Light For The Last Days. April 2017.
Wars, Rumours of Wars … and famines and earthquakes.
Speaking of the signs of His return, Jesus said, ‘You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.’ Matthew 24.6-8. Do we see these things happening in our world? Certainly we do.
Wars and Rumours of Wars.
North Korea. The weird dictatorship of Kim Jong Un is unpredictable at the best of times, but right now it is getting ballistic! It has provoked fury by launching four missiles into the Sea of Japan on March 4th. This was followed by a test on 20th March, described as a dangerous step towards the North’s goal of developing a rocket that could hit the United States. US warships, soldiers and warplanes are carrying out military exercises alongside their allies in South Korea, testing plans to ‘decapitate’ the leadership in Pyongyang should nuclear tensions rise too high. North Korea has pledged to launch a nuclear strike against America if a ‘single bullet is fired.’ Thae Yong-ho, a high-ranking North Korean diplomat who defected last year, described how the country was taking the final steps to arm its missile units with nuclear weapons and is effectively practicing for a nuclear war. US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said ‘all options are on the table’ in response to the North Korean threat. North Korea responded by saying ‘We are ready for any war the US would like.’ Donald Trump has made it clear that any attempt by North Korea to create a nuclear armed missile capable of striking the USA would be enough to cause the US to launch a war on the rogue state.
Iran. One day after North Korea launched its missiles, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard successfully conducted yet another ballistic missile test, this time from a navy vessel, successfully destroying a target 250km away. This was seen as a direct provocation to the US, designed to test how President Trump will react. Tensions between the U.S. and Iran are mounting, in and around the Strait of Hormuz, where US ships guard the entrance to the Gulf. In January US ships fired warning shots at Iranian boats which approached its destroyers patrolling the Strait. About 20% of the world’s oil passes through the waterway, which is less than 40 km wide at its narrowest point.
David Albright, a former United Nations weapons inspector and nuclear non-proliferation expert has said that there is a ‘real risk’ that Iran and North Korea are engaged in illicit nuclear cooperation. If this is the case then it is grounds for scrapping the Iran nuclear deal signed in 2015 under President Obama. Iran’s defence minister, Hossein Dehghan, has warned that any action taken against it by the United States would lead to war: ‘Such a war would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime [Israel] and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war. Iran has made repeated threats to destroy Israel, writing ‘Israel must be wiped out’ on its missiles. It has also threatened Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Arab states.
Israel. Israel has warned Vladimir Putin about the dangers of a peace settlement in Syria which allows Iran to ‘entrench itself permanently in Syria, with a military ground and naval presence.’ The Iran-funded ‘Golan Liberation Brigade’ boasts of its aim to take action to take the Golan Heights back from Israel to Syria. Israel accuses Iran of supplying missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is training intensely to prepare for an attack on Israel with lethal results. Israel estimates it has around 150,000 missiles, some of which could reach the whole area of Israel.
Israel has warned Lebanon of devastating consequences for the entire country if Hezbollah should attack it, including knocking out its electricity grid and transport links. In recent months Israel has attacked convoys carrying arms imported from Iran to Hezbollah, including two targeted attacks causing big explosions at the Mezzeh military facility near Damascus. On March 17th Israeli warplanes hit several targets inside Syria and Syria responded by firing ground to air missiles at Israeli warplanes carrying out the attacks. Three incoming missiles from Syria were intercepted over Israel by Israel’s Arrow Defence system. Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has threatened to destroy Syrian air defence systems if they are fired at Israeli planes again. Following the incident Russia summoned the Israeli ambassador in Moscow to demand an explanation for the incident. Syrian President Assad has asked Russia to play a role so that Israel no longer attacks Syria.
All this could be leading to end time biblical events, in particular Isaiah 17.1: ‘Damascus will cease from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.’ This could trigger the War of Gog and Magog as described in Ezekiel 38-39, in which Russia, Iran and allies come against Israel in the latter days of this age.
