Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Evil Day - By Pete Garcia -
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:12-13
Is there a limit to how evil the world can get before Christ returns? Perhaps a better question is, how evil did God allow Noah's world to become before the flood came? In what we call the Antediluvian Age (the time before the Flood), God allowed men to live for centuries, which naturally contributed significantly to the population explosion of the human race. Being omnipotent, God of course already knew that should man live for centuries, this would come to a predictable outcome. So why did He allow it?
First of all, when God created Adam and Eve, they were made perfect. That means that they were created with perfect mental faculties, perfect physical attributes, which means they were created genetically perfect. Even though they rebelled, causing sin and death to enter into the human race, physically and genetically, they were still far superior (physically and genetically) to any of their descendants (save Jesus). However, after they sinned, instead of remaining immortal, their bodies were now allowed to age and die. Albeit, this process would take much, much longer than would their succeeding generations. The only way that God could have immediately shortened man's lifespan after the fall, would have been to create physically and genetically inferior humans from the outset...which of course, could not happen.
And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: Luke 17:26
So what were the similarities between the Antediluvian era and today? Jesus stated that before His immediate return, the world would be like the days of Noah, although, we don't have a lot of specific information about those days. Jesus also said the days before His return would be like the days of Lot, of which, we do have some specific information. So let us look into both examples, the first Antediluvian, and the second, Post-Diluvian.
Bible experts have long wondered how big the earth's population was before the Noahic Flood. With the rise of information processing, data modeling has greatly enabled us to simulate just how fast the human population could have grown.
Some people believe the population was relatively low. The Bible explains that people were extremely corrupt and violent prior to the Flood. It is not hard to imagine the world being filled with wars, diseases, and other factors that would keep the population in check.
Others believe that Earth's population was much higher. If the growth rate in the pre-Flood world was equal to the growth rate in 2000 (0.012), there could have been about 750 million people at the time of the Flood. However, given the extremely long lifespans prior to the Flood, the growth rate could have been much higher. Increasing the rate by just 0.001 would put the population at close to four billion at the Flood.
If we take a broader look at population growth, we could simply look at the 20th-century to see how fast the human population could grow. Beginning in 1900, the world population roughly stood at 1.65B people. The world population by the year 2000, was 6B. This explosive growth takes into account the reduced infant mortality rate, as well as longer lifespans as afforded by modern medicine, vaccines, and better medical practices, all of which have improved the general quality of life for much of the modernized world.
That overall growth has more than tripled for just 100 years. The timeframe from the fall of Adam to the Noahic flood was roughly 1,656 years. With humans living for centuries due to an enriched environment and superior gene pools (less corrupted than today), it is easy to believe that the world population at the time of the flood was closer to 4B than 750M.
The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence. Genesis 6:11
The world that was then, was filled with violence. Since the flood all but washed away the antediluvian world, we only have what scripture records to tell us what life was like then. One of the decision points God made after the flood with Noah (the Noahic Covenant) was in reference to this violence. We know that after the flood when a civilization became so corrupted that murder and violence were not dealt; that civilization was in its final stage of collapse.
Thus far, life in the 20th-century has been the bloodiest century on record. In fact, more people died in the 20th-century due to war and violence, than in all the wars previously combined. Violent crime impacts every nation on earth, and formerly peaceful societies are quickly being inundated with violence due to liberal immigration policies bringing in peoples from the war-torn regions of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa.
Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Gen. 6:5
The world that was then, was filled with wickedness. One would be hard-pressed today to deny that the level of overall wickedness has not risen dramatically in the past 40 years. Abortion on demand in most western nations is the single biggest source of bloodshed on the planet. Crime and criminal networks are rampant in every nation on the planet. The entertainment industry is producing the most violent, vile, and pornographic movies and television shows of any era. Divorce (based on convenience) has wreaked havoc on the traditional family unit.
Adding insult to injury, the LGBT movements have sprung up in almost every nation, with most of the western nations capitulating to the normalization of this behavior. While not to say that all LGBTQ? Etc. persons are evil and violent, what they are demanding, is the redefinition of the foundational norms for marriage and family. When you deconstruct marriage and the family unit in a society, you open Pandora's Box, which allows for every evil imaginable.
This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God. Gen. 6:9
This passage singles out Noah and his biological sons as being genetically perfect, not morally perfect (as he was under the same curse as all mankind after Adam). This leads to several conclusions.
