Posted in biodiversity, israel, jerusalem

Great Cities of the Bible #4: Jerusalem

By Elizabeth Prata

Great Cities of the Bible #1: Damascus
Great Cities of the Bible #2: Babylon
Great Cities of the Bible #3: Rome
Great Cities of the Bible #4: Jerusalem

It all begins and ends with Jerusalem.

Actually let’s back up a bit. It all begins and ends with God.

Sunset at Jerusalem. Source Faithlife media

Before the foundation of the world, God determined in His mind and His heart to select a people for Himself to have fellowship with. (Ephesians 1:4). He began with Adam and Eve, then made covenants through Noah, Abraham, David, and the entire People Israel. He revealed His extended operations and dealings with man by grafting in the Gentiles (all the world) to His promises of Redemption and grace through faith with any person who repents to Jesus, God’s Son.

Through all this Jerusalem has remained for almost the entire period the central city of God. Earlier named Salem, when we meet King Melchizedek of Salem, this city of Jerusalem is the true eternal city, not Rome as man has dubbed that ancient urban center.

Jerusalem! It is the eternal city, (Psalm 46:4Revelation 3:12) God’s city where He has set His name, (1 Kings 11:362 Chronicles 12:13) and is the city in which Immanuel (Matthew 1:23) will dwell in all His glory, (Zechariah 8:3) calling it Jehovah Shammah, The Lord is There. (Ezekiel 48:35). It is the nickname He uses when he calls His people. (Zechariah 3:2). When Jesus returns, “Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of Yahweh of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.'” Says Zechariah 8:3.

It is a place that figures solely as the most important land, city, and people in the history of the earth. All of history is dwindling down to one focal point: Jerusalem. So let’s take a look at this incredible place.

In all of history, there’s never been a distinct people group who dwelled outside of a national homeland for thousands of years yet retained their identity like the Jewish people have. There has never been a people on earth restored to their homeland after dozens of generations. There has never been a case where generations upon generations who forgot their own language and let it die, had it restored to the entire nation. No people, that is, except for God’s people in God’s land and in God’s city- Jerusalem. This is God’s hand.

This tiny nation is mighty in many ways, because her very existence has generated hate and war since her birth. Just existing provokes the entire world into hating her. Allowing her to make her own sovereign decisions as a nation inflames the world (satan).

Ancient maps placed Jerusalem in the center of the page. They knew that Jerusalem is God’s city and is the fulcrum of history, the axle of the wheel, and the center of the world stage. In the Jewish tradition, the Ark in the Temple in Jerusalem, through which God dealt with his people through the High Priest, it is the Foundation marking the “navel of world”. Ezekiel 5:5, “This is Jerusalem; I have set her at the center of the nations.

We read a similar reference in Ezekiel 38:2, “to seize spoil and carry off plunder, to turn your hand against the waste places that are now inhabited, and the people who were gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell at the center of the earth.”

And what of this land? What is it like? It is wonderful! From deserts of the southern Negev to the snow-capped mountains to the north, to the 270 miles of coastline along the Mediterranean and to the frontier at the east, it is a diverse land.

Mountains of Judea, source Wikipedia commons
Northern coast. Source Wikipedia commons
Jordan’s Rift Valley, Source Wikipedia commons
Acacia tree in Negev Desert, Makhtesh Gadol, Wiki photo

Jerusalem itself is about 2500 feet in elevation. It sits on a plateau within the mountains, which includes the Mount of Olives, and Mount Scopus. Valleys surround the city. We read in the Psalms some “Psalms of Ascent” because when Jews made the annual trek to the City for Passover, they climbed to the old City. They were ascending.

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So Yahweh surrounds His people From now until forever. (Psalm 125:2).

And many mountains do surround the city, almost like a rampart. Some count the peaks numbering 7, and refer to the Revelation 17:9 verse describing a city of seven mountains upon which the harlot sits as Jerusalem, not Rome.

1. Mount Scopus,
2. Mount of Olives
3. Mount of Corruption
4. Mount Ophel
5. Mount Zion/Moriah (AKA the Temple Mount)
6. New Mount Zion
7. the Roman Antonia Fortress peak

The Kidron Valley runs to the east of Old Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives is actually separated from it. Along the southern side of old Jerusalem is the Valley of Hinnom, a steep ravine where hell or Gehenna is mentioned and the trash heaps blazed night and day. In biblical times, lush forests surrounded the city, forests of almond, pine, and olive. These forests are gone now. Due to the steep incline, farmers used a terracing system to keep the soil in place and those can still be seen today.

I’d mentioned that Jerusalem was the primary city for the Israelites for “most” of their life, but in the early years of the Israelite kingdom, the Ark of the Covenant was sometimes moved around to several sanctuaries, especially those of Shechem and Shiloh. Shiloh was the capital for almost 400 years, before the first temple was built. Jeremiah 7:12a says

“But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the beginning,

After King David’s capture of Jerusalem, the Ark was moved to Jerusalem. Its presence there signified the presence of the LORD within the Holy of Holies. Sadly, the people’s idolatry, bloodshed, and disobedience meant that eventually the glory would depart from the Temple (Ezekiel 9-10). This happened in advance of the Babylonian sacking of the temple. In fact, God’s glory would never again occupy a temple or a building on earth.

Today the glorious temple is mostly gone. Only the grounds and the Western Wall (a retaining wall) are left of the original building. Atop the grounds lies the Dome of the Rock, the 3rd most holy site in Islam. Will there be a third temple? Some believe so, that the events of Ezekiel 37 indicate a future restoration of the temple with Jesus bodily present and with His people:

And the nations will know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever.

Jerusalem today is a bustling city, the intersection of three religions- Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. One day the ‘City of Truth’ will know only 1 true religion, and its inhabitants will worship Yahweh properly. What a day that will be!

Posted in church, fullness of the Gentiles, israel, prophecy, rapture

Re-post: No dates! The rapture is a number-driven event

I wrote this in October 2009. It bears repeating. 🙂

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Romans 11:25)(NAS) (Above, poster source)

Paul writing to the Romans here assuring them of the fact of it happening but reminding them that it will not happen until a certain “number” has come in. And after that, Israel’s spiritual blindness will be lifted. The NIV translation states, “full number.” The full number refers to a nautical term, that a ship cannot sail until the required number of sailors had been signed on. And ‘come in’, well, who has not heard of the old saying, “My ship has come in”?