Other conflict zones. Meanwhile we have NATO troops being sent to the borders of the EU to prevent Russian aggression especially in the Baltic region. The Chinese media speaks openly of the possibility of war with the United States over the South China Sea, a conflict most people are unaware of, but which is a very big concern in China. Terrorism, conflict and instability continues to plague the whole Islamic region from Mauretania to Afghanistan and is now reaching into south east Asia.
In the USA commentators are talking of a ‘new civil war’ between left and right. In the US and within NATO there are calls for the creation of ‘megacity combat units’, designed to restore order in big cities in the event of civil conflict, revolution or natural disaster. Across Europe there is increasing tension and conflict within and between EU nations as a result of terrorism and large scale migration, especially from Muslim countries.
The world faces the largest humanitarian crisis since the United Nations was founded in 1945 the UN humanitarian chief, Stephen O’Brien, told the UN Security Council on 10th March. He said that ‘without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death’ and ‘many more will suffer and die from disease. … Already, at the beginning of the year, we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations. Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine.’
In Yemen two-thirds of the population – 18.8 million people – need aid and more than seven million people do not know where their next meal will come from. The Arab world’s poorest nation is engulfed in conflict and more than 48,000 people fled fighting just in the past two months. Leaders of the government and the Houthi rebels who control the capital Sanaa have been accused of preventing aid getting to those in need for political reasons.
South Sudan, the world’s newest nation, has also been ravaged by a three-year civil war. More than 7.5 million people need aid and about 3.4 million are displaced by fighting. The famine in South Sudan is man-made. Parties to the conflict are parties to the famine. An article in ‘The Mail on Sunday’, ‘Vultures of the Famine’ described how corrupt leaders and warlords are profiting from the aid. The President begged senior officials to return £3.2 billion stolen from his impoverished state.
In Somalia more than half the population – 6.2 million people – need humanitarian assistance and protection, including 2.9 million who are at risk of famine and require immediate help ‘to save or sustain their lives’. Close to one million children under the age of five will be acutely malnourished this year. In northeast Nigeria, a seven-year uprising by the armed group Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and driven 2.6 million from their homes. A UN humanitarian coordinator said last month that malnutrition in the northeast is so pronounced that some adults are too weak to walk and some communities have lost all their toddlers.
War, Islamist terrorism and plain human wickedness are reasons for this disaster. Climate change is also a major factor as the rains fail, crops wither and animals die. Water sources are drying up as crippling drought affects the north of Kenya, Eritrea, Somalia, Somaliland and Ethiopia.
Meanwhile parts of South America are experiencing a growing economic collapse. Worst affected is Venezuela where 70% of the population are going hungry as people search dustbins to find scraps of food to eat. Alarming signs show that an economic crisis is on its way to other countries in the region including Brazil and Mexico.
Why are ‘giant fountains of lava’ suddenly pouring out of some of the most dangerous volcanoes on the entire planet, and why are so many long dormant volcanoes suddenly roaring back to life? The spectacular eruption of Mt. Etna in Sicily has made headlines all over the world, but it is far from alone. According to Volcano Discovery, 35 major volcanoes either are erupting right now or have just recently erupted, and dozens of others are stirring. Right now, something is pushing magma, molten rock, up through the crust of the Earth at a number of key spots around the planet. A constant stream of molten rock has been springing out of Guatemala’s ‘Volcano of Fire’ since February 25th as well as from the Kilauea Volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean since December 31st. Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung in the southern hemisphere erupted seven times in the space of a single day, and meanwhile authorities in the northern hemisphere were warning us that four of Iceland’s biggest volcanoes are preparing to erupt. Without a doubt, something definitely appears to be causing a significant increase in worldwide seismic activity.
A number of large volcanoes that have been dormant for a very long time all over the world have started springing back to life. For instance, the only active volcano in India, Barren Islands volcano, has suddenly started ‘spewing lava and ash’ after being silent for 150 years. So many of these long dormant volcanoes are roaring back to life, and why this is suddenly happening now is puzzling many of the experts.