We live in a world today (as of 1953) where mankind can again, begin tinkering with our genetic makeup. Once man figured out what DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), he began to understand the complexities of the human body. This was a double-edged sword for science, a) it began to deconstruct the long-accepted model of Darwinian Evolution, and b) gave rise to the thought of forcing a new kind of evolution in the form of upgrading the human body. Now thanks to the technology of CRISPR, the issue is not if human genetic research and gene-editing will ever happen, but how to regulate it. Regardless, the last time genetic manipulation had been seen on the earth had been in the days before Noah.
The myth that man has evolved into a higher being (e.g., we today) is just that...a myth. The truth is, man has de-evolved. We are much smaller, weaker, and genetically inferior to our pre-history predecessors. The simple reason is, they were closer to the perfect genetic originals than we are today. We are copies, of copies, of copies, (add thousands of generations) who have accumulated inherited genetic defects along the way. Man is desperately trying to regain what was lost in the Antediluvian world.
Now it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose...There were giants on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them. Those were the mighty men who were of old, men of renown. Gen. 6:1-2, 4
Author's Note: This point comes with much contention amongst Bible scholars as to the exact nature and identity of the sons of God Moses mentions here. Although the term sons of God is used in earlier scripture [Job 1:6, 2:1, 38:7] and are referred to as angels, it is used similarly in much later writing of Hosea 1:10 as referring to Israel. I am of the belief (I could be wrong) that in writing Genesis, Moses (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) uses the earlier version of the term. Thus, sons of God refer simply to one who was a direct creation of God (as opposed to human offspring). Granted, this is certainly the case (and will be) for all who become born-again believers regenerated from death unto life by God the Holy Spirit. Some have argued why other living beings such as plants and animals at creation aren't also listed as "sons of God" when they too were direct creations, but they were not created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26).
My belief is that as the barrier/separation between the spiritual and physical realms seemed to be non-existent back before the flood, fallen angels were seemingly able to physically couple with human women. That seems a bold statement given that angels are spirit-beings. However, we know they can take on the appearance of humans. Does that mean they can also take on our DNA and reproductive capabilities?
I don't know.
Neither does anyone else.
I simply look at the context of the Genesis passage, along with other corroborating scriptures (Jude 1:6; 2 Peter 2:4), and match the justification for the type of judgment God issued out. The most logical conclusion I can come up with was that Satan's intent was to corrupt the human gene pool, so that mankind could not produce someone who could crush Satan's head (Gen. 3:15).
Therefore, if my theory is correct, then the offspring of this unholy union, were neither fully angel (which were direct creations of God), nor fully human. These were hybrid (fallen) creatures known as the Nephilim (Hebrew-fallen ones). The Nephilim then become the 'men of renown,' which speaks more to their superhuman capabilities (and size) than simply being popular or charismatic leaders. These supermen if you will, were evil, corrupt, and vicious. They were viewed or possibly made themselves out to be worshipped as gods or demigods and infected large swaths of the population with their own contaminated seed like the outbreak of a viral sexual disease. This is the point of Genesis 6:9 when God comments that by the time of the flood, only Noah was found perfect in his generations, genetically speaking.
As to how the Nephilim appear again after the flood, as my friend Steve Schmutzer concluded, this eventuality came about through one of the wives of Noah's sons...a non-blood relative. Considering that Jesus traces His lineage through Shem (Vis Abraham), and not much is mentioned of Japheth's descendants (other than at the table of nations). However, this leaves the wife of Ham as being a carrier of this dormant corruption.
It is Ham's lineage that the Bible emphasizes. Of Ham's four sons, three are demonstrated in the Biblical narrative to produce Nephilim descendants, and of those three sons, it is Canaan that the Scriptures focus on the most. All said we can reasonably conclude it was Ham's wife that carried a latent Nephilim gene.
From the point Ham exits the ark in Genesis 9:18 to the point the Nephilim are once again mentioned by name after the flood in Numbers 13:31-33, it is the descendants of Ham that the Bible traces very precisely. Specific individuals within that lineage, and their activities, are expanded on (Gen. 10:6-11) until we get to the report of 10 of the 12 spies that Joshua sent to scout out The Promised Land in Numbers 13:31-33.
I would be remiss to neglect the fact that it wasn't just humans these fallen angels were monkeying with (literally), but all species. While they didn't use microscopes and test tubes to conduct their genetic experiments, they did it the old fashioned way through breeding. They bred all sorts of species together to see which would produce mutations and then kept interbreeding those with the mutation. Thus, God had to reboot all of the creation due to this vile attempt to prevent His plan from moving forward.
