Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Rapture: Part I - by Pete Garcia -
I originally wrote this article around June of 2012. I think my reasoning then, was that I had been running into more and more Christians who had never heard of the Rapture. Granted, they may have heard of the Left Behind books, or they knew generally of a Rapture, but they had never investigated it themselves. Truthfully, I was both intrigued and disturbed by this new reality, and felt compelled to write about it. Now, there are much better and more famous writers than I who have done just that, so I don't claim any kind of special calling in these regards, but I do feel like I was called to write it (if that makes sense?). I felt then, as I do now, that this topic is worthy of discussion and clarification, for as many times as necessary to get the message of the blessed hope out to as many people as possible. My overarching aim here today, is not to get you to agree with me on when it happens, only that you believe that it does. However, along the way, I will show you why I believe it happens when it does.
If you do not believe in a Pretribulation Rapture, then you likely read this with a healthy dose of bias already built into your thinking, largely because of what someone else taught you. You may have been told that John Nelson Darby invented the Rapture two centuries ago. Or that C.I. Scofield invented it a hundred years ago when he added study notes into the Bible for the first time.
The tendency for you then (if you think this) is to dismiss anything I say outright. Fair enough. I can just tell you, that I was not always Pre-Trib. There was a number of years that I didn't know what I believed. I only came into that view (Pre-Trib) after reading the Scriptures, praying, and reading/ watching/ hearing literally thousands of articles and sermons on the subject by which I could compare many different viewpoints. After all that, I came to conclusion that I am at now (which is Pre-Trib Dispensationalist), and have never looked back.
I have run into many people who say that they used to be Pre-Trib, but now have adopted Pre-Wrath or Post-Trib due to their "studying." When I hear that, its' like saying I used to be Christian, and after much studying, decided to become a Jehovah's Witness or a Mormon. After my own digging, it led me to two fundamental observations: 1) they never had a solid foundation to begin with, and 2) they weren't studying the Bible.
Nevertheless, to be the fairest broker I can be, there are a few strong arguments out there for the other positions like Pre-Wrath, Mid-Trib, and even Post-Trib views. However, they are ONLY strong arguments, if you take them in a vacuum. What I mean by that is that you could probably parse out a view (any view) if you were willing to overlook or sacrifice consistency with other biblical doctrines and truths in order to arrive at this new conclusion. I suppose one could make the argument that only male-virgins are raptured. Sounds ridiculous I know, but I am positive that many gullible people have bought into even weirder teachings than that over the past two-thousand years.
So here are my ground rules going forward, you do not have to agree with my position on the timing of the Rapture, but we do have to agree on the below three. If you do not believe the following, then you are outside the norms of orthodox Christianity. That means regardless of what I write, or how well I articulate my position, you will not be able to come to the knowledge of the truth regarding the doctrine of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture unless you subscribe to the below three points:
That God exists in three persons-The Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. They are co-equal, co-eternal, and are of the same Being or Essence for oneness, but comprise three distinctly different Persons, with differing roles and functions. The Son obediently submits His will to that of the Father, the Father bestows all power and authority to the Son and the Spirit glorifies both, and carries out the execution of both the Father and the Son's wills.
That God became flesh (the Incarnation) as the Man Christ Jesus through the overshadowing of the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. He willingly came to be that perfect sacrifice that could meet God's impossible standards of perfection. He came because no man (we are all born into sin) could ever do it. He came to be the perfect sacrifice that would redeem mankind (of those who would believe) for all time.
That God chose to speak to mankind through the prophets and apostles, recording His message to us in what we know as the Holy Bible (both Old and New Testaments). Sixty-six books, by an estimated forty authors, over 1,500 years. The Holy Spirit moved these men supernaturally, to write what God wanted mankind to know about Himself and His plan of redemption. God could have chosen any manner to communicate to us, but He chose this way to do it. This means that His Bible (all sixty-six books) are equally important. So if we believe that God is the ultimate author behind all sixty-six books, then we must understand that the message was not simply limited to the day they were written in, because God exists outside of time and space, nor is bound by either. With that said, two additional principles should be addressed.
