Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
I Will Keep Thee from The Hour of Temptation - Pastor Mike Taylor -
8" But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him." (1st Corinthians 5:8-10)
9 "For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;
10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." (1st Thessalonians 1:9-10)
The above passages has been used many, many times to support the doctrine of a HARPAZO, or the redemption of the Church when Jesus comes for His own before the Tribulation starts. It is popularly called the RAPTURE. This doctrine has been in existence since the 1st century, but was forgotten because of the rising of a Gnostic church in the Middle Ages, that hid those facts from the people, due to its lust for power on earth. It was not again revealed and re-discovered until the 18th century, and was designed by God for the End of Age, the age we live in right now.
SOME MOCK THAT THE RAPTURE IS AN ESCAPE HATCH
Some take issue with that concept, saying "are we any better than the apostles, or the untold amount of men down through the ages that suffered persecution?" They are referring to the coming Tribulation and why are we exempt from this time? Their mocking of the rapture as being an escape hatch from persecution, but fail to understand that the removal of the church is not an escape but a fulfillment of the promises of God and we have VICTORY IN JESUS over this sinful world.
The answer to that question they propose of course is no, we are not better than than those who have suffered persecution from mortal men, but in these last days of the government of men over their own affairs, God has promised us something they did not have. We are separated from the coming wrath of God by time and space. That is the difference between them and us. Down through the ages, there have always been men who would bring harm and even death to other men over religious beliefs. Men have always persecuted other men, and that doesn't mean we won't see some form of persecution before Jesus comes, but we keep our faith that Jesus will protect His own, based on the clear meanings of Psalms 91, which I proclaim to all who are His own.
TIME WHEN MEN PERSECUTED THOSE WHO WOULD NOT BOW
I am reminded of the Dark Ages, when a ruling theocracy slaughtered untold amount of people for the quest and lust for power over other men, and destroyed all who would not bend the knee to its rule. But down through the ages, you cannot find, or point to in the Bible an instance where those who follow after our God, our Lord and Savior, have experienced the wrath of the Almighty falling on their heads. Many Biblical stories chronicle how God has a Divine habit of removing His chosen people out of the way, when His wrath against rebellious mankind falls on them.
Speaking of the Dark Ages, this same church came up with a blasphemous doctrine that all who die must pass through a "temporary" state of punishment in fire to rid them of unforgiven sins. They called it venial sins. If Jesus did not die for the whole earth, and those who believe in Him are not cleansed TOTALLY from past, present and future sins, then to pass through the wrath of God during the Tribulation is akin to this hideous doctrine of purgatory, that the blood of Jesus just wasn't quite able to save a man totally from His sins. Which any truly washed in the blood of Calvary Christian knows is not true. But let's return to the stories of the Bible that speaks of this removal from God's wrath.
SHORT EXAMPLES OF REMOVAL FROM GOD'S WRATH
Some of the more obvious aspects of that fact are the children of Israel during the Egyptian enslavement and the plague after plague brought about to the rebellious Pharoah who defied God and His commands and wouldn't let God's people go. These plagues were isolated to Egypt and never came close to the land of Goshen, where the Hebrew slaves were living.
Then there is Noah and Lot, who both were removed from the wrath of God, one by an ark, the other fleeing to the mountains before the angels of God were sent to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Springing off these well know Biblical stories, I find no account where God has subjected His people to His own righteous wrath. Can you? Some will say that they went through, not out of the wrath of God, but are they missing something? I think they are.
But let us explore briefly what the Bible says we can expect as this Age of Grace draws to a close. There are many verses scattered about that supports that when God's wrath falls upon this planet, the Church of the Living God will not be present.
EXPLAINING THE CONCEPT TO A FRIEND
I was having a conversation with an online friend, who was an admitted post-tribulation believer, and as we conversed back and forth, I brought up a well know verse found in your Bible:
10 "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown." (Revelation 3:10-11)
Here our Risen Lord speaks to the apostle John and tells him, that because those who have kept His Word and followed His commands, our Lord promises us that we will be kept from this hour of temptation. Our God and Savior gave us commands to follow, and a way back to God our Father and He is the only Way.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life, no man cometh to the Father, but by me." (John 14:6)
In speaking with my online friend, who is a student of the Hebrew and Greek translations concerning Bible text, I pointed out to him that the original Greek shows that this passage speaks of the Church being taken out of, not through the tribulation.
