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Believers Will Escape God's Wrath - Biblical Foreshadows of the Rapture - By Beginning and End -
The Rapture is real and is foreshadowed throughout Scripture.
This is the Second Article in the Beginning and End Rapture Series
This article will look at several Biblical foreshadows of the Rapture in Bible prophecy that show that God always removes His people from harm when He is preparing to supernaturally punish the unbelieving heathen world. In Part 1 of the Rapture Series, we examined the Day of The Lord, the Biblical prophecy event that starts the end times. The Day of The Lord (also known as the Great Tribulation) is the outpouring out God's wrath on the unbelieving world in a series of supernatural judgments in the final seven years before Armageddon and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
The Rapture, the supernatural removal of faithful believers in Jesus Christ from the Earth, occurs just as the Day of The Lord is about to begin. The Church - all true, born again believers in Jesus Christ, will be "caught up" in the air and rescued just before the wrath of God comes. By looking at Old Testament types and shadows, God's method of saving His people before judgment becomes apparent and foreshadows timing of the Rapture of the church in the prophetic timeline.
1. Noah's Ark and the Flood - A Preview of the Rapture
But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that [Noah] entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. (Matthew 24: 37-39)
For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished. (2 Peter 2:4-9)
The account of Noah and the flood is a foreshadow of the Rapture of the church. Jesus Christ said the world will be living just like the "days of Noah" when discussing the end times and the final years before His Second Coming. During the days before the flood, the world was carrying on with normal activities and falling into rampant sin, accelerated by the presence of the Nephilim, angelic-human hybrids who had overrun the Earth (see our article "Nephilim - Giants in The Bible" for more information). God was so dismayed at the state of humanity and its impending loss of a chance to have a fully human Savior, that the flood judgment was set to come upon the world. The world was completely unaware of this coming judgment, but Noah and his family were aware of it (thanks to God). This is the same state of the world before the Day of The Lord /Great Tribulation. The world will be carrying on as usual, deep in sinful rebellion against God, and sudden judgment will come at the opening of the 6th Seal of Revelation.
The 6th seal plus the subsequent trumpet and vial judgments paint a frightening picture of the end times. There will be devastating global earthquakes. Waters will be poisoned. Millions upon millions will die in plagues and disasters. Evil fallen angels will return to Earth and be permitted to interact with humanity and the reign of the Antichrist will begin. Life will go from being very normal to anything but! This will all be a part of God's judgment on unbelievers or those who claim to be Christian but were not truly born again. But the true Christians will escape these judgments via the Rapture. The account of Noah's ark is a foreshadow of God's pattern for protecting His faithful believers.
Noah Escapes God's Wrath
As the verse above from 2 Peter states: "The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations." "Temptations" here means "afflictions" or "intense suffering." Noah "found grace" with God because he was one of the last true believers in God on the Earth (in addition to being 100% human and not corrupted by Nephilim). God warned Noah about the coming flood and instructed him to build the ark, so that they could be protected in the time of His wrath on the world. And just as Noah's family were saved from the judgment of the flood poured out on the sinful world so will the faithful believers in Jesus Christ at the Rapture be removed from the Earth just before the judgments of the Day of The Lord begins.
Noah's Entry into the Ark
Genesis 7:1 And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation... 4 For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. 5 And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him.
Noah's entry into the Ark was 7 days before the flood started. Verse 5 makes it clear that Noah obeyed the Lord's instruction. In Bible prophecy, a "day" often is symbolic of a year and this verse foreshadows the raptured church being transported to Heaven, to reside in God's dwelling for 7 years while the wrath of God is poured out on the Earth.
Notice that in verse 1 of chapter 7 it reads: "And the LORD said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." God literally invited Noah into the ark to be with Him. The language of "come...into" indicates that the God's presence was inside the ark. This is similar to when the Apostle John was raptured to heaven at the invitation of God in the Book of Revelation: "1 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither"
The Ark, a type and shadow of Heaven, is similar to the Ark of the Covenant, where God's presence also resided: "And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony," (Exodus 25:22). The consistent theme is the believer being invited to be in the safety of the presence of God.
An interesting aspect of the Flood account is that when Noah and his family enter the ark, it is God who shuts the door: "16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in." A heavenly door is also a symbol used in reference to the Rapture. In the verse above from Revelation, the Apostle John saw a door open in Heaven before he was raptured. Jesus, when addressing the faithful church of Philadelphia in the Book of Revelation stated:
And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name...Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (Revelation 3:7-10).
