Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Isaiah 17 - the Destruction of Damascus - Pastor Mike Taylor - https://pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com/2019/12/isaiah-17-destruction-of-damascus.html
1"The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
2 The cities of Aroer are forsaken: they shall be for flocks, which shall lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
3 The fortress also shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria: they shall be as the glory of the children of Israel, saith the Lord of hosts.
4 And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.
5 And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord God of Israel.
7 At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 17:1-7)
Those who watch prophecy while it is being fulfilled before our very eyes, have contemplated and even wondered about when this scripture will be fulfilled. Note that in all of history, Damascus has been inhabited perpetually for the last 5000 years and is the oldest city in the Ancient world that has not been destroyed, or abandoned. So this prophecy is for the future and could be in the near future. Why do I say that?
This prophecy has only been partially fulfilled in the past, when the Assyrians defeated the Armeans in 732 BC and overran this city. Damascus has been conquered many times, and this is just one of them. The Israelites did in 1000 BC and as mentioned the Assyrians in 732 BC. Then in 606 BC she was conquered by the Babylonians, the Persians in 530 BC, the Greeks in 330 BC, the Nabeteans in 85 BC, the Romans in 63 BC, the Byzantines in 634 AD, the Marmadukes in 1250 AD and finally the Ottoman Empire in 1516 AD. So as you see, she was conquered numerous times, but the city herself has survived and continues to thrive with a population close to 2 million souls within her borders. As you read the verses above, many wonder what the City of Aroer was located. Since the city today is much too far to be in relation to Damascus, some speculate that there was another city close by her. Some feel the translation in this passage should have been the "cities thereof shall be forsaken" as the Aroer is east of the Jordan River, but if that is true, then the passage could be speaking of the area inhabited by Hezbollah today, in a straight line from Damascus to Beirut. The verses above speak of the defeat of Damascus and later the area of Samaria. Samaria was ultimately destroyed, but Damascus remains even today.
That's ancient history in an abbreviated fashion, but what about today of the city in Syria known as Damascus? What can be the reason for her eventual demise and the city not be inhabited again? Note that in this age the only thing that could make any city uninhabitable is either nuclear or chemical warfare that causes the area to be too dangerous for anyone to be in the same area.
Note my comment about the straight line that is occupied by Hezbollah right now in a straight line between Damascus and Beirut. Hezbollah has boasted by their "spokesman" Hassan Nasrallah, the secretary general of this avowed terrorist entity that they have enough missiles to reach every part of Israel, even their nuclear plant and their largest cities. The last war, Hezbollah had many missiles that were used, but waned in the final days of this last war found between them and Israel, but this time, Hezbollah has smuggled in right under the noses of the ineffectual U.N. Peace keeping army which turned a blind eye to their buildup of a huge stockpile of advanced rockets from no other than Iran. It is believed that Lebanon through Hezbollah has been armed with some 120,000 surface-to-surface rockets and missiles, its firepower eclipses that of most states in the world. Dozens of its projectiles are long-range, and accurate. Hezbollah possesses hundreds of drones that it uses in combat against Syrian Sunni rebels.
In the 20th century, Syrian military formations were parked in Lebanon, projecting Damascus's power on its weaker neighbor. Today, the situation is reversed, and it is Lebanese Hezbollah formations that are shaping events next-door in Syria - a sign of Hezbollah's new role as a regional Shi'ite power. She has always been a terrorist organization, but she has elevated herself to a regional army.
"Seventy percent of Hezbollah's billion-dollar annual budget comes from Iran, and it uses this money to build command-and-control and rocket-launch sites all over villages and towns in southern Lebanon. But Hezbollah has also invested in military infrastructure in northern Lebanon, spreading out its firepower across the country.
Hezbollah today is focused on acquiring accurate, guided projectiles, and seeks to import as many of these as it can, from both Iranian and Syrian weapons factories.
