Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Abomination that causeth Desolation - by Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/
"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon." (Daniel 3:1)
One of the most familiar stories found in your Bible of an event that happened during the Babylonian captivity of the children of Israel, when Nebuchadnezzar decided to make a statue of gold and erect it to stand for all people to worship. The story focuses on three Hebrew children of the captivity who had been elevated in the government of the king of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Obednego so named in the Babylonian culture, but known as Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah in the Hebrew tongue. I find this amazing, as just in previous chapters, the King of Babylon had proclaimed the God of Daniel, the God of the Bible as the only God of gods and all must worship Daniel's God....I don't get this King...did he just fall back into his old ways, or is the story pointing to something deeper and prophetic?
Knowing that Daniel's book was written during the Babylonian captivity and is full of prophecy and future events given to Daniel in dreams and visions, was the story of what happened to these three men just a story of obedience and faith? These three men who would not deny the God of their fathers, even if they had to go against the most powerful man during this time in history stood firm in their conviction of worshiping no one but the True God of Heaven.
The king commanded that when the sound of musical instruments were sounded that all the people that he had gathered, which was all the high officials in his government, would fall down in a sign of worship and loyalty to the king. Those who did not were warned that those who did not comply would be immediately executed.
" And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up."(Daniel 3:6-7)
As the story progresses, and the Hebrew children mentioned would not bow down and worship this pagan idol, the knowledge of their failure to yield to the king's command reached Nebuchadnezzar's ears from those of the Chaldeans that were jealous of anyone of the captivity being elevated to high office and they watched them and reported it to the king. But the three Hebrew men stood firm on this obedience to God. Of course, being a king who had power over all the land and his subjects, this made Nebuchadnezzar furious, and he confronted the Hebrew men and gave them a chance to submit to his decree, but the Hebrews' in his government answered thus:
"Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:16-18)
Not needing to go through the whole chapter for space, as anyone who wishes to read the chapter in Daniel will read where these men were thrown bound down into a furnace heated seven times hotter than normal to make an example of those who failed to obey the king in all matters. But what happened? Knowing the story, I may not have to tell you, but scripture says that God protected them from the flames by being with them in the flaming fire.
King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished when he looked into the open door of the furnace, and saw four men walking around in the flames.
"Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. " (Daniel 24-25)
ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION
When finished reading this passage in your bible, where else can we find a similar event that happened in history and mentioned in other places of your Bible? Yes, several places, such as pagan idol is set up in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem during the last dictator on earth, known as the final Anti-Christ and one must wonder, is there a connection? I believe there is. In this passage the King of Babylon is a symbol of the coming Anti-Christ, and those that proclaim by music and crying aloud that they fall down and worship are a symbol of the false prophet, but it is a prophecy of the coming future of the last Anti-Christ of our modern era. The idol is made of gold, or a false representation of divinity. Each will be a sign of loyalty, as well as worship of the image set up in Daniel's day, and also in the last days during the Tribulation. I believe Daniel prophesies just as John did. Note the similarities of each passage:
"And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed." (Revelation 13:14-15)
It is going to happen in the end of days, much like what happened in Daniel's account of Nebuchadnezzar's golden idol. Also, let's look at another time when an Anti-Christ type individual made a golden image and set it up in the Holy of Holies in honor of the pagan god, Zeus with the face of one we now know as Antiochus Epiphanes, the Syrian ruler who caused the Maccabean revolt that defeated this standing army and drove them from Israel. To the nation of Israel, this was an abomination. Our Lord Jesus spoke also of a coming "abomination that causeth desolation" and prophesied concerning again, the children of Israel.
"When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day
21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." (Matthew 24:15-2)
So what am I driving at? Notice in each passage of Daniel and Matthew, even in historical accounts concerning Antiochus Epiphanes, that each example deals with the Jewish people exclusively. Notice in the account found in Daniel that all of the Gentiles of the Babylonian culture fell down and worshiped the pagan image that Nebuchadnezzar set up...then see from history that Antiochus Epiphanes targeted only the Jewish people to worship a false golden idol that he had set up in his attempt to eradicate anything Jewish and Hellenize the area with pagan customs. That is an historical fact.
