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1/2/2017 — From the "How Dare You!" Department...
It appears CNN has gone from being the Clinton News Network to being the Clueless News Network.
Israeli Home Chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennet was interviewed on CNN a few days ago, and he clearly spelled out the reality of the situation in Israel in terms a five-year-old could understand:
"We're not occupying any land. One cannot occupy his own home. These are not settlements."
As simple and straightforward as that seems, it still apparently flew over the head of CNN anchor and chief Washington correspondent Jake Tapper, who furrowed his brow and mentioned the recent UN Security Council vote on a resolution that identified Israeli cities within Judea and Samaria as illegal settlements by a 14–0 vote, with one abstention (the United States).
In Tapper's mind, the votes of those 14 countries constitute reality. The mere fact that those 14 countries voted for this resolution means that these Israeli cities are in fact illegal "settlements" in "occupied" territory that must be dismantled so that a gang of Arab refugees euphemistically known as the "Palestinians" can establish more missile launching pads for missiles aimed at Israel.
Tapper seemed genuinely perplexed to the point of being annoyed that Bennet had the audacity to actually dispute the "fact" that cities in Judea and Samaria were settlements in occupied Palestinian land.
The Clueless News Network? How about the Condescending News Network?
Bennet patiently explained to him that Judea and Samaria have been Jewish for over 3,000 years...and that the Jews weren't going anywhere. Not only that, but the Palestinians had already turned Gaza into a staging area for terror:
"There is already a Palestinian state formed in 2005 in Gaza and they turned it into a terror state. Anyone in their right mind cannot imagine forming another one right here in Jerusalem, our eternal capital. That would be insane."
Insane indeed. And the coup de grâce:
"How dare anyone call the land of Israel occupied?"
How dare they indeed.
1/9/2017 — From the "Pay the Price" Department...
Gospel singer Kim Burrell is just the latest example of something that is being proven with alarming frequency in today's world, and we can only expect to see it increase as we get closer to the Rapture:
There is a price to pay for honoring God and His Word.
The daughter of a pastor, Kim Burrell founded The Love & Liberty Fellowship Pentecostal Overcoming Holy Church in Houston, Texas, where she serves in a supervisory capacity. She has had a distinguished career in gospel music, and has received numerous awards in the industry over the last three decades. Recently, she was scheduled to perform on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, a popular talk show hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, who is openly gay, married to a woman, a vocal supporter of the LGBT agenda, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack "Love Wins" Obama for her contributions to gay rights.
Not only that, but apparently she's not too keen on those who have the audacity to call homosexuality what God calls it:
So when a YouTube video surfaced recently with the bombastic and misleading title "Kim Burrell bashes homosexuals; implies they will die in 2017," which is a 2:20 snippet taken from one of her sermons in which she preaches the truth about what the Bible teaches about homosexuality, it caused a firestorm of criticism.
Now all of a sudden she's a bigot.
Now she's spewing hate speech.
Now she's judging others.
Now she's using her religion as a tool to persecute gays.
Jerk goes the LGBT knee, and to the surprise of no one Kim Burrell's appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show was unceremoniously yanked. This was promptly followed by the usual outpouring of support for the LGBT community, as well as the usual chorus of condemnation aimed at hateful, intolerant bigots who look down on others just because they were born gay.
No surprises there.
The point I want to bring out, though, is that Burrell stood up for the truth of God's Word, and she paid a price. She considered it more important to honor God and His Word than to please men, and for that I commend her.
But understand that the day is coming (and for some it's already here) when many of us may well have to make a similar decision. We, too, may have to take a stand for the truth of the Bible and for the message of the gospel—that Christ died to save sinners, a designation that includes all of us.
And we need to be reminded that there may be a price to pay.
1/16/2017 — From the "Told Ya So" Department...
I'm not gonna say it...I'm not gonna say it...aarrgghh!
Told ya so, told ya so...neener neener neener!
OK, I feel better now.
So Obama's final "crushing blow" against Israel before bowing out put an exclamation point on what he wistfully refers to as his "legacy," or how his eight-year occupancy of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will be remembered:
An eight-year binge of Machiavelian but amateurish skullduggery topped off with petty, vindictive narcissism.
In what was being billed as an all-out blitz against Israel that many believed was poised to cram the two-state solution down Israel's throat, the gathering of 70 nations at the Paris Peace Conference tucked its tail between its legs and adjourned with a comparative whimper.
President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had been thumping their chests and making overtures of forcibly recognizing a Palestinian state based on pre-1967 borders, effectively bypassing any negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, and had been not-so-subtly trying to drum up support for such an outcome. In the end, however, the conference coughed and sputtered and hit the ground with a thud that could be heard as far away as Tel Aviv, the soon-to-be former home of the U.S. Embassy.
In the current feature article (December 2016) I wrote about how I believed based on Scripture that the two-state solution must be something negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians, rather than something forced upon an unwilling Israel. And judging from the way this Peace Conference ended, it appears God's Word is right on target.
Not only that, but in a development that I'm sure left Barack Obama and John Kerry nonplussed because neither is familiar with the concept, England actually had the backbone to express their disagreement with the entire point of the conference and attended only in observer status, declining to sign the final agreement. The British released the following statement:
"We have particular reservations about an international conference intended to advance peace between the parties that does not involve them—indeed which is taking place against the wishes of the Israelis—and which is taking place just days before the transition to a new American President when the U.S. will be the ultimate guarantor of any agreement. There are risks therefore that this conference hardens positions at a time when we need to be encouraging the conditions for peace. That's why we have attended in an observer status and have not signed up to the communique."
Leave it to the Brits to be pointedly polite. Jolly good show.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was slightly less diplomatic:
This conference is among the last twitches of yesterday's world. Tomorrow's world will be different—and it is very near."
Yesterday's world. Translation: Obama's world. And you're quite right, Mr. Netanyahu: tomorrow's world will be different.
And yes, it is very near.
You have no idea.
1/23/2017 — From the "Showers of Blessing" Department...
I stayed up late to watch the inauguration of Donald Trump here in Taiwan, and I noticed that one of the men invited to pray was Franklin Graham. I've always had tremendous respect for this man of God, and I was very pleased to see that he had been chosen to be part of the inauguration ceremony.
If you were watching, you may have noticed that just as Trump was preparing to step to the microphone, it began to rain. Cameras showed a few people beginning to get out umbrellas, or cover their heads with a newspaper or the hood of their jacket or something. Naturally, the first thought that went through my mind was:
"Oh, great...something else that will give the liberal crybullies an excuse to criticize Trump, like God is crying that he stole the election from such a magnificently qualified candidate who got 2 million more votes than he did!"
But that's not what Franklin Graham was thinking. One of the qualities of a gifted speaker is presence of mind, and one of the qualities of a man of God is to think biblically in all situations. Franklin Graham displayed both of these qualities when his turn came to step to the microphone to pray.
"Mr. President, in the Bible, rain is a sign of God's blessing. And it started to rain, Mr. President, when you came to the platform. And it's my prayer that God will bless you, your family, your administration, and may He bless America."
He then proceeded to quote from 1 Timothy chapters 1 and 2, and millions of people around the world got to hear something they may not have heard in a very long time, if ever: the gospel.
Of course, Franklin Graham is right about the rain thing:
7Sing to Yahweh with thanksgiving. Sing praises on the harp to our God,
8who covers the sky with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass grow on the mountains.
And conversely, the lack of rain is a sign of God cursing a nation:
5Now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will take away its hedge, and it will be eaten up. I will break down its wall of it, and it will be trampled down.
6I will lay it a wasteland. It won't be pruned nor hoed, but it will grow briers and thorns. I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain on it.
Yes, as President Trump stepped to the platform to speak, it did indeed start to rain.
It did not escape my attention, however, that it was just a brief little sprinkle that passed quickly.
1/30/2017 — From the "No More Mr. Nice Guy" Department...
Ever since the inception of modern Israel in 1947 and its official establishment in May 1948, the United States—although giving Israel full diplomatic recognition—has never officially recognized Jerusalem as its capital. The U.S. chose to locate its embassy in Tel Aviv largely for political reasons, and with the fuzzy notion floating around in the background of making Jerusalem some kind of international city in a manner that would somehow appease all parties and make everybody happy.
Right. In reality, that "fuzzy notion" was merely the latest stage of the ongoing fulfillment of the following prophecy:
2Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling to all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 3And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
(Zechariah 12:2–3 AKJV)
It appears that trembling is about to get ratcheted up a notch or two, and that burdensome stone is about to get significantly more burdensome.
