Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Tribulation Chronicles Part 7: Midpoint - By Alice Childs -
In my previous epistle (as in all of them in this series), I told you of the glorious, eternal future that awaits all who die who will have remained faithful to the Lord during this final 7 years. As I have previously stated, there will only be 1/3 of the Jewish people who will survive the entire 7 years of the Tribulation. Very few Gentiles (non-Jews) worldwide will live and survive through this global cataclysm as well.
The harsh reality is that, in all probability, as I've stated numerous times, it's very likely you will not be one of the survivors. Again I reiterate that you need to heed the calling of God and come to salvation as quickly as possible. I also must exhort you by the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, who will enable you to do so, that you remain faithful to Christ even unto death if need be.
Even if you should somehow survive the coming horrors, yet you remain lost without Christ, or if you deny Him and take the coming "mark" that the Antichrist will mandate, then you will certainly die anyway at the end of these last 7 years when the King of Kings (Jesus Christ) returns to set His foot upon planet Earth again.
Your soul, however, which is immortal, will continue to exist throughout eternity in either one of two places:
If you are saved, it will be in Heaven along with Christ, the already glorified Church, and all the Old Testament Saints who will also be awaiting their new glorified bodies.
If you are not saved, you will find your sentient, conscious self in Sheol (Hell) where your soul will suffer in torment until after the literal, 1000-year reign of Christ upon this earth is concluded. At the end of Jesus' earthly reign, you will then face Almighty God at the Great White Throne Judgment. There, you will be given an eternal body that will be constructed never to die, but to suffer, along with Satan and all the fallen angels in the place of ultimate judgment and torment called the Lake of Fire.
In this final place of all condemned souls, you will suffer in a conscious state and be able to experience great pain, loss and regret for all eternity. From this torment (both in Sheol and ultimately in the Lake of Fire), there will be no escape, no hope and no possibility of annihilation to ease or stop your suffering.
However, the great news is that you don't have to go there. God never intended that man should go to that dreadful place. It's the very reason that God the Son came and paid the penalty for mankind's sinful state, so that all who are willing to believe in Him - all who are willing to accept freely His offer of pardon for their sins - can escape such a horrific place.
"For God is not willing that ANY should perish (eternally) but that all should come to repentance."
However, God will not ever force that choice on anyone. It is ours alone to make. Each one of us will either choose eternal life through Christ Jesus, or we will reject His offer of eternal salvation and continue on in our own way and end up in an eternal Hell. Extremely sobering choice, isn't it? So, what will you do with Jesus?
Please read again the previous chronicle before you go any further, because you need to be reassured that there is eternal hope for all who are willing to come to salvation - those of you who are willing to lay down your physical lives so that your immortal souls may be eternally saved.
Read again the previous letter and draw strength from the Word of God, because for those of you who are now living the events told of in these narratives, we have now arrived at the midpoint of the last 7 years of human history under the regime of Satan, the usurping fallen cherub, who is the Prince of Darkness, the Great Deceiver, and the enemy of the Most High God.
From here on out, events that have already been devastating will now become cataclysmic on a scale that is beyond description. Events will move rapidly and with far greater intensity from now on during these last 3 1/2 years left before the Messiah King returns.
Here is what will happen 3 1/2 years into these last 7 years. These are the events for which you must be watching and preparing yourself to face:
As I have told you in previous letters, at the beginning of this last 7 years, there will arise upon the world stage a man who will "confirm a covenant" with Israel and "many" other nations. This man, whatever his name turns out to be, will be the long-foretold Antichrist.
He will at first appear to be a man of peace, but in reality will be the ultimate deceiver. He will use "peace" as the means by which he will bring absolute destruction upon planet Earth.
Early on, he will make it possible for the Jews to rebuild their Temple on its ancient site, and will (at first) allow the Jews to re-institute Temple animal sacrifices and worship in accordance with their ancient religious practices. This largesse on his part will not last.
There will also arise on the scene another man who will aid the Antichrist. This man will be a religious leader under whose leadership all of the false, ecumenical religions will be united. This religious figurehead will, along with the Antichrist, possess great supernatural powers and abilities that will be granted to them by Satan himself; and by these powers, these two unholy men will deceive and destroy many.
This religious leader will institute some type of identification or "marking" system that utilizes the identity of the Antichrist, his name, or the numerical value of his name as an identification system, a tracking system, and as a pledge of fealty to the Antichrist and his global system.