In 1806 the British Parliament passed an act releasing ships from having to stay in port until the ‘full number’ has been reached, and allowing them to sail to certain ports with less than their ship’s required complement. In Dixon Kemp’s “Manual of Yacht and Boat Sailing and Architecture” (11th and final edition, 1913) the “full number is defined as “Complement.– The full number; the whole ship’s crew.” These two examples really have nothing directly related to the scripture in Romans, except to present original documents that show the term is indeed nautical and number-driven.

In Mark 13:32, Jesus told the Apostles, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Many Christians take this to mean that since we cannot know the day nor the hour, we should not study end time prophecies. Others say that they are simply unknowable. But these notions are incorrect. Kelley again explains, using scripture, that the ‘day nor hour’ refers to the very end, the Second Coming of Jesus after the tribulation. As for the Rapture, we are actually commanded to watch, to look, and to encourage each other as we wait. The Crown of Righteousness is reserved for those Christians who have actively longed for His appearing.

In reality, there are several things Christians can do to hasten His coming, in reaching that pre-determined number. One is to witness, and the other is to pray. If we have shared the Gospel with an unbeliever, we should pray for that person to receive it on a prepared heart and through the drawing of the Holy Spirit. The fullness of the Gentiles will come in when that last person claims the gift of grace, so witnessing and prayer are key in that process. If we never share the Good News then obviously it will take longer to reach the “fullness.” (Though God already knows when that will be.)

Since there is not a date on which God has said the Rapture will take place, praying for it to occur will not violate His precepts and it even confirms them. When we pray we are being obedient to Him who wants to hear from us. In Luke 18:1-7, Jesus told a parable about how important it is to persevere in prayer. (The Widow and the Judge). So pray for hearts to receive His Gospel and for Him to gather his sheep from the coming storm!

We are commanded to witness, (Matthew 28:19), and we are commanded to ask, to seek, and to knock, (Mt 7:7-8). Ask the Lord for His soon return, and then go out into this fine day and share the Good News. Who knows, the person you lead to Christ might just be the one destined to complete the number, and then the ship will sail!

Posted in barack obama, confirm a covenant, end time, israel, prophecy, satan

Obama’s Israel hate, his next moves could involve a covenant at the UN dividing Israel’s land

Left, Israel’s Netanyahu, right, Obama in 2012.
Their relationship has not improved since then. Source

Today Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, chief rabbi of Efrat, compared US President Obama to the biblical figure of Haman, enemy of the Jews. The Jerusalem Post reports,

“The president of the United States is lashing out at Israel just like Haman lashed out at the Jews,” he said. “I’m not making a political statement,” he clarified, “I’m making a Jewish statement.” … Just as Mordechai was focused on saving the Jews of Persia from destruction, he said, so Netanyahu is focused on saving Israel and the world from destruction.

Rabbi Riskin is a prominent Rabbi in both the US and in Israel. Wikipedia lists Riskin’s associations and accomplishments:

“Riskin is the founding rabbi of Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side of New York City, which he led for 20 years; founding chief rabbi of the Israeli settlement of Efrat in the West Bank; dean of Manhattan Day School in New York City; and founder and Chancellor of the Ohr Torah Stone Institutions, a network of high schools, colleges, and graduate Programs in the United States and Israel.”

In the article, Rabbi Riskin was referring to a recent round of nuclear talks between Israel and Iran with the US as mediator. The JPost article reported,

The World Values Network, founded and run by American rabbi and public figure Shmuley Boteach, took out a full page advertisement in The New York Times on Saturday comparing the deal being drawn up with Iran on its nuclear project to the Munich Agreement signed in 1938 by British prime minister Neville Chamberlain with Adolf Hitler, widely seen as an act of appeasement that emboldened the Nazi leader.

Foreign Affairs cover, 2012.

Six world powers and Iran are at work to meet a deadline Tuesday (March 31, 2015) for an agreement that would constrain Iran’s nuclear program or best case scenario, put it completely out of Iran’s reach. The nations meeting to discuss this are the US, represented by Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran represented by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Britain’s Philip Hammond and top diplomats of Russia, China, France and Germany. This is the first time they are meeting since November. The Iran/Nuclear issue has actually been on the table as a UN agenda item for 12 years.

The issue is that Israel and the West claim that Iran is working assiduously to obtain a nuclear bomb. Iranian scientists are hard at work underground like worker bees with spinning centrifuges and scientific advances that will allow them to create and presumably use a nuke, presumably against Israel. Israel believes this is an existential threat against their existence because Iran has said many times that it wants to wipe Israel from the earth. Iran’s use of a nuke on the tiny country would certainly go a long way toward that dastardly goal.

The other issue is that the 6 mediating nations, including the US, are taking Iran at their word when they say they will not use the bomb, that their pursuit is for “peaceful purposes.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has blasted the impending nuclear deal between the P5+1 world powers and the Iranian regime, calling the accord a historically bad agreement that lets Iran race towards nuclear weapons development.

Worst, it has become clear that Obama is an enemy of Israel and a friend to Iran. The Jewish Press goes so far as to say that Obama’s behavior toward Israel, our only Middle East ally, is actually a declaration of war against the Jewish nation. The American Thinker said today that Obama creates chaos and calls it peace. Of the proposed nuke deal with Iran, Fox News asks if Obama wants Israel to commit suicide.

And now we are back to that interesting quote from the Rabbi with which I opened this article Obama as Haman-type and Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu as a Mordecai-type.

In the bible, you might remember the book of Esther. The historical characters of Esther, Haman, and Mordecai are recorded in those 4 chapters. The Jewish Encyclopedia summarizes:

Son of Hammedatha; chief minister of King Ahasuerus (Esth.iii.1-2). As his name indicates, Haman was a descendant of Agag, the king of the Amalekites. On account of his attempt to exterminate the Jews in the kingdom of Ahasuerus, he is frequently called “the persecutor of the Jews” ( ; Esth. iii. 10; viii. 1; ix. 10, 24). His machinations against the Jews and his downfall are remembered during the Feast of Purim. Filled with annoyance because Mordecai did not bow before him, Haman resolved upon the extermination of the Jews throughout the whole kingdom. He drew lots to determine the day of the massacre, and the lot fell on the 13th of Adar (Esth. iii. 4-7). He offered the king ten thousand talents of silver for permission to do with the Jews as he pleased. The permission was granted, and he accordingly despatched letters to all parts of the Persian kingdom to massacre the Jews on the 13th of Adar (iii. 8-15). His intrigues, however, were baffled by Esther.