During the campaign, Donald Trump boldly promised to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the "eternal capital of Israel." While it made some waves, many people assumed that it was just campaign bluster that would get walked back after the election. After all, he also promised to restrict immigration from certain Muslim countries, dismantle Obamacare, renegotiate NAFTA, and build a wall along the U.S.–Mexican border and make Mexico pay for it. You know, just campaign bluster.
Oh wait, he's actually making progress on these things.
And he is also actively working on moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
So much for the bluster.
And boy, is the wolf pack howling now. President Trump may as well have made a speech and stated:
"After I flush Obamacare down the toilet, the next thing I'd like to do is start Armageddon."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing hand springs in the Knesset, so much so that he's actually trying to tone it down a bit by refraining from discussing any time frame for the move.
One thing I love is the fact that President Trump is proceeding in a manner that shows that he is not greatly dissuaded by opposition or criticism. He's showing that he can be smart as well as tough, and just go out there and Get Stuff Done. I admire that in any president, but I had my doubts as to whether Trump would have a thick enough skin to survive in the Oval Office. Well, so far so good.
Moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, however, is a different kettle of fish, and if Trump thinks he's seen opposition up to now, he ain't seen nothin' yet. In spite of that, I am personally convinced Trump has an ace or two up his sleeve that he's not revealing, particularly in regard to future negotiations with the Palestinians over a two-state solution.
I honestly believe that Donald "The Art of the Deal" Trump knows exactly what he's doing. There's a new sheriff in town, and he's sending signals to the Palestinians that are growing louder and clearer every day:
"Guess what, Buckwheat—you're not running the show anymore.
After two full rounds of failed "Mr. Nice Guy" negotiations under Barack Obama that were invariably at the mercy of a recalcitrant Mahmoud Abbas, Trump is making it clear that after eight years of politically correct kowtowing to terrorists, things are about to change.
"You want a state? You want a state? Let me hear you beg."
Stay tuned...this is going to get interesting.
2/6/2017 — From the "Fake News" Department...
I knew it. It figures. They'll do it every time. Talk tough and then walk it back.
These are no doubt some of the things that many Americans who support Donald Trump were thinking the other day when they read what the New York Times had to say about the Trump administration's recent statement concerning Israeli settlement activity.
The liberal mainstream media was licking its collective chops, characterizing the statement as something that made Trump appear as a waffling, finger-wagging, Obama-esque figure, chastising the Israelis for having the unmitigated gall to build houses on their own land for fear of offending the poor oppressed Palestinians who only want peace. The New York Times was positively giddy:
"In the most startling shift, the White House issued an unexpected statement appealing to the Israeli government not to expand the construction of Jewish settlements beyond their current borders in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Such expansion, it said, 'may not be helpful in achieving' the goal of peace."
The article essentially accused Trump of doing an about-face on settlements, as if he'd had a change of heart and suddenly realized that Barack Obama had been right all along in spanking Israel every time they threatened to build a house anywhere on their own land.
Here is the statement released by the White House. Read it carefully:
"The American desire for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians has remained unchanged for 50 years. While we don't believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace, the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving that goal. As the President has expressed many times, he hopes to achieve peace throughout the Middle East region. The Trump administration has not taken an official position on settlement activity and looks forward to continuing discussions, including with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he visits with President Trump later this month."
Here is what it actually means:
Settlements are fine with us. Build all the houses you want within existing settlement lines. OK, so building in entirely new settlement areas may not be the best idea, but the United States doesn't care how many houses you build in existing settlements. Build away!
Since all previous, current, and planned settlement construction is within existing settlement lines, this is a big, fat green light from Trump. This is nothing less than a tectonic shift away from the policies of the Obama administration, and the mainstream media completely misread it.
In other words, the mainstream media churned out a fake news story because they were so anxious to attack Trump that they didn't even bother to read the White House's statement carefully.
And the story they churned out is 180 degrees from the truth.
2/13/2017 — From the "Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Go Back in the Water" Department...
If you've ever caught yourself wondering whatever happened with that Fukushima thing, you may be sorry you asked after reading this.
Hint: It's not for the faint of heart.
According to reports coming out of Japan in the past week or so, the situation at the nuclear power plant that was crippled in the 2011 tsunami may be far more serious than anyone previously feared.
And that was already pretty grim.
Photographs taken deeper within one of the damaged reactors than any previously taken have revealed a gaping, one-meter wide hole at the bottom of the containment vessel, coupled with radiation readings that have been described as "unimaginable" (think "fatal" x 100 and you'll be in the ballpark).
It doesn't take a great deal of imagination to figure out what's happening, although Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) officials are being predictably cautious. Nuclear fuel rods have melted a hole right through the bottom of the containment vessel, and the extreme radiation is going to make the task of decommissioning the reactors far more difficult and dangerous than previously estimated.
And previous estimates by TEPCO reported that it would take 40 years, cost nearly 200 billion dollars, and require technology that hasn't even been invented yet.
This poses an unprecedented threat to the global environment, and one danger it poses is specifically mentioned in Scripture—fish populations:
8The second angel sounded, and something like a great burning mountain was thrown into the sea. One third of the sea became blood, 9and one third of the living creatures which were in the sea died. One third of the ships were destroyed.
(Revelation 8:8–9 / emphasis added)
This is the second of seven trumpet judgments (which follow the seven seal judgments and precede the seven bowl judgments): one-third of the fish in the sea will die.
Fish populations around the world have been falling at alarming rates for years due to overfishing and the effects of pollution, but that pales next to what Fukushima portends.
Does that "great burning mountain" point to Fukushima's reactors? Well, maybe not...but it does remind us that things are continuing to spiral out of control.
Check that: they are continuing to spiral under control.
2/20/2017 — From the "Now is the Time" Department...
First Lady Melania Trump attended a rally in Florida in support of her husband several days ago, and she opened the rally by leading the crowd in the Lord's Prayer—a prayer that many Christian and non-Christian Americans alike have known by heart since childhood:
"Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen."
This traditional prayer is based on two similar passages of Scripture that appear in the Gospels, one in Matthew 6:9–13 and one in Luke 11:2–4, where Jesus gives His disciples a model prayer in response to their questions about how to pray. Many commonly heard versions of the Lord's Prayer don't follow either biblical version verbatim.
But in spite of Melania's heavy Slovenian accent and at least one minor grammatical flub, overall she did a pretty good job of it in my opinion, and the crowd could be heard joining in and reciting it along with her in the background.
The Lord's Prayer?! Break out the pitchforks!
To hear the reaction from left-wing liberals, you'd think Melania had led the crowd in singing "Deutschland Über Alles" while belly dancing. Twitter lit up with some of the cruelest, most vulgar, most insulting (and least deserved) tweets I've seen in a while. I was going to quote a few, but in the end I thought better of it.
So, another day, another round of vicious, below-the-belt attacks by intolerant liberal crybullies. What else is new?
Donald Trump has been president for one whole month now, and the sniveling and scheming of left-wing liberals is showing no signs of abating. As many feared but were perhaps hesitant to articulate, there is no indication that liberals in the country are ever going to give Trump anything resembling a fair chance to do anything without tearing it to shreds, stomping it underfoot, and screaming bloody murder.
In spite of all this, I have no doubt whatsoever that Trump's election was part of God's plan. But I believe God's plan is not necessarily to "Make America Great Again."
I believe God's plan is something more along the lines of "Make Israel Repent Again."
I think it is possible that God's purpose behind Trump's election is to create a window of opportunity to forge the treaty of Daniel 9:27 between Israel and her Arab neighbors. There are more "creative" solutions to the situation between Israel and the Palestinians being considered right now that are moving in that direction, which would have been impossible under Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton. In fact, every such round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to date have failed miserably. Why? Simple.
It wasn't God's time.
But with the improbable election of Donald Trump, maybe now is God's time.
2/27/2017 — From the "That Was Then, This Is Now" Department...
Warren Buffett, the legendary billionaire investor known as the Oracle of Omaha, weighed in on Trump's efforts to curb immigration from countries known to foster Islamic terrorists. Apparently he's against it, and thinks we should open the floodgates and let them pour in.
Oh, by the way, Buffett was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton during the election. That explains a lot.
His reasoning is that our country was built by immigrants, who have contributed tremendously to our country's wealth, power, and greatness:
"Americans have combined human ingenuity, a market system, a tide of talented and ambitious immigrants, and the rule of law to deliver abundance beyond any dreams of our forefathers."
And you know what? He's absolutely right! There's just one problem:
That was then, this is now.
America isn't called the Great Melting Pot for nothing. We are a nation of immigrants. During our country's brief history, people—immigrants—from all over the world have come flowing into this great country—the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave—harboring dreams to build better lives for themselves and for their children. They worked, they built, they contributed, they prospered. They made their dreams come true by the sweat of their brow and by taking advantage of the opportunities afforded them by the greatest nation on earth.
