Prophecy Update Newsletter
December 20, 2016
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Justified by the Law? - By Pastor mike Taylor - www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com
23"But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.
24Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
25But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (Galatian 3:23-26)
21 "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain". (Galatians 2:21)
We have a discussion going on a Christian website kicking back and forth the question "Are works of the law required for salvation?" We have one young man who tries to use scripture ( out of context) to prove the point that we are required to keep the Law. He is right? Do we HAVE to keep the law in order for salvation to be found in us? Let us go to what Paul wrote concerning what was going on in his time.
GRACE AND LAW
The Apostle Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians to address a heresy that put him into direct confrontation with the Apostle Peter. Let us give an historical background of this differences between two of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus.
Paul describes his recent trip to Jerusalem in which he was accompanied by Titus. Titus was not a converted Jew, but rather a converted (and uncircumcised) Greek, which had created quite a stir among Jerusalem's Messianic community. Those whom Paul addressed as "false brethren unawares" were 'brought in' as spies, hoping to "spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." (Galatians 2:4)
Paul was offended that his fellow brother was being isolated by the Jewish Church, and he blamed Peter for his obvious hypocrisy to allow it.
11 "But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.
12For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.
14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
15We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatian 2:12-16)
Peter whose hypocrisy was called out by Paul, was afraid of offending the Jewish Authorities and allied himself with "Judaizers", who believe faith came through grace, but also demanded the keeping of the Law of Moses.
Here Paul reminded Peter that the wall of partitions had been torn down that separated Jews from Gentiles. When the Jewish brethren from Jerusalem were not around, Peter ate with the Gentiles to prove his belief in that belief.
14"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
15Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
16And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:" (Ephesians 2:14-16)
8" For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them". (Ephesians 2:8-10)
But when certain Jews came as emissaries from the Apostle James, Peter withdrew from the Gentiles, acting as if the law was still in force and the distinctions between Jew and Gentile should be maintained.
12 "For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.
13And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation." Galatians 2:12-13)
Paul called this doctrine "dissembling". "Dissembling", according to the dictionary, means to "disguise or conceal one's true nature, motives or feelings behind a false appearance."
Paul's main complaint had little to do with the specific subject at hand. He accused Peter of subverting the Gospel, and replacing it with legal requirements that amounted to keeping the Law, but claiming salvation by faith.
Paul spoke the plain truth of the Gospel noted above:
"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
Even shedding more light onto law vs. grace:
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.(Ephesians 2:5-7)
HOW DOES THAT APPLY TO US TODAY?
Let's stay with that statement for a minute. "A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ."
If it was true in Pauls day, then it is equally true for us today. God has not changed in the last 2000 years, and neither have we. It's just as active today of the heresy of works to produce salvation as it was then.
"16Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Galatians 2:16)
Note that Paul says a man is justified by "the faith OF Jesus Christ." Christians place their faith, first and foremost in the fact that Jesus Christ will keep His promises. Our faith is in His faithfulness. Understand that many believe in the past historical figures, such as Abraham Lincoln, or as George Washington in our culture. Those who believe their history, know that Jesus was an historical person, but one can believe Jesus existed and not be a Christian. The Muslims believe that He existed, but Islam is hardly a believer by faith in Jesus Christ and are not part of the Christian experience.
Christians are justified by "faith OF Jesus Christ" to keep His promises when He said in John:
37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
38For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." (John 6:37-39)
Many in the Church today impose certain legal requirements as being contingent on salvation, just as did the early Church. They make all kinds of rules to address how you should dress, or the place of women in church services, or how you should wear your hair. But when you speak of many who profess "law keeping" as much of the Sabbath Keeping denominations do, then it is easy to elevate even the Sabbath high and lifted up as an object of worship and the laws that surround the Old Testament covenants with Israel as coming close to idolatry...they worship the creation and not the Creator. Now that is not to say that the Law and the Sabbath are done away with, not at all. They are good and Holy and are appropriate for the person who follows Jesus Christ. But you must make it plain in your own Christian life, that Jesus is "the Way, the Truth and the Life"
"6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.' (John 14:6)
But is the Law sin? God forbid!!
6"But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and notin the oldness of the letter.
7What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet." (Roman 7:6-7)
The Law has been our school master of our need for a Savior. There is no man that can keep the law, not long as he is mortal. Paul laments this in the same chapter of Romans 7:
14 "For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
15For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
16If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
17Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." (Romans 7:14-17)
So from this, it is evident that we can't keep the Law...even after we accept Jesus as personal Savior. Paul writes of even his inability to keep the whole of the Law, in it's spiritual intent as preached by Jesus on the "Sermon on the Mount". But that doesn't stop some of these denominations from taking scripture out of context to prove the need to keep the Law. They claim salvation plus Law keeping is the combination for eternal life. But let us take some of these restrictions that they impose on their memebers for Law keeping.
1. smoking-those that continue to smoke are not really saved or they would overcome this nasty habit.
2. Those that drink, even a beer are not realy saved, because "drunkards will not inherit the Kingdom of heaven".
3. What if the person is hooked on a presciption drug, are they saved? Not according to law keeping beliefs.
These few sinful behaviors disqualifies them from salvation because they are supposed to be free from bondage and not fill the Temple of God with things that defile. They are accused of having only a head knowledge, not a heart knowledge. I can't speak for anybody else but me, but my head knowledge tells me I'm still a sinner, and in need of a Savior...my heart tells me that I'm not as bad as that other Joe Blow that does all these things, because my "secret sins" are more socially acceptable.
The point is, being a Christian does not dis-qualify me from never sinning again. So I put my trust in Jesus to save me from even these more "socially acceptable" sins that none of us, if we be honest with ourselves, can fully escape. Because sin is sin, any sin and we can't escape. At least while we are alive in this body of flesh, we can't.