When Jesus spoke in Matthew, who was He talking about? He was talking about the Jews. He was talking about the Nation of Israel reborn in the end times and another coming pagan idol that would target them for idolatry and worshiping the beast of Revelation. So why is that important today? Most of the nation of Israel today are secular, or non believers in the God of the Bible, let alone Jesus the Messiah. It's important because God will turn His attention to the nation of Israel exclusively for the bringing of repentance and realizing their Messiah whom they had rejected. The Tribulation is all about Israel's salvation.
THE 144, 000 JEWISH EVANGELIST COME UPON THE SCENE
"And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel." (Revelation 7:4)
This is the start of the events that lead to Israel turning back to God. When God ordains these men and sets up His two witnesses that prophecy for 3.5 years on the Temple Mount, then God will begin dealing with Israel as a nation, and the focus will have shifted from the Church and the Age of Grace, back to Daniel's 70th week that deals only with Israel and their purification by fire.
"And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth."( Revelation 11:3-4)
It is believed that these two witnesses will supernaturally protect Israel the first 3.5 years, but after they are slain, resurrected, and translated into heaven, then the abomination that causes desolation will be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem, and the persecution of the Jewish people will spring forth as a flood, as prophesied.
I must emphasize my belief that the Tribulation is designed for two things as being exclusively refining Israel as silver is refined in the furnace, and to extinguish all rebellion. Malachi prophesied of this coming refinement in fire.
"But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:
3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness.
4 Then shall the offering of Judah and Jerusalem be pleasant unto the LORD, as in the days of old, and as in former years. " (Malachi 3:2-4)
DANIEL PROPHESIES ISRAEL'S COMING PERSECUTION
Returning to Daniel and the three Hebrew men, note that they were cast into the fire, but not a hair was singed, not a wrinkle in their clothes, and not a smell of smoke on their person. As God saved these men from the fire, so will God save those who come to faith and belief in the Messiah at long last during the Tribulation. In 70 AD, when the Romans were set to sack the city and burn it to the ground, a minority group of those who believed God escaped into Petra and they were saved. Those who stood to face the Romans were destroyed by the hundreds of thousands. As it was then, so it will be when God protects a remnant of the Jewish people from Satan, the Red Dragon who is wroth with the seed of the woman and goes to make war with them.
13 "And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ".(Revelation 12:14-17)
So when Jesus spoke of the "abomination that causes desolation" He spoke of those who believed the Word of God would flee into the mountains, maybe even to Petra to be protected by God. Satan will be thwarted in his attempt to destroy those who have embraced their Messiah and in his rage will wage war and overcome those of her seed who will not repent.
As it was in 70 AD, history will repeat itself and a remnant of the nation of Israel will be saved, those who believe the witness of the 144, 000 Jewish Evangelist. It will be a greater holocaust than during World War 2, as the Anti-Christ will make Hitler seem like elementary school.
SO WHAT'S THE POINT?
Glad you asked. The point of this whole study, is that the end times are for the bringing Israel to the knowledge of their Messiah, and everyone else, by majority will be in rebellion and destroyed by God. Now not all the saved in the Tribulation will be only Jewish, as I don't want to make the mistake to say that salvation during the Tribulation is only given to the Jewish people. Some will believe (a minority number), just as Israel believes, but it will cost many of these people their lives. In each example that I've mentioned here, do you notice someone, or a group of people that are not mentioned?
THE PROPHECIES ARE ALL ABOUT ISRAEL
In the first example, the Hebrew children that refused to bow down and worship the image, and went through the fire of judgment of men. All Gentiles surrounding them were obedient to the wishes of the powers that be, namely Nebuchadnezzar and his command.
In the second example, who was the focus of the rage of Antiochus Epiphanes? Again, the Jewish people were the target of obedience to a pagan god. A Gentile king persecutes the God's "elect" as Israel is the only groups of people who are called "God's elect"....we are called His church, His children, and His saints, but when the Gospels speak of gathering the "elect" from the four winds, as in the Gospel of Mark, this is a sign about gathering the saved and persecuted Jewish people, in their martyrdom. It is another sign that the church is not present for the Tribulation.