Jesus describes Himself as the one who opens and shuts the door. And as a reward for their faithfulness, the church of Philadelphia is promised to be protected from the " hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." Notice the word "temptation" is used once again in reference to the wrath of the Great Tribulation. As Noah was protected from the flood that afflicted the whole world, so will believers be safe in Heaven with Jesus during the judgments of the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. And just as God the Father shut Noah in the Ark, Jesus will shut in his faithful believers behind a door in Heaven during the wrath of God in the Great Tribulation.
2. Lot Escapes Sodom
Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. - Luke 17:28-30
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished" - 2 Peter 2:6-9
Lot was a believer in God living in a wicked, sinful city. When angels came to visit Lot, all of the men and boys in the city of Sodom demanded the male angels to be given to them for sexual relations (a similar to the illicit angelic-human unions in Noah's time). Lot was "vexed" (or upset) with the extreme sin of the city because he was a believer in God and His righteousness. The Lord was angered with Sodom and Gomorrah so much so that He was going to destroy it with fire and brimstone. But before the supernatural punishment took place, God once again warned his faithful follower of the coming judgment by sending the two angels, who appeared as men to let Lot know that he and his family would be spared:
12 And the men said unto Lot, Hast thou here any besides? son in law, and thy sons, and thy daughters, and whatsoever thou hast in the city, bring them out of this place: 13 For we will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great before the face of the LORD; and the LORD hath sent us to destroy it. 14 And Lot went out, and spake unto his sons in law, which married his daughters, and said, Up, get you out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city. But he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law. 15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city. 16 And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
24 Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground.
Lot was removed from Sodom by supernatural means (angels personally escorted he and his family out of the city) just prior to the fire and brimstone raining down. The same pattern for the Rapture as seen with Noah emerges: 1) God prepares to pour out His judgment on the wicked. 2) He sends a warning to His faithful followers and 3) the judgment does not come until after the faithful have been safely removed.
3. The Passover
The Passover account in the book of Exodus took place as God brought His final and worst judgment against Pharaoh and the Egyptians, who were slave masters over the tribes of Israel in the book of Exodus. The Lord was going to send an angel to kill every firstborn son in the Egyptian Empire as a final punishment against the sinful, pagan Pharaoh who oppressed and enslaved God's chosen nation. And The Lord, in commanding Moses, made sure to provide specific instructions for a sacrifice of a lamb so that the Israelites would be protected when the punishment was poured out:
And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the [basin], and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the [basin]; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning. For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you. (Exodus 12:22-23)
The pattern and typology of the Rapture is present. The believers are warned by God that a judgment is coming and they are specifically spared the judgment. God commanded the Israelites to put the blood on their doorposts and stay behind their doors and not to come out. Just as it was with Noah and with the Apostle John a door was symbolic of being kept safe during a time of judgment. And as it will be with the Rapture, the believers are saved, suffering no harm, while the unbelievers suffer God's wrath.
4. Moses Speaking to God on Mt. Sinai
And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, 11And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. (Exodus 19:9-17)
In this amazing account from the book of Exodus, The Lord literally descends to Earth to speak to Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel. Notice the parallels to the Rapture description from Bible prophecy. God Himself descended from Heaven in a cloud, just as the 1 Thessalonians states that Jesus Himself will descend from Heaven in a cloud. The people are told in advance that they will gather together to meet The Lord, just as the raptured church will be gathered to meet Jesus in the clouds (also note that Moses is "called up" to meet God in the cloud). They also must prepare for the Lord's arrival by cleaning their clothes. Jesus, in the Book of Revelation praises the church of Sardis for the few believers left in it who: "have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment" (Revelation 3:4-5). Clean garments are symbolic of having the righteousness of Christ that all true born again Christian receive.
Another interesting parallel is that God's voice is described as a trumpet. 1 Thessalonians 4 describes the Rapture: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.." Contrary to popular interpretations, it is this author's belief that the "trump of God" is not a physical or heavenly instrument. It is God's voice. This passage above from Exodus 19 links God speaking and the sound of the trumpet. In the Septuagint salpiggo is the Geek word for 'trumpet'. A similar connection is made when the Apostle John is raptured to Heaven in Revelation 4: "After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter." In this verse John is hearing the voice of Jesus, resurrected and sitting on His throne in heaven. And Jesus' voice is described as a trumpet with the same Greek word (salpiggo) used for God's voice in Exodus. So the descent of God Himself, the sound of the "trump of God" and the gathering of the believers provide another foreshadow of the future Rapture.
