Prophecy Update Newsletter
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Tribulation Chronicles Pt. 8: Great Tribulation - By Alice Childs -
Revelation chapters 8-18
As I finished the previous article, I had brought you from the beginning events post rapture to the midpoint of this last 7-year time period under the usurper Satan's regime. After this point, things will deteriorate rapidly. The judgments that are to come will be far worse than anything that will have happened so far.
You need to prepare yourself to either accept Christ now, if you are still lost (that is if you have still not accepted the fact that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and have not as yet believed in Jesus Christ alone for salvation according to the scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). Once you do believe, you must remain faithful EVEN UNTO DEATH. You will not have to rely on your own failing efforts; the Holy Spirit of God will be with you to enable you to withstand whatever comes your way - including your martyrdom if it comes to that.
From here on out, until King Jesus the Messiah returns, the loss of life and complete planetary devastation that has commenced, and will continue to ramp up, will be the outpouring of wrath from a merciful God whose cup of indignation has finally been filled to overflowing, and whose awesome righteous wrath has finally been kindled.
The Ancient of Days is about to fully unleash His wrath, mete out His justice, and avenge the blood of all of His saints from every era and dispensation. He is now going to avenge all those who have endured the hatred of the Great Deceiver - that slandering, murderous, rebellious Dragon - the fallen cherub Satan, along with all those who have willingly chosen to follow this Deceiver in his rebellion in such a vile, sin-saturated world.
The risen Lamb - the Lion of Judah - is about to roar out the terrifying culmination of His vengeance from the throne room of Heaven, and the atmospheric heavens along with the very foundations of Planet Earth are about to be shaken as never before in human history.
But before we proceed any further, let me once again, for just a moment, back up to the instant right after the rapture has occurred, to remind you yet again of some truths of which I've already told you but which bear repeating. Never forget that the hallmark of Satan is deception.
Remember that I told you in earlier epistles that there will be many "religious" people who will have been left behind. Religion is always man's attempt to reconcile himself to God on his (man's) own terms apart from God's terms. True Christianity as defined by the Bible is not and never has been a "religion." In fact, Christianity as defined by the Bible stands diametrically opposed to every "religion" on earth, including all that calls itself "Christian" but which is in reality a false Christianity, bearing NO resemblance to true Biblical Christianity.
There will be religious leaders from every religion, denomination, and cult known to man (including, sad to say, many well-known and big-name evangelical leaders who call themselves "Christians" but who are not true Christians as defined by the Bible).
These apostate religions and religious leaders will still be here post rapture, and they will band together under one ecumenical religious umbrella, overseen by a great and powerful world religious leader (pay particular attention to the Roman Catholic Church).
Religious diversity and tolerance will be the popular rallying cry, at least during the first half of the Tribulation period, just as it is today. Do you recall the oh-so-tolerant sounding cry of COEXIST? Well, that will be the very banner under which all of the left-behind false religions (including a milder form of Islam) will unite.
Do not be at all surprised to find that most, if not all, of the most well-known "prosperity" and/or "social gospel" preachers and teachers - the false "Word of Faith/name-it-and-claim-it teachers and preachers (who are nothing more than slick, religious snake oil salesmen who have spent their lives swelling their obscenely fat bank accounts by fleecing the elderly, the foolish, and the undiscerning of the majority of their money) - the "seeker sensitive," all-inclusive, let's-just-all-coexist Christian-in-name-only groups and leaders will also have been left behind.
It will only be those whose Christianity followed the Bible - the Biblical "fundamentalists" as we were derisively called - those of us who believed and took the Bible literally, who followed Christ literally according to the scriptures that will have been taken in the great vanishing that was the rapture of the Church.
These false CINOs (Christians in name only) will be left here after the rapture, because they NEVER believed in Christ alone for their salvation. This is why they are still here post rapture, and why they did not go with the genuine church of Jesus Christ when He came to catch away His body/bride, when the rapture occurred.