So we put our trust in Jesus Christ, as we can't trust our flesh to remain sin free.
Trust is defined as "putting our faith in something committed into the care of anothers charge. To have or place confidence in; depend on."
If smoking and drinking and drugs are evidence that a person is not really a Christian, then what about obesity? Being fat in today's culture is not seen as sinful, despite the proven health risks associated with being overweight.
How is that less defiling of the temple of the Holy Spirit then the other, less socially-acceptable examples of self-indulgence? Logic and Scripture both demand the recognition that lustful self-indulgence would be the relevant sin, not the object one lustfully self-indulges oneself with.
I am not making a case that it is acceptable for Christians to smoke, drink, use drugs, or indulge in riotous living. I am simply using extreme examples. Sin is sin.
You can substitute swearing, cheating on your taxes, lying about your age, wishing evil on some guy who just cut you off in traffic, or envying your neighbor's new car.
(The more socially-acceptable 'substitute list' above breaks five of the Ten Commandments.) I'm not making a case to say as a Christian I'm free to live the devil.
I am making the case that our salvation is not contingent on our works. Every Christian is a work in progress, the Scriptures tell us.
6"Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace." (Philippians 1:6-7)
Personally, I can attest to this Scripture and so can you if you be honest with yourself. I am not the same man I was 20 years ago...or even when I first got saved 50+ years ago. Each of us have gone through transformations over a number of years. I would hate to have been judged for the man I was even 20 years ago. Why? Becaues I'm a work in progress...YOU are a work in progress, because God is not done with any of us, till He calls us home or we are changed into spiritual beings at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ for His Bride at the Rapture. I doubt He is done with me yet, or with you. There are more changes to be made according to His will.
(And the same applies to you. No matter where you are in your walk with the Lord, right now, it will only get better.)
28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to beconformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified". (Romans 8:28-30)
I started this message with the scriptures noted above "I do not frustrate (or work against) the grace of God." Pardon for sin comes by and through the grace of God, not our own inherent goodness. Paul goes on to make his point in the difference between Law and Grace through Jesus Christ:
19 "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Galatians 2:19-21)
Historically speaking, the law pre-existed the First Advent by a thousand years. If the law had been sufficient, then Jesus went to the cross for nothing. I say all this before to say this:
Salvation is immediate and eternal, but our sanctification in this life is a PROCESS. No matter where you are in your walk right now, that process is still underway. Being saved DOES NOT take away your sin nature...you are still mortal having been sold under sin. The grace of Jesus gives you the courage that when you fail, when you sin no matter how small it may seem in this world's eyes, it gives you the courage to keep getting back up when sin knocks you to the ground.
7 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us." (1st John 1:7-9)
CART BEFORE THE HORSE
I spoke of this young man on that Christian Forum, who in good conscience..but deceived conscience, believes we have to have works to be saved. He quotes the Apostle James speaking of faith without works is dead.
17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
18Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
19Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
." (James 2:17-19)
As a plum tree cannot help but produce plums, we as the Children of God, if we follow after our Lord Jesus and believe that we are being transformed into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ..(Romans 8:29) we cannot help but produce good works. It may take one person longer than another. They may not produce on the same level as that other Christian, as God gives us each according to our abilities but there will be fruits, it's almost like we can't help it. But the point is, salvation produces fruit and not the fruit, (our works) produces salvation. Many who believe such will be sorely deceived and found not amongst those who are called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Those that sit on the fence, or just can't make that commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ, or think erroneously that the Law will save them, or their church, or confession to your priest...or tithing to the Church, or any other Church going activities and have not Jesus, the True Jesus in your heart, receiving Him by faith.
27 "Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
29 Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:
30 Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.
31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." (Romans 3:27-31)
Note that last part, we establish the Law!!....they go hand in hand....not one before other...salvation through faith and keeping God's Commandments., not the other way around....John proclaims this truth:
3 "For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." (1st John 5:3-4)
We are all striving to do our best for the Lord who saved us. We get knocked down, and some get afraid that the world will persecute us for our stand for Christ and produce not much for the Kingdom of God...But works are for rewards, not salvation...When we stand before the judgment seat of Christ...it will be a rewards banquet to give those things done in our body...those that are for Christ will stand, the rest will be burned up. Paul wrote this truth:
10 "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
14If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." 1st Corinthians 3:10-15)
The person who suffered loss will be there, saved as through the fire. Only thing they had was mercy and grace applied to their lives through the blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Their reward will be eternal life, but they lost out on eternal rewards as a King over a portion of the inheritance that belongs to Jesus Christ...or a Priest to guide others to salvation through Christ in the Millennial Kingdom. The first is good, we want eternal life, but the last makes it even better to be in God's service and be given responsibilites to further His Kingdom, all to His glory.
16"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthyto be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." (Romans 8:16-18)
So, when life knocks you down because of your sinful nature and you mess up...and folks, each of us do...then get back up and get back in the battle on the front lines. God will reward you for your service to Him. Because we are justified by grace, not the Law.
This is Pastor Mike Taylor praying that grace will be found in your life, and the mercy of God to save you for all eternity...If you need prayer, counseling, or just a listening ear, send me an email to email@example.com , or visit me online at www.pastormiketaylor.blogspot.com , God bless you all
TILL WE MEET AT JESUS FEET
Israel Shifting Strategies to Prepare for Long Term Russian Presence In Region - http://www.prophecynewswatch.com/article.cfm?recent_news_id=892
Israel's December 7th use of long range, surface-to-surface missiles to strike a military airport inside Syria indicates a dangerous change in the tense dynamic of the Middle East.
