Israel prepared for the final journey of one its most iconic leaders Monday, as arrangements were made for Ariel Sharon’s coffin to be transferred from Jerusalem to his final resting place on his family farm in the Negev.
A ceremony, attended by US Vice President Joe Biden, will be held at 9:30 a.m. at the Knesset before the body of the ex-general and prime minister is taken from Jerusalem for the final time.
Biden landed in Israel shortly after 6 a.m. Monday morning.
Before being driven to the Sycamore Farm (Havat Hashikmim) for burial, Sharon’s coffin will be transported to Latrun, in the hills west of the city, where his body will be saluted by the Israel Defense Forces General Command in a brief ceremony.
US, Czech Republic, Germany, Spain and Australia sending senior ministers; Japan, China, Turkey and Arab states are no-shows
US Vice President Joe Biden, Czech Prime Minister Jiří Rusnok and the foreign ministers of Australia and Germany are among the top foreign officials scheduled to attend the funeral of former prime minister Ariel Sharon on Monday. The list of dignitaries includes senior ministers and top officials from 19 countries, but not a single head of state
The countries sending senior government officials to the funeral roughly correspond with a list of Israel’s closest allies on the international stage. No senior officials from the two Arab states with which Israel has diplomatic relations — Jordan and Egypt — are scheduled to attend.
Ariel Sharon at the White House in 2001
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu expressed his "deep sorrow" over the passing of former prime minister Ariel Sharon on Saturday, calling him "a great warrior and military leader."
The former premier died on Saturday at the age of 85 after spending the past eight years in a coma.
Netanyahu stated that Sharon's memory "will live forever in the nation's heart."
John Kerry extols late leader for making ‘tough decisions’ and realizing that ‘peace will make Israel stronger’ — intended as a clear lesson for the current prime minister
A statement by US Secretary of State John Kerry also came off as less an honest tribute to Ariel Sharon and more like a plea addressed to Netanyahu, imploring him to muster the courage to make the concessions necessary for the peace process to advance.
Kerry called Sharon a “big bear of a man,” who, after he became prime minister, “sought to bend the course of history toward peace, even as it meant testing the patience of his own longtime supporters and the limits of his own, lifelong convictions in the process.”
“He was prepared to make tough decisions because he knew that his responsibility to his people was both to ensure their security and to give every chance to the hope that they could live in peace,” Kerry said of Sharon.
Kerry listens to Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled Al-Attiyah. Reuters
US Secretary of State John Kerry told Arab League foreign ministers late Sunday that Washington was determined to bring Israel and the Palestinians together in an effort to end the decades-long conflict.
"As I made clear in my discussions with the Arab foreign ministers today, we really are at a critical point, as Palestinians and Israeli leaders grapple with difficult and challenging decisions that lie ahead," Kerry said.
"Through the course of the last five months, President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu have both demonstrated courageous and determined leadership," the secretary said. "They’ve made tough choices, and they are contemplating even tougher choices in the weeks ahead."
An international campaign to boycott Israeli settlement products has rapidly turned from a distant nuisance into a harsh economic reality for Israeli farmers in the West Bank's Jordan Valley.
The export-driven income of growers in the valley's 21 settlements dropped by more than 14 percent, or $29 million, last year, largely because Western European supermarket chains, particularly those in Britain and Scandinavia, are increasingly shunning the area's peppers, dates, grapes and fresh herbs, settlers say.
"The damage is enormous," said David Elhayani, head of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, which represents about 7,000 settlers. "In effect, today, we are almost not selling to the (Western) European market anymore.
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White House News
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Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither
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Inspired by God
"The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day." - E. M. Bounds
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|Wednesday, Sep 05, 2012 10:59:37 AM EDT||Tuesday, May 31, 2011 06:09:58 PM EDT||Tuesday, Sep 14, 2010 02:17:54 PM EDT|
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13 Jan 14
H7N9 has mutated and may spread from human to human: expert
Chinese researchers have discovered mutations in the new strain of avian influenza A, known as H7N9, and have found that the virus has the ability to spread from human to human, the latest issue of the Guangzhou-based Southern Metropolis Weekly reported.
Killing Them Softly
It's lethal injection by house call in Belgium, where deaths by doctor are up 6,000 percent. We hit the road with one of euthanasia's most prolific practitioners... Today only Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and Colombia allow physicians to actively facilitate the death of a patient, while Switzerland and several U.S. states permit the more indirect method of “assisted suicide.”
Marco Rubio Hammers Obama Administration, Accuses President of ‘Emboldening the Taliban’
The conservative senator, widely expected to launch a bid for the White House in 2016, was reacting to a new book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates when he made the allegations. “I don’t think we can ignore what’s in that book and I think, for many of us it confirms our worst fears,” Rubio said. ”And that is that this is an administration full of people that either have the wrong convictions or, in the case of former Secretary Clinton, lack the courage of her convictions.”
Pro-Gun Lawmakers Eye State-by-State Strategy to Nullify Federal Gun-Control Statutes
Missouri’s latest proposal, introduced this past week, would attempt to nullify certain federal gun control regulations from being enforced in the state and subject law enforcement officers to criminal and civil penalties for carrying out such policies.
Syria crisis: US and Russia discuss possible ceasefires
The US and Russia have discussed the possibility of "localised ceasefires" in Syria ahead of peace talks to be held in Switzerland next week. Russia also said Syria was considering opening humanitarian access to besieged rebel areas. A prisoner exchange is also under consideration, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
FAST SOLAR WIND
Blowing with gusts as fast as 800 km/s (1.8 million mph), a stream of solar wind is buffeting Earth's magnetic field. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Jan. 13th.
Sensory Performance Could Be Enhanced Through Targeted Ultrasounds
Ultrasound, which is used by creatures such as bats and whales as a type of sensory guidance system, can also boost sensory perception in humans by modulating brain activity, according to new research appearing in Sunday’s online edition of Nature Neuroscience. Dr. Tyler and his colleagues placed a small electrode on the wrist of human volunteers in order to stimulate their median nerve, which runs down the arm and is the only nerve to pass through the carpal tunnel.
Alberta woman who died of H5N1 was in her 20s
Dr. Michael Gardam, an infectious disease consultant with Toronto's University Health Network who's not with the WHO, says it's "odd" for humans to get infected with H5N1 from a non-poultry source. "Almost all of the cases that we've heard about going back to the 1990s, there's been direct contact with poultry,"
'Fewer and fewer' in Senate buy global warming
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., admits that when Al Gore first began preaching the tenets of global warming, he thought “there might be something to it.” But now the senator and author of “The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future” says not only has he seen through the “hoax,” but so have his fellow lawmakers.
DARPA Aims for Jam-Proof Communication Systems
U.S. military researchers have released a formal solicitation for a new electronic warfare program, in order to develop jam-resistant communications and difficult-to-detect-communications technology. The goal: to keep battlefield networks functioning amid a variety of spectrum-warfare threats. According to Military & Aerospace enemy technology that is designed to intercept, deny, and exploit U.S. tactical communications has advanced quickly, and poses a formidable threat to U.S. air dominance and air supremacy, DARPA officials say.
6.4-quake shakes Puerto Rico, causing minor damage
A strong earthquake out to sea shook Puerto Rico early Monday, causing minor damage in some places. Some people reported items falling in their home and dozens said they felt buildings sway in the capital of San Juan, about 61 miles (98 kilometers) from the quake's epicenter.
Rise of the exorcists in Catholic Church
Dioceses across Italy, as well as in countries such as Spain, are increasing the number of priests schooled in administering the rite of exorcism, fabled to rid people of possession by the Devil. The rise in demonic cases is a result of more people dabbling in practices such as black magic, paganism, Satanic rites and Ouija boards, often exploring the dark arts with the help of information readily found on the internet, the Church said.
Thailand crisis: Protesters launch Bangkok 'shutdown'
Protesters are blocking roads in parts of the Thai capital, Bangkok, in a bid to oust the government before snap elections on 2 February. The protesters have built barricades and occupied key road junctions. The government has deployed 18,000 security personnel to maintain order.
Israeli army: 2 rockets fired from Gaza ahead of Sharon funeral in south; did not hit Israel
Israel's army says two rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip just hours ahead of Ariel Sharon's funeral but they did not appear to have landed in Israel.
6.4-magnitude earthquake rattles Puerto Rico
A strong earthquake out to sea shook Puerto Rico early Monday, causing minor damage in some places. Some people reported items falling in their home and dozens said they felt buildings sway in the capital of San Juan, about 61 miles from the quake's epicenter.
Rodman 'sorry' after controversial North Korea trip
An emotional Dennis Rodman appeared to break down Monday as he apologised on his return from a controversial trip to North Korea, where he sang "Happy Birthday" to regime leader Kim Jong-Un. The former NBA star was widely criticised for refusing to bring up human rights abuses or the plight of a US missionary detained in North Korea during his week-long visit.
Iran, world powers reach deal opening nuke program
Iran has agreed to limit uranium enrichment and to open its nuclear program to daily inspection by international experts starting Jan. 20, setting the clock running on a six-month deadline for a final nuclear agreement, officials said Sunday.
US 'superweeds' epidemic shines spotlight on GMOs
The United States is facing an epidemic of herbicide-resistant "superweeds" that some activists and researchers are blaming on GMOs, an accusation rejected by industry giants. According to a recent study, the situation is such that American farmers are "heading for a crisis." Many scientists blame overuse of herbicides, prompted by seeds genetically modified to resist them.
RAPTURE READY FEATURE
What Is Imminency?
In doing some research on the doctrine of imminency, I noticed few people take the time to actually define what prophetic imminency means. First, let us look at the general definition of the key word "imminent:" "The quality or condition of being about to occur."
Imminency, as it relates to Bible prophecy, simply means that the return of Jesus Christ for the Church can happen at any moment. No warning signs will indicate a short-term countdown. We as Christians remain on alert 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If a wife knows her husband normally gets home from work shortly after 4:00 PM, she knows that beginning at 4:00 PM, his arrival is imminent. If the woman knows her husband has to work overtime, the imminency of his 4:00 PM return is then in doubt.
The only way for the rapture to be truly imminent is to have it transpire before the tribulation. If the Church were required to wait until after the manifestation of certain events, then there would be no doctrine of imminency.
The Granddaddy Of Proofs
The pretribulation rapture is the only view that allows for the rapture to be imminent in its timing. All the other views require a number of prophetic occurrences to take place before the rapture can be declared imminent. To be looking for the imminent return of Christ, you have to believe in a pre-trib rapture.
Jesus repeatedly said that His return for the Church would be a surprise. The Lord even went beyond that by saying He would return "as a thief" when believers generally won't be expecting Him to come for them.