Taking this mark not only identifies the taker as a part of his global regime, it also signifies acceptance and worship of the Antichrist himself, along with loyalty to his globalist system. Receiving this mark also condemns to Hell every single person who takes it!
From this act of acceptance, there is NO forgiveness.
You will recognize this "mark" because it will be mandated for every person on earth. Without it no one will be able to buy, sell, transact business, rent or own a home, carry on daily commerce, receive medical help, travel freely in society, and so forth. Also, everyone who refuses to take this mark will be targeted, hunted, and executed by the global elites who will be in charge.
Nevertheless, it is much better to die physically refusing this "mark" and remaining faithful to the Lord Jesus, than to accept it and have your soul eternally damned. All who become believers will have the very Holy Spirit of God with him/her, who will come along beside you to give you the grace and strength you will need to refuse the mark and accept martyrdom for the Lord's sake.
Also at midpoint, the two Jewish emissaries of God - His "two witnesses" - will have been preaching in Jerusalem for the first 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation, untouchable by anyone including the Antichrist and his hellish False Prophet.
At midpoint in these last 7 years, however, God will allow the Antichrist to kill these two men. Their bodies will lie unburied and undisturbed in the streets of Jerusalem for 3 1/2 days. The entire world will watch their execution. The entire world will be able to view their dead bodies lying in the streets of Jerusalem via satellite TV, on all forms of social media, and via cell phones.
The entire world of unbelievers will rejoice in their deaths, even going so far as to give gifts to each other in celebration of their murder by the Antichrist - that is until the power of the Holy Spirit resurrects their dead bodies, at which time they will be bodily caught up back into Heaven when the Lord shouts for them to arise with the command to, "Come up here."
As a result of the ministry of these two witnesses, God will save and seal 144,000 Jewish young men - 12,000 from each of the 12 ancient tribes of Israel.
God will send these 144,000 redeemed men out into the entire world as His witnesses. As a result of their evangelism, millions upon millions of lost people the world over from every nation, kindred, tribe and tongue will come to salvation in Christ.
If you should encounter one or more of these Jewish men (or any Jewish believer), you must do all you can to render them aid, provide shelter, offer protection, and defend them. You must, even at the cost of your own life, preserve their mission; for Christ said that anything one does either for or against any of these, whom He specifically calls "His brethren," He (Christ) will view it the same as having been done to Him personally.
Now we come to the specifics of what will identify this time as the midpoint and the beginning of events that will usher in God's GREAT tribulation.
From here on out, it will be literally Hell unleashed on earth. This is not metaphorical nor is it hyperbole, for as you will see in subsequent letters, The Abyss (Tartarus) will be opened and all manner of actual demonic entities along with the bound, fallen angels will be released: Those who sinned so egregiously that God Himself imprisoned these particular ones there in the Abyss, and four great angels bound in the Euphrates River who will be unleashed in the spirit realm.
You may read in Genesis chapter 6 and in Jude about what this particular group of fallen angels did that so angered God that He bound them in Tartarus from the time of the Flood of Noah's day. These demonic entities will hereafter make incursions into this dimension.
As you will have already seen, supernatural events will have been visibly occurring on an almost daily basis. These kinds of things will increase in both frequency and intensity. From now until the end, nothing in the life you are now living will be even remotely normal anywhere in this world. Therefore, prepare for God's wrath to be poured out on this wicked, vile, debauched, Christ-hating world. Prepare yourself. The Lion of Judah is about to ROAR.
(1) The Antichrist will receive what will appear to be a mortal head wound; however, he will miraculously recover from this wound. It is probably at this time (around the midpoint of the last 7 years or possibly just before, when this global leader either is killed or more likely will appear to have been killed and suddenly "resurrects") that Satan himself actually enters the body of the Antichrist and possesses him. Watch for this great world leader (the Antichrist) to suffer a fatal or near-fatal head wound from which it appears that he miraculously recovers.
(2) Three and one half years into this last 7 years (midpoint), the Antichrist will betray the Jewish people by breaking his covenant with them. He will install an altar to himself with some type of "living" (possibly some sort of artificial intelligence-AI) image of himself in the most holy of places - inside the Temple called the Holy of Holies. He will then demand that everyone everywhere worship him as God.