A massive super volcano known as ‘Campi Flegrei’ under the city of Naples in Italy is close to a ‘critical state’, and if it erupts the consequences will be beyond catastrophic. If that super volcano were to fully erupt, millions could die, the skies in the northern hemisphere would be darkened for months and the resulting ‘volcanic winter’ would cause famines all around the globe. The same things could be said about the super volcano that is awakening in North Korea too and the volcanoes along the west coast of the United States.
On the subject of earthquakes here is an interesting statistic. This century, from January the 1st in the year 2000 until January 2017 a total of 2,697 major quakes have been recorded. In the same period, January the 1st 1900 to January 1917 only 97 major quakes were recorded, that is an incredible increase and indicates our planet is showing signs of birth pains because just as a woman in labour suffers contractions of increasing pain and intensity likewise our planet is also suffering with increasing quake pain and intensity.
Prepare to meet your God.
We cannot know exactly when and where the next crisis will erupt but there are many signs that the events Jesus spoke of in the passage from Matthew’s Gospel quoted above are coming upon us. The Book of Revelation gives more details on the end of days’ scenario, beginning with the famous four horsemen of the apocalypse (Revelation 6.1-8). They will ride out bringing in the Antichrist, war, famine and mass death for the period known as the Great Tribulation which will come upon the earth in the last seven years before Jesus returns to the earth. When He comes again He will bring this age to an end and rule over a renewed earth in which there will be peace and justice, as promised by the Prophets of the Bible.
The human race is heading towards a time of trouble, unparallel in history. Jesus said: ‘And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.’ Luke 21.25-28
In the face of all this we should do what we can to work for peace and justice and help those who are starving and in need. At the same time we have to recognise that we cannot stop these things from happening on the earth and therefore we should ‘prepare to meet your God’ (Amos 4.12). We do this by making sure of our salvation, through repenting of sin and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. We should be ready to suffer for our faith if called to, as many are suffering for Jesus’ sake across the world and to make known to others the one way of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus.
Jesus told us, ‘Watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.’ Luke 21.36. This reminds us that there is a day coming when God will take those who trust in Him out of this wicked world, to be with Himself in the rapture of the church: ‘The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.’ 1 Thessalonians 4.16-18.
Is Armageddon upon us? Part 2.
In our last edition we looked at an article written by British TV journalist Sam Kiley in which he wrote: ‘Armageddon is already upon us.’ His reasons for making this statement were:
Donald Trump’s victory in the US Presidential election, the Brexit vote and rise of right wing parties around the world opposed to globalisation and immigration.
Europe preparing 300,000 troops to defend against a Russian invasion, while chaos and horror reign in the Middle East.
The degrading of the environment. He said ‘The world will soon be at permanent war over shrinking resources – homo sapiens locked in a permanent fight for survival.’
We looked at his first two reasons in our previous magazine. Now we look at his third reason:
Degradation of the environment.
In Sam Kiley’s article the real Armageddon is going to come from what he calls ‘species extinction’ which he says is now accelerating faster than any previous time in history and is caused by human mismanagement of the planet. He writes ‘Climate change partly drove the “Arab Spring” uprisings after five years of drought. Equally, mass migration from Africa has its roots in unsustainable population growth and climate change. Soon, water and food shortages will be the norm across much of the world’s middle belt. Meanwhile, the oceans are being choked with plastic, suffocated and turned to acid as they rise to drown lowlands.’