These false, left-behind religious ones will join themselves with the Roman Catholic hierarchy, the Hindus, the Buddhists, the New Agers, the Mormons, and ALL of the other myriad of false religions to bring DECEPTION to those of you left behind after the rapture of the true Church has occurred. Do not be deceived by them and do not follow them under any circumstances. They themselves are deceived and will only lead you further into deception and into an eternity in Hell.
The first half of the Tribulation will be filled with this false religious system that has its roots in ancient Babylonian paganism. All of these false religions had their beginnings in ancient Babylon under the first "world ruler" named Nimrod. Nimrod ruled ancient Babylon, located on the Plains of Shinar, thousands and thousands of years ago. However, when the GREAT Tribulation begins (the last 3 Â½ years I am about to address further), God is going to bring all of that ancient paganism and perversion in its many and varied forms to its complete and final end.
Keep this in mind, for as you shall soon see, God is going to bring this entire false religious travesty down as well as the kingdom of Satan ruled by the Antichrist and his False Prophet, the religious leader who will head up the false world religion in its myriad of forms.
Prepare now, for this is what is coming during these last 3 Â½ years - the time Jesus Himself termed the GREAT Tribulation:
(1) There will be continued ecological events such as unprecedentedly violent earthquakes on a scale never before recorded and in places never before affected by them, as well as in the expected places along known fault lines. There will be volcanic eruptions of unheard of severity, tsunamis, and other geological upheavals on an unprecedented and previously unknown scale. These will be in diverse places and will rise exponentially in both frequency and severity.
This geological devastation will be GLOBAL in scope. Not one place on earth will be immune from it. A THIRD PART OF THE TREES AND GRASS WILL BE BURNED UP. The famine, already global in scope, will worsen dramatically as a result of these things (Revelation 6:12; 8:7).
(2) There will be astronomical events that will occur: asteroids, meteors, comets, and something that the Apostle John recorded as being "something like a great burning mountain" (whatever that will be) that will strike the oceans. As a result, ONE THIRD PART OF THE SEA "BECAME (will become) BLOOD" as ONE THIRD OF ALL SEA LIFE IS KILLED, AND ONE THIRD OF ALL SHIPS ARE DESTROYED (Revelation 8: 8-9).
(3) A "burning star from heaven" will strike the fresh water sources such as lakes, rivers, creeks, and streams, etc. ONE THIRD OF ALL FRESH WATER SOURCES WILL BECOME POISONED AND CONTAMINATED. Think about this! What a calamity it will be for man and animals not to be able to find sufficient, unpolluted and safe drinking water! This catastrophic devastation will result in even more loss of life (Revelation 8:10-11).
(4) As a direct result of the above catastrophic events, THE SUN AND MOON WILL BE DARKENED FOR ONE THIRD PART OF THE DAY AND NIGHT. The atmosphere and the amount of breathable air will be so polluted, the atmosphere so obscured, that the very light of the sun and moon will be diminished by ONE THIRD. One's ability to breathe will be seriously impaired from the thickly poisoned and polluted air that will pollute ONE THIRD of the Planet. MANY MORE WILL DIE (Revelation 8:12-13).
This is only the beginning. I will pick up in the next entry with the next series of judgments that will swiftly follow these in the 2nd part of The Great Tribulation.
U.S., Israel, Saudis Working 'Hand in Hand' On New Peace Deal - By Leo Hohmann - www.wnd.com
A much-overlooked motive for President Trump's historic recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is to jump-start the Middle East peace process, and do it on terms more favorable to Israel, experts on the Middle East tell WND.
As the world will soon find out, Arab leaders in Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan who would have normally balked at such a deal, are now eager to see it consummated.
A key line in President Trump's speech announcing his change of longstanding U.S. policy toward Jerusalem was this:
"It is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future."
The call for younger voices to be heard was a direct jab at Mahmoud Abbas, the entrenched, corrupt 82-year-old Palestinian leader.
Abbas's days may be numbered, says Dr. Mark Christian, a former Islamic imam who converted to Christianity and founded the Omaha, Nebraska-based Global Faith Institute. He says back channel peace negotiations have been going on for months.