The fact that Israel attacked a military target inside Syria shouldn't surprise anyone. A week before, reports indicate that Israeli bombers struck two Hezbollah weapons conveys within Syria and as back in 2007, Israel bombed a Syrian government nuclear site.
There is no doubt that Israel is willing, and has been compelled, to defend its existence with military force. But what sets this attack apart is the use of surface-to-surface missiles rather than bombers.
Simply put, the Russian presence in the skies over Syria and their air defense system has elevated the risk for manned flights from Israel. The cost of a single guided missile with a range of over 25 miles is greater than the cost of a precision munition dropped from an F-16, even considering the cost of fuel for the aircraft.
But it is less costly when considering the danger posed to the pilot, the fighter jet or the risk of starting a war should Israeli planes engage with Russian jets and anti-air batteries.
Israeli military commentator Ben-Yishai was quoted as saying, "Had Israel launched planes to carry out the mission, they would not have had to enter Syrian territory to hit the air base and could have simply flown over the sea or over Lebanese territory.
But the sensitive and long-range radars, which the Russians brought to Syria when they entered the fray, would have been able to detect the presence of Israel Air Force planes in the area.
It's even possible that the Russians would have warned the Syrian anti-aircraft batteries which, according to reports, have already tried to hit Israeli planes as they embarked on missions to stop Hezbollah from arming itself."
It is this coordination of Russian and Syrian forces that has raised cause for concern, together with the presence of Russian S-400, S-300 and SA-23 surface-to-air missile systems now employed in Syria.
The possibility for direct confrontation between Russian and Israeli fighters cannot be discounted either, as this has already occurred between Turkish and Russian planes as well as several near-misses with both American and French aircraft in what an Israeli military source has called the most crowded airspace on the planet.
Describing the air traffic near the border, he continued, "We've never seen a situation like this before. I am doubtful whether the skies anywhere else on earth are as crowded.
The Russians are sitting here with jets, ships and sophisticated radar installations, but in addition to that, we also have French jets flying overhead on their way from the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier to attack coalition targets.
Then there are American fighter jets and British jets taking off from Cyprus as well as aircraft from many other nations. All of this must be coordinated on the most sensitive levels.
Add all our own interests and the routine activities of the Israeli Air Force, and you get some idea of how delicate the situation is." Delicate indeed, and this hair-trigger situation is only one part of the puzzle.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has personally visited Russian President Vladimir Putin three times this year and outside of official visits, the two leaders have had numerous lengthy conversations.
And they have much to discuss now. With a Russian military machine supporting Israel's enemies, let's consider the gravity of changes that a long-term Russian presence has brought to the Middle East.
A high-ranking Israeli military official said in an interview to the Al-Monitor newspaper that "the biggest advantage [of the Russian presence] is the fact that the Russians now manage the northern front, for better or for worse.
They determine what happens there. Until recently, everything that happened on the northern front was dictated by more radical forces, which pose a significant threat to Israel. They set the pace.
Orders came from Iran, through the supreme leader to General Qasem Soleimani and the Revolutionary Guard. The situation has since changed. Iran is still involved up to its neck, but it is no longer determining the pace of events and no longer giving the orders.
A hostile military force on Israel's border is hardly to be celebrated, but the Russians are a more predictable presence than Hezbollah, ISIS or any of the other extremist groups or Iranian proxies in the region.
On the other hand, Russia and Israel hold exactly opposite views on many of the key players in the region and recent events.
Russia views the American-Iranian nuclear deal in a positive light whereas Israel does not. Israel considers Iran and its proxies to be the greatest regional threat-Russia clearly does not.
Israel has counted on the ability to strike back against the Syrian regime when the terrorist groups it supports launch attacks on Israel, but the Russian presence supporting Assad will, as the recent missile strike has shown, complicate this policy and threaten Israel's ability to defend itself.
Consider the possibility of a series of major attacks on Israel by Iranian proxy groups, such as Hezbollah. Launching their attacks on Israel from Syria with Syrian backing and Iranian weapons, the terrorists could expect the Israel response to be met with Russian air power.
Soon, what began as a terrorist attack by Hezbollah would have the potential to draw in Russia, the United States and other regional powers. One false move could be disastrous.
Israel has shifted strategies, starting with its December 7th rocket strike on the Mezzeh Airport. What is clear is that Israel and Russia will both need to continue to tread carefully in this dangerous new landscape both to ensure Israel's safety from terrorist threats and to avoid a potentially far more deadly conflict.
As noted previously, the skies and sea are thick with swarms of aircraft and ships from many nations. The Russians are presumed to be in charge; giving orders and directing this military theater.
God, however, has already spoken: "For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for My people and for My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted My land... Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision." (Joel 3.1,2. 14)
The Way to Peace: Israeli Victory, Palestinian Defeat - By Daniel Pipes - https://www.breakingisraelnews.com/80447/way-peace-israeli-victory-palestinian-defeat-opinion/#6QbtXxbWArhcSOhx.97
Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy sadly fits the classic description of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." The identical assumptions - land-for-peace and the two-state solution, with the burden primarily on Israel - stay permanently in place, no matter how often they fail. Decades of what insiders call "peace processing" has left matters worse than when they started, yet the great powers persist, sending diplomat after diplomat to Jerusalem and Ramallah, ever hoping that the next round of negotiations will lead to the elusive breakthrough.
The time is ripe for a new approach, a basic re-thinking of the problem. It draws on Israel's successful strategy as carried out through its first 45 years. The failure of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy since 1993 suggests this alternative approach - with a stress on Israeli toughness in pursuit of victory. This would, paradoxically perhaps, be of benefit to Palestinians and bolster American support.
I. The Near Impossibility of Compromise
Since the Balfour Declaration of 1917, Palestinians and Israelis have pursued static and opposite goals.