"And then shall he send his angels, and shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the uttermost part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven." (Mark 13:27)
How do I know the elect are the nation of Israel? Because the very next verse speaks of the fig tree budding and in context, both verses speak of Israel...NOT the church...as the church is already gone.
"Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near:
29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
30 Verily I say unto you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done." (Mark 13:28-30)
This is again spoken of Matthew chapter 24 by our Lord again.
"Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect [chosen people] from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31)
Israel is God's chosen people. If those who see Christ are mourning, it can't be the Ekklesia, as we would be rejoicing...so Jesus is not speaking of the "called out ones" the Ekklesia, but the nations of Gentiles in rebellion who will know that judgment has come and they have taken up battle plans to wage war against a Living God, but realize it to their horror that they are going to be destroyed.
In the third example in Matthew 24 that we have hit upon, Jesus was speaking to the Jewish people, and them exclusively. He did not mention anyone else, not Gentiles, not Tribulation saints, and especially not the Church of the Age of Grace, as the church had not been born yet.
Each of these examples were prophetic in the coming Tribulation, known as Jacob's Troubles. They deal with Israel and they make no mention of any other group. They are prophetic that the coming Tribulation will be near totally about Israel being cast into the fire of Tribulation and being refined as silver and gold is refined in the fire. Israel has been a wayward child for nearly 4000 years. God has not abandoned her, but has put her aside until the fullness of the Gentiles come in.
25 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.
29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy." (Romans 11:25-31)
With this knowledge, can you see that any God fearing member of the Church of the Living God, why would they be against God by coming against Israel, the apple of God's eye?
"For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye." (Zechariah 2:8)
I am sometimes aghast when I hear of any church group, so called "Christians" that take a stand against Israel and side with the Palestinians with the so called BDS movement "boycott, divestment, and sanctions" against God's chosen people, His elect. They are playing with fire and judgment from a Holy God. Some deny that the Nation of Israel are actually part of the 12 tribes of Israel and that God has abandoned Israel. How foolish can one group be?
"Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
Our God further proclaims that Israel will always be His people...they will always be before Him:
"Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name:
35 If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever." (Jeremiah 31:35-36)
If you look at any day with the sun shining, the moon giving her light at night, and the stars still twinkling in the heavens, then God says, when these pass away, then and only then will Israel be anything but His chosen people. Check it out folks, ...even in this time of their unbelief God will redeem Israel, not loosing one..It will not always be so that they will be in unbelief. Those who are an enemy of Israel, make themselves an enemy of God. God says that He will bring in Israel when they cry out aloud, through much Tribulation, just what Jesus spoke of:
37 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
38 Look, your house is left to you desolate.
39 For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.'"(Matthew 23:37-39)
When Israel is refined in the fire of Tribulation, they will finally recognize their Messiah that they had killed 2000 years ago and they will mourn:
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."(Zechariah 12:19)
When Christ comes to set up His Kingdom on earth, He will come to fight for the children of Israel:
"Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee.
2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken, and the houses rifled, and the women ravished; and half of the city shall go forth into captivity, and the residue of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then shall the LORD go forth, and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle. (Zechariah 14:1-3)
Repeating what Paul emphasized in Romans when speaking of his brethren, the nation of Israel....
"For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins." Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers. For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable."(Romans 11:25-29)
Our great God will show them mercy because of the promises He made, not because they deserve it. Ezekiel 36 shows this clearly. God repeats several times that He is bringing Israel back for His Holy name's sake, and not for Israel's sake.