This is an act that Jesus in the Bible called "the abomination of desolation" or the "abomination that causes desolation." Watch for this event.
(3) As a result of this betrayal, the spiritual eyes of many Jews will finally be opened to the true identity of this deceiver, and many of them will come to salvation in their true Messiah, Jesus Christ.
God will supernaturally protect this now believing Jewish remnant by providing a safe and secure haven for these new believers, immediately following this betrayal. He will protect them in the area of Petra (Bozrah). See Isaiah 63. Watch for a mass exodus of Jews relocating into Jordan just after the Antichrist defiles the Jewish Temple, which will happen 3 Â½ years into this last 7-year time period.
God has prepared a place for them there, and these Jews will be protected and sheltered in Petra/ Bozrah until Messiah Jesus returns to rescue and free them. 1/3 of all of Israel will come to belief in Jesus as their Savior Messiah (Zechariah 13:8-9) after this ultimate betrayal. This 1/3 of the Jewish nation will be spared and will be brought safely through the Tribulation so that, by the end of this time, ALL of remaining Israel (that is ALL who are left alive and are now believers in Jesus as their Messiah) will be saved, just as scripture says they will be. (Read about this in the New Testament book of Romans chapter 11:25-27).
Sadly 2/3 of the Jews will perish physically. As a result, they will suffer eternally as well in the Lake that forever burns with fire.
(4) The two Jewish witnesses will be killed, but will be resurrected 3 1/2 days later.
(5) The False Prophet - the religious leader - will mandate that every person be required to receive some sort of mark in their right hand or in their forehead. This "mark" will be in some way identified with the Antichrist, his name, or the numerical value of his name. DO NOT TAKE THIS MARK.
(6) The slaughter of Christian believers (Tribulation believers or Tribulation Saints if you will) that will have already begun will ramp up to an unprecedented level. Most of these new believers will be killed by beheading. Remain faithful! The Holy Spirit will give you all the strength and grace you will need to endure, and to overcome the pain, fear, and death. Remember, the very instant your soul leaves your body, you will be in the presence of God, never to be hurt or suffer again! Hold on to this hope!
(7) Unprecedented, ecological disasters will now begin.
(8) Supernatural, demonic incursions into this dimension will become much more frequent and increasingly more intense and direct.
These are the events that will mark and identify that you will have reached the midpoint of the Tribulation. In my next letter I will endeavor to acquaint you with what is to come during the last half.
Read Revelation chapters 7-19. I will attempt to help you decipher and understand what is recorded there. Things will doubtless be much clearer to you, since you will be living these things, than they are to those of us reading of these coming events on this side of the rapture. As always, the Holy Spirit of God will illumine and clarify your understanding so that you will be able to see, know, and understand all that will be coming to pass.
Remain faithful even unto death. Worthy is the Lamb!
End Times . . . or Just the Way It Has Always Been? - By Jonathan Brentner - http://www.raptureready.com/2017/12/07/end-times-or-just-the-way-it-has-always-been/
Do you remember the song "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band? This popular tune made it all the way to number 3 on the Billboard charts during the summer and fall of 1971. The refrain concludes with the words, "Sign, sign, everywhere a sign, sign, sign, sign."
Now that I have that song firmly ensconced in your mind, I will move on to a different type of sign that I see everywhere I look. These multiple signs point to the coming tribulation and the end of the age.
Many today ignore these signs, believing that our day is no different than any other previous time in history. I beg to differ with this sentiment. I believe there is something radically different about what we are now witnessing today in our world.
The signs we see today differ in many ways from any previous time in history. We see it in the exactness with which Old Testament prophecies are coming alive before our eyes. We see it in the increased intensity and frequency of the signs Jesus gave to us. We see it in the great number of signs that all point to the rapidly approaching tribulation.
Consider the following examples.
The Alliance of Russia, Iran, and Turkey
Ezekiel 38 predicts a latter-day invasion of Israel led by a coalition of Russia, Iran, and Turkey. It's almost as if the prophet was reading news stories from just last week. On November 22, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Turkish President Erdogan met together at the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi to discuss the future of Syria, where all three have a significant military presence. They have no intent of leaving, only that of increasing their power in the nation.
This public display of harmony between all three nations is exactly what we would expect ahead of the battle of Gog and Magog in light of Ezekiel 38-39. Such unity signifies, for example, that if Israel attacks Iran the other countries would respond as well. Russia made that clear a couple weeks ago, and now Turkey is also a part of this alliance.