The entire Bible was written for us, but it is not all written to us. Some parts of the Bible have different applications to different peoples (e.g., the Israelites vs. the Church, angels vs. humans, godless vs. the godly, etc.).
God never changes, but how He has dealt with mankind has depending on where mankind was in human history. The clearest example I can give for this is that God dealt differently with Adam and Eve before the fall, than you and I today. Clearly, there are significant differences.
A good analogy here is that if you had a child, you would not impose the same rules and expectations on a two-year old, that you would on a twelve-year old. Just because we have different rules for them at different ages doesn't mean that we love them any less, we just have different expectations for them. We have to adjust our expectations of them because they are at different levels of maturity and understanding. This is no different than what God has done for mankind writ large. Notice how Jesus chastises the people of His day, for not recognizing who was in their midst, and held them accountable for their willful ignorance (Luke 10:13-16).
Therefore, if you can agree with me on the top three points, then we have common ground going forward. That means we can start from the same point relatively speaking about what we know of God and Scripture.
Why do Christian's believe in a "Rapture?"
First of all, we need to recognize that God snatching or pulling someone, alive, straight into heaven, is a) not a new concept, or b) impossible. If we believe God could speak the universe into existence, then pulling humans into heaven alive, is not much of a stretch for Him. Furthermore, we have two examples in the OT, where God literally took certain persons straight from earth into heaven, without dying; Enoch (Gen. 5:22-24, Heb. 11:5), and Elijah (2 Kings 2:10-14).
Secondly, even though the word rapture does not appear in our English Bible translations, we can clearly see that "rapture events" have occurred in the past, and will happen again in the future.
Regarding the term rapture and its use in theology the following should answer your questions. It is taken from Ryrie's Basic Theology, Electronic Media from Parsons Technology.
Our modern understanding of rapture appears to have little or no connection with the eschatological event. However, the word is properly used of that event. Rapture is a state or experience of being carried away. The English word comes from a Latin word, rapio, which means to seize or snatch in relation to an ecstasy of spirit or the actual removal from one place to another. In other words, it means to be carried away in spirit or in body. The Rapture of the church means the carrying away of the church from earth to heaven.
The Greek word from this term "rapture" is derived appears in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, translated "caught up." The Latin translation of this verse used the word rapturo. The Greek word it translates is harpazo, which means to snatch or take away. Elsewhere it is used to describe how the Spirit caught up Philip near Gaza and brought him to Caesarea (Acts 8:39) and to describe Paul's experience of being caught up into the third heaven (2 Cor. 12:2-4). Thus, there can be no doubt that the word is used in 1 Thessalonians 4:17 to indicate the actual removal of people from earth to heaven.
Thirdly, because Jesus said so. The most popular passage of Scripture associated with the Rapture of the Church is 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. In that passage, the Apostle Paul starts by saying, for this we say to you by the word of the Lord (vs. 15). What word was that? A lot of people forget that Jesus had already given us a glimpse of this in His Upper Room discourse. This is what the Holy Spirit would later direct Paul to teach about in his epistles some twenty-years after the fact. Why this was called a mystery (Greek-musterion), is not that it couldn't be understood, but that it had been hidden since before the world began. This mantel was now placed upon Paul to explain to the churches.
A Lesson on Discourse
The Olivet Discourse was Jesus's explanation of the end-times in how they pertained to the nation of Israel. This discourse was given to His Jewish disciples, on the Mt. of Olives, a few days before His crucifixion. It is found in three of the four Gospels (known as the Synoptic Gospels) because of their similarities and intended audiences.
Because of the Jewish nature and themes of the book, the Gospel According to Matthew, was written with a Jewish audience in mind. Makes sense when you consider that if a Jew were to read the last book of the Tanakh (what we call the Old Testament), you'd begin in Matthew with the genealogy of Jesus (on his legal-father Joseph's side) that begins with Abraham. Contains the most expansive discussion on the Olivet Discourse.
Because the Gospel According to Mark begins with no genealogy, and focuses primarily on the actions of Christ, it is believed to show the servanthood of Christ. This contains the Olivet Discourse very similar to that of Matthew's, but not as expansive.