In the years before the establishment of the new state, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, articulated a policy of rejectionism, or eliminating every vestige of Jewish presence in what is now the territory of Israel.It remains in place. Maps in Arabic which show a "Palestine" replacing Israel symbolize this continued aspiration. Rejectionism runs so deep that it drives not just Palestinian politics but much of Palestinian life. With consistency, energy, and perseverance, Palestinians have pursued rejectionism via three main approaches: demoralizing Zionists through political violence, damaging Israel's economy through trade boycotts, and weakening Israel's legitimacy by winning foreign support. Differences between Palestinian factions tend to be tactical: Talk to the Israelis to win concessions from them or not? Mahmoud Abbas represents the former outlook and Khaled Mashal the latter.
On the Israeli side, nearly everyone agrees on the need to win acceptance by Palestinians (and other Arabs and Muslims); differences are again tactical. David Ben-Gurion articulated one approach, that of showing Palestinians what they can gain from Zionism. Vladimir Jabotinsky developed the opposite vision, arguing that Zionists have no choice but to break the Palestinians' intractable will. Their rival approaches remain the touchstones of Israel's foreign-policy debate, with Isaac Herzog heir to Ben-Gurion and Binyamin Netanyahu to Jabotinsky.
These two pursuits - rejectionism and acceptance - have remained basically unchanged for a century; today's Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Labor, and Likud are lineal descendants of Husseini, Ben-Gurion, and Jabotinsky. Varying ideologies, objectives, tactics, strategies, and actors mean that details have varied, even as the fundamentals remained remarkably in place. Wars and treaties came and went, leading to only minor shifts. The many rounds of fighting had surprisingly little impact on ultimate goals, while formal agreements (such as the Oslo Accords of 1993) only increase hostility to Israel's existence and so were counterproductive.
Palestinian rejection or acceptance of Israel is binary: yes or no, without in-betweens. This renders compromise nearly impossible because resolution requires one side fully to abandon its goal. Either Palestinians give up their century-long rejection of the Jewish state or Zionists give up their 150-year quest for a sovereign homeland. Anything other than these two outcomes is an unstable settlement that merely serves as the premise for a future round of conflict.
The "Peace Process" That Failed
Deterrence, that is, convincing Palestinians and the Arab states to accept Israel's existence by threatening painful retaliation, underlay Israel's formidable record of strategic vision and tactical brilliance in the period 1948 to 1993. Over this time, deterrence worked to the extent that Israel's Arab state enemies saw the country very differently by the end of that period; in 1948, invading Arab armies expected to throttle the Jewish state at birth, but by 1993, Arafat felt compelled to sign an agreement with Israel's prime minister.
That said, deterrence did not finish the job; as Israelis built a modern, democratic, affluent, and powerful country, the fact that Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and (increasingly) the left still rejected it became a source of mounting frustration. Israel's impatient, on-the-go populace grew weary with the unattractive qualities of deterrence, which by nature is passive, indirect, harsh, slow, boring, humiliating, reactive, and costly. It is also internationally unpopular.
That impatience led to the diplomatic process that culminated with the handshake confirming the signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn in September 1993. For a brief period, "The Handshake" (as it was then capitalized) between Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin served as the symbol of successful mediation that gave each side what it most wanted: dignity and autonomy for Palestinians, recognition and security for Israelis. Among many accolades, Arafat, Rabin, and Israel's Foreign Minister Shimon Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The accords, however, quickly disappointed both sides. Indeed, while Israelis and Palestinians agree on little else, they concur with near-unanimity on Oslo having been a disaster.
When Palestinians still lived under direct Israeli control before Oslo, acceptance of Israel had increased over time even as political violence diminished. Residents of the West Bank and Gaza could travel locally without checkpoints and access work sites within Israel. They benefited from the rule of law and an economy that more than quadrupled without depending on foreign aid. Functioning schools and hospitals emerged, as did several universities.
Yasir Arafat promised to turn Gaza into "the Singapore of the Middle East," but his despotism and aggression against Israel instead turned his fiefdom into a nightmare, resembling Congo more than Singapore. Unwilling to give up on the permanent revolution and to become the ordinary leader of an obscure state, he exploited the Oslo Accords to inflict economic dependence, tyranny, failed institutions, corruption, Islamism, and a death cult on Palestinians.
For Israelis, Oslo led not to the hoped-for end of conflict but inflamed Palestinian ambitions to eliminate the Jewish state. As Palestinian rage spiraled upward, more Israelis were murdered in the five years post-Oslo than in the fifteen years preceding it. Rabble-rousing speech and violent actions soared - and continue unabated 23 years later. Moreover, Palestinian delegitimization efforts cost Israel internationally as the left turned against it, spawning such anti-Zionist novelties as the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanction (BDS) movement.
From Israel's perspective, seven years of Oslo appeasement, 1993-2000, undid 45 years of successful deterrence; then, six years of unilateral withdrawals, 2000-06, further buried deterrence. The decade since 2006 has witnessed no major changes.
The Oslo exercise showed the futility of Israeli concessions to Palestinians when the latter fail to live up to their obligations. By signaling Israeli weakness, Oslo made a bad situation worse. What is conventionally called the "peace process" would more accurately be dubbed the "war process."
The False Hope of Finessing Victory
Why did things go so wrong in what seemed so promising an agreement?
Moral responsibility for the collapse of Oslo lies solely with Yasir Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the rest of the Palestinian Authority leadership. They pretended to abandon rejectionism and accept Israel's existence but, in fact, sought Israel's elimination in new, more sophisticated ways, replacing force with delegitimization.