Am I making a case for the support of national Israel? You bet I am!! No, Israel does not deserve this kind of mercy, but my reader, neither do you or I. We are saved by grace and God has been dealing with this Ekklesia (or called out ones) the Church for 2000 years,. The Age of Grace and the Church of the Living God is composed of all who believe, which is vastly a Gentile church saved by the mercy and the love of God. It's not a denomination, or church building, or some evangelist on your TV screen. No, it's a blood washed, baptized, turned around 180 degrees, repentant, and forgiven sinner that is the church. It is every individual that has the Holy Spirit as a deposit of a future glorification and salvation of their soul. No denomination has a lock on the gates of Heaven. It is free for the asking. God deals with each of us on His time schedule. Each of us were born to decide what to do with this God/Man, Jesus Christ. Israel will get their turn when God turns His undivided attention to the national salvation of Israel.
So, if your denomination, your church, or your pastor/priest makes a case in error for abandoning Israel as a people, and who spouts the nonsense that we are modern day Israel or somehow replaced Israel, you need to either straighten them out, or leave and find a church that actually believes the Word of God.
THE TRIBULATION HOUR LOOMS STRAIGHT AHEAD
When God turns that focus upon Israel for their salvation, then we are in the Tribulation for 7 years. And if you see what I'm talking about above come to pass, then you just missed the greatest event in all of history, next to the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ...you just missed the "translation", the snatching away, the "Harpazo" of the forceful removal of God's Church as the rapture and the mystery will be the removal of the Church in the twinkling of an eye.
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory." (1st Corinthians 15:51-54)
Don't let this hour catch you by surprise. If you are playing church, have no relationship with Jesus Christ, now is the time to make that decision you've been putting off...When Jesus comes to take His saints home, the Age of grace will have ended and the Tribulation will come like a whirlwind and many will be swept away in death and destruction. Don't make that mistake and think you can do that "tomorrow"....you're not promised tomorrow...God has been patient with Israel and will bring her into the Kingdom of God. If you be a gentile, then you have no such promise...Only a fearful prospect of a wrathful God.
22 "But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,
23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect,
24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25 See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven?
26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."
27 The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken-that is, created things-so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
29 for our "God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:22-29) (my emphasis)
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. " (2nd Peter 3:8)
" For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."(John 3:16-18)
Then confess with your mouth your accepting Jesus as personal Savior to everyone around when the opportunity presents itself:
8 "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."(Romans 10:8-13)
Don't be like Israel has been in their blindness. They won't always be blind, but if you miss the event of the coming of Jesus Christ, then heaven help you...you're gonna need it.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying for your salvation. If you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, then drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visit me online for more studies in Biblical lessons from God's Word at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com . God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Nearing Midnight: The Reprobate, the Rebellious and the Ruinous - Terry James -
News moving a headline at a time today is like an army of angry marchers intent upon tramping the most friendly society and culture to humanity ever to exist into oblivion. Beats anything I ever saw, to put it the way my old Daddy used to say.
I've chosen a few news items in my attempt to make the point. We are in the strangest of times, if we apply rationale to existential lunacy assaulting us not just daily, but hourly.
The first might seem innocuous enough. But it is a sort of pet peeve with me and I can't help but comment to waiters and waitresses every time they bring a Coke or glass of water to the table. I tell them, if you were in California you would be fined a thousand dollars...and possibly put in jail for a month or two.
They, of course, think they have a crazy old guy on their hands. But, they politely and patiently smile and ask with incredulity in their voices-as if they were genuinely interested in my nonsense. "Why?"
Then I explain that such is the penalty in California for those serving customers plastic straws with drinks, etc. Well, the Governor Moonbeam-type infection has spread and now includes our nation's capital as part of the serve-straws-at-your-own-peril insanity.
Here's a brief excerpt of the story"
Washington, D.C., will begin enforcing its ban on plastic straws on Jan. 1, which would penalize churches for offering free coffee if it comes with a stirrer.
The Department of Energy and Environment tweeted Thursday that Mayor Muriel Bowser has a "list of recyclables and compostables" banning plastic straws and stirrers. [MayorBowser's list of recyclables and compostables now requires the use of compostable and/or reusable straws and stirrers when selling food or beverages in the District. Enforcement begins January 1, 2019!...] ("DC Bans Churches From Handing Out Straws With Free Coffee," Washington Free Beacon, by Elizabeth Harrington, November 17, 2018)
Now, if you are a cantankerous old guy like me, you might wonder what is a church doing handing out coffee in church in the first place-but, that's probably just "back-number" thinking, as ol' Dr. Vernon McGee used to say.