"The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is working closely with Trump and [Jared] Kushner on this, with Netanyahu working hand in hand with them. It is amazing, because we never had a leader in America like this before who is open minded, who's not coming in with an agenda other than what's good for America," says Christian. "His critics say he is an idiot, but he sits down, he listens and he goes on with doing things that were unthinkable before. He just says 'I don't care. I'm making a deal with all those leaders.'"
Frank Gaffney, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense under President Reagan, agrees that Abbas is on the way out and that the Saudis are toying with a new policy that could lead to a "sea change" in the Middle East.
"They have in the past played a double game. There are those who think under in Crown Prince bin Salman that will end and they will become responsible players," Gaffney said. "I'm skeptical, but in think the immediate question is, do the Saudis throw in with the Palestinians and a new violent intifada? I don't think they intend to do that as they seem to have come to the conclusion that Israel is a shared ally in their concerns about the growing threat from Iran, so I don't think it's in their interest to do that. They could flip, but the jury is still out on that."
Trump critics, and even some of his supporters, claim the move of recognizing Jerusalem's status as the undivided capital is too risky and could provoke violence among Muslims who see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
But Dr. Christian says Trump's move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the U.S. embassy there is brilliant because it is so provocative.
"Yeah, Trump is provoking but it is also a very strategic decision aimed to stir things up, to reset the deck. Do not be taken in by all the phony statements the Arab leaders are putting out," says Christian, who was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, where he was raised by a father steeped in the Muslim Brotherhood. "They had to do that."
Those "phony" statements denouncing Trump's decision came from President el-Sisi in Egypt, King Abdullah in Jordan and King Salman in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi royal court issued a statement Thursday saying it warned against this move and "continues to express its deep regret at the U.S. administration's decision," describing it as "unjustified and irresponsible."
Don't be fooled says Dr. Christian, whose given name was Mohamed Abdullah until he converted to Christianity in his late 20s.
"The bottom line is this move was run past the Egyptians, the Jordanians and the Saudis ahead of time and they all approved of it," said Christian. "It's aimed at [Palestinian leader Mahmoud] Abbas. He has been told, 'either you accept this deal or you're out. It is time to solve this problem once and for all.'"
An article in the New York Times Monday seems to back up Christian's theory. It said Abbas had a difficult meeting in Saudi Arabia last month with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in which the prince basically told the Palestinian leader that he will have to get on board with a new peace deal with Israel or he will be "replaced."
While details of the plan remain unknown, it would be a "two state solution" tilted toward Israel to the extent that "no Palestinian leader could ever accept it" and remain in power, according to the New York Times. Under the plan, the Palestinians would receive limited sovereignty, Israel would remain in the vast majority of its settlements, and Egypt would deliver to the Palestinians a slice of the northern Sinai to go along with Gaza. The new capital of "Palestine" would be in Abu Dis, a suburb of East Jerusalem.
Christian said the Arab countries, supported by the Europeans, Americans and the United Nations have been living in denial since 1967, when Israel repelled an attack by a host of Arab countries and captured the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
"The United Nations and all the complicit world leaders have been feeding into the deceit and the same lie," Christian said. "It is as if the United States won the War of Independence but the British still continued to say 'no you have not and we get to tell you exactly what to do.' No, the fact is we won the war and we will do exactly as we want.
"They want to force the delusion on everyone else that this war in 1967 never took place and they never lost the war, and the U.N. is helping them because they issue resolutions that the land is still occupied and not a definitive Jewish land. Trump said this is the reality, if you want to live in reality, good for you, but it's not good for us. And he exposed the complicity and feint heartedness of all of those European leaders and all those liberal American Jews filling up Twitter and Facebook, saying Jerusalem is for all. What does that mean, 'for all'? They are now exposed for trying to push a message of fake peace, so what happened yesterday is a reality check."
By pushing for a return to the pre-1967 borders, which Israel considers indefensible, Western leaders are essentially saying Israel has no right to exist.
"All the peace talks that have been ongoing for years have failed because it's fake and it doesn't' mean anything," Christian said.
What has changed is the leadership in key Arab states.
For 70 years the Arab- Israel conflict was an important tool that Arab leaders used to keep their hold on power. The Israeli bogie man was a convenient distraction for their people, but now that same conflict has become a liability.