This said, the Israelis made a profound mistake, having entered the Oslo process with a false premise. Yitzhak Rabin often summed up this error in the phrase "You don't make peace with friends. You make it with very unsavory enemies." In other words, he expected war to be concluded through goodwill, conciliation, mediation, flexibility, restraint, generosity, and compromise, topped off with signatures on official documents. In this spirit, his government and all its successors agreed to a wide array of concessions, even to the point of permitting a Palestinian militia, always hoping the Palestinians would reciprocate by accepting the Jewish state.
They never did. To the contrary, Israeli compromises aggravated Palestinian hostility. Each gesture further radicalized, exhilarated, and mobilized the Palestinian body politic. Israeli efforts to "make peace" were received as signs of demoralization and weakness. "Painful concessions" reduced the Palestinian awe of Israel, made the Jewish state appear vulnerable, and inspired irredentist dreams of annihilation.
In retrospect, this does not surprise. Contrary to Rabin's slogan, one does not "make [peace] with very unsavory enemies" but rather with former very unsavory enemies. That is, enemies that have been defeated.
This brings us to the key concept of my approach, which is victory, or imposing one's will on the enemy, compelling him through loss to give up his war ambitions. Wars end, the historical record shows, not through goodwill but through defeat. He who does not win loses. Wars usually end when failure causes one side to despair, when that side has abandoned its war aims and accepted defeat, and when that defeat has exhausted its will to fight. Conversely, so long as both combatants still hope to achieve their war objectives, fighting either goes on or it potentially will resume.
Thinkers and warriors through the ages concur on the importance of victory as the correct goal of warfare. For example, Aristotle wrote that "victory is the end of generalship" and Dwight D. Eisenhower stated that "In war, there is no substitute for victory." Technological advancement has not altered this enduring human truth.
Twentieth-century conflicts that ended decisively include World War II, China-India, Algeria-France, North Vietnam-United States, Great Britain-Argentina, Afghanistan-U.S.S.R., and the Cold War. Defeat can result either from a military thrashing or from an accretion of economic and political pressures; it does not require total military loss or economic destruction, much less the annihilation of a population. For example, the only defeat in U.S. history, in South Vietnam in 1975, occurred not because of economic collapse or running out of ammunition or battlefield failure (the American side was winning the ground war) but because Americans lost the will to soldier on.
Indeed, 1945 marks a dividing line. Before then, overwhelming military superiority crushed the enemy's will to fight; since then, grand battlefield successes have rarely occurred. Battlefield superiority no longer translates as it once did into breaking the enemy's resolve to fight. In Clausewitz' terms, morale and will are now the center of gravity, not tanks and ships. Although the French outmanned and out-gunned their foes in Algeria, as did the Americans in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan, all these powers lost their wars. Conversely, battlefield losses suffered by the Arab states in 1948-82, by North Korea in 1950-53, and by Iraq in 1991 and 2003 did not translate into surrender and defeat.
When a losing side preserves its war goals, the resumption of warfare remains possible, and even likely. Germans retained their goal of ruling Europe after their defeat in World War I and looked to Hitler for another try, prompting the Allies to aim for total victory to ensure against the Germans trying a third time. The Korean War ended in 1953, but North and South have both held on to their war goals, meaning that the conflict might resume at any time, as could wars between India and Pakistan. The Arabs lost each round of warfare with Israel (1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982) but long saw their defeats as merely transient and spoiled for another try.
II. The Hard Work of Winning
How might Israel induce the Palestinians to drop rejectionism?
For starters, a colorful array of (mutually exclusive) plans to end the conflict favorably to Israel have appeared through the decades. Going from softest to toughest, these include:
Territorial retreat from the West Bank or territorial compromise within the West Bank.
Lease the land under Israeli towns on the West Bank.
Finding creative ways to divide the Temple Mount.
Developing the Palestinian economy.
Encouraging Palestinian good governance.
Deploying international forces.
Raising international funds (on the Marshall Plan model).
Unilateralism (building a wall).
Insisting that Jordan is Palestine.
Excluding disloyal Palestinians from Israeli citizenship.
Expelling Palestinians from lands controlled by Israel.
Trouble is, none of these plans addresses the need to break the Palestinian will to fight. They all manage the conflict without resolving it. They all seek to finesse victory with a gimmick. Just as the Oslo negotiations failed, so too will every other scheme that sidesteps the hard work of winning.
This historical pattern implies that Israel has just one option to win Palestinian acceptance: a return to its old policy of deterrence, punishing Palestinians when they aggress. Deterrence amounts to more than tough tactics, which every Israeli government pursues; it requires systemic policies that encourage Palestinians to accept Israel and discourage rejectionism. It requires a long-term strategy that promotes a change of heart.
Inducing a change of heart is not a pretty or pleasant process but is based on a policy of commensurate and graduated response. If Palestinians transgress moderately, they should pay moderately; and so on. Responses depend on specific circumstances, so the following are but general suggestions as examples for Washington to propose, going from mildest to most severe:
When Palestinian "martyrs" cause material damage, pay for repairs out of the roughly $300 million in tax obligations the government of Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) each year. Respond to activities designed to isolate and weaken Israel internationally by limiting access to the West Bank. When a Palestinian attacker is killed, bury the body quietly and anonymously in a potter's field. When the PA leadership incites to violence, prevent officials from returning to the PA from abroad. Respond to the murder of Israelis by expanding Jewish towns on the West Bank. When official PA guns are turned against Israelis, seize these and prohibit new ones, and if this happens repeatedly, dismantle the PA's security infrastructure. Should violence continue, reduce and then shut off the water and electricity that Israel supplies. In the case of gunfire, mortar shelling, and rockets, occupy and control the areas from which these originate.
Of course, these steps run exactly counter to the consensus view in Israel today, which seeks above all to keep Palestinians quiescent. But this myopic viewpoint formed under unremitting pressure from the outside world, and the U.S. government especially, to accommodate the PA. The removal of such pressure will undoubtedly encourage Israelis to adopt the more assertive tactics outlined here.