In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain was on the earth forty days and forty nights. Genesis 7:11-12
Massive geological changes in the earth structure from the flood. It wasn't just the rain that helped to flood the earth, but the Lord opened up the waters under the earth. Whenever someone mocks the Noahic Flood and asks where all the water went, I simply point to the oceans on the map, which usually shuts them up. However, it does give one pause to wonder if those waters were already there under the thin layer of earth-crust, and land simply collapsed down forcing the water upwards, or if the water was elsewhere and simply fill out the low spots on the earth after the tectonic break-up? Either way, we know that water is trapped in our biosphere and is cyclical in nature: drainage from rivers and streams (liquid) evaporates (gas) and goes up to the atmosphere, where it eventually returns back to earth (liquid) by way of precipitation (rain/snow/ice).
However, when the fountains of the great deep were broken up, this must-have caused huge geological changes to the earth's surface. Before the Flood, there were likely little to no mountain ranges. After the flood, as the scriptures state, Noah's ark landed on Mount Ararat (what was known as Ararat in Moses's day). There earth before the flood may have largely been land and not water. Afterward, the land was broken up into continents surrounded by huge areas of water (now seas and oceans). Lastly, the ice-water layer that surrounded the earth, had now been depleted in the form of 40-days and nights of rain. This removed the natural barrier that shielded the earth from the full blast of the sun's heat and radiation.
Author's note: There is a caveat to this. We know that during the 70th Week of Daniel, the physical world will suffer greatly under the divine judgments. The oceans will die. The world's freshwater will become undrinkable. Most of the world's plant life will be burned up. Massive earthquakes will move islands and mountains out of their place. Lastly, the sun and moon will become so obscured as to no longer yield their light.
Whoever sheds man's blood,
By man his blood shall be shed;
For in the image of God
He made man. Gen. 9:6
As previously mentioned, there was likely a huge human population before the flood. As far as we know, there were not any previous forms of human government prior to the flood, as everyone did what they thought was right in their own eyes. This allowed for great wickedness and violence to prevail upon the earth. It wasn't until after the flood, that God gave Noah the mandate should human blood be shed, the person (or animal) who shed the blood would be required as payment. This puts the onus on humans to police other humans as a punitive measure for committing murder. This is largely how things have operated ever since. However, when a civilization gets to the point where it can no longer manage to contain the violence or chooses to ignore it, that civilization is on the verge of collapse.
And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you.
Matthew 24:4 (see also 24:5, 11, 24)
Some of the pre-history architecture (megaliths, ziggurats, temples, drowned sites, etc.) that we have found around the earth this past century, were very likely built prior to the flood. (Ex. Atlit Yam, Baalbek, Great Pyramid at Giza, etc.) How many remain from that era we cannot say for certain, but there is enough to assume that what the Antediluvian world lacked in modern technology, they made up for with supernatural help and the advanced human condition (i.e., they were stronger and lived longer). Our technological advancements have really only come about in the past two-centuries beginning with the harnessing of the power of water. Prior to that, man was limited to the speed of horse for the previous 4,000 years. Since the late 1700s, we have undergone four technological revolutions:
We are now in the age of information, which interestingly, ties directly into the exact warning Christ gave us (along with the apostles) regarding how grave the deception would become. We live in the age of information, which, means that we are being bombarded by messaging all day long from every possible venue. Jesus said the last days would be the greatest time for deception that ever existed.
Here in the 21st-century, we have layers upon layers of false philosophies and ideologies permeating every crevice in our global foundation. Everything from Darwinian Evolution to manmade climate change; from the Big Bang theory to revived mythology; from Communism and Marxism, to every variant of socialism and democracy; from pantheism to Islam; from Keynesian economics, to corporate capitalism; from hedonism, to nihilism; from orthodox Christianity to heterodox and heresy...the world is inundated with false ideologies. Adding to that, the ever-increasing information processing platforms and mediums by which these false ideologies can proceed from.
He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. Revelation 13:16-18
For the first time in history, the world has entered into an era where all the buying and selling could potentially be controlled by a single entity. We are not quite exactly where this will happen, but I believe that with the right nudge, the world will overwhelmingly embrace this new, digital system. As impossible as this might seem, we are even now seeing just how feasible this actually is. There are three legitimate reasons why this could happen in the not too distant future.
Just recently, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to crack down on the massive tax evasion that was occurring within the Indian black markets and end it by demonetizing the 500 and 1000 rupee notes. In a nutshell, the Indian government said that after a fifty-day period, all 500 and 1000 rupee notes would no longer have any value. This meant, that if you were saving these, they would have to be turned in order to get them cashed out before they became worthless.
If the world's second-most populous nation could do this, how hard would it be for other nations to do this?