Because the Gospel According to Luke begins the reasons why Mary and Joseph ended up in Bethlehem, and focuses on the relationships Jesus has with everyone around Him, as well as a genealogy starting with Adam, it is believed to demonstrate the humanity of Christ. This too has a slightly different version of the Olivet Discourse.
However, the Olivet Discourse is not found in the Gospel According to John. Most biblical experts understand and accept that due to its late writing (last gospel recorded) and unique style of writing (genealogy begins with the Deity of Christ), that the Gospel of John was written to and for the fledgling Christian Church. That being the case, instead of having the Olivet Discourse, we have the Upper Room Discourse (John 14-17). This discourse occurs at the end of the last supper, where Jesus explains to His disciples (minus Judas Iscariot) what the future held for His followers. While He promises trials and tribulations in this life, He makes no mention of the events found in the Olivet Discourse.
Rather, the Upper Room Discourse begins with a profound message of hope.
"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 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. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. John 14:1-3
The first epistle to the church in Thessalonica, is believed by most, to be Paul's first letter to anyone. In this epistle, Paul describes a personal revelation that He received direct from the Lord (Gal. 1:11-12). Like Jesus's message, Paul's was also meant to be a message of hope for the fledgling church. Members of this congregation were worried about their fellow believers who had already passed away, fearing that they would not make to this Day (1 Thess. 5:4). Paul make known this new revelation to encourage them. In detail, Paul explains what would happen at this event where Jesus returned both with and for His believers called the harpazo. Although it was a word from the Lord, and had in part, been shared with the disciples in the Upper Room, the purpose and mechanisms of it had never been revealed to anyone until Paul. How it would all take place, was a mystery of the grandest orders (1 Corinthians 15:51), one where Christ Himself would descend in the same manner in which He ascended (Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:9-11).
Now, regardless of which position you hold regarding the timing of the Rapture, we should at least now agree that a Rapture (harpazo) occurs. Not only that, but if we can agree there, then we should also be able to agree that it wasn't some fanciful creation of John N. Darby, or C.I. Scofield, but by Christ Himself. To link the Rapture event as some recent Johnny-come-lately phenomena, flies in the face of the Biblical account. Jesus entrusted this revelation to an ex-Pharisee and recent convert to Christianity named Paul of Tarsus, some two-thousand years before Darby.
The Middle East "Truce": Why Hamas Cannot Be Trusted- by Bassam Tawil -
It is no secret that most of the Arab countries do not trust Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group. President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, for instance, as well as many Palestinians, do not have any confidence in Hamas, particularly after the summer of 2007, when the Islamist movement violently seized control of the Gaza Strip. Earlier this year, Abbas threatened that "shoes will be pouring" onto the heads of Hamas leaders.
Now, however, Israel is being asked to trust Hamas. This request is coming from Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations, whose representatives have been working hard the past few weeks to arrange a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas.
According to unconfirmed reports, the proposed truce calls for reopening all the border crossings between the Gaza Strip on one side, and Israel and Egypt on the other. The truce also apparently calls for expanding the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip coast to 9 miles; paying salaries to thousands of Hamas employees, and increasing fuel supplies to the only power plant in Gaza. Qatar -- a country that has long been supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Hamas -- will be required to pay for the fuel and the salaries, according to the proposed truce agreement.
What will Israel get in return? Calm. This means a Hamas promise temporarily to stop launching terrorist attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip. This promise by Hamas also includes temporarily halting the weekly, Hamas-sponsored, violent riots along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
Last weekend, there were already signs that Hamas was interested in reaching a deal with Israel. The protests that Hamas launched on November 2 along the Gaza-Israel were less violent than the previous ones. This change was the result of direct orders issued by the Hamas leaders, who have apparently reached the conclusion that a truce agreement, at this stage, will be good for their group.
"The restless efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the UN to end the blockade on the Gaza Strip are nearing success," said senior Hamas leader Khalil al-Haya. Hamas and the other Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip, he added, were now waiting for Israel's response to the mediation efforts made by Egypt, Qatar, and the UN.
Hamas has excellent reasons to be happy with the proposed truce with Israel. The agreement does not require Hamas to make any real concessions other than temporarily to stop its terrorist attacks on Israel.