There are many who dispute the ‘climate change’ hypothesis, but it is clear that the environment we rely on for life is being degraded in spectacular ways which threaten the future of humanity. Around 40% of China’s rivers are so polluted that they cannot support life, and dead fish appear regularly on the surface of its rivers and lakes. The amount of toxins, chemicals and other dangerous bacteria found in India’s Ganges River are now almost 3000 times over the limit suggested by the World Health Organisation as ‘safe’. The Nile which Egypt depends on for most of its drinking water is heavily polluted and the Nile delta area has been littered with dead fish caused by pollution. The problems of the Nile are likely to get worse as Ethiopia opens dams on the Blue Nile which supplies 85% of the waters running into Egypt. Recently swarms of snakes have been attacking people and cattle in southern Iraq as the Euphrates and Tigris rivers dry up and the reptiles lose their natural habitat among the reed beds. Dams in Turkey and Iraq and the war with ISIS have affected the flow of water on the river. Both these great rivers around which the ancient civilisations of Egypt and Mesopotamia grew up are mentioned in the Bible as drying up in the last days of this age. Concerning Egypt, Isaiah 19 writes: The waters of the river will dry up, and the riverbed will be parched and dry. The canals will stink; the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up. The reeds and rushes will wither, also the plants along the Nile, at the mouth of the river. Revelation 16.12 speaks of the great river Euphrates the great river Euphrates, whose ‘water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.’
Recent news items have shown how plastic waste is killing fish in the sea, along with radioactive waste which is still pouring into the sea from Japan’s stricken Fukushima power station. One report claims the oceans will be dead by 2048 as a result of over fishing and pollution. Foreign Policy magazine reported that ‘West Africa is being swallowed by the sea’. It describes how a stretch of coastline stretching more than 4,000 miles from Mauritania to Cameroon, is at risk of being washed away as rising sea levels are eating away more than 100 feet of land in a single year. In a region where 31 percent of population lives along the coastline, generating 56 percent of total GDP, according to the World Bank, this is a potentially catastrophic problem. ‘In West Africa, infrastructure and economic activities are centred along the coastal region, so as sea levels continue to rise, it threatens our very existence and source of income,’ says Kwasi Appeaning Addo, a professor in the University of Ghana’s department of marine and fisheries sciences. ‘We are sitting on a time bomb.’
Famine, environmental destruction and war are among the factors fuelling mass migration from areas affected. Most of those from the Middle East and Africa heading for Europe which is now facing growing opposition from its own citizens, frightened that their way of life and social fabric will be forever overturned by the new comers. In Sam Kiley’s article this is a major factor in the anti-globalisation spirit affecting Europe and the USA. He writes about the ‘as yet mostly unspoken realisation creeping up the backs of humankind, that globalisation means that there will be nowhere to hide when global competition becomes a struggle over the very sources of life. When people are scared they get nasty because their futures appear brutish and short. This may explain the circling of the wagons, the retreat from enlightenment into nation, tribe and clan. An urge to greet migrants with hostility not friendship.
Droughts, forest fires, floods, sea levels rising, pollution of waters, earthquakes, famine and epidemics – all these events are happening, as prophesied in the Bible for the last days of this age. Isaiah 24 speaks of a time when ‘the earth lies polluted under its inhabitants’. Jesus said in the days before His return there would be ‘on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth.’ Luke 21.25-6. Revelation 8.7-12 speaks of a time coming when there would be massive destruction of the environment, a third of the trees burned up, a third of the creatures in the sea being killed and the waters of the rivers becoming bitter so no man could drink them. These conditions give rise to famines, wars and mass migrations which cause ‘the distress of nations with perplexity’ which implies a global crisis with no human solution. It is all a sign of the soon coming great tribulation period which will precede the coming of Christ to the earth.
Sam Kiley in his article dismisses the biblical idea of Armageddon and all ‘eschatological prophecies’ as ‘nonsense.’ Sadly in doing this he misses the main point and the only hope for the future. The things happening in the world today do fit in very well with the Bible’s prophecies of what will happen in the last days of this age before the coming again of the Messiah Jesus. The world is on a collision course with God as it races towards the literal fulfillment of the passages in Revelation and other passages in the Hebrew Prophets, the Gospels and the Epistles which speak of the coming ‘Day of the Lord’ or Second Coming of Christ. On that day the Lord will come with power to judge the nations in righteousness, and to set up His Millennial kingdom in which ‘the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ and He shall reign forever and ever.’ The Lord will touch down on the Mount of Olives, on the east side of Jerusalem, at a time when the nations of the world do gather together for the final battle (Armageddon).