And America owes them a great debt—they are America, and all it stands for.
But Warren Buffett is missing something. The world has changed during his lifetime, and apparently he hasn't noticed. Like many people who rail against President Trump's intentions, they are living in an alternate reality.
This alternate reality is one in which immigrants from every corner of the world can still be trusted to come to contribute, not to kill; to become Americans, not behead them; to build, not to blow up.
But the cold, hard reality is that those days are gone. For one thing, America is slowly and painfully learning the truth of the verse I quote in the sidebar of this page:
3I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you.
For another thing, America has so completely given itself over to mocking and spitting in the face of God that it's a wonder that He's allowed this country to stand as long as it has.
Is Trump's presidency going to turn things around? In my humble opinion, no. What it may do, however, is create a window of opportunity for the treaty of Daniel 9:27 to be hammered out, and that spells Tribulation. That's the direction things are moving in as we speak—and if that turns out to be the case, then I can say with certainty:
Immigrants are the least of our worries.
3/6/2017 — From the "Marching Toward Gog Magog" Department...
Many students of the Bible are familiar with the battle described in Ezekiel 38–39, an attack carried out on Israel by a coalition of nations apparently led by Russia and Iran and often referred to as the battle of Gog Magog.
Well, it seems that coalition is coming together just as described in the pages of God's Word.
By now, the downright cozy cooperation between Russia and her new BFF Iran is well known. Iran is now flush with cash, thanks to former Enabler-in-Chief Barack Obama, and the leaders of the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism are singing:
"How much is that S-300 anti-aircraft missile system in the window?
The one with the long-range surface-to-air missiles?"
The answer? About a billion dollars, give or take...although I hear Iran qualifies for the "Death to Israel" discount.
More recently, however, Russia has been making a power play in another part of the Ezekiel 38–39 world, namely Libya (the biblical tribe of Put in Ezek. 38:5). Russia once had a reasonably well-established presence in Libya under Muammar Ghadaffi, but that fell by the wayside in the chaotic aftermath of Ghadaffi's ouster and ultimate demise in 2011. But as they say:
That was then. This is now.
Russia is now extending their full support to one Khalifa Haftar, current leader of the Libyan National Army and one who seeks to replace Ghadaffi as the new strongman of Northern Africa. Of course, this new Libyan leader would be grateful for such support. How grateful, you ask?
According to a man who served as a colonel under Ghadaffi:
"Haftar is going to facilitate Russian access to ports in Libya as well as open up airport runways to them."
O.I.C. Mystery solved.
So the players of Gog Magog are taking their positions on stage, and we are waiting for the lights to dim and the curtain to come up on the final act of pre-Millennial Kingdom history.
Oh, but there is one piece of business that needs to be taken care of before that can take place: the end of Church Age history.
And for those who don't know how the Church Age ends, you can read the script in 1 Thessalonians 4:15–18.
(Spoiler alert: it's extremely uplifting.)
3/13/2017 — From the "So It Begins" Department...
Last Friday, President Donald Trump made a phone call to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and in 10 minutes made about as much progress toward a deal between Israel and the Palestinians as Barack Obama and John Kerry did in eight years.
Trump has extended an open invitation to Abbas to come to the White House to discuss the resumption of peace talks with Israel, and Abbas has responded with (uncharacteristic) optimism. According to a spokesman for the Palestinian leader:
"We are ready to deal with President Trump and the Israeli government to resume the negotiations. If the Israelis are ready, President Abbas has committed himself to a peaceful deal with President Trump."
I'm surprised Abbas didn't wish him a Happy St. Patrick's Day in advance.
You guys are gonna get sick of hearing me say this, but I'm gonna keep on saying it:
I am convinced that one of the primary purposes—if not the primary purpose—behind God raising up Donald Trump and placing him in the White House is to create the window of opportunity to establish the treaty of Daniel 9:27.
What I have seen happening so far has certainly done nothing but solidify that opinion. And now Trump is considering holding a peace conference later this year to re-establish direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians to finally strike a deal between them and other Arab nations. According to a White House statement:
"The president noted that such a deal would not only give Israelis and Palestinians the peace and security they deserve, but that it would reverberate positively throughout the region and the world."
Well, at least they're right about that. This deal will reverberate throughout the region and the world.
But not necessarily in the way they think.
3/20/2017 — From the "Watching and Waiting" Department...
When the late pop recording artist Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in 1993, many people in the music business began referring to him somewhat sardonically as "the artist formerly known as Prince." As the civil war in Syria enters its seventh year, it seems that we may as well do the same for that blood-soaked region of the Middle East.
According to an article in the Times of Israel, Russian-led peace talks continue in conjunction with Turkey and Iran in Kazakhstan, and according to reports all have agreed to share information on the location of terrorist groups ISIS and Jabhat Fateh al-Sham inside the country. But as the fighting and violence continues unabated, one thing is beginning to become clear in "the country formerly known as Syria":
As Sunni ISIS weakens, Shiite Iran is gaining in strength, influence, and control.
And the rest of the Middle East looks on in apprehension. Iran has taken control of extensive areas from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, and has largely taken over Iraq and is effectively giving ISIS the boot from areas they once controlled.
Iran is in the process of establishing a military port over which they would have total sovereign control in the city of Latakia, much like the port their Russian comrades already have in Tartus, a few miles to the south. At that point, Russia and Iran will have joint naval bases on the coast of the Mediterranean just north of Lebanon. Construction hasn't started yet, but this is huge.
Iran is also rapidly constructing missile-manufacturing facilities in both Lebanon and Syria, a fact that is a serious cause for concern in neighboring Israel.
The upshot is that the Gog Magog noose is slowly and inexorably tightening—the Ezekiel 38–39 scenario is gradually coming into clearer focus, step by step.
So, as "the country formerly known as Syria" becomes the staging ground for the prophesied blitzkrieg against Israel, we watch and wait.
And wonder how much longer we have to watch and wait.
3/27/2017 — From the "Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is" Department...
A passing exchange of words between Israeli and Iranian officials has resulted in what is one of the most stunning—and prophetically explosive—political offers in modern history.
Israel has invited Iran to help them build the Third Temple.
No, April Fool's Day is still several days away.
A couple of weeks ago on Purim, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was visiting a synagogue near where he lives in Caesarea, and was talking to a group of children about the Old Testament story of Esther—a story in which the Persian king is a bad guy. He told the children that today, Persia (Iran) is again trying to kill them, but just as in the story of Esther, would not succeed.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif caught wind of Netanyahu's remarks, and responded on Twitter that Netanyahu had gotten the story wrong. He went on to remind Netanyahu that the Iranians had saved the Jews three times in history, and that Persian King Cyrus had even assisted in the building of the Second Temple.
The newly re-established Sanhedrin in Israel wasted no time in capitalizing on Zarif's tweets and essentially told Iran in a letter to put their money where their mouth is—in a nice way, of course:
"We were overjoyed to hear of your reference to the wonderful and unique chapter in our nation's history, in which the Cyrus, as king of the Persian Empire, gave his permission for the building of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.
"It is also recognized that he aided the project by returning the holy vessels that were taken from Solomon's Temple by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.
"It is to be understood from your statements that you support the actions of King Cyrus and that your country supports the establishment of a Temple on Mount Moriah even today. We invite you to opening a dialog regarding this. We will be happy to hear your response to this invitation."
Of course, relations between Iran and Israel today aren't quite what they were in the days of King Cyrus. Today, Iran has missiles with "Death to Israel" written on them, and so I'm quite sure few harbor any fantasies that this fairly cheeky letter will make it past the nearest trash can.
What is interesting to me, however, is the way it reveals the heart of Israel. It speaks volumes about their spiritual temperature, so to speak, and shows the world what is uppermost in their minds. And apparently they are not afraid to say it out loud:
We are a nation that is hungry to return to the worship of our God.
And return they will.
4/3/2017 — From the "Jared, We Hardly Knew Ye" Department...
On January 19, the night before being inaugurated, Donald Trump spoke at a dinner at Union Station in Washington. Also present was his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and during the dinner Trump anointed Kushner as the one to spearhead the effort to negotiate a deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians and bring peace to the Middle East:
"All my life I’ve been hearing that's the toughest deal in the world to make. [turning to Kushner] If you can't produce peace in the Middle East, nobody can."
That was then. This is now.
It is becoming increasingly clear with every news cycle, however, that Kushner may not be Trump's bona fide point man for Middle East peace negotiations after all. That task that seems to be falling to Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt, who took a week-long tour of the region to speak with key players in mid-March sans Kushner, who is increasingly being kept occupied with more domestic affairs.