The next news item also touches upon a matter that ruffles my feathers. I'm referring to the climate-change mantra that gets more invasive by the hour-that is, it has evolved from the global-warming push by the globalists elite. These are the one-worlders who want to rob the U.S. Treasury-a thing that has within its mostly empty vaults IOUs, not true wealth these days.
Man-made global warming has been proven a hoax, and now man-made climate change is well on its way to being proven the same, according to some experts.
Researchers who were attempting to prove evidence of climate change recently published a study claiming that ocean temperatures were increasing at a dramatic rate, much higher than previous estimates.
The study was blindly accepted by believers in the climate change/global warming theory.
But the researchers have had to retract their bold claims after a mathematician studied their findings and immediately debunked it, spotting errors that called the legitimacy of the entire study into question. ("Mathematician Exposes Global Warming Study Inflating Temp Rise By 600%," Rapture Ready News, by Neon Nettle, November 17, 2018)
The first news item referenced-about the plastic straws-is somewhat whimsical. But it gives hint of more serious things in society and culture. Concern over plastic straws that might affect the environment in deleterious ways should be analyzed in light of other concerns these same environmentalists hold.
I'm thinking particularly of their concern for what human beings are doing to the environment. The radical among them claim that people are polluting the planet. Humans are over-populating Mother Earth.
These, therefore, are among the strongest of supporters of women's right to choose in the matter of whether to abort their babies. The thinking is, among the more adamant, that the fewer people on the planet, the better. So there are legitimate reasons for babies to be thus gotten rid of...more than 60 million of whom have indeed been removed since Roe v Wade in 1973. The straw of plastic that would otherwise go into your Coke, you see, is intrinsically of like non-value to the unwanted child that will never see the light of day.
But, the environmentalist -whether radical or less so-will put the egg of the spotted owl or a field mouse and its habitat on a list of protected species. This is what the Apostle Paul called "reprobate thinking" (Romans chapter 1).
This is a generation of reprobate thinking. That mindset has led to problems wrapped up in the second word in the title of this commentary: rebellious.
A third news item shows, I think, an example of reprobate thinking spawning rebellion in our nation.
A report in the Christian Post contends that the number of witches (and Wiccans) has dramatically increased since the 1990s, to the degree that there may be at least 1.5 million witches in the United States, which is higher than the 1.4 million mainline Presbyterians.
"[The practice of witchcraft has grown significantly in recent decades; those who identify as witches has risen concurrently with the rise of the 'witch aesthetic,'"reported the Christian Post in October, citing data from Quartz, a Trinity College study, and the Pew Research Center.
Between 1990 and 2008, the number of Wiccans in the United States grew from 8,000 to 340,000, according to three religious surveys conducted by Trinity College in Connecticut. In addition, the Pew Research Center reported in 2014 that 0.4% of the population - 1 to 1.5 million Americans - "identify as Wicca or Pagan." ("Number of Witches in U.S. on the Rise, May Surpass 1.5 Million," CSN News, by Michael W. Chapman, November 18, 2018)
You might remember the bizarre story of a Los Angeles writer saying she had joined with thousands of witches to put a "hex" on Donald Trump. Diana Wagman said on May 23, 2017, that she and others intended to join forces " to cast a binding spell on President Donald Trump "under the waning crescent moon." She said, "It was not meant to physically hurt him, only to keep him from succeeding at his tasks.... I found an orange candle in a box of multicolored ones we use for our Hanukkah menorah. I printed the required tarot card off the Internet and propped it up. I cut an unflattering photo of POTUS out of the newspaper, and I burned it while chanting the words of the spell.... I plan to complete the ritual again."
Such might be humorous in some sense, but it is profoundly indicative of rebelliousness that has taken root in society and culture.