Following this event the Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus will reign over the restored earth for 1000 years (Revelation 20) during which time ‘the earth will be full of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea’ (Isaiah 11.9), as the knowledge of God goes out into the world and all weapons of destruction are abolished: ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against natin, neither shall they learn war any more.’ (Isaiah 2.2-4). During this time Satan will be bound and unable to influence the nations (Revelation 20.1-3) as the resurrected saints (true believers in Jesus) reign on earth with the Messiah for a thousand years (Revelation 20.6). Something to look forward to in the darkening world situation of today’s world!
One for Israel – Israelis find Messiah.
One for Israel website writes:
We feel incredibly privileged to be alive at this time in history, and to be directly involved in this wave of revival that is happening in Israel and among the Jewish people. We are in the throes of a serious move of God among the Jewish people. Congregations all across Israel are feeling the effects of the unusual number of Israelis who are coming to faith from all kinds of backgrounds – Orthodox, secular, high flying professionals, drug addicts and gangsters, young and old. Yeshua loves each one!
All together, our videos of Jewish testimonies, gospel explanations, and answers to tough questions have been watched well over 23 million times at our last count in December 2016!! What is possibly even more exciting than the vast numbers watching our videos in English is that our Hebrew language videos have been watched almost 9 million times at the last count in December 2016 – that’s a million more than there are people living in Israel! The most popular video in Hebrew is our ten minute explanation of the gospel, shot in Jerusalem. That has been seen almost 1.5 million times.
We receive many messages on a daily basis from Israelis who write in response to what they have seen. Here are some of them from the past year: ‘It all started when Shmuel saw an advertisement for your videos on YouTube, we then watched your video about how Yeshua taught to love your enemies, later we saw how the prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures point to Him… our parents are really aggressive against our belief, but we want to keep in touch and ask you questions from time to time.’ (Two boys from an Orthodox background who have come to faith in Yeshua)
Three more like this came in on that same day, shortly after we released the video about the real origin of the rabbinic oral-law! (Note we have produced an article on this subject ‘Was there an Oral Law given at Sinai’ available on request or at http://messiahfactor.com/page55.html). Then there’s this one from a Jewish young man who works in a Jerusalem hospital: ‘I found Yeshua on YouTube, through one of your advertised videos about the falsehood of the rabbinic oral law. I felt that I had to check what it is all about and found a whole new world!! Yeshua changed my life and I’m thankful to Him and to you because of it. I want more Jews to know the truth, which is that Yeshua is the Messiah who we’ve been waiting for all along!’
‘I once asked about Yeshua and was told right away never to ask about him again. I decided to asked him: ‘If you are real, help me.’ Then, I came across the videos that Eitan and Moti produced which helped me greatly. I also started reading the New Testament and found out how godly this book is. How could they tell me Yeshua was anti-Semitic? I also kept reading more of your articles, realising how far modern Judaism is from Moses’ Bible. My family is religious, so I’m believing in secret.’ (A Jewish lady from a strict Orthodox background)
‘Today I found your videos, and I would like you to help me better understand. I am a Charedi (Ultra Orthodox) and attend a Yeshiva, but have stopped doing all the rituals. I don’t see a point in these rituals. I don’t understand why God would care what I eat or don’t or if I turn on the light [on Shabbat] or not? Help me find the truth. It’s not in my nature to believe in something just because that’s what I’ve been told. I want to know more!!!’ (Ultra Orthodox man)
This is an exciting development which lines up with God’s end time purposes for Israel. The Bible indicates that at the end of days significant events will happen to the people of Israel, not just physically but spiritually. The dispersion of the Jewish people to the nations will be replaced by their return to the land of Israel and a return to the living God through Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel.
