Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Feast of Hanukkah, History And Prophecy - By Jack Kelley - https://gracethrufaith.com/topical-studies/holidays-and-holy-days/the-feast-of-hanukkah-history-and-prophecy/
He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. (Daniel 11:21)
In 175 BC Antiochus IV Epiphanes came to power in Syria by stealing the throne from his relative, Demetrius II, the young son and rightful heir of Seleucus IV Heliodorus. The original Seleucus was one of the four generals who divided the Greek Empire between them following the death of Alexander the Great. Thus Antiochus Epiphanes became the eighth descendant of Seleucus to sit on the throne of Syria.
Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant (Onias III) will be destroyed. With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South (Ptolemy VI of Egypt). The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. The king of the North (Antiochus) will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country. (Daniel 11:22,25,28)
Soon after taking power, on his way to invade Egypt, Antiochus invaded Israel, stealing all the gold and silver furnishings from the Temple. He had Israel's last legitimate High Priest, Onias III, murdered and from then on the office was sold to the highest bidder, with the money going to Antiochus.
The Birth Of The Sadducees
He began to "Hellenize" Israel and before long many of the wealthy and influential among the Israelites adopted the Greek style of dress, cutting their hair short and shaving off their beards as well. They also argued for a blending of Greek philosophy and culture into the Jewish way of life. From these advocates of Greek thinking, the political party known as the Sadducees was born, eventually growing to a position of prominence during the time of Jesus. It was the influence of Greek philosophy on their approach to the Hebrew Scriptures that blinded the ruling Sadducees to the fact that Messianic Prophecies were being fulfilled right before their eyes during the Lord's life on Earth.
"At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant. (Daniel 11:29-30)
Initially, this accommodation with Greek culture encountered only vocal resistance, but that all changed when the Egyptians rebelled and, with the aid of the Roman Navy, defeated Antiochus and drove him from Egypt. In a rage, Antiochus again invaded Israel, this time demanding that he be worshiped as God. (The name "Epiphanes" comes from a title he gave himself, "theos epiphanies" or god made manifest. After this the Jews started calling him "Epimanes" which means the madman.) He outlawed the reading of the Hebrew Scripture, punishing by death anyone found with copies in their possession. Circumcision, praying, keeping the Sabbath, and worshiping the One True God were likewise proscribed with severe penalties for disobedience.
"His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him. (Daniel 11:31-32)
Put The Hammer Down
In 168 BC Antiochus again broke into the Temple, converting it into a pagan worship center in honor of the Greek god Zeus (called Jupiter in Roman mythology). Instead of the blood of bulls and goats, he sprinkled water in which pork had been boiled in the Holy of Holies, and slaughtered pigs on the altar. Then he erected a statue of Zeus in the Holy Place, with his own face on it, thereby proclaiming himself to be God. Because it rendered the Temple unfit for worshiping God, Jewish historians called this act the Abomination that Causes Desolation, the only event in history so named. It triggered the Maccabean Revolt.
The Maccabean revolt was one of the world's first guerrilla wars. It was fought under the command of Judeus Maccabeus (Judah the Hammer). Regaining possession of the Temple in 165, the Jewish people smashed the polluted altar and the statue of Zeus, grinding both to powder, and then built a new altar from uncut stones.
Next they set out to cleanse the Temple and re-dedicate it to God, an eight-day process (2 Chron. 29:17). But they could only find enough sacred oil to light the Menorah (the 7-branched lamp stand in the Holy Place) for one day, and the law required that it be lit constantly for the entire 8 days. Because the preparation of sacred oil was a time consuming process, they decided not to wait, but to use the oil they had to light the Menorah immediately, trusting that God would find this acceptable. God was pleased and made the oil last for the full eight days until the new supply was ready and the re-dedication complete.
Eight Is Enough
Those who study the symbolic use of numbers in Scripture know that eight is the number of New Beginnings, and indeed the Maccabean victory over the Syrians ushered in a new era, known as the Hasmonean Dynasty. During much of this period, which lasted till about 64 BC, Judea, as Israel was known at the time, enjoyed independent nation status, having finally won their freedom from Syria. Following other Hasmonean victories, the Jews regained boundaries that nearly approximated those of Solomon's time. Jewish rule was exercised throughout the expanded nation and Jewish life flourished once again. A New Beginning for the Children of Israel.