5. The Consecration of The Temple Priesthood
Leviticus Chapter 8 details the consecration of Aaron and his sons, who were selected by God to be High Priests of the nation of Israel. There were sacrifices done and a ritual cleansing to prepare them for their ministry all done by instruction of God. The nation gathered at the tabernacle (God's dwelling on Earth) and Aaron and his sons were told: "And ye shall not go out of the door of the tabernacle of the congregation in seven days, until the days of your consecration be at an end: for seven days shall he consecrate you... 35Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the LORD, that ye die not: for so I am commanded." There are foreshadows in this passage as well. The Israelites gathering at the tabernacle for the 7 days the priests are inside. The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5 calls the Rapture "our gathering" to Jesus Christ. Hebrews chapters 7 and 8 describe Jesus as the High Priest of Christian believers and that the tabernacle was patterned on what takes place in Heaven. At the Rapture, the Church will be in Heaven, God's House, before our High Priest, Jesus Christ. The passage also details instructions to stay behind a shut door for "seven days."
The Book of Joshua tells provides the account of Rahab, a gentile woman running a house of prostitution in Jericho, a pagan city that was going to be attacked by the Israelites. God was going to provide a supernatural victory against the city of Jehrico and destroy it. Rahab, in fear of God and belief in His power, helped hide two Israelites spies who were scouting the city before the battle. Joshua, the leader of the Israelites, (who we showed in an earlier article is a foreshadow of Jesus Christ and that the Book of Joshua parallels with the book of Revelation), recognized Rahab's faith and the service she did, risking her own life to protect the Israelite spies all out of belief in the true God of the Bible. Before the attack Joshua gave a stern command once the spies returned:
But Joshua had said unto the two men that had spied out the country, Go into the harlot's house, and bring out thence the woman, and all that she hath, as ye sware unto her. And the young men that were spies went in, and brought out Rahab, and her father, and her mother, and her brethren, and all that she had; and they brought out all her kindred, and left them without the camp of Israel. And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the LORD. (Joshua 6:22-24).
Rahab, a faithful believer in God living in a wicked, pagan city was saved and brought out of the city just before God unleashed His wrath and it was burned to the ground, destroyed and cursed. Again we see the same prophetic patterns for the Rapture: the faithful are warned of the coming wrath of God, they are then removed without suffering any harm and then the wrath of God comes down on the unbelievers.
7. God's Own Prophecy
Isaiah 26 contains a not-often used prophecy about the Rapture:
Like as a woman with child, that draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs; so have we been in thy sight, O LORD. We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain. (Isaiah 26:17-21)
Notice the first two verse reference "birth pangs" and the birthing process. This is the same language used in Matthew 24 to describe the start of the end times (and in Part 1 of this series we explain the symbolic meaning of "birth pangs" in detail). Verses 19 above prophesies that the "dead men shall live" and "arise", indicating that there will be a resurrection. This matches the description of the Rapture in 1 Thessalonians 4, which states that the "dead in Christ rise first." Isaiah 26:19 even says "together with my dead body" referencing the dead body of God rising from the dead (which was fulfilled at the resurrection of Jesus Christ - who is the "firstfruits" of all raptured saints). The dead believers in Christ will indeed be translated (given new, Heavenly bodies) and Raptured to Heaven to be with Jesus.
Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
In verse 20 we see instructions to those who are living and told to "enter thou into thy chambers" and "shut thy doors." Again the symbolism of the Rapture is present in the bridal chamber, the door being shut and remaining safely inside until God's "indignation" is finished. Revelation 14:10, in discussing God's end time wrath on those who worship the Antichrist as: "the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation." The "indignation" from the Isaiah 26 verse is clearly a reference to the Day of The Lord/Great Tribulation. And the implication is that while God is punishing sinners and those who have rejected Him, faithful believers in Jesus Christ will be shut away safely in Heaven until the indignation is done.
For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.