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Matthew 24:36).
"Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing" (Matthew 24:42-46 KJV).
"Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Matthew 25:13).
"And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:7).
Because we have no way to refute the fact that we will not know the timing of our Lord's return, the tribulation is a barrier to the rapture. No wonder the late John Walvoord called imminency "the heart of Pretribulationism."
This type of "any-moment" language doesn't fit a post-trib rapture. If Jesus were prevented from coming until after the battle of Magog, the rise of Antichrist, and the Mark of the Beast, we would have no need to watch for Him before the tribulation.
If the Church were required to go through the seven-year tribulation, you would expect the New Testament writers to have warned us to be prepared for trying times. On the contrary, the New Testament writers repeatedly tell the Church to be comforted by the "coming of the Lord" (1 Thes 4:18). The word "comfort" alone strongly implies the rapture will take place before the tribulation.
Some anti-imminency folks try to solve the problem they have with the rapture's any-moment occurrence by redefining it as merely indicating that Christ will return soon. The speed of Christ's advent is not the issue. If an event is required to take place before the Lord can return, there is no need to remain watchful.
If a person should make it through the tribulation until the point when the mid-trib, pre-wrath, and post-trib folks expect the rapture to occur, it would then become possible for the rapture to be classified as "imminent." However, once you solve the problem of imminency, you create another one regarding the restrictions against knowing the timing of the rapture.
Because the duration of the tribulation is already known, post-tribbers have the hardest time dealing with the rapture's timing. Some of them have tried to suggest that believers who make it through the tribulation will lazily lose track of the nearness of Christ's second coming.
If a Christian has been lucky enough to survive a host of apocalyptic calamities and elude the Antichrist's secret police for at least 3 1/2 years, I cannot imagine that he would be oblivious to the nearness of the Lord's return at the 7-year mark. If I were reduced to the point of having to hide in a forest and forage through dead tree bark to find beetles and grubs to sustain myself, I'm certain my every thought would be focused on the Lord's return.
One the strongest cases one can make for the early Church expecting an imminent return of Christ is to note their use of the word maranatha, which was used as a greeting in those days. When believers gathered or parted, they didn't say "hello" or "goodbye"; they would say "Maranatha!"
I've encountered some writings that say Maranatha is Hebrew and Greek, but it is actually an Aramaic expression. In fact, it is made up of three Aramaic words:Mar, which means "Lord"; ana, which means "our"; and tha, which means "come."
So when you put it together, maranatha means "Our Lord, come." It perfectly conveys the concept that the Lord could come at any moment. Maranatha is used once in the Bible by Paul as part of a curse. In 1 Corinthians 16:22, Paul said, "If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema.Maranatha." The word "anathema" means "banned," so Paul was saying, "Let him be banned from our Lord's coming."
The interesting thing about maranatha is that it comes in the form of a petition. When a Christian in the early Church would make this statement, he was actually petitioning the Lord to come. This obviously implies the belief that it was possible for Jesus to answer the appeal.
If members of the first-century Church believed that certain events needed to take place before the Savior could return, they would have been silly to greet each other with "maranatha." They lived nearly 2,000 years ago, and yet they seem to have had a deeper awareness of imminency than many of today's Christians.
The Historical Record
Many of the contemporary writers who attack imminency try to promote the idea that this doctrine was recently dreamed up by men who were ignorant of the true meaning of Scripture.
One detractor states, "This frenzy [imminency] continues to survive today because of modern misconceptions about the purpose of these prophetic events and the time frame for their occurrence."
Post-trib believers are the most vocal in their claim that the concepts of imminency and the pre-trib rapture only date back to the early 1800s. For several years, their charges went unanswered, but recently a number of men have dusted off old manuscripts and found several early Church fathers who were clearly looking for an imminent return of the Lord Jesus.
"All the saints and elect of God are gathered together before the tribulation, which is to come, and are taken to the Lord, in order that they may not see at any time the confusion which overwhelms the world because of our sins" (Pseudo-Ephraem (374-627 AD).
The First Epistle of Clement, 23 (written around 96 A.D. by Clement, a prominent leader of the church at Rome who knew some of the apostles personally and probably is the Clement referred to in Phil. 4:3): "Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scripture also bears witness, saying, 'speedily will He come, and will not tarry.'"
As early as 70 - 180 AD, The Didache, chapter 16, section 1, says, "'Be vigilant over your life; let your lamps not be extinguished, or your loins ungirded, but be prepared, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come."
"But what a spectacle is that fast-approaching advent of our Lord, now owned by all, now highly exalted, now a triumphant One!" (Tertullian 155 - 245 AD).
John Calvin, the reformer at Geneva during the 1500s and founder of the Presbyterian Church, made the following statements in some of his commentaries on books of the Bible: "Be prepared to expect Him every day, or rather every moment." "As He has promised that He will return to us, we ought to hold ourselves prepared, at every moment to receive Him." "Today we must be alert to grasp the imminent return of Christ." Commenting on 1 Thessalonians 4, the "Rapture passage," Calvin said that Paul "means by this to arouse the Thessalonians to wait for it, nay more, to hold all believers in suspense, that they may not promise themselves some particular time . . . that believers might be prepared at all times."
The Westminster Confession, written by the Puritans of England during the 1600s, declared that men should "shake off all carnal security and be always watchful, because they know not at what hour the Lord will come."
"I say, somewhat more because the dead saints will be raised, and the living changed at Christ's 'appearing in the air' (1 Thess 4:17); and this will be about three years and a half before the millennium, as we shall see hereafter: but will he and they abide in the air all that time? No: they will ascend to paradise, or to some one of those many 'mansions in the father's house' (John 14:2), and so disappear during the foresaid period of time." (Morgan Edwards 1742-44).
I'm not much of a fan of relying on what scholarly men write about the Bible. I agree with the quotes I just cited, but I don't really need a bunch of dead guys to tell me what is truth. I have over a dozen copies of the Good Book lying around the house, and I have the ability to read and understand each of them for myself.
History has proven that mankind is a dreadful biblical guide. The apostasy that swept over the Church caused a lack of prophecy commentary from about 450 AD until the 1600s. People stopped thinking for themselves. Their interpretation of the Bible became what the institutional church spoon-fed them.
Premillennialism largely disappeared after it was condemned as heretical by the Council of Ephesus in 431 AD. It wasn't until the reform movement of the early seventeenth century that we see a rebound in the number of statements that reflect the pretribulational view.
A host of Scriptures indicate the Church should expect an imminent return of their Lord. The opponents of imminency constantly try to pick apart each individual reference, but they should look at the big picture. An overwhelming number of verses in the Bible support imminency.
I've been able to easily locate 22 passages that imply that the coming of Christ remains an imminent event. All you really need is one verse to prove a point, but the weight of evidence should cause even the most hard-core imminency foes to rethink their stance.
I seriously doubt any scholar or layman could find 22 passages of Scripture that clearly indicate the tribulation or the rule of the Antichrist is the next imminent event facing the Church.
"But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Mat 24:36).
Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him" (Mat 25:1-6)
"Take ye heed, watch and pray; for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch" (Mark 13:33-37).
"Knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light"(Rom 13:11-12).
"And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly" (Rom 16:20).
"So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor 1:7).
"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil 3:20).
"Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand" (Phil 4:5).
"And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess 1:10).
"Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober" (1 Thess 5:6).
"That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Tim 6:14).
"Looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus" (Titus 2:13).
"So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation" (Heb 9:28).
"Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the Day approaching" (Heb 10:24-25).
"For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry" (Heb 10:37).
"Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door" (James 5:7-9).
"Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:13).
"But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer" (1 Peter 4:7).
"Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life" (Jude 1:21).
"Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev 3:11).
"Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book" (Rev 22:7).
"He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus" (Rev 22:20).
Date setters keep trying and they also keep failing
One logical question all Christians should ask themselves is: "When is Jesus Christ going to return?" When I read my Bible, I run across words like, "For ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh" (Mat 25:13). I also read, "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Mat 24:42). I understand that to mean, "You're not going to know until I come for you."
Other people throughout history have read the same words of Jesus and have come up with different interpretations of what He intended. They've somehow managed to get around all restrictions against precise date setting. On a number of occasions, by doing so, they created pure havoc. The following is a list of some past failed attempts at date settings and some dates yet to come.
- 53 AD
Even before all the books of the Bible were written, there was talk that Christ's return had already taken place. The Thessalonians panicked on Paul when they heard a rumor that the day of the Lord was at hand, and they had missed the rapture.
A Roman priest living in the second century predicted Christ would return in 500 AD, based on the dimensions of Noah's ark.
This year goes down as one of the most heightened periods of hysteria over the return of Christ. All members of society seemed affected by the prediction that Jesus was coming back at the start of the new millennium. None of the events required by the Bible were transpiring at that time; the magic of the number 1000 was the sole reason for the expectation. During concluding months of 999 AD, everyone was on his best behavior; worldly goods were sold and given to the poor; swarms of pilgrims headed east to meet the Lord at Jerusalem; buildings went unrepaired; crops were left unplanted; and criminals were set free from jails. When the year 999 AD turned into 1000 AD, nothing happened.
This year was cited as the beginning of the millennium because it marked 1,000 years since Christ's crucifixion.
The "Letter of Toledo" warned everyone to hide in the caves and mountains. The world was reportedly to be destroyed with only a few spared.
The Taborites of Czechoslovakia predicted every city would be annihilated by fire. Only five mountain strongholds would be saved.
Muntzer, a leader of German peasants, announced that the return of Christ was near. After Muntzer and his men destroyed the high and mighty, the Lord would supposedly return. This belief led to an uneven battle against government troops. He was strategically outnumbered. Muntzer claimed to have had a vision from God in which the Lord promised that He would catch the cannonballs of the enemy in the sleeves of His cloak. The prediction within the vision turned out to be false when Muntzer and his followers were mowed down by cannon fire.
A repeat of the Muntzer affair occurred a few years later. This time, Jan Matthys took over the city of Munster. The city was to be the only one spared from destruction. The inhabitants of Munster, chased out by Matthys and his men, regrouped and lay siege to the city. Within a year, everyone in the city was dead.
The Fifth Monarchy Men looked for Jesus to establish a theocracy. They took up arms and tried to seize England by force. The movement died when the British monarchy was restored in 1660.
For the citizens of London, 1666 was not a banner year. A bubonic plague outbreak killed 100,000 and the Great Fire of London struck the same year. The world seemed at an end to most Londoners. The fact that the year ended with the Beast's number--666--didn't help matters.