True peacemaking means finding ways to coerce Palestinians to undergo a change of heart, giving up rejectionism, accepting Jews, Zionism, and Israel. When enough Palestinians abandon the dream of eliminating Israel, they will make concessions needed to end the conflict. To end the conflict, Israel must convince 50 percent and more of the Palestinians that they have lost.
The goal here is not Palestinian love of Zion, but closing down the apparatus of war: shuttering suicide factories, removing the demonization of Jews and Israel, recognizing Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and "normalizing" relations with Israelis. Palestinian acceptance of Israel will be achieved when, over a protracted period and with complete consistency, the violence ends, replaced by sharply worded démarches and letters to the editor. Symbolically, the conflict will be over when Jews living in Hebron (in the West Bank) have no more need for security than Palestinians living in Nazareth (in Israel).
To those who hold Palestinians too fanatical to be defeated, I reply: if Germans and Japanese, no less fanatical and far more powerful, could be defeated in World War II and then turned into normal citizens, why not the Palestinians now? Moreover, Muslims have repeatedly given in to infidels through history when faced with a determined superior force, from Spain to the Balkans to Lebanon.
Israel enjoys two pieces of good fortune. First, its effort does not begin at null; polls and other indicators suggest that 20 percent of Palestinians and other Arabs consistently accept the Jewish state. Second, it need deter only the Palestinians, a very weak actor, and not the whole Arab or Muslim population. However feeble in objective terms (economics, military power), Palestinians spearhead the war against Israel; so, when they abandon rejectionism, others (like Moroccans, Iranians, Malaysians, et al.) take their cues from Palestinians and, over time, will likely follow their lead.
Palestinians Benefit from Their Defeat
However much Israelis gain from ending their residual Palestinian problem, they live in a successful modern country that has absorbed the violence and delegitimization imposed on them. Surveys, for example, show Israelis to be among the happiest people anywhere, and the country's burgeoning birth rate confirms these impressions.
In contrast, Palestinians are mired in misery and constitute the most radicalized population in the world. Opinion surveys consistently show them choosing nihilism. Which other parents celebrate their children becoming suicide bombers? Which other people gives higher priority to harming its neighbor than improving its own lot? Hamas and the Palestinian Authority both run authoritarian regimes that repress their subjects and pursue destructive goals. The economy in the West Bank and Gaza depends, more than anywhere else, on free money from abroad, creating both dependence and resentment. Palestinian mores are backward and becoming more medieval all the time. A skilled and ambitious people is locked into political repression, failed institutions, and a culture celebrating delusion, extremism, and self-destruction.
An Israel victory liberates Palestinians. Defeat compels them to come to terms with their irredentist fantasies and the empty rhetoric of revolution. Defeat also frees them to improve their own lives. Unleashed from a genocidal obsession against Israel, Palestinians can become a normal people and develop its polity, economy, society, and culture. Negotiations could finally begin in earnest. In all, given their far lower starting point, Palestinians would, ironically, gain even more from their defeat than the Israelis from their victory.
That said, this change won't be easy or quick: Palestinians will have to pass through the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair as they repudiate the filthy legacy of Amin al-Husseini and acknowledge their century-long error. But there is no shortcut.
The Need for American Support
Palestinians deploy a unique global support team consisting of the United Nations and vast numbers of journalists, activists, educators, artists, Islamists, and leftists. No obscure African liberation front they, but the world's favored revolutionary cause. This makes Israel's task long, difficult, and dependent on stalwart allies, foremost the U.S. government.
For Washington to be helpful means not dragging the parties back again to more negotiations but robustly supporting Israel's path to victory. That translates into not just backing episodic Israeli shows of force but a sustained and systematic international effort of working with Israel, select Arab states, and others to convince the Palestinians of the futility of their rejectionism: Israel is there, it's permanent, and it enjoys wide backing.
That means supporting Israel taking the tough steps outlined above, from burying murderers' bodies anonymously to shuttering the Palestinian Authority. It means diplomatic support for Israel, such as undoing the "Palestine refugee" farce and rejecting the claim of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. It also entails ending benefits to the Palestinians unless they work toward the full and permanent acceptance of Israel: no diplomacy, no recognition as a state, no financial aid, and certainly no weapons, much less militia training.
Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy is premature until Palestinians accept the Jewish state. The central issues of the Oslo Accords (borders, water, armaments, sanctities, Jewish communities in the West Bank, "Palestine refugees") cannot be usefully discussed so long as one party still rejects the other. But negotiations can re-open and take up anew the Oslo issues upon the joyful moment that Palestinians accept the Jewish state. That prospect, however, lies in the distant future. For now, Israel needs to win.
Nearing Midnight: Peace and Safety Like Never Before - Todd Strandberg - http://raptureready.com/rap16.html
The state of Israel has never had a time when it has been more tranquil. Since the nation was founded in 1948, it has been under almost constant threat of war, terrorism, economic sanctions and internal political unrest.
The forces that hate Israel suffered a major defeat in the election of Donald Trump. His key policies toward the Jewish state are still unknown, but Trump will mostly like mean a sharp reversal of the icy relations that currently exist between Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
While running for office, Trump has said he would move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Recent reports show that he intends to fulfill this promise. Trump senior aide Kellyanne Conway said, moving the embassy is a "very big priority" for Trump. She also said, support for Israel was integral to Trump's agenda.
The threat of terrorism in Israel has declined with the collapse of what has been called the "Stabbing Intifada;" an unorganized effort to spread fear amongst the Israelis with a series of stabbings. According to Shin Bet, between 1 October 2015 and 1 October 2016 there was a total of 166 stabbing attacks and 89 attempted stabbings. The effort is now seen as suicidal because only 5 Israeli security personnel have been killed while 102 Palestinian attackers have died.
