Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Long Shadow - By Pete Garcia -
Shadows are interesting things. They communicate a reality, yet, they themselves are not really real. They indicate the thing that is coming, yet, they are not the things themselves. Pastor Ken Ortize (Calvary Spokane)
There is a day coming, which will turn the world upside down. That day is known to us, as the Rapture of the Church. While it is true that no man knows the day or hour, it is also true that the Bible states we would see that day approaching. (Matt. 16: 1-4, Thess. 5:1-9, Hebrews 10:25, Rev. 3:3). The only way that is possible to know and not know, is to see the shadow of the event before it arrives.
The Rapture, for both its attractors and detractors, remains a highly contested event amongst believers and non-believers alike. Non-believers simply look at the Rapture as a joke or something to mock and ridicule, if they think about it at all. To the believer, however, there is much divergence of opinion as to the nature and timing of the event. However, one would be hard-pressed to state that the Bible does not mention this event as a certainty. Only a true heretic would deny what the Bible clearly teaches, because it is found throughout scripture, both in word and type. To deny that, would be to deny what is clearly written in Holy Scripture.
However, the divergence of thought can find more solid footing as to determining when exactly the Rapture will occur, and that is ok. If God had wanted man to know exactly when a thing was to occur (or how), He would have had the writers state as much. Instead, God uses type (foreshadow) and doctrinal congruity to strongly imply as to the nature of the Rapture event itself. It is a divinely appointed happening showcasing God's supernatural ability to rescue His own, prior to unleashing His wrath and judgment He pours out upon the earth.
Thus, we have lived in this long shadow since that first Pentecost. This is where the Holy Spirit was given to mankind in an extraordinary fashion as 'cloven tongues of fire' descending upon the disciples (Acts 2:1-4). However, just prior to that, Christ ascended from the earth in front of His disciples in an equally glorious fashion. As they stood gazing intently into the sky, presumably, wondering if He would return in short order, two Angels appear and communicate with the disciples gathered there.
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven." Acts 1:9-11
This shadow indicating Christ's return, perhaps only a sliver, was not even discernible then. Before He left, Christ's mandate to the disciples indicated that while His return was absolutely certain (John 14:1-3), it may have some time built into it. They were to go into all the world, making disciples of all nations.
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen - Matthew 28:18-20 (emphasis mine)
In the centuries which followed, time began to form a wedge between the believer's eager anticipation of Christ's return, and the certainty of the event itself. During high times of persecution (60-312AD), the church fervently held to the belief Christ would return quickly and it sustained them. This served as a powerful preservative to those early Christians. Satan, who, having been defeated at the Cross, discovered that the more he persecuted the church, the faster it grew. Thus, he had to change his strategy. He needed a more subtle approach, much like he did with Eve in the garden.
"Hath God indeed said...?"
...He would indeed return?
Satan knew/knows he cannot defeat the Church (Matt. 16:7-19). However, he knows humans are easily corruptible. If he couldn't destroy the Church, he would need to neutralize the Church. He knew (knowing human nature) that if he could get the Church focused on this life and not the next, he could corrupt them. This distraction came in the form of a hermeneutical (interpretational) corruption that began with the early church father Origen (184-253 AD) and continued with the conversion of Emperor Constantine in 312AD.
His conversion (true or not) allowed for Christians to come out of the shadows and begin living openly in the still largely pagan empire. Eventually, a North African Christian convert named Augustine of Hippo (circa 390AD), produces a popular, yet heretical, form of eschatology known as amillennialism. It began to emerge as the predominant viewpoint within Christendom. This view (Amillennialism) posited that the Church was now both Israel (who was then in diaspora) and also the physical manifestation of the promised Kingdom-Come. Thus, inheritors of all the Old Testament blessings and promises.
This new variation of Christianity then began absorbing many of the Roman's pagan rituals, temples, and even clergy as their own to make it more palatable to a still largely pagan empire in decline.
And the shadow grew.
However, this hijacking was not unforeseen by God. Christ had predicted as much in His seven Kingdom Parables (Matthew 13). The most obvious one was with the Parable of the Mustard Seed.