God proclaims such rebellion is ruinous to any people. His example people, the Jews, fell into such rebellion-and their rebelliousness led to a ruinous future that reached its most heinous manifestation with the Holocaust of Hitler's day. Moses reported the following in warning the Jewish people about such rebellion:
When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do. (Deuteronomy 18:9-14)
With the abortion infanticide since the implementation of Roe v Wade, we have, in effect, condoned the passing of children through the fires, just as the pagans did. It is abomination, the Lord says. We have reached the point of reprobate thinking that has spawned rebellion against God. He is a God that does not change. He is the same today as when He had Moses warn these things those millennia ago.
What Christian Leaders Teach About Blessing Israel - By Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler -
When Israel-loving Christians meet with Jews, Genesis 12:3 is frequently mentioned. To gain a deeper understanding of that verse, and of the necessity for Christians to bless Israel, Breaking Israel News interviewed four prominent Christian leaders whose ministries focus on Israel.
In their own way, each of the four leaders we spoke with connected Christian responsibility to bless Israel with the redemptive process at the End of Days.
For more than 25 years, Dean Bye of Return Ministries has been involved in "education and facilitating projects related to the 'return and restoration of Israel' for the international Church community."
His work inspires him to challenge other Christians to follow in his footsteps. As he explained to Breaking Israel News, "It is vital that a Christian understand and cooperate with the covenants made with Israel, which are foundational to the redemptive plans of God for the whole earth."
Bye wants Christians to know that they stand to benefit personally from blessing Israel. He elaborated. "When a Christian, motivated from a love of God, incorporates a lifestyle that blesses Israel, as instructed in Genesis 12:3, they can believe [in] the greater blessings of God in their own life, family, church and nation.
"As I trust and believe in the power of the law of gravity, so do I trust and believe in God's covenant made with Abraham that determines blessing or curses for family, church and even a nation."
Beyond the benefits to an individual Christian, Bye asserted that "Historically, it has been seen ever so clearly. So goes the way of a nation determined by how that nation has dealt with God's people and land."
Christine Darg, co-founder of www.JerusalemChannel.tv traces her lifelong commitment to blessing Israel to her childhood.
"All my life, I have loved the Jewish people and felt an affinity with them. My wonderful parents taught me the Bible and to revere the Jewish people. Later, when God called me to the television ministry, I had an unforgettable epic dream in which I saw the United Nations angry at Israel, but also I saw the Shechinah glory of God on Mt. Zion, and I heard a voice say to me that I must stand with Israel when all the nations of the world turn against Israel.
"I have always had a great desire to support Israel because I know that the Bible teaches that eventually, Israel will become the head and not the tail. Meanwhile, we're in a spiritual battle. One of my favorite prayers to God is from Psalms.
Be mindful of me, Hashem, when You favor Your people; take note of me when You deliver them, Psalms 106:4
Darg pointed out to Breaking Israel News that she has already been blessed by her personal love for Israel. "God has given me a supernatural love for the land and all its peoples.
I bless Israel not only because it is the right thing to do, but simply because Israel and the Jewish people are a top priority in my life. We all know that Genesis 12:3 promises that we will be blessed for blessing Israel, and my continually blessed life is a testimony to the validity of that Bible promise. My children have also been singularly blessed.
"Christianity would have no genesis without the Jewish people and the Bible. I owe Israel gratitude and service. I'm always watching on the walls of Jerusalem and guarding God's holy purposes in prayer!
"Increasingly atheists, anarchists and the media rebel against a holy God; they accuse the God of the Bible and the Jewish people of being cruel and unfair. As Bible believers and ambassadors of truth, evangelical Christians must continually correct slanders against God and the Jewish people."
Ah, Those who call evil good And good evil; Who present darkness as light And light as darkness; Who present bitter as sweet And sweet as bitter! Isaiah 5:20
Darg concluded her comments by connecting Christian support for Israel with the End of Days. "It is incumbent upon all believers to stand with God's people. It always shocks me to hear a so-called Christian minister preaching Replacement Theology and speaking anti-Zionist sentiments. Such misguided souls are really missing out big time on the euphoria of End Time prophetic events."