The Triumph of Mordechai, by Pieter Pietersz Lastman

It is interesting that the Rabbi would liken Obama to one of the most well-known of historical figures seeking to destroy all the Jews. In the end, Haman was hung on the gallows he had erected for Mordecai’s hanging. Of course we know Hitler wanted to destroy all Jews, and actually killed 6 million before the Allied powers got to him. In history, another Hitler-type was Antiochus Epiphanes who also massacred many Jews (167BC). None of these and other historical-political Jew-haters were ultimately  successful, and the antichrist who will also seek to kill all the Jews in the future won’t be successful either. (Revelation 12:13-14).

The prophecies state that Jerusalem will be a burdensome stone at the time of the end, (Zechariah 12:3a), that Israel’s land will be divided, (Joel 3:2), that there will be no friend left to Israel, (Zechariah 12:3b, Zechariah 14:2) and that Israel’s enemies will cry out to wipe Israel from the map (Psalm 83:4). Some of these prophecies have been partially fulfilled and some will be fulfilled at the end of the Tribulation, AKA Time of Jacob’s Trouble.

There is another prophecy concerning the antichrist and the covenant he will institute with Israel and then break, triggering the Great Tribulation. It’s seen in Daniel 9:27.

And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.

What Daniel recorded is the time of the end, when antichrist will lull Israel into a false sense of security by signing a covenant or decree. Israel will be given a place to perform sacrifices again, and will do so for three and a half years. Israel will be so lulled they will not have bars or walls up and will be living in peace. (Ezekiel 38:11). That’s when the antichrist will go after the Jews, invade, seek to destroy, and massacre. Satan of course is behind this. See Matthew 24:15 where Jesus also speaks of this yet-future event.

Jackson Diehl, Deputy Opinion page editor of the Washington post wrote an analysis opinion piece today titled Obama’s Next Earthquake:

President Obama’s rhetorical assault on Benjamin Netanyahu last week was in part the product of pique. But it also set the stage for what could be another crockery-breaking bid by Obama for a foreign policy legacy, on a par with his opening to Cuba and would-be nuclear deal with Iran.

By declaring Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations dead and blaming Netanyahu, Obama laid the predicate for a decision to go forward with a U.S.-backed U.N. Security Council resolution that would set the terms for a final peace settlement. Envisioned as an updating of U.N. Resolution 242, which has been part of the framework for the Mideast “peace process” since the 1960s, the idea would be to mandate the solution to the questions Israelis and Palestinians have been unable to agree upon for decades, such as the future status of Jerusalem. Not incidentally, it would provide Obama with the Mideast legacy he has craved since his first day in office. Whether or not it accelerated Palestinian statehood (and most likely it wouldn’t), Obama’s initiative would set off an earthquake in U.S. foreign relations and for Israel’s standing in the world.

Rush Limbaughcommented on Dieh’s Op-ed today. It is additionally interesting because as far as I know Rush isn’t a Christian and doesn’t really pay attention to prophecy or biblical things.

One of the sidebar news stories about the Iranian nuclear talks is that Obama, there’s a credible train of thought, folks, that is percolating inside the Beltway and up to New York, the New York-Washington corridor, that Obama is officially, within the next few months or so, is officially going to abandon Israel as a United States ally. The way it would happen, you know, we’ve been negotiating the Middle East peace process …

The scuttlebutt inside the Beltway and up to the New York corridor is that Obama is going to solve the Middle East peace process by going to the United Nations, getting a resolution demanding a two-state solution and divvying up Jerusalem and giving part of it to Palestinian or the Palestinians, which would be a total sellout of the Israelis.

Make no mistake, taking this route would not be taken to protect or to enforce the rights of Israelis here. Obama would do this because Netanyahu will not agree with Obama, what Obama wants. And Obama now doubly insulted, not only will Netanyahu not cave, Netanyahu came and showed him up with that joint speech to Congress.  So it’s get-even time. 

Now, I’m here to tell you, I don’t know if there’s any truth to this, but with Obama the experience teaches us never to discount these kinds of things, because they actually make perfect sense if you put them in context of the US foreign policy mission and directives during this administration. Folks, this is an act of hate. I mean, I hate to be so blunt about it, but that’s what this is.

I did get chills when I read that. Satan does hate God’s people and Israel with a white-hot, 6000-year-plus fury, which will be allowed to be fully expressed during the Tribulation. That satan is behind Obama’s hate of Israel there is no doubt.

Our job as Christians is to persevere, pray, continue to be the Light of truth and good works in His name. The Lord will return in the air to gather His bride when He is ready. Is He getting ready? I hope so. I know I’m ready.

How can you be ready? By having confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior, asked forgiveness of your sins, understanding and believing Jesus was killed for the sins of His people, absorbed all of God’s wrath for it, then rose again on the Third Day.

Here is a good resource called Getting the Gospel Right, it outlines what the Gospel is and isn’t.

When the Lord comes for you and me, what a glorious day that will be.


Further reading:

The Tribulation, the antichrist, and the church

Posted in earthquake, israel, sbc

Netanyahu appears to have won a victory in the Israel Election, Baptist college elects openly gay president, SBC-affiliated churches with women clergy

Some news roundups:

A major election was held in Israel today. Unlike in the US where we vote for a person from a party, in Israel, they vote for a party and then select the front person of that party to be Prime Minister. In the election today, current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party stunningly pulled ahead and appears to have won a very close match against the Zionist Union Party. Interesting,y at the eve of the election, Netanyahu reversed his stand on whether he supports a Palestinian State alongside a Jewish State, and said he did not. The Zionist Union supports two states and wanted to work with the Palestinians.

The opposition and its front man, Isaac Herzog, have refused to concede, and indeed, the election is still very close. However it seems that at the last moment, Netanyahu and his party may have won. In any case, it seems, as the NY Times puts it, the closeness of the race “promising a protracted and messy process of forming the next governing coalition.”