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches." Matthew 13:31-32
In the context of all these parables, the birds are viewed as unclean and evil things. In the first parable (Sower of the seeds), the birds devour all the seed (the new converts) that fall to the wayside. Later, the Apostle Paul would call Satan 'the prince of the power of the air,' (Eph. 2:2) indicating where Satan's domain really lay.
However, if we stay in context with the symbolism given here, the birds (unclean) take shelter into a tree (the church) that grows unnaturally larger than it should (Mustard trees are not large at all). Thus, instead of the church taking the gospel into the world, Jesus said the world would come into the church and began trying to corrupt it.
An interesting side note that indicates the direction the Gospel would take root, is in the ordering of numbers given in Matthew 13:8 (100, 60, and 30) and Mark 4:20 (30, 60, and 100). As Matthew was written with a Jewish audience in mind, it would indicate a decline in Jewish converts. Mark was written with a Gentile audience in mind, and prophetically reverses the numbers indicating that the gentiles would now become the harvest.
And the shadow grew.
Remember back to Jesus' parting statement in Matthew 28. He still has all authority in both heaven and on earth. This worldly form of Christendom quickly assumed (and consumed) what had been the extents of the Roman empire. However, this was to be short-lived. Since Jesus knew Christianity would be hijacked into this whorish variation of paganism and Christianity, He allowed a new force to arise that would quickly put an end to the worldly-minded Holy Roman Empire. The Muslims began to conquer and take hold of the lands that were once "Christian" (nations can't be Christian-only individuals can). However, as Islam began to dominate, it too began to splinter into a million tiny factions, all vying for control.
As the persecution intensified, Christendom began to splinter into two factions; those who wanted to remain in the largely pagan Holy Roman Empire, and those who did not. While the Holy Roman Empire (now the Roman Catholic Church [RCC]) maintained its foothold largely in Europe, true Christians continued to spread throughout the world.
The RCC was satanically covetous of the power and spread of true Christianity, and began to declare through papal bulls, that anyone who did not follow the RCC, were heretics. These heretics were to be excommunicated, imprisoned, wealth confiscated, tortured, and ultimately killed (usually by burning) in a 700-year period known as the Inquisition. Examples of the persecuted groups largely centered on both Jews and believers (e.g., Waldensians, Anabaptists, Lollards, etc.)
From a sliver in the first century, to now taking some form, the shadow continued to grow slowly, but surely.
The second example of this shadow and the time built into Christ's return was given to us by Christ Himself in His Seven Letters to the Seven Churches (Revelation 1-3). The seven churches Jesus addresses in Revelation were literal churches in John's day. By 95AD, there were thousands of churches. The Lord could have used, literally, any number of churches as examples to convey His messages. However, because He only uses seven (as opposed to 13 or 82) means, that there was a specific reason He did so. Furthermore, the churches He chose were chosen for specific reasons. There were larger congregations at that time in places like Corinth, Galatia, Rome, Antioch, Jerusalem, etc. He chose the quantity, type, and location for very specific reasons. He then gave them to John in a particular order because God does not do things arbitrarily or accidentally. These seven were not selected because they had issues only unique to themselves, but to all churches (he who has an ear). Furthermore, as the number seven holds (biblically speaking) to the number of plenitude or completion/perfection so that the seven churches then represent all churches, of all time.
Even within each type of church, we can see the different types of believers represented by the corporate image of each church. For example, within the Sardis-era, (the era in which one type of church dominates Christendom) we can see Philadelphian or Laodicean types of believers. We also note that Jesus had seven kingdom parables, which overlap with His seven letters, which can be overlapped with Paul's epistles to seven churches (excluding duplicates, personal letters, and Hebrews [which remained unsigned]).
Now here is the rub. Here at the end of the age, not only is this prophetic shadow present, but its darkness has covered the world. Things appear dark, because we are now in the shadow of the 70th Week of Daniel (Dan. 9:27). It is a foreboding time, pregnant with great horror, abominations, and wickedness that is only recognizable to those who have been filled with the Holy Spirit and have eyes to see, and ears to hear. The Bible states emphatically that the world at large, would not see the day coming, just as those Pharisees could not see their Messiah in front of them (Matt. 16:1-4). Just like before the flood, that antediluvian population assumed that things would continue on as it always had since creation. But the Bible says otherwise...
For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. Matthew 24:38-42
But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, "Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation." For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 2 Peter 3:4-7
And finally, to the church of Sardis, Jesus warns...
Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. Revelation 3:3
This warning was reserved to the third to the last church, who, if in chronological order, represents the Protestant Reformation era church onward. This signaled that mankind was entering into the final period before His return. Here, the church was to be on the lookout for Christ's soon coming...yet, they would not look. Interestingly, when the Protestants broke away from the Roman Catholic Church, they brought with them, the Roman Catholic eschatological view of Amillennialism. Fast forward to the 2000s, and we see most of the mainline denominations capitulating to moral depravity, even going so far as to ordain homosexuals and transgendered clergy.
By the 1730s, we finally, we see the remaining two church epochs (Philadelphia and Laodicea) we begin to emerge onto the scene.
Philadelphia: (1730-Present). Out of the smoldering coals of the dying Reformation fires, came a Spirit-driven spiritual revival in Europe and America called the First Great Awakening. Here, we see the great missionary movements begin to set out unto all the world, sharing the light of the Gospel to every nation. This was followed by the Second Great Awakening beginning in the 1790s, and the Third, in the 1850s. At this time, the United States and Europe were essential Acts 2 (largely homogenous with Judeo-Christian) audiences. As time moved on, the Awakenings would get smaller and smaller as the West became increasingly an Acts 19 culture (largely divergent without Judeo-Christian roots). Out of all the letters, only this one has a promise to remove the Church altogether from this world. The rest of the letters, when taken in context, offer no such promise.
Laodicea: (1900-Present) unsurprisingly, as the Great Awakenings began to spring up across the nation, pseudo-Christian groups also began to leech on and lead many astray. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when these apostate movements began to make serious headway, but by 1900, they were firmly entrenched into Western society through the Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Christian Scientists, and so forth. We also see the birth of the Charismatic movement, beginning around 1906 with the Azusa Street Revival.
While not condemning the charismatic movement writ large as there are still many good Pentecostal churches out there; most of the false teachers today (health & wealth, prosperity, dominionist gospel, as well as Hebrew Roots, and Emergent church movements) seemingly have their roots connected back to someone in the charismatic movement. Through the Emergent Church, we see a concerted effort to insert Eastern-mysticism into Christendom. Through the Hebrew Roots, we see a church departing from the Pauline teachings of the New Testament, for the Mosaic Laws (and oral traditions) of the Old Testament. Through the Health & Wealth / Seeker Sensitive churches, we see a church willing to compromise on just about everything in order to stay relevant. However, this church believes they lack nothing but are poor, blind, and naked in Christ's view. No promise is made by Christ to come, only a severe rebuke and chastening to repent. Christ stands outside this church knocking on the door.
However, the decline of Western Christendom and the intense ramping up of persecution against Eastern Christendom was foretold by Scripture. None of this was by accident or surprise to God. We with eyes to see and ears to hear, should take some comfort living through these darkened days, because they are only darkened, by the shadow of what's coming...our deliverance. And finally, to the faithful church, to whom Christ has no point of condemnation with, He states,
Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth. Revelation 3:10
Are You Ready?
The Coming Middle East Conflagration - Michael Oren -
Israel is bracing itself for war with Iranian proxies, as Tehran escalates its provocations. But what will the United States do if conflict comes?
The senior ministers of the Israeli government met twice last week to discuss the possibility of open war with Iran. They were mindful of the Iranian plan for a drone attack from Syria in August, aborted at the last minute by an Israeli air strike, as well as Iran's need to deflect attention from the mass protests against Hezbollah's rule in Lebanon. The ministers also reviewed the recent attack by Iranian drones and cruise missiles on two Saudi oil installations, reportedly concluding that a similar assault could be mounted against Israel from Iraq.
The Israel Defense Forces, meanwhile, announced the adoption of an emergency plan, code-named Momentum, to significantly expand Israel's missile defense capacity, its ability to gather intelligence on embedded enemy targets, and its soldiers' preparation for urban warfare. Israeli troops, especially in the north, have been placed on war footing. Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time.
And it's not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark. Israeli fighter jets have already conducted hundreds of bombing raids against Iranian targets in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. Preferring to deter rather than embarrass Tehran, Israel rarely comments on such actions. But perhaps Israel miscalculates, hitting a particularly sensitive target; or perhaps politicians cannot resist taking credit. The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel's air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv's equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin.