"They need to get rid of that conflict, because pouring gas on that conflict is not defining their crown anymore but becoming an impediment to it," Christian said.
Gaffney also believes Trump's strategy is bold and worth the gamble. It's largely based on the advice of Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, who has been holding meetings on Capitol Hill that included input from members of the Israeli parliament.
"I think there's an opportunity here to try something different. It's a radical concept but it's been brilliantly annunciated by Daniel Pipes, who some months ago started a caucus on Capitol Hill and encouraged them to think in terms of a different paradigm for the region," Gaffney said.
That new paradigm is based on historical reality and facts, not the fictions being perpetrated by the European Union and the United Nations, Gaffney said.
"First among those facts is that Israel has actually enjoyed a victory over the Palestinians, that they defeated the Palestinians," Gaffney said. "And the unification of Jerusalem and establishment of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and the whole area is evidence of that victory and yet in the decades since the 1967 War we've indulged in this counter-factual but quite insidious notion that this didn't happen, and so now we will see what Israel can be induced to do to give it back, and so what Trump is doing is trying to acknowledge Israel's sovereignty over the land, although not as fast as I would like, but it is a re-characterization of the facts on the ground, and so it's not the peace process as we have known it so far but it's essentially an arrangement between the victor and the defeated that would actually reflect what's happened on the ground."
Trump, his son-in-law Jared Kushner and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are seizing upon this changing dynamic among Arab leaders.
"It's a historical moment that has to be taken advantage of, they want to see this conflict go away, but they can't do it on their own, they want the U.S. to do it and they will act like they had no part in it," Dr. Christian said. "They want to build a strong relationship with Israel to benefit from its advancement and doing business with them."
And the benefits will not just be economic. They also are looking at military-strategic realities on the ground with regard to Iran.
"One of the benefits the Arabs need from Israel and the United States is to defeat their ultimate enemy which is Iran. And nobody can do that for them except Israel and the United States, mutual benefits and mutual goals," he said.
This is the new reality.
10 Biblical Reasons Behind Trump's Decision to Recognize Jerusalem as Israel's Capital City - By Tuly Weisz - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/99025/10-biblical-reasons-behind-trumps-decision-recognize-jerusalem-israels-capital-city/#3D0hH4Bd3XAgy4Zu.99
This week Jews and Christian Zionists are rejoicing that President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people. In his remarks set a Christmas backdrop the day before the White House Hanukkah party, the president of the Unites States declared that Jerusalem is "the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times."
Here are 10 Biblical reasons that Trump made the right decision to move the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel's capital.
1) Jerusalem is mentioned over 800 times in the Bible.
For Zion's sake I will not be silent and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be still. ISAIAH 62:1 (The Israel Bible)
Jerusalem is referred to by name 662 times and Zion is mentioned over 150 times in the Bible, not to mention thousands of additional references throughout ancient Jewish literature and Rabbinic sources. There is not a single mention of Jerusalem in Islam's holy text, while Mohammed never once visited the holy city.
2) "King David declared it 3,000 years ago!"
But I chose Jerusalem for My Name to be there, and I chose David to rule over My people Israel. II CHRONICLES 6:6 (The Israel Bible)
No electoral college nor parliament elected Israel's King. God Almighty selected David as the leader of Israel, and chose Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish kingdom, where King David ruled from for 33 years. While occupied over the centuries by numerous foreign empires, no other nation made Jerusalem its capital city besides the Jewish people. When confronted by critics of Israel's claim to the holy city, Prime Minister Menachem Begin would retort, "We didn't declare Jerusalem to be our capital city, King David declared it 3,000 years ago!"
3) The Jews have never forgotten Jerusalem.
If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither. PSALMS 137:5 (The Israel Bible)
Despite being scattered to the four corners of the earth, Jews have never forgotten about their holiest city. "I am in the west, but my heart is in the east," said the famous medieval Jewish poet, Judah Halevi. Even on our happiest days, we pause to reflect upon the destruction of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem. At all Jewish weddings, the groom declares from under the bridal canopy, "If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither," and breaks a glass to serve as a sad reminder that no occasion is completely joyous in the absence of the Holy Temple.