Many people debate this verse and make assumptions that like Lot and Noah, or even the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, that they were brought through the wrath of God. But even my friend didn't realize that there is one word in the Greek that is in this passage and changes the whole meaning of the passage, and he had read it many times, and passed right over it. The passage that tells us "I also will keep thee from the hour of Temptation", that the words "I will keep thee" in the original Greek centers on the Greek word (εκ [ek] ) that here denotes out of not through the wrath of God. My friend was flabberghasted, that the original Greek spoke that the Church is taken "out of" the coming wrath of God that falls on the whole world. I believe I changed his mind, as he confessed it as so.
We continued our discussion as I told him that even in the Old Testament that there is proof of the Church being removed from this earth and put into "our chambers" Needless to say, as we talked, the friend got real quiet.
19 "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." (Isaiah 26:19-21)
Notice that it speaks of the dead rising and being taken to chambers that they are to shut the doors behind them, because the wrath of God, or indignation is going to punish the inhabitants of the earth. It speaks of what I believe was revealed to the Apostle Paul, when being taught by revelation by our Lord Jesus while living in the Arabian desert for three years, before he even came to the disciple of Jesus in Jerusalem. Paul prophecies it even further than Isaiah in his prophecy.
51 "Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" (1st Corinthians 15:51-55)
Paul reaffirms this prophecy when speaking to the Thessalonians and adds more visual information about our change that we will experience:
13 "But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words." (1st Thessalonians 4:14-18)
In your mind, if you visualize what Isaiah wrote and what Paul repeated twice in his epistles, you can see that those who are in the dust of the earth, asleep in their graves (that being their mortal bodies, as the spirit is not there), they are suddenly changed, reunited with their physical bodies and changed into immortal Spirits into what Jesus is right now, a Glorified Man of flesh and bones. This is the same type of body that Jesus revealed to His apostles in their closed room and sat and ate fish and honeycomb in their presence to prove to them He was not a ghost or phantom. Jesus was an entirely flesh and bone being, that they could handle and feel, and ate before them, BUT could vanish from their site, and walk through walls. These immortal Spirits that we will be are commanded to enter their chambers and shut the doors behind them, till God's wrath is spent and the blood will be disclosed on the earth and will not be hidden.
But what bodies are we talking about here when we speak of being changed in the twinkling of an eye?
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1st John 3:1-3)
Till that day overtakes us and we are transported so much like the Star Trek episodes used to do, and many who read this can identify with a very objective visual about "beam me up, Scotty" and being transported from one place to another, we look for our Blessed Hope.
11 "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works". (Titus 2:11-14)
Ok. My friend asked, so where are these chambers that this passage speaks of? Isaiah has a sister verse, I believe, that adjoins what even Paul wrote and it was spoke of by our Lord Jesus when comforting His disciples.
1, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." (John 14:1-4)
This Jesus spoke to draw off their minds from an earthly kingdom to an heavenly one; to point out the place to them whither he was going, and to support them with the views and hopes of glory under all their troubles. By his "Father's house" is meant heaven;
10 "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." ( 2 Corinthians 5:1 )
We are taken to His Father's house and receive rewards based on our service for God. This is His Father's building, where he has, and will have all his family. Note that Jesus is coming to bring us to Himself, and to "receive you unto myself, that where I AM, there you may be also". Jesus is in heaven's realm at the right hand of the Father on His Throne. Jesus will bring us to His Father's house, not come to us, but we come to Him. Another clue to the HARPAZO.
The visualization of these verses brings home to those who look for our Blessed Hope, that there is a glorious future where we will be Kings and Priest to our God and we shall reign upon the earth. John sees a symbolic representation of this truth that the Church is in God's presence, that John sees in a vision of the future.
4 "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold."( Revelation 4:4)
Note that the description of these elders? Many have tried to hypothesize who they are. Some say angels, some say they are not human, and others have no idea, so they just pass over without discernment. Angels have never been given crowns, and these saints are entirely human. They are seated, so their work is over and they are at rest. They are on thrones, so they are rulers along with God. They are clothed with white raiment, which is a symbol and sign of the saints of God. They are crowned with gold crowns, so they have been exalted to a high position in the government of God.
This vision shows John that the Church here is symbolized by 24 elders, which is a multiplication of the number 12, which in the Bible, is a sign of government. Half from the Old Testament saints, and half from the New Testament Saints, is my belief...all comprising the Church, each look either forward or back at the sacrifice that Jesus made on the Roman cross of His crucifixion for the sins of the world by faith of both groups. The first group of saints were taken to someplace in the heavens, as Jesus emptied Paradise of Old Testament saints when He was resurrected.