According to international media reports, Israel is engaged in covert actions to stop this weapons trafficking." (Jerusalem Post, Hezbollah more powerful but stretched to the limit)
Hezbollah is gearing up for their next confrontation with the IDF and they are trying to tip the scales in their favor. In this next war, we can gather that there will still be a pending destruction against Damascus, by God, though it is not clear whether He will use Israel OR other nations OR His own supernatural manner to carry this out (well, for that matter, any combination thereof). It is also clear that it will be an evening strike and by dawn, Damascus will be a ruinous heap. This next war will completely destroy all the surrounding areas that have come against Israel. Is the Oracle of Damascus fulfilled within the prophesied coming Psalm 83 war, where all the surrounding Arab neighbors will again, once more, think to come and drive Israel into the sea?
1. "Keep not thou silence, O God: hold not thy peace, and be not still, O God.
2 For, lo, thine enemies make a tumult: and they that hate thee have lifted up the head.
3 They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones.
4 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance.
5 For they have consulted together with one consent: they are confederate against thee:
6 The tabernacles of Edom, and the Ishmaelites; of Moab, and the Hagarenes;
7 Gebal, and Ammon, and Amalek; the Philistines with the inhabitants of Tyre;
8 Assur also is joined with them: they have holpen the children of Lot. " (Psalm 83:1-8)
Right now, where are the sorties by the IDF taking aim at destroying advanced weapons bound for Hezbollah with the planes and bombs? Yes, the ongoing attempt to keep these weapons out of the enemies hands have been aimed at Syria.
What we do know is that we need an intact Syria for Psalm 83 to be fulfilled, which Damascus is the lifeline of Syria and the surrounding countryside. Destroy Damascus and the area crumbles and the nations of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq or Lebanon come in to pick up the pieces for their own safety concerns.
ISRAEL MAKES BIG LAND EXPANSION
At the end of this war, Damascus is no more, the surrounding area will have been soundly defeated by God Himself, or using the IDF to gather land that has been promises to them since Abraham. From the Great River in Egypt, which must be the Nile, to the River Euphrates, north into Syria, and south in Saudi Arabia. Israel will become the wealthiest Middle Eastern country of all time. She will have oil, natural gas, and untold natural resources that will drive the Arab nations into a schizophrenic fit.
BUT WHY DAMASCUS?
But why was only Damascus completely destroyed? Isaiah prophesied the destruction and abandonment of Damascus, Syria over 2,700 years ago. Yet the city continues today, despite so many Middle East wars and predictions that "this year" it will finally come to pass. So what's missing that has been holding this prophecy back? Israel's strike on Iran? Or perhaps the overlooked prophecy we spoke about in the Psalms about a future Arab war alliance targeted at wiping out Israel.
Short answer to why Damascus is destroyed is IRAN.
If you are into Bible prophecy, you probably have heard about the continued controversial nuclear program of Iran-and Israel's plan to strike Iran over it.
In 2002, it was revealed that Iran had secretly been enriching uranium with thousands of centrifuges. Enriched uranium is the key component of a nuclear bomb. Nobody wants an apocalyptic religious state like Iran to have nukes. Even worse, Iran resumed enrichment once President Ahmadinejad took office in 2005 and he refused to stop it, despite severe sanctions against Iran. Even after the extreme Ahmadinejad left office in 2013, the concerns over Iran's nuclear program have only increased.
It's no mystery who is most endangered by the prospect of Iran possessing nuclear weapons. Israel has threatened to make a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear sites if sanctions continue to fail. This is no empty threat as Israel has bombed the nuclear sites of hostile nations in the past. Back in 1981, Israel bombed Iraq's nuclear reactor, receiving worldwide condemnation for it at the time. Then in 2007, Israel sent planes to bomb an alleged North Korean made nuclear reactor in Syria.
But for Damascus to be a ruinous heap is not what has happened in the past..Cities have been abandoned for many reason, but the buildings were left intact. I think of one city in Ukraine where the Chernobyl nuclear plant melted down. The whole city is now a ghost town with buildings intact, but the population is unable to live in the city for the radioactive poisoning that would result for any human being within that city. Same can be said for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but they were different in that the bombs were detonated high above the cities and created low fall-out that would have developed with a ground explosion, so the Japanese rebuilt these cities, as they were not contaminated.