4) The sovereign State of Israel established Jerusalem as its capital city.
Thus said the Lord, 'I have returned to Zion, and I have made My dwelling in the midst of Jerusalem.' ZECHARIAH 8:3 (The Israel Bible)
The Israeli government decided that the shekel is its national currency, Hatikvah is its national anthem, and its capital city is Jerusalem. Placing an embassy in any other Israeli city denies Israel her sovereignty and is unheard of in world politics. In fact, Israel is the only country in the world where America's Embassy is not in its functioning capital, until now.
5) Throughout history there has been an uninterrupted Jewish presence in Jerusalem.
Judah will exist forever, and Jerusalem from generation to generation. JOEL 4:20 (The Israel Bible)
The first epic tale of Biblical heroism takes place when Abraham brings his son Isaac and demonstrates his unyielding faith in God on Mount Moriah, the center of Jerusalem. That same site is where David establishes the seat of his Kingdom, where his son Solomon builds the First Temple, and after its destruction, where the Second Temple is also erected. Despite numerous attempts to exile the Jewish community from the Land of Israel, and in the face of constant oppression by foreign occupiers, the Jews have remained faithful, and ever present, in Judaism's holiest city.
6) Jerusalem has always been the focus of Jewish practices.
Arise, let us ascend to Zion, to the Lord our God. JEREMIAH 31:5 (The Israel Bible)
In modern times, Jerusalem is the center of Jewish ritual and religious practice, just as it was in ancient times. Although we no longer have the Biblical mandate to ascend three times per year to worship in the Temple, every single day, Jews make constant reference to Jerusalem in our daily blessings and prayers. The central Jewish prayer, said three times per day, includes the request that God "open our eyes to the restoration of Zion." At mealtimes, as well, Jews beseech the Almighty to "Build up the holy city of Jerusalem," and at the conclusion of every Yom Kippur service and Passover Seder, we fervently declare, "Next year in Jerusalem!"
7) Only Israel protects the holy sites of all faiths.
My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples. ISAIAH 56:7 (The Israel Bible)
Even at the peak of ancient Jewish nationalism, during the times of the Temple, the priests and levites serving in Jerusalem warmly embraced the worship and sacrificial offerings of Jew and Gentile alike. Judaism does not see itself as having a monopoly on truth or being the only path to God. Judaism has deep respect for all monotheistic faiths, and welcomes the prayers of all those who call out in the name of the One God. Unfortunately, not everyone in this region has such an open-door policy. When Muslims controlled Jerusalem up until 1967, ancient Jewish and Christian holy sites were ransacked and disgraced. Today, the holy city flourishes once again. It is open to all religions and welcomes millions of pilgrims each year from all over the world.
8) Jews worldwide pray in the direction of Jerusalem.
May God bless you from Zion, and may you gaze upon the goodness of Jerusalem, all the days of your life. PSALMS 128:5 (The Israel Bible)
There is no better way to understand what a person loves than to know what they pray for. A person's deepest values and ultimate priorities emerge from his or her prayerful heart. Far from being just a trivial detail, the direction in which a person prays speaks volumes as to where their loyalties are. Muslims, for example, even while they are praying on the Temple Mount, turn their prayer rugs in the direction of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, while Palestinians living in other parts of Israel turn their backs to Jerusalem altogether while praying. On the other hand, every synagogue in the world is built facing Jerusalem. Synagogues in North America are built facing east while synagogues in Asia face west so that whenever a Jew prays, he or she faces Jerusalem.
9) American law already requires the Embassy to move to Jerusalem.
Upon your walls, O Jerusalem, have I posted guardians all day and all night, continuously, they will never be silent. ISAIAH 62:6 (The Israel Bible)
In 1995, the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act was passed by the 104th Congress by a sweeping vote of 93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House of Representatives. Eighteen years ago, Congress passed a law "initiating and funding the relocation of the Embassy of the United States in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, no later than May 31, 1999." Expressing the will of the American people, the act also called for "Jerusalem to remain an undivided city and for it to be recognized as the capital of the State of Israel."