7" "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
8 Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.
9 (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." (Ephesians 4:7-10)
Here is a vision of the combining of the two sets of saints..the Old and the New Testament .The Church will be rule with Christ for a thousand years as the Bible attest to.
8 "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (this would be tribulations saints, my emphasis)
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:8-10)
Our destiny is to be Kings and rule with our Lord Jesus on earth and to point those who are born during that Millennial Reign of Christ, to the sacrifice that Jesus paid on the cross over 2000 years ago, as priest to the Living God who is ruling from Jerusalem. Note that you will not find the word "Church" mentioned again through the whole of Revelation past chapter 3 of this book. We are not mentioned again until we are spoken of in chapter 19 of this apocalyptic book of the start of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ. It is another clue that the Church is not on earth for the whole of the 7 years of the reign of the Anti-Christ.
6 "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Revelation 19:77-9)
Notice that the bride is clothed with fine line, clean and white, for fine linen is a symbol for the righteousness of the saints, which is the Bride of Christ...Immediately, John gives the vision of Jesus returning with His armies from heaven.
11 "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords." (Revelation 19:11-16)
Of these two passages found in Revelation chp. 19, I want you to focus on one thing. I know who both are, but I want you to see it...note what the Bride is clothed with? She is clothed with linen, white and clean. Then in the next passage quoted we see the armies of heaven coming to witness the final defeat of all rebellion on earth by our Great God and King, Jesus the Christ. Note what those who come with Jesus are wearing? Exactly, they are wearing linen, white and clean, which in both instances are a sign of the saints. The Church has been taken to the marriage supper of the Lamb as written in previous verses, where we receive rewards for service and are joined to our Lord Jesus, and become part of the Family of God our Father, by the marriage covenant and we come back with Him, riding on white horse dressed in the same apparel.
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.
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." (Romans 8:16-19)
From the Old Testament into the New Testament, God has revealed that "we are not appointed to wrath" from God, "but to receive salvation"...being saved out of the coming Tribulation that refines Israel as silver is refined in the furnace, and to extinguish all rebellion and lawlessness on this earth where if the time were not shortened, "no flesh would be saved, but for the elect, those times will be shortened"...That is how near total this earth is purged of all sin and only those who have survived the near complete destruction of planet earth, and have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior of their souls, will enter into the Millennium as mortals.
THE INTERNET IS ABUZZ WITH PROPHECY
Many people all over the internet are sensing that the time of the return of Jesus Christ is close at hand. Some take liberty and make predictions of what date that glorious event will be, but we cannot know, BUT, we know the season, and from the words of the Bible, we are bumping right up to the time of the return of our Lord Jesus..why? Because Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that when Israel is made a nation again, then that generation will not pass till all thing be fulfilled..and the amazing part, the generation of those who saw Israel born again in her own land, is 70 years old this next year in May of 1948-2018. That my friend, is the number of a generation, and as Psalms 90 tells us:
" The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." (Psalms 90:10)
Yes, my friend, the time of our departure grows close at hand. I have complete trust in the Words of my Omnipotent God, who knows the end from the beginning..the Alpha and the Omega, Jesus Christ. Question? Will you be among those who witness His glorious return for His Bride, at the removal of God's Church someday soon...maybe sooner than anyone thinks? Or will you be in total astonishment, or sincere remorse that you missed this greatest event that ever transpired on humanity, second only to the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead? Don't let this time get away from you.
"We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.
2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." (2nd Corinthians 6:1-2)
Today, if you hear God's voice through His Holy Spirit, do not harden your heart, as God is calling a remnant that will believe in their heart and mind, that Jesus is who He said He was, and did what He did so long ago...
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
If you believe those words that I have just quoted, in your heart and your mind...then ask Jesus to come into your heart and life right now..Repent of your sins, and make that commitment to walk with Jesus, to read His instruction manual for the rest of your lives, your Bible, and to confess the Lord to others the hope of your salvation.
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." (Romans 10:8-10)
Don't let this opportunity pass you by. Believe by faith that Jesus loves you, and died for you and the sins of the whole world. Don't be subject to the coming wrath of God, as it will be the most horrific time in all of mankind's history. Make that decision for Christ, today.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly ear, email me at email@example.com , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET.
Iran Threatens Ballistic Missile Strikes on American Forces, Can Hit 'All U.S. Bases' - Adam Kredo -
Iran beefs up missile program as U.S. targets rocket research
A top Iranian military commander has threatened to launch ballistic missile attacks on U.S. forces in the region amid a public effort by the Islamic Republic to show off its advanced missile capabilities, according to U.S. officials and regional reports.