The campaign to boycott Israel is another failure. The reason for the boycotts is to protest against Israeli policies toward Palestinians. Various liberal organizations have somehow gotten the idea that Palestinians are being mistreated, and they want to apply "economic leverage" to force Israel to do something crazy-like tear down its West Bank security barrier. Since most Israeli index funds are up 40 percent over the past four years, the boycott has caused investors to miss out on healthy financial returns.
Israel's relations with her Arab neighbors has become very positive. Now that Egypt is run by a military general, "Egyptian-Israeli relations are today at their highest level in history," so says Nathan Thrall, a Jerusalem-based senior analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), a research organization.
Last week, Netanyahu embarked on a landmark visit to two Muslim-majority nations, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. It is historically significant because no Israeli leader has traveled to the former Soviet Republics of Central Asia in 25 years. With Syria distracted with civil war, there has been little protest from that old enemy.
The only active concern for Israel is Iran. It's Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, while speaking at a conference in Tehran, said that Israel will be "destroyed" if Trump sparks war in the Middle East. Since Iran is always talking about Israel's doom, the threat is just words.
The political environment of Israel has become very stable. Prime Minister Netanyahu has strengthened his hold onto power by adding religious parties to his coalition. The soon departure of Obama will free the prime minister from having to worry about negative comments coming from the White House.
There is now a general feeling of peace and safety here in America. The stock market has been soaring-with the Dow Jones pushing near to the 20,000 milestone. Even though stocks are at very high valuations, the folks on Wall Street are cheering proposals to cut corporate taxes and ramp up fiscal stimulus.
It's not like all our problems have been resolved. America still has a crushing debt load; with the Federal deficit about to go over the $20 trillion level. Many of the banks in Europe are on the brink of collapse. Russia and China are becoming more aggressive with many of their neighbors, but still we have this general feeling of all is well.
As an end-time watcher, this period of historic calm has me wondering if it is a sign of our Lord's nearness. Jesus said the time of His return to rapture His Church would take place at a time of when people have a general feeling of peace and safety. An environment of carelessness would allow Him to come like a "thief." Since this time of peace and safety cannot last very long, we will soon find out it is an indication of the Rapture.
"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape" (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).
My Review of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?"
Over the last 35 years, I have literally read hundreds of books on Bible Prophecy and End Time signs. I especially enjoy books on the Rapture, and I have read almost every Rapture-related book published. In all those years, devouring thousands of pages, and millions of words, I have not read a better book on the Rapture than, Rapture Ready...Or Not?
Terry James might be physically blind, but he is spiritually sharp and well discerning beyond most authors. In "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" Terry has nailed the pre-trib Rapture, and removed any doubt what so ever about the Church going through the Tribulation. With great insight and Godly discernment, Terry explains with simple, yet profound words, why and how that he has come to believe the ways he does about the Rapture, the Tribulation, and the End Times scenario. I think after reading "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" you too will believe as Terry does, and be Ready for the Rapture like never before! - Randy Thomas - Publisher / Editor - Prophecy Update
For more information and or to get your copy of "Rapture Ready...Or Not?" use this link: http://www.raptureready.com/terry/book35.html
The Magi: Occult 1-percenters - Greg Laurie - http://www.wnd.com/2016/12/the-magi-occult-1-percenters/
Pastor Greg Laurie contrasts 2 groups of people to whom Christ's birth was revealed
In the madness of the Christmas season, we can actually miss Christmas. You might say, "It is not possible to miss Christmas. My Sunday newspaper weighs in at about 30 pounds because it is stuffed with ads. The television reminds me. The radio reminds me. Those obnoxious pop-up ads on my electronic devices remind me."
Even so, we can completely miss the point. We can attend endless plays and all kinds of parties. We can go to the malls and buy gifts for everyone imaginable, and we can sing countless Christmas songs. Yet we can so easily forget about the one we are celebrating.
Not unlike today, most people missed the first Christmas for the most part. There was the innkeeper, for example. When Joseph and a very pregnant Mary arrived on his doorstep, he could have found it in his heart to extend a little human kindness. Instead, he heartlessly sent them out to a barn, to a stable, and that is where the savior of the world was born. The innkeeper missed out because he was interested in the bottom line. So in the busyness of all that was going on with the census being taken, he missed Christmas. He missed Christ, just like so many people today miss him with all their shopping, parties and events.
Then there were the religious leaders. Herod had called them in and wanted to know where the Messiah was to be born. These scholars who, in effect, spent every waking hour of their lives studying the Scriptures, knew exactly where Messiah was to be born. They directed Herod to Micah 5:2: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (NIV).
You would think these scholars could have made the relatively short journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem to see for themselves. But ironically, their religion didn't bring them closer to God; it kept them from him. Their religion made them hard and indifferent, and they missed Christmas.
Then there was Herod himself, the man who tried to stop Christmas. When the wise men said they were looking for the King of the Jews, they couldn't have said a more provocative thing to the paranoid king, who had been decreed the king of the Jews by the Romans. So he tried to kill Christ, and of course he failed. Herod missed Christmas. And ultimately he died a miserable death.
And then there was the entire empire of Rome. They had established the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Roman soldiers were everywhere. Yet it was here that God himself came to visit humanity. The Roman empire missed it because they worshiped other gods, including the emperor himself. So they all missed Christmas.
But not everyone missed Christmas the first time around. Some found it. And they could not have been more diverse and different from each other. I'm talking, of course, about the mysterious wise men from the east and the shepherds.