10) The name Jerusalem contains a blessing for peace.
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; those who love you will be serene. PSALMS 122:6 (The Israel Bible)
While Palestinians are threatening three days of violence and rage, the essence of Jerusalem emerges from its sacred Hebrew name, Yerushalayim. At its core is the word 'Shalom' which has three meanings in Hebrew: hello, goodbye and peace. Shalom is the way friends greet one another, it is how Israelis answer their phones and begin emails. But, Shalom is more than a greeting, it is also a blessing. Peace is the most important gift we can ask from God, on an individual level, as families and between countries. It is therefore of utmost significance that the world's holiest city, Jerusalem, has Shalom at its core, because only when Jerusalem is at peace, can the whole world finally enjoy peace on earth. Let us pray that now that America has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, we will begin to enjoy peace in the holy city.
Nearing Midnight: Drunken World about to Sip - Terry James - http://www.raptureready.com/category/nearing-midnight/
To my way of thinking, things going on at present regarding Israel are most significant in light of Bible prophecy. Intrigues involving the status of Jerusalem are profound beyond any entered into in recent times. A strange setting of the prophetic stage is in process, with Saudi and Israel engaging in unprecedented overtures to each other. A key prophetic player is the chief cause of the strange bedfellows climbing between the geopolitical, diplomatic sheets. We get a flavor of the Bible prophecy stage-setting from the following news excerpt.
Imagine an Israeli taking a direct flight on El Al airlines to Riyadh, or the House of Saud establishing an embassy in Jerusalem. Previously unthinkable, rumors abound of a desire by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) to normalize ties between the two countries...
Israel's relationship with the Saudis appears to be warming, with the countries allied in the struggle against a common enemy, Iran...
There are a number of reasons Riyadh and Jerusalem may be cozying up, outside of the desire to stop Iran's expansionism. Both countries agree, for example, that the "Arab Spring" revolutions were destabilizing and unleashed dangerous forces. They likewise believe that a reduction in American influence in the Middle East left a power vacuum that risks being filled by enemies. (Inside the Prospective Israel-Saudi Arabia Rapprochement, Israel News, Jerusalem Post, By Ian May/ The Media Line)
Many prophetic observers-including yours truly-believe that Sheba and Dedan of Ezekiel 38:13 likely refers to the area possessed by present-day Saudi and surrounding territory. These will not be part of the Gog-Magog assault against Israel given by the prophet Ezekiel.
Instead they will apparently stand on the sideline and issue a note of diplomatic protest, along with others. Certainly recent developments, with Iran (ancient Persia) being the chief nemesis of both Israel and Saudi, have the Jews and Arabs coming together. They are doing so, at least, in their desire to promote their common defense.
At the same time, the Arab/Muslim world as a conglomerate body is making sounds of war. The reason: the rumors that American President Donald J. Trump will move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Another news excerpt frames the situation.
The Trump administration has notified U.S. embassies around the world that it plans to formally recognize Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel, according to a report published Thursday by The Wall Street Journal. The plan includes the future relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
According to the report, the plan has not been finalized, but envoys were being notified so that they can inform their host governments and prepare for possible protests...
"The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if, [the embassy will relocate to Jerusalem]," a White House spokesperson said. (White House Notifies US Embassies Around the World of Plan to Recognize Jerusalem as Capital of Israel, The Jewish Press, JewishPress.com, Hana Levi Julian, December 1, 2017, JewishPress.com)
It seems to this observer that we are about to witness the world's geopolitical players take a sip from that cup prophesied by Zechariah:
Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem.
And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it. (Zechariah 12:3)
Giving Jerusalem validation as the rightful capital of Israel is a thing that should be done. The president is right to do so, if he does move the American embassy to God's touchstone city of the world.
But, doing so would almost without a doubt bring consequences-consequences which no American president has been willing to risk since Congress declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel with The Jerusalem Embassy and Recognition Act of 1995.
God said He will, Himself, make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to those who deal treacherously with His chosen city and people. The world today is drunk with hatred for God and for the nation of Israel. Perhaps it is this American president who is chosen to be God's instrument for leading the world to take a sip from that prophesied, deadly, cup.