Case in point: Kushner was recently appointed to head the White House Office of American Innovation.
I have no idea what that is, but it sounds pretty...innovative.
But Middle East peace it ain't.
Some speculate that the current turbulence surrounding the administration has Trump circling the wagons, and keeping his closest allies (or closest relatives, as the case may be) closer than ever.
Some also speculate that Trump is beginning to come to terms with the reality that Kushner's inexperience in foreign affairs—and politics in general—could make his success in the Middle East disturbingly unlikely, and that Trump doesn't want to see his golden boy tarnished.
Through the lens of Bible prophecy, however, this could be significant. The reason I say that is because it is clear to many key people close to the situation—possibly including his father-in-law—that Kushner is in fact not the best-qualified person to lead Team Peace in the Middle East. So as more experienced hands step in to take the reins, the chances of a deal being successfully negotiated between Israel, the Palestinians, and other countries in the region goes up.
As shall we, if such a deal comes to fruition.
4/10/2017 — From the "New Normal" Department...
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who has earned the moniker of "Haley's Comet" for her fiery pro-Israel stance and refreshing, brutally honest propensity to accurately identify spades as spades, is in the news. Again.
She has delivered blistering rebukes to assemblies of world leaders at the UN for the body's blatant, pervasive, anti-Israel bias, something for which she should be heartily commended. Now, in the wake of last week's missile attack on an airfield in Syria, she is turning her attention to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, who is being held responsible for a brutal chemical weapons attack that killed scores of innocent men, women and children. President Trump ordered the missile strike on the airfield from which the planes that carried out the horrific attack were launched.
Prior to the chemical attack, Trump's position had been that Assad's removal was "not a priority," and that fighting ISIS was. But now, according to President Trump, a line has been crossed. And?
He's gotta go.
The crossing of red lines elicited thundering silence and ponderous inaction from Barack Obama; however, this makes it official—it wasn't just talk:
There really is a new sheriff in town.
Haley made it clear that the U.S. is now convinced there is no political way forward in Syria with Assad in power, and that America is hopeful that it can bring regional players together to hammer out a solution—a solution that does not include one Bashar al-Assad.
For his part, Vladimir Putin is still pouting about the missile attack, as one would expect. He has big plans to turn Syria into a Russian naval hub from which to threaten the Middle East in general and Israel in particular, and I'm mildly surprised that Barack Obama didn't offer Putin several of our best naval vessels to round out his collection.
But the new normal is this:
Right or wrong, love him or hate him, the President of the United States is not afraid to take action and do what he thinks is right, and do so with little regard for who criticizes him or who it angers.
After eight years of Barack Obama, that is new.
And before eight years of Barack Obama, it was normal.
4/17/2017 — From the "You Shouldn't Play With Fire" Department...
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is visiting South Korea, and is arriving at a time of unprecedented tension between that country's "neighbor" to the north and the United States.
At least part of his mission is to calm Asian nerves about President Trump's commitment to the region, nerves that have been jangled by Trump's protectionist, "America first" rhetoric (which sounds a lot like "Everyone else last" to Asian ears).
Of course, the big story behind all this is North Korea, who is intent on defying Trump and the world with further missile tests. North Korea tried to light one off the other day in a grand display of military might intended to make Trump quiver in his leather Oxfords, only to watch it blow up on the launching pad in a spectacular blaze of epic failure the day after the 105th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il-Sung, the country's founder.
But the focus is on Kim Jong-Un, the founding father's rotund grandson who is threatening to fight fire with fire.
Insiders who know Kim insist he will not back down. I believe them, because I believe Kim Jong-Un is a paranoid lunatic who believes his own bluster. A paranoid lunatic who believes his own bluster and who is trying to develop nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them, that is.
According to various sources, the United States is mulling over a plan to completely take out North Korea's entire nuclear program with precision strikes, and I have little doubt they have the capability to do just that. I also have little doubt that America's recent strike on a Syrian airfield that destroyed 20 percent of the Syrian government's air force is giving the chubby North Korean dictator a few sleepless nights.
But just as Bashar al-Assad recently learned, those who play with fire get burned, and I hope the lesson is not lost on Kim Jong-Un in these days of wars and rumors of wars. But judging from his past (and current) behavior, it probably is.
So as the drama continues, we would do well to recall Jesus' words to His disciples:
28And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draws near.
(Luke 21:28 AKJV)
4/24/2017 — From the "See No Evil" Department...
I couldn't help but smile when I read this article in the Times of Israel about an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man who held up a flight headed to Israel for about an hour for...uh, religious reasons.
The flight, operated by budget airline UP, which is owned by Israel's primary carrier El Al, was scheduled to fly from Kiev to Israel recently when a disturbance in the cabin caused a major delay. It seems that an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man and his family refused to take their seats until overhead movie screens were retracted.
Yes, movie screens—those vile cesspools of sin.
According to the article, dozens of other ultra-Orthodox passengers were shouting at the man, accusing him (somewhat ironically in my opinion) of profaning God's name by his actions. The plane, which was already on the runway and ready to take off, had to return to the gate where an El Al security guard boarded the aircraft in an attempt to resolve the situation.
The man was finally persuaded to take his seat after flight attendants agreed to his request for blindfolds for him and his family, so they would not be polluted by the worldly influence of the screens.
What strikes me about this somewhat comical incident is the way it reveals the heart of the Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox Jews. We can chuckle at this amusing incident, but there's something more here. The Haredim have an unmatched fervor for obeying God's commands in Scripture, so much so they put other Jews to shame. The Haredim make average observant Jews look like reprobate playboys by comparison.
So, what's the point? My point is that I am convinced that the Haredim are one of the primary groups of Jews from which God will call the 144,000 evangelists during the Tribulation. God will call 12,000 from each of 12 tribes to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the post-Rapture world. I believe they will be saved in a manner similar to the way Saul of Tarsus became the apostle Paul, and will immediately begin preaching the gospel first to Jews, and then to the world. They will suffer intense persecution and I believe martyrdom at the hands of the forces of the Antichrist, but not before leading millions around the world to faith in Christ.
And there is no one better prepared to do it than someone with the religious mettle to delay a flight for an hour over what he saw as an offense to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
5/1/2017 — From the "God Is Great" Department...
I read an article the other day entitled "Ten Reasons Why Millennials Are Backing Away from God and Christianity," and it confirmed several conclusions I had already reached through my own experience. Of the ten items, the following one jumped out at me personally. It states:
8. The rise of a fad called "atheism." Full of self-congratulatory swagger and blasphemous bravado, pop-level atheists such as the late Christopher Hitchens . . . made it cool to be a non-believer. Many millennials, though mostly 20-something Caucasian males, are enamored by books and blogs run by God-hating "thinkers."
("Self-congratulatory swagger and blasphemous bravado"...I am so stealing that line.)
I have viewed a number of YouTube videos of Christopher Hitchens (who died December 15, 2011 from esophageal cancer), and I actually enjoyed his wit and candor in spite of the fact that I obviously disagreed with his position on God. But I did pick up on one thing about Mr. Hitchens: he left a trail of swooning sophomores everywhere he spoke.
The college kids loved him. They adored him. They idolized him.
And they wanted to be like him.
Christopher Hitchens (who was British) was an extremely intelligent, articulate man. He combined an unparalleled command of the English language and penetrating insight into complex social, moral, and religious issues with a punchy, pushy, raucous, foul-mouthed style that sent the young, pseudo-intellectual college crowd into a tizzy.
And oh how he hated God.
Yes, God. That jealous, petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak. That vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser. That misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully (to borrow from a quote by evolutionary biologist and atheist author Richard Dawkins, who was Hitchens' soul mate/BFF).
The article is 100 percent right. Christopher Hitchens did what no one had ever really done before, at least not with the same level of success:
He made it cool to hate God.
He made atheism hip...and turned belief in God into bell-bottoms. He was the icon of the angry and the darling of the defiant on every college campus in America, and could reduce Christians to higher primates with a single stroke:
"The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species."
— Christopher Hitchens,
from God Is Not Great
By the way, the title of his book is a lie: God is great. At least the God described in the Bible is.
I have interacted with many atheists online, and I typically see this same spirit come oozing out of them—seething hatred for God and dismissive contempt for those who admit to believing in Him.
And they all, just like their hero Hitchens, speak as if their position was the default for all intelligent, rational human beings. Or should be. But the article is right about something else: atheism is exactly that—a fad that has risen over the last century or so that presents itself as the default position for all intelligent, rational human beings.
But like most other things atheists say about God, that's a lie too.
5/8/2017 — From the "Train Up a Child" Department...