Current PM Netanyahu giving election day victory speech to supporters

Meanwhile, a 6.6 quake has just occurred in Indonesia at the Molucca Sea. The blue dot is the quake. It had initially been rated as a 7.3, which is why the editor of Breaking News referred to it that way. Here is the Editor’s note:

Editor’s note: According to data we are monitoring from the USGS, Indonesia is still experiencing several aftershocks dozens of miles off the coast of Kota Ternate after a 7.3 quake earlier. None of these have reached an intensity to trigger a tsunami warning, but we will continue to watch data from the area. – Aaron

Apostasy is running apace, at a shocking level. In this example, once considered the most conservative denomination, the Baptists of the Southern Baptist Convention have recently been giving evidence of internal rot leading to collapse. The denomination’s acceptance of the different gospels of Rick Warren, Beth Moore, the non-remarking of President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission Russell Moore’s visit to the Vatican in a partnership in an ecumenical pursuit of social justice (marriage issues), the Convention’s demonstrable divisiveness against its Reformed brothers, and more, it seems that the issues in the once-conservative Baptist denomination are percolating to the top.

What makes all this so interesting is that the Baptists, especially the Southern Baptists (16 million Americans enrolled) are thought to be the most conservative, sticking closest to living out the principles in the Word, which they state to be the unerring word of God. Richard Dudley wrote in Baptist Why and Why Not:

The fundamental principle of the Baptists is their belief in the supreme authority and absolute sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures; and their separate existence is the practical and logical result of their attempt to apply this principle in all matters of religion. (source)

Witness the recent news from the Baptist News of the Harrisonburg Baptist Church of VA, a Southern Baptist Convention affiliated church, in this article from several days ago discussing the acceptance of pregnant pastors in the pulpit.

Stacy Nowell

Baptist women say faith deepened as pregnant ministers

The first time around as a pregnant Baptist minister, Stacy Cochran Nowell harbored worries few other moms-to-be are likely to share. Chief among them was that older church members might object to the sight of an expectant mother in the pulpit. It never happened, said Nowell, the associate pastor at Harrisonburg Baptist Church in Virginia. “I just never received any negative feedback,” she said of the pregnancy that produced her now 3-year-old daughter. “I anticipated them, but they never materialized.”

Note that the opposition they expected was the fact that the female pastors were working while pregnant, NOT that the church had installed a woman minister. Yet the bible says,

But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet, 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.” (1 Tim. 2:12-13).

Pr. Nowell of Harrisonburg Baptist Church

Interestingly, the SBC states that it does not support female clergy. In 1998, Richard Melick wrote in the SBC Life, the Journal of the Southern Baptist Convention, “Summary: Should Women Be Pastors? We have seen that the explicit texts of Scripture forbid women to serve as pastors.” Their current FAQ still states the same.

Six months ago, the SBC cut ties with a SBC-affilated church that voted to retain a pastor who declared that same-sex unions can be blessed by God, and had performed a “marriage” of his own gay son in the church. To my knowledge, no disciplinary action has been lodged against Harrisonburg Baptist Church for its installation of female pastor, pregnant or not.

Here is news from a few days ago, from Baptist News again.

Historically Baptist college elects gay president

Though not Indiana’s first openly gay college president, Thomas Minar is the first for Franklin College, a small-town college 20 minutes from Indianapolis historically rooted in the American Baptist Churches USA. While one Baptist college in Tennessee defended inviting a lesbian to speak on campus, another in Indiana with little fanfare recently elected a president who is openly gay. Franklin College, a small liberal-arts college in “voluntary association” with the American Baptist Churches USA, announced Jan. 23 the selection of American University administrator Thomas Minar as the school’s 16th president effective July 1.

I am sure that the homosexual lobby will hail this as a “victory”, but we know what true victory is. It is as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 15:57,

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus gives us victory OVER sin, sins such as homosexuality, not victory in submitting TO sin.


Further Reading

CARM: Women in the pulpit

Posted in israel, jerusalem, prophecy, synagogue

Israel in prophecy: Peace talks, Jerusalem divided? ISIS blows up pipeline, Synagogue attack

Israel and especially Jerusalem has been in the news a lot lately. Israel is the ground zero for prophecy. As Joel Rosenberg wrote in his non-fiction book Epicenter, that part of the world is prophetically known as the epicenter because “the eyes of the nations are riveted upon Israel and the Middle East, the epicenter of the momentous events shaking our world and shaping our future.”

For thus says the Lord of host, After glory He has sent me against the nations which plunder you, for he who touches you– that is Israel–touches the apple of His eye. (Zechariah 2:8)

He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. (Deuteronomy 32:10)

Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings, (Psalm 17:8)

“Israel is very precious to God; and they who vex and harass him are as they who hurt that which God prizes inestimably, and which a mere touch offends and injures.” (Pulpit Commentary)

And yet we know that in the end of time no one on earth will be Israel’s friend. Zechariah 12:3 says that at the time of the very end, all nations will be gathered against her. This is to show that God alone is Israel’s protector. All who try to move Jerusalem, the immovable rock, will injure themselves, the prophecy states.

By these verses and others we can see and know that the hatred against Israel and the Jews is irrational. This is because it is from satan. This rage and hatred of Israel will only become worse as time goes on and God executes His final plans for human history.

Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
2The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
3“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
(Psalm 2:1-3)

For the last few weeks tensions and violence in Jerusalem has inched up to the nearly unbearable zone. Fox News has a timeline. Here is an excerpt

Nov. 5: A Hamas militant slams a minivan into crowd waiting for a train in Jerusalem, killing two.

Nov. 8: Israeli police shoot and kill an Arab Israeli protester at a demonstration in northern Israel. Video indicates the man was walking away from the officer when shot.

Nov. 10: Palestinian attackers kill two Israelis in Tel Aviv and the West Bank in separate stabbing attacks.

Nov. 13: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman; the trio agrees on steps to defuse tensions at Jerusalem holy site.

Nov. 14: Israel lifts age restriction at holy site; Friday prayers go off without incident.

Nov. 16: Police say Israeli man stabbed in the back by an “Arab” attacker in Jerusalem and wounded. Assailant escapes.

Nov. 17: Israeli government says it will step up punitive demolitions, gives notices to families of Palestinian attackers

Nov. 18: Two Palestinians storm Jerusalem synagogue, kill four five and wound six.

November 7:
Call to Mobilize Reservists to Secure Jerusalem

Avi Naim, head of the Beit Aryeh council in western Samaria, called to mobilize reserve forces to stabilize the security situation in Jerusalem on Friday, in a special interview with Arutz Sheva. “The situation is explosive and sensitive,” Naim stated. “There is the guiding hand of [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas there, who wants to burn the city [down], and the fact that there are no incidents in Judea-Samaria.” “[Jerusalem] needs reinforcements, and we should call up the reserves, so the [IDF] is seen everywhere and so that we take a firm hand [against terrorists],” he added.

