Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
The Land of Milk, Honey, and a Very Heavy Stone - Pete Garcia -
Now when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold, horror and great darkness fell upon him. Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete." Genesis 15:12-16
The land of Israel was promised to the Jewish people (future descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) some 4,000 years ago. At that time, the pagan peoples of the Amorites, Jebusites, Amalekites, Canaanites, Girgashites, etc., had occupied the land flowing with milk and honey. Around 3,600 years ago, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob made good on His promise and delivered the Hebrews from Egyptian bondage and into the Promised Land (with a 40-year detour added).
3,000 years ago, King David founded the city which up until that point had been the Canaanite (Jebusite) cities of Jeru and Shalem. It is here that the angel of the Lord was in the process of destroying Jerushalem when God stopped his path of destruction near the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:16) and instructed Gad the Seer to tell King David to make the sacrifice there. Before doing that, King David bought the threshing floor and the bulls to do so. 2,000 years ago, Jerusalem was the established capital in the Roman province of Judaea.
1,000 years ago, Jerusalem had been under the control of the Abbasid Dynasty (Muslim) and was about to be captured by the first Crusaders. 500 years ago, the Ottoman Turks defeated the Mameluke forces and captured Jerusalem. 120 years ago, Theodor Herzl convened the first Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland in 1897. It was here that European Jews began planning to move back to their ancient homeland, which at that time, was still under the control of the Ottoman Turks. 100 years ago, British forces liberated Jerusalem from the Ottoman Turks (who had sided with the Central Powers in WWI). 70 years ago, the Jews won their right for statehood on November 29th, 1947 at the United Nations with Resolution 181.
50 years ago, the Jewish forces decisively defeated numerous Arab and Egyptian forces in the Six Day War in 1967 and recaptured the city of Jerusalem from the Jordanians in the process. 40 years ago, US President Jimmy Carter along with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin began setting the stage for what would come to be known as the Camp David Accords. The Accords, which would set in place for the next forty years, the idea of "land for peace." 30 years ago, the Temple Institute was formed to make the third Jewish temple, become a reality. 22 years ago, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required the US to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem or be waived every six months.
Five days ago, US President Donald Trump didn't sign this waiver, and then officially announced Jerusalem as Israel's eternal, and undivided capital. He then instructed his State Department to begin moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He became the first US president to do so in 70 years.
The significance of what Donald Trump just did should not be underestimated. Three previous US presidential administrations all promised during their respective campaigns to do something they probably had no intention of doing. When elected, they didn't do it because they thought they could use Jerusalem as leverage for any final peace deals. But since Trump broke ranks and did the right thing, what are we to make of our seemingly paradoxical situation? Will the US be blessed because of what he did, or will our misfortunes as a nation in moral freefall continue on the prophetic glide path towards last-days irrelevancy?
Now the Lord had said to Abram:
"Get out of your country,
from your family
and from your father's house,
to a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
and make your name great;
and you shall be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you,
and I will curse him who curses you;
and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." (Gen. 12:1-3)
To answer my recent question, I believe it will be both. We as a nation might have some respite from President Trump's decision on a geopolitical level, but I believe the blessing will be with him and those who supported his decision to officially recognize Jerusalem. He may be now viewed in the same category as the great Gentile leaders from antiquity like Cyrus or Artaxerxes II in assisting Israel's survival as a people and as a nation.
In more recent times, he joins President Truman (the first world leader to recognize Israel as a nation) and President Nixon (who came to Israel's aid in her greatest hour of need). Both these presidents supported Israel despite tremendous opposition even from within their own administrations (compare with Ezra 4). To his credit, I believe Caroline Glick's recent article captures the essence of the Trump doctrine and how that will play out in the coming weeks, months, and years.
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.
As to the relevancy of our nation in terms of the prophetic picture, we are still headed to the same exact place we were while under Barack Obama. Even though Cyrus and Artaxerxes II greatly aided Israel and are remembered in the annals of history for doing so, the mighty Persian Empire still fell to the rising Greek power of Philipp II and Alexander the Great. I believe God will bless President Trump's presidency, but I also still think that those who are the enemy of God and Israel, will continue to suffer at the hands of divine justice (Romans 1:16-32).