Rockets, many carrying tons of TNT, would rain on Israel; drones armed with payloads would crash into crucial facilities, military and civilian. During the Second Lebanon War, in 2006, the rate of such fire reached between 200 and 300 projectiles a day. Today, it might reach as high as 4,000. The majority of the weapons in Hezbollah's arsenal are standoff missiles with fixed trajectories that can be tracked and intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome system. But Iron Dome is 90 percent effective on average, meaning that for every 100 rockets, 10 get through, and the seven operational batteries are incapable of covering the entire country. All of Israel, from Metulla in the north to the southern port city of Eilat, would be in range of enemy fire.
But precision-guided missiles, growing numbers of which are in Iranian arsenals, pose a far deadlier threat. Directed by joysticks, many can change destinations mid-flight. The David's Sling system, developed in conjunction with the United States, can stop them-in theory, because it has never been tested in combat. And each of its interceptors costs $1 million. Even if it is not physically razed, Israel can be bled economically.
First, though, it would be paralyzed. If rockets fall near Ben-Gurion Airport, as during Israel's 2014 war with Hamas in Gaza, it will close to international traffic. Israel's ports, through which a major portion of its food and essential supplies are imported, may also shut down, and its electrical grids could be severed. Iran has honed its hacking tools in recent years and Israel, though a world leader in cyberdefense, cannot entirely protect its vital utilities. Millions of Israelis would huddle in bomb shelters. Hundreds of thousands would be evacuated from border areas that terrorists are trying to infiltrate. The restaurants and hotels would empty, along with the offices of the high-tech companies of the start-up nation. The hospitals, many of them resorting to underground facilities, would quickly be overwhelmed, even before the skies darken with the toxic fumes of blazing chemical factories and oil refineries.
Israel would, of course, respond. Its planes and artillery would return fire, and the IDF would mobilize. More than twice the size of the French and British armies combined-at least on paper-the IDF can call up, equip, and deploy tens of thousands of seasoned reservists in less than 24 hours. But where would it send them? Most of the rockets would be launched from southern Lebanon, where the launchers are embedded in some 200 villages. Others would be fired from Gaza, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad, both backed by Iran, have at least 10,000 rockets. But longer-range missiles, including the deadly Shahab-3, would reach Israel from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran itself. This presents a daunting challenge to the Israeli Air Force, which does not possess strategic bombers capable of reaching Iran and must grapple with the advanced Russian anti-aircraft weapons situated in Syria. Israeli ground troops would be forced to move into Lebanon and Gaza, house-to-house, while special forces would be dispatched deep within Syria and Iraq. Israel's own conventional missiles could devastate Iranian targets.
But even if these countermeasures could succeed in curtailing much of the missile fire, they would also inflict many thousands of civilian casualties. This is precisely what Iran wants, its proxies preventing the flight of residents from combat areas in order to accuse Israel of committing war crimes. West Bank and Gaza Palestinians, meanwhile, would likely stage violent protests that Israel would put down harshly, setting the stage for the Security Council to condemn Israel for employing indiscriminate and disproportional force and for the United Nations Human Rights Council to gather evidence for the International Criminal Court. What Iran and its allies cannot accomplish on the battlefield, they can achieve through boycotts, isolating and strangling Israel.
Does all this seem a little far-fetched? Not to the senior Israeli government ministers who have been contemplating precisely these sorts of scenarios. And over all of them looms a pressing question: How will the United States respond?
The question is paramount for multiple reasons, beginning with America's role in precipitating the potential for conflict. Whether inadvertently, by diminishing its principal Sunni enemies-Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Taliban, and the Islamic State-or purposefully, by signing the nuclear deal, the United States has empowered Iran. While quick to oust Hosni Mubarak and Muammar Qaddafi-both Sunni-President Barack Obama refused to intercede against Iran's Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad. President Donald Trump failed to respond forcefully to the Iranian attacks on Saudi Arabia and on international shipping in the Gulf, or even for the downing of a U.S. Navy drone last June. Rather than a departure from long-standing policy, the hasty withdrawal of American troops from Syria appears to many in the Middle East as yet another American move that will strengthen Tehran. Few in the region will be surprised if the American president eases sanctions and negotiates with his Iranian counterpart.