Mary Bateman, who specialized in fortune telling, had a magic chicken that laid eggs with end-time messages on them. One message said that Christ was coming. The uproar she created ended when an unannounced visitor caught her forcing an egg into the hen's oviduct. Mary later was hanged for poisoning a wealthy client. History does not record whether the offended chicken attended the hanging.
Spiritualist Joanna Southcott made the startling claim that she, by virgin birth, would produce the second Jesus Christ. Her abdomen began to swell and so did the crowds of people around her. The time for the birth came and passed; she died soon after. An autopsy revealed she had experienced a false pregnancy.
John Wesley wrote that "the time, times and half a time" of Revelation 12:14 were 1058-1836, "when Christ should come" (A. M. Morris, The Prophecies Unveiled, p. 361).
William Miller was the founder of an end-times movement that was so prominent it received its own name, Millerism. From his studies of the Bible, Miller determined that the second coming would happen sometime between 1843-1844. A spectacular meteor shower in 1833 gave the movement a good push forward. The buildup of anticipation continued until March 21, 1844, when Miller's one-year timetable ran out. Some followers set another date--Oct 22, 1844. This too failed, collapsing the movement. One follower described the days after the failed predictions: "The world made merry over the old Prophet's predicament. The taunts and jeers of the 'scoffers' were well-nigh unbearable."
Rev. Thomas Parker, a Massachusetts minister, looked for the millennium to start about 1859.
Someone called Mother Shipton had, 400 years earlier, claimed that the world would end in 1881. A controversy hangs over the Shipton writings as to whether or not publishers doctored the text. If the date was wrong, should it matter anyway?
The revisit of Halley's comet was, for many, an indication of the Lord's second coming. The earth actually passed through the gaseous tail of the comet. One enterprising man sold comet pills to people for protection against the effects of the toxic gases.
Charles Russell, after being exposed to the teachings of William Miller, founded his own organization that evolved into the Jehovah's Witnesses. In 1914, Russell predicted the return of Jesus Christ.
In 1918, new math didn't help the Witnesses from striking out again.
The Witnesses had no better luck in 1925. They already possessed the title of "Most Wrong Predictions." They would expand upon it in the years to come.
Once again, Jehovah's Witnesses beleived that Armageddon was due. Before the end of 1941, the end of all things was predicted.
When the city of Jerusalem was reclaimed by the Jews in 1967, prophecy watchers declared that the "Time of the Gentiles" had come to an end.
The True Light Church of Christ made its claim to fame by incorrectly forecasting the return of Jesus. A number of church members had quit their livelihoods ahead of the promised advent.
A comet that turned out to be a visual disappointment nonetheless compelled one preacher to announce that it would be a sign of the Lord's return.
The Jehovah's Witnesses were back at it in 1975. The failure of the forecast did not affect the growth of the movement. The Watchtower magazine, a major Witness periodical, has over 13 million subscribers.
We all remember the killer bee scare of the late 1970's. One prophecy prognosticator linked the bees to Revelation 9:3-12. After 20 years of progression, the bees are still in Texas. I'm beginning to think of them as the killer snails.
One author boldly declared that the rapture would occur before December 31, 1981, based on Christian prophecy, astronomy, and a dash of ecological fatalism. He pegged the date to Jesus' promised return to earth a generation after Israel's rebirth. He also made references to the "Jupiter Effect," a planetary alignment occurring every 179 years that supposedly could lead to earthquakes and nuclear plant meltdowns.
It was all going to end in 1982, when the planets lined up and created magnetic forces that would bring Armageddon to the earth.
A group called the Tara Centers placed full-page advertisements in many major newspapers for the weekend of April 24-25, 1982, announcing: "The Christ is Now Here!" They predicted that He was to make himself known "within the next two months." After the date passed, they said that the delay was only because the "consciousness of the human race was not quite right..." Boy, all these years and we're still not ready.
The Jehovah's Witnesses made sure, in 1984, that no one else would be able to top their record of most wrong doomsday predictions. The Witnesses' record currently holds at nine. The years are: 1874, 1878, 1881, 1910, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1975, and 1984. Lately, the JWs are claiming they're out of the prediction business, but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks. They'll be back.
The Harmonic Convergence was planned for August 16-17, 1987, and several New Age events were also to occur at that time. The second coming of the serpent god of peace and the Hopi dance awakening were two examples.
The book, 88 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1988, came out only a few months before the event was to take place. What little time the book had, it used effectively. By the time the predicted dates, September 11-13, rolled around, whole churches were caught up in the excitement the book generated. I personally had friends who were measuring themselves for wings. In the dorm where we lived, my friends were also openly confronting all of the unsaved. It became my job to defuse situations. In one case, an accosted sinner was contemplating dispensary action against my now-distant friends. Finally, the days of destiny dawned and then set. No Jesus. The environment was not the same as Miller's 1844 failure. To my surprise, the taunting by the unsaved was very brief. I took it that people have very little understanding of the Bible, so they had nothing to taunt my friends with. I made one other interesting observation. Although the time for the rapture had been predicted to fall within a three-day window, September 11-13, my friends gave up hope on the morning of the 12th. I pointed out that they still had two days left, but they had been spooked, nonetheless
After the passing of the deadline in 88 Reasons, the author, Edgar Whisenant, came out with a new book called 89 Reasons Why the Rapture is in 1989. This book sold only a fraction of the number of copies his prior release had sold.
A group in Australia predicted Jesus would return through the Sydney Harbor at 9 a.m., March 31, 1991.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan proclaimed the Gulf War would be "the War of Armageddon ... the final War."
Menachem Schneerson, a Russian-born rabbi, called for the Messiah to come by September 9, 1991, the start of the Jewish New Year.
A Korean group called Mission for the Coming Days had the Korea Church an uproar in the fall of 1992. They foresaw October 28, 1992 as the date for the rapture. Numerology was the basis for the date. Several camera shots that left ghostly images on pictures were thought to be a supernatural confirmation of the date.
If the year 2000 is the end of the 6,000-year cycle, then the rapture must take place in 1993, because you would need seven years of the tribulation. This was the thinking of a number of prophecy writers.
In the book, 1994: The Year of Destiny , F. M. Riley foretold of God's plan to rapture His people. The name of his ministry is "The Last Call," and he operates out of Missouri.
Pastor John Hinkle of Christ Church in Los Angeles caused quite a stir when he announced he had received a vision from God that warned of apocalyptic event on June 9, 1994. Hinkle, quoting God, said, "On Thursday June the 9th, I will rip the evil out of this world." At the time, I knew Hinkle's vision didn't match up with Scripture. From a proper reading of Bible prophecy, the only thing that God could possibly rip from the earth would be the Christian Church, and I don't think God would refer to the Church as "evil." Some people tried to interpret Hinkle's unscriptural vision to mean that God would the rip evil out of our hearts when He raptured us. Well, the date came and went with no heart surgery or rapture.
Harold Camping, in his book Are You Ready?, predicted the Lord would return in September 1994. The book was full of numerology that added up to 1994 as the date of Christ's return.
After promising they would not make anymore end time predictions, the Jehovah's Witnesses fell off the wagon and proclaimed 1994 as the conclusion of an 80-year generation; the year 1914 was the starting point.
This year had a special month, according to one author who foresaw September as the time for our Lord's return. The Church Age will last 2,000 years from the time of Christ's birth in 4 BC.
California psychic Sheldon Nidle predicted the end would come with the convergence of 16 million space ships and a host of angels upon the earth on December 17, 1996. Nidle explained the passing of the date by claiming the angels placed us in a holographic projection to preserve us and give us a second chance.
In regard to 1997, I received several e-mail messages that pointed to this as the year when Jesus would return for His church. Two of the more widely known time frames were Monte Judah's prediction that the tribulation would begin in February/March and another prediction based on numerology and the Psalms that targeted May 14 as the date of the rapture.
When Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat signed their peace pact on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, some saw the events as the beginning of tribulation. With the signing of the peace agreement, Daniel's 1,260-day countdown was underway. By adding 1,260 days to September 1993, you arrive at February 24, 1997.
Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club saw a "90 percent" chance that the tribulation would start September 12, 1997. He based his conclusion on several end-time signs: that would be Jesus' 2,000th birthday and it would also be the Day of Atonement, although it wouldn't be what is currently the Jewish Day of Atonement. Further supporting evidence came from Romanian pastor Dumitru Duduman. In several heavenly visions, Dumitru claimed to have seen the Book of Life. In one of his earlier visions, there were several pages yet to be completed. In his last vision, he noticed the Book of Life only had one page left. Doing some rough calculating, Johnson and friends figured the latest time frame for the completion of the book would have to be September 1997.
Numerology: Because 666 times three equals 1998, some people point to this year as being prophetically significant. Someone called me long distance just so he could pass on to me this earth-shattering news.
A Taiwanese cult operating out of Garland, Texas predicted Christ would return on March 31 of 1998. The group's leader, Heng-ming Chen, announced God would return and then invite the cult members aboard a UFO.
The group abandoned their prediction when a precursor event failed to take place. The cult's leader had said that God would appear on every channel 18 of every TV in the world. Maybe God realized at the last minute, the Playboy Network was channel 18 on several cable systems, and He didn't want to have Christians watching a porn channel.
On April 30, 1998, Israel was to turn 50 and many believed this birthday would mark the beginning of the tribulation. The reasoning behind this date has to do with God's age requirement for the priesthood, which is between 30-50.
1998 Marilyn Agee, in her book, The End of the Age, had her sights set on May 31, 1998. This date was to conclude the 6,000-year cycle from the time of Adam. Agee looked for the rapture to take place on Pentecost, which is also known as "the Feast of Weeks." Another indicator of this date was the fact that the Holy Spirit did not descend upon the apostles until 50 days after Christ's resurrection. Israel was born in 1948; add the 50 days as years and you come up with
After her May 31 rapture date failed, Agee, unable to face up to her error, continued her date setting by using various Scripture references to point to June 7, 14, 21 and about 10 other dates.
Well, you can't call Marilyn Agee a quitter. After bombing out badly several time in 1998, Marilyn set a new date for the rapture: May 21 or 22 of this year.
TV newscaster-turned-psychic Charles Criswell King had said in 1968 that the world as we know it would cease to exist on August 18, 1999.
Philip Berg, a rabbi at the Kabbalah Learning Center in New York, proclaimed that the end might arrive on September 11, 1999, when "a ball of fire will descend . . . destroying almost all of mankind, all vegetation, all forms of life."
Numerology: If you divide 2,000 by 3, you will get the devil's number: 666.66666666666667.