We still must contend with the reality that this world is currently under the management of Satan and his varied forces (Luke 4:5-7, 1 John 5:19). As long President Trump continues in office, he can expect intense pressure to reverse this decision. Even though Nixon aided Israel during the Yom Kippur War, that didn't prevent his impeachment because of Watergate. However, it was added to the righteous acts he performed in this life. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will protect Trump and his administration until his purposes at this stage of human history are complete. As to the United States, we are still heading to our appointed rendezvous with prophecy. Even we as a nation (if we are still a nation), will one day come against Israel as an enemy.
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it. Zechariah 12:2-3
Like the iniquity of the Amorites, the fullness of the Gentiles is about run its course (Luke 21:24). The Pre-Tribulation (or pre-70th Week) Rapture will instantaneously remove all born-again believers from the earth. We know that according to Scripture, there is a final, Gentile kingdom coming that will dominate the earth for seven years (Rev. 13). According to the Prophet Daniel (Daniel 9:24-27), the prince who is to come is from the same people who destroyed the temple and Jerusalem in 70AD. This would make whoever the Antichrist is, come from somewhere within the boundaries of the old Roman Empire. Through the use of advanced technology (quantum computing, artificial technology, digital currency, etc.), and satanically-charged supernatural power, this man of lawlessness will ruthlessly rule the entire planet for a season. He starts his reign of terror with a covenant committed between Israel and the many nations (Isaiah 28:15, Dan. 9:27).
Although we don't know exactly what this covenant entails, we can reasonably assume it will build off Trump's recent declaration and will probably deal with the final status of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and the building of a new Jewish temple. We know there is a third temple because the Bible demands one to be rebuilt (Ezekiel 40-48, Matt. 24:15, 2 Thess. 2:4, Rev. 11:1-2). The world under Satan's influence has long desired to make Jerusalem an international city under the pretenses that it serves the world's three major religions. Each religion can claim some connection as Muslims and Christians because both have conquered and held control over it for brief periods of time. In the coming weeks and months, Jerusalem will become an even greater cup of trembling as the nation's rage over this recent declaration (Zech. 12:2-3).
But what will really happen, is that this man Antichrist (rider on the white horse) will use peace as justification to take over Jerusalem maybe involved in allowing for the Jews to actually build their new temple. At the midway point of this seven years, this same man will desecrate the newly rebuilt Jewish temple by setting himself up as God-incarnate and his false prophet will demand all peoples worship him on pain of death. Jesus said that when the Jews in Jerusalem see this, they must flee Jerusalem and leave without even packing their things (Matt. 24:15-18). God will shepherd them and move them to a safe place to shelter them during the last half of Daniel's 70th Week (Isaiah 26:20-21, Rev. 12:13-17).
President Trump (like Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar) was selected by God for this appointed time, to at a minimum, do this appointed thing (recognize Jerusalem). We know that there is a spiritual conflict going on because Jerusalem is not strategically significant in any other manner than a religious one. Although the Jews as a people-group have been blinded to the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ at present (Romans 11:25-29), God's promises and calling to them are unchangeable (Jer. 31:35-37). After the Rapture and at a certain point during the Tribulation, they will realize that Jesus really was the Messiah, and they will call upon Him for salvation.
"And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. Zechariah 12:10
Until then, pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122)
Trump's Jerusalem declaration sparks talk of 3rd Temple - http://www.wnd.com/2017/12/trumps-jerusalem-declaration-sparks-talk-of-3rd-temple/
Israeli activist: 'Words of prophecy are coming forth from the Bible and becoming facts'
While Muslims jeer, Israelis cheer President Trump's Jerusalem declaration, prompting Jewish religious activists to suggest building the Third Temple is closer to reality than ever before.