It's possible that this accord could dissolve and their armies could leave Syria. However, it's much, much more likely this indicates that the assault against Israel predicted by Ezekiel could become a reality in the coming months or years.
Why Would They Attack Israel?
The next question is this: Why would they attack Israel? Are we seeing events that could spark the war of Ezekiel 38? Yes!
The Times of Israel this week reported the warning Benjamin Netanyahu gave to Syrian President Bashar Assad. He said that if he allows Iran to set up a permanent military presence near Damascus, Israel will intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war. Is this a serious threat? Absolutely! Netanyahu will attack if Iran continues to build up its forces so close to his nation's border.
Satellite images confirm that Iran is setting up a large military camp near Damascus, just thirty miles from the Israeli border. The warning by Netanyahu this week is just one of many he has made regarding the expanding Iranian presence so close to Israel.
Do you see how this could lead to a much greater conflict? With Russia and Turkey now so closely aligned with Iran, they would certainly join in responding to the attack along with the other Muslim nations mentioned in Ezekiel 38 who seize the opportunity to take part in destroying Israel.
The prophet says that God will lure Gog, the head of Russia, into the battle because of the spoil he could gain from the invasion (Ezek. 38:12). Until recent years, Israel has never possessed the type of wealth that would interest her enemies. Now they do. Israel possesses a large deposit of natural gas just off her shore and a massive reservoir of oil under the Golan Heights.
These are exactly the two things Putin desires and needs to help his flailing economy. Furthermore, possession of Israel's oil would greatly enhance his standing as the world's new "energy czar," a title Putin recently appropriated for himself. Do you see the preciseness of Ezekiel's prophecy in these events? I could write for several more pages about how the nations are lining up exactly as Ezekiel predicted.
Wars, Wars, and Wars
On Tuesday of this past week, North Korea launched a missile many believe is capable of reaching any city in the United States. They have a hydrogen bomb that is capable of totally destroying cities anywhere on the globe.
Yes, we have always heard threats of war throughout history, but the current ones differ in intensity such as not seen since the cold war. With North Korea possessing such deadly weapons, tens of millions could die instantly in a war with them. With so many nations possessing nuclear warheads, the threat of potential devastation is something the world has never seen before now. Not only does this fulfill Jesus' words regarding wars (Matt. 24:6-8), but also the potential for all humanity to die (24:22).
Besides the daily threats of wars and even rumors of WWIII starting soon, numerous wars are already in progress. At this moment, there are 17 wars taking place with at least one thousand deaths in the past 12 months. That number jumps to 45 if we make the minimum deaths one hundred in number.
Jesus said that earthquakes of increasing frequency and intensity would mark the last days before His return (Matt. 24:7). Not only would they resemble birth pains in this regard, they would occur in a wide variety of places.
Is this not what we are seeing today? Earthquakes are becoming much more numerous than ever before in history and are occurring with greater intensity as well. In the past seven days, there have been 130 earthquakes in the world with an intensity of 4.0 or greater. An earthquake occurred in Dover, DE of all places just this past week.
California has seen a dramatic increase in minor earthquakes during the past month and as many as one hundred in just the past week. This has intensified fears that the long anticipated major earthquake could occur quite soon, perhaps within weeks.
Scientists expect we will see a significant increase in catastrophic earthquakes during 2018 due to an ever-so-slight slowing of the earth's rotation, this added on to their already historic frequency and intensity.
This trend of more frequent and severe earthquakes will continue on into the tribulation.
During the tribulation, the antichrist will setup a one-world government supported by a one- world religion. Do we see evidence of this happening today as never before? Absolutely!
The UN 2030 agenda calls for precisely such a world order by the year 2030. Almost every world leader supports this goal as do the major banking powers in Europe. The leaders of both major political parties in America agree with this strategy, which is why they bitterly oppose the "Make America Great" strategy of President Donald Trump, which has temporarily interfered with their plans.
Pope Francis has been quite vocal in the past several years calling for both a new world order as well as a one-world religion. Never before in history have we seen a high-ranking religious leader calling for such a government or for all faiths to unite as one, such as is prophesied for the coming tribulation.
Yes, this has been building for a long time. But now, as never before, everything is ready for the implementation of this new world order.