Iranian leaders disclosed that their advanced ballistic missile technology, which could be used as part of a nuclear weapons program, is sophisticated enough to strike U.S. forces up to nearly 1,300 miles, or 2,000 kilometers, away, which encompasses all U.S. bases in the region.
The head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, announced on Tuesday that Iranian missiles can already "cover all U.S. bases in the region" and that Tehran has the capability to increase its missile power even further.
"Based on the policies specified by the Leader [Ayatollah Khamenei], the range of our missiles is limited to 2,000km, but we have the capability to increase the range," IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said following an announcement by the country's supreme leader that Iranian ballistic missile technology would be capped at this distance for the short term.
While pro-Iran activists cheered the announcement as a sign of moderation on Iran's part, U.S officials and experts told the Washington Free Beacon that the distance cap on these missiles is effectively meaningless since the country's current military technology is capable of striking U.S. forces, a position emphasized by Iranian military leaders.
"At present it [this distance] is sufficient because the Americans are in a 2,000 km radius from our country and their attacks will be responded," Jafari was quoted as saying in Iran's state-controlled press outlets.
U.S. military and administration officials told the Free Beacon the United States is cementing multiple plans to counter Iran's ballistic missile threat and will continue to pursue these efforts despite Iranian threats of military violence.
"We have consistently maintained that we will work with our allies to change Iran's malign and destabilizing activities," one senior military official told the Free Beacon.
This includes the development and proliferation of ballistic missile technology, as well as Iran's support for terrorism and Islamic extremism, according to Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Defense Department spokesperson.
The U.S. defense apparatus also is working to counter Iran's support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, as well as the Islamic Republic's "unrelenting hostility to Israel," according to Rankine-Galloway.
U.S. defense officials remain concerned about Iran's harassment of U.S. naval vessels in the region, "especially in the strategically vital Arabian Gulf," according to the military official.
"In support of this strategy, DoD is reviewing the entire breadth of our security cooperation activities, force posture, and plans," Rankine-Galloway said. "We are identifying new areas where we will work with allies to put pressure on the Iranian regime, neutralize its destabilizing influences, and constrain its aggressive power projection, particularly its support for terrorist groups and militants."
A State Department official told the Free Beacon that Iran's continued pursuit of ballistic missile technology violates United Nations Resolution 2231, which codifies the nuclear agreement and includes bans on Tehran's development of such equipment.
"As we have said before, the Iranian regime's program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be in defiance of UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region," the official said. "We call on the Iranian regime not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities."
Congressional critics of the Iran deal continue to maintain the Obama administration misled lawmakers about the nature of restrictions on Iran's ballistic missile program, guaranteeing during negotiations over the landmark agreement that such activity would be fully halted.
"While we were told by Obama administration officials that the nuclear deal would lead to improved Iranian behavior, Iran's behavior since reaping the massive amount of front-loaded financial benefits has only seemed to get worse," Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, told the Free Beacon.
"Recent threats about missile attacks demonstrate the need for Congress to proceed with additional secondary sanctions," DeSantis said. "The present course is untenable and Iran's threatening behavior is likely to increase in frequency."
Iranian leaders continue to maintain the United States is in violation of the nuclear accord and have emphasized repeatedly that the deal is not open to renegotiation on any front.
"Iran doesn't want, under any conditions, to negotiate with anyone on any paragraphs of the nuclear deal," Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, was quoted as saying on Tuesday.
New congressional efforts to sanction Iran for a range of activities, including its ballistic missile buildup, have been met with threats.
IRGC Commander Jafari vowed last month that any new effort to sanction Tehran would be viewed as a "U.S. unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal."
"If the U.S. new sanctions act comes into action, the country [the U.S.] should transfer its regional bases to 2,000 km away, that is as far as the range of Iranian missiles," Jafari said, emphasizing the threat to strike U.S. assets.
In Tuesday remarks, Jafari warned that new sanctions "will increase the Iranian nation's determination to increase its defense and missile power and they [America] will see an increase in the range and precision-striking power of missiles."
Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran expert and research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that those cheering Iran's announcement that it is capping the distance its missiles can travel are being disingenuous, given that Iran can still hit any U.S. base in the region.
"The IRGC commander says at this time the current range is enough," Ghasseminejad said. "He clarifies it by saying that there are enough Americans to target inside the 2000 km range that Iran does not need to go beyond it at this point."