"What he did ... was an enormous step in bringing the Temple," said Asaf Fried, official spokesman for the United Temple Movement, an association of organizations working towards making the Third Temple a reality.
He added, "This necessarily had to come from a non-Jew in order to bring them into the process, so they will be able to take their part in the Temple."
Fried sees Trump's role similar to the one played by Cyrus, the Persian king who ended the Babylonian exile and helped build the Second Jewish Temple.
"There have been amazing advances towards bringing the Temple this year. It was clear that Trump was part of that process, guided by Hashem (God)," Fried declared.
He is hardly alone in his jubilation about the possibilities of rebuilding a Temple last destroyed in A.D. 70 - 1,948 years ago.
"The prophets' words of prophecy are coming forth from the Bible and becoming facts right before our eyes," said Likud lawmaker and prominent Temple Mount movement figure Yehuda Glick.
Quoting from the opening words of the book of Lamentations, in a reference to Jerusalem, Glick noted that once Jeremiah had wept, crying "How deserted lies the city, once so full of people! How like a widow is she, who once was great among the nations!"
But the rise of the state of Israel, coupled with Trump's declaration, have now changed all that, Glick suggests: "So, Mister Jeremiah, I'm sending you a WhatsApp: 'Jerusalem is no longer alone like a widow. Jerusalem is recognized as the capital of the Jewish People.'"
Rabbi Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the nascent Sanhedrin, was cautiously optimistic.
"One year ago, the Sanhedrin called on Trump to build the Temple as Cyrus did 2,000 years ago," Weiss said. "He has clearly moved in this direction but there is still a long way to go and many pitfalls that could prevent that from happening. Trump is facing enormous political pressures. The borders of Jerusalem are still open to negotiation. The Temple Mount is still not a settled issue and the United Nations is working hard at trying to convince the world the Jews have no place there. If Trump is to succeed, the Jews have to come together in unity in order for him to remain strong."
Yakov Hayman, the United Temple Movement chairman, also saw Trump's statement as part of a major shift in modern history for Israel and the Jewish people.
He said, "1917 was the Balfour Declaration establishing Israel for the nations, 2017 was Trump's declaration."
"When Jews and non-Jews go up en masse, the Temple is inevitable," Hayman added. "The people of Israel are returning to their roots while simultaneously the non-Jews of the world are realizing the authenticity of our claim to the Temple Mount and our right to build a Jewish Temple as a House of Prayer for All Nations. These processes are codependent. It depends on the Jews, our actions, but the non-Jews are an essential part of the process. Our task is to act as priests to make the whole world holy," Hayman said, citing verse 19:6 in the Book of Exodus: "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel."
He added: "That will only happen in a Temple in Jerusalem," he emphasized. "The next step, the most important step, must be taken by the Jews. We need to begin going up to the Temple Mount is massive numbers. Once we do that, the Temple is the next inevitable step."
Glick sad: "Just as I've said that the State of Israel is a miracle, one of the greatest of miracles, it seems to me that the fact that hundreds of millions of people, Christians, recognize Israel, is another stage in the miracle."
"There is something very special and holy in Trump," added Hayman. "Sometimes, he appears coarse and not connected to religion, but every time he addresses the nation he speaks about God. Last night, he said his motivation for recognizing was Jerusalem was because it was the right thing to do. That is precisely how a leader guided by God should speak."
Messianic Trump-Cyrus Connection Revealed Through Hebrew Numerology, Bible Codes - By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/99167/messianic-trump-cyrus-connection-revealed-hebrew-numerology-bible-codes/#cW09CxfbbHEcR5Q7.99
"Thus said Hashem to Cyrus, His anointed one- Whose right hand He has grasped, treading down nations before him, ungirding the loins of kings, opening doors before him and letting no gate stay shut." Isaiah 45:1 (The Israel Bible™)
Connections between the US president and Persian King Cyrus, recently strengthened by President Donald Trump's landmark speech acknowledging Jerusalem as the eternal capital of Israel, have deep roots in Bible Codes and Biblical numerology which link both men to the coming of the Messiah.