The names of the people and organizations that called for the return of Christ at the turn of the century is too long to be listed here. I would say that if there were a day on which Christ could not return, it must have been January 1, 2000. To come at an unknown time means to come at an unknown time. I think January 2, 2000 would have been a more likely day for Him to call His Church home--right after the big let down.
On May 5, 2000, all of the planets were supposed to have been in alignment. This was said to cause the earth to suffer earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and various other nasty stuff. A similar alignment occurred in 1982 and nothing happened. People failed to realize that the other nine planets only exert a very tiny gravitational pull on the earth. If you were to add up the gravitational force from the rest of the planets, the total would only amount to a fraction of the tug the moon has on the earth.
According to Michael Rood, the end times have a prophetically complicated connection to Israel's spring barley harvest. The Day of the Lord began on May 5, 2000. Rood's fall feast calendar called for the Russian Gog-Magog invasion of Israel to take place at sundown on October 28, 2000.
Dr. Dale Sumbureru looked for March 22, 1997 to be "the date when all the dramatic events leading through the tribulation to the return of Christ should begin" The actual date of Christ's return could be somewhere between July 2000 and March 2001. Dr. Sumbureru is more general about the timing of Christ's second coming than most writers. He states, "The day the Lord returns is currently unknown because He said [Jesus] these days are cut short and it is not yet clear by how much and in what manner they are cut short. If the above assumptions are not correct, my margin of error would be in weeks, or perhaps months."
Priests from Cuba's Afro-Caribbean Yoruba religion predicted a dramatic year of tragedy and crisis for the world in 2002, ranging from coups and war to disease and flooding.
This date for Jesus' return is based upon psalmology, numerology, the biblical 360 days per year, Jewish holidays, and "biblical astronomy." To figure out this date, you'll need a calculator, a slide rule, and plenty of scratch paper.
For the past several decades, Jack Van Impe has hinted at nearly every year as being the time for the rapture. Normally, he has only gone out one or two years from the current calendar year. However, Jack's latest projection for the rapture goes out several years. His new math uses 51 years as the length of a generation. If you add 51 years to 1967, the year Israel recaptured Jerusalem, you get 2018. Once you subtract the seven-year tribulation period, you arrive at 2011.
- Harold Camping prediction that May 21, 2011 would be the date of the rapture. After this prediction proved inaccurate, he claimed that a non-visible "spiritual judgement" had taken place, and that the physical rapture would occur on October 21, 2011. Thenew rapture prediction also proved inaccurate.
New Age writers cite Mayan and Aztec calendars that predict the end of the age on December 21, 2012.
Sir Isaac Newton, Britain's greatest scientist, spent 50 years and wrote 4,500 pages trying to predict when the end of the world was coming. The most definitive date he set for the apocalypse, which he scribbled on a scrap of paper, was 2060.
An untold number of people have tried to predict the Lord's return by using elaborate timetables. Most date setters do not realize that mankind has not kept an unwavering record of time. Anyone wanting to chart, for example, 100 BC to 2000 AD, would have to contend with the fact that 46 BC was 445 days long, there was no year 0 BC, and in 1582 we switched from Julian to Gregorian years. Because most prognosticators are not aware of all of these errors, their math is immediately off by several years.
I believe we will never know the exact day of Christ's return for His Church. It is God's nature to act independently from man's thinking. If He returned on a date that someone had figured out, that person would deprive God of His triumph. When it comes to His glory, God doesn't share the spotlight with anyone.
The return of Jesus Christ for His Church will easily be the most important event in history. The glory of heaven contrasted with our lives on earth is like comparing the job of running a hot dog stand with the job of serving as President of the United States.
Finally, when it comes to knowing the general time frame of Christ's return for His Church, the Word of God is more generous. Jesus forewarned us of a number of events that will take place. When we see the predicted events coming together, we can conclude that time is short. Most of the prophecies will take place during the tribulation. Any forewarning of their arrival would make the rapture all the more likely, because it will occur at the start of the seven-year tribulation period.
The Great Inflation Scam
One of the bedrocks of stability in a nation is the ability for its citizens to trust the actions of their government. Opinion polls show that the people’s faith in Washington’s leadership has been on a continuous decline. A key factor driving this mistrust is the amount of false information being issued by government agencies.
There was a time when reports on debt, inflation, jobs, and unemployment were beyond politics. Tinkering with numbers was seen as scandalous as editing the text of the Bible. Today, there is no integrity in the ranks of government workers. The economic data released by Washington has the same trustworthiness as the figures pronounced by the old Soviet Union.
The rate of inflation is one data point I’d like to focus on—because it’s so easy to verify. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics says that inflation, as measured by their Consumer Price Index, is currently running at 1.2% per year. (You would have to go back a hundred years to find a lower level of inflation occurring during a time of economic expansion.)
The Labor department might want to check the batteries on their calculators because something doesn’t add up. The news feeds have a growing number of stories about huge increases or record high prices for basic commodities. Here are five examples:
The price for fresh whole chickens hit its all-time high.
Slaughter cattle prices hit their highest level on record.
New Year’s Day marked record-breaking gasoline prices.
The Electricity Price Index hit 202.284, an all-time record.
The price of homes in 20 key cities climbed 13.6% in 2013.
Dish Network and DirecTV are increasing rates by 5.5% in 2014.
The price of a stamp will go up by 3% later this month.
Products like chicken, beef, gas, and electricity aren’t things you buy once in a blue moon. You consume them almost every day. Home prices make nearly forty percent of the government’s index, so there should be at least a 4% bump in inflation.
I can personally testify about the price of chicken. When I go to Kentucky Fried Chicken at least once a week, I order the same meal each time. A few weeks ago, the price of my standard meal went from $9.50 to $10.27, which is an 8% increase.
The fed’s crazy inflation math is based on a flawed system that allows for substitution and changes in quality. For example: If the price of T-bone steak goes up, costs will be lowered by the assumption that people will buying cheaper cuts of meat. The cost of an Iphone can be reduced by the extra features that come with a new version.
Only a government economist could think a $1 increase in movie tickets could be offset by an opening cartoon. When you apply subjective adjustments to a basic price, you end-up with data that is easily manipulated. Of course, price suppression is not an accident: It’s the goal.
The government has a very good reason to lie about inflation. If they reported the true rise in prices, investors would demand higher interest on their money—to retain its purchasing power. Since the government has $17 trillion in debt, higher rates would drive up the deficit. People on Social Security and various government pensions would also want cost of living increases that matched inflation.
The great inflation scam has worked so far. The government has only given out a 1% raise for 2014 with almost no complaints from the public. But how long can this game go on? It will only take a few years of shortfall between the real inflation and the phony inflation being reported to zap people’s abilities to maintain a basic standard of living.
With the government running a deficit of over a trillion dollars each year, the rapid increase in the money supply is guaranteed to create more inflation. All this market manipulation will eventually make matters worse. When people realize that prices have been grossly underreported, panic will rule and the value of the dollar with plunge.
Economic hardship is the mother’s milk of prophetic progress, and in the financial markets we have what could be called a perfect storm. I coined that phrase after noticing prophecy always unfolds faster during times of economic trouble. Since the world faces a number of financial hurdles in the coming days, I can only warn prophecy watchers to fasten their seat belts.
We move forward into the new year, 2014, and leading the procession worldwide is unadorned evil. We should expect no less, I suppose, considering the more than obvious lateness of the prophetic hour in which we find ourselves.
Some of the evil is blatant–in your face. Like the 17,000 lesbians meeting in Argentina late in 2013, many of whom, topless and painted with Nazi swastikas, attacked men praying in front of a Catholic cathedral to protect it from vandalism. The lesbians were protesting any and all opposition to abortion, screaming, “Get your rosaries out of our ovaries.”
One Fox News reporter who witnessed the assault said you could sense an evil there. I heard another person say she could feel an almost demonic presence within the viciousness with which the women assaulted the men.
In another part of this darkening world, a girl thought to be as young as eight years old was found to be wearing a suicide vest–put on her by her militant brother, no less: “The girl, reported to be as young as eight and thought to be the sister of a prominent Taliban commander, is said to be in a state of shock and confusion. Police told the BBC she was encouraged to carry out the attack by her brother" ("Girl Wearing Suicide Vest Detained," BBC News, 1/8/13).
We could find many things much more heinous than the above by perusing the news sources any time of day or night. It is as if the world has a rheostat and the knob is being turned slowly–sometimes rapidly—to the left, dimming all light of goodness. And, there is only one who is good, according to Jesus Christ, and that is God: “And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God” (Mark 10:18).'
The world’s light rheostat is being turned down by Satan, through his human minions. The visceral hatred humankind demonstrably holds for God is as blatant as the in-your-face disdain for all that is good the homosexual community increasingly demonstrates, as reported in the story above. Such is proof that we are indeed living in prophetic, evil, days. Paul the apostle described them in stronger terms: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1).
Even though that evil–those perilous times—can be more easily seen in such blatant violence as is exploding all around this generation–another sign of the times Jesus spoke about (Matthew 24:37)--there is the subtle but equally deadly sin-virus spreading like a cancerous mass, slowly dialing the rheostat to the left.
The hatred of God–at His Son Jesus, who is equally God—is becoming more "in your face" day by evil day.
Last December, Isaiah Martinez brought his first grade classmates at Merced Elementary School candy canes. Attached to each treat was a message explaining the religious legend surround the candies. The legend references a candy maker who created the candy cane to symbolize the life of Christ.
When the six-year-old boy arrived at school, his teacher noticed the religious message and immediately confiscated the gifts, according to Robert Tyler, the general counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom. It takes a special kind of evil to confiscate a six-year-old child’s Christmas gifts… Tyler said the little boy watched as his teacher threw the box and the messages into the trash.
"She then told Isaiah that he could distribute the candy canes now that the Christian messages were eliminated," Tyler wrote, noting that the teacher was following the "explicit instructions" of her supervisor…
"Meanwhile, other students in Isaiah’s class handed out Christmas gifts to their fellow classmates," Tyler wrote. "Some of these gifts expressed secular messages concerning Christmas and were packaged with images of Santa Claus, penguins with Santa hats, Christmas trees and other secular messages." (Todd Starnes, "Teacher Tells 6-year-old 'Jesus is not allowed in school,'" Fox News, 1/7/14)
Everywhere we look on the horizon of our culture and society, we see Christianity being marginalized. It is becoming politically incorrect to mention Christ’s Holy Name at any secular event, as we’ve examined over the course of a number of years. Now, the rheostat turners are invading the boundaries of freedom of religion set by the founding fathers. Almost daily we get reports of governments ruling against Christians, even though the business or church activities involved make them–or should do so—protected by the Constitution.