Verse 21 lines up with our description of the Day of The Lord as God punishes the unbelieving, sinful world that has rejected Him and the Gospel of Jesus Christ time and time again, in favor of following sin and the deceptions of the Antichrist. This will be the Day of the Lord or Great Tribulation and once again, believers are forewarned, removed and hidden safely before the wrath of God comes on the unbelieving.
The Rapture will be God's safe removal of His faithful believers before His unleashes His wrath on the sinful, God-rejecting world. Through types and shadows, the Bible demonstrates God's pattern for rescuing His faithful. In each instance, God warns faithful believers of the coming judgment, they prepare and watch for its arrival and are completely spared and removed from all harm before the judgment of God comes. The Apostle Paul, writing to the Thessalonian church about the end times Day of The Lord judgments said: "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." The true born again believers in Jesus Christ will not be caught off guard by the Day of The Lord, but will escape safely at the Rapture, meeting Jesus in the clouds and staying in The Father's house for 7 years until Gods wrath is poured out on the sinful world.
"And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man." - Jesus Christ, Luke 21:35-36.
Lebanon At The Crossroads: Israel & Hezbollah Prepare For Next Conflict - By Jacques Neriah -
At first glance, Hezbollah's silence and its lack of response to Israel's exposure of its attack tunnels during December 2018 seem very surprising. Israel considers the discovery of the tunnels to be a major blow to Hezbollah's strategy. The terror organization intended to take Israel by surprise by using the tunnels to invade the Upper Galilee or parts of it, leading to a major military confrontation with Israel.
For the time being, Hezbollah's leaders, and particularly its Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, have chosen to refrain from making any significant comments. Instead, they prefer to respond to the Israeli excavations with ongoing arrogant press coverage intended to ridicule Israel. At the same time, they are keeping a watchful eye on Israeli activities and they claim that as long as Israel continues to drill on its side of the border, there will not be any Hezbollah response.
While Hezbollah's belief that Israel is deterred by the organization's capabilities may explain the lack of reaction from Hezbollah, another reason for the silence may be that Hezbollah is focusing its efforts to uncover the sources (human or otherwise) that enabled Israel to find out about its strategic war plan and complete network of attack tunnels.
The excavation and deployment of these tunnels cost Hezbollah years of human effort and millions of dollars. Yet another possible reason could be that Hezbollah is attempting to understand the timing of the Israeli diplomatic offensive and the implications of uncovering the attack tunnels in both regional and Lebanese contexts.
There is no doubt that Nasrallah will choose to comment on these events at the earliest opportunity. Most probably, he will boast that Hezbollah has even more surprises that Israel is not aware of, and which it will encounter in the next military confrontation if it dares to provoke Hezbollah or initiate any attack on Lebanese soil.
What is Hezbollah's strategy in Lebanon?
In fact, far beyond the Israeli-Lebanese border, Hezbollah is busy with a strategic problem that is preventing it from dealing with Israel at this moment in time. Hezbollah is waging a crucial battle over the control of Lebanese infrastructure. The organization has returned to Lebanon from Syria, where it has left a small contingent. Its next project is to develop a strategy for taking control of the Lebanese government and turning Lebanon into Hezbollah turf through ballots rather than bullets.
In fact, in the May 2018 parliamentary elections held in Lebanon, the Hezbollah coalition gained 80 out of 128 seats in Parliament. However, due to the sectarian distribution of the top positions of the state, the main loser, Sunni leader Saad Hariri, has, oddly enough, been nominated as transitional prime minister in order to form a new government.
Though seven months have elapsed since then, Hariri has not been able to form a government, mainly because of stumbling blocks raised by Hezbollah. According to custom, the Lebanese government is a body comprised of 30 ministers.
Of these, the winning bloc in Parliament gets 15 portfolios, the opposition 10, and five more are the choice of the president of Lebanon. Judging the distribution unfair, Hezbollah has demanded two more portfolios in order to represent the six Sunni pro-Syrian (thus pro-Hezbollah) Parliament members, disrupting the subtle balance existing today in the formula of 15+10+5.
Several proposals for an alternative composition of government (such as 18 portfolios, 24, etc.) have been rejected by both parties. Hezbollah has tried to pressure President Michel Aoun into rescinding his decision to nominate Hariri as caretaker prime minister and asking Parliament to vote in favor of another candidate, more suitable to Hezbollah.