But along with turning a blind eye to Iranian aggression, the United States has also provoked it. Iran has exploited the profits and legitimacy of the nuclear deal to dominate great swaths of the Middle East and surround Israel with missiles. With the expiration of the treaty's sunset clauses, Iran could then break out, making hundreds of nuclear weapons while deterring Israeli preemption.
But if that was the Iranian hope, its aspirations were destroyed overnight by President Trump's decision to pull out of the deal and reimpose sanctions. Faced with a collapsing economy, the regime had two painful options: Either enter into talks with Trump under conditions the Iranians find humiliating, or else initiate hostilities-first in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf, and if that fails, against Israel. Turning to action, the regime must hope, will prove to the United States that without sanctions relief and a renewed nuclear treaty, Iran can plunge the entire region into chaos.
Aware of these dangers, Israeli leaders nevertheless supported the undoing of a deal that they believed paved Iran's path to hegemony and a nuclear arsenal. They fully supported the sanctions, even though they risk triggering a war. Better for it to face that risk now, they reasoned, than in five years, after Iran has completed its Middle East conquests, encircled Israel, and acquired nuclear bombs. Better for conflict to occur during the current administration, which can be counted on to provide Israel with the three sources of American assistance it traditionally receives in wartime.
The first is ammunition. Beginning with the 1973 Yom Kippur War and continuing through two Lebanon wars and three major clashes with Gaza, Israel has run low on crucial munitions. In each case, the United States agreed to resupply the IDF either by airlift or from its pre-positioned stores inside Israel. Only once, during the 2014 Protective Edge operation, did the Obama administration delay shipments of arms-in that case, Hellfire missiles-to express its displeasure over rising Palestinian casualties.
The second kind of backing is legal. Because the UN reliably votes to condemn Israel, the United States has rallied likeminded states to oppose or at least soften one-sided resolutions and, in the Security Council, cast its veto. The United States has also acted to shield Israel from UN "fact-finding" missions that invariably denounce it, and from sanctions imposed by international courts. When the Goldstone Report, filed after the 2009 Cast Lead operation in Gaza, accused Israel of crimes against humanity, both the Obama White House and the Democratic majority in Congress came to Israel's defense.
Finally, the United States has supported Israel on the day after the fighting, in negotiating cease-fires, troop withdrawals, and prisoner exchanges, and establishing frameworks for peace. The tradition began after the 1967 Six-Day War, with the U.S.-brokered Security Council Resolution 242, and continued through the shuttle diplomacy of Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger in 1973-74 and Condoleezza Rice in 2006. Only after the 2014 fighting did Israel reject America's offer of mediation, due to its government's lack of faith in Secretary John Kerry.
Such distrust is absent from Israel's relations with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and there is little doubt of this administration's willingness to supply the three traditional types of assistance. But what if Israel needs more than that? What if there were a situation in which the survival of the Jewish state were threatened? Would the United States intervene?
The answer is yes-to a degree. Every two years, U.S. and Israeli forces hold joint exercises called Juniper Cobra to strengthen Israel's air defenses. After participating as an IDF reservist in the first Juniper Cobra, in 1990, I worked with my American counterparts to deploy Patriot missile batteries in Israel during the Gulf War. Since then, the cooperation has significantly expanded, including the stationing of an American-manned X-band Radar system in Israel and the temporary deployment of the THAAD system, employing some of America's most advanced antiballistic technology. Though the details remain top secret, the United States is clearly committed to helping protect Israel's skies. Whether American troops would go on the offensive on Israel's behalf, striking Iranian bases, remains uncertain.
That ambiguity is only deepening in an election year in which the incumbent and his opponents are campaigning to end old Middle Eastern wars, not get bogged down in new ones. Polls taken after the president's decision to withdraw from Syria showed a lack of bipartisan support for even a small-scale American military involvement in the region. Yet administration officials have repeatedly assured me that Israel is not Syria or Saudi Arabia, and that Israel can count on massive U.S. support if needed.