Any edict by Iran's Supreme Leader "can easily change," Ghasseminejad noted.
"Iran is working on its satellite program which is a cover to develop its ICBM program," he added. "So at the same time that Iran is developing its intercontinental ballistic missile, the head of the terrorist organization, the IRGC, assures the world that Iran has no plan to go beyond 2000 km range even though it has the technical capability."
"How gullible should one be to buy such assurance?" Ghasseminejad asked, noting that the amplified rhetoric from Iran is a sign the threat of new sanctions is a concern for Tehran.
Iran & Terror Tunnels In A Time Of Palestinian Unity - Michael Friedson & Charles Bybelezer -
Questions emerge as to Iran's role in Gaza as Abbas set to take over security control of Strip.
The Israel Defense Forces on Monday destroyed a subterranean attack tunnel stretching east from the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip into Israeli territory, reaching within a mile of the Kibbutz Kissufim border community. According to military officials, construction of the tunnel, which was ongoing, began only after conclusion of the seven-week war against Hamas in 2014. The IDF did not reveal who dug the passageway but stressed that it ultimately holds Hamas "accountable and responsible" for all violent acts emanating from Gaza as its governing authority.
Seven terrorists were killed in the operation, including two high-ranking members of the Iranian-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Arafat Abu Murshad, its central Gaza commander; and his deputy Hassan Abu Hassanein. Two ranking Hamas members who also perished were believed to have died from asphyxiation after they entered the tunnel to save others who were inside when the Israelis collapsed the structure.
The Israeli security echelon is evaluating a number of perplexities stemming from the mission, including whether the presence of both high-ranking Hamas and senior Islamic Jihad loyalists indicates a new level of cooperation presumably tied to the Iranians, with whom Hamas is striving to build its relationship. Earlier this month a Hamas delegation visited Tehran seeking closer ties and more funding to support its military ambitions against the Jewish state. One distinct possibility is taking "good-cop; bad-cop" to the next level with Hamas camouflaging its involvement in terror in order not to destroy the reconciliation with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority, and thereby sacrificing its place in the Palestinian unified government. Islamic Jihad would be the ideal partner for such a scheme.
For Iran, all scenarios appear to be "win-win." As it extends its reach into Gaza it is consolidating its control over the Lebanese government via the Hezbollah terrorist organization which also provides inroads into southern Syria.
Pointedly, an Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman condemned "the bloodthirsty Zionist regime" for destroying the tunnel, an act he described as precipitated by a desire to "guarantee [Israel's] security by killing Palestinian youths."
According to Yaakov Lappin, an Israeli military correspondent and analyst, "Islamic Jihad has had its own tunnel program since 2014 and this particular one appears to have been part of the network. Even so, it is very unlikely that Hamas did not know about it.
"The two groups have in recent years been cooperating," he explained to The Media Line, "as well as coordinating their responses to Israel based on the understanding that any independent action could pull both groups into an unwanted war."
Lappin raised the possibility that the Islamic Republic directed its underling to purposely dig into Israeli territory as a provocation. "The Iranians would very much like to turn Gaza into one of the bases that is used to target Israel, as well as to use the enclave as a point of entry into the West Bank, which they have been trying to access for years."
Speaking to The Media Line, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yosef Kuperwasser, head of the Regional Research Project at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, explained that, "The effort dates back to the Second Intifada [a period of intense terrorism characterized by Palestinian suicide bombings between 2000 and 2005]. Tehran has attempted to do this through Islamic Jihad, which it created and completely controls, and also by financing Hamas."
Dr. Eitan Shamir, former director of the National Security Doctrine Department in Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, agrees that Islamic Jihad-and, by extension, Tehran-is asserting itself in the Gaza Strip. "It is clearly taking a more active role, whereas Hamas has recently tried to assume a relatively moderate posture. While both are committed to the 'resistance' [read anti-Israel violence], Hamas is more constrained [by political realities]."
Nevertheless, he told The Media Line that "the [destroyed] tunnel was likely known to Hamas, so it may either be ignoring these actions or perhaps trying to operate under the cover of Islamic Jihad. Overall, Hamas cannot put itself in a position to restrain Islamic Jihad as they are both being financed by the same patron."
The discovery of the attack tunnel-whether constructed with Hamas' tacit approval to achieve plausible deniability or at its explicit directive-creates additional problems when viewed against the backdrop of the unity deal signed with Abbas' Fatah faction.