Damascus' predicted fate is distinct from either of these cities or perhaps any other. Its buildings and streets will not just be deserted, but they will be left as a "heap of ruins." I am not aware of a case in modern times of that happening to a city. There are cities that have been wiped out by tsunamis or even volcanic explosions, but they have been rebuilt and not left as heaps of ruins. The real estate still has value to former inhabitants and with a concerted effort they can achieve reconstruction of the city soon enough. I'm believing that the reason why she is a ruinous heap is Israel nukes her?
WHY WOULD ISRAEL NUKE DAMASCUS?
It is a well known fact, but never talked about in Israel's government, that she possesses a large arsenal of nuclear weapons. Israel has also been a frequent target herself from the like of Syria, and helping Damascus by proxy to do the same.
Importantly, Israel also has the will to use these weapons. Because Israel's enemies are so numerous and able to overrun the tiny nation so easily, Israel has adopted a nuclear policy called "The Samson Option." The name comes from the famously strong judge of Israel who took his own life by knocking out the support pillars of the temple he was in to avenge himself on his enemies around him. According to this policy, Israel would nuke the cities of her enemies if she was overrun or about to be defeated. Hitting the leadership of Syria at Damascus would be part of this retaliatory attack. What would be the cause of this retaliatory attack? Only one thing comes to mind. A large onslaught of missiles that come from within Lebanon or within Syria. Israel would be faced with this "Samson option"...as she will have to use the "big guns" to wipe out her adversaries. Her war cry has always been "NEVER AGAIN" will she stand idly by and let her people be destroyed.
Israel takes a hard hit from this war in her northern part of the nation, as the verses above attest to...
4 " And in that day it shall come to pass, that the glory of Jacob shall be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh shall wax lean.
5 And it shall be as when the harvestman gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm; and it shall be as he that gathereth ears in the valley of Rephaim.
6 Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the Lord God of Israel." (Isaiah 17: 4-6)
In this prophesied event, northern and central Israel are named as taking damage and casualties, although comparatively less than Damascus (Damascus loses the kingdom, but Israel only the fortress). War is never completely one-sided. If Israel is prompted to attack Damascus, they will certainly suffer casualties in the process. Going further in the prophecy we can see that, as has usually been the case, Syria will not be acting alone against Israel:
12 "Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!
13 The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.
14 And behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not. This is the portion of them that spoil us, and the lot of them that rob us." (Isaiah 17:12-14)
To make a better understanding, I believe this interpretation spells it out for us, better than the poetic KJV:
Isaiah 17:12-14 (HCSB) 12 "Ah! The roar of many peoples-they roar like the roaring of the seas. The raging of the nations-they rage like the raging of mighty waters. 14 In the evening-sudden terror! Before morning-it is gone! This is the fate of those who plunder us [Judah] and the lot of those who ravage us."
God Almighty deals with these Arab nations in His own way.
A multitude of nations attack "us" or the nation that Isaiah addressed in his prophecies: the southern kingdom of Judah (as opposed to the northern nation of Israel). The Jewish people make up the modern State of Israel (which is why they almost called it the State of Judah). Therefore the description fits yet another Middle East war where Israel is attacked by her mainly Arab and Islamic neighbors such as Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and probably also Iran (who is not Arab). Yet, like before, Israel will be victorious-and probably even quicker than in the Six Day War of 1967. Notice in verse 14 that it takes only from one evening until the next morning to achieve decisive victory.
It sounds like Israel is faced with no other option, but the Samson Option and she brings out her nuclear weapons and Damascus is taken away from being a city, as she has been the lifeline for the continued attempts to destroy Israel.
It will mean the complete annihilation of her enemy armies and not to mention 10's of millions of civilian casualties. No wonder that Isaiah says that the situation shifts overnight from a terror for Israel and the tragedy for her enemies.
THIS WAR SETS UP THE COMING EZEKIEL WAR!