I continue to believe that is true. I recall President Obama's comment to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office six years ago this week, on the last day of my service as Israeli ambassador. "The United States will always come to Israel's aid in the event of a war," he said, "because that is what the American people expect." But I also remember that, back in 1973, Egypt and Syria saw a president preoccupied with an impeachment procedure, and concluded that Israel was vulnerable. In the subsequent war, Israel prevailed-but at an excruciating price. The next war could prove even costlier.
Choosing Evil - By Hal Lindsey - https://www.hallindsey.com/ww-11-5-2019/
In late October, the Walt Disney Company's Chief Executive, Robert Iger, made a remarkable admission to the Wall Street Journal. Speaking about the protests in Hong Kong, Iger said, "To take a position that could harm our company in some form would be a big mistake."
In other words, Disney is choosing money over morality. Following the lead of other major US corporations, they seem to have decided to give China whatever it wants, no matter what.
On October 4th, Daryl Morey, the General Manager of the National Basketball Association's Houston Rockets, tweeted six words. "Fight for Freedom, Stand with Hong Kong." It caused a firestorm of criticism from China. He deleted the tweet and apologized. The owner of the team quickly let it be known that Morey was not speaking for the team or the league.
Then the league itself weighed in. They apparently tried the old Yasser Arafat trick of releasing two different statements in two different languages. Business Insider wrote, "A Twitter user named Yiqin Fu first noticed, however, that the league's statement on the Chinese social-media app Weibo appeared to be different from the English version."
According to Fu and others, the league's Chinese version said, "We are extremely disappointed in Morey's inappropriate statement."
Why are they bending over backwards to avoid offending China? The obvious answer would be money. China is their biggest growth market in the world. The NBA has nearly half a billion viewers there. In June, they signed a five-year deal for broadcast rights in China. The Sporting News says that deal should be worth $1.5 billion. And it's just the beginning.
For Disney, the stakes in China are even greater. Shanghai Disneyland Park opened in 2016. It gets over 11 billion visitors a year. Disney movies, especially the Marvel superhero movies, do especially well in China. They expect exponential growth, but they face a major obstacle. Only 34 films a year are allowed to be imported into China. If government officials there are upset with you, your films won't make the cut.
Both Disney and NBA officials have talked about their desire to stay out of politics. Houston Rockets owner, Tilman Fertitta, tweeted, "We are NOT a political organization."
But they were a political organization when the state of North Carolina passed a bill that required men not to use women's restrooms. The NBA All-Star Game had been scheduled for Charlotte, but they wouldn't allow the game there until the law had been changed.
Right now, China is holding more than a million Uighur Muslims in prison camps. They are being tortured in a horrible variety of ways. Many have been summarily executed. On November 4th, Business Insider reported that Chinese authorities have been "sending men to live with Uighur women, many of whose husbands had been sent to prison camps. Those men often sleep in the same bed as the women, a new Radio Free Asia report says, citing two unnamed Chinese officials."
Rape, murder, and state terror are par for the course in China today. But the NBA supports them while attacking and punishing North Carolina for not wanting their little girls to have to share bathrooms with men.
Disney's the same. They do China's bidding in politics, while attacking the State of Georgia for a law that would restrict abortion. In the past, Georgia has been an inexpensive place for Disney to make some of its biggest hit movies. But Disney now says it isn't sure it can do business there anymore. Disney also joined the NBA and other American corporations in condemning and attempting to punish North Carolina for its bathroom bill.
My point is that this goes deeper than just money. Evangelical Christians spend money. The people in North Carolina and Georgia spend money. What's happening with American corporations is far more dangerous than mere greed. Over and over again, they're calling evil good, and good evil.
Isaiah 5:20 says, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil."
And if God says, "Woe," look out.
Nearing Midnight: Going Blind - Terry James -
"I believe what you have is retinitis pigmentosa," the retinal specialist said after the test. It was what I believe he called a scleral exam.
In conducting the test, the retinal specialist uses the lower skeletal bone surrounding the eyeball as a fulcrum. He places a hard, plastic instrument that looks like a small shoe spoon beneath the eyeball, and then uses the lower bone forming the eye socket to pop the eyeball out to some extent.
I once heard Sugar Ray Leonard, the welterweight and later middle weight boxing champion say that he would rather go fifteen rounds with his chief nemesis Tommy "The Hitman" Hearns than to again have that examination. Leonard suffered a detached retina from about, so had to have the same type of exam.