Merla Watson, along with her husband Merv, co-founded the International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, as well as the Feast of Tabernacles celebration for thousands of Christians who come to Israel for Sukkot. The Watsons have been living in Israel for 40 years.
She implores Christians to take the obligation to bless Israel seriously, in part to make up for millennia of Christian antisemitism. "First of all, you need to know that if you are not serious in your support of Israel, if it's just sentimental, don't waste your time! It requires your utmost perseverance and love at all times! How are we to reach out to this precious suffering people when we represent Christians over the centuries who caused such needless bloodshed of the Jewish people?"
Watson traces her love for the Jewish people to a childhood memory of witnessing the Holocaust from a photo in her father's newspaper. Her father responded to her curiosity by saying, "This is what the world is doing to God's chosen people, and the world will pay for it!"
Watson said, "At that precise moment, a seed was planted in my heart."
In 1970, Watson visited Israel for the first time. As the plane touched down, her life was changed. "I was not prepared for my reaction. I am definitely not a crier, but when that plane landed at the Tel Aviv airport, I was sobbing uncontrollably. My husband asked, "What's the matter with you?' I blurted out, 'I only know I'm coming home!' And from that day to this, my top concern in life has been to bless and encourage this extremely gifted people."
The Watsons live just outside of Jerusalem and they raised their children here. She believes that their presence in the Land, with all of its challenges, is her family's unique way of blessing Israel.
"Although it's been tough economically to live here and to be allowed to do so, not being Jewish ourselves, we would not want to live anywhere else! We have had many personal trials and challenges in the 40 years we have been here, but we recognize the fact that if we are to have anything whatsoever to offer these dear people, we ourselves must also experience tragedy and sorrow."
Watson concluded by summarizing the reward of her family's life in Israel, and the price she is willing to pay for the blessing. "It is entirely possible that one day we may even have to offer our very life's blood for the existence of the Jewish people! We are here now on the front lines of prophetic fulfillment. What could be more exciting than that?"
Tommy Waller, President and Founder of HaYovel, an organization that brings Christians to Israel to support Jewish farmers, takes a wide angle view of the verse from Genesis. "it's the first verse that really brings the idea that this is not just about Israel, it's not just about the Jewish people. It's about the whole world.
"The key for me in understanding the blessing is looking on to the curse. it seems to me that when we're looking at Israel and wanting to bless Israel, first of all we can't take what God has given and established lightly. This promise is not something that the world can take lightly. It's going to have ramifications. There is going to be serious consequence for not blessing, not standing [with Israel].
"Not to care about Israel is to curse it," Waller asserted.
"As I think about that verse, I think about our responsibility. What is it?
How welcome on the mountain Are the footsteps of the herald Announcing happiness, Heralding good fortune, Announcing victory, Telling Tzion, "Your God is King!" Isaiah 52:7
"Isaiah 52 says how beautiful are the feet of the nations who come and speak this good news. What is this good news? Christians would think good news is something else. But the good news according to this definition here is to say to Zion that your God reigns - to recognize the God of Israel, the God of Zion.
Waller focused his comments on the End of Days, when God will reward those from the nations who stood with Israel and blessed her.
"The prophet continues and says something very beautiful that, as a result of this agreement with Israel, we're all going to start singing together."
Hark! Your watchmen raise their voices, As one they shout for joy; For every eye shall behold Hashem's return to Tzion. Isaiah 52:8
"It seems to me it's all going to culminate, as in Isaiah 56, when it talks about the nations coming together."
Happy is the man who does this, The man who holds fast to it: Who keeps the Shabbat and does not profane it, And stays his hand from doing any evil. Isaiah 56:2
"Keeping Shabbat even together, all the nations. Isaiah 56 says it's going to happen. We're going to keep Shabbat with the Nation of Israel. We're actually going to worship in the Holy Temple together. Isaiah emphatically says [so]."
I will bring them to My sacred mount And let them rejoice in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices Shall be welcome on My mizbayach; For My House shall be called A house of prayer for all peoples." Isaiah 56:7
"I'm excited about that. And there are a lot of Christians waking up to that reality of joining the Jewish people. Thank God, the Jewish people held on to the promise so that all the families of the earth could be blessed and so all of us can worship together and sing together, amazingly."