The advances in technology make it entirely possible now for the coming antichrist to control buying and selling throughout the world. Some companies are already implanting chips in their employees, such as what will happen worldwide during the tribulation.
One commercial shows a man walking through a grocery store, filling his pockets with various items, and walking right out the door. At first you think he is a shoplifter, but then the security officer tells him he forgot his receipt. Chips on him and his purchases instantly recorded the payment from his account for everything he purchased.
With the advances in artificial intelligence, it's becoming increasingly possible for someone to control all buying and selling worldwide from one central location. We have never before seen such capability to fulfill the words of Revelation 13:15-18.
The advances in artificial intelligence are mind boggling. One person recently started a new religion to worship it. This has the word "tribulation" written all over it!
There is a great difference in the signs we see today of the approaching tribulation. I have just scratched the surface of all the prophetic indicators that this time of great turmoil upon the earth could start at any moment. The preciseness of prophetic fulfillment abounds as well as the increase in frequency and intensity of the signs, just as Jesus said would happen at the end of the age. This all points to the soon return of Jesus for His church, which I believe will occur before the tribulation, which seems to be much closer than many realize.
I admit that I also struggle with what is happening in our world. On the one hand, the signs seem so strong that I wonder if we will even see Christmas this year before Jesus comes for us. On the other hand, I know He could hit the pause button, give people more time to repent, and as a result we may see more holidays before Christ appears.
Are you ready if Jesus should come today? Is your trust for eternal life solely in Jesus and His saving work on your behalf? With all the indicators pointing to His soon return, you may not have tomorrow. Can you really take the chance that Jesus will delay His arrival any longer?
Jonathan C. Brentner
Watchman Warning: Jerusalem: Recognizing Reality - By Hal Lindsey - https://www.hallindsey.com/ww-12-6-2017/
On Wednesday, President Trump formally recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. He also announced a beginning of the process to move the U.S. Embassy there. That process will take at least three years, and probably much more. He also endorsed the so-called "two-state solution" as the framework for peace with the Palestinians... as long as both sides agree to it.
He did not specify anything regarding future boundaries of Jerusalem, or whether it should be split. He said those decisions need to be made as part of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
Israel itself has claimed Jerusalem as its capital since the time of King David. Modern Israel was first recognized as a nation in 1948. It took possession of West Jerusalem that year. But because of the ongoing war, it made Tel Aviv its temporary capital. The next year, David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister, said, "For the State of Israel there has always been and always will be one capital only - Jerusalem the Eternal. Thus it was 3,000 years ago - and thus it will be, we believe, until the end of time."
Listening to the media, you would think President Trump's decision is outside mainstream U.S. diplomatic orthodoxy. But that not true. No U.S. president ever pulled the trigger on the move, but as candidates, several of them were for it. Despite them taking that position, it was never a significant point of controversy in any presidential election.
Congress passed a law in 1995 saying that Jerusalem should "remain an undivided city" and "be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel." The law allowed presidents to postpone the move, but they had to do so every six months. Until now, that's what they have all done.
The leader of Senate Democrats, Chuck Schumer, urged President Trump to move the embassy. "As someone who strongly believes that Jerusalem is the undivided capital of Israel," he said, "I am calling for the U.S. Embassy in Israel to be relocated to Jerusalem."
The President did not go that far. He said nothing about Jerusalem being "undivided." Nevertheless, his decision has been criticized by leaders around the world, including in the United States.
California Senator Diane Feinstein wrote to Trump saying, "Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital - or relocating our embassy to Jerusalem - will spark violence and embolden extremists on both sides of this debate." She said such a move would "undermine any remaining hope for a two-state solution."
A Palestinian general delegate to the United Kingdom said that to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel is like "declaring war." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that there will be "dangerous consequences." The Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas, called for three "days of rage," starting Wednesday, but making Friday the main day.
The State Department warned U.S. embassies around the world to be on alert following the announcement. It also issued a warning to U.S. travelers in Israel. "Hostilities between the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and terrorist groups, including Hamas, in the Gaza Strip could resume and the security situation could deteriorate with little or no notice."
Turkey's President Erdogan said Jerusalem is a "redline" for Muslims. He said the move would be a violation of international law, and that, "This could go as far as cutting our diplomatic relations with Israel."