Remember, the end of November was supposed to be a drop-dead date for finalization of peace talks, long-stalled but supposedly resumed in October. The goal in early November was this:

The Palestinians are expected to submit a resolution to the UN Security Council by the end of November or early December that calls for an end to the occupation and the recognition of a Palestinian state along 1967 lines.

Joel 3:2 prophesies judgment upon the nations for the way they treated Israel, which the verses above show God considers His own, near to Him as the apple of His eye. Dividing His land is something He will render wrath for, and dividing Jerusalem is an even worse idea. Yet Luke 21:24 shows us that the Gentiles trample Jerusalem anyway.

They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

Revelation 11:2 says it will be for 42 months.

but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

November 8
EU urges two-state capital in Jerusalem as tensions soar
Europe’s top diplomat on Saturday called for a Palestinian state sharing Jerusalem as its capital with Israel, hours after the police killing of an Arab-Israeli further fanned tensions. … “I think Jerusalem can be and should be the capital of two states,” the new EU foreign policy chief told reporters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. The status of Jerusalem is a sensitive issue that has blocked peace efforts for decades.

November 13
Martin Sherman wrote an opinion piece on the Jerusalem Post asking a terrible question,

Into the Fray: On the cusp of carnage?
A perfect storm brewing

A perfect storm is brewing for Israel. On virtually every front, ominous clouds are gathering, and should the menacing maelstroms they portend hit together, it is far from certain that the Jewish state will survive the destructiveness of their combined impact. Since I began writing this Into the Fray series in mid- 2011, I have warned repeatedly of the perils of the government’s policy of counterproductive compromises and concessions. I cautioned that this “cavalcade of capitulation” will elicit nothing from our adversaries other than demands for more – and more far-reaching – concessions, as indeed it has. In my column of December 2, 2011, I wrote: “By adopting a policy of continually trying to avoid confrontations in which it can prevail, Israel may eventually find itself forced to engage in a confrontation in which it cannot.”

Precisely such a perilous predicament is now beginning to develop before our eyes.

Across every border Israel shares with its Arab neighbors, within its own borders, and far removed from them, a formidable range of threats – from damaging economic sanctions and international isolation, through murderous terrorist attacks, jihadi insurgency and domestic insurrection, to the specter of weapons of mass destruction and a nuclear Iran – is coalescing with disturbing speed into a multi-faceted menace that jeopardizes the survival of the Jewish nation-state to a degree arguably unprecedented since its inception.

There is one yet-to-be fulfilled prophetic confrontation that Israel engages in which they cannot and do not win: The Gog-Magog battle of Ezekiel 38-39. In that confrontation, Israel is taken by surprise, and would lose, unless the LORD had directly intervened.

November 15
ISIS Blows Up Egypt-Jordan Gas Pipeline
The pipeline through Sinai exports Egypt’s natural gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Jordan is in the anti-ISIS coalition.

The Islamic State’s Sinai Peninsula terror organization, which was named Ansar Bayt al-Makdas until it swore allegiance to Islamic State (aka ISIS), has blown up the pipeline carrying gas from Egypt to Jordan. The pipeline, which is 1,200 km long, and was built at a cost of $1.2 billion, is used for exporting natural gas to Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. In the past, it was repeatedly attacked by Islamist terror groups, until Egypt’s gas exports to Israel were halted. The Islamic State’s Sinai Peninsula notified the press that it would not allow gas to be exported to Jordan unless ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi allowed it. It said that the attack was a response to Jordan’s participation in the military coalition against ISIS.

Speaking of being on the cusp of carnage, though in his opinion piece Mr Sherman was speaking of general war between nations, there was carnage today, sadly and mournfully.

Four Five killed in attack on Jerusalem synagogue

Four Israelis were killed and eight more wounded in a frenzied assault by two Palestinian men on Jewish worshippers praying at a Jerusalem synagogue in the most lethal incident in the city in years. The two assailants who launched their attack with meat cleavers and a gun during early morning prayers were then killed by police officers in the ensuing gun battle at the scene of the attack. The deaths occurred as the two men – identified by family members as cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal from the East Jerusalem district of Jabal Mukaber – burst into the Bnei Torah synagogue in Har Nof, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhood of West Jerusalem.

Israel vows harsh response to synagogue attack

Israel vowed harsh retaliation Tuesday for a Palestinian attack that left four rabbis hacked or shot to death on the blood-smeared floor of a synagogue in Jerusalem, a major escalation of already-high tensions after weeks of religious violence. The attack during morning prayers in the west Jerusalem neighborhood of Har Nof was carried out by two Palestinian cousins wielding meat cleavers, knives and a handgun. They were shot to death by police after the deadliest assault in the holy city since 2008. Three of the dead were born in the United States and the fourth was born in England, although all held dual Israeli citizenship. Six others were wounded, including two police officers.

Tuesday’s attack, however, appeared to mark a turning point, with the gruesome scene in a house of worship shocking a nation long accustomed to violence. The government released a photo of a bloody meat cleaver it said came from the crime scene. Government video showed blood-soaked prayer books and prayer shawls on the floor of the synagogue. A pair of glasses lay under a table dripping in blood, and thick streaks of blood lined the floor.



How Long, O Lord?
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.
13 How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?
3 Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
4 lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
5 But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.
(Psalm 13:1-6)

Posted in dependence, israel, prophet, repentance, samuel

Always depend on the LORD Jesus

I’m reading through 1 Samuel right now. The Old Testament is such a majestic book.

1 Samuel 8 is the time when all Israel called for a king to lead them. Ole Samuel had been in service to the people since Hannah weaned him at age three and delivered him to Eli at the temple. All his days, Samuel walked before the LORD and served. He was their Prophet. He was their Judge. Yet when Samuel was old and gray, the people grumbled that they wanted a king ‘like the other nations.’ (1 Samuel 8:20)

Of course, the people had the best king there could be, God Himself. He was their King and they were His people. He protected them:

So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites. (1 Samuel 7:13-14).

He delivered Civil peace:

Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places. (1 Samuel 7:15-16).