We remember recently the bakery owned and run by Christians being successfully sued by homosexuals who wanted a cake baked for their same-sex marriage. We recall the Duck Dynasty star being suspended from the program–at least until the producers saw the devastating effect on their bottom line—for standing on his Christian principles when asked a question in an interview. And these are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg of hatred for anything Christian growing in America and around the world.
The Scripture tells of these evil days and what we should do about them. We are told that we should be "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:16). This means our efforts in this life should always be to present Christ through our moment-by-moment activities in the increments of time we’ve been given on this fallen planet. We must keep the light on, in other words.
We do this by following these instructions: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:13).
PROPHECY UPDATE NEWS HEADLINES
Yesterday's Prophecies - Today's Headlines
HWC = Hearts Waxing Cold - Matthew 24:12
IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER...
Abbas Says Israel Must Surrender Temple Mount & Jerusalem or No Peace Deal - http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/blog/?p=16016
"Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." Psalm 122:6
The bible is very specific that in the end of time, the world's attention would not be focused just on Israel in general, but on Jerusalem in particular. It is the most fought for piece of property in human history. Palestinian president Abbas has no intention of letting it remain in Jewish control, and declared his hard line in a blistering speech today.
Too bad Abbas has never read the bible all the way through to the end. If he had, he would see that the Jews win in the end, and that the Messiah rules and reigns from David's Throne in Jerusalem for 1,000 years of perfect peace.
In a fiery Ramallah speech, Palestinian president Abbas says 'Palestinian people won't kneel, and we tell the world, listen... without east Jerusalem as a capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace between us and Israel'
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas sent a defiant message to Israel's leadership and US mediators Saturday, telling cheering supporters that the Palestinians "won't kneel" and won't drop demands for a capital in east Jerusalem.
Abbas' unusually fiery speech highlighted the wide gaps between him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the outlines of a peace deal. It also raised new doubts about the chances of US Secretary of State John Kerry to bridge those gaps in coming weeks and come up with a framework for an agreement.
Abbas adopted tough positions in the wide-ranging speech, saying that "there will be no peace" without a Palestinian capital in east Jerusalem and that he would not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
On Saturday, Abbas spoke to several hundred Palestinians activists from Jerusalem whom he had invited to his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The crowd whistled, chanted and clapped as the normally low-key Abbas, widely known as Abu Mazen, struck a tough tone.
"I say, listen, listen, the Palestinian people won't kneel, and we tell the world, listen, listen the Palestinian people won't kneel," he said at one point, drawing chants of "Abu Mazen, Abu Mazen."
"Without east Jerusalem as a capital of the state of Palestine, there will be no peace between us and Israel," Abbas said.
Abbas also reiterated that he will not recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people. Netanyahu has raised such a demand, and there is growing expectation that it will be included in Kerry's proposal.
"We will not recognize it," Abbas said. "We will not accept and it's our right not to recognize the Jewish state."
Iran commander: Hezbollah's missile power improved - Ali Akbar Dareini - http://news.yahoo.com/iran-commander-hezbollah-39-missile-power-improved-084304751.html
The Lebanese militant Shiite movement Hezbollah has dramatically improved its missile capabilities and can now pinpoint targets anywhere in Israel, a senior commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards said Saturday.
Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard's aerospace division, said Israelis will see Hezbollah's new might should a war break out. Slain Hezbollah commander Hassan al-Laqis had played a key role in boosting the group's military strength, he added, without elaborating. The comments were posted on the Guard's website, sepahnews.com.
"Hezbollah's capability has improved so tremendously in recent years that it can hit and destroy any target in the occupied lands with very little inaccuracy and pinpoint ability," he said, referring to Israel. The assertions could not be verified, and Iran often claims technological advances with its own military that similarly cannot be confirmed.
Al-Laqis was assassinated last month in southern Beirut, a blow to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah. Iran's top Revolutionary Guard commanders, including its Quds Force chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, attended a service earlier this week in Tehran in commemoration of the slain commander.
"He (al-Laqis) was a great, resourceful and very active Hezbollah commander whose works could be revealed should a Hezbollah-Israel war break out. He created great defense supplies," and was "one of Hezbollah's brains in the field of electronic war," Hajizadeh said.
The assassination of Al-Laqis, widely described as the head of the group's telecommunications network and an expert at procuring strategic weapons, was a significant loss for Hezbollah, who blamed Israel for his death.
Israel believes al-Laqis played a significant role in obtaining weapons, including long-range rockets, despite airstrikes launched by the Jewish state inside Syria to try and stop weapons shipments into Lebanon.
Hajizadeh didn't say how Hezbollah's missile capability had improved, but Israeli media has reported that the group has been moving long-range missiles to Lebanon from bases where it had stored them inside Syria.
The missiles shipped into Lebanon reportedly include long-range Scud D missiles that can strike deep into Israel, shorter-range Scud C's, medium-range solid-fueled Fateh missile as well as Fajr rockets, both of which are made in Iran. Shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles are also reported to be in the arsenal.
U.S. officials believe the weapons were transferred into Lebanon from Syria piece-by-piece to evade Israeli air strikes.
Security and Defense: Israel's eyes and ears - Yaakov Lappin -http://www.jpost.com/Features/Front-Lines/Israels-eyes-and-ears-337720
As Israel prepares to encounter increasingly unstable borders and a chaotic region, the IDF's Combat Intelligence Collection Corps is about to receive a set of hi-tech surveillance capabilities that should, according to army brass, make it far more difficult for terrorists to infiltrate Israel.
Speaking from his office at Corps Headquarters at the Tzrifin base, near Rishon Lezion, Col. Tal Braun, chief officer of the unit, told The Jerusalem Post in recent days that the new tools will significantly boost the ability of his forces to spot terrorists preparing to attack.
"Who are we looking for today? Not rows of tanks, but rather, small cells of terrorists going through hills, forests, built-up area, or deserts. They have to be discovered in time, before they do what they want to do. We have to be at technological forefront, and surprise them every time," he said.
Established in 2000, the Combat Intelligence Collection Corps is the youngest of the five IDF corps. In 2009, its role in border security became more prominent, when the IDF General Staff turned it into a visual intelligence field unit, as part of the defense establishment's lessons from the Second Lebanon War.
Today, Combat Intelligence Collection units, some in deep camouflage in the field, monitor the activities of enemies like Hezbollah and Hamas. In control rooms, controllers use electronic border surveillance tools to direct military forces to suspicious activity.
Every day, the Corps' units send their array of visual intelligence to Military Intelligence for analysis.
Some of this information is used to construct lists of enemy targets, which will be struck in a future clash.
"We are tasked with two missions. The first is defending the border 24/7, without resting. We are the eyes of the state, at the forefront all of the time. We can't blink. As the scout ahead of the camp, we influence everything," said Braun.
"When you see the enemy with your eyes, it takes on a new significance," he added.
"Our second mission is to assist in a ground maneuver. Small squads will gather information in the field," Braun continued. "We guide the missile directly to its location."
A new multi-sensory system, named Mars, already in operation on the border with Syria, is set to upgrade Combat Intelligence Collection control rooms, which are in charge of monitoring feeds from border fences.
"Mars can activate a range of sensors, including cameras and radars, that are deployed across a sector," Braun explained.
Like air force controllers that scramble fighter jets after seeing unusual radar readouts, a control room containing Combat Collection supervisors scans areas looking for trouble. Thanks to Mars, the range of surveillance has grown, without needing to increase the numbers of personnel.
Mars employs several detection devices, most of which remain classified.
"There are a growing a number of terrorists. We need to beat them all, not just with cameras and radars. We want other sensors to expose the threats too. As soon as we see they're there, terrorists can be tracked. The sensors work automatically, helping controllers to distinguish innocent civilians and farmers from real threats. It identifies lone attackers, a cell planting explosives, or snipers set on attacking soldiers or civilians," Braun added.
Mars's computer systems help controllers prioritize incidents, and label images from the border based on threat urgency, thereby preventing an information overload.
"We'll find out faster, scan the places we want, and respond faster. It makes us more deadly, multiplying our power. It triples our power," Braun said. The year-old system will soon be expanded to all of Israel's borders.
Already, Mars has enabled Combat Intelligence Collection units to thwart more attacks. The system was developed by Israeli defense corporations Elbit and Rafael, together with the Ground Forces' Technological Division.
"It's a breakthrough in every way," said Braun. An additional tool that will soon make an entrance to the world of border security is the Granite vehicle, which can deploy quickly to an area, and raise a robotic arm out of its roof carrying a variety of electro- optical sensors, including radars and high resolution cameras for day and nighttime surveillance.
Braun said the Granite is currently completing a pilot program on the Golan Heights, and will be deployed to all borders by the end of 2014.
"It will broadcast directly to the Mars control centers," he explained.
Data from Mars, and from Granite vehicles, will in turn be inputted into the IDF's Digital Ground Army - an interactive digital map, showing the location of enemy and friendly forces.
Digital Ground Army is expected to become the Ground Forces' chief command and control system in the coming years.
"The more you see, the further you want to see. And in full color," Braun said with a smile.
"Can terrorists still infiltrate? [From their perspective], there's no such thing as an impossible goal. My job is to make their lives super difficult. To the extent that it depends on us, we expose them before they can open fire. We are hunters, not fishermen. We're not waiting for terrorists to show up. We're going out and looking for them. We learn they're heading out from a certain position, and we wait for them. They don't wait for us," he added.
A third new "gadget" scheduled to enter service shortly is the Tamnun ("Octopus"), a mobile command and control system that is carried by a soldier in a backpack. The Tamnun has led to the creation of a new combat field role.
"It's a kind of tablet, giving you a worldview, and showing all the locations of our forces and the enemy. Field units can use it to send out messages and commands," Braun explained. "It lets me know where I am in a better way, and tells me who is with me, and what I'm dealing with. We no longer need a radio to broadcast all of our movements."
This allows for firepower to be directed at targets quicker, from the moment a target is marked out. A pilot program for the Tamnun has ended, and the system will formally enter service in the coming months.
"It's very user friendly. We expect it to be in service within a year-and-a-half. It'll be adopted in a massive way by our units. Then, a second, upgraded version is expected," Braun said.
Braun also paid tribute to what he described as "our flagship electro-optic long-range sensor, the 'Matan.'"
The device, a large viewing device, acquires targets far from borders, and broadcasts their precise coordinates to other military forces. The broadcasts flow through the Tamnun system.
During peacetime, GPS coordinates of enemy targets are analyzed and stored by Military Intelligence.
During combat, the targets can be passed on to tanks, artillery units, or the air force in real time.
Braun was keen to stress that despite the technological breakthroughs, "the human advantage is the most important. Everyone loves toys, but the human advantage will ultimately determine the outcome. We want the best of the youth in Israel to utilize this technology."