President Trump argued that his action is "recognition of reality." He pointed out that all the major institutions of the Israeli government, including the Knesset, are located in Jerusalem. Nations put embassies in the capitals of other nations because they want their ambassadors close to the center of power. In Israel, that's Jerusalem.
Through the years, proposed peace plans from the United Nations, the U.S., and Europe, have always allowed Israel to keep at least part of Jerusalem. Israel says that Jerusalem is its capital. Since the Israelis will be staying in Jerusalem under any of these plans, why does the world not allow Israel to choose its own capital?
From a secular, diplomatic prospective, the President's move makes sense to me. Israel is the one great democracy of the Middle East, and America's most faithful ally. The Israelis - not a bunch of European elites - should decide the location of Israel's capital.
But I'm not a diplomat. I'm a preacher of the Gospel and a student of scripture. I look at this from another angle. In Genesis 12:3, God said to Abraham (then still named "Abram"), "I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse." (NASB)
"God Bless America" is a prayer. One of the actions that must accompany that prayer is for America to continue to bless Israel.
Our World: Trump's great and ingenious gifts - By Caroline B. Glick - http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Our-World-Trumps-great-and-ingenious-gifts-517417
Turning his back on the legacy of president Barack Obama, Trump beats a new path in American-Israeli relations.
With his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump gave a Hanukka gift to the Jewish people. But he also gave a Christmas gift to the American people.
Trump's gift to Israel is not merely that 68 years after Israel declared Jerusalem its capital, the US finally recognized Israel's capital.
In his declaration, Trump said, "Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem, the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times."
By stating this simple truth, Trump fully rejected the anti-Israel legacy of his predecessor Barack Obama.
In his speech in Cairo in 2009, Obama intimated that Israel's legitimacy is rooted in the Holocaust, rather than in the Jewish nation's millennial attachment to the Land of Israel. Whereas the Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations Mandate rooted the Jewish people's sovereign rights to the Land of Israel in its 3,500-year relationship with it, Obama said that Israel is nothing more than a refugee camp located in an inconvenient area. In so doing, he gave credence to the anti-Israel slander that Israel is a colonialist power.
By asserting the real basis for Israel's legitimacy, Trump made clear that the Jewish people is indigenous to the Land of Israel. He also made it US policy to view Israel's right to exist, like its right to its capital city, as unconditional.
Trump's extraordinary gift to Israel was an act of political and moral courage. It was also a stroke of strategic brilliance.
To understand why it was both courageous and wise, consider the political, institutional and geopolitical contexts in which Trump acted.
Politically, Trump made his declaration in a poisonous political environment at home.
The Democrats responded to Trump's victory last year over Hillary Clinton by seeking to delegitimize his victory. To this end, they chose to oppose everything that he says and does.
And so, despite their long-held and recently voiced support for US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, leading Democratic senators including New Jersey's Cory Booker and California's Diane Feinstein condemned Trump's declaration.
The Democrats' rejection of Trump's move was an astounding act of hypocrisy. But it was also predictable.
Trump had to know the Democrats would oppose him. And he also had to know that in their opposition, they would empower US allies in Europe and the Arab world to publicly condemn his move in a manner they would be loath to do if the Democrats supported him. And still, despite this sure knowledge, Trump took action.
And it wasn't only the Democrats, the Europeans and the Arabs Trump willingly opposed. His chief opposition came from within his own government.
Since 1949, the State Department has driven US policy on Israel and on the Middle East as a whole. And since 1949, the State Department's Israel policy has refused to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Even worse, it worked to undermine any international support for Israel's sovereign rights to Jerusalem.
For instance, a 1962 State Department memo to then-president John F. Kennedy's national security adviser McGeorge Bundy laid out the law on Jerusalem.
The memo told Bundy that not only did the State Department oppose Israel's decision to make Jerusalem its capital. It detailed the efforts the State Department had made over more than a decade to lobby every government that opened diplomatic ties with Israel not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and not to locate its embassy in Jerusalem.
Over the years, various presidents have taken issue with the State Department's policy toward Israel. These disputes have been informed both by genuine disagreement with Foggy Bottom's institutional hostility toward Israel and by political concerns. The American people have been supportive of Israel, and that support has only grown over the years.
But despite their genuine disputes and political concerns, no president who opposed State Department hostility toward Israel seized control over US Israel policy from the State Department.
That is, no one did until Trump did.