In a recent article, Todd Starnes relates how for the past year, some first and second grade students at Altruria Elementary School in Bartlett, Tennessee have voluntarily gathered before class begins in the morning to read Bible stories under the supervision of teachers. The Bible Club was voluntary and there was no proselytizing of any kind on the part of any of the adults in charge. Sounds innocent enough, right?
At least you'd like to think so.
Enter the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), an army of militant atheists, agnostics, and various other flavors of non-theists based in Madison, Wisconsin. The group maintains a sign in the Wisconsin State Capitol during the Christmas season that reads:
"At this season of THE WINTER SOLSTICE may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
And that's about all you need to know about the FFRF.
When the FFRF got wind of the school's Bible Club, they sprang into action. An attorney for FFRF shot off a menacing letter to the school district in Bartlett saying that the club was unconstitutional because public schools cannot provide religious instruction.
Well, apparently "unconstitutional" is a word that makes school district officials in Bartlett, Tennessee quiver in their boots, because they shut down the club pronto. (They used the word "postponed" to make it sound as if they had a hint of a backbone, but the bottom line is they shut it down.)
So as the war of words continues between the adults at the Bartlett school district and the adults at the FFRF, the children of Altruria Elementary School won't get to read stories about Jesus, who taught people that God loves them and that they should love others.
For the record, the FFRF is opposed to poisoning the minds of young children with such dangerously offensive material.
And for the record, God disagrees:
6Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
5/15/2017 — From the "Heartbroken and Speechless" Department...
As word of the Revelation 12 sign continues to spread like wildfire on the Internet and social media, it is increasingly becoming a stumbling stone for many established, mainstream ministers. A trend is clearly developing, and that trend is for many established ministers to come down hard on the REV12 sign, tearing it to pieces and dismissing as overhyped hokum.
Case in point: Rev. Billy Crone, senior pastor of Sunrise Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada and founder of Get A Life Ministries. Rev. Crone is a fundamentally sound preacher of the gospel, and although I was not familiar with him or his ministry until very recently, he seems to be on point as far as preaching the gospel is concerned and is openly pre-trib in regard to the Rapture. In other words, he's one of the good ones, as far as preachers go.
That's the good news.
The bad news is that he is just one more example of what is becoming a disturbing trend in the mainstream Church, and that is to break out the voodoo dolls whenever someone broaches the subject of the REV12 sign. Mainstream ministers are fleeing in droves from the mere appearance of accepting of the REV12 sign and its fulfillment on September 23, 2017, and are doing so for the flimsiest, most absurdly misinformed reasons imaginable.
Exhibit A: Billy Crone.
Reverend Crone was a recent guest of Jan Markell, a messianic Jewish woman who runs Olive Tree Ministries, a wonderful ministry that I have followed regularly for several years. During the broadcast, Rev. Crone stridently invoked some of the usual straw men of the REV12 sign critics:
• This "sign" is something that happens every few years (according to Rev. Crone every 11 or 12 years).
• It's only a picture of Israel giving birth to Christ and the Ascension, and nothing eschatological.
• Since the male child is Christ, trying to make it about the Church is "taking it out of context."
As weak and easily debunkable as these are, Rev. Crone didn't stop there. Oh no. He took it to a whole new level:
• Those embracing the REV12 sign are practicing astrology!
And Jan Markell, whom I hold in the highest regard, sat there and chimed in with agreement every step of the way.
Whoa, I'm sorry...for a second there I thought you said astrology.
Yes. Astrology. And the Bible condemns astrology, so according to Rev. Crone, if you embrace the REV12 sign, you are committing a grave sin!
Astrology is using the positions of the sun, moon, stars and planets to predict the future or obtain secret knowledge. It is considered a form of divination, and is strictly prohibited in several places in the Old Testament (Lev. 19:26; Deut. 18:9–14; 1 Sam. 15:23), and has nothing to do with the fulfillment of Revelation 12:1–5.
According to this respected, well-meaning minister, however, if you recognize the coming fulfillment of God's Word on September 23, 2017, you are lumped in with the Chaldeans—the magicians, sorcerers, and astrologers who were unable to help King Nebuchadnezzar with his troubling dream in Daniel 2.
The fact that we are witnessing thse kinds of hysterical, egregiously uninformed accusations from otherwise fine ministers of the gospel aimed at faithful watchmen who seek nothing more than to honor God and His Word and edify the body of Christ as we collectively look forward to the blessed hope of the Rapture leaves me as heartbroken as it does speechless.
I don't know what else to say.
5/22/2017 — From the "Let's Make a Deal" Department...
It's beginning to sound more and more like an episode of the television game show Let's Make a Deal in the Middle East these days, if an article in the Times of Israel is anything to go by.
Just ahead of President Trump's visit to the region, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that President Trump assured him that he believed a deal for a two-state solution (or something along those lines) could be reached within a year. Trump rolled out the red carpet for Abbas in Washington, DC earlier this month, and had this to say in regard to what would be a historic deal:
"It is something that I think is, frankly, maybe not as difficult as people have thought over the years."
And unlike Democrats in Washington, Mahmoud Abbas is taking Trump seriously. The PA leader has seldom expressed so much optimism or sounded so upbeat about the prospect of hammering out a deal with the Israelis.
It's almost surreal.
But it's not surreal. It's all much too real for those who are diligently paying attention to the ongoing fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and to what God is revealing to those who have ears to hear in these last days. In spite of all the blogospheric hype and hoopla these days over the date of September 23, 2017, there is nothing whatsoever that will change the fact that the first great sign mentioned in Revelation 12:1–5 will find its full, eschatological fulfillment on that day this fall, and that whole passage of Scripture spells R-A-P-T-U-R-E.
The point I want you to see is that events currently happening in the world are blazing a prophetic trail that is leading straight to the doorstep of the covenant of Daniel 9:27, the enforcement of which will be what ultimately kicks off the Tribulation. In other words, what we see coming together in the heavens matches up pretty darn well with what we see coming together on the ground.
Oh, and that passage of Scripture in Revelation 12 that spells R-A-P-T-U-R-E?
It also spells P-R-E-T-R-I-B.
5/29/2017 — From the "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire" Department...
I almost had to laugh when I read this story in Arutz Sheva. Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem, where Trump warmly praised Abbas at a press conference for his commitment to relaunching peace negotiations with Israel. But according to reports, the closed-door meeting afterwards was, shall we say, a bit more on the frosty side.
Trump reportedly blasted Abbas, shouting things such as:
"You lied to me...You tricked me in Washington."
Let's back up. During Abbas' visit to Washington earlier this month, he told Trump that not only was he dedicated to advancing peace negotiations with Israel, but that the PA was not involved in inciting hatred and violence against Israel. Of course, after Abbas and Trump's meeting in Washington, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called out Abbas on his rosy claim, and informed Trump of some of the PA's activities.
He told Trump how they named schools after mass murderers of Jews; how they continue to provide material and financial support for jailed terrorists who have murdered innocent Israelis; how children's television programs in the PA are filled with anti-Semitic propaganda that normalizes and glorifies the killing of Jews, and so on and so forth.
This, it seems, was shocking news to President Trump, who apparently couldn't believe his ears when learning that his new partner for peace would tell him such blatant falsehoods. He was angered to have been so completely misled by President Abbas, who so sincerely seeks a peaceful solution with Israel.
I'm sorry, but I just can't stop giggling.
OK, there. I'm better now. I can only hope that Trump is following a well-planned script intended to soften up Abbas in anticipation of more serious negotiations, because if Trump actually believed what Abbas told him in Washington about the PA not inciting violence against Israelis, not only is Trump incredibly naive, but so is his entire administration.
I think I've identified the problem, though. In reality, Mahmoud Abbas didn't actually lie to Trump when he said he was prepared to pursue peace with Israel. It's just that the Palestinians have a definition of peace that is somewhat different from that of most other nations.
For most nations, peace is the absence of conflict.
For the Palestinians, peace is the absence of Israel.
6/5/2017 — From the "The Best Bad News" Department...
During last year's presidential campaign, Donald Trump promised to move the United States Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a can that every president since Bill Clinton has kicked down the road, six months at a time due to "national security concerns," to quote the Jerusalem Embassy Act, passed by Congress in 1995.
After Trump took office, I for one assumed this would be one of the first campaign promises to disappear like a cockroach when you turn on the kitchen light. But true to his word, for his first couple of months in office Trump appeared completely serious about finally making the move. Plans were being made. The right location was being sought. It was game on.
Israel was understandably giddy with excitement—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was doing handsprings in the lobby of the Knesset.
Of course, the Palestinians were swallowing their tongues.
But now President Trump has given that same old can the same old kick down the same old road for the same old six months, and some Christians who supported Trump are sighing and shaking their heads.
"I knew it. The party's over...so much for Trump supporting Israel."