Secondly, the world has been wooed by the convenience of online banking and shopping and has become conditioned to accept the rapidity of instant transactions. Although fiat currencies are still used globally, almost all purchases above a thousand dollars (or pick the currency equal to that) are paid digitally. In fact, fiat (or paper) currencies are becoming extinct largely due to the exploding national debts (which devalue the currency), and are now being associated with the underworld and black market operations because of the anonymity it gives. This is an unacceptable condition the leaders at the United Nations find unacceptable.
Lastly, smart stores and devices require digital currency to function. Since more and more of all money being spent, is being done online (eCommerce), it is only a matter of time before that threshold (increases about 15% per year) makes a full conversion a matter of when not if. Digital currencies (and cryptocurrencies) offers a level of security that is no longer feasible with paper/fiat currencies.
Returning back to the original question of how much worse it will have to get before God Raptures His Church remains unanswered. The truth is, we don't know exactly how bad it got before God flooded the world the first time. However, we have a general understanding that the entire world was evil, and that man's thoughts had become evil continually. Although things have grown considerably worse since 2001, as long as the Church remains on the earth, we will always act as a restraint against evil and prevent it from completely taking over.
And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. Matt. 16:19
I think were God to Rapture the Church, what remained, would be the world (minus a remnant) of people who would be given over almost immediately to the basest desires. Almost overnight, the world would descend into a cesspool of anarchy and lawlessness. It will at that point, become just as wicked as that Antediluvian world was just prior to the flood.
This, of course, has to be balanced against what we see in the Fifth Seal of Revelation 6 (the martyrs), along with their description in Revelation 7 as being killed in great numbers (See also Rev. 13:7). My theory on this is that these people who come to saving faith just after the Rapture were either completely ignorant of the Gospel (many within the 3rd World) or just morally decent non-believers who perhaps thought they were Christians all along because they went to church and belonged to a denomination.
I can see a great many Mormons (who are generally decent people), along with many in the mainstream churches who got good at playing Christian without being truly born again Christians, finally having the lightbulb come on. These are those who see the Rapture happen, and it finally clicks that they were on the wrong track all along and finally get serious about their faith. Unfortunately for them, they will have to accept this saving faith largely at the cost of their life.
We see the similarities between the beginning of man's history, as well as at his ending. We see how even the differences factor into these NOT being showstoppers but enhancing the magnitude of tribulation and evil that will be present in these last days. Although we cannot know specifically when...we see the storm clouds gathering overhead as the evil day approaches. This is exactly the time that the Apostle Paul warns us of, to gird up our loins, and to fight, stand strong, and to be cognizant of the spiritual battle escalating all around us. All we can do at this point is to endure to the end.
Are you ready?
Even so, Maranatha!
What Are Palestinian Leaders Afraid Of? - by Khaled Abu Toameh - https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/15093/palestinian-leaders-silence-critics
Facing growing discontent from their people, the leaders of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas have resumed their crackdown on Palestinian journalists in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. In the past few weeks, several journalists were arrested by PA and Hamas security forces.
The arrests are seen by Palestinian journalists as part of the PA and Hamas programs to silence their critics and deter reporters from disclosing anything that reflects badly on Palestinian leaders. Any form of criticism, particularly from Palestinian journalists, has long been anathema to the PA and Hamas.
The latest crackdown on Palestinian journalists is said to spring from the PA's and Hamas's fear that the current wave of anti-corruption protests sweeping Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and other Arab countries may spread to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
In the Gaza Strip, Hamas security forces arrested dozens of Palestinians after local activists called for holding demonstrations to protest the ongoing economic crisis there. Among those taken into custody are journalists Hani al-Agha and Bassam Moheisen, who were arrested for posting critical comments against Hamas on social media.
Moheisen was apparently arrested because of his affiliation with Hamas's rivals in the Fatah faction headed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas. For the past 19 years, Moheisen has been working as a producer for the West Bank-based Voice of Palestine radio station. His family says he was arrested after he posted comments on Facebook in which he criticized Hamas. A family member, who asked not to be identified, said that Moheisen has been tortured in the Hamas prison.
Hamas claims that the second journalist, al-Agha, was arrested for "passing information that is harmful to public security to security agencies." Hamas did not provide further details, but the claim is believed to be based on connections the journalist may have had with Abbas's PA in the West Bank.
Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip said that a number of social media activists were also arrested for allegedly calling on Palestinians to take to the streets to protest against Hamas and its failure to improve the living conditions of its people. Some of the activists were identified as Ramzi al-Bar'i, Ahmed al-Zaeem, Amin Abed, Haitham Mas'oud, Mohammed Abu Ghosh, Hasan al-Daoudi, Abdullah al-Hawihi, and Khaled al-Ghazali. Hamas, the sources added, has also summoned dozens of other activists and journalists for interrogation.