On Wednesday, in a very public way, Trump wrested control over US policy toward Israel generally, and Jerusalem specifically, from the State Department. The consequences of Trump's seizure of the reins over US Middle East policy are enormous, and entirely positive for the US itself. Indeed, two in particular are great gifts to the American people.
In his declaration, Trump said, "Today we finally acknowledge the obvious. That Jerusalem is Israel's capital. This is nothing more or less than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done."
Under State Department control for 68 years, US foreign policy relating to Israel specifically and the Middle East as a whole was made in deliberate defiance of reality. In the case of Jerusalem, rather than recognize the plain fact that Jerusalem is Israel's capital city, the State Department insisted on pretending that Israel has no capital. This position was a central component of an overall US Middle East policy that the State Department similarly based on a defiant rejection of observable reality.
So it happened that for decades the US ignored the multiple, systemic pathologies of the Arab and Islamic world and opted instead to predicate its policies on the false assumption that the problems of the Middle East are rooted in Israel's refusal to sufficiently appease the Arab world.
By rejecting the State Department's position on Jerusalem, and by noting that its position is rooted in a rejection of reality, Trump initiated a new course for US Middle East policy rooted in reality for the first time in three generations.
The salutary implications of a reality-based policy for America are as self-evident as the fact that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
This brings us to the second positive advantage America gained from Trump's Jerusalem declaration.
Over the span of decades, a US president's power to determine foreign policy was measured by two things: the amount of daylight between White House statements and traditional State Department positions, and the disparity between US foreign policy positions and the positions of Western European governments and the EU. The greater the distance between White House positions and those of the State Department and Europe, the more power the president held over US foreign policy.
The only exception to this rule was Obama. Like the State Department, and like Europe, Obama's foreign policy was predicated on the need for the US to appease its enemies at the expense of its allies - first and foremost Israel. It was also based on the State Department's long-held assumption that the US should align its policies with Europe. Given his convictions, Obama could advance his agenda in harmony with the State Department.
During Obama's tenure, US allies and enemies alike were conditioned to believe that the US would not challenge them and that the State Department controlled US foreign policy. The Europeans came to believe that despite their military and economic dependence on the US, it was the US that had to take their policies into account when it fashioned its foreign policies - and not the other way around. This was certainly the case in the Middle East where Obama eagerly joined them in appeasing Iran and turning the screws on Israel.
As for America's enemies, Obama and his State Department made it clear to the North Koreans and Iranians that American threats were a joke. The US would do nothing to seriously challenge them. And in the interests of appeasing them, the US was willing to sell out all of its allies.
With this track record, it was clear that Trump would need to take dramatic action to show US allies and enemies alike that the rules of the game had changed in Washington.
Trump's recognition of Jerusalem did the job.
By recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in defiance of Europe and the Arabs and in the course of wresting control of Middle East policy from the State Department, Trump showed US allies and enemies alike that he is in charge. And he is willing to act even when doing so provokes US enemies to threaten retaliation, when he believes that his action advances US interests.
Trump's move wasn't merely strategically brilliant. It was also a political masterstroke.
Consider the liberal Union for Reform Judaism's contradictory responses to his recognition of Jerusalem. In the lead-up to Trump's declaration, URJ President Rick Jacobs condemned Trump's anticipated move which he claimed would harm chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
Jacobs's statement - which was supported by key groups within the Reform movement - effectively divorced Reform Judaism from Zionism. By giving the PLO a veto over Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, Jacobs said that the Reform movement thinks PLO claims to Jerusalem are stronger than Jewish claims.
This self-evidently anti-Zionist position apparently didn't go down well with the Reform rank and file. Because less than 24 hours after Trump gave his speech, the URJ issued a new statement praising Trump's move.
And the URJ leaders aren't the only ones with egg on their face.
Trump risked political support in the opinion polls by deepening US support for Israel in the face of strident opposition from the Democrats, the State Department, the media, the Europeans and the Arabs because he believed it was the right thing to do.
And as it works out, it was also an astute, if incredibly gutsy political move.
By standing up to the Democrats who just months ago called for him to take the very actions he took, but now opposed them because it was Trump adopting them, Trump exposed the likes of Booker and Feinstein as hypocritical opportunists. At the same time, he took ownership of a policy of supporting Israel that enjoys broad and deep public support.
To sum up then, by recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Trump made clear that US support for Israel is not conditioned on anything. Israel, the Jewish state, is supported by the US because it deserves US support as an allied democracy.