"Seeing the enemy with your eyes, whether in Gaza, Nablus, Lebanon, or the Golan Heights, helps you realize that you're saving lives. You realize that you're responsible, it's on your shoulders," Braun said.
Kerry Offers Netanyahu a Peace Deal 'He Can't Refuse' - Dovid Efune - http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/01/09/kerry-offers-netanyahu-a-peace-deal-%E2%80%98he-can%E2%80%99t-refuse%E2%80%99/
In the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, moments of truth appear to be fast arriving. If Prime Minister Netanyahu stands by his promise to take decisions about ceding territory to a national referendum, millions of Israelis will personally be called on to decide how the Jewish state's borders will look for their children and grandchildren.
Listening to John Kerry make the case for Israeli territorial concessions, one thing strikes me in particular. The specific incentives he articulates for Israel are mostly "sticks." Absent are any "carrots" of substance.
Kerry makes no distinction between "peace", and the specific "peace process" that he is promoting. He speaks of the virtues of peace, but who doesn't want peace? It is his specific formula for reaching that hallowed destination that remains suspect.
The case against the current "peace process" is simple. The Palestinian Arabs have given Israel every reason to believe that territorial concessions will not bring peace at all. Their education system, constitutional mandates, media incitement, public monuments, multiple statements from senior officials, and Israel's experiences with previous withdrawals all indicate that to the Palestinian Arab mind, the peace process is viewed mostly as a means to achieve the ultimate goal of Israel's demise.
Yet Kerry has done little concrete to address these concerns and allay Israel's fundamental fears. On Monday, the State Department declined to publicly address the issue of PA incitement and anti-Semitism, saying, "we make those discussions private."
According to Kerry, the reasons for Israel to participate in its own dismembering, include the threats of international isolation, boycotts, a third Intifada, and the supposed "demographic threat." The Godfather's "offer he can't refuse," immediately comes to mind.
"Force cannot defeat or defuse the demographic time bomb. The only way to secure Israel's long term future is through negotiations," Kerry said last month at the Saban Forum.
Kerry's harshest threats came in an interview in early November on Israel's Channel 2.
"The alternative to getting back to the talks is the potential of chaos," Kerry said. "I mean, does Israel want a third Intifada?" he asked. "Israel says, 'Oh we feel safe today, we have the wall. We're not in a day to day conflict'," Kerry continued. "I've got news for you. Today's status quo will not be tomorrow's..." Israel's neighbors, he warned, will "begin to push in a different way."
"If we do not resolve the issues between Palestinians and Israelis, if we do not find a way to find peace, there will be an increasing isolation of Israel, there will be an increasing campaign of delegitimization of Israel that's been taking place on an international basis," he stated.
According to a Washington Free Beacon report on a recent American Jewish Committee conference, "Secretary of State John Kerry claimed... that Israel's failure to foster peace with the Palestinians fuels extremism and terrorism across the world."
On Tuesday the Times of Israel reported that according to Israeli diplomatic sources, "John Kerry is behind the recent wave of European threats to boycott settlement products, and intends to use these threats against Israel should the current series of peace talks fail."
Talk of peace comes in the form of broad unspecific platitudes, but Kerry's warnings - should his "peace process" fail - are detailed, public, and precise. Absent a positive case for Israeli concessions, Kerry's strategy is to artificially orchestrate a political pincer movement, and scare Israelis into accepting his proposals.
Viewed in this light and in the context of Israeli history, the choice for Israel's citizens should be easy. The danger posed by the establishment of a hostile Palestinian Arab state in the heart of Israel by far surpasses all others. For the sake of their future generations, Israelis must simply refuse Kerry's offer.
About Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth - Part One - By Gene Lawley - http://www.raptureready.com/soap/lawley37.html
The Apostle Paul's directive to his son in the faith, Timothy, in 2 Timothy 2:15 carries tremendous importance and impact for any who would embark on a serious study of the Holy Bible. He exhorts Timothy:
"Study to show yourself approved of God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of God."
Let's let that sink in, firmly.
Approval of God is at stake here, he indicates, and personal shame is a consequence if one does not rightly divide the word of God. The directive to "rightly divide the word" tells us that there are divisions, or partitions, in the Word of God, indicating and supporting the concept of dispensations, or periods of time in which God's overall plan as it relates to mankind differs in manner and content. (That is my layman's understanding of that Scripture.)
How does one not rightly divide the Word? By picking and choosing to place various prophetic events, past and future, in different periods of history, contrary to the evidence of historical reality. Here is an example. I once picked up on a television program in which the speaker, allegedly a Jewish Christian, was speaking on the clear evidence that the apostasy of the church is currently underway, as Paul described it in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, that was the speaker's stopping point.
I don't recall him making reference to the revealing of the man of sin that is mentioned as a result of the falling away of believers. So, I sent an email asking why he did not continue the context that ultimately leads to the "removal of the restrainer" who is holding back that gradual encroachment of evil over all people of the world. He replied that he did not believe that was in the same time frame as the falling away, but that it actually happened back in the thirteenth Century-an interplay between Rome and the Catholic Church. Yet, in the context, the revealing of the man of sin is the result, which is followed by his taking over the temple and proclaiming himself God.
That did not happen before the temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. and has not happened to this day, for there is no temple, yet, for him to take over. This is still future. Bottom line is that God is not a God of confusion, and rightly dividing the Word of God makes sense of it. A straight forward understanding of the context is that a falling away of faith toward God (you can see it happening now) leads to the removal of the body of Christ-the true church- in whom the Holy Spirit lives and restrains against the evil encroachment of the devil. Then he is revealed to those left behind, upon whom he, the devil, has total and unrestrained access. Given what we see already, it will not be pretty!
One can readily see, I think, the broader "partitions" in the plan of God, which is essentially, the Word of God to Man. We see the broad periods before the law, under the law, and now, under grace. And, future, the millennium under the rule of Christ-a theocracy-and finally, the eternity promised. One segment leads to a higher revelation of God's identity-character, attributes, person, etc., and His plan for bringing mankind into a proper relationship to Him, long-term.
For example, the dispensation of the law with its unwavering requirements shows us the unwavering holiness of God and our lack of ability to meet that requirement without His provision of mercy and grace. His perfection in holiness and our total degradation in sin and rebellion, then, is the summation.
That period is marked by the rigid requirements of regular blood and other sacrifices that now are called foreshadows of the coming of that perfect sacrifice, Jesus, the Lamb of God. See Hebrews 10 for this. Another important point for that era is the fact that the Holy Spirit did not indwell believers. John 14:17 tells us, in Jesus' words, "...now He is with you, but then He will be in you." Yes, even under the law, "the just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4), and before he was renamed to be the founder of the Hebrew nation, Abram "believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness" (Genesis 15:6).
How the Law Points Us to Grace
John 1:17 tells us, "For the Law came through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ."
It's another evidence of a division in the Word of God's dealing with mankind. By foreshadowing that which was to come, while establishing that foundation of grace and faith in the Christ who was to come, the law provided a very necessary factor in sinful man's relationship with God.
Romans 3:20 tells us that by the law sin is made known, and Romans 6:14 tells us this: "...sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law, but under grace."
Thus is shown the purpose of the law and its continuing ministry to the world, even today, and God's solution for believers in this dispensation of grace. In this article I want to bring together some truths of Scripture that "rightly dividing the Word of God" and will clear up some misunderstandings that may have been missed due to our tendency to follow what someone else has told us, instead of following the rule of those of Berea, as in Acts 17:11:
"These (of Berea) were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind and searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so."
In Hebrews 10:1-2 we see another indication of a division in the Word. It says this:
"For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect, for then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins."
A shadow is an announcement of a reality that is coming, as in this case the law is the shadow and Christ is the reality. The sacrifices called for by the laws of Moses were not the real solution to the sin problem, but the coming "Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world," as John the Baptist called Him (John 1:29), was to fulfill that call for reality made by its shadow.
Now, let's look at a specific doctrine that brought this matter of rightly dividing the word and its connection to dispensational truths into sharp focus for me. We are told that we are to worship God on the Sabbath, the seventh day of the week, because that is one of the Ten Commandments God gave Moses on the holy mountain. So bold is that doctrine among its followers some would hold that our failure to keep it may well cost us our eternal redemption.
Jesus told the devil at the temptation incident, "It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). So, if the law is a
shadow of the reality that is to come (Hebrews 10:1-2), are there select laws that are not a shadow of the reality to come?
Hebrews 10 goes on to describe the inadequacy of the sacrifice of bulls and goats to cleanse one of sin permanently. Thus, it must be repeated over and over. But the blood of Christ, the coming reality, was to be the true sacrifice that could and would do it, because it was [is] eternal, thus constant in time. And you say, "this had to do with temple sacrifices."
What about the Ten Commandments, in which no mention of sacrifices is made?
What did the commandment to observe the Sabbath actually foreshadow? And, did Christ fulfill it? After the creation was completed, God rested on the seventh day, and He wants us to share His rest with Him. Is that too simple or not spiritual enough? The problem is that "resting in the Lord" is a faith issue, not a day of the week issue. Hebrews 4:10 sums it up quite neatly:
"For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his [own] works as God did from His". In the context it tells of Israel's failure to enter into that rest because of unbelief."
So, if the fourth commandment is yet to be followed in its seventh day observance under threat of eternal damnation, of what future reality is it shadowing? Paul writes to the Colossians:
"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance [reality] is of Christ (Colossians 2:16-17).
Does more need to be said? Yes, just this: "And he said unto them, 'The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27-28).
In Part Two, of this topic we will look at the shadowy implications of this concept in another area of biblical interpretation that hovers over us in these last days.
Author contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
What kind of legacy are you leaving? - Greg Laurie -http://www.wnd.com/2014/01/what-kind-of-legacy-are-you-leaving/ andwww.harvest.org
Pastor Greg Laurie declares about life, 'It is not the duration but the donation'
Now that I am a grandfather, I think more about passing things on. I start thinking about the legacy I will leave. These are important things to be thinking about.
My generation was the great youth culture. We had bands like The Who singing, "Talkin' 'bout my generation." The Rolling Stones are touring again, still singing "Time Is on My Side." But is it really?
A 2007 article by Tammy Joyner for Cox News Service said of baby boomers: "They launched sit-ins and love-ins, as well as the careers of Elvis, The Rolling Stones and other symbols of rebellion. Now, instead of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, it's nip, tuck and Botox." My generation has gone from acid rock to acid reflux.