Hanukkah And the End Times - By Enoch Lavender -
'those who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits...' Dan 11:32
While this verse has been a source of encouragement to countless Christians down through the ages, few have considered its original context.
This beautiful promise comes immediately after Daniel's description of an anti-Christ like figure from the 'kingdom of the north' who puts an end to sacrifices in the Temple and erects the 'abomination of desolation'.
While I believe these verses ultimately are talking about the End Times, in this article we will see how it specifically applied to the Jewish heroes of Hanukkah and how it might apply to us today.
In AD 175BC, 400 years after Daniel wrote down his prophecies, Antiochus Ephiphanes became ruler over the dominant and powerful Seleucid Empire based in Syria to the north of Israel.
At this time, Hellenism was a powerful force in society, seducing many Israelites to the Greek materialistic, pleasure seeking and idol worshipping culture. Jason - a Hellenised and corrupt Levitical priest - entered into a treaty with Antiochus, which enabled Jason to become High Priest in Jerusalem.
In exchange Jason helped erected an idol in Jerusalem and built a gymnasium in town - a place that openly promoted homosexual activity. Jason's actions split Israel - outraging those who remained faithful to the Torah, while many Hellenised Jews rallied to Jason's side.
Three years down the track, Antiochus - who called himself 'Epiphanes' or the "god man made flesh" - suffered a humiliating loss in battle against his arch-rivals in Egypt. Returning from this stinging defeat, he heard of insurrection and trouble brewing in Israel and launched an enraged attack on the city of Jerusalem.
When the dust had settled 80'000 Jews had been butchered. Antiochus proceeded to defile the Holy of Holies in the Temple - sacrificing a pig on the altar of God and pouring swine broth over the holy parchments.
As foretold in Daniel 11:31, Antiochus then put an end to the daily sacrifices in the temple and erected an idol of Zeus in the Temple - bearing his own image on its face. The Jews at the time called it the 'abomination of desolation' - drawing on the imagery of Daniel 11:31.
Truly it became an 'abomination of desolation', for as soon as the idol was erected, intense house-to-house persecution broke out across the entire land of Israel. Houses were searched meticulously, and those found keeping God's laws were mercilessly tortured and killed.
Daniel 11:33 predicted that many of the faithful would fall by the sword and the book of Maccabees tells many such stories. One such story is that of the elderly scribe Eleazer. Eleazer's captors desired to treat him kindly due to his advanced age and implored him to only pretend to go along with their demands.
Eleazer however refused to compromise and went willingly to a torturous death, setting an example that was to be followed by many - young and old, men, women and children in the days to come. These precious Jewish heroes who paid such a high price for their faith could well be those that the writer of Hebrews refers to when he talks of those who 'were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection' (Heb 11:35).
Antiochus' plan to Hellenize Israel seemed to be slowly but surely working. Much was at stake, for if Antiochus' diabolical plan had succeeded, then there would have been no nation of Israel, no books of the Law, no temple and no one keeping or knowing God's commandments by the time Jesus was born 150 years later.
But in these dark days of suffering, as Daniel had predicted, a small minority who knew their God were raised up to 'carry out great exploits'.
Under the command Judah Maccabee, the rebels gradually gained strength. Although they were hopelessly outnumbered and facing undoubtedly the greatest super-power of their day, Judah was undaunted through firm faith in God.
Antiochus sent wave after wave of to crush the rebellion - yet time and again Judah emerged victorious. Finally, Antiochus sent 47'000 men to squash Judah's rag-tag army of around 3000 men once and for all.
Hearing of the impending onslaught, Judah and his men first spent a day in fasting and repentance, where Judah reminded his men of the great victories of Israel in the Bible. The next day the Maccabees launched a surprise attack of their own on the main enemy camp - against all odds delivering another crushing blow to their enemies. After 3 years of battles and stunning military wins, the brave Maccabees finally retook Jerusalem, cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it to the God of Israel.
As the Jewish people today commemorate this great victory with the feast of Hanukkah, they say to each other that 'a great miracle happened here'. Truly this was a great miracle, and one which ultimately prepared the way of the Messiah's birth in Bethlehem some 150 years later.