The Feast Of Dedication
The miraculous burning of the oil is still celebrated in the eight-day Feast of Hanukkah, from the Hebrew word meaning dedication. It's also called the Festival of Lights and this year it began at sunset on December 12 (2017) on our calendar.
To celebrate Hanukkah, a special 9-branched candelabra is used, with eight branches commemorating the eight days when the oil kept burning. The ninth branch, called the Shamash, is usually positioned above the other eight. Its candle is always lit first and then used to light the other candles, one each day, until on the eighth day of Hanukkah all are lit. The Hebrew word Shamash means servant, so the Shamash is the servant candle that's raised up and gives light to all the others.
Incredibly, the Hanukkia, or Hanukkah candelabra, becomes a beautiful model of the Messiah and His church. It was the Lord Jesus, the obedient servant, who was raised up (John 3:12) and gives light to all others (John 8:12). For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve. (Mark 10:45)
If you've read our studies on the Lord's probable birth date, you know I believe He was conceived during the Feast of Hanukkah and that His life, like all others, began at conception. If so, the Hanukkia is a fitting reminder that the Light of the World arrived during the Festival of Lights, ushering in a New Beginning for all mankind.
History To Prophecy
We know that the Levitical Feasts of Israel have both a historical and a prophetic fulfillment. For example, Passover commemorated the Jews' freedom from bondage in Egypt and looked forward to the Messiah freeing us all from the bondage of our sins. The prophetic aspect of the Spring Feasts was fulfilled in the Lord's 1st Coming, the summertime Feast of Pentecost commemorated the giving of the Law and was fulfilled in the giving of the Holy Spirit, and the Fall Feasts commemorated God's dwelling among them and will be fulfilled in the 2nd Coming. Hanukkah is not a Levitical Feast but I think it has an important prophetic fulfillment like the others.
In reviewing the history of Hanukkah, I'm sure you spotted the similarity to events yet future to us. One day soon a man will arrive on the world scene. He'll become very powerful very quickly, assuming a leadership position that's not rightfully his. Many will give their loyalty to him and he'll conquer most of the world. Even in Israel, many will favor accommodation with him, some even thinking he might be the Messiah. (John 5:43)
But then he'll stand in the Holy place and declare that he's God (2 Thes. 2:4), another Antiochus Epiphanes. He'll have a statue of himself erected and put in the Holy Place to be worshiped (Rev. 13:14), another Abomination of Desolation, the one Jesus warned about in Matt. 24:15. Just like his predecessor, he'll demand to be worshiped as God on pain of death, and make everyone swear a pledge of loyalty to him. He'll put a stop to the recently instituted Temple sacrifice (Dan. 9:27) and try to erase every trace of the legitimate God from the world. He'll wage war against those who oppose him, but they'll fight back in another war of resistance. After 3 ½ years he'll be defeated (Dan. 12:7) and the defiled Temple will be cleansed and made ready for use again during the Millennium, another Feast of Dedication. And Israel will again experience a period of untold peace and prosperity, expanding fully to its originally promised dimensions. Jewish rule will be exercised throughout the expanded nation and Jewish life will flourish once again (Isaiah 65:17-25), another New Beginning for the Children of Israel and for all the world. Happy Hanukkah.
'If necessary, Israel will take military action to keep Iran from acquiring nukes' - By Ariel Kahana -
Israel will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and will take military action to prevent it from doing so should all other options fail, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Tuesday. Katz's remarks came in response to an Iranian threat on Monday to "level Tel Aviv from Lebanon."
"Israel is not the helpless protesters being slaughtered by the ayatollah regime in Iran and Iraq. We will be able to respond forcefully to any threat or attack," said Katz.
Katz also said that Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite terrorist group Hezbollah, had been "exposed" as an Iranian proxy rather than as a defender of Lebanese interests.