There are not a lot of advantages to getting old, but one of them is that hopefully you have acquired a little wisdom that you can pass on to someone else. It has been said that the measure of a life is not determined by its duration but by its donation.
The goal is not merely to live a long life. (That is a wonderful thing if God gives that to us.) But it is about living a full life, a meaningful life, and offering something as a result of your life. It is not the duration but the donation.
One of the greatest stories told in the Bible is that of Elijah, a man who passed on his legacy to another. Elijah was a rough-hewn character who faced off with the prophets of Baal and others, saying, "How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him" (1 Kings 18:21 NKJV). Elijah won that contest in the battle of the gods. Despite this amazing miracle, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel did not believe. In fact, Jezebel became firmer in her unbelief. Her heart became harder every day until she paid the ultimate price. Ultimately, she and her husband, the most powerful people in the kingdom, were brought to nothing.
Elijah wasn't intimidated by anyone. He was fearless. But where did he get that courage and boldness to do what he did?
Elijah knew God. He knew he was always in the presence of God. When he walked into Ahab's court he said, "As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word" (1 Kings 17:1 NKJV, emphasis added). He was aware of the fact that wherever he was, he was in God's presence. If you bow before God, you will be able to stand before any man.
Elijah was a man of prayer. James 5:17-18 tells us that Elijah "prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops" (NIV). It was Elijah's prayer in private that was the source of his power in public.
Elijah faithfully delivered the message. His was not an easy message to deliver. He was directed by God to go into the court of the king and tell him there would be a great drought. People were going to suffer and die. Who wants to deliver a message like that? But how irresponsible to only want to give good news if there is bad news that needs to be delivered. Elijah delivered the bad news.
Elijah was a man of faith and obedience. Once he went into Ahab's court and delivered God's message that it wasn't going to rain, God told him to go into hiding for a while. A lot of people would have said, "What are you talking about? I am a rock star prophet. I want my attention. I want to be in the public eye." But to his eternal credit, Elijah did exactly what God told him to do.
Elijah had his low moments, too. The Bible tells us he was "a man with a nature like ours" (James 5:17 NKJV). Even after winning the showdown on Mount Carmel with the prophets of Baal, Elijah allowed his fears to get the best of him, and he fled for his life and wanted to die. Jezebel was so furious after what happened on Mount Carmel that she put out a contract on Elijah's life. Alone in the desert after traveling all day, Elijah sat under a tree and "prayed that he might die, and said, 'It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!'" (1 Kings 19:4). Elijah was feeling as though everyone was against him. But God told him to leave the place where he was, and so he did.
Then, as the ministry of the great prophet was coming to an end, God directed Elijah to pass his mantle on. The calling that God put upon Elijah's life was about to be put on another person's life, and it would be symbolized by Elijah's pulling off his mantle, or coat, and giving it to someone else in a symbolic way.
Interestingly, Elijah would pass the baton to someone with a similar name: Elisha. When Elijah found him, he was plowing a field with a team of oxen. Elijah walked by and threw his mantle on Elisha. At that point, Elisha had a choice in the matter. He didn't have to take up this calling to be the prophet to the nation Israel. He could have said, "That's OK. I am out. This is too much for me." But he responded.
Elijah did what every mature Christian should do: mentor others. Older women should mentor younger women. Older men should mentor younger men. They should help them. They should be an example to them. Elijah was going to mentor Elisha. He was going to help him mature.
What kind of legacy are you leaving today? What are you doing with your time? You can't really control when that moment will be when God calls you home. That is not up to you. Are you living your life well? Are you leaving an example and model for others to follow, as Elijah did for Elisha? It's never too late to start.
Seven Major Prophetic Signs Of The Second Coming - A Bible Study by Jack Kelley - http://gracethrufaith.com/end-times-prophecy/seven-major-prophetic-signs-of-the-second-coming/
13th Annual Update January 2014
There are seven major prophetic signs of the Second Coming, and currently all of them are in some stage of fulfillment. As in years past, I'll list the seven with their primary biblical references and offer commentary from current events.
1. Israel Will Be In The Land ... Ezekiel 36:8-12, 37:21
Speaking to the Land God said,
"You, O mountains of Israel, will produce branches and fruit for my people Israel, for they will soon come home. I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown, and I will multiply the number of people upon you, even the whole house of Israel. The towns will be inhabited and the ruins rebuilt. I will increase the number of men and animals upon you, and they will be fruitful and become numerous. I will settle people on you as in the past and will make you prosper more than before. Then you will know that I am the LORD. I will cause people, my people Israel, to walk upon you. They will possess you, and you will be their inheritance; you will never again deprive them of their children.
And to the people He said,
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
Although Ezekiel wrote these words while the Israelites were in Babylon, they were not fulfilled in the nation's return from exile there. Like Isaiah before him (Isaiah 11:11) Ezekiel was speaking of the second and final return, not the one after the Babylon captivity. We know this because in Ezekiel 36:12 the Lord said His people would possess the mountains of Israel, and they would never again deprive His people of their children. That means from the time this prophecy was fulfilled there would always be Jewish children born in Israel. And yet in the first century, the nation ceased to exist altogether. Therefore in 1948, when Israel took its place among the nations of the world again for the first time in nearly 2000 years, students of prophecy recognized the fulfillment of the primary sign that the end of the age was upon us. Since that time there have been numerous attempts by Israel's enemies to undo what God has done, but they've all failed. Jesus said some from the generation being born when Israel was reborn would still be alive when He returns (Matt. 24:34).
2. Jerusalem Will Be In Jewish Hands... Luke 21:24
They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The Lord prophesied that the reunification of Jerusalem as a Jewish City would be a sign that foreign (gentile) influence over His land, and indeed the world, was coming to an end (Luke 21:24). Fulfillment of this prophecy began in 1967, when Jerusalem became an undivided Jewish city again, and scholars saw it as another major sign that the End of the Age had begun. The almost world wide effort to re-divide the city is in essence a battle of wills. Nearly every Israeli leader has stood firmly on a pledge to keep Jerusalem united forever as Israel's capital, but the unbelieving leaders of the world are just as resolutely determined to divide it with the Palestinians.
The Lord said that at the End of the Age He will make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling, an immovable rock for all nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves. (Zechariah 12:2-3) This past year much of the talk against Israel has been focused on Jerusalem. American leaders, traditionally some of Israel's most loyal allies, have publicly called East Jerusalem occupied territory and demanded that no more Jewish homes be built there. They have even tried to halt construction in undisputed neighborhoods.
I've come to believe that Jerusalem won't really be free of Gentile "trampling" until the Lord returns. Daniel's prophecy that Gentile Dominion would not end until the Lord establishes His kingdom (Daniel 2:36-45), Zechariah's prophecy of half the city's inhabitants going into exile just before the Lord's return (Zech. 14:2), and John's observation in Rev. 11:1-2 of the gentiles trampling the outer court of the Temple during the Great Tribulation all confirm this. But even so, the fact that Jerusalem is back in Jewish hands is another big sign that the End is coming soon.
3. A Muslim Coalition Armed And Led By Russia Will Attack The Holy Land... Ezek. 38:2-6
"Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal. I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army-your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops-the many nations with you."
Numerous historical references make it plain that Magog stands for modern Russia, and the other countries named here form a coalition based on their common religion, Islam. Among them are Iran, several North African countries, Eastern European countries along the Danube, and the Turkic nations of Asia Minor. A quick look at a world map will reveal that these areas are home to some of the most radical Islamic groups. (For a detailed explanation of the modern nations to which these Biblical names refer, read An In Depth Look At The Modern Equivalent To Biblical Names in Ezek.38)
Directly or indirectly, the Russians are already a supplier of arms for the nations who will form this coalition, just as Ezekiel prophesied, and will be drawn into joining in this battle by God Himself. Russia's barely disguised policy of becoming the major outside force in the Middle East is playing right into the Lord's hands. Russia has moved part of its Black Sea fleet into the Eastern Mediterranean with a home port in Tartus, Syria and has deployed shore to ship and anti-aircraft missile batteries in Syria as well. Russia and Iran are well into the implementation of a $50 billion deal to provide Iran with nuclear power. The 10 reactors called for in the deal are supposedly for electrical power generation, but most western leaders are convinced they'll be used to create material for bombs, too.
And at year end Iran announced a coming agreement with Russia for a massive oil-for-goods program that will allow them to side step the sanctions currently in place on their oil exports and increase then by 50% (worth about $1.5 billion per month). This will substantially ease the economic pain they've been feeling due to the sanctions program. Since Russia is already a net exporter of oil, it is believed that Iran will actually be providing oil to other countries under Russia's name.
Various experts had claimed that Iran would become a nuclear power in 2013, and many still think this will become a reality in 2014. Israel and the US have both vowed to prevent that from ever happening but prevention seems to be far from a sure thing. Currently Iran is blatantly violating several provisions of the "agreement" negotiated with the major powers in Nov. 2013, saying,""We don't aspire to obtain a nuclear bomb, but it is necessary so that we can put Israel in its place..." (Iranian Majlis member Mohammed Nabavian).
It's important to remember that if Israel launches a preventive strike against Iran it would not be a fulfillment of Ezekiel 38. The prophecy calls for a sneak attack on Israel, not the other way around. Currently that prerequisite is the major obstacle to an early fulfillment of Ezekiel's prophecy. It has to occur at a time when Israel is "a peaceful and unsuspecting people" (Ezekiel 38:11) and this certainly is not the case today.
But Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17 are yet-to-be-fulfilled prophecies that taken together appear to involve all of Israel's next door neighbors in another attempt to wipe the Jewish nation off the map. A victory by Israel would explain why these next door neighbors are not named in Ezekiel's list of antagonists, although you'd expect them to be at or near the top of the list. It would also explain how Israel could soon be living in a perceived state of safety as Ezekiel 38:11 requires.
Syria came very close to suffering the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 in 2013 and surrounding nations are still on a war footing. Many experts believe a regional war is imminent, but at year's end it hasn't happened yet. I think there's a better than even chance that if the situation in Syria deteriorates into a fulfillment of Isaiah 17, it will trigger Psalm 83 as well, and at year end it still looked as if that could happen any time.
Another prerequisite for Ezekiel's battle is clearly being met. Till now Israel really hasn't had any wealth to speak of, but recent oil and gas discoveries, said to be worth billions of dollars, could provide the wealth necessary to make Israel an attractive target for attack. This could fulfill the precondition of Ezekiel 38:13 that Russia will be looking for plunder. These discoveries could make enough natural gas available to supply Israel's needs for more than 100 years while turning the country from a net importer to a net exporter. Russia is already looking for ways to get involved in bringing this gas to market, and according to Ezekiel they'll eventually go to war in what will turn out to be a failed attempt to do so by force.