Earlier this week, Hamas security forces also arrested one of their own officers, Hussein Qatoush, after he posted a video on Facebook in which he complained about the dire economic situation in the Gaza Strip. In the video, Qatoush said he does not have money to pay for transportation from his home to work. "The most difficult type of pain is when you are serving in a country where you can't afford to pay for transportation to get to work. This is how it is in the Gaza Strip," the Hamas security officer said.
Hamas justified the arrest of Qatoush by accusing him of "leaking security details." It is not clear how a complaint about economic hardship has turned into a security-related case. In the eyes of Hamas, however, it seems that any Palestinian who dares to complain about the bad economy in the Gaza Strip is a "traitor" and a "security threat."
Hamas's latest measures are evidently aimed at preventing a repeat of the widespread demonstrations that erupted in the Gaza Strip last March. Organized by social media activists, the demonstrators protested the high cost of living and new taxes imposed by Hamas, and called for solving the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip, including the high rate of unemployment. The protests, which lasted for a few days, were quickly and brutally crushed by Hamas.
In this regard, the Palestinian Authority has consistently proven in the past few years that when it comes to assaults on public freedoms -- particularly freedom of expression and the media -- it rivals Hamas. The PA also seems to have good reason to fear that the anti-corruption protests in some Arab states may reach the West Bank.
In the past few days, the PA security forces arrested two journalists, Mahmoud Abu al-Hassan and Radwan Qatanani, who, according to Palestinian sources, are being held for "security reasons." The nature of the charges against the journalists, also according to the sources, remains unknown.
Since the beginning of this year, the PA security forces have arrested or summoned for interrogation a number of Palestinian journalists in the West Bank despite a promise by PA Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh to stop all violations against freedom of expression and the media.
Last week, the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a body dominated by Fatah loyalists, called for the release of the journalists held by the PA and Hamas. The PJS also urged international human rights and press organizations to pressure Hamas to halt its repressive measures against journalists and political activists in the Gaza Strip.
Like Hamas, the PA appears to be afraid of a popular uprising against corruption and tyranny in the West Bank -- and is probably the reason that the PA is now seeking to silence its critics and intimidate Palestinian journalists.
Hani al-Masri, a prominent Palestinian political analyst, believes that the current anti-corruption protests sweeping some Arab countries will reach the Palestinian territories. "It is certain that the Arab Spring will arrive, sooner or later, to Palestine," he said.
"The [ruling] Palestinian elite is mostly corrupt and tyrannical. With the exception of a few, the [Palestinian] elite is corrupt and incompetent - or both. Those who believe that Palestine, its leadership and its president are immune from the Arab Spring because they are under occupation are mistaken."
From all accounts, the PA and Hamas are neck-and-neck in their competition to crush freedom of expression and crack down on the media. Palestinian journalists who expose the villainy of Palestinian leaders are deemed criminals, complete with criminal consequences. Criticism is fine, of course - if it is directed at the Palestinians' arch-enemy, Israel. Otherwise, Palestinian journalists had best keep their criticism to themselves -- lest the PA and Hamas decide to leave them in critical condition.
3 'Bully Goats' Gruff: Putin, Erdogan, and Rouhani
- By Tom Hoffman - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/11/01/3-bully-goats-gruff-putin-erdogan-rouhani-tom-hoffman/
What is happening politically, military, and geopolitically in Syria today is simply astounding and has astonishing Bible prophecy implications. For some time now, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has been a puppet leader, and three countries have bullied their way into Syria and now have a strong political and military presence.
These three countries are Russia, Turkey, and Iran. I think it's important to examine the leaders of these three countries and, specifically, why they seek religious, political, and economic influence in Syria.
Vladimir Putin, Russia
Russia began airstrikes in Syria in the fall of 2015, positioning itself as assisting in the fight against the improbable rise of Islamic State. But don't be fooled; Russia's insertion into the Middle East has never been about protecting Syria but, rather, about two specific goals that Putin has been coveting all of his leadership years.
The first Russian strategic goal in occupying part of Syria is regaining recognition as a global power instead of the belittling assertion as a regional power by the United States and her allies. Because the United States has established a policy to withdraw troops from Syria, Russia is more than willing to step into the vacuum created by U.S. withdrawal and act as a diplomat between the Kurds and Turkey's armed forces. Just last week Putin took diplomatic credit for a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds in northern Syria.