On Monday evening, senior Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps adviser Morteza Ghorbani said that if Israel made even the smallest error when it came to Iran, Tehran would "level Tel Aviv from Lebanon."
Ghorbani claimed that Iran had no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons, and said that if Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei were to issue instructions to attack Israel, the latter would raise its hands in surrender.
Ghorbani's remarks came in response to an interview Katz gave to the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera over the weekend, in which he said Iran must face the threat of military action in addition to sanctions.
"The Iranians have no idea who they're dealing with. If they realized that 1,000 Tomahawk missiles could be fired at them, they would behave differently," Katz told the paper.
Nearing Midnight: Gog's Persian Partner Prophecy - Terry James - https://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
Threats against America have been coming fast and furiously from the ruling minions in Tehran. Sanctions imposed by America because of Iran's unabated nuclear program, threats against shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, and the regimes continuing hostile activities in the region are putting great pressure on the nation's leadership.
The people of Iran-at least a considerable number who are resisting the dictatorship-are leading in applying the pressure. Whereas the propaganda from the Iranian news media-and some within the mainstream news in America as well-has consistently proclaimed that the protests of the people have been against America, even those media no longer can hide the facts. The facts show that the protesters, many of whom have died over the last few weeks, are violently against the Iranian ruling regime. This, even the Ayatollahs are having to recognize. The result of the protests and of this recognition is that they've found a scapegoat, and have acted in trying to divert attention from what's really going on.
The real thing going on is that the people are suffering due to the sanctions imposed because of the regime's dogged determination to develop nuclear military power, thereby going against every agreement they have made to the contrary.
The scapegoat is the Iranian secular office of president (as much as it can be determined that anything about Iran is secular). The following news excerpt gives an indication of the attempted diversion from the ruling religionists being to blame.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi is to submit his resignation, his office says, after more than 40 people were killed on the bloodiest day since anti-government protests began.
Iraq's top Shia Muslim cleric condemned the use of force against protesters and called for a new government.
About 400 people have been killed in protests since the start of October, and at least 15 died on Friday.
Iraqis are demanding jobs, an end to corruption and better public services.
Is a new Arab Spring unfolding in the Middle East?
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was "deeply concerned over reports of the continued use of live ammunition against demonstrators" and called for "maximum restraint." [Abdul Mahdi's resignation] came after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called for a new government.
"In response to this call, and in order to facilitate it as quickly as possible, I will present to parliament a demand [to accept] my resignation from the leadership of the current government," the statement signed by Mr. Abdul Mahdi said.
The statement did not say when his resignation would take place. On Sunday parliament will hold an emergency session to discuss the crisis. (Iraq Unrest: PM Abdul Mahdi to resign after bloodiest day in protests - BBC News)
Sources are setting off alarm bells that Iran is putting its nuclear production facilities into high gear. And, it's not for peaceful, nuclear energy. The following excerpt frames the story.
The Iranian government is shortening its nuclear breakout time-the amount of time required to produce enough weapons-grade uranium for a single nuclear weapon. Tehran has accomplished this through several steps in the last few months.
Iran's government first increased its enriched uranium stockpile beyond the 300 kilogram limit; it enriched uranium to levels beyond the cap of 3.67 percent, and then activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 advanced centrifuges. The Iranian leaders even boasted that their government is now exploring new uranium enrichment programs and producing centrifuges.
Most recently, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, declared that Iran has an adequate supply of 20% enriched uranium., "Right now we have enough 20% uranium," he told the Iranian Students News Agency, ISNA, "but we can produce more as needed". He added that the country is resuming uranium enrichment at a far higher level at the Fordow nuclear facility - an underground uranium enrichment facility which is reportedly located on one of bases of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) - injecting uranium gas into centrifuges, and operating 60 IR-6 advanced centrifuges. ("Iran to Have Nuclear Bomb in a Few Months?" by Majid Rafizadeh, Gatestone Institute)
A major part of all this that might be of interest to prophecy watchers, in my thinking, is whether the current and building resistance to the Muslim rulers of Iran will bring stepped up activity in fulfilling their nuclear ambitions (as the above excerpt seems to indicate). They will almost certainly not step up dismantling that program. Becoming a nuclear power, thus a hegemonic regional force, is, I believe, a supernaturally induced desire, placed there by the Prince of Persia, or that minion's superior, Lucifer, himself.