He ended his comments to Breaking Israel News with a prayerful vision, "I look forward to that day when we're all singing together and worshiping God in Jerusalem. I know that gives me great hope and great excitement. I'm so looking forward to the families of the earth who have been so destroyed by the onslaught of this anti-Israel rhetoric and all the things that God wants to establish on the earth, may it be established in our day."
Daily Jot: Choosing life or death - Bill Wilson -
The Lord says in Deuteronomy 30:19, "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." Choice is important. It is often a matter of life or death, especially for the unborn, who have suffered some 60 million deaths in America alone since 1973, by mothers choosing to abort their babies. During the past decade, however, prospective mothers may be making better life-death choices. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the total number of reported abortions decreased 24% over the period of 2006-2015, and abortions among women aged 15-19 decreased 41% during the same period.
These statistics could be indicating that more women are choosing life or they could be demonstrating an increased use of widely available birth control. That there is one death of a preborn due to abortion is far too many, but that abortions are declining in America is at least a positive sign. Perhaps more women are choosing to do what Congress and the Supreme Court have been unwilling to do since the high court's 1973 decision to legalize abortion. Regrettably, We the People should have immediately said "NO." No to the communists. No to the feminist movement. No to Planned Parenthood. No to the courts. No to the politicians. The right to life is embedded in the Declaration of Independence, guaranteeing the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
So many so-called "Christian" politicians answer the abortion question by saying that it's not for them or their families, but it's good for women because, after all, it's their bodies. The Bible says "Thou shalt not murder." In Jeremiah 1:5, the Lord says, "Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee." The Bible says to choose life. Yet politicians and judges excuse their willful act to ignore what they say they believe. This is the height of hypocrisy to so nonchalantly dismiss life. The immediate past "president" celebrated legalized abortion to great applause in January 2012 by saying: "As we remember this historic anniversary, we must also continue our efforts to ensure that our daughters have the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams."
How could anyone think that a right to choose death should be celebrated? Near the ruins of Solomon's stables overlooking the Jezreel Valley, there is a round platform where pagans sacrificed their children. It is a ghastly, spiritually troubled place. Politicians and judges would view this pagan ritual as barbaric, but they rush to defend the racially-motivated Planned Parenthood death centers. The Bible says in Jeremiah 2:34, "Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these." Whether the decline in the national abortion rate is the result of choosing life or from some other reason, it is a positive step. Still, nearly a million abortions a year is a great tragedy and a national sin.
Daily Devotion: Winning by Surrendering - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Jacob named the place Peniel (which means "face of God"), for he said, "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared." The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel, and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. -Genesis 32:30-31
The Bible tells the story of a man who had been sick for 38 years. He hung out by a body of water called the Pool of Bethesda, where there were many disabled people. Tradition said that periodically an angel would appear and stir up the waters, and the first person into the water would be healed.
One day Jesus showed up and asked this man an unusual question: "Do you want to be made well?" Now what kind of question is that to ask someone who's been waiting years by a body of water that's occasionally stirred by an angel?
It's a very good question actually. Not everyone wants to change. You can go to an alcoholic and say, "Do you want to be free from alcohol?" Do you think everyone will say yes? No, not everyone will.
You can go to a person on drugs and say, "Do you really want to be free from drugs?" Or you can go to someone else and say, "Do you really want to be free from pornography?" Not everyone wants to change. Some people are comfortable right where they are, and they want to stay exactly where they are.
There has to come a moment in every believer's life when he or she surrenders to God. It isn't always easy, of course. Often God's plans are plans that we love and agree with, but then sometimes God's plans are different than ours. It is then that we have to say, as Jesus said in the Garden of Gethsemane, "Not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:42 NKJV).
That's what was happening in the life of Jacob when he wrestled with God. He went from resisting to resting and from cunning to clinging.
When we surrender to God, we ultimately win.
FROM THE HEART
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