At first, Aoun was tempted to adopt Hezbollah's motion, but he retracted at the last moment because he realized its huge ramifications for the Lebanese body politic and Saudi-Lebanese relations, as Saudi Arabia is supporting Hariri in his efforts while Hezbollah draws its inspiration and support from Iran.
Lebanon's difficult internal situation
In such a state of affairs, Lebanon finds itself in a very dire situation. With no stable government, the internal scene has been experiencing new developments that were previously unknown:
Mounting tension between Lebanon's various sectarian communities, almost at the risk of igniting a new civil war, especially between Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims. At the beginning of December 2018, the internal security forces attempted to summon former parliamentarian Wissam Wahab, a Druze living in a small town called Jahiliyah, to Beirut for an investigation on grounds of blaspheming against Rafik Hariri, father of the present transitional Prime Minister Saad Hariri. However, this ended in the killing of his driver and nearly led to civil war.
A spectacular reconciliation in the Christian camp between Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese forces (a Christian militia), and the Frangieh family. In 1978, Geagea led the task force that stormed the Frangieh mansion in the northern town of Ehden, killing Tony Frangieh, his wife, and daughter. Tony Frangieh was the son of former Lebanese President Suleiman Frangieh, who invited the Syrian army to intervene in the Lebanese civil war in 1976, when the Christian camp was about to be defeated by the PLO and leftist forces.
Following the killing of Tony Frangieh, the Phalange party (Kataeb in Arabic) was driven out of the northern part of Mount Lebanon. Since then, the Phalange Party has been forbidden to enter any areas considered to be under the control of the Frangieh clan.
Lebanon is so heavily in debt that it is unable to pay back its loans. (It has the third-highest rate of national debt in the world--$81 billion, representing 152 percent of its gross domestic product.) A pledge by foreign donors to provide a financial relief package of $11 billion, made at a Paris conference in April 2018, cannot be honored due to the political and economic situation.
Political parties have taken to the streets to express their disapproval of the political stalemate and economic situation.
Lebanon is suffering from the presence of Syrian refugees, who represent more than 25 percent of its population. It has not succeeded in convincing these refugees to go back home.
The internal infrastructure is crumbling. Beside chronic electricity cuts, rivers (literally) of waste are flowing all over the capital due to an absence of municipal services.
In December 2018, against the backdrop of these developments, Israel accused Lebanon of violating U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701 by allowing Hezbollah to dig trans-border attack tunnels into Israeli territory. Israel has expressed its view that the Lebanese government is responsible and has actually insinuated that Lebanon could become a target for retaliation if a military confrontation started between Israel and Hezbollah.
Judging from the above, it seems that this is not the right time for Hezbollah to confront Israel. Lebanon is at a crossroads, as it struggles for stability. An upheaval in Lebanon does not serve the interests of either Hezbollah or Iran. Therefore, Hezbollah's main arena remains inside Lebanon, including the domination of Lebanese politics.
Once this is achieved, it will be much easier for Hezbollah to confront Israel. However, if Israel was to "infringe" on Lebanese sovereignty (by, for example, blowing up the attack tunnels from the Lebanese side of the border), it would be more than likely to witness a military escalation with Hezbollah.
Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon warned the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday about the threat Hezbollah poses to the Jewish state, calling the terrorist group a "lifeblood" from Iran.
"Hezbollah has built a terror base inside a civilian population, with its end on the Israeli side of the border, all financed by Iran," he said in a special session of the U.N. Security Council. "This not only a clear violation of Resolution 1701, but Hezbollah also uses Lebanese civilians as human shields. If Hezbollah dares to attack Israel, it will bring ruin to Lebanon."
Jesus Is Not A Commercial Product - By Grant Phillips - https://www.raptureready.com/2018/12/20/jesus-not-commercial-product-grant-phillips/
When my wife and I watch a movie or other program on television, I most always record it first, especially a ballgame. Now why is that Grant? There is a button on our remote that will "fast forward" through certain parts of the recording. Those "parts" I have in mind are what we call "commercials." I do not like commercials. If you do not believe me, ask my wife. The first button to eventually wear out on our remote will be that blessed one called "fast forward."
I suppose I have now revealed my lack of patience in watching anything with commercials. Be that as it may, I love that little fellow ... the fast forward button.