Israel will finally feel safe in her own country, as she has defeated all surrounding enemies. She has defeated the Palestinians, the terror group of Hamas, Hezbollah, and all nations that border hers in a desisive victory that may be shorter than the 6 day war of 1967 when she uses this Sampson option. Note that in Ezekiel 38 when they talk about the countries of modern day Arab nations, none of the inner ring of Arab nations are mentioned? Only ones you will find will be the major suppliers that got the other nations destroyed by Israel and by God. Israel is now safe (for a little while)...she will become gloriously wealthy and the larger Arab nations, and the Persian nation of Iran who all are Muslim, will not let this stand. With large sums of arms, cash and weapons from Gog and Magog, which many believe is Russia, she will think an evil thought.
8 "After many days thou shalt be visited: in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste: but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.
9 Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.
10 Thus saith the Lord God; It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:
11 And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates,
12 To take a spoil, and to take a prey; to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land." (Ezekiel 38:8-12)
This is just too much for the Arab nation, and the Communist nation of Russia to stand and not take what is not theirs. What are they wanting, both Russian and their confederation? The answer would be oil and gas. Israel will be the biggest oil and natural gas producer on the planet, save maybe the USA. She will think an evil thought to take what she desires and wants...the riches of Israel. Almighty God brings judgment, severe judgment on these nations that come against His people and His land.
18 "And it shall come to pass at the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.
19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;
20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence, and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and every wall shall fall to the ground.
21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord God: every man's sword shall be against his brother.
22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone.
23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord." (Ezekiel 38:18-23)
Do you see how this war of Psalm 83, although possibly a short war, sets up an even greater war that will judge the nations who come against Israel? Those who have been pulled down to Israel as a fish with hook in it's jaw, will be near totally destroyed. 5/6 of this army will be destroyed, and the plagues that destroyed them will follow them back to their home countries and more will die.
THE REVEALING OF THE ANTI-CHRIST
These wars were all covered to come to the crux of this message. With so many people slain, the God of Israel sanctified in the eyes of the world, and the world knows that Israel did not do this by themselves, it's an old Muslim trick to capitulate to the enemy until you are stronger in the future. So a man will come to confirm a covenant with Israel to bring peace to the world. Am I saying the man is Muslim? He could very well be. He will be the secular half of the One World Government and the One World Religion, and will come to confirm this covenant that has already been in place, but never enforced or ratified. He will proclaim a 7 year treaty. Could this be Trump's deal of the century, that is already known to be dead on arrival, as the Palestinians don't want peace, as they want all Jews dead or driven into the Mediterranean Sea.
27 "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." (Daniel 9:27)
So the Anti-Christ has just revealed himself, and from the time of Psalm 83 until Ezekiel 38-39, could be just a few years...we don't know, as the Bible is not specific. But if things are ratcheting up in the Middle East where we could see war after war come to pass and the total destruction of Damascus, the end of Psalm 83 war, into Ezekiel's war where Israel is victorious through the intervention of Divine fury and wrath from Almighty God, the time of the Tribulation could be that close. Why is that important?
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)
The power that holds back unabated evil in this world is God's Holy Spirit and if He is pulled back to Pre-Pentecostal manifestations, those He indwells will be removed as well. Noting that Jesus made a promise to never leave us or forsake us, and since Jesus cannot lie, we will not be left comfortless or alone, but removed from this planet.
The Oracle of Damascus and the Psalm 83 War, gets the ball rolling to the coming Tribulation and it could be very soon that this war will break out. We are told that we will NOT see this man, the Anti-Christ, as he will be revealed after the church is removed. If the AC is to be revealed in the next few years, the church can be removed anytime between now and then.
My spiritual sense tells me that we don't have much time to gather the harvest of souls for the coming of the Lord, and not making any predictions, but it could be even this fall, or the next, or the next. We don't know for sure. We just watch and wait and believe what Paul wrote:
15 "For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words."
(1st Thessalonians 4:15-18)
Make no mistake about it, the Middle East is shaping up for a catastrophic war coming, the world is about to implode, and the Anti-Christ is about to reveal himself. The signs are all around us, and the signs of the coming of our Lord grow louder and louder with each passing day.
Please as you read this, examine yourself and see if you be found in the faith. Don't make the mistake of discounting these words. Scoffers will have their sneers wiped off their faces when all of this comes to pass. Don't be one of them, as the time for repentance and being with Jesus for all eternity draws closer.
"Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:" (Peter 1:10)
" 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, God sent not His Son 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)(my emphasis in caps)
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)
I beseech each of you, not to scoff, but to open your eyes to what God says will happen, and not too long into the future..as we could wake up one morning and all this has come to pass. So come Lord Jesus.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor, praying you make yourself ready for the coming of the Lord, He is right at the door ready to burst forth. If you need prayer, counseling, or just a friendly listening ear, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , , God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Growing Concern Future US Administration Could Undo Trump's Pro-Israel Policies - By Israel Kasnett/JNS.org - https://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=3657
The announcement last month by U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo that Israeli settlements are not illegal was either warmly welcomed or hotly rejected, depending on how you interpret international law.
Indeed, recently 107 Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Pompeo expressing "strong disagreement" with the State Department's new policy and urged Pompeo to "reverse this policy decision immediately."
Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told JNS that Pompeo did a great service for Israel and for truth by stating that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are not illegal."
"And it is unfortunate," he added, "that there are some members of Congress who want to second-guess him," referring to the Democratic lawmaker's letter. For his part, Gold sent a letter to each of those lawmakers explaining why Pompeo's decision was correct.
The change in policy was allegedly timed to counter the European Union's decision to label goods made in Judea and Samaria, as well as to reverse the previous administration's stance, which viewed the settlements not only as an obstacle to peace but actually illegal.
As such, how subjective is international law and could the decision be reversed by a future president, especially a Democrat?
Gold said that the Trump administration's view of settlements helped to provide a different interpretation of international law.
"I thought it was very important to put on the table the issue of the improper application of the Fourth Geneva Convention in the case of Israel," Gold said. "International law is a subject where people do interpret way of norms differently. That is simply the way it works."
He added that the decision made during President Jimmy Carter's administration to declare the settlements a violation of international law "was wrong-headed."
Taking it a few steps further, Gold said the basis of claiming that the settlements are illegal came from the Geneva Conventions of 1949, which said that a state occupying territory in war cannot move the population out of the occupied territory, and, secondly, that it cannot move its own population into the territory in question.
"In Israel's case," he said, "both statements are irrelevant."
What has bothered him in particular was that the idea that an occupying power cannot move its population into occupied territory came from the actions of Nazi Germany, which moved its Jewish population into places like Poland for purposes of extermination.
"So somebody has the nerve to say that Israelis who have voluntarily moved into the West Bank are violating an international law that was based on a completely different situation?" he asked incredulously. "Comparing what Israel does in the West Bank to what Nazi Germany did in Poland to the Jews of Germany is something I find repulsive."
Gold said he felt it was important to send the letters because "if you don't say anything, it will continue."
'A solution on how to move forward'
Sharvit-Baruch said it is necessary to move away from the arguments over who is right or wrong, and instead to "find a solution on how to move forward."
She said she fears that a future U.S. Democrat administration might not just to go back to the Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush kind of ambiguity when they said settlements are "an obstacle to peace." Instead, it might return to the Obama policy of saying settlements are illegal.
Since international law is often interpreted differently, are people simply propagating their own subjective views?
"Almost any legal question is often the issue of different interpretations," said Sharvit-Baruch, "and settlements are no different than any other legal question, especially with regard to international law."
"An argument can be made--and it is not baseless to say--that the settlements are not necessarily illegal," she said. "The case of why Palestinians have a right to this territory is not a clear-cut question. Even if they have the right of determination, there is still no clear-cut legal answer as to what territory this right applies to because the Green Line of 1967 is not a border."
She said the main point is that the two sides, and even the wider Arab world, previously agreed that the topic of settlements and borders is an issue that needs to be negotiated, and that it is not supposed to be determined in court.
Sharvit-Baruch said that by declaring the settlements a violation of international law, the Obama and Carter administrations were "very unhelpful."
"Those who insist on discussing it in legal terms," she emphasized, "are doing a disservice to any kind of peaceful settlement to the conflict."