I know exactly what Mr. Leonard meant. It was extremely painful and excruciatingly lengthy. The specialist then keeps putting the pressure at different points along the lower eye-socket bone to best pop the eyeball out while shining a painful light on the retina. He then stops to make scribbles on some sort of chart before returning to torturing the patient.
The exam was complete in about forty minutes. The doctor then put his thumb and index finger to chin and said, "I believe what you have is retinitis pigmentosa."
My obvious question was, of course: "What's that?"
"Well, it's one we don't know much about. It's a degeneration of the rods and cones that make up the retina."
"What does that mean?"
He said very matter-of-factly, as if giving a clinical report to a student, "It means the retina is being dissolved."
"What does it mean about my being able to see?" I naturally asked.
He was looking at some sort of book. "It says here that most with the disease go blind."
That was all in 1977. They didn't know much about the disease at that time. They know a lot more today, but still can do nothing about the malady-i.e., it can't be cured, although they are reportedly making strides toward artificially restoring some degree of vision.
Now, to all who are having retinal problems and must face a retinal specialist's exam, I must offer this bit of comfort: They now have technological means (machinery) to do-with painless procedures-what the doctors did during that scleral exam. Never fear: You most likely will never have to face the procedure Sugar Ray and I had to face.
I am also commissioned, however, to forewarn a procedure that is going to be infinitely more painful: the Great White Throne judgment. It involves examination of a world of people going, well, blind-spiritually blind.
Thankfully, the Lord of Heaven has been with yours truly all these years of going blind. And, that's exactly what God has made it possible for me to do. That is, He has kept me going while physically blind.
I've been blessed beyond measure by His providing all necessary to accomplish things on His behalf in writing, speaking, and other ministry. I continue to, literally, keep going while totally blind, through God's grace and permissive will.
What God gives us to do, He makes clear. It might take some time, but, eventually, ultimately, He will dissolve the haze and make our pathway clear.
Of course, we must make every effort to obey. As Dr. Charles Stanley puts it, "Obey God no matter what, and leave all the consequences to Him."
Proverbs contains the Scripture that encapsulates this directive from on high: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). It is with that divine imperative that my pathway was made clear on Good Friday, April 22, 2011. I've written of it many times in this and other forums, as well as spoken about the profound intervention God performed that Good Friday.
I died clinically three times because of the widow-maker heart attack. I knew precisely each time my heart stopped. I was instantaneously in the presence of heavenly beings-beautiful young men and women who were jubilant and inviting me to join them.
The third time my heart stopped and I was with them, I was running with them, as if in a glorious victory celebration.
The Holy Spirit has shown me on a number of occasions since that this was Hebrews 12:1-3 in action. The specific celebration was to impress upon my spirit that the Lord approves of, in particular, the message that Jesus is on the very cusp of returning. Even more specifically, I have had it validated in the deepest reaches of my spiritual heart that He is coming very soon in the Rapture for the Church-all born-again believers, according to Romans 10:9-10.
This will occur before God's wrath and judgment must fall on an incorrigibly wicked world of rebellious God-deniers. And this gets back to that world of people who are going, blind. Sadly, they think they see clearly their pathway ahead. They believe humanistic endeavor can guide them to a preferable destination. But their vision is shortsighted. They suffer, you might say, from spiritual retinitis pigmentosa, at the basis of which is the soul-destroying infection called sin.
They keep going, while blind to truth, down that broad way that leads to destruction and the black abyss of eternity. So, my mission, my assignment, is to keep going, even though physically blind. Witness of Christ's saving power is our heavenly mandate. That is what I intend to do. And, that is what you, as Christ's representative on earth-His royal ambassador-are to do also.
The heavenly rewards for such faithful service are staggering to contemplate: "But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).
Our spiritual eyes must stay turned toward Heaven as we negotiate this darkening earthly traverse. The light of Jesus Christ will illuminate our pathway as we obey His commandment to go forth and witness of His power to save the soul, no matter how sin ridden.