On the diplomatic front, Jerusalem has repeatedly vowed not to engage in peace negotiations with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas and the latest tunnel incident will likely solidify this position, even as Israel continues to cooperate with Abbas on various levels in the West Bank.
It is, after all, in the interest of both parties to ensure that Hamas in particular is not able to expand the scope of its terror operations. Additionally, U.S. President Donald Trump's soon-to-be-unveiled peace initiative will likely provide a "loophole" to effectively sideline Hamas from any talks, thereby enabling Jerusalem to enter into a process with Abbas while saving face.
The situation, however, is more complex and potentially explosive from a security standpoint with Abbas set to assume total control over Gaza by December 1. There is widespread doubt he can prevent Hamas and Islamic Jihad from continuing to arm themselves to the teeth-with the assistance of Iran-while threatening Israel with attack tunnels.
Lappin reinforced the notion that Hamas will remain the dominant military presence in Gaza for the foreseeable future. "Abbas will not be able to send a sizeable security force into the enclave, but rather the idea is that Hamas' armed wing will pledge allegiance to the unity government. But [the Palestinian leader] is not deluded-he recognizes the limitations."
According to Kuperwasser, "the lesson for Israel is that it should not be tempted to believe in the illusion that the [Fatah-Hamas] agreement will lead to less terrorism from Gaza." He further stressed that Jerusalem "should hold up the [tunnel] example to the international community as evidence of what Hamas is and will continue to be."
Kuperwasser concluded by highlighting the perils of an evolving dynamic in Gaza: "What would have happened if the Palestinian Authority had already assumed responsibility in the Strip and then Islamic Jihad responded to the destroyed tunnel by firing rockets into Israel? And what if there was a further escalation after Israel retaliated?
"Abbas would have been caught in the middle. What would he do in such an impossible situation?"
Bible Prophecy: North Korea And Iran Could Destroy U.S. In Nuclear War, Pastor Greg Laurie Issues Chilling Warning - JohnThomas Didymus -
Greg Laurie, the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, has issued a chilling warning that biblical prophecy suggests North Korea could wipe out the U.S. in a nuclear attack before the apocalyptic battle of Armageddon begins.
According to Pastor Laurie, God revealed the hidden secrets of the tragic end of the U.S. to him while he was reading prophetic bible passages. While he was meditating on the significance of the prophecies, he suddenly realized that none of the passages talked about a superpower nation existing in the time leading to the apocalyptic end of the world when the final battle of Armageddon will occur. Yet, today we have the U.S. as the sole superpower nation in the world.
Laurie concluded that the silence of the prophetic passages about a superpower nation that can be identified as the U.S. indicates that the country could have been wiped out from the face of the Earth before the end time prophecies begin to be fulfilled.
"Here is what concerns me. We do not find the reigning superpower on the face of the Earth anywhere in the Last Days scenario," Laurie says in a video uploaded to YouTube. "So where is America?"
WATCH VIDEO: https://youtu.be/duhRHr273cI
"I pray we are not out of the picture, because we have been in some kind of nuclear conflict."
However, Laurie notes in the video that the biblical end-time prophecies also do not mention North Korea and its leader Kim Jong-Un. He points out that instead of North Korea, the Bible talks about Iran.
Laurie's conclusion, based on the alleged evidence of biblical prophecy, is that North Korea is not mentioned specifically in the end time prophecies because the country will be allied with Iran in the "Last Days."
According to Laurie, wherever the Bible mentions Iran in its end time prophecies, it could be referring to a coalition of countries led by Iran, and North Korea is one of the countries in the "axis of evil" coalition led by Iran.
"In the Last Days there is no mention of any nation that would resemble North Korea. However, the Bible does speak of Iran in the End Times scenario," Laurie says in the video.
"You might be surprised to know there is an alignment of sorts between North Korea and Iran."
To buttress his argument that the U.S. could soon be wiped out by a coalition of countries that include Iran and North Korea, Laurie refers to a recent comment by John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. According to Laurie, Bolton warned that the U.S. must do everything in its power to prevent the North Koreans from acquiring nuclear weapons, and the missile technology to deliver them, because once they acquire full nuclear capability, Iran will purchase the nuclear devices and missiles from North Korea.
Some believers will probably consider Laurie's warning to be very relevant at a time that tensions have escalated further between the U.S. and North Korea after a senior North Korean official warned the West to take the country's threat to conduct hydrogen bomb tests over the Pacific Ocean "literally."
North Korea also further escalated tensions when it warned that the country is taking Trump's recently announced plan to visit South Korea as a grave security threat, saying it could spark war in the Korean peninsula.