To hear U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley tell it, however, this is all part of the plan. According to Ambassador Haley, the embassy move may turn out to be part of the peace process.
"They feel like it's moving forward in a constructive way, and he didn't want this to get in the way. He wants to see how the peace process plays out, and handle it accordingly."
This tells me something that makes me want to shout—and I mean in a good way. This tells me that Trump is serious about making progress on hammering out a deal between Israel and the Palestinians—a deal that has Daniel 9:27 written all over it.
• Serious enough to break a major campaign promise.
• Serious enough to betray legions of his Evangelical and Jewish supporters.
• Serious enough to anger Israeli officials from Netanyahu on down.
And that's pretty serious....and that's seriously the best bad news I've heard all week.
6/12/2017 — From the "Save Your Kids!" Department...
What I refer to as the Gay Christian Movement (GCM) is at it again, this time in the form of the pro-LGBT group Faith in America (FIA). And they're dressed to the nines in their Sunday finest sheep's clothing and tossing around big words they don't understand.
Apparently FIA is lobbying the Southern Baptist Convention in Phoenix, Arizona to get a few changes incorporated into the doctrinal position of the Southern Baptists. To wit:
They want homosexuality and transgenderism removed from the "sin list."
A press release from FIA fills in a few blanks:
"Ultimately, we at FIA believe LGBT people should be removed from the sin list."
People aren't on the sin list—sins are. If people were on the sin list, then every single one of us would be on it, not just members of the LGBTTIQQ2SA community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2-Spirited and Allies...and no, I didn't make this up). And at the risk of overextending the analogy, we can only be removed from the "sin list" by faith in Christ, not by the decisions of men.
"We know interpretations and new revelations come to light.
While that may be true to some degree for deeply prophetic passages of Scripture, it certainly isn't true for what God considers sin. That's a reflection of His infinitely holy, unchanging character—sin is sin and will never change. Nice try.
"We believe the Church will one day stop diminishing the lives of those who are LGBT and we strive to help this come to pass."
The Church doesn't seek to diminish the lives of those who are LGBT; it seeks to save the lives of those who are L.O.S.T., and that requires us to tell unsaved people they are sinners who need to repent and ask in simple faith for the forgiveness of sin Christ purchased for them with His blood.
"We are optimistic people and see the glass 75 percent full! We appreciate and respect how the SBC has changed teachings and interpretations based on new, important information."
Start off with a little flattery. If that doesn't work, then accuse them of being hateful bigots. I've said it before and I'll say it again:
Bandwagons don't define God's truth: God's Word does.
FIA also announced a new three-year program called "Save Your Kids!" This program, according to FIA, is meant to address practices within the organized church that "condemn" LGBT youth. In other words, the program is intended to "save" young people in churches across the country by teaching them that it's OK to be gay and to not allow anyone to try and tell them it's a sin.
Which it is according to God's Word.
To their credit, the Southern Baptists are showing no signs of caving on this one, if a comment by Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is anything to go by:
"To minimize or adjust a Christian sexual ethic would be to abandon the very message Jesus handed to us, and we have no authority to do this."
(Sound of foot stomping...) All I can say is the Church needs all the Russell Moores it can get its hands on.
At any rate, I think this "Save Your Kids!" program has a pretty catchy name. I'd like to write a letter to the FIA and tell them I have a slightly different idea for a "Save Your Kids!" program:
6Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
Spoiler alert: It doesn't involve teaching them that they are free to change God's definition of sin whenever it suits the whims of a Christ-rejecting world.
6/19/2017 — From the "Can't Touch This" Department...
It is widely known that as part of any two-state solution, the Palestinians are going to demand East Jerusalem as their capital, the part that includes the Temple Mount. This is the spot where Solomon's Temple and then Herod's Temple stood, three and two millennia ago, resp.
To call this outrageous and historically baseless demand a bone of contention is an understatement of biblical proportions, and there are government leaders in Israel who are seeking ways to make such a move more difficult.
Enter Habayit Hayehudi initiative.
Habayit Hayehudi ("The Jewish Home") is a conservative, Zionist political party in Israel led by Naftali Bennett, and they want no part of giving away East Jerusalem. The party has introduced a bill into the Knesset that would require a vote of 80 out of 120, or a full two-thirds majority to approve any change in the legal status of Jerusalem, as opposed to the usual simple majority of 61 votes. If the bill, which comes up for debate in two weeks, actually passes, of course, any future move to carve out East Jerusalem and hand it over to the Palestinians would be far more difficult.
In addition to seeking to create a situation of the ground that would prevent the future division of Jerusalem, Habayit Hayehudi is also seeking the removal of any restrictions on building in the city. This, of course, would doom any future peace talks, according Palestinian Authority officials.
Political maneuvering notwithstanding, I am still of the opinion that just such a thing will happen. I still believe Scripture indicates that in the last days the land of Israel will be divided, including the city of Jerusalem, and this will be the last straw for God. I believe this event will be part of the enforcement of the treaty of Daniel 9:27, which will effectively trigger the onset of the Tribulation and the subsequent outpouring of God's judgment.
And it won't require a vote of 80 out of 120.
It won't even require a vote of 61 out of 120
It only requires a vote of One out of One.
6/26/2017 — From the "Wait Till Next Year" Department...
I was born and raised in Central Illinois, and have been a die-hard Chicago Cub fan since I graced (disgraced?) the field as a starry-eyed Little Leaguer. Yes, the Lovable Losers. Of course, if you are even marginally aware of things baseball, you know the Lovable Losers of Chicago's North Side are losers no more, and I am still giddy from their 2016 World Series victory—their first since 1908.
But every Cub fan knows all too well the old "Wait till next year!" refrain, since we've had to invoke it more often than any fans of any team in the history of the sport.
Oh wait, what's this..."Trump may drop Israeli-Palestinian peace talks"?!
Wh-a-a-t? Just when I was all hyped up over something that might lead to the treaty of Daniel 9:27 and all that?! Nooo! Say it ain't so!
Meanwhile, the Trump administration is vehemently denying the report, saying that plans to proceed with peace negotiations later this year will be largely based on the assessment of Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is busily putting together his report based on his meetings with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Look, let's cut the chitchat. Here it is. If this deal really depended on each side making the requisite concessions, the deal would never get done. But God's Word says the deal will get done. That means it doesn't depend on that. It doesn't depend on Benjamin Netanyahu or Mahmoud Abbas. It doesn't depend on Donald Trump or Jared Kushner, and neither does it depend on anything anyone else says or does.
It only depends on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
If it's God's time, it'll happen. If it ain't, it won't.
And if 2017 isn't God's time, then we'll just chime in with the old refrain until it is God's time:
"Wait till next year."
But God is moving in so many ways that I am still of the opinion that this is the time.
As always, we shall see.
7/3/2017 — From the "Satan Made Me Do It" Department...
In October of 2014, an Arkansas man named Michael Tate Reed was arrested for destroying a stone monument of the 10 Commandments at the Oklahoma State Capitol. Reed, who has a history of mental illness, later expressed regret over the incident and apologized for his actions, saying he wished he "could take it all back." As for his motivation?
"Satan made me do it."
Well, apparently Satan has been keeping this guy busy because Reed has struck again, this time in his home state of Arkansas. In the early morning hours of June 28, Reed drove his vehicle into a similar stone monument of the 10 Commandments at the Arkansas State Capitol, a monument that had just been unveiled the previous day.
This time Reed posted a video on Facebook of his escapade and in the video, Reed can be heard shouting "Freedom!" just before ramming his vehicle into the monument and causing it to topple over and shatter into pieces.
It strikes me that God uses such events to show people the spiritual state of the nation. America is becoming a nation where millions of people don't merely refuse to believe in God, who not only hate God, but that cannot stand the sight of anything that reminds them of God.
The only problem is that God ultimately gives people what they want: a destiny with Him, or a destiny without Him—and the same applies to a nation.
By the way, I tend to agree with Mr. Reed:
I believe Satan did make him do it.
7/10/2017 — From the "Alternate Reality" Department...
Last week, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) ripped a few pages out of both the Bible and out of history by passing a resolution declaring the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron an endangered Palestinian World Heritage Site. Adding insult to injury, the resolution lists its location as "the State of Palestine."
No, I'm not kidding, thanks for asking.
According to the Old Testament, three patriarchal couples were buried at the site in Hebron:
• Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 23:1–20; 49:31)
• Isaac and Rebekah (Gen. 35:29; 49:31)
• Jacob and Leah (Gen. 49:28–33; 50:4–5; 50:12–13)
(According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve were also buried there.) None of this, however, stopped UNESCO from declaring the Cave of the Patriarchs a Palestinian site, thus taking several millennia of documented Jewish history, crumpling it up and tossing it in the waste basket.