Make no mistake about it; Putin has an unquenchable desire for Russia to be seen as the leader in global political power. There is no place better to gain significant political credibility than in engaging peace processes in the Middle East.
The second Russian goal by being in Syria lies in the need to reassert herself as a global economic power through control of additional oil and natural gas resources. If you are a Bible prophecy student, you know that Israel has recently discovered a vast cache of oil and natural gas resources that Benjamin Netanyahu called a gift from God.
Russia's primary interests in Syria are not to help the Syrian people, but to reestablish a global power perception and to get closer to newly discovered oil and gas in Israel.
Recep Erdogan, Turkey
In a recent move that made most people pause, President Trump pulled 50 specialized American soldiers out of Northern Syria and gave Turkish President Recep Erdogan to protect and enforce the Turkish/Syrian border.
Without hesitation, Erdogan invaded the part of the Kurdish-held northern border on the Syrian side to eradicate terrorists who have killed thousands and thousands of Turkish people over the past decade. In effect, Erdogan felt compelled to clean up the border it shares with Syria to stop ethnic fighting - apart from the fighting the Kurds were involved with in supporting the Syrian anti-government forces.
In response, President Trump did threaten Erdogan with severe economic sanctions if Turkey does accelerate their military response beyond the immediate Turkey/Syria border.
We will wait to see what happens in northern Syria, but it remains clear that Turkey now has a high- stakes military presence in Syria on the pretense that she is protecting herself against terrorism coming out of northern Syria.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran
Iran's current leadership (President Hassan Rouhani) holds the same hostile position against the United States and Israel that its last president (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad) held. And that is the United States is the 'Great Satan' and Israel remains the 'little Satan.'
Iran feels very strongly that America's presence in Syria is an "occupation" and therefore their presence is required to protect Assad's failing Syrian government.
It is also commonly agreed that Iran funds the terrorist organization known as Hezbollah. By the way, Hezbollah means, literally, "The Party of Allah." It's important to know that Hezbollah acts as a proxy of Iran and has an active mission to wipe Israel off the face of the map.
While Iran feigns support for the Syrian government to help in its civil war, her primary interests in Syria are to continue to financially support and religiously inspire Hezbollah in their pursuit to destroy Israel and to form a strong coalition with Putin to expunge United States presence in the Middle East, thus destabilizing the region.
As recently as 2018, Rouhani was quoted as saying, "In eastern Euphrates [where] it is mainly America's illegal interventions that are causing the problems ... one of our demands is for American forces to get out of Syria immediately."
Putin has a thirst for global power, and his eye is on Israel's natural gas and oil resources. Erdogan wants to protect the northern border he shares with Syria but has a thirsty relationship with Russia and Putin. Rouhani hates the United States and will destabilize the entire region in order to pull out U.S. troops. Iran also funds the terrorist group Hezbollah which wants not more than to annihilate Israel.
Implications - The Prophecy of Isaiah 17:1
"The burden against Damascus. 'Behold, Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.'"
Most, if not all of us who are passionate about Bible prophecy believe that Isaiah 17:1 will happen prior to the Tribulation Period and could very well be the genesis of the great invasion of Israel predicted in Ezekiel's prophecy in Ezekiel chapter 38.
One prophecy scholar that I trust in very much is Amir Tsarfati. Amir, in his recent Middle East Update, declares something we must all think about very seriously:
"My eyes as an Israeli are fixed on Damascus. My eyes as a believer are fixed on Damascus. My eyes as a Jewish believer and an Israeli are fixed on Damascus because I understand that, Biblically, Damascus is to fall, and to collapse, and to cease from being a city ... as Isaiah 17 says. And I understand also that such a thing might bring about a great war on Israel from the site of the three musketeers from the north: the Iranians, the Turks, and of course the Russians are already there. And their bankrupted allies - Sudan and Libya. So, we are watching all these things happen right now before our very eyes." - Amir Tsarfati, BeholdIsrael.com
If you want to know how close the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is - it is wise to keep your eyes on Syria, especially Damascus. And because of the presence of the three bully presidents of Russia, Turkey, and Iran, there is no telling how close we truly are to the end of days.
Surprise Thunder Storm on Sukkot: Beginning of Gog and Magog says Prominent Rabbi - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - www.breakingisraelnews.com
"The heavens proclaim His righteousness and all peoples see His glory." Psalms 97:6 (The Israel Bible™)
The holiday of Sukkoth was marked by dramatic storms; high winds accompanied by thunder and lightning but very little rain. One prominent rabbi, spiritual leader to thousands of devout Jews, noted simply that the storm, coming as it did at the beginning of the holiday, marked God's entrance into the Gog and Magog field of combat.