Nearing Midnight: The California Wildfires - Todd Strandberg - http://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
The wildfires that have raged through Northern California have caused at least $1 billion in damage to insured property. The fires killed over 42 people - marking the greatest loss of life from a single fire event on record in California, surpassing the 29 deaths from the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles.
It will take months to finalize the total insured losses from the fires. Insurers have so far found that there were 4,200 partial residential losses, 7,200 total residential losses, 1,000 commercial property losses, and over 3,000 auto losses. It is stunning to have over 8,000 structures destroyed in that state. The cedar fire in 2003 had the previous record with 2,830 structures destroyed by fire.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Oklahoma City at the Blessed Hope Prophecy Forum, and one of the speakers talked about how California environmentalist policies have compounded the fire damage. He said lawmakers don't allow for the removal of dead trees and brush that would have helped prevent the fire storms that consumed all those houses.
It is true that leftist rules on logging have provided more fuel for the fires, but we've had this problem for decades. In 1988, a large portion of Yellowstone park went up in flames. There has not been a major fire in the park since because the forest will take many decades to grow back to the pre-1988 density.
There is something very odd about this year's fire that defies all other growth or drought explanations. The current fire season has burned less acreage than many recent years, and yet, it has been the most destructive. Historian Stephen Pyne noted, "It's no longer just the case that we're building homes where the fires are. The fires seem to be going where the houses are."
In 2012, when the largest single fire in California's recorded history burned 315,000 acres, only a single barn was damaged. During an average fire season, fires will burn in the high mountains for months without coming anywhere near populated areas.
Only a small portion of California's 104-million-acre landscape goes up in flames each year. When 1,375,781 acres were burned in 2008, the most ever, that number was less than one percent of the state's total land area.
It is incredibly strange to have fires cause so much destruction and loss of life over such a long period of time. I've looked at years of records for California fires, and most of the great fire events are single events that last one to two days. This month's blaze had five notable fire events that devastated property for a solid week.
Lately, I've noticed that nearly every occurrence of a natural disaster has had some form of extreme classification. The most recent, Hurricane Ophelia, marks the 10th consecutive Atlantic-named storm to become a hurricane in 2017. This ties the record for the most consecutive Atlantic-named storms reaching hurricane strength, which last occurred in the 1800's, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University tropical meteorologist.
The press has almost zero interest in why we are having so many disasters. Every time one occurs, they devote an increasingly smaller amount of time reporting on it. They don't care about the welfare of the American people. Their main focus is on attacking Trump.
The worst type of disaster a property holder can experience is fire. When a house is flooded, there are many things that can be recovered when the water recedes. When a home is consumed by flames, there is nothing to claim but ashes. When I saw block after block of homes destroyed in many of those California cities, I could only think of how the rapture could deliver a believer from such a dreadful event. With natural disasters becoming a regular occurrence, the "blessed hope" is our only remedy from future calamity.
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
"Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).
Discovering Naboth's Vineyard: Another Find of Biblical Proportions - Eric Metaxas -
Sometimes I wish I'd become an archaeologist. Imagine discovering something like, oh, I don't know, Naboth's vineyard from 1 Kings.
Here at BreakPoint, we love to tell you about the ways that archaeology is confirming the biblical narrative, and, judging by the response, you love to hear about it.
Well, the latest discovery is one of the coolest yet. It's possible confirmation of one of the most memorable stories in the Bible: Ahab and Naboth's vineyard.
First Kings 21 tells the story of Naboth the Jezreelite who had the misfortune to own a vineyard near king Ahab's palace.
Ahab coveted Naboth's vineyard and offered to either buy it outright or exchange it for what he deemed a "better vineyard." When Naboth, in keeping with the Law of Moses, refused, Ahab sulked, "lay down on his bed and turned away his face and would eat no food." You gotta chuckle at Ahab's reaction. My goodness.
At any rate, his Phoenician wife, Jezebel, then hatches a successful plot to kill Naboth and seize his land. But their triumph is short-lived: Elijah pronounces God's judgment on them and their dynasty, which will end in a gruesome fashion.
Since 2012, a team led by Norma Franklin of the University of Haifa and Jennie Ebeling of the University of Evansville in Indiana have led an excavation in the Jezreel Valley, which lies south of our Lord's native south Galilee.
It's a region that figures prominently in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. It's where Gideon defeated the Midianites and the Amalekites in the book of Judges. It's where Meggido, from which we get the word "Armageddon," is located.
