Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Revelation Revealed: Part 2 - by Pastor Mike Taylor - http://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2017/12/revelation-revealed-part-2.html
"After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne." (Revelation 4:1-2)
In part one of our series on the most misunderstood book of your Bible we dealt with the seven churches that are also seven dispensations of the church age. Many people won't even open the book of Revelation, as it just confuses people to the point that they won't even read its words or ask God to give them discernment on what our Lord and Savior is trying to convey to us. The book is about revealing, not concealing what is about to come upon the earth. This book of future events will impact every person on this planet and is designed to give us warning, to give us hope, and a way of redemption through Jesus Christ, our Lord. As we study these chapters in coming parts, I pray the Holy Spirit will open your hearts and eyes to the understanding what the Glorified Son of God had John the Apostle write down for our time, the end of the age.
As a quick review what was presented in part 1 of this series, we looked at the seven churches in Asia Minor that were present in John's day, and noted that they are also seven different time periods of the progression of the church of Jesus Christ down through the annals of time for the last 2000 years. Noting the warnings given to each church age, we came to the last two churches that I believe have overlapped one another, the church of Philadelphia and the Church of Laodecia. Each church had a warning mixed with some praises, but the Church of Philadelphia was different than all the rest, and was totally opposite to the church of Laodecia, which both are present today as tares among the wheat growing together, till the time of the harvest where the tares will be gathered to be burned, but the wheat is gathered into the Kingdom of God.
But let us note what the first verse of this passage speaks of. "behold, a door was opened in heaven"...now where did we hear about a door being opened, as I hinted to that in the part 1 of this journey we are taking? Remember what our Lord said to the church at Philadelphia at near the end of chapter 3?
7 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;
8 I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." (Revelation 3:7-8)
The Lord Jesus has the key of government and authority in and over the church. He opens a door of opportunity to his churches; he opens a door of utterance to his ministers; he opens a door of entrance, and opens the heart. He shuts the door of heaven against the foolish, who sleep away their day of grace; and against the workers of iniquity, how vain and confident soever they may be. But here a door is opened to the church at Philadelphia and I see a connection between this door mentioned to only the Philadelphia church at the end of chapter three and of the age having a door opened unto them which we see in the beginning of the next chapter quoted in the opening verses.
The apostle John is whisked away in the spirit, much like Paul was taken to the third heaven and God showed him mysteries that had not been revealed in the preceding centuries of Biblical prophecy. (2nd Corinthians 12:2) Here John has just been writing about the last two churches on earth, which as we discovered, the Church of Philadelphia will be those who are taken up, snatched away by force, which is the meaning of "harpazo" that Paul spoke of in his epistles to the Corinthians (1st Corinthians 15:52) and the Thessalonians (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17). As our Lord has the key to unlock the door to those who belong to Him, and the key of government for the coming ages, John enters the very throne room of God, and the description of what he saw makes this old minister reel with awe in my mind of what it must have looked like. This is similar to what the prophet Daniel saw when he saw the Lord of Glory.
3 "And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
5 And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.
6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind." (Revelation 4:3-6)
Note the symbolism of "He who sat" on the throne? The stones it speaks of are the jasper and sardine which in color are a fiery red, which speaks of what Paul said about our God.
28 "Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire." (Hebrews 12:28-29)
Although God the Father is a Spirit, many places in the Bible describes His power as a burning fire. The Prophet Daniel which meshes with what John saw, describes our God also as a consuming fire.
9 "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.
10 A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." (Daniel 9:9-10)
A most powerful description of the Creator of the Universe, who has a rainbow and the color of emerald surrounding His throne. The latter half of this verse shows us these surrounded by the emerald-colored bow, the evident symbol of the divine mercy. The allusion to the bow in the cloud given to Noah after the flood (Genesis 9:12-16) is obvious; the bow completely encircled the throne, as mercy encompassing judgment.
But notice verse 4 of this chapter?
4 "And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold." (Revelation 4:4)
I covered this in my first sermon in this chapter, in the "Book of the Apocalypse", but it must be covered here to make a point of who these elders are. The description of these elders give them away. Recall that the Church of Philadelphia was spoken of in terms of God's government, and that Jesus has the Keys of David, His earthly ancestor? As John enters the throne room of God, those who surround the throne of our ABBA Father, are signs of rulers, elders which is another word for those who have been given authority. They number 24 which is multiple of the number 12 (12x2) with 12 being in biblical numerology the sign of government. Note their description as being seated on thrones round about God's Throne, so being seated they are at rest. They have finished their work. They have crowns on their heads which is spoken of in other pages of your bible.
12" Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1:12)
8" Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."(2nd Timothy 4:8)
They are clothed with white raiment, which in the pages of this book, is a sign of the saints. When speaking of the church, she is also clothed in white raiment but goes even further to describe the clothes she wears.
"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.:(Revelation 19:8)
So the description fits the details of the Church of the Living God who has been taken through the open door, and now sits on thrones, clothed with white raiment, with crowns of righteousness on their heads. No angel has ever had the honor of sitting with God on thrones and given the description that these elders are given. No angel has ever been called an elder, but minister of fire that serve the heirs of salvation...that would be us, the Church of God glorified and entirely human but now an everlasting spirit of flesh and bone, just as Jesus was described when He came to His apostles. John sees the government of God in His throne room.
Further, the descriptions of the beast that surround the throne are analogous what what the prophet Daniel saw with their six wings, but here describes them with faces of an eagle, an ox or calf, a lion, and a man. These are the same faces that were the symbols used for the Hebrew children in the wilderness when they camped with 3 tribes each to the north, the south, the east, and the west of the Temple or Tabernacle of God in the wilderness. A picture on earth, what was seen in heaven in eternity. Twelve tribes, twelve apostles, the Old testament and the New Testament represented here and another sign of the church glorified.
The Throne room is all about giving God glory and praise for what He has done for us. Whenever the beast cry aloud:
"Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever,
10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Revelation 4:8b-11)
We and all those who surround the throne of God give Him glory, honor and praise, for He is worthy of all adoration. Such is the scene that John saw in chapter four, that sets up the coming of the Messiah into the presence of God the Father.
CHAPTER 5: JESUS TAKES THE TITLE DEED TO CREATION
"And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?
3 And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.
4 And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon" Revelation 5:1-4)
The apostle saw in the hand of Him that sat upon the throne, a roll of parchments in the form usual in those times, and sealed with seven seals. This represented the secret purposes of God about to be revealed. The designs and methods of Divine Providence, toward the elect and the rebellious world, are stated, fixed, and made a matter of record. The counsels of God are altogether hidden from the eye and understanding of the creature. The several parts are not unsealed and opened at once, but after each other, till the whole mystery of God's counsel and conduct is finished in the world.
John weeps as he knows that this is the future of the world and the will of God for all mankind, to redeem those out of the earth, and to reclaim creation lost in the Garden of Eden because of sin that entered in due to the act of one man and one woman. But he is comforted when an elder standing close by, which is part of the church of God proclaims who is worthy to unloose and open the scroll.
5 "And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth" (Revelation 5:5-6)
He appears as a Lamb, having seven horns and seven eyes; perfect power to execute all the will of God, and perfect wisdom to understand it, and to do it in the most effectual manner, as the number seven is the number of perfection. The Father puts the book of his eternal counsels into the hand of Christ, and Christ readily and gladly took it into His hand; for He delights to make known the will of his Father; and the Holy Spirit is given by Him to reveal the truth and will of God.
8 "And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (Tribulation saints, my emphasis)
9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth." (Revelation 5:8-10)
Notice what the elders say in this last verse? God Almighty has made us Kings and Priest, and WE shall reign on the earth. This is a promise to the Kings and Priest that Jesus will set up as rulers with Him in the future Millennial reign of Christ for a 1000 years.
"Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." (Revelation 20:6)
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the will of God the Father to redeem the earth, and those who will believe on His Name through the coming Tribulation, starting in the next chapter 6, the whole throne room of God falls down prostrate and worships Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
11 "And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands;
12 Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.
13 And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.
14 And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever" (Revelation 5:11-14)
Note that as we progress through these verses and chapters, that Revelation is a chronological book, that is until chapter 12, which we will discuss later, but each chapter speaks of what the will of God and His judgment, His wrath against those who reject the only payment for their sinful nature, that being the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord. So ends the two chapters that speak of the glory of God surrounded by His glorified church and all angels and beast that worship God and show that God has taken for Himself a remnant of mankind, those who have accepted Jesus Christ as the only payment for their sins. They have overcome, and they wait with bated breath for the coming "WRATH OF GOD", which is the culmination of the rule of mankind on this earth.