The proposed accord does not require Hamas to disarm or dismantle its militia. Hamas is not being asked to relinquish control over the Gaza Strip, or pave the way for the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza. Hamas is not being asked to destroy the terror attack tunnels it has dug along the border with Israel. Hamas is not being asked to stop smuggling weapons, for use against Israel, into the Gaza Strip. Hamas is not being asked to renounce violence or recognize Israel's right to exist. Hamas is not being asked to accept a two-state solution or abandon its dangerous, genocidal ideology.
All that Hamas is being asked to do is to sit quietly and behave nicely so that the group and its supporters can get salaries and fuel, and enjoy other privileges, such as economic and humanitarian aid.
These benefits for Hamas are exactly why the proposed truce deal is dangerous and sends the wrong message to Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists. A truce now says that if you engage in violent, extortionistic acts, you get what you want.
Hamas will see any truce with Israel as a victory. The agreement will come after seven months of violent riots along the border with Israel. It will be seen by Hamas as a victory because it will look as if the violent protests, including the launching of thousands of rockets, mortar shells, and incendiary kites and balloons towards Israel have finally achieved their goal: forcing Israel and the international community to ease restrictions imposed on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
What is disturbing is that Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip already view the current mediation efforts to achieve a truce with Israel as a reward for the past few months' deluge of anti-Israel terrorist attacks.
They apparently believe that without the violent demonstrations and terrorist attacks, which began last March, the international community would not have moved to seek a solution to their economic and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
This victory will, of course, only increase the terrorists' appetite and motivation to continue their attempts to kill as many Jews as possible. They will see any truce as a retreat on the part of Israel in the face of violence and terrorism.
When terrorists are smiling and celebrating what they perceive as victory, the world needs to worry.
Israel is again taking a big gamble by considering a truce. It also taking a big risk by putting its faith in the Egyptians, Qataris and the UN: Hamas has repeatedly and consistently violated previous cease-fire agreements with Israel.
By continuing to dig terror tunnels along Gaza's border with Israel, Hamas has violated previous cease-fires. By continuing to conduct daily rocket tests, Hamas has violated virtually all of the previous cease-fire agreements. By dispatching Palestinians to plant explosive devices, infiltrate the border with Israel, and launch arson kites and balloons, Hamas has violated every previous cease-fire. In recent months, Hamas has repeatedly broken even temporary cease-fires with Israel.
As for Egypt, Qatar, and the UN, they are acting strictly out of concern for their own and Hamas's interests. Egypt wants a truce between Hamas and Israel because it wants quite along its shared border with the Gaza Strip. Qatar wants the truce because this wealthy Arab emirate wants to bolster the standing of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in the Arab and Islamic world. The UN, for its part, wants to prove to the world that it still relevant, influential and capable of contributing to stability, security and peace.
Not one of the three parties is trying to achieve a truce in the Gaza Strip out of love for Israel or a genuine concern for anyone's security.
Hamas will be the biggest winner if and when an agreement is reached through Egypt, Qatar and the UN. Economic and humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip will absolve Hamas of its responsibilities towards the Palestinian population there. Hamas will no longer have to worry about poverty and unemployment because the international community will now be taking care of the people in the Gaza Strip. Hamas will no longer have to worry about paying salaries to thousands of Palestinian employees or purchasing fuel needed to keep the power plant operating. Qatar has already pledged to cover the expense of the fuel and employees' salaries.
Hamas will now have more time to prepare for the next war against Israel. The proposed truce will give Hamas breathing space to smuggle more weapons into the Gaza Strip, dig new tunnels and recruit thousands of Palestinians to its ranks. Hamas will not take advantage of the truce to build hospitals and schools or create new job opportunities or improve the living conditions of the Palestinians under its rule. All Hamas wants is a break so that it will be able to strengthen itself in preparation for the next war against Israel. Egypt, Qatar and the UN are now pressuring Israel to give Hamas an opportunity to amass more weapons and terrorists.
Israel is being asked to give those who seek its destruction yet another chance. Israel is being asked to give those who seek its destruction more fishing areas that will facilitate their mission of smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip. Israel is being asked to open its borders to oblige those who call for its destruction day and night. Israel is being asked to send fuel and medical aid to those who burn its flags and, on a daily basis, in the mosques and public squares of the Gaza Strip, call for its obliteration.