Trump strengthened himself against his political opponents by taking ownership of a deeply popular foreign policy position.
He took control of US foreign policy from a State Department that opposes his policies. He made reality, rather than the defiance of reality, the foundation of US Middle East policy.
He put US allies and enemies on notice that he is calling the shots in US foreign policy. And he took a large step toward restoring US credibility as a superpower.
Oh, and he accomplished all of these things without spending a dime.
For his gift to Israel, Trump now enters the pantheon of Israel's friends in the annals of Jewish history.
For his gifts to America he has taken his place among the most astute American statesmen.
And for his political and economic mastery, he enters the ranks of the geniuses of American political history.
Daily Jot: Testing the Religion of Peace - Bill Wilson -
After the 911 attacks, President George W. Bush mounted a massive public relations campaign to assure Americans that Islam was a peaceful religion and that there are more ways to heaven than just one. Tolerance has been preached to the detriment of sound reason. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his intention to move the US embassy there has riled the leaders of the "Religion of Peace" beyond pale. There have been calls for days of rage. There are riots. There are missiles being fired on Israeli citizens-all because of Trump recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. A listing of reactions from Islamists truly does reveal the heart of Islam-the not-so religion of peace.
Ismail Haniyah of the Hamas government in Gaza said, "Our position remains as it is, Palestine from the sea to the Jordan river. We will not agree to two states and not to the division of Jerusalem. I hereby call for terrorism and armed struggle." Saab Erekat, Chief Negotiator for the Palestinian Authority (to which the US has given billions of tax dollars), said, "Now is the time to transform the struggle to one of one state with equal rights for everyone living in historic Palestine, from the river to the sea." Hassan Rouhani, the so-called "moderate" President of Iran said, "We call on Muslim peoples to enter into a big uprising against the plot of transferring the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem." These reactions are consistent across the gambit of Islamic leaders. They are calling for violence to rid the entire area of the Jewish people. This is the peace of Islam.
Need more proof? Here are a few verses from the Koran. They are not taken out of context: Sura 9:5 "...slay the infidels wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush." Sura 8:12 says, "Verily, I am with you, so keep firm those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes." Sura 4:55 says, "Lo! Those who disbelieve Our revelations, We shall expose them to the Fire. As often as their skins are consumed We shall exchange them for fresh skins that they may taste the torment. Lo! Allah is ever Mighty, Wise." These are just three of many verses used to justify killing Christians and Jews.
The simple announcement of moving an embassy and recognizing a nation's capital has caused renewed bloodlust within the so-called "Religion of Peace." It is the excuse its leaders needed to justify more violence and death. Trump's announcement just exposed this Middle East peace charade for what it is-the peace of Islam is complete submission to Islamic rule and ultimately the death of Jews and Christians. Their goal is one state, one religion, one law-Islam and Sharia Law. That is the only peace of Islam. Psalm 122:6 says, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love you." The peace of Jerusalem is a decidedly different peace than the peace of Islam.
Daily Devotion: The Conflict of Christmas - By Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! -Luke 12:51
This may come as a shock to you, but the real Christmas story is not about love, peace, harmony, and gathering with family around a crackling fire. The real Christmas story is actually about conflict. It always has been, and it always will be.
One of the unexpected passages in the Bible that deals with the subject of Christmas is found in Revelation 12, where we have the picture of a woman being pursued by a powerful dragon who seeks her death. As she is preparing to give birth to a child, the dragon hovers over her, wanting to destroy the baby. The woman is a picture of Israel, the child is Jesus Christ, and the dragon is Satan.
That is Christmas from a heavenly perspective, and it gives us the big picture of what was really happening when God sent His Son into the world. The devil opposed it and wanted to stop His birth. And really, you can take that story and see how it is still in play today.
Hostility toward Christmas seems to escalate a little more every year. More nativity scenes are being removed from public places, Christmas carols have been prohibited in many places, and atheists have put up billboards attacking the Christian faith. What's more, many today don't even want the word Christmas used. These are all symptomatic of the conflict of Christmas.
Jesus did not come to bring a mind-numbing peace on Earth that is devoid of truth. The message to the shepherds on the night Christ was born was, "Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased" (Luke 2:14).
What does that mean? It means the only way we will have peace on Earth is when we are pleasing to God.
FROM THE HEART
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