Of course there is a strong reaction against this from Orthodox Judaism, which teaches Jewish people that they must keep Torah Judaism to preserve the chain of connection going back to Moses. From this point of view Yeshua, Jesus, is not the Messiah, but a deceiver who has led people astray. If a Jewish person believes in Jesus they are told they are no longer Jewish and have broken the connection to Moses and are cut off from Israel.
Judaism has been the main reason why the Jews have remained an identifiable and distinct people during the long years of the dispersion. Experience does show that when Jewish people cease to practice Judaism, in particular Sabbath observance and kosher food regulations, there is a tendency to assimilate into Gentile society and within a generation or two to lose their Jewish identity. Another reason why Jewish people have preserved their identity has been anti-Semitism. This has caused centuries of persecution, often in the name of Jesus, but in total opposition to His teaching and His purpose. God’s purpose is for Christian believers to share His love and mercy with Jewish people in order that they might understand the good news or the Gospel, which is ‘power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Gentile)’ Romans 1.16. Anti-Semitism reached its terrible climax in the Nazi Holocaust and the extermination of six million Jewish people at the hands of the Nazi beast.
However out of the ashes of the Holocaust came the fulfilment of the Zionist dream with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, as a homeland for the Jewish people. Ezekiel’s prophecy of the valley of dry bones speaks of this amazing event in fulfilment of many prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures: ‘Then He said to me, ‘Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They indeed say, ‘Our bones are dry, our hope is lost, and we ourselves are cut off!’ Therefore prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, O My people, I will open your graves and cause you to come up from your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. Then you shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O My people, and brought you up from your graves. I will put My Spirit in you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken it and performed it,’ says the Lord.’’ Ezekiel 37.11-14.
This passage, along with other Biblical prophecies, points to a physical and a spiritual rebirth in Israel. In terms of eternity, it is the spiritual rebirth which is the most important. During the long years of the dispersion among the nations Jewish people have not only been out of the land of Israel, but also for the most been away from the living God of Israel. Judaism may have helped to preserve the Jewish people, but it has also brought in a belief system and practices, which have separated the people from God as revealed in the Bible. Judaism teaches that there is an Oral Torah, equally inspired by God as the written Torah, which was given by God to Moses at Sinai and then passed down by word of mouth from generation to generation since Moses’ time, and only written down in the Mishna, Gemara and Babylonian Talmud between around 200 and 500. This has added laws to laws and obscured the meaning of God’s word since it becomes the prism through which the Bible is to be understood. These teachings were already around in the time of Jesus and are the basis of His disputes with the scribes and Pharisees when He challenges them over the ‘tradition of the elders’ which He rejects, quoting Isaiah 29.13. ‘This people honours Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ Mark 7.6-7. Religious traditions which are the commandments of men, not the commands of God, generally replace the commands of God and blind people to the truth of the Word of God. We note that this has happened in Christianity also, especially through the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Paul also told the Corinthians about this when he wrote of his own people: ‘For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Moses. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.’ 2 Corinthians 3.14-16. It is interesting that in the comments made by Jewish people responding to One for Israel quoted above, many of them refer to the Talmud and the Oral Torah, and the fact that they recognise that it is wrong as the beginning of their quest for the truth in Yeshua. We have produced an article ‘Was there an Oral Torah given at Sinai?’ on this subject, available at www.messiahfactor.com or from our office.
Hosea prophesied the condition of Israel in the Diaspora and the turning back to the Lord in the latter days: ’For the children of Israel shall abide many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar, without ephod or teraphim.’ Hosea 3.4 This means that Israel will experience a long period of time without a prophet, priest and sacrifice, and king. This has been the experience of the Jewish people since the fall of the Temple and the dispersion as Rabbi David Kimchi (1160-