Israel is being asked to make all these gestures to Hamas at a time when most Arabs have stopped trusting the terrorist group years ago. The Syrian regime dumped Hamas shortly after the beginning of the civil war in 2011 because of its support for the anti-Bashar Assad opposition forces. In 2012, the Syrian authorities closed down Hamas offices in Damascus and expelled several leaders of the terrorist group.
Jordan also shut down the Hamas offices in Amman two decades ago, and in 1999 expelled several Hamas officials from the kingdom.
The Egyptians cordially hate Hamas: they consider it a "threat" to their national security because of its affiliation with Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist groups fighting against the regime of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Some Egyptians have also accused Hamas of working with the Islamic terrorist groups in the Sinai Peninsula.
Saudi Arabia has gone even further by denouncing Hamas as a terrorist organization.
These are only a few examples of how Arab countries view and deal with Hamas. Israel, meanwhile, is being asked to help Hamas by easing restrictions on the Gaza Strip. It is a request that poses a severe threat to Israel's security. Ironically, the threat to Israel that this truce presents is far more severe than the current assaults Israel is undoubtedly hoping that the truce will stop. If Hamas's Arab brothers do not trust this terrorist group, why should Israel?
The proposed truce may bring calm along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, but only in the short term. Hamas is not going to change its ideology or policies as a result of any temporary truce. It will always continue to work towards achieving its goal of seeing to it that Israel is "removed from the map."
This goal is why Israel needs to remain on high alert even if a truce is reached. Hamas's goal is also why the international community needs to understand that striking deals with terrorists simply emboldens terrorists and their friends in ISIS and other jihadi groups. The only way to deal with Islamist terrorists is by making sure that they are the first to "disappear from the map." A real truce between Israel and the Gaza Strip will be achieved only after the jihadi terrorists are removed from power, and not rewarded for violence and threats.
Comments on Current Events - By Daymond Duck -
First, the media doesn't like it because Saudi Arabia killed The Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
It turns out that Jamal Khashoggi and Osama Bin Laden were high school classmates and both were members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Pres. Obama had members of the Muslim Brotherhood in his administration.
Saudi Arabia and Egypt have declared them a terrorist organization.
Turkey's Pres. Erdogan has a long-time relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Some believe he is controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, and they are seeking to oust Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
An article with a picture of Jamal Khashoggi with Osama Bin Laden can be found at: https://www.meforum.org/articles/2018/the-whitewashing-of-jamal-khashoggi-friend-of-osa
Second, on Oct. 26-28, 2018, Bahrain hosted a security summit and discussion of Pres. Trump's peace proposal.
High-ranking officials from the U.S., Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kenya, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Arab League and others were in attendance.
Oman's Foreign Minister said it may be time to treat Israel like other nations, to bring an end to the conflict and to move on to a new world.
He said Oman is relying on Pres. Trump's "deal of the century."
Bahrain's Foreign Minister supported Oman's position.
Pres. Trump's Middle East Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, praised the warming ties and called it a helpful step for Pres. Trump's peace process.
Christians should understand that Pres. Trump's peace proposal is not the covenant with Antichrist, and it may never be approved; but it could turn into that.
Also, any agreement to divide Israel will be a rejection of the Bible, God's warnings, an invitation for the Rapture and a major step toward the beginning of the Tribulation Period.
Third, in 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a document that was attached to their peace treaty with each other.
In the attached document, Jordan agreed to rent about 1,200 acres of Jordanian land to Israel that is located on their joint border for a period of 25 years.
After 24 years lapsed, either side could give a one-year notice of their intention to let the attached document expire.
This month (Oct. 2018), Jordan notified Israel that it is in their interest to let the attached document expire on Oct. 25, 2019.
On Oct. 23, 2018, Yehuda Glick, a member of the Temple Mount Faithful Organization, called upon Prime Min. Netanyahu to act in accordance with Israel's interests and to inform the King of Jordan that if Jordan acts independently in accordance with Jordan's interests, Israel will act [independently] in accordance with Israel's interest.