Reign of Lawlessness - By Hal Lindsey -
Mexico's new socialist president has taken a novel approach to crime fighting. He calls it, "hugs not bullets." To see how that strategy is working out, look at the story of Ovidio Guzmán. He is the son of the man once known as the world's most powerful drug trafficker - "el Chapo." In October, the young Guzman was captured by Mexican police. But the government of Mexico freed him when hundreds of crime syndicate henchmen began an assault on the country's security forces.
Because of what happened that day, Mexico is a different place. Citizens long suspected that crime lords run their country. Now they know it. Newspaper man Ismael Bojórquez described the change. "Life goes on," he wrote, "but not in the same way."
President López Obrador sees it as a good thing. "This is no longer a war," he said. "It is no longer about force, confrontation, annihilation, extermination, or killing in the heat of the moment. This is about thinking how to save lives and achieve peace and tranquility in the country using other methods."
But in fact, this is not about saving lives. Just the opposite. It is about a government's capitulation to the forces of evil. It is about the reign of lawlessness.
Jesus said that in the last days, "lawlessness will abound." (Matthew 24:12)
In London a few days ago, a terrorist named Usman Khan stabbed five people, killing two. He had previously been convicted for his part in an al-Qaeda inspired terror plot back in 2012. He served five years and was then released from prison without going before a parole board as the law previously required. The Australian news service, News.com.au, reported, "Khan had been helped by 'Learning Together' after he was released from prison in December last year. And he was used as a poster boy by the program after he thanked them for helping him get a computer."
The two people killed by Khan - Saskia Jones, 23, and Jack Merritt, 25 - were volunteers with "Learning Together." They were both outspoken advocates for more leniency in Britain's criminal justice system. "Learning Together" is an initiative of the Cambridge University Institute of Criminology. The director of the institute, Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe, said that Jack Merritt advocated "for a politics of love."
It sounds a lot like "hugs not bullets." And that sounds nice until we remember that God instituted human government for the protection of rights, the protection of children and families - protection from lives of fear.
The United States is not immune from the growing lawlessness in the world. In Chicago, the county prosecutor announced three years ago that shoplifters would no longer be charged with a felony if they stole under a $1000 worth of merchandise, or if they were juveniles. Criminals are said to carry calculators into stores to make sure they are under the limit. That way they will be free to come back for more. According to CBS 2 in Chicago, "They grab what they want and then they take off."
Alderman Brian Hopkins says, "We're seeing store security guards being pepper sprayed, maced and physically attacked.... [Shoplifters] have no fear and they're acting with impunity."
The same thing has happened in California where the law changed 1 ½ years ago. Any theft below $950 can only be charged as a misdemeanor. The owner of a small hobby shop in Sacramento says the new law has made it hard for him and other small retailers to stay in business. "It's just pretty much open season," he said. "They'll pick the $800 unit and just grab it and run out the door."
Rachael Rollins serves as the District Attorney for Suffolk County, Massachusetts. The county includes Boston. She was elected promising not to prosecute certain crimes. They include theft of personal property under $250, disorderly conduct, trespassing, receiving stolen property, wanton or malicious destruction of property, drug possession, drug possession with intent to distribute, and resisting arrest. Think of the consequences of giving people a free pass on the things on that list.
Initially, lawlessness leads to anarchy. But it never stays there long. It quickly becomes the excuse for criminal control such as we see in Mexico, or for the formation of a police state. Either way, freedoms are quickly lost.
When We Sin - Nathele Graham - email@example.com
I don't like being a sinner. As much as I try, I still continue to sin. Not big ones, but enough "little" ones to bring shame on anybody. I'm not alone. You sin too and I'm sure that you're as tired of it as I am. When we sin, we're out of fellowship with God, and for a Christian that separation affects our whole life. It can make us grumpy. When we accept Christ as our Saviour, our sins are forgiven. Not just the ones we've committed before our profession of faith, but even the sins in our future were nailed to the cross. "And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it." Colossians 2:13-15. This means that sins we will commit tomorrow are also forgiven. You see, sin cannot stand in the presences of a perfect and holy God. If any sin is left unforgiven, then we cannot be in the presence of God when we die. All our sin is forgiven at the moment we give our life to Christ. That doesn't mean that it's okay to keep on sinning.