Hanukkah and the End Times
The reign of Antiochus bears many parallels to the End Times and carries powerful lessons for the final end time generation. Firstly, the story of Hanukkah is an annual reminder to the Jewish people of the danger of compromising their values and entering into a treaty with a foreign ruler for peace.
Secondly, to us as Christians, the story of Hanukkah carries a powerful message of standing firm in the face of persecution. As it is becoming increasingly unpopular to stand for Biblical values, may we too count the cost, and be faithful to our Lord no matter what lies ahead.
On the other hand, let us also take courage from the Maccabees who stood against such insurmountable odds and were victorious.
We too might feel like a tiny minority in our society, but truly those who know their God in these days, 'shall be strong and carry out great exploits...'. Let us not give up on our nation or our world, but keep praying and sharing the Gospel - believing that a 'great miracle' can happen here in our midst as well.
Daily Jot: Why good men do nothing - Bill Wilson -
Edmund Burke is credited with the quote: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Certainly, we are told by the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:21, "Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good." In this case, the Greek word used for "overcome" can be interchanged with "conquer." We are not to be conquered by evil, but to conquer evil with good. So Burke's quote is quite right in the sense that if good men do nothing in the face of evil, evil with triumph. This is one of the problems we have with our political system. Year after year we elect the same kinds of people and we expect them to do what they say. We are mostly disappointed because of a lack of quality and character.
People have often asked about why we have such questionable candidates running for office. The choices, they say, are subpar. The short answer is that we need to recruit better candidates. That recruitment process starts at the local level, meaning that we should be involved at the precinct or county committee level and exercise our opinions on candidate selection. But even at that foundational level of all politics, there is built into the system these days a tremendous flaw. Those who run for office may start out believing they can make a difference, but the longer they are in politics and the higher the office they seek, the less in touch they are with their original values. It really is a true formula.
Over my years in politics, I saw really good people with great ideals slowly erode into minions for the party machine or other outside influences that "redirected" their thoughts and stances on issues they once held dear as non-negotiable. Moreover, the very essence of politics in today's environment would strongly discourage or even prevent a good person from running for office. Who in their right mind would subject their family, friends, business associates, or even themselves to a process that seeks as a price of entry the destruction of reputations built over a lifetime? Everything that was done by a candidate during his life is open to the twisting of half-truths or lies or worse by the opposition.
In many cases-and I know this is true because I am a veteran of political campaigns-a lie is spoken on purpose to get a willing reporter to write a story. Once the story is written, it has legs that can be run through the public, then used again in negative campaign ads, and can be recycled in debates, and so on. Often these lies are proven to be lies long after the election-long after the reputation is ruined, marriages are left on questionable ground, jobs are lost. This is what our political system has become. No good person would even enter the building politic knowing this risk. Hence, evil advances. It takes a special kind of person to put all at risk to overcome this evil. They are hard to find.
Daily Devotion: True Seekers - By Greg Laurie -
"And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart." -Jeremiah 29:13
The arrival of the wise men in Jerusalem would have created quite a stir. These were strange men with a strange question, asking for the King of the Jews. They couldn't have said a worse thing to King Herod. In effect, they were saying, "We're looking for the King of the Jews-and clearly you're not him."
This is why we're told in Matthew 2:3, "When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him." The word troubled used here could be translated "to shake violently"-like a washing machine in the spin phase. That was Herod. And when Herod was agitated, everyone was agitated. When he was mad, everyone was afraid of what could happen next.
So Herod called in the scribes, men who had committed themselves to studying the Scriptures. Without missing a beat, they went right to Micah 5:2: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting."
There was no question the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Of course, Herod wanted to stop this Child from coming and wanted to destroy Him.
God used these wise men to get Herod's attention. These were pagan men who were steeped in the occult. Yet God reached them in a way that they understood. He came to them by a star.
The Lord says that those who seek Him will find Him. To educated men and women, He will come to them in a way they can understand. To little children, He will appear in a way they can understand.
I believe that if people are truly seeking God, He will reveal Himself to them.
FROM THE HEART
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