President Trump is similar to Cyrus in a number of observable ways, rabbis and commentators have noted. Though separated by 2,500 years, both men rule the greatest nation of their respective eras. Cyrus, like Trump, was powerful and rich but not at all devout. And like Cyrus, Trump supports Jewish national aspirations. Now, a Messianic connection has come to light.
The mysterious ties between Trump, Cyrus, and the Messiah are revealed through two mystical methods of understanding the Torah. Hebrew numerology, known as Gematria, gives Hebrew letters and words numerical values which uncover hidden meanings, while Bible Codes search the Torah for secret patterns and connections.
Cyrus's connection to the Messiah is found in the Book of Isaiah. The Persian king is the only non-Jewish leader to be referred to in the Bible as Moshiach, literally 'His anointed one'. The word for 'anointed one' in Hebrew is 'Moshiach' (משיח), which means "Messiah".
Thus said Hashem to Cyrus, His anointed one- Whose right hand He has grasped, treading down nations before him, ungirding the loins of kings, opening doors before him and letting no gate stay shut. Isaiah 45:1
Trump's connection is found through Gematria. Using the method to break down the value of Hebrew letters, Donald Trump's name in Hebrew (דונלד טראמפ) equals 424 - which is also the numerical equivalent of 'Moshiach for the House of David' (משיח בן דוד).
Rabbi Matityahu Glazerson, a Bible codes expert, also discovered Trump ties to Cyrus and Messiah within the codes. One week after the 2016 elections, Rabbi Glazerson produced a video in which he described clues found in Leviticus.
Rabbi Glazerson found the words 'D. Trump' and 'president of the USA' adjacent to the word 'Koresh' ('Cyrus' in Hebrew). All of these words were adjacent to the word 'Moshiach', used in that instance explicitly as a characteristic of an anointed priest.
And the anointed (moshiach) kohen shall take some of the bull's blood and bring it into the Tent of Meeting. Leviticus 4:5
"Definitely Trump is not Moshiach," Rabbi Glazerson cautioned, explaining the unique connection.
"Koresh was called Moshiach because he helped the Jews to settle Israel and to start building the Second Temple. Trump is like Koresh because he is supposed to help the Jews in Israel, maybe to build the Temple."
The Trump-Cyrus connection was acknowledged even before the election by many Evangelical Christians who supported Trump's campaign promise to establish Jerusalem as Israel's capital. Evangelical speaker Lance Wallnau wrote a best-selling book on the subject titled God's Chaos Candidate.
"It's not a normal election and so we almost need a different kind of candidate," Wallanu said in an interview with CBN News just before the election. "Trump has the Cyrus anointing to navigate in chaos. [Cyrus] came in, this king, as a secular ruler and decreed for the building of the house of the Lord. He literally made it possible for the Jews to end the captivity."
Wallanu pointed out that as the 45th president of the United States, Trump would embody the 45th chapter of Isaiah, in which Persian King Cyrus rebuilds the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
Trump has personally embraced the connection with the Persian king. In March, President Trump issued an official statement on the occasion of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, in which he quoted King Cyrus.
"[F]reedom, dignity, and wealth together constitute the greatest happiness of humanity. If you bequeath all three to your people, their love for you will never die," the quote read.
After President Trump's historic announcement last Wednesday, approximately 250 Israeli rabbis signed a letter of gratitude initiated by Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat. In an interview with Israel National News, Rabbi Eliyahu explained that his motives for sending the letter were actuated by comparisons between the American president and Cyrus.
"We mentioned to him in the letter that when [the Prophet] Nehemiah came to Cyrus, to establish Jerusalem, to strengthen and fortify its position, all kinds of people of little faith stood among the gentiles and - to our shame - from the elite of our own people, and sought to stop this," Rabbi Eliyahu said.
"But [Cyrus] was determined to do God's will and the designs of the other people collapsed, and eventually they too understood that God's will would be done."