To their credit, American officials are decrying the outrageous move that promotes the alternate reality that the Palestinians and their supporters live in. United States Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley delivered a scathing rebuke in Washington hours after the UNESCO vote:
"The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic on several levels. It represents an affront to history...It undermines the trust that is needed for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be successful, and it further discredits an already highly questionable UN agency. Today's vote does no one any good and causes much harm."
A statement released from the Israeli Foreign Ministry was even more blistering:
"Another bizarre and irrelevant decision by UNESCO, that is acting on behalf of the enemies of history and the truth. Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and no decision by UNESCO can change that reality. It is sad, unnecessary and pathetic.
Amen to that. This is the kind of thing that is so egregious that it almost defies an eloquent response. Hey, I know. How about a few comparisons?
Calling the Cave of the Patriarchs in the Israeli city of Hebron a Palestinian World Heritage Site makes about as much sense as...
...calling Montreal the capital of Venezuela.
...calling jai alai the national sport of the United States.
...calling BMW the world's leading producer of disposable chopsticks.
And it makes about as much sense as calling God a liar and His Word a collection of myths and fables, because that is precisely what this resolution does.
7/17/2017 — From the "Playing With Fire" Department...
Last Friday, three Palestinian terrorists snuck up on two Israeli police officers who were on duty on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, and shot and killed them at close range. All three of the Muslim attackers were killed by Israeli security forces in ensuing gunfire before they could escape the Temple Mount area.
In what most people would consider an eminently prudent and sensible move, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately took the almost unprecedented step of closing the Temple Mount for a couple of days until the area could be secured and a thorough search for hidden weapons could be conducted. The last time such a step was taken was in 1969, only two years after Israel regained sovereign control over the city of Jerusalem in the Six Day War.
Of course, the Palestinians aren't most people.
Since then, one Muslim leader after another has been screaming bloody murder at what they see as a brutal outrage by the oppressive Israeli regime that is occupying Palestinian land. Most recently, terrorist group Hamas has openly called for more violent attacks in response to Israel's temporary closing of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Muslim MKs (Members of the Knesset) Ahmad Tibi and Osama Sa'adi said in a joint statement:
"It is indeed time to emphasize that the continuation of the occupation, including the occupation of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy sites, is the root of all evil, and that the occupation should be ended to save lives on all sides."
OIC: Of course...it's all clear to me now. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and Muslim holy sites such as the Temple Mount constitutes the root of all evil and must be stopped in order to "save lives on all sides." How did I miss that?
Oh wait, I think I know: I don't live on the same planet these guys do.
Not to sound all sensationalistic or anything, but this is a story to keep an eye on. This has the potential to spiral out of control quickly, and it would be spiraling into uncharted territory.
From a prophetic standpoint, this could be huge. Consider: We know that there will be a Third Temple built on the Temple Mount in the not-too-distant future, because several prophecies mention it and/or require it for their fulfillment (e.g. Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:3–4). But many students of Bible prophecy casually speak of a rebuilt temple as if they were talking about a new Starbucks going up in downtown Jerusalem. Like they've got all the materials prepared, so all they need now is the green light to slap that baby up—bada bing, bada boom.
Please understand: There's a wee bit more to it than that.
I'm going to say this as clearly and carefully as I can, because I want it to sink in. It is my humble but considered opinion that the following is true:
There will NEVER be a Third Temple until Israel retakes control
of the Temple Mount, and only a war will make that a reality.
Just as when Israel had to fight the Six Day War to regain control of Jerusalem 50 years ago this June, I believe it will take another such war to regain control of their (yes, their) Temple Mount. The Palestinians are playing with fire, and that fire could light the fuse of such a conflict.
Everybody is expecting something of great prophetic significance to happen in 2017, and who knows? Sure, this could blow over...but this could also lead to something that could turn out to be a significant part of it.
7/24/2017 — From the "Light the Fuse" Department...
The violence being carried out by Palestinian terrorists in response to Israel's decision to install and use metal detectors for all entrants to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem is escalating. Violent protests, egged on by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and others, are erupting in more places, and several days ago it erupted into murder.
A 19-year-old Palestinian youth broke into the home of 70-year-old Yosef Salomon in Samaria, and stabbed him and two of his adult children to death and seriously injured his wife before being shot and wounded by an off-duty Israeli soldier who responded to the disturbance.
Muslim groups are reacting in predictable fashion, with Hamas saying they applaud the...
"...heroic response to Israel harming the rights of our people in Jerusalem and at the Al-Aqsa Mosque."
According to police, the young terrorist was apparently expecting to die in the attack, and had written down his "last words":
"All that I have is a sharpened knife, and it is answering the call of Al-Aqsa. Shame on you [Jews], you who preach hatred. God will take revenge on you and will make it count. [Allah, that is. Ed.] All of us are the sons of Palestine and the sons of Al-Aqsa. You, sons of monkeys and pigs, if you do not open the gates of Al-Aqsa, I am sure that men will follow me and will hit you with an iron fist, I am warning you."
"You who preach hatred." Right...not to be confused with those who are filled with such maniacal, demonically inspired hatred that they butcher innocent men, women, and children because their religious sensibilities have been offended by the institution of very reasonable security procedures that were made necessary by the selfsame maniacal, demonically inspired hatred to begin with.
12For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
(Ephesians 6:12 AKJV)
The principalities, powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world that Paul spoke of are furiously stirring the pot, but I believe they are stirring it in the manner God wants it stirred to carry out His will.
I heard just today that Israeli authorities have removed the metal detectors, but I am beginning to feel it may not matter at this point.
The fuse may have just been lit.
7/31/2017 — From the "Are We There Yet?" Department...
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, and ever since have managed to maintain a generally stable though at times uneasy relationship. Judging from the way things are going, however, I sincerely believe that's going to change in the near future.
On July 23, inside the compound at the Israeli Embassy in Jordan, an Israeli security guard shot and killed a Jordanian youth who attacked him with a screwdriver. The Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and the security guard were both expelled from Jordan and returned to Israel, where they received a warm welcome from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Netanyahu has since requested Ambassador Schlein be allowed to return to Jordan to resume her duties, but Jordan has refused to allow her to return until the security guard faces trial.
Oh, and that "warm welcome" I mentioned? In Jordan it was described it as a "hero's welcome" and King Abdullah of Jordan is infuriated over what he sees as a national insult.
Since then, nearly 30 percent (56 out of 195) of Jordan's Members of Parliament have signed a petition to recall the Jordanian Ambassador to Israel and his staff and renounce formal ties with Israel, and there have been protests in the Jordanian capital of Amman calling for the cancellation of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel.
Given the current tensions between the two countries over the recent Temple Mount fiasco that saw Muslims boycott while Israel effectively took temporary sovereignty over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, if you think this little diplomatic tit-for-tat has the potential to deep-six that peace treaty, you are 100 percent correct in my opinion.
The reason this is significant is because I believe Jordan is among the nations that will come against Israel in the run-up to or the early part of the Tribulation, and so the peace treaty that exists between them could be seen as a bit of a timing indicator.
With the peace treaty in effect, we're not quite there yet.
With the peace treaty canceled, however...
8/7/2017 — From the "One Voice" Department...
Following the violence on the Temple Mount in recent weeks, as well as the violent protests and attacks that have occurred in its wake, King Abdullah II of Jordan is planning to visit Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) located about 10 km north of Jerusalem in the West Bank.
According to Mohammad Shtayyeh, a leading member of the Fatah government, the Jordanian monarch's visit is:
"...a visit of solidarity and coordination, which proves the Palestinians and Jordanians speak with one voice."
It is Abdullah's first visit to Palestinian territory in five years, and it is being staged as a major diplomatic fete designed to give Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a highly visible infusion of Arab support after the Palestinian leader's decision to effectively cut ties with Israel during the Temple Mount row.
So, the Palestinians and the Jordanians speak with one voice, do they? And what, pray tell, is that one voice saying? It sounds to me like it is saying something along the following lines:
The Jews are the sons of monkeys and pigs who are illegally occupying Palestinian land, and all Arab nations are obligated and compelled to do whatever is necessary to drive them out of what the Jews falsely claim is Israeli land and re-establish total Palestinian sovereignty over the entirety of Israel Palestine, especially Haram esh-Sharif (the Temple Mount), which includes Qubbat al-Sakhrah (the Dome of the Rock), Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Ha'it al-Buraq (the Western Wall)—all holy Muslim sites now being profaned by those sons of monkeys and pigs. Hear our united voice, you Zionist swine—is that clear enough?