An article in Rotter.net, a Hebrew language news site, noted that weather predictions, normally complex and unpredictable during the transition from Israel's arid summer into its stormy winter, were particularly difficult this year. Despite storm systems in the region dumping rain all around Israel, the Holy Land remained mostly dry, a mixed blessing that spared pilgrims and booth-dwellers at the expense of hard-pressed farmers.
A follow-up article noted the possibility of a 'medicane,' the semi-rare result of a hurricane system developing over the Mediterranean, that is expected to hit southern Israel as the Sabbath begins on Friday afternoon. Difficult to detect because of the arid conditions, medicanes can produce winds of 40-110 mph. The main danger is from flooding in flash-flood areas.
While all of Israel sat in Sukkoth last week, the heavens glimpsed through the leafy roof, the weather became a much more serious element, an intimate and personal experience of nature. Many Sukkoth, temporary dwellings symbolizing man's temporal existence, were destroyed, knocked over by powerful winds.
Nine days ago, during the first evening of the intermediary days of the holiday, Rabbi Yosef Berger, the rabbi of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion, was enjoying the holiday meal in his father's sukkah when a thunderstorm shook the fragile structure. After a few moments of meditation, his father said, "This is the beginning of Gog and Magog."
It should be noted that Rabbi Yosef Berger's father is Rabbi Shalom Berger, the revered spiritual leader of thousands of Hassidic Jews belinging to the Mishkoltz sect of Judaism. Rabbi Shalom reminded his son that the War of Gog and Magog will include the forces of nature as well as soldiers of flesh and blood. Rabbi Berger pointed out that according to Jewish tradition, the War of Gog and Magog will begin during the holiday of Sukkoth.
"The war will begin on Sukkoth so all the nations that take part in Gog and Magog will come to Jerusalem for the holiday to celebrate surviving the war," Rabbi Berger said, citing Zechariah.
All who survive of all those nations that came up against Yerushalayim shall make a pilgrimage year by year to bow low to the King lord of Hosts and to observe the festival of Sukkot. Zechariah 14:16
It is, for this central role the holiday plays in that conflict that the sections of Ezekiel and Zechariah describing Gog and Magog are both read in the synagogue during the holiday.
"Ezekiel describes a simple war of man-versus-man," Rabbi Berger explained. "But it would be incorrect to envision Gog and Magog as a war. Zechariah describes a conflict in which nature plays an active role. Earthquakes wrack the land, the sun and the moon change, water flows in different manners, and disease will play a major role. God will take an active role in the war and thunder and lightning will announce His presence."
Rabbi Berger cited Psalms.
Hashem is king! Let the earth exult, the many islands rejoice! Dense clouds are around Him, righteousness and justice are the base of His throne. Fire is His vanguard, burning His foes on every side.His lightnings light up the world; the earth is convulsed at the sight; Psalms 97:1-4
This clearly seemed to be the case on the second evening of Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), thunder and lightning storms hit Israel on Monday night when a bolt of lightning hit the minaret tower of the Al-Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
"That is also part of the picture," Rabbi Berger said. "The War of Gog and Magog begins outside of Israel but its focus is on Jerusalem."
Barnabas The Encourager - By Grant Phillips - https://www.raptureready.com/2019/10/26/barnabas-encourager-grant-phillips/
One of the greatest spiritual gifts in my opinion is that of the encourager. Pastors, Bible teachers and evangelists are more in the limelight, and for some reason Christians sometimes feel that if they are not a pastor, Bible teacher or evangelist, the best gifts are taken and there is nothing left for them.
Pastors, Bible teachers and evangelists do a great work if they are truly obedient to God's will, following the Holy Spirit's direction and giving the Lord Jesus the glory. There is no denying that, and I applaud those I have just described. However, I believe most of them would also agree that the encourager could very well be the greatest gift of all.
The gift of encourager receives little to no limelight, and is rarely made visible to the general public. They work in the background and are rarely known by name except for those they encourage.
There is one person however that is well known to us today as being an encourager. His name actually means, "Son of Encouragement." (Acts 4:36) His name was Joseph, but he was known as Barnabas. He quickly became an early traveling companion of the apostle Paul.
Paul had a reputation of being a cold-blooded killer of Christians, so obviously it can be understood why so many of the early Christians did not initially believe that he had actually become one of them. However, Barnabas believed Paul, and wanted him at Antioch to be a witness for Jesus.