And it's the site of the vineyard Ahab coveted.
Five years ago, Franklin and her colleagues, using what's known as "LiDAR," a surveying "method that measures distance to a target by illuminating that target with a pulsed laser light," discovered "several features that had remained hidden for centuries." These features suggested the presence of an "early winery installation."
Excavation revealed "several wine and olive presses, including the largest ancient winepress in Israel found to date." They also found "over 100 bottle-shaped pits carved into the bedrock," which Dr. Franklin theorizes were used to store wine.
How did they know where to look in the first place? Well, they used the biblical text itself. Writing in Biblical Archeology Review, Franklin said that the details provided in the account of Naboth and the subsequent fall of Ahab's dynasty at the hands of Jehu provided "valuable information regarding the vineyard's location."
In fact, it was the correspondence between the physical evidence and the biblical account that led Franklin and her colleagues to ask if they found evidence of Naboth's vineyard.
Her answer is a lightly-qualified "yes." As she told Breaking Israel News, "the story as described in the Bible quite probably could have occurred here in the Jezreel."
Stories like this should not come as a surprise. A year ago, John Stonestreet told you about evidence that lent historical credence to the Bible's account of Jehu and the fall of Ahab's dynasty: a toilet used to desecrate what the Bible calls "the high places."
As 1 King 10 says, Jehu "demolished the pillar of Baal, and destroyed the temple of Baal, and made it a latrine to this day."
As we never tire of telling you, "the Bible is the best-attested book of antiquity. Nothing else comes close. That's as it should be because our faith is firmly rooted in history, not some "once upon a time."
And that's something we can say with complete certainty.
Daily Jot: Word of God or word of man? - Bill Wilson -
The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of YHVH, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." But what happens when man gets away from SCRIPTURE and starts putting his own concepts of what God means into his lexicon of beliefs? We then see the beginnings of bad doctrine in the least, growing into heresy, and, sadly, the replacement of what should be the first love of Jesus for the pride of the human mind. There is a forgetfulness of the right relationship between man and his Creator where the mind of man tries to govern the Word of God.
This is a problem. Everyday, scripture is taken out of context to support man's concept. It's called eisegesis. Often we just see bad teaching upon bad teaching--man's precept upon man's precept--manifest itself into faux facts that cause division, insecurity, hostility and accusations. What of the man who is so self-assured of his knowledge that he takes great pride in attacking another's viewpoint without studying both sides? I think Jesus had a response to that sort of thing when he said in Matthew 7:4, "Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and behold a beam is in your own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; then shall thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."
Many people try to advance their own pet doctrine accusing others of not knowing or understanding the scripture. But when one studies it with cross-references and context, it is confirmed that the accuser's mind is trying to govern the Word of God. The accuser is usually the one who is actually doing his own accusations. Sometimes, it's just prideful ignorance because the accuser just hasn't considered the full context of what he is saying. Acts 17:11 speaks of the Bereans, saying, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." We would do well to be like the Bereans.
When we start putting our own concepts of God over God, we are in great danger. As the word of God explained in Isaiah 55:9, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Verse 11 continues: "So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." Notice that God says that HIS word will go out; it shall accomplish what HE pleases; and it shall prosper the thing HE wishes. It's not about us and our opinions or speculations. Study the Word! Renew your mind daily in Jesus. Speak the truth in humble boldness.
Daily Devotion: Bought with a Price - By Greg Laurie -
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price. -1 Corinthians 6:19-20
I heard the story of an older gentleman who was known for his godly life. One day someone asked him, "What do you do when you get tempted?"
He answered, "Well, I just look up to Heaven and say, 'Lord, your property is in danger.'"
We read in 1 Corinthians 6:19, "You are not your own." It could be translated, "You are not your own property. You were bought with a price." God has reassured us of this by putting His seal on us as a king might seal his property. We are told in 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."
As believers, we belong to God. We are His children. We are His sheep. We are His property. We are also His children. Romans 8:15 tells us, "For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.' " "Abba" was an affectionate cry of a Hebrew child. If you go to Israel today, you can still hear little children crying out to their dads, "Abba!" It is affectionate, endearing, and close.
My children, and now my grandchildren, have always had access to me. They don't have to make an appointment to meet with me. They just walk up and talk to me. If I'm in a crowded room and my grandchildren come walking in and yell out, "Papa!" the conversation I'm having will be over. That is the kind of relationship we have and the access they have. In the same way, we have that kind of access to God.
FROM THE HEART
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