Understand one thing: events are not spiraling out of control—they are spiraling under control, and they are spiraling under the control of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, aka God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, who also speak with one voice:
3For, lo, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will bring again the captivity of my people Israel and Judah, saith the LORD: and I will cause them to return to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall possess it.
(Jeremiah 30:3 KJV)
Is that clear enough?
8/14/2017 — From the "Imagine That" Department...
Yikes! Stop the presses! News flash from Israel:
Jews are trying to Judaize the Temple Mount!
Imagine that. That's the news coming from the Palestinians these days, at least. Once again, the Jews are being viciously accused of having some degree of influence over land that belongs to them and holy sites that belong to their culture by a collection of Arab refugees who can make neither of those statements without Herculean stretches of the imagination.
What is interesting to note in the recent bluster coming from the Palestinians is that they actually believe the Jews are going to try and rebuild their temple on the Temple Mount. The Bible says they will, but it's interesting that the Palestinians are consumed with fear and anxiety over the belief that they will do so. A senior aide to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently warned of...
"...the occupation's plans to Judaize Al-Quds and to build a synagogue in preparation for the construction of the imaginary Temple."
Imaginary. Not sure how much of a threat an "imaginary" temple is to the Palestinians, but they are clearly in a panic over the idea of such wanton desecration of their so-called Muslim "holy sites." Apparently, many Palestinians are convinced that the Jews are planning to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and build their temple in its place; but as pleasing as that prospect is to the Jews, I don't think many of them believe their previous two temples stood on that exact spot within the Temple Mount area.
But no matter the precise location of the future temple, I have a news flash for the Palestinians:
The Jews ARE going to build a Third Temple, they ARE going to build it on the Temple Mount, it WON'T be imaginary, and you AREN'T going to stop it.
8/21/2017 — From the "Peace or Else" Department...
As most Americans were enthralled with a total eclipse of the sun that swept across the country on Monday, an eclipse that many prophecy-minded folks see as having apocalyptic implications for the United States, many Arab leaders in the Middle East see their upcoming meetings with the U.S. negotiating team in regard to peace in the Middle East as having equally apocalyptic implications.
These same Arab leaders are making it quite clear that they will consider no solution other than a 2002 Saudi-backed plan that creates a Palestinian state alongside Israel with East Jerusalem as its capital, and in the same breath are warning that there will be no peace in the Middle East until there is a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 borders. According to PLO Washington representative Husam Zomlot:
"If we don't succeed this time, all the options are Armaggedonist."
I'm not sure if "Armageddonist" is actually a word, nor am I sure what a PLO representative actually knows about Armageddon; but this is scary talk any way you slice it.
Or exciting, depending on your world view. Speaking of which, mine is defined by God's Word—and if you are reading this, I suspect yours is too.
According to Arab leaders in the region, there are no other options. The message being sent loud and clear to the Trump negotiating team of senior advisor Jared Kushner, special envoy for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, and Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell is this:
Look, don't waste our time with any "new" ideas. This is what must be done. So let's get to work and get it done now...or else.
Who knows? Maybe this eclipse really does have apocalyptic implications...
8/28/2017 — From the "Art of the Deal" Department...
I wrote in last week's Commentary entry that the Palestinians and several other regional Arab leaders had essentially given the United States an ultimatum: you have 45 days to publicly embrace and support our vision of a two-state solution, or else we will go to the United Nations and push for unilateral action in forming a Palestinian state. According to one Arab official, the results of failure for the West to do so would be "Armageddonish." (Cue scary music...)
Well, one week later and it appears no one has actually blinked yet.
Or have they?
Presumably the Arabs' ultimatum was intended to make the U.S. quiver in their boots and cave in to their demands, but according to a recent article in the Jerusalem Post, that doesn't seem to be happening...at least not yet. On the contrary. There are congressmen in the U.S. who, instead of toeing the two-state line, are openly stating that it is time to think beyond the two-state solution. Many feel it is time to search for other solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because they feel it is unrealistic to repeat the same actions and expect a different result. [Which would be the working definition of insanity. Ed.] In the words of Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas):
"There is a sense in Congress that it is maybe time to look a little broader outside the box."
Actually, when I said no one has blinked yet, that may only partially be true. Just today I see the Trump administration has come out with a statement to the effect that they will have a peace plan put together in four months. OK, it's 120 days, not 45...but it still smacks just a bit of blinking. I noticed they gave no indication of what the "peace plan" might look like. According to the Arabs, there is only one plan that is acceptable: one that forces Israel back to its pre-1967 borders and gives the Palestinians the West Bank, the Golan Heights, and East Jerusalem as their capital.
Be aware, however, that the Arabs didn't really give the U.S. 45 days to come up with a new plan—they gave them 45 days to just to say "We're on board with the Arab plan."
As far as the possibility of the Arabs going to the UN to force the issue, I am still of the belief that whatever deal the Israelis and the Palestinians come to, it will not be something mandated by the UN. I just don't think it's consistent with Scripture, as I wrote about a year ago in an article entitled "That's the Deal." I am convinced it must be something negotiated by both sides and voluntarily agreed to by Israel.
So, I'm not sure if the Trump administration just blinked or is taking a page from The Art of the Deal, but the inexorable push toward Daniel's 70th Week grinds on.
9/4/2017 — From the "Crybully News Network" Department...
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein is publicly criticizing President Trump for the way he "demonizes" the mainstream American media.
Yes, demonizing the media. Really.
I'm sprry, but I;m going to have ot wsait until I can quiit gigghling until I can fnish tytping thisx.
OK, I'm better. Zeid, who is in reality a Jordanian prince, characterized Trump's criticism of the major American media outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN as "an incitement for others to attack journalists."
Which would make more sense if we were talking about actual journalists. You know, journalists—as in people who report the news.
Sadly, that leaves out most of the American mainstream media outlets, who wouldn't know real journalism from a jar of strawberry jam.
Let's face it: CNN stopped being a news organization during the presidential campaign last year. Their liberal left-wing bias was overpowering prior to that, but until that time they at least made an effort to conceal it behind a thin veneer of journalistic integrity.
As the Trump campaign showed signs of life against Hillary Clinton, however, even that went out the window. Since then, they have completely stopped trying to hide their agenda to destroy Trump.
I decided to have a little fun this week, and present you with my view of CNN.
Sunday, 8 a.m. — Washington
President Trump: "Good morning."
Monday: "Trump's secret plan to abolish afternoon exposed"
Tuesday: "Firestorm erupts over Trump's pro-morning tweets"
Wednesday: "Russia denies hacking secret WH anti-p.m. meeting"
Thursday: "Top Trump aide resigns after pro-p.m. memo leaked"
Friday: "Failed anti-p.m. agenda leaves Trump team in chaos"
Saturday: "Melania spotted in stilettos at anti-p.m. fundraiser"
* * * * *
Sunday, 3 p.m. — Washington
President Trump: "Good afternoon."
Monday: "Trump flip-flops after anti-p.m. debacle"
The funny part is that I am just barely kidding. Here's a tip: Don't even waste your time with the mainstream media.
Don't be a schmuck. There are more reliable sources of real news online—find them, use them.
9/11/2017 — From the "Hope Springs Eternal" Department...
Secretary-General of the Fatah Central Committee Jibril Rajoub, one of Mahmoud Abbas's top guys, is an optimist:
"I was born optimistic and I do not plan to change that."
As the Trump administration drags its feet on taking a clear position on an Israeli-Palestinian agreement, Rajoub recently told the Jerusalem Post that he remains optimistic about a peace deal brokered by Trump's negotiating team.
As the Americans play for more time to find a way to make a "breakthrough" in the talks, Rajoub echoed the de facto party line of the Arab world (and the United Nations as well, for that matter), and that is the full expectation of a Palestinian state alongside an Israeli state based on pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. According to Rajoub:
"This is the only game in town."
Missing no opportunity to poison the well, he added:
"I believe Trump is trying to protect American interests, values and ethics, of which I believe the core is human rights. So I don't think Trump or anyone else will tolerate this occupation, which Palestinians have been living under for 50 years."
Ah yes, the Israelis and their oppressive and illegal "occupation"...of their own land. Shame on them.
So apparently the Arab definition of "human rights" includes the following:
Steal land from those to whom it belongs and give it to those to whom it doesn't and who wish to use it as a base from which to annihilate those to whom it does so those to whom it doesn't can take it all.
Alas, the Bible says they will fail...but hope springs eternal.
Or at least until this happens:
13O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind.
14As the fire burns a wood, and as the flame sets the mountains on fire;
15So persecute them with your tempest, and make them afraid with your storm.
16Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek your name, O LORD.
17Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yes, let them be put to shame, and perish:
18That men may know that you, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, are the most high over all the earth.
(Psalm 83:13–18 AKJV)