But a side note: It is hypothesized, as we don't exactly know, but a theory that the time between chp 4:1 and chapter 6:1 is called the "Gap Period" by some, who believe, as I do, that there is a period of time, maybe a week, maybe a month, but maybe a few years that will lapse on earth before judgment falls upon the earth. It would give time for wars to result and a covenant to be signed by the man of lawlessness and the earth being in chaos and the world looking for anyone, be he "god or demon" to set things back in order. Most earth dwellers just want to continue in their life of sin and unrighteousness. Mankind has been thoroughly rattled by the disappearance of millions of people, and they don't know how to explain it.
CHAPTER SIX: THE WRATH OF GOD BEGINS
"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
2 And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer." (Revelation 6:1-2)
Jesus has just opened the first seal of the scroll of the title deed to His creation, and has loosed and revealed the coming Anti-Christ. Which lines up perfectly with what Paul told us in 2nd Thessalonians:
6 "And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2nd Thessalonians 2:6-10)
As Paul told us in this epistle, and here John has told us the same thing, that until the Holy Spirit is pulled back, or withdrawn to Pre-Pentecostal times, the Anti-Christ will NOT be revealed. But since now the church is in the throne room of God, the seals are broken, and the Anti-Christ comes upon the scene. But make no mistake, this man of lawlessness will not come until God allows Him to in His perfect plan. The coming seals are God's Will and He will use each of these actors known as the Anti-Christ and the four horse of the Apocalypse to fulfill His will.
Some make the erroneous assumption that this is the wrath of Satan, but note even in the book of Job, and elsewhere, that Satan could do NOTHING, unless the Lord God willed it. Satan has a "divine bridle" upon him and he is bound by the will of God. Here God will use mortal men who are deceived by Satan to bring judgment upon this earth. It reminds me of when God used Assyria and then Babylon to bring judgment and His wrath upon a rebellious House of Israel for her idolatry, first to the northern kingdom of Israel, then later to the southern kingdom of Judah and sent them into exile and scattered the north kingdom to the wind.....God uses men to do His will and has happened many, many times in the pages of your Bible and is supported by historical and archaeological evidence to prove the Bible to be 100% prophetically correct.
As we progress through this chapter, each seal reveals another portion of the four horse of the apocalypse that lead to war (possibly nuclear war), then to famine, disease and death, which is the result of world wide war that destroys food supplies and crops leading to hunger, famine and ultimate death.
3 "And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4 And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
5 And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.
7 And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." (Revelation 6:3-8) (fourth part of 7 billion people, my explanation)
Notice in verse 6 the curious command to not hurt the oil and the wine? This comes from the midst of the four beast, so it is God the Father who is giving the command. What does it mean? In famine, those who are on the lower end of the scale of society are the first to suffer and it will take a whole days wages just to buy food for one day, wheat being more nutritious that barley, which you'll need three times that of barley than you do wheat, just to stay alive. The oil and the wine denotes those that are the upper crust of society who never endures hardship as they have riches to buy whatever they want. Kinda like "Kim Jong- Un" in North Korea is a fatty dictator while his people starve..so it will be in the Tribulation. In the ensuing verses beyond this chapter, we read about untold carnage that is just warming up. But note those who are described in verses 9-11.
9 "And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?
11 And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled." (Revelation 6:8-11)
These are the saints who have been slain down through the ages in Old Testament and New Testament times and have died believing in the coming of our Lord. This seal pertains to martyrs - to a time of prosperity and triumph; to discord and bloodshed; to oppressive taxation; to war, famine, and pestilence. In the series of woes, it was natural and proper that there should be a vision of martyrs, if it was intended that the successive seals should refer to coming and important periods of the world; and accordingly we have here a striking representation of the martyrs crying to God to interpose in their behalf and to avenge their blood. It is a representation of all those who have died for the cause of Christ...past, present and future even into our time, and those who die in the Tribulation. It is more of a symbol of those who have overcome and will be rewarded.
But near the end of this chapter, God has used the likes of mankind in the first 5 seals to do His will. Every man and woman on earth realizes who is doing these judgments upon the earth, and they cry to the mountains the rocks, because they know this is just the beginning.