Last year, the nascent Sanhedrin felt the connection between Trump and Cyrus was so strong that it sent a letter to the newly elected president calling on him to build the Temple. In light of Trump's recent declaration concerning Jerusalem, the Sanhedrin acknowledges this connection has materialized, but is cautious of how this will play out in the current political environment.
"Cyrus' actions would have been pointless, would have been forgotten in history, had they not culminated in the Second Temple," Rabbi Weiss pointed out to Breaking Israel News. "Trump did not do this."
"If he leaves us without the Temple Mount then his grand announcement amounts to nothing and will actually cause great harm," the rabbi warned. "The United Nations and the Palestinians cunningly refer to East Jerusalem in order to hide their true intentions of leaving Israel without their true capital. President Trump said he was establishing the capital of Israel, and this absolutely must be based around the Temple.
"If Trump, like Cyrus, helps reestablish the Temple, it will strengthen America, just as Cyrus established a powerful and flourishing empire after taking part in building the Temple."
Peace on Earth - By Daymond Duck -
The prophet Zechariah had a vision of a rider on a red horse (Zech. 1:7-17). This rider turned out to be THE (in Hebrew THE is emphasized) Angel of the LORD (capital LORD). Here, THE Angel of the LORD is Jesus (verse 11).
There were other riders on horses behind Jesus. Zechariah asked about them and he was told, "These are they whom the LORD hath sent to walk to and fro through the earth" (Zech. 1:9-10).
This group of riders was an angel patrol that God had sent to patrol the earth. These angels had just returned with a report, "We have walked to and fro through the earth, and behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest" (Zech. 1:11). They found peace all over the earth.
In the last 5,000 years, historians say there have been more than 4,000 wars. Peace on earth is very rare. This time of peace on earth was at the end of the Babylonian captivity, and it was one of those very rare occasions.
Most would expect Jesus to be pleased with peace on earth, but there was something about it that troubled Him.
He asked God, "O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years?" (Zech. 1:12).
There was peace on earth, but it was peace without Jerusalem and the surrounding towns. Without Jerusalem and the surrounding towns, Jesus couldn't be born in Bethlehem, Ephratah; He couldn't ride into Jerusalem on a donkey; He couldn't suddenly appear at the Temple, and many other prophecies couldn't be fulfilled.
There was peace on earth, but it was peace on earth on Satan's terms, not God's terms.
God said, "I am very sore displeased (very angry) with the heathen that are at ease; for I was but a little displeased, and they helped forward the affliction" (Zech. 1:15). God didn't like the attitude of the heathen (Gentiles) on earth.
Their attitude wasn't a big problem at first when God allowed Babylon to put the Jews off the Promised Land for 70 years, but He was sore displeased 70 years later when they tried to keep Israel off the land forever. God said the Jews would return after 70 years, but Gentiles were trying to make Israel's situation worse than God decreed by keeping the Jews off the land forever, not letting Jerusalem and the Temple be rebuilt, etc.
God's punishment of Judah wasn't enough for the Gentiles. They wanted to go beyond what God said. They wanted the permanent destruction of Judah.
God wasn't pleased with this. He said the Seed of Woman would bruise Satan's head, and it had to happen. Nations cannot be allowed to prevent the Word of God from being fulfilled.
This brings us to Zechariah's second vision (Zech. 1:18-21).
First, Zechariah saw "four horns," (kings, kingdoms or nations; Dan. 7:24; Rev. 17:12). He was told, "These horns are the kingdoms or nations that scattered Judah, Israel and Jerusalem" (Zech. 1:19).
Next, Zechariah saw "four carpenters." He was told, "These are come to fray (punish) them, to cast out the horns of the Gentiles (heathen), which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it" (Zech. 1:21). These four carpenters represent things or nations that God has sent to tear down and get rid of those that are adding to Judah's punishment.
These visions apply to Zechariah's day, but the things in the Old Testament are examples for us today (I Cor. 10:11).
God is gathering the Jews back to the Promised Land (Isa. 43:5-8). He gave all of the Promised Land to Israel forever (Gen. 17:7-8).