Christ's promises are beyond our ability to fully imagine. Things of unparalleled splendor and glory that we will experience at the moment of Rapture-or death, if we pass instantaneously through that doorway-are incomprehensible from this present perspective. Our vision will be made perfect at that time: "For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known" (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Daily Jot: Standing boldly against insurrection - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Capitol Hill Prayer Partners (CHPP) this week exhorted readers to take action against impeaching President Donald Trump. This is key. Impeachment will only occur if politicians believe public opinion is behind it. IF they sense that there will be severe consequences, they will be less likely to pursue impeachment. So it is very important to voice your opinion often and boldly. It's also imperative that you talk about impeachment to your friends and family. Educate them with what you know about the facts. While they may not want to hear it, they need to know, no matter how uncomfortable it is to them. Don't argue or insult-that's what people do when they have no facts. CHPP and the Daily Jot will equip you.
This impeachment is important because it threatens your Constitutional rights. If a loud group of socialists can finalize a coup by impeaching an elected president on third or fourth hand information, the Constitution is in danger. Likewise, if unelected bureaucrats at the State Department, CIA, FBI, NSA and other deep state administrative offices can remove a president by working with a political party, not only the Constitution is at risk, but your freedom of speech and religion are in jeopardy. This is the precedent of tyranny. Of course, your uninformed friends and family will say, "Oh, I don't believe that." Point them toward Venezuela, Nicaragua, China, the former Soviet Union. That's what those people said too.
The whole dirt on Hillary Clinton thing-you're going to hear that, too. Every campaign since the beginning of campaigns has tried to find the "dirt" on opponents. That's just a fact of what happens. It's formally called opposition research. It is legal to seek, research, ask for information about opponents. Where it becomes shady and illegal is when a candidate, party, or officeholder pay to have someone fabricate damaging opposition research and use it to get secret court orders to spy on a campaign or to even spy on an elected president's transition team-which is exactly what happened with Clinton, the Democratic National Committee, and the previous president, the FISA Court and the infamous "Pee Dossier." Is that fair?
Given the mutual legal assistance treaty between Ukraine and America, a president is well within his authority to ask Ukraine to investigate Biden's corruption. That Biden is a political opponent has no bearing. IF the Bidens did something illegal, they are not above the law. The Whistleblower is also flimsy. He is a deep state CIA operative that worked with Biden and the Obama Administration. That the impeachment hearings are being done in secret is a huge red flag. If it looks, acts, and smells like insurrection, it's probably insurrection-which is illegal. Ephesians 5:6 says, "Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things comes the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience." Tell your family and friends there are dire consequences to this deception for them and America. Be strong. Take a stand.
Daily Devotion: Another Look at Worship - by Greg Laurie -
Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.-1 Timothy 1:17
For years the church talked a lot about the holiness of God, the righteousness of God, and the importance of having the fear of God. And when you walked into a church sanctuary, you would have a reverent tone and a certain, respectful attitude.
But then there was a swing in another direction, where we talked more about the love of God, the mercy of God, and the forgiveness of God. And I think that was a good thing.
My question is, have we gone too far the other way in some respects? Should we not talk about both?
We should talk about a loving, gracious, forgiving Father who longs for a relationship with us, but not leave out the fact that He is also holy, righteous, and just. All of these are important. The Lord Himself says, "Be holy, for I am holy" (1 Peter 1:16 NKJV).
I love that the church has developed a culture of worship. In fact, I had the privilege of being around during the Jesus Movement, when what we call "contemporary worship" was born.
Nowadays we're not surprised to see guitar amps, drum kits, special lighting, and all the other things we use for worship during a church service. But back in the day, you would never see those things when you went to church.
I think perhaps some of the best worship the church has ever had has been written in the last twenty years. But there is something we must never lose sight of.
When we worship, let's understand that it's more than singing. It's more than praying. Worship is opening our eyes to a lost world that desperately needs the gospel.
Worship is practical. It is not only singing; it's also serving. Worship is giving your life to the Lord every day.
FROM THE HEART
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"Folks, it's all beginning to unravel. America is in more danger of falling than at any time in its history. But I believe Bible prophecy predicts this very decline. From this point on, we believers have to get serious. We are going to face discouragement, disillusionment and, most certainly, persecution in the time between now and the Rapture. But don't be discouraged or disillusioned. The coming turmoil will provide us unrivaled opportunities to share the good news of the Gospel. So be ready to share your faith and your hope with those who need Christ. We still have time to reap a great harvest of souls for God's kingdom!" - Hal Lindsey
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