12 "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13 And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14 And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15 And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16 And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
17 For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" (Revelation 6:12-17)
Up to this point, God has been causing destruction, war, famine, pestilence with its results of starvation and death to ravage mankind, but here, the environment is starting to grow toxic and earthquakes and celestial calamities that can only be the Divine Wrath of Almighty God and men realize it and ask for the mountains and rocks to fall upon them. Our God will now use the creation of earth, wind and fire to destroy mankind and it will be numbered in the billions in a very short time...Isaiah told of what this will be like and that the saints of God, the Church will be hidden away till God's wrath is finished.
19 "Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.
20 Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
21 For, behold, the Lord cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain." (Isaiah 26:19-21)
Isaiah speaks of a time, when God's people will be resurrected and changed to be hidden in their chambers and will shut their door behind them, till God's Wrath is expended and the blood will stain His vesture that we will see when He comes with His saints with a "vesture dipped in blood"...the blood of those He has slain in the wine-press of His wrath and righteous fury. As a friend asked me once before...where are these "chambers"?
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
4 And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know." (John 14:1-4)
Jesus will come to take us to His Father's house, and as Isaiah said, we will enter those chambers till His wrath is finished. Jesus is coming for us, we are going to Him, not Him being received by us on earth, but to where He is, and where the Father God is...somewhere OUT THERE, in the third heaven.
Next time, we will explore the next chapters that ravage this planet in an ever increasing crescendo of events that happen in a few short years. Will you be with the Church in God's Throne room, or will you be enduring the calamity and horror that befalls all who must endure the Tribulation? See you next time.
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:16-18)
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you seek the Lord while He may be found this side of the rapture of the church...if you need counseling, prayer, or just a listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , God bless you all,
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET...............SOON!!
Trump tells Abbas, Jordan king of 'intention' to move embassy to Jerusalem - Dov Lieber -
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday spoke to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II over the phone, informing them separately of his "intention" to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Trump "informed the president (Abbas) on his intention to move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem," a statement from the Palestinian presidency said.
The Royal Hashemite court released a statement with similar language.
It was not clear from either statement if Trump planned to move the embassy immediately or at some point in the future, with no further details provided.
Abbas told the US leader the "firm" Palestinian position is "there is no Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital," the readout said.
The PA president also warned Trump that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be dangerous for the peace process, as well as to peace and security across the region and the world.
The PA president's spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh said Abbas would continue to be in touch with world leaders to prevent what he called the "unacceptable action."
The Jordanian king warned Trump of the "danger" the measure will have if taken outside the framework of a comprehensive solution for a Palestinian state. He also cautioned it will have "dangerous repercussions" for peace and stability throughout the region and the world, according to the kingdom's readout of the call.
The White House said Trump was also scheduled to speak with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Trump's call to Abbas and Abdullah came with Palestinian and Arab leaders warning that US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital would ruin Trump's efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Abbas has been speaking with world leaders over the past several days as part of diplomatic efforts to persuade Trump not to make the move.
Trump on Monday delayed a decision on whether to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the US embassy there.
The White House said Trump would miss a deadline to decide on shifting the embassy from Tel Aviv, after a frantic 48 hours of public warnings from allies and private phone calls between world leaders.
There have been suggestions he will stop short of moving the embassy for now but recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital - a move that would upturn years of precedent and run contrary to international consensus.
Nabil Shaath, an adviser to Abbas, told journalists on Tuesday that a decision by Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital "totally destroys any chance that he will play a role as an honest broker."
Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six Day War. It later extended sovereignty over East Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community. Israel claims the entire city as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The city's status is among the most difficult issues in the conflict. US traditional policy has been that its status must be negotiated between the two parties.
Column One: A credible peace plan, at last - By Caroline B. Glick - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Column-One-A-credible-peace-plan-at-last-516997
Monday, The New York Times published the Palestinian response to an alleged Saudi peace plan. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly presented it to PLO chief and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas last month.
According to the Times' report, Mohammed told Abbas he has two months to either accept the Saudi proposal or leave office to make way for a new Palestinian leader who will accept it.
The Palestinians and their European supporters are up in arms about the content of Mohammed's plan. It reportedly proposes the establishment of limited Palestinian sovereignty over small portions of Judea and Samaria. The Gaza Strip, over which the Palestinians have had full sovereignty since Israel pulled its military forces and civilians out in 2005, would be expanded into the northern Sinai, thus providing economic and territorial viability to the envisioned Palestinian state. While the Palestinians would not receive sovereignty over Jerusalem, they would be able to establish their capital in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis.