I can easily recall the first television set we had when I was just a pup. It was a large square box and had three snowy channels. My Dad ran a television line to the top of the mountain in front of our house. As I got older, I had to go up the mountain, to the top, and clear the line of debris. Now I was raised in eastern Kentucky, so we are not talking about a short jaunt, then back to the couch. No, no, it took a while. One more thing, there was no remote. To turn the TV on or off or change channels, someone had to actually get up, go to the TV and do so.
I also remember seeing the first color television sets in a Sears's store. "Green" seemed to be the predominant color as I recall.
Anyway, back to commercials. Mankind has always marketed their wares by some method or other, but when the television came into the living rooms, advertising via commercials really grew wings. When it comes to marketing their products through commercials, the business folks are all saying one of two things. Their product is always better, or it is the only one of its kind. Even attorneys and law firms are now permitted to legally advertise. Their message is always, "Let's go sue someone." On top of that most all commercials are presented with some form of "sex appeal."
With commercials, the bottom line is always about selling a product. There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to sell a product and advertising your product (depending on the product and method) so that it will sell and so that you may even increase your sales. Marketing the product is also accomplished by many avenues other than just television. Advertising is everywhere. You know that. From the time we crawl out of bed in the morning until we flop back in at night, we have been bombarded with marketing in some form.
And now I finally get to my point. For several years I have noticed that Jesus is treated by some as a product to be marketed to the masses. Some churches, especially some large ones, seem to actually be marketing Jesus. Some pastors make statements like, "I'm a salesman for Christ," or something along those lines.
With the long route I took to get here, I now must say that I feel this is just wrong. Jesus Christ is not a commodity. It seems to me that the world has a view of Christianity as one among many religions. Also, the world seems to think that Jesus as God comes in many flavors; i.e. Christian, Jew, Hindu, Confucianism, Catholicism, Islam, etc.
Is it possible that the world equates Christianity and Jesus as a product we are commercializing? Don't some advertise Him as if they were doing a TV commercial? If this is true, aren't we saying in effect, "My God is better than yours," or "My religion is better than yours?" If we are saying that, aren't we giving them credit for having the same thing we have, but ours is better?
Now I do not actually believe that true Christians have this intent at all. We know that Christianity is not a religion. It is a relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Jesus is not "a" god. He is "the" God.
Actually the world's mindset of the commercialization of the one true God is not new. This has always been going on. Just consider the gods that the civilizations before us had at any one time. "But we are the enlightened 21st century civilization!" Nope. We are no different than those in the days of Paul, Abraham, and Noah. Satan has blinded the world from the beginning in considering all gods, and God, on equal footing. "Just pick one. Any will do," says that crafty devil.
I am not a salesman for Christ. I am not trying to present Christ to anyone as a god better than what the other guy has. I am simply saying that you are holding on to nothing.
Let me explain it this way. I am not putting Jesus Christ in the lineup on equal footing with All, Fresh Start, FAB, Tide, Wisk, Purex, Persil or any other whitener. Yes, Jesus can make us the cleanest we have ever been, but He is unique, and we are not speaking of clothes. We are speaking of souls.
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18)
Does this comparison sound silly? It is silly, but no more so than to compare gods with God. They don't exist. God is very real and Jesus is God.
All the false gods of any religion you care to name are dead and gone. They are in hell today awaiting judgment by the one true God who is eternal. Jesus lives and is in Heaven today.
Jesus is not "one of the boys." He is not one way to Heaven among others. He is God and He is the only way.
Jesus did not come to earth to die for our sins, rise again and return to Heaven to be a buffet choice for those convinced that He is a better product than the competitor's because our commercial is better.
"You like FAB. I like Tide. Oh well, they both get clothes clean." True.
"You like Allah. I like Jesus. Oh well, they both get us to Heaven." False.
Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, came to seek and to save the lost.
"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." (Luke 19:10)
It is time for some Christians to stop trying to be sales people. Jesus is not for sale. What He offers mankind is not for sale. He has already paid the price, and it cost Him dearly. Christianity is free, paid for by God Himself. He only requires our belief in Him.
Jesus came to this earth, truly God and truly man, to rescue the perishing. He is not "a" way to escape judgment. He is the only way. All mankind is on the slave market of Satan. Jesus came and paid the price to set us free, but our freedom can only be received by our putting our trust in Him.