He wanted Prime Min. Netanyahu to tell Jordan to remove the Islamic Waqf that administers the Temple Mount and then for Israel to take full sovereignty over the Temple Mount.
Prime Min. Netanyahu believes Jordan acted within the agreement, and he intimated that he will not violate Israel's peace treaty with Jordan over this incident.
Fourth, when God created Adam and Eve, He clearly created two and only two genders: male and female (Gen. 1:27; 2:22).
For 6,000 years, a person's gender has been determined by their body parts (not science, not biology, not choice, not chromosomes or anything else).
Then along came a reported gay man named Barack Obama, and he set aside the Word of God and 6,000 years of human history.
He said people can choose their own gender.
He said, regardless of one's body parts, a boy can choose to be a girl, a girl can choose to be a boy, or whatever.
It turned out that boys that choose to be girls can use the girls' bathroom, sleep in the girls' dormitory, compete in a girls' sport, be incarcerated in a girls' prison; sleep in women's shelters, etc.
As far as I am concerned, he has been given over to a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28).
Anyway, Pres. Trump has instructed the Dept. of Health and Human Services to draft a definition of gender under Title IX of our federal civil rights laws.
It has been reported that they plan to define gender as a biological (male or female), immutable (unchangeable) condition determined by genitalia at birth.
Those who dispute this will be required to undergo genetic testing to prove their case.
This is Biblical, historical, common sense that Republicans, Democrats and the Church have accepted for generations, but Pres. Trump is being harshly criticized.
Fifth, on Oct. 23, 2018, a meteorologist at Colorado State University said the 2018 hurricane season is the most active season ever recorded.
Hurricanes Florence and Michael were the most destructive hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean and the U.S., but hurricanes Lane, Rosa, Sergio and Willa were the most destructive hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean and other places.
Several years ago, scientists created the "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" (ACE) index.
By adding the intensity (wind speed in mph) of all of the tropical storms and hurricanes in one year and adding how long all of the tropical storms and hurricanes existed (their duration), they come up with the total intensity and duration called the "Accumulated Cyclone Energy" (ACE) index.
The ACE didn't break any records in the Atlantic or the US this year, but it was the highest ever worldwide (annual average = 221 units; 2018 = 432 units).
Sixth, experts say it has been hard to get people to be chipped, but they believe society has reached a tipping point.
Chips are being used in an increasing number of ways: pay bills, unlock doors, replace passwords, etc.
The number of people using them is starting to grow.
People are getting used to them, and they give little thought to this being a prelude to the Mark of the Beast.
Some people are even inserting chips into their own body.
FYI, you probably won't hear this from the mainstream media, but there is a growing black exit from the Democratic Party.
Two groups, BLEXIT (Black Exit) and #WALK AWAY, realize that the Democrats, Pres. Obama, Hillary Clinton, Al Sharpton, etc., have done nothing to improve the lives of black people.
They believe it is time for black people to change course and stop being taken for granted and getting nothing for it.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
Sinkholes on the Temple Mount: Illegal Waqf Construction or Prophetic Awakening? - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com
On that day, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, near Yerushalayimon the east; and the Mount of Olives shall split across from east to west, and one part of the Mount shall shift to the north and the other to the south, a huge gorge. Zechariah 14:4 (The Israel Bible™)
The Temple Mount has been the scene of several strange phenomena recently; large sections of the ancient stones suddenly falling away, an inexplicable mist that surrounded the Dome of the Rock, a snake crawling out from between the rocks, and now, a sinkhole has appeared adjacent to the Gate of Mercy.
Jewish visitation to the Temple Mount is severely limited and the sections of the compound which Jews are permitted to visit are likewise restricted. As such, changes that occur on site are not always immediately noticed.
Though the Temple Mount is a bit removed from the geologically active Jordan Rift, a pre-Messiah earthquake is prophesied to drastically change the topography of Jerusalem.