There are several aspects of the alleged Saudi peace plan that are notable. First, the Palestinians and their many allies insist that it is a nonstarter. No Palestinian leader could ever accept the offer and survive in power, they told the Times. The same Palestinian leaders from Hamas and Fatah, and their allies, also noted that the Saudi plan as reported strongly resembles past Israeli proposals.
Another aspect of the report that is notable is that the Saudis did not acknowledge that Mohammed presented the plan to Abbas.
Unlike the situation in 2002 when Times columnist Thomas Friedman presented what he claimed was then Saudi king Abdullah's peace plan, the Saudi regime has not admitted that the characterization of their peace plan by the Times reflects their thinking.
It makes sense that the Palestinians and their Lebanese and European allies are upset at the alleged contents of the new Saudi plan. It is also reasonable that the Saudis are not willing today to publicly present the plan laid out in the Times.
The fact is that the alleged Saudi peace plan represents a radical break with the all the peace plans presented by the Arabs, the Europeans and the US for the past 40 years.
Unlike all of the previous plans, the contours of the plan reported by the Times guarantee that Israel will remain a strong, viable state in an era of peace with the Palestinians. All the previous plans required Israel to accept indefensible borders that would have invited aggression both from the Palestinians and from its Arab neighbors east of the Jordan River.
The purported Saudi plan is the first peace plan that foresees two viable states living in peace. All the other plans were based on transforming Israel into a non-viable state with a non-viable Palestinian state in its heartland.
While the Times report cites Western sources claiming that Egypt has rejected the prospect of merging Gaza with the northern Sinai under Palestinian sovereignty, there is no reason to assume that the option is dead. To the contrary, in the aftermath of last week's massacre of 305 Muslim worshipers in a mosque in the northern Sinai, it is arguably more relevant now than at any previous time.
The mosque massacre makes clear that the Egyptian regime is incapable of defeating the Islamic State (ISIS) insurgency in Sinai on its own. Egypt's incapacity is as much a function of economic priorities as military capabilities. With Egypt constantly on the brink of economic collapse and in need of constant support from the World Bank, the US and the Gulf States, it is hard to make the argument for preferring economic investment in Sinai to economic investment west of the Suez Canal. And in the absence of significant economic support for developing the Sinai, it is hard to see an end to the ISIS insurgency.
If the Europeans, Americans and Arab League member states chose to develop the northern Sinai for a Palestinian state with half the enthusiasm they have devoted to building a non-viable Palestinian state in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria that would render Israel indefensible and enfeebled, the Palestinians would have a viable, developed state in short order.
And the Egyptians in turn would have the international support they need both economically and militarily to defeat ISIS completely and to rebuild their national economy. Indeed, as advocates of the plan note, by yielding control over the northern Sinai to the Palestinians, and so enabling a viable Palestinian state to form, Egypt would become again the indisputable leader of the Arab world. With the good will of the Europeans and Americans, Sisi would secure Egypt's position indefinitely.
This then brings us to the third notable aspect of the purported Saudi plan. The backlash against the plan, like the backlash against Mohammed, has been furious. Abbas has reportedly been calling every international leader he can think of to oppose the deal. The Europeans reportedly also oppose it. French President Emmanuel Macron's adviser reportedly contacted the Americans to make clear that the French are not on board with the proposal.
And whereas the opposition to Mohammed's purported proposal has been largely behind the scenes, since Mohammed did not make it public, the Palestinians and their international supporters have been grabbing every available microphone to condemn US President Donald Trump's reported plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and perhaps begin taking concrete steps to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.
With or without a public announcement of his alleged peace plan, Mohammed has become a hated figure in wide circles of the foreign policy establishment in the West due to his trenchant opposition to Iran's rise as a hegemonic power in the region. The Times portrayed him as a serial bungler in its article about his alleged peace plan.
As Lee Smith revealed in a recent article in Tablet magazine, the voices leading the charge against Mohammed are the same ones that developed the media echo chamber in pursuit of then president Barack Obama's nuclear deal with Iran.
As Smith explained, the onslaught against Mohammed is "an information campaign designed to protect the pro-Iran policies of the Obama administration."