The angel Gabriel said the Antichrist will stop the animal sacrifices at the middle of the seventieth week (Dan. 9:27). Paul said, the Antichrist will sit in the Temple and say that he is God (II Thess. 2:3-4).
Many Gentiles are trying to stop Israel from getting all of the Promised Land, stop Israel from rebuilding the Temple, resuming the animal sacrifices, etc.
World leaders think they can have peace on earth by dividing Jerusalem and the Promised Land, giving part or all of Jerusalem and the Promised Land to the Muslims, etc., but they can't because every jot and tittle of God's Word must be fulfilled.
At the time of the end, the Antichrist must arrive, the Temple must be rebuilt. The animal sacrifices must resume, etc. U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a major indicator of things to come.
Before the Temple is rebuilt, members of the religion of peace will schedule days of anger, rage and violence to protest the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, but eventually there will be a false peace, and the Temple will be rebuilt.
When that false peace treaty is signed, God's day of wrath will begin (Rev. 6:16). He will use four horsemen (called the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse) to fray the world (Rev. 6:1-8).
There may not be a connection, but one of those horsemen will ride a red horse like THE Angel of the LORD in Zechariah 1:8. The rider on the red horse will remove peace from the earth (Rev. 6:3-4).
Thankfully, the Church won't be here when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come forth. You see, the sudden destruction will come upon them (the lost) when they (the lost) say "Peace and safety" (I Thess. 5:3).
The lost will wrongly say "Peace and safety" before the sudden destruction comes (Pre-Trib). They won't say "Peace and safety" halfway through the Tribulation Period (Mid-Trib) or near the end of it (Post-Trib).
Christmas is near, and many people will talk about peace on earth, but they are not interested in, or anxious for, the return of Jesus. They don't seem to realize that there won't be peace on earth until Jesus returns (Dan. 9:24). If Jesus doesn't return, no flesh will be saved, but Jesus will return (Matt. 24:22; Acts 1:11).
Anyway, Israel needs at least some control over Jerusalem and the Temple Mount to think that they are secure enough to rebuild the Temple. Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is a giant step in that direction. More steps are needed, but the ball is rolling.
Prophecy Plus Ministries, Inc.
Daymond & Rachel Duck
The Messiah in Hanukkah - Messianic Significance of Chanukah - Robin Sampson -
The law did not require Jews to be at the Temple in Jerusalem, as this was not one of the pilgrimage festivals. Everyone observed it in his own place, not as a holy time. Jesus was there that He might improve those eight days of holiday for good purposes.
Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch when the Sadduciens asked him "How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ tell us." They pretended to want to know the truth, as if they were ready to embrace it; but it was not their intention. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me (John 10:25-27). He had told them, and they believed not; why then should they be told again, merely to gratify their curiosity?
Hanukkah's theme is of a miracle. During Hanukkah Jesus spoke of His miracles: If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him (John 10:37-38). Jesus wanted the people of his day to see His miracles and believe in Him as a result. His miracles point to his divine and messianic identity. In this way Yeshua personifies the message of Hanukkah: God actively involved in the affairs of his people. Hanukkah reminds us that God is a God of miracles, not just of concept and religious ideals. He has broken through into human history and continues to do so today. All of us who know Yeshua can speak of God's working in our lives (Gilman 1995).
Jesus is the Light of the World
Jesus preached three sermons in which he declared Himself the "light of the world," and all three could have been during Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. (It is not clear from the text when this incident happened, but it was some time between the Feast of Tabernacles and the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah); both of these celebrations focused on light).Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them (John 12:35-36).
Just before Jesus announced that He was the Light of the world, Jesus had shone upon the conscience of those who accused the adulteress. Read the story in John Chapter 8. John also records Jesus healing a blind man (John 9:1-12) at about the same time (John 8:12 and 9:5) that Jesus declared himself to be the Light of the world. When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing (John 9:5-7).