On that day, He will set His feet on the Mount of Olives, near Yerushalayim on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall split across from east to west, and one part of the Mount shall shift to the north and the other to the south, a huge gorge. Zechariah 14:4
It may be that this dramatic geologic development has already begun. About one month ago, Jews going up to the Temple Mount began to notice a change in the sidewalk adjacent to the area of the stairs going down to Sha'ar HaRachamim (the Gate of Mercy), or Golden Gate as it is known in Christian literature. The sidewalk had sunk visibly and the was cracking as if the ground was opening up underneath the paving stones.
The location is highly significant. The gate is described in the prophecy as the gate through which the Shekhinah (Divine Presence) used to appear and will appear again when the Anointed One (Messiah) comes to enter the Third Temple.
And Hashem said to me: This gate is to be kept shut and is not to be opened! No one shall enter by it because Hashem, the God of Yisrael, has entered by it; therefore it shall remain shut. Only the prince may sit in it and eat bread before Hashem, since he is a prince; he shall enter by way of the vestibule of the gate, and shall depart by the same way. Ezekiel 44:2-3
The gate was sealed by the Muslims in 810 CE, opened by the Crusaders in 1102 CE, and sealed again by Suleiman in 1541 CE. It has been conjectured by scholars that the motivation for sealing the gate was a Muslim attempt to prevent the arrival of the Messiah.
Rabbi Yosef Berger, rabbi of King David's Tomb on Mount Zion and a member of the nascent Sanhedrin, believes he may have had a hand in the recent underground activities leading to the sinking sidewalk.
"Just before Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year), the Sanhedrin stood outside the Sha'ar HaRachamim and blew shofars," Rabbi Berger told Breaking Israel News. "We wanted to do something, anything, to help bring geula (redemption) closer. The connection between the Temple Mount and the Jewish people is a strong connection, like between a husband and wife. Perhaps the mountain heard us."
Rabbi Berger explained that the spiritual effort was deeply moving, for the Sanhedrin and perhaps for the mountain as well, but it was not especially pleasant. In addition to sealing the gate, the Muslims have established a cemetery in front of the gate in an attempt to prevent the Messiah from entering.
Of course, it may be that the broken flagstones are the result of less spiritual developments.
"The level that we now walk on is several meters above what was ground level in Temple Times," Yaakov Hayman, chairman of the United Temple Movements, told Breaking Israel News. "It is all landfill. No one knows what is underground."
Unfortunate political realities make it unlikely that any real knowledge of what lies underground will ever be known. This was epitomized by the wanton destruction caused when the Waqf built the El-Marwani Mosque in the so-called Solomon's Stables located in the southeastern corner of the Temple Mount.
In the early 1990's. Chief Sephardi Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu began to advocate the construction of a synagogue on the Temple Mount in Solomon's Stables. The large underground space, constructed by King Herod, was empty. It seemed like an ideal solution, allowing Jewish access that was separate from the Muslim entrances. But the rabbi's call for a synagogue was followed by the Waqf converting the space into a mosque capable of hosting 10,000 worshippers. The construction was in gross violation of the status quo and all agreements with the Israeli government, using heavy equipment in a site that was archaeologically significant. The construction greatly weakened the southern wall of the Temple Mount, requiring massive and unsightly repairs.
About 350 truckloads of earth was taken from the site and dumped in the Kidron Valley. In a June 2000 interview with the Jerusalem Post, the chief waqf archeologist said that his colleagues examined the material taken out of the site "either before or after the excavation" and "found nothing of special interest." In 2004, Professor Gabriel Barkay began the Temple Mount Temple Sifting Project, laboriously searching through the dirt. Barkay has succeeded in recovering countless artifacts from the Jewish Temple including a partial reconstruction of a tile floor.
"The Waqf still works with large machinery on the Temple Mount," Barkay told Breaking Israel News. "There may be an empty space underneath but in any case, the soil is very soft and not suited for heavy equipment. We tried to get the government to prevent this but they did not answer our requests."
As the spokesman for the Temple Mount activist organization Yera'eh, Elishama Sandman, is privy to the details of what takes place on and around the Temple Mount.
"The earth is certainly moving under the Temple Mount," Sandman told Breaking Israel News. "It is impossible to say whether this is from geological changes or illegal construction. In the same way, it is impossible to rule out divine causes. The Waqf won't let any scientists or archaeologists investigate. And certainly no rabbis. But it is clear that something is happening there."