I believe the removal of the US as Israel's powerful ally is also necessary to pave the way for Ezekiel's battle, because I don't think the Muslim coalition will attack until they're sure the US won't retaliate. Any one of several scenarios currently being played out could accomplish this, especially since our national policy toward Israel is not what it once was. Because of our failures in Syria and our about face toward Iran many in the middle East, including Israel, no longer believe we'll follow through on our promise to "have Israel's back" if it should come to that. Add to that the rising threat of a terrorist event in our homeland, our continuing economic weakness, and the nearness of the Rapture of the Church, and it's a becoming a whole lot easier to see how the US could abandon its commitment to Israel.
When the time is right, having recently taken His church to Heaven, the Lord will use this battle to orchestrate His reconciliation with Israel, and on its heels the anti Christ will emerge with a peace plan that includes a Jewish Temple. So once this battle takes place, end times prophecy will really go on fast forward.
4. The Ancient Roman Empire Will Re-Emerge As A Political Force... Rev 17:9-10
"This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits. They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while."
This one is a little obscure if you don't know your history. When John was writing this, about 95AD, there had been five great world powers; Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece. All had been conquered and absorbed. The current power was Rome, which was never really conquered and will re-emerge at the end of the age.
About 600 years earlier, the Prophet Daniel had spoken of a period of time theologians call Gentile Dominion that gives us added insight into Rev. 17:9-10. In Daniel 2:36-45 Gentile Dominion is symbolized by a giant statue that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, had dreamed about. Egypt and Assyria had recently been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar, and Daniel said the statue represented the four remaining Gentile kingdoms, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. In the dream, Babylon was the head of the statue and was made of gold. Persia was the chest and arms, made of silver. Greece was the belly and thighs of bronze, followed by the two appearances of Rome, two legs of iron (Biblical Rome) and two feet of iron mixed with clay (the revived Roman Empire). After that God would set up His own, eternal, kingdom.
There are some interesting details in the description of the two feet upon which the statue stands. Remember, they represent the end times version of the Roman Empire. Let's read it.
Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay (Daniel 2:41-43).
In the first place iron and clay don't mix. We can imagine sticky clay serving as glue that holds pieces of iron together, but the language describes a clay that's already baked, hard and brittle like shards of pottery.
You can't make random pieces of iron and pottery adhere, and according to Daniel 2:41-43 this will be the end times empire's insurmountable problem. Today the western leg is known as Europe while the Eastern leg consists of the Islamic nations of the Middle East. Although the world is currently focused on the economic challenges Europe faces, ultimately the number one issue of this end times empire will be that of integrating the vastly dissimilar cultures of the western and eastern legs. They are just too different to be blended and already the failure of the European social experiment called multi-culturalism has become evident. Throughout the end times the revived Roman Empire will be partly strong (eastern leg) and partly brittle (western leg) and will not adhere. I'm convinced the aggressive and growing culture of the eastern leg (Islam) will overtake the dying culture of the west and become the dominant voice of Europe. Nevertheless the prophecy clearly shows both divisions present until the Lord returns to set up His Kingdom, putting an end to Gentile Dominion forever (Daniel 2:44).
5. The World Will Embrace A Single Religion... Rev 13:8
All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast-all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.
Islam is a major religious force in the world today and the goal of Islam is nothing less than world domination, by any means necessary. It's the world's fastest growing religion and is second only to Christianity in number of adherents. Already nearly one out of every four inhabitants of the world is Muslim, and like most Christians and Jews they don't really know what they believe or why. I'm no prophet, but as I look into the future, it's much easier for me to see Islam riding its current wave of momentum to fill the void left by the departure of the Church than it is to imagine some watered down mix of apostate Christianity and New Age Mysticism doing so.
By now most serious students of the end times are aware of Muslim prophecies of the one they call alMahdi and their striking resemblance to Christian prophecies of the anti-Christ. For example, both show a leader coming on the scene during a time of great turmoil on Earth. Both depict him as man of peace who will have a seven year reign, head up a one world religion and one world government, and claim supernatural origins. Both prophecies culminate in a battle between good and evil that brings about Earth's final judgment. It's as if they're pointing to the same person. The difference is that in Islam he's a good guy, while the Bible calls him evil.
Take this charismatic political and religious leader with his supernatural power, add the widely held but incorrect belief that God and Allah are the same, and that Islam is a religion of peace, and then subtract the spirit of discernment that will disappear with the Church and you can see how this charismatic Islamic leader could unite a frightened world on the brink of disaster.
Currently there's a growing battle between the two major sects of Islam, the Shiites and the Sunnis. A substantial majority of Muslims are Sunnis (1.2 Billion) while only 200 million are Shiite. They agree on many aspects of their faith but are sharply divided when it comes to which sect will control the Islamic world. I believe this division will continue to grow until it finally erupts in to an all out battle for control of the coming Islamic Caliphate.
6. The World Will Accept A Single Government... Rev 13:3
The whole world was astonished and followed the beast.
When you look at the deteriorating shape of the world today, it doesn't take much to imagine conditions getting to a point where people will cry out for a leader who can bring order out of chaos. Whether the issue is climate change, the decline of the US dollar, the economic collapse of Europe, or war in the Middle East, the one solution most leaders agree on is the need for some form of world government. With the things that already threaten world stability getting worse by the day, how much more frantic will people be after millions of their neighbors suddenly disappear in the rapture without warning or explanation, and there's been a war (Ezekiel 38) that brings destruction from Europe through the Middle East and into Russia? When people become convinced that their problems cannot be solved by human means alone they look to the supernatural for answers. In this regard, Paul wrote:
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing (2 Thes 2 :9-10)
A leader who promises to restore peace and safety and demonstrates miraculous power that astonishes everyone will quickly be given the reins of world government. By many accounts, this lawless one is standing in the wings as you read this, awaiting his cue.
7. Babylon Will Re-Emerge As A Prominent City In World Affairs... Rev 18:2-3
With a mighty voice he shouted: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
You may not realize this, but Babylon is being made ready to accept its destiny as a focus of world power in the end times. It's just a ceremonial city right now, but 25 years ago nobody even knew it existed at all. One of the shocks of Gulf War 1 was the discovery of Babylon standing there on the banks of the Euphrates River. Today there's a concerted effort underway to complete what Saddam Hussein began and return Babylon to world prominence. The Iraqi Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has unveiled a strategic plan to restore and rehabilitate heritage and tourism sites beginning in 2014. As you might suspect, Babylon is at the head of the list.
Because of Babylon's current lack of importance in the world, some students of prophecy search for an allegorical fulfillment of its destruction described in Rev. 18, and of course many see the USA or some American city as a logical candidate. But remember, even though in Revelation 17:9 John describes "mystery Babylon" as seated on seven hills, a prophecy in Zechariah 5:5-11 shows it being moved "to the plains of Shinar" a reference to ancient Mesopotamia called Iraq today. We can't switch from literal to allegorical interpretations of Scripture without clear direction, and where Babylon is concerned no such direction exists. In fact the opposite is true. Almost from the beginning, the Bible has been a tale of two cities. Jerusalem is the city of God while Babylon has always been the city of man. Both disappeared from the world stage for many centuries, but when Jerusalem came back it was to its original location. The Bible says the same will be true of Babylon.
Birth Pains ... Matt. 24:6-8
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.
Experts say the big things to watch for in 2014 will be the actions of nation against nation and kingdom against kingdom. The first of these will likely take place in the Middle East. NATO, the USA, Russia, Iran, Turkey, and several Arab countries all have troops standing by in the region. The possibility of this spilling over into Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel is thought to be very high and could easily bring the fulfillment of Psalm 83 and Isaiah 17.
Iran's barely concealed plan for acquiring nuclear weaponry has resulted in at least one other Middle Eastern country making a decision to go nuclear. During 2013 it was reported that Saudi Arabia has purchased, but not taken delivery of, nuclear weaponry for its own use from Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is also said to have entered into secret agreements to provide assistance should Israel decide to preemptively destroy Iran's research and production capabilities.
In the Far East, China is building up its military capabilities. According to a US Department of Defense report released in May 2013, "the People's Liberation Army (PLA) is engaged in a massive, extensive modernization program, drawing upon the resources of a constantly expanding economy (now the world's second largest) to support improvements in not only the ground forces, but the PLA Navy, the PLA Air Force, the Second Artillery (China's rocket forces), as well as space and cyber-espionage capabilities." In addition to the obvious threat this poses to China's neighbors, it has also been reported that China eventually expects to go to war against the US.
Africa has become a major battleground as forces loyal to Islam continue in their efforts to gain control of the continent. Somalia and Sudan, the Congo, and Libya are but a few of the hot spots that have created 9 million refugees and internally displaced people. Hundreds and thousands of people have been slaughtered from a number of conflicts and civil wars on the African continent.
There will also be big problems in the EU if they can't stabilize their economy. World financial leaders have warned that Europe's failure to resolve their difficulties will plunge the world back into an even worse recession than the one we've supposedly just come out of. Predictions are being made of widespread civil unrest as the consequence of failure. These same observers consider a workable solution to be unlikely and speculate that 2014 could very well begin the world's time of payback for years of overspending.
Food prices remain uncertain and experts warn us not to relax. The price of food will continue to be volatile and among the poor will still consume more than 45% of household income. Already 1 out of every 6 people in the world goes to bed hungry every night. Experts have said it would only take one or two years of poor crop production to bring a serious famine to the world. Here in America, participation in the food stamp program continues to set records with one out of every 6 citizens now receiving regular help. Combined with higher food prices the continuing growth of this program will further stress a fragile economy.
But many places in the world don't have a government willing or able to go into debt to feed them. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, one person out of eight in the world's population suffers from chronic undernourishment. Half of the world's 10.9 million child deaths each year is at least partly due to undernourishment. That works out to 6,000 children every day.
Earthquakes are now an everyday occurrence with an average of over 3 earthquakes with a magnitude of 5.0 or higher somewhere in the world every day. On the bright side 2013 had the lowest number of total reported earthquakes in recent history, although those registering 7.0 or higher were more numerous than many past years.
The Lord said these birth pangs would be the early warning signs of the approaching End of the Age, so I have included the above examples to confirm my belief that we're very close to our last days on Earth. While predictions of what 2014 may bring are all over the spectrum, Christians needn't worry because we walk by faith not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7). Our citizenship is in Heaven and we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Phil. 3:20). Therefore, when we see these things begin to take place we're to stand up and lift up our heads because our redemption is drawing near (Luke 21:28). These promises have never been more important to us than they will be in 2014. Happy New Year! May all the Lord's blessings be yours.