The wise men were not at all like the traditional image we have of them, as popularized in Christmas cards. The Bible doesn't say there were three, and the Bible certainly doesn't give us their names. So let's peel tradition back and find out who these wise men really were. The Bible calls them the magi, the word from which our English word magician originates. These men consulted the stars and were experts in both astronomy and astrology. They would have been utilized by the pharaohs and kings to provide guidance.
In contrast to the prophets and priests, the magi would use sorcery, wizardry and witchcraft. And because of their combined knowledge of science, mathematics and the history of the occult, their religious and political influence continued to grow until they became the most prominent and powerful group of advisers in the Medo-Persian and Babylonian empires. These were men steeped in occultism and false religion. But they were very powerful, very important, and would almost be like royalty themselves.
They would have dressed in a way befitting someone of their office and wouldn't have ridden camels. Rather, they would have ridden horses, probably Arabian stallions. They would have had an army traveling with them to provide protection. No wonder they created such a stir when they rode into Jerusalem.
Lastly, they were not there at the manger. It's a blow to Nativity scenes, but they weren't there. The Bible says in Matthew 2:11, "On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh" (NIV, emphasis added).
They brought him gifts befitting a king, because these wise men from the east knew something that Herod and most others would never know: This tiny boy would one day rule the world.
The shepherds, on the other hand, couldn't have been any more different from the wise men. Where the wise men were at the top of the economic scale, the shepherds were at the bottom. You see, the shepherds were the lowest of the low in the Jewish culture. A shepherd was despised and mistrusted. They were thought of as crafty and dishonest. They couldn't observe the ceremonial hand washings of the day. They were men of the field and would have smelled of the work they did. The testimony of a shepherd was not even allowed in a court of law at this time. The only people lower on the social ladder were those who had leprosy.
Think of all of the people to whom God could have brought his message. The announcement could have come into the court of Caesar. Certainly it could have come to Herod himself. But it seems as though the Lord said, "Who is the lowest of the low? Who are the people no one cares about? I'll give them my message: 'For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'" (Luke 2:11 NKJV).
Two revelations come to two groups of people, and they both came to believe. God came to the shepherds where they were and to the wise men where they were. And in the same way, God comes to us wherever we are. No one is beyond his reach.
Daily Jot: Ending the Islamic Marxist revolution-for now - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
On October 20, the news narrative was full of stories condemning Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump's response to a question during the third presidential debate about whether he would accept the result of the election if he lost. He responded, "I will tell you at the time. I'll keep you in suspense." Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted that his stance was "horrifying" saying that it "was not the way our democracy works." Trump was labeled "dangerous" and damaging to democracy by the current "president." The media opined that America's democracy would be forever damaged if Trump didn't accept defeat. Speculations of a shadow presidency ran wild. Today it's a different story.
Once Trump won the election, the hypocrisy was revealed. Clinton and another communist loser Jill Stein of the Green Party challenged the election results. Democrats across the nation protested. Trump supporters were beaten and bullied. The Electoral College electors received thousands of letters, videos, emails trying to sway them to forsake their constitutional duty and vote for Clinton rather than Trump. Many received death threats. Clinton's election team, led by Saudi Arabia's chief lobbyist and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, refused to say the election was free and fair. They tried to blame it on the Russians and fake news. They tried to create an atmosphere of rebellion against America.
Remember how reporters speculated for days what Trump not accepting defeat would do to the country? In the spotlight of news cameras, political analysts at colleges and universities said such a move would undermine the credibility of the elected president and could foment a shadow presidency by the loser, a divided nation. But who tried to undermine President-Elect Trump's credibility? Who tried to damage America's electoral system? Who fulfilled the fears of being "dangerous" to elected government? Clinton, the current occupant of the Oval Office, and the Democratic and Communist parties, that's who. They conducted themselves in exactly the manner they feared of Trump. We should never forget this.
On Monday, December 19, the Islamic Marxist revolution that threatened to remake America officially came to an end (for now) with Trump receiving 304 electoral votes (two shy of what he won on election night because two shirked their duty). And yes, our election system was and remains under attack by those who wish to undermine the presidency and damage our Republic-the very thing they accused Trump of doing if he refused to accept the election results. Herein, we should apply Ephesians 4:14, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." Yes, it's talking about doctrine here, but we would be wise to heed it as well when it comes to political narrative by those who wish to destroy America.
Daily Devotion: Just Another Night in Bethlehem - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
Fear not, O land; be glad and rejoice, for the Lord has done marvelous things! -Joel 2:21
On the first Christmas Eve, there were no brightly colored lights on anyone's homes. There were no stockings that had been hung with care or any visions of sugarplums dancing in children's heads. It was just another night in Bethlehem. The census had gone out-that command by Caesar that everyone was to be taxed. But history was about to change in Bethlehem.
All of Israel was living in a very frightening time historically. They lived under the tyrant King Herod who would execute people at will. In addition, the Jews were living in occupied territory. The Romans had taken control of their country. They were no longer free to do what they wanted and live as they wanted. They wondered if Rome would ever leave. Would the violent rule ever cease? Would their world ever change?
Then suddenly angels appeared to the shepherds and told them not to be afraid; the Messiah had been born.
There is a lot to be afraid of in our unstable, volatile world today. It seems that at every turn, we hear about another horrific tragedy happening in our world. It can cause us to be terrified.
Then there are the personal fears: What if I lose my health? What if I lose a member of my family? What if this happens? What if that happens? A lot of things run through our minds.
Here is the message of the first Christmas-and the message for us this Christmas: Don't be afraid. . . . I bring you good tidings of great joy.
Ray Stedman wrote, "The chief mark of the Christian ought to be the absence of fear and the presence of joy."
Does that describe you? Fear is what Christmas came to remove-and now we can have joy in its place.
FROM THE HEART
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