Sandman described past attempts to deal with infrastructure on the Temple Mount in which complaints were bounced between the municipal government, the Israeli government, and the police.
"While the officials argued about who should take care of it, the Waqf dug," Sandman said.
Daily Jot: Prophetic signs of the Messiah's return? - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
The UK Mirror has written a story making the case for the soon return of the Messiah and the end of the world as we know it because of three recent "prophetic events". The lead states: "The first occurrence was the birth of the first 'red heifer in 2,000 years' in Israel - a creature that features in 'end of times' tales in both Christianity and Judaism. The news of the birth, which emerged in September, was followed by claims last month that fish and other forms of life are quickly filling up Dead Sea sinkholes. The third strange occurrence took place this week, when a snake was filmed slithering out of Israel's Western Wall, unexpectedly interrupting prayers." Let's examine each and discern the legitimacy of this story.
The prophecy clock surely advanced on August 28 when a red heifer was born in Israel. The ordinance of the red heifer is found in Numbers 19 where the Lord commands Moses to bring a "red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke" to be slayed outside the camp, and burned with cedar wood, hyssop and scarlet. Daniel 11:31 prophesies that In the end of years the armed forces of the king of the north (beast/antichrist) "shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the abomination that makes desolation." This is what Christ is referring to in Matthew 24. Therefore, prior to the Messiah returning there are daily sacrifices taking place in the Temple in Jerusalem. The red heifer is important to prophecy because its ashes are needed to cleanse the Temple and its instruments. No red heifer, no Temple.
A photographer has taken pictures of fish swimming in the sinkholes of the Dead Sea, where no life could sustain because of the high concentration of saline. This, some say is a fulfillment of the Ezekiel 47:8-9 prophecy: "...and go down into the desert, and into the sea (Dead): which being brought forth into the sea, the waters shall be healed...and there shall be a very great multitude of fish because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed." While there may be fish in the Dead Sea sinkholes filling with fresh water as the sea recedes, this is not a fulfillment of the Ezekiel prophecy. The Ezekiel prophecy in Chapter 47 contextually is occurring after the return of Messiah when he is healing and restoring the land.
The UK Mirror then threw in the snake coming out of the Western Wall. Somehow, it explains, internet bloggers see this as a sign of the snake that tempted Adam and Eve and that we are living in "dangerous times." It has nothing to with biblical prophecy whatsoever, but because internet bloggers think it does, the UK Mirror included it in the story. This is an example of Christ's warnings in Matthew 24:4 and 11-"Take heed that no man deceive you" and "many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many." Don't just take somebody's word for it that prophecy is being fulfilled. Study it for yourself. These are perilous times that we live in and the red heifer is surely an indicator. Misinterpretations of scripture and the making up of signs and wonders, however, can deceive many. Let us be wise and circumspect as we seek the Blessed Hope.
Daily Devotion: The Human Homing Instinct - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end. -Ecclesiastes 3:11
I have no navigational skills whatsoever. I'm always getting lost, so I like to use a GPS. But people have been misled when using a GPS. I read about a Boston woman who made a right turn onto railroad tracks at the direction of her GPS. Even worse, her van got stuck on the tracks. She and her kids were able to get out safely before the van was hit by a commuter train.
In Oregon, a couple got stranded for three days in the snow because they followed the directions of their GPS onto a remote road that was impassable. They spent two nights stuck in the wilderness.
I think GPS really stands for get potentially stranded. It can get you into trouble.
God has created certain animals with what we call a homing instinct, or a built-in GPS. And God has placed a homing instinct in us as human beings uniquely made in the image of God. We don't know what it is at first. But we know this much. From the moment we are born, we are on a quest.
It starts with toys. We think if only we had a certain toy, then we would be happy. Then we get older. We think a certain position or relationship or thing will make us happy. Then hopefully we discover that what we're really looking for is God. We have a homing instinct for Heaven. We have a homesickness for a place we've never been before. God wired us that way.
The Bible says that God "has planted eternity in the human heart" (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT). Once we figure this out, once we realize that our ultimate destination as followers of Jesus is Heaven, it changes the way that we think, and it changes the way that we live.
FROM THE HEART
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