Barnabas was a good man, totally unselfish. He didn't care about receiving any credit. He just wanted Christ to be preached and he knew Paul was the man to do it. So he went to Tarsus and brought Paul back to Antioch.
"Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus.
The Lord's hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord. News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch.
When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts.
He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch." (Acts 11:20-26)
It would have been easy for Barnabas to have forgotten all about Paul and just stayed in Antioch, but he wanted the people to hear about Jesus and how Paul came to be saved. The people needed to hear what Jesus instructed Paul to tell others. So Barnabas, instead of standing in the spotlight, steps back, and brings Paul back to Antioch, all the while, encouraging these new Christians.
If you read about these two in the book of Acts, you may notice that the Holy Spirit listed Barnabas first and Saul second up until Acts 13:42. Beginning with Acts 13:42 and thereafter, Saul is changed to Paul and listed first and Barnabas is listed second instead of first. Saul was Hebrew and meant 'desired.' Paul was Latin and meant 'little or small.' I don't want to read something into this that isn't there, but I personally believe that God is telling us something here.
Saul was brilliant and well on his way to the top as a Jewish leader, but God doesn't need human greatness. It is useless and means nothing to Him. He wants someone who is willing to submit to Him. Saul the 'desired' became Paul the 'undesired.' I think Paul explains it best in the following verse.
"That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)
Okay, so Paul stopped using the name Saul, but what about Barnabas? Why were their roles suddenly reversed at this time? Following is my opinion.
It was time for Barnabas to take the back seat and for God to show His mighty power through the greatest missionary who has ever lived. God used a willing Barnabas to bring Paul to the people so His message would be heard, and He used a now humble Paul to take His Gospel to the world, in particular the Gentiles.
Have you wondered if Barnabas ever got jealous of Paul? A lot of men (and women) would do just that. I've lived long enough to have seen it myself in the churches over the years. I don't think there was ever the first hint of jealousy with Barnabas. When I read about these two, I see a man who is totally supportive of Paul and is more than willing to accept 'second chair.' That, my friends, is an encourager.
What about the incident with Mark, Barnabas' cousin? You can read about it in Acts 15:36-41. When Barnabas left Paul and took Mark on a missionary journey, I believe he did so as an encourager to Mark. That was the nature God had given him. Mark was willing to change and Barnabas, being the encourager he was, took him under his wings and guided him along in his spiritual walk. Paul went one way with Silas and Barnabas went the other with Mark.
I have had encouragers in my life, and I honestly hope you have too. If you have, you probably remember who they are. I remember clearly those people in my life and they meant a lot to me at the time, and still hold a special place in my heart to this day.
Barnabas encouraged the people of Antioch. He was an encourager to the apostle Paul and also Mark, who wrote the second of what is called the Gospels. Actually, there is no doubt in my mind, that throughout his life he encouraged many along the way.
All of us can be an encourager, but granted, there are some with that special gift God has provided them. They are special people, I guess because they treat everyone else as 'special.' The encourager has a lot of patience and they have a lot of love to share. I think those two attributes strengthen their gift of being an encourager. What is the greatest gift? I think it is to be an encourager, because it is saturated in love, and what does our Lord (through the apostle Paul) say about love?
"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (1 Corinthians 13:1, 13 emphasis mine)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Devotion: Two Minutes to Midnight - by Greg Laurie -
So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!-Luke 21:28
As we look at what is going on in the world today, we could say these events are signs of the times.
But someone else might say, "Oh, give me a break. I've heard that before. They've been saying forever that Jesus is coming, and nothing has really changed."
Actually, a lot of things have changed. And I believe we're living in the last days.
Look at Russia's aggression and their saber-rattling. We've heard provocative statements from President Putin about their nuclear capabilities and a willingness to use them. They've developed a new missile they say can hit any target they choose.
Next, there's China's emergence not only as an economic superpower, but also as a military superpower.
In addition to Russia and China, we have rogue nations like Iran and North Korea threatening the world. Then there's the ongoing threat of Islamic terrorism. And there are all kinds of advances in technology that are not being used for good things.
Then there's the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
Maybe this is why a group of atomic scientists moved the famous Doomsday Clock forward in January, 2018. Because of all these threats and new developments, they say it's now two minutes to midnight. And, by the way, that is the closest we've ever been.
What in the world is going on?
Are you ready for the answer? We're racing toward Armageddon. We're moving rapidly toward what the Bible calls the end of days or the last days. Jesus described it as labor pains.
So what are we supposed to do? Jesus said, "So when all these things begin to happen, stand and look up, for your salvation is near!" (Luke 21:28 NLT)
It means look to Heaven and be reminded of this: God is in control.
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