I've heard Christians say that once they gave their life to Christ they stopped sinning. Oh, if that was only true. For one thing, pride is a sin and to think you don't sin is prideful. The Apostle John wasn't under the impression that he didn't sin. He even wrote about being deceived about our sin. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." 1 John 1:8. John didn't say "if you say you have no sin" but he included himself by using the word "we". Jesus had called John and his brother James "the Sons of Thunder", so we can only imagine what prompted that nickname. Maybe they were quick to anger. Maybe that anger plagued John throughout his life. In reading the words he wrote, we see a side of John that's loving and kind, but that temper may have come out too often. He knew he sinned, so don't deceive yourself to think you don't sin.
The letters John wrote were written to believers. They were fellow Christians, just like you and me. Do you love Christ? Do you want to honor Him? Then don't say you don't sin. "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." 1 John 1:10. I certainly don't want to make Jesus out to be a liar! Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and certainly is not a liar. Since He is our example of the way we need to live, we must try to live up to His example. When Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified, He became sin in our place. "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2 Corinthians 5:21. His love for us is perfect. There is no righteousness in us, but it comes only from faith in Jesus Christ. If you think that your righteousness and perfection is by your own efforts now that you've accepted Christ, you call God a liar. According to John, we can't have God's Holy Spirit in us if we claim to live a sinless life after we are born again. God sees us through the righteous blood of Jesus and the sin we commit doesn't condemn us. We still need to seek His forgiveness, repent, and turn from our sin.
Jesus died to give us the only way to find salvation and forgiveness of sin. We can't earn His favor; His gift of salvation is free for the asking. "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. If we could save ourselves then Jesus didn't need to suffer and die on the cross. By our own efforts we cannot be perfect. We need Jesus. Quite often we see other people living a pretty good life, but we don't see the struggles they go through and the conscience choices they make to follow Christ rather than fall into sin. Even Paul struggled with sin just like we do. "Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." Romans 7:17-19. Yes, Paul struggled, and so did John as well as every Christian down through history. Using Scripture for a guide, we can see that we have choices and when we choose wrong, we are still forgiven. "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:" 1 John 2:1. Because Jesus loves us, He forgives us. That's perfect love.
Many Christians struggle against sin. Those who don't struggle against it have given up the fight. Instead of recognizing their sin, asking to be forgiven, then moving forward, some have decided they can't stop sinning and don't even try to stop. "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake." 1 John 2:12. All believers are forgiven sinners. Something that many "In Christ" believers stumble with is the fact that they continue to sin even though they have been justified (saved). Condemnation reigns supreme in their lives, but that condemnation isn't from God. Paul tells us "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Romans 8:1. As long as we live on this side of Heaven we will sin, but Jesus Christ paid the ransom for us. He shed His blood for our salvation. This doesn't mean that it's OK to keep on sinning as long as you've accepted Christ for salvation. If you can embrace sin with no prick of the conscience then you probably haven't truly accepted Christ. Paul said there's no condemnation who don't walk "after the flesh". If you don't try to overcome your sin, you aren't walking in the Spirit, but in the flesh. "And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." 1 John 2:3-4. John is telling us that in observing Christ's commandments we won't live our lives in habitual sin. For example, living a lifestyle as a homosexual is habitual sin, as is living together as an unmarried couple, or lying habitually, shoplifting, or gossiping. Once we become born again, our sin will be inacceptable to us and our life will change. This change will reflect Christ as a positive part of our lives.
Under the Jewish Law there had to be blood shed to cover sin. That blood was from an animal and it could never take the sin away. The sacrifice had to be repeated. That's why Christ had to die for His creation. Since He had no earthly father His blood was untainted by sin and only had to be shed once. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Hebrews 9:11-12. There was no other way for us to be redeemed from this life of sin. Born again believers will continue to fall short of God's standards, but Christ's blood takes the sin away. Each time we sin there needs to be remorse and over time we should grow to hate sin. Even though we remain slaves to it, as we mature in our walk with the Lord Jesus Christ, we will begin to walk to the far side of sin.