He instilled spiritual peace: (the people were sorrowful of their sins and repented in deep humility)

From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the LORD. (1 Samuel 7:2)

Everything was orderly and calm. Yet the people weren’t satisfied and wanted a king they could see. The pleaded with Samuel. Samuel warned them and prophesied to them what would happen if they got a king.

And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, “Obey the voice of the people in all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. According to all the deeds that they have done, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt even to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are also doing to you. Now then, obey their voice; only you shall solemnly warn them and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.” (1 Samuel 8:6b-9).

The people clamor for a king.

And Samuel told them. A king would do terrible things to them. He would take their maidens, he would take their lands, he would take their men for war. He would take their oxen. He would take their grain. He would make them slaves.

The people still cried out for a king. God granted it. (1 Samuel 8:22)

There are many deep theological lessons in this chapter and in the entire books of 1 and 2 Samuel. The obvious ones are these:

1. Pray to God always for advice and to seek His face. Samuel did. The people didn’t.
2. Be grateful for continued peace in your nation and in your hearts. Israel forgot, and became discontent.
3. Listen to the voice of God, He tells the truth. The people heard Samuel repeat God’s words, that their kings would lead them wrongly. They rejected His word. Today we don’t have a prophet to listen directly to the voice of God to tell us His ways, but we have the bible. Believe it. God tells the truth. He always tells us ahead of time. The axiom still is in force: “If you do this, then this will happen. If you do not do this, then that won’t happen.”

“If… then…” statements are linking words that introduce conditions. For example: “If you obey me, then you shall be my treasured possession” (Exodus 19:5). The condition of being God’s treasured possession, is that his people were to obey him. That of course has massive bearing on the whole OT and God’s dealings with his people. (source)

4. Always depend on God. Always depend on God. Always depend on God. Always depend on God. How many times must we say it and believe it? The Israelites depended on God for many years and for many years and decades peace reigned. To this very day under the New Covenant, depending on God brings the most blessing, the most growth, the most pleasure to God and the most benefit to us.

Our Jesus is our High Priest, deliverer, protector, sustainer, provider, friend. Always depend on Him.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)

Posted in end of days. prophecy, israel, Obama, peace and security

When they are saying peace and security…

While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:3)

Israel has never had peace or security. Not for any real length of time. Their constant falling away-repent-falling away cycle prevents that. their penchant for making alliances with hostile nations in vain hopes of forestalling attacks also is a sad pattern. (Ancient Assyria, Egypt, Cush … 2 Chronicles 18:1-2, Isaiah 31:1, Isaiah 20:5)

Praying for the peace of Israel as Psalm 122:6 says really means as Gill’s Exposition says, a future peace in the Millennium:

“but for the spiritual and heavenly Jerusalem, the church of God, and for the peace of it; that Christ, the Man, the Peace, the Peacemaker, who then was not come, might come; that the members of it might enjoy spiritual peace in their son is, and might have peace one with another, and be at peace with their enemies; and enjoy the abundance of peace and prosperity, which will be in the latter day;”

It will be then and only then Jerusalem has peace. That doesn’t stop Israel from seeking it though. Nor does it stop false friends from pressuring it upon Israel, either. The Israel Daily newspaper Haaretz this morning has a front page dedicated to peace. An opinion article from Obama is prominently placed there. Here is a photo of today’s front page from Haaretz:

In an exclusive article for Haaretz’s Israel Conference on Peace, Barack Obama says that the only solution is a democratic, Jewish state living side-by-side in peace and security with a viable, independent Palestinian state.

Peace talks have once again stalled out. Each President has tried to resolve the issues in the Middle East ever since Israel was created as a nation in 1948. Each president has failed. Only the antichrist will be able to [seemingly] resolve the conflict there but he will prove to be a betrayer and tear up the peace treaty he negotiates halfway through the covenant’s time period and turn around and persecute Israel to their almost bloody death. This is part of God’s plan.

This latest round of peace talks has ended with a sputter. Secretary of State Kerry failed to make headway. Tablet Magazine actually claims that America is the Arsonist in the Middle East, and that it was “Kerry’s failed peace negotiations set off the spiral of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.” Apparently someone has to blame someone.

Obama is pushing the issue once again after it has languished on the back burner these long months. A deadline set by Kerry 9-months ago has approached and it is time to renew attention to the issue. Hamas isn’t unaware either and has ramped up rocket fire in this last week. Joel C. Rosenberg writes today,

Escalation: 130 rockets fired at Israel since midnight. IDF calls up 40,000 reservists for possible ground operation in Gaza

(Washington, D.C.) — My heart is breaking over the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians as the situation goes from bad to worse, hour by hour.

  • In recent days, Palestinian extremists kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teenage boys.
  • Then Jewish extremists kidnapped and murdered an Arab teenage boy, apparently burning him alive.
  • Meanwhile, Palestinian extremists in Gaza began firing rockets at Jewish and Arab civilians in southern Israel.
  • More than 220 rockets have been fired at Israel since July 1st. And just since midnight, 130 rockets were fired at Israel.
  • Israel’s “Iron Dome” system is shooting down many of them.
  • The Israeli Air Force is striking Hamas and Islamic Jihad targets in Gaza.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government authorized “Operative Protective Edge” to ratchet up attacks on the terrorists in Gaza. The IDF is calling up 40,000 reservists for a possible massive ground invasion of Gaza.

I know the prophecy in Thessalonians is trotted out any time anyone ever says “peace and security”. The verse is actually pointing to the Day of the Lord, AKA the Time of Jacob’s Trouble AKA The Tribulation. However, it does do for us to keep the prophecy in mind as we watch unparalleled events in the Middle East occur. ISIS is advancing, a caliphate has been established, rocket fire is barraging Israel, the deadline for the peace talks is renewing pressure on everyone involved, and let’s not forget the violence in northern Africa and central Africa. Several of those nations will take part in the Psalm 83 war.

Jordan King: ‘We fear spread of Iraq chaos’
Floodgates open as ISIS takes over swaths of both Syria and Iraq
C. African Republic church attacks leaves 17 dead
Mild quake shakes Lebanon, western Syria and northern Israel
63 Women Escape Extremist Abductors in Nigeria
South Sudan Official Orders Curfew Violators to be Shot Dead

We won’t know the day or hour, or even whether the Day of the Lord is approaching very near, but we can see that the world is in turmoil and in need of its Savior once again. He will return in wrath next time though. Before there is peace on earth there will be wrath.