As these operatives see it, Smith argues, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is the foundation of Obama's foreign policy legacy in the Middle East. "If Trump pulls the plug, then Obama's 'legacy' in the Middle East collapses."
Trump's visits to Israel and Saudi Arabia in May made clear that renewing US alliances with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and using them as a means to scale back Iranian power in the region, is in fact the central plank of his Middle East policy. Trump's subsequent moves in support of Mohammed and Israel have reinforced this conclusion.
And so the backlash against Mohammed by the likes of former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and Robert Malley, Obama's former adviser for the Middle East on his national security council makes sense. If they can discredit him, and pretend that an Iranian-controlled Lebanon and Syria are better than the alternatives, then they can force Trump to maintain faith with Obama's policies.
It's a hard sell though. Mohammed's peace plan is the first peace plan that has ever offered the Palestinians a chance at a real state. It's the first plan that ever envisioned a situation where the Palestinians have a state that doesn't imperil Israel. People who actually care about the Palestinians and Israel should welcome and support his position.
People who oppose it have to explain why they insist on remaining faithful to a peace paradigm that has brought only war and instability. Why do they prefer to retain Abbas's authoritarian regime over a non-sovereign kleptocracy in Judea and Samaria with a Hamas terrorist state in Gaza to an alternative without either? Why doesn't Abbas support it if his chief aspiration is the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and actually wants peace with Israel?
The New York Times article may or may not be an accurate portrayal of a real plan presented by the actual crown prince of Saudi Arabia. But if it isn't his plan, it should be. Or it should be Trump's plan.
Because it is the first peace plan anyone has ever put forward that makes sense. Not only does it secure the future of both Israel and the Palestinians, it enables Arab states like Saudi Arabia to work openly with Israel to defeat their joint Iranian enemy, while ensuring that Israel can survive and remain a credible ally to its Arab neighbors for decades to come.
Nearing Midnight: North Korea is quickly becoming an Unstoppable Nuclear Threat - Todd Strandberg -
Last week, North Korea made another successful test of its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). Pyongyang says the missile reached an altitude of 4,475km (2,780 miles) and flew 950km in 53 minutes, which matched independent estimates made by South Korea's military. The missile was so far above the surface of the earth, it reached more than 10 times the height of the International Space Station.
The latest test was the highest and longest any North Korean missile had flown, landing in the sea near Japan. What is most troubling about the potential trajectory of this new Hwasong-15 missile is that it puts the entire U.S. mainland within range of leader Kim Jong Un's nuclear program.
The test, which defied international sanctions imposed over the North's weapons program, drew swift international condemnation. The UN Security Council had yet another emergency session. South Korea responded by carrying out live-fire exercises, launching one of its own ballistic missiles.
Sanctions and exercises have had no effect on North Korea's nuclear work. Kim Jong Un has been on site for nearly every launch. He is like a demented child playing with his favorite toy.
Experts believe North Korea is still two to three years away from the ultimate goal of being able to deliver a nuclear warhead successfully using an ICBM. However, North Korea's military is making incredible strides in overcoming all remaining technological barriers that would prevent it from producing an ICBM that could deliver an atomic bomb to our shores.
David Albright of the Institute For Science and International Security recently told Congress that North Korea's nuclear weapon inventory consists of 25 weapons each with a yield equal to 20,000 tons of TNT, and that North Korea will be able to build four additional weapons per year. Now that North Korea has demonstrated ability to construct thermonuclear weapons, Albright assumes that all new weapons will have a yield equal to 250,000 tons of TNT.
If the assumption is made that North Korea can deliver its nukes, the outbreak of war would cause 1.4 million Japanese-South Korean-U.S. deaths. The number of deaths resulting from war would increase by 1.1 million per year now that North Korea has thermonuclear capability.
The fecklessness of the Obama administration's policy towards North Korea has left America facing a horrendous dilemma. What we know now could have caused better leadership to bomb North Korea back into the Stone Age. If we could look into the future and see the results of this arms race, there might now only be one nation on the Korean peninsula. The upper portion would need 100 years before it could be repopulated.
North Korea has such a massive military that it doesn't need to use its nuclear force to cause a massive loss of life in the south. They have thousands of conventional missiles aimed at Seoul, the capital of South Korea. In just a few hours of bombardment, a million South Koreans could be dead.
