesn't Want You to Do - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people's hearts, and they will learn the truth. -2 Timothy 2:24-25
A 2013 report from the Barna Group revealed that when Christians were asked if they felt they had a responsibility to share their faith with others, 73 percent said yes. But the report went on to say that "only half (52%) of born-again Christians said they actually shared the gospel at least once" over the previous year with someone who had different beliefs.
The devil doesn't want us to share our faith because it's a direct threat to his kingdom. He will do everything he can to keep us from sharing our faith. I don't know about you, but I want to redouble my efforts to do what the devil doesn't want me to do. You can lead people to Christ. It's just that most of us haven't taken that step yet.
Every Christian should be able to share his or her faith in three minutes or less. Let's say that you were on a plane and learned that all of the engines had gone out and the plane was going down. You have three minutes to talk to the rest of the passengers on the plane. Do you think you could actually give them the gospel in that period of time? I guarantee you could do it. You just get to the essential message. I believe that if we would do that more often, we would be leading more people to Christ.
Please don't say, "I don't believe that I'm called to be an evangelist. I'm just trying to be a good example." Good examples don't bring people to Christ. Good examples, however, can open the door to articulate their faith so they can bring people to Christ. And good examples are what we need to be so that we'll have opportunities to verbally articulate our faith.
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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