For the believer who occasionally stumbles (that's you and me), "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."1 John 1:9. This was written to born again believers in Christ and what an awesome promise it is. All we have to do is confess our sin and He will cleanse us. Then, we need to move away from the sin we know we commit. Let me make this very clear. There is no person on earth who can forgive sin, so you only need to confess your sin to Jesus. Confessing to a priest of some man-made religion is foolish, as is praying to Mary or some man-made saint. Only Christ can forgive sin and we only need to go to Him. If your sin involved another person it's good to go to them and say you're sorry, but whether they accept your apology or not, it's Jesus who forgives the sin.
Dear Jesus, thank You. You have done for me what I could never have done for myself. My sin is forgiven. I look forward to the day I will come before You and see You face to face. I am not worthy to stand before You on my own merit, but only through the righteousness that comes from You. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for forgiving me. In Your precious and holy name I pray. Amen.
God bless you all,
Ron and Nathele Graham's previous commentaries archived at http://www.raptureready.com/featured/graham/graham.html
All original scripture is "theopneustos" God breathed.
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Daily Jot: Deceiving and being deceived - Bill Wilson -
Many different news reports are characterizing the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment. Depending on which news organization reporting, the President is either the worst violator of high crimes and misdemeanors in American history, or not. After reading the report, it takes an extraordinary imagination to conclude that this impeachment "inquiry" report is anything more than a political document aimed at the next election. The House may impeach President Trump because it is majority Democrat, not because Trump acted to bribe, endanger national security, or impede what is in reality a fraudulent and politically motivated rigged investigation.
The report states: "...the impeachment inquiry has found that President Trump, personally and acting through agents within and outside of the U.S. government, solicited the interference of a foreign government, Ukraine, to benefit his reelection. In furtherance of this scheme, President Trump conditioned official acts on a public announcement by the new Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky, of politically-motivated investigations, including one into President Trump's domestic political opponent. In pressuring President Zelensky to carry out his demand, President Trump withheld a White House meeting desperately sought by the Ukrainian President, and critical U.S. military assistance to fight Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.
"The President engaged in this course of conduct for the benefit of his own presidential reelection, to harm the election prospects of a political rival, and to influence our nation's upcoming presidential election to his advantage. In doing so, the President placed his own personal and political interests above the national interests of the United States, sought to undermine the integrity of the U.S. presidential election process, and endangered U.S. national security." That's the viewpoint. Notwithstanding that the US has a corruption investigation agreement with Ukraine and there was corruption involving the Biden family; that national security was not compromised; and no bribes occurred. As 2 Timothy 3:13 says, "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived." But there is even more hypocrisy.
The Preface of the report refers to President George Washington's warning: "In his farewell address, President George Washington warned of a moment when "cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion." Indeed, Washington's warning is more than obvious today, but the accuser is the violator of the very accusation. Who, we might ask, are those unprincipled actors trying to usurp the power of the people by destroying the engines that lifted them to their unjust dominion? Who fabricated charge after unproven charge to overthrow an elected president even before he took office? Who accuses to cover up their deceitful deeds? And of whose spawn are they?
Daily Devotion: There's No Excuse - by Greg Laurie -
For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.-Romans 1:20
When Helen Keller was a very young girl, a disease affected her in a dramatic way. She lost her sight, hearing, and speech. Essentially she was isolated from the world.
But Anne Sullivan made it her life's purpose to reach Helen. She taught Helen how to communicate through touch. And when she tried to tell Helen about God, Helen said she already knew Him, but she just didn't know His name. Despite the fact that she couldn't hear or see, God still made Himself known to her.
All around us is the evidence of God. We find it not only in our lives, but all through creation as we see God's hand at work.
As the apostle Paul pointed out, "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God" (Romans 1:20 NLT).
I read an interesting statement by Robert Jastrow, an astrophysicist and former director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He wrote, "It seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries."
God will reveal himself to the true seeker. And the bottom line is this: There is no excuse for living in rebellion against the God who loves us. He will make Himself known to every person who truly wants to know Him.
FROM THE HEART
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