As for us Christians, John MacArthur reminds us,

You say, “Will we be there at the day of the Lord?” No. We’ll be taken out before the day of the Lord. Now as you know through all the years it has been my conviction to teach you that we are taken out before that final seventieth week, that final seven-year period begins. The great promise is that we have not been appointed unto wrath. We have been appointed unto glory. If you know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, the future you look for is all glorious. If you don’t know Him, the future you look forward to is all terrifying. It is no insignificant thing that the whole world has its eyes on the Middle East, that’s where all the consummation of God’s history will take place. It could be in this generation, it could be soon. We must be ready. If you know Christ, you’ll be taken before it hits. If you don’t, you’ll be destroyed when it comes.

Posted in gay pride, homosexuality, iraq, ISIS, israel, jesus, judgment

Tel Aviv, Sodom’s new headquarters; part 2 ISIS and prophecy

In both the introduction, Do the events of today in Iraq have prophetic import? and in Part 1, “Has the Assyrian Empire just revived? ISIS, Baghdad, and the Middle East in prophecy part 1,” I discussed the terrible unfolding events of the near-collapse of Iraq as the terror militant group ISIS drives forward to capture huge swathes of Iraq, Syria and part of Turkey. I’d said that though we don’t know for certain if these are directly prophetic events, but that such sudden moves in bible lands are always worth watching and worth praying over.

Over 800,000 Iraqis are fleeing the incoming army of rabidly ferocious ISIS soldiers. The refugee situation in the area is horrific, with millions of displaced Syrians already in ever-growing refugee camps in Lebanon, Turkey, and Jordan, and even Italy. Where are these Iraqi refugees going to go?

They are fleeing because the ISIS group is known for violence, bloodshed, and brutality. The UK newspapers are reporting streets lined with heads, as beheading of even surrendering opposition takes place. Targeting of civilians is common. God, being holy and just, is not pleased with such sin.

I made the comment that the lands the ISIS insurgent group has re-taken are lands that match the heart of the old nation of Assyria, the once most feared empire on earth. Things don’t change, I’d written, because the enmity between them and God was put there in the Garden after the Fall (Genesis 3:15). It will remain until Jesus returns.

In the bible it is equally clear that He uses nations to render judgment for sin. In the past He especially used Assyria as ‘His rod’ to punish Israel for their sins.

He used Isaiah and Micah and Hosea to warn, and “Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer” (2 Kings 17:13). Israel did not repent and the invasion came to pass.

Isaiah gave one of the warnings:

Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations.” (Isaiah 10:5-7)

Here is the result: Israel did NOT repent,

Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years. 6In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. (2 Kings 17:5-6)

Wikipedia gives an overview: “The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian monarchs, Tiglath-Pileser III (Pul) and Shalmaneser V. The later Assyrian rulers Sargon II and his son and successor, Sennacherib, were responsible for finishing the twenty-year demise of Israel’s northern ten-tribe kingdom, although they did not overtake the Southern Kingdom.”

In that case God used Assyria as His rod to punish Israel for their disobedience and preserved a remnant for Himself (the Southern Kingdom).

What was Israel doing that ignited God’s ire so much? 2 Kings 17 records one warning:

“they had feared other gods, and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the LORD had cast out from before the children of Israel, …

And they abandoned all the commandments of the Lord their God, 

So they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. …

And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke Him to anger. …

the LORD removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.

God doesn’t change, His expectations for His people do not change. He expects His people Israel and His Bride the Church to be holy, to seek after Him and Him alone. Does one believe that God will overlook this, going on in Tel Aviv, Israel this very day?

Gay Pride flag flies in US embassy in Tel Aviv Israel
Welcome to Sodom’s New Headquarters
The U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, has hoisted the gay pride flag over the embassy building in Tel Aviv. Todd Starnes grabbed the pic from the embassy’s Facebook page.”

The UK Independent reports backlash!
“The US embassy in Tel Aviv faced a backlash of criticism after it raised the rainbow flag next to the American flag above its office for the first time in history earlier this week. On Tuesday, Daniel Shapiro, the US ambassador to Israel, made the announcement that the rainbow flag had been raised during Tel Aviv’s Pride Week, which runs until 14 June. “For the first time in history,” Mr Shapiro wrote on the embassy’s Facebook page, “the US Embassy in Tel Aviv has raised the Pride flag together with our American flag. We are proud to join with the municipality of Tel Aviv-Yafo and its residents in celebrating LGBT Pride Week.” … But Mr Shapiro’s announcement was met with a barrage of angry comments from users claiming it did not represent the views held by American citizens, with many demanding the flag be taken down immediately.

The Jerusalem Post reports that as Tel Aviv “celebrates” Gay Pride week, Tel Aviv is the world’s “best gay city.”
People of all ages, races, nationalities and sexual identities, many scantily clad and adorned in rainbow flags, crammed into the vibrant park-space in central Tel Aviv to listen to local musical performances, visit stalls of organizers and activists, hear an introduction from Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai, and show off the best of LGBTQ culture. It is no surprise that this event was so heavily attended; the only state in the Middle East that does not outlaw homosexuality, Israel, and specifically Tel Aviv, is host to a large and vibrant LGBTQ activist community. … The parade ended in a massive beach party at Charles Clore Park, after which attendees dispersed to explore the best that “the world’s best gay city” had to offer. “


Twitter comment regarding the above photo: “100,000+ #LGBT people have gathered in #Israel for gay pride parade. Imagine that anywhere else in the Middle East.

I submit to you the point of this essay: that the beheading violence from the ISIS soldiers in Mosul Iraq is just as violent and abhorrent to God as the kissing queers on the Israeli beach. Does one think that our Holy God who was outraged at the sodomy at Sodom and Gomorrah would not also be angry at the sodomy at the new Sodom, Tel Aviv? He is.

He will bring judgment to Israel, and punish them severely. This is coming. It is prophesied.

Revelation 11:8 makes reference to Jerusalem being metaphorical Sodom!

and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.

He will punish.

“I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 12:2)

For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” (Zechariah 14:2)

but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.” (Revelation 11:2)

Does America, that bastion of homosexual ‘equality’, think it will escape the judgment of Holy God? Our sins are so many. Sodom didn’t escape. Gomorrah didn’t escape. Admah didn’t. Zeboiim didn’t. Jerusalem won’t. This news from earlier today

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island. “See you in New York.”

Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca, didn’t take these words from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a threat. Al-Baghdadi knew that many of his captors were from New York, reservists with the 306 Military Police Battalion, a unit based on Long Island that includes numerous numerous members of the NYPD and the FDNY. King had not imagined that in less that five years he would be seeing news reports that al-Baghdadi was the leader of ISIS, the ultra-extremist army that was sweeping through Iraq toward Baghdad. … King says “He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst.” That is the face that King was so surprised to see this week as the man who had become the absolute worst of the worst, so bad that even al Qaeda had disowned him. The whole world was stunned as al-Baghdadi now told his enemies “I’ll see you in Baghdad.”

Israel’s judgment will be severe, as it will be for all those on earth enduring the punishment of wrath from a Holy God. Sin must be dealt with. One can wait and have the angry God deal with you regarding your sin, or you can deal with it now, during the Age of Grace.

and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

What IS The Gospel? From,
In a day of depressing headlines and uncertainty all around us, good news is very welcome. What better news could there be than as the old hymn says: “The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives?” When Christians refer to the “Gospel” they are referring to the “good news” that Jesus Christ died to pay the penalty for our sin so that we might become the children of God through faith alone in Christ alone. In short, “the Gospel” is the sum total of the saving truth as God has communicated it to lost humanity as it is revealed in the person of His Son and in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible. If you aren’t sure whether or not you are God’s child, you might want to read God’s Plan of Salvation.

Be saved today! Be saved from his wrath and the coming judgment. Meet Jesus as friend, father, Groom.

Saved, Saved:

Posted in encouragement, God, israel, old testament, repentance

Repentance is more than just "turning".

As one reads through Hosea, particularly chapter 7, it is amazing the number of metaphors God uses to show Israel’s perfidy. They were separated from their God and Protector through their own actions. God hadn’t gone anywhere, Israel had. They needed to repent and turn to Him.

However there is turning and there is turning. God was angry that Israel turned to idols. They turned to Egypt. They turned to Assyria. They turned to themselves, in their own beds crying and wailing. (“They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds”; Hosea 7:14) They turned a lot. They didn’t turn the right way.

They turn, but not upward,  (Hosea 7:16a)

Turn upward!

Judas turned. In the KJV of Matthew 27:3 it says, “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,”

Did Judas repent? No. He turned, he felt grief, he refused to look at his sin… but he didn’t turn upward.

Easton’s Bible Dictionary says there are several words for repent used in the bible. In the case of Judas the verb is “metamelomai is used of a change of mind, such as to produce regret or even remorse on account of sin, but not necessarily a change of heart. This word is used with reference to the repentance of Judas (Matt. 27:3).

The other word for repentance according to Easton’s is “Metanoeo, meaning to change one’s mind and purpose, as the result of after knowledge. This verb, with (3) the cognate noun metanoia, is used of true repentance, a change of mind and purpose and life, to which remission of sin is promised.”

In Judas’ case, his turning was not upward.

In your grief over sin, in your restlessness in finding peace, in your agitation, turn, not from one worldly thing to another, but upward!

The lessons of Hosea 7 are many. One is, that God is looking down upon His elect. He is looking. Look upward! See Him! Our holy Savior as High Priest is looking at us, loving us, calling to us to repent. Repentance is a matter of turning, but turning in the right direction, and it is having a right heart condition. Judas’ heart wasn’t right. Ephraim’s heart wasn’t right. They cried but it wasn’t from the heart. Judas cried, but it wasn’t from the heart. If you cry over your sins, is it from the heart? If you turn from your sin, is it in the right direction? We have learned that a horizontal turning is not the right direction because the only thing in our horizontal field of vision is the world. The world doesn’t forgive. God in heaven forgives. Upward is the right direction and having the right heart attitude is important too.

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Romans 10:9).

Posted in born in one day, israel, prophecy

Israel celebrates 66th year of independence, Israel’s existence a fulfillment of prophecy

On 14 May 1948, after almost 2000 years, declared itself a nation.

“Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children.” (Isaiah 66:8)

The May 1948 re-birth of Israel is widely seen as a fulfillment of the above prophecy.

Much more lies ahead for His chosen nation. However, much history lay behind for the harlot nation known as Israel. Hosea 1:1-9 has the story

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” 3So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

4And the Lord said to him, “Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel.”

6She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. 7But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.”

8When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. 9And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”

Can you imagine anything worse than God saying He is not your God and He will not have mercy or compassion on you? No! It is a breathtakingly mournful pronouncement! It is a divorce that reverberates through the ages!

However, does the language in Hosea indicate that God has cast off His people? Never! Hosea goes on in verses 10-11

Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Childrene of the living God.” 11And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Here is S. Lewis Johnson in a wonderful sermon on those verses, called “The Panorama of Divine Love“. As much as the people of Israel had wandered away to other gods, as often as they rebelled, as much as they forgot Yahweh, God never forgets His covenant promises to His chosen people. As He told Abraham,

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” (Genesis 15:5)

And again in Genesis 22:17

I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,

And the lesson for us is that of those He chose to be part of the Bride He will in no way forget either. His promises are true and His prophesies come to pass. Though after 70AD both kingdoms of Israel and Judah were trounced under the dust of Roman feet, and the temple destroyed, on the glorious Day of May 14, 1948, as Ezekiel had prophesied, the dried bones knit together and God in His timing declared a nation to be reborn, life entering their grave and a nation rose up–

So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.

11Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. 14And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:10-14)

Despite the rebellion of His chosen people, He will enact His covenant, because He is a God of true promises and of mercy and forgiveness. Thank the Lord that His actions do not depend on us, a rebellious and adulterous generation of sinful people! He surely does not choose His own, Israel or Bride, based on merit!

Israel is still a nation of lost and wandering sheep. On His day they will mourn for the one they have pierced and declare Jesus as their Messiah, On that Day He will pour out His spirit and they will plead for mercy. (Zechariah 12:10). And the borders shall be enlarged and Jesus shall reign among them and they will have a kingdom of peace and prosperity.

“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.” (Isaiah 44:3)

Sixty-six years ago next week, Israel was born. The LORD is great and His purposes come to pass. You can trust the LORD!!

I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it.” (Ezekiel 36:36b)

Israel marks 66th Independence Day with torch-lighting ceremony
The heart of the ceremony is the lighting of 12 beacons, one for each of the tribes of Israel. Every year a dozen Israelis are selected for this honor by a special committee.