If the Ayatollahs determine their own positions are threatened, might they go all out to complete getting the ultimate weaponry that they think will assure their continuing rulership?
It has long been my contention that something prevents the Gog-Magog force from storming toward Israel, using nuclear weapons. At least, that's the way I read the Gog-Magog forces in regard to their weaponry.
It seems there are no nukes involved-at least, none used by these evil attackers. The Lord, Himself, seems to use something at least as horrific as nuclear weaponry in dealing with those attackers, but their forces seem to be conventional. Salem Kirban, in his novel 666, portrayed the attack as from weaponry exactly described in Ezekiel 38-39. Real horses, real, ancient weapons, etc., the novelist thought, might be used because of something catastrophic happening, causing technological collapse.
Another prophecy comes into view, I think, considering why Persia -Iran- apparently hasn't any nuclear weapons at the time of the attack on Israel.
My friend Bill Salus has written about this prophecy a number of times, including in his book, The Now Prophecies. He outlines the prophesied destruction of Persia's (Iran's) war-making capabilities. He, like I, see things shaping now in the mountainous regions of Iran as building up to the destruction of Iran's nuclear program.
Bill writes the following:
We should, I think, keep our spiritual senses attuned to what Iran's tyrannical leadership does next. If they push to complete their nuclear program, the Elam prophecy of destruction might be quite near to fulfillment.
Israel Watch: Defining the Left - Jim Fletcher -
A piece in the American Thinker this past week, analyzing the Washington Swamp's efforts to succeed in its coup against Donald Trump, called that very effort "unconscionable evil." Attempting to steal the votes of 63 million is indeed evil.
The House of Representatives also passed a resolution this week that is evil, opposing Benjamin Netanyahu's efforts to possibly annex the West Bank, and...wait for it...recommit to the disastrous "two-state solution." According to the Times of Israel:
"WASHINGTON - US House lawmakers issued a strong rebuke to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump on Friday, passing a resolution opposing Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank and supporting a two-state solution."
There was also an extremely interesting added element that shows just how ruthless and relentless the Left is:
"Democrats Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress who have gained notoriety for their strong criticisms of Israel, both opposed the resolution, as did the two other left-wing congresswomen dubbed "The Squad." They objected that the resolution's authors, in a bid to gain broad support, removed a call to end Israel's "occupation" of Palestinian land.
"'This resolution not only endorses an unrealistic, unattainable solution - one that Israel has made impossible - but also one that legitimizes inequality, ethnic discrimination and inhumane conditions,' said Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Squad member who is of Palestinian descent.
"'We must take bolder actions to ensure that human rights are upheld in Israel and that Palestinians and Black Israelis are treated with the equality every human being deserves,' said Tlaib, who is Palestinian-American, on the House floor."
Catch that? Just like Yasser Arafat, when those subversives Omar and Tlaib did not get everything they wanted-the word "occupation" was removed by House committee leaders-they pouted and went home.
This is actually chilling, and is a display of the kind of intransigence the Left is known for and defined by: All-or-nothing! No compromise, no concessions. They simply want their ideological opponents to bow down to them and shut up.
This is how totalitarians act.
Finally, in this story, there was one other interesting nugget that is potentially huge. Evidently, the Trump Administration is being vague about their long-range view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From the Times article:
"Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and his point man for the Middle East peace process, has said that the administration's as-yet-unreleased peace plan would avoid speaking about the two-state solution.
"'I realize that means different things to different people,' he said earlier this year. 'If you say 'two states' to the Israelis it means one thing, and if you say 'two states' to the Palestinians it means another thing. So we said, 'let's just not say it'. Let's just work on the details of what this means.'"
Wow. It appears to me at least that this would leave the door open fairly wide to some sort of Palestinian state, even if "let's just not say it." It could mean other things, too, such as Palestinian autonomy in a shrunken state-like form. Of course, that's essentially what the Israelis offered 25 years ago with Areas A, B, and C in the West Bank. The murderous Palestinian leadership blew that up literally from the start.