We could bomb anything that looks like a military base. The massive nuclear fallout would have China and Russia threaten nuclear war with us. Since the North Koreans have taken the extraordinary step to hide its military weapons, there is need for us to penetrate every major bunker.
The only real option that President Trump has: find Kim Jong Un's current location and take him out with a precision strike. He is not hard to pick out of a crowd. Once he's dead, the cult of Kim Jong Un could cause the nation to collapse. There is always the chance that Fat Boy has in his will, "Nuke America if something happens to me." In most cases of warfare, once you cut off the head of the military, the rest of the body dies.
I still think God is holding things back because now is the time of "peace and safety" (1 Thessalonians 5:3). I would support Trump making a bold move, but I think the odds are greater for all talk and no action. As we reach the Tribulation hour, situations like North Korea will likely continue to get worse and worse. Once the rapture takes place, evil men will be unrestrained like never before.
"But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13).
Daily Jot: Sea of change in immigration policy - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
There is a verse in the Jeremiah 51 that says, "Surely I will fill thee with men, as with locusts, and they shall lift up a battle cry against you." This is about Babylon falling to invaders as judgment for how Babylon treated God's people. Today, the United States faces a similar situation as did Babylon-invaders who will lift a battle cry against us. It is a self-inflicted condition because of past presidents allowing immigration and even colonization of our country by those who would violently overthrow it. All in the name of political correctness, even the false narrative that Islam is the religion of peace-basically the most violent religion known to mankind. That is all changing under the current President.
There are several actions that President Donald Trump has taken to curb the security of threats to America that the immediate past "president" actually encouraged and aggressively aided. First, Trump issued a temporary ban on immigration from countries known to be violent threats to America. The Democratic Party and its emissaries in the lower courts, of course, opposed this. On Monday, the Supreme Court put an end to this nonsense that questioned the President's authority to protect the nation from malevolent people. The Court by a 7-2 margin (leftist justices Ginsberg and Sotomayor dissented) stayed the lower courts injunction against Trump's "travel ban" pending the appeals process.
Trump also pulled out of a major United Nations New York Declarations of Refugees and Migrants, which called for encouraging refugees and migrants to relocate to other countries, and included language that the host nations should provide them homes, income and education. It was a global governance pact of international migration. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said, "...our decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone. We will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country. The global approach in the New York Declaration is simply not compatible with U.S. sovereignty."
The Bible also says in Leviticus 24:22 and in several other places, "You shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for one of your own country." We are not to treat sojourners poorly or unfairly. Ambassador Haley emphasized this Biblical principal in pulling out of the UN accord, "America is proud of our immigrant heritage and our long-standing moral leadership in providing support to migrant and refugee populations across the globe. No country has done more than the United States, and our generosity will continue." But there is a balance required in navigating the rough waters of treating strangers well, legal entry, and national security. It has been out of balance during the past decade. A sea change is occurring now. May we regain our balance.
Daily Devotion: A Riches-to-Rags Story - By Greg Laurie -
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. -2 Corinthians 8:9
In reality, the story of Jesus is not a rags-to-riches story; it is a riches-to-rags story. It is a story of leaving the glory of Heaven for this planet. Jesus could have been born in the most elegant mansion on the ritziest boulevard in Rome. He could have had aristocratic parents who boasted of their pedigree. He could have had the finest clothes from the most exclusive shops. He could have had legions of angels as an army of servants to respond to His every whim. But He had none of that. Instead, Jesus humbled Himself.
We read in 2 Corinthians 8:9, "Though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." God came into our world. He was like any other baby who needed to be cradled, needed to be nurtured, and needed to be protected. The Creator of the universe was born in a stable in Bethlehem.
Like everything else in the Christmas story, we have romanticized this aspect of it. I think, in many ways, we miss its raw, powerful meaning. This stable or barn (or maybe even cave) where Christ was born was cold and damp. It also would have smelled. God incarnate was born on the dirt floor of a filthy stable. Our Savior came not as a monarch draped in gold and silk, but as a baby wrapped in rags.
Jesus went from being a sovereign to a servant. He went from the glory of God to a stable filled with animals. It has been said that history swings on the hinge of the door of a stable in Bethlehem.
Think about what Jesus left to come to us. Jesus took His place in a manger so that we might have a home in Heaven.
FROM THE HEART
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