Jesus is not an option brought to you by the best commercial presentation. He is God.
One more point. We all have our favorites, whether it is washing detergent, cereal, toothpaste, clothes, cars, etc. We all have different interests in life, different talents, etc. Do you know that many of our likes and dislikes are probably influences that came through commercials we have watched?
Satan is presenting other gods to mankind just as much as Kellogg's and General Mills present their cereals to mankind via television commercials and other avenues. They want us to buy their product. Satan wants man to buy his product.
Once we recognize that truth, hopefully we will understand that Jesus is authentic and everything else we are hearing is false.
Folks listen to what others say about false gods and false religions and compare them with the true God and Christianity. Most, for whatever reason, will believe the lie over the truth. Maybe it sounds better. Maybe it looks better. Sin has always had an appeal, but the Truth remains.
Jesus is not a commercial product. He is God in the flesh, 100% God and 100% perfect Man. To all who will listen He says, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." (John 6:37)
Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com
Rapture Ready: http://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html
Daily Jot: We must learn to discern - Bill Wilson -
Hosea 4 begins with "Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel: for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." Verse 6 says, "My people are destroyed for the lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you..." The context is God's people turned away from God and no longer practiced truth, mercy or knowledge of God. The knowledge of God provides relationship, wisdom, discernment, truth, love, and justice. When God's people reject his knowledge, destruction follows. It is imperative God's people stay in relationship with him, especially these days, for there are those who seek to destroy.
The New York Times (NYT) has published an investigative story that illustrates just how important it is to draw close to God and seek his wisdom and discernment. NYT revealed how a group of Democratic Party technology experts conducted a secret project during the Alabama Senate race to deliberately misinform voters so that Democrat Senatorial candidate Doug Jones would defeat Republican Roy Moore. The project emulated the very same tactics the Russians employed during the 2016 presidential election. It used Twitter and Facebook to target conservative voters, use false information, promote third party candidates, and encourage write-in candidates.
Jones defeated Moore by 21,924 votes out of over 1.3 million ballots cast. Interestingly, there were more than 22.800 write in votes. Democratic Party operatives are denying that the $100,000 secret project made any difference in the outcome, but it's difficult to discount a relationship between those 22,800 write in votes, which would not have gone to Moore, and the 21,924 vote margin of victory for Jones. They are downplaying it because they know full well it worked. NYT reports that the secret project brought together the immediate past "president's" tech experts funded by the co-founder of Linkedin using American Engagement Technologies as a pass through and Investing in Us as a collaborator.
Investing in Us told the NYT that their "purpose in investing in politics and civic engagement is to strengthen American democracy." Destroying the American republic is more likely the goal. Here we have a NYT narrative that the Russians taught the Democrats how to disrupt elections. That doesn't meet the straight face test. The left has weaponized social media and truth has become a hidden riddle. This is just one example. This type of deception is occurring in all facets of societies across the world. It is easy to be deceived and believe things we want to believe, but they may reflect only small truths sewn into the fabric of lies. As men and women of God, we need to draw closer to Him, seek his wisdom and pray for discernment that we are not deceived.
Daily Devotion: Christ the Lord - By Greg Laurie -
Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." -Luke 2:10-11
The angel began that wonderful announcement to the shepherds with, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy. . . ." Maybe you are suffering today. You might find yourself wondering, Where is the joy? But what is the joy about? Is it about an opportunity to go shopping? Is the message of Christmas "Let it snow?" No, it is, "Let us worship."
The angels' visit to the shepherds became the first Christmas celebration. It's as though Heaven and earth were celebrating it together, as though a portal to glory had been opened up. These shepherds saw the supernatural world, the heavenly world. On that first Christmas, there was a big celebration in Heaven and on earth over the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have a Savior: "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). That is the most important thing. We have a Savior who came to save us from the power and penalty of sin. Whatever you are going through in life, remember this: you have a Savior. He has put your sins as far away from you as the east is from the west.
Christ means "anointed one." Another word for that is Messiah. Jesus was the fulfillment of God's promise to send His Son as the Messiah. This is a simple reminder that God keeps His promises. God said that He would send a Messiah, and the Messiah came.
Lord means that we have a sovereign God who is in control of our lives.
So set aside the things you have become preoccupied with and remember that you have a Savior. You have a Lord. You have a Christ. And you have His promises.
FROM THE HEART
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