It's hard to imagine what Palestinian autonomy in the future would look like. In my perfect world, there would be population transfer. I don't care that many think that is a hateful stance; I'm tired of seeing Jews murdered by the beasts of "Palestine."
Whatever happens, we can see that the Left will not budge an inch or move toward the Right at all on this issue. Now that Muslim subversives like Omar and Tlaib have infiltrated our government (with more to follow, following the Muslim Brotherhood playbook!), we see there is no rest for the weary.
Daily Jot: Never too late to do the right thing - Bill Wilson -
The Washington Examiner's Tim Pearce wrote a December 6 story about "several moderate Democratic House representatives" voicing concerns about going forward with impeaching President Donald Trump because of "political consequences." There are several things wrong about this story. First, these Democratic congressmen are public officials. They should not be allowed to appear in stories as anonymous. They don't have the courage to come forward and couple their names with their concerns. They should face the political consequences they are so concerned about. But there is an even deeper issue with these Democrats who are queasy about impeachment. It's called doing the right thing.
There is no stronger indication that this impeachment process has been nothing more than political when you have Democrats who are afraid to publicly say they don't want to impeach the president because they might lose their seats in the election. Their concern is that impeachment will not set well in their districts and by being associated with this whole show trial, they will be booted. They should fear the vote. Rasmussen Reports Daily Presidential Tracking Poll indicates that 51% of likely voters approve of Trump's job performance. The previous president was 45% at this juncture in his first term. Keep in mind, these numbers were taken after the Democrats said they were drawing up charges.
The deeper issue with these anonymous moderate democratic congressmen is they appear to care nothing about the Constitution, the Country and the rule of law. They care about saving their own hides in their respective districts. It is this motivation emanating from both sides of the political aisle that is ruining this country-both from a Constitutional perspective and a moral one. While on one hand it is admirable that these cowardly Democrats prefer censorship over impeachment, it is unacceptable that any elected representative-Democrat or Republican-is least concerned about the Constitutional and National impact of using impeachment as part of an ongoing coup fomented by a political party and an unelected deep state.
Doing the right thing these days seems so hard to do. There are no statesmen or patriots in the House of Representatives and only a couple in the Senate. Yes, we see a handful of Republicans standing up here and there against this coup, but nothing passionate. We hear a lot of loud mouths with no substance shouting "impeach." But who will be doing the right thing? I'm reminded of the verse in Ezekiel 22:30, "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one." This "coup by impeachment" should be opposed because it is bad for the country long-term, not because some anonymous coward will lose his congressional seat. And those who are calling this as it is, need to step it up, too. It's never too late to do the right thing.
Daily Devotion: Life in All Its Fullness - by Greg Laurie -
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.-John 10:10
As the Christmas season descends, we start seeing countless commercials for things we "must" buy. The implied promise is that if you give this or if you receive that, then you will be happy.
Of course, there's a rush of excitement in receiving a very special gift. But I'll bet that you can't even remember what you got for Christmas last year. It was so important then, but now it has faded from your memory.
I think Christmas, commercially at least, cannot live up to the promise. It can't live up to the standards we have set in our minds, because Christmas is, at best, a promise of greater things to come.
If your hope is in Christmas, then you will be disappointed-especially when the bills come due. You open your presents on Christmas morning, and then on December 26, it's bills, bills, bills.
It is not Christmas that will bring you fulfillment. It's Christ. He will give you life, and that more abundantly.
Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 NKJV). That is the hope of Christmas through Christ. That is the gift that God wants all of us to have.
In reality, I have found that the greatest moments of Christmas are not the ones we often get psyched about. Rather, the greatest moments of Christmas are those in-between moments, like when you're having a meal together with family. Or the moments when you're wrapping a gift, not giving it. Then there are the moments when you're with the family of God, those moments of worship.
So this Christmas, slow down. Relax a little bit. Enjoy it and take it in. Because Jesus was born in Bethlehem to bring us life-and all its fullness.
FROM THE HEART
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