The story of Hanukkah can be compared with end-time happenings described in the books of Revelation and Daniel. Antiochus is a type of the antichrist. Just as happened under the rule of Antiochus, Daniel prophesied in Daniel 9:27 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.
The same powers promoted by Antiochus are in the world today. Worldwide immorality, and idolatry are the norm. We must come out and be separate. And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. The deceiver stands waiting to devour in this present culture (2 Cor. 6:16-17).
Was Jesus Conceived on Hanukkah?
Many believe that our Messiah, the "light of the world," was conceived on the festival of lights-Hanukkah. The Bible does not specifically say the date of Jesus' birth. It was not during the winter months because the sheep were in the pasture (Luke 2:8). A study of the time of the conception of John the Baptist reveals he was conceived about Sivan 30, the eleventh week (Luke 1:8-13, 24). Adding forty weeks, for a normal pregnancy reveals that John the Baptist was born on or about Passover (Nisan 14). Six months after John's conception, Mary conceived Jesus (Luke 1:26-33); therefore Jesus would have been conceived six months after Sivan 30 in the month of Kislev-Hanukkah. Was the "light of the world," conceived on the festival of lights? Starting at Hanukah, which begins on Kislev 25 and continues for eight days, and counting through the nine months of Mary's pregnancy, one arrives at the approximate time of the birth of Jesus at the Festival of Tabernacles.
Daily Jot: The destinies of nations - Bill Wilson -
A Christian American farmer once addressed the legislature, saying, "This is no time for ceremony. The question before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the majesty of heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings...
"...There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations; and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged!... Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace, but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!...Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!
These are excerpts from the speech given on March 23, 1775 by Patrick Henry. Henry understood firsthand the oppression of government over religious expression. The British government and the Episcopal Church were trying to stamp out the Baptists by persecuting them--even holding them under water until they nearly drowned. Upon news of one such beating, Henry rode his horse some 50 miles to attend the trial of two pastors who were accused of preaching the gospel. During the trial, Henry interrupted and asked the court if he heard it right that these men were on trial for "preaching the gospel of the Son of God?" Henry was instrumental in changing the laws against religious persecution.
Christians in America were not always so concerned about themselves and their self-improvement, or paranoid about supporting their country, or arguing over extra-biblical teachings, that they didn't take seriously what was happening to them and their nation. Romans 12:21 points out to: "Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good." The fact remains as Henry said, "There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations." We are seeing in the news how one person can make a difference, and how God uses whom he chooses to express his will on earth. Let us all be open to the will of the Lord as we live our lives each day, and as Peter and the Apostles said in Acts 5:29, "We ought to obey God rather than men." We might be surprised how God will use us as he chooses in the destiny of nations and of men.
Daily Devotion: The Color of Christmas - By Greg Laurie -
"For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross." -Colossians 1:19-20
Red is the color of Christmas-not because Santa suits are red or because we wrap packages in red. Red is the color of Christmas because of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed.
We see a battle being played out in our culture today that is actually the battle of the gods. It is the God of the Bible, the true and living God, versus all contenders. This battle goes back to the first Messianic verse in the Bible when, after Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin, God said to him, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel" (Genesis 3:15). Thus, Satan wanted to stop Christ from coming.
The cradle was pointing to the Cross. The Incarnation was for the purpose of atonement. The purpose behind the birth of Jesus was the death of Jesus. This is New Testament Christianity. It's the division between light and darkness, righteousness and unrighteousness, good and evil, and right and wrong.
Interestingly, it's actually through conflict that we can find real peace. For example, when someone walks into a dark place and turns on a bright light, it changes the entire dynamic. Through this conflict, through this disagreement, the ultimate unity will come. Why? Because as a Christian, you make people aware of their sin-and they don't like it one bit. You don't even have to say anything, really. You're just being you as a Christian.
So don't be upset because there is a little conflict. Just hold your ground and keep praying. This division can result in people thinking about their souls, considering the claims of Christ, and then ultimately turning their lives over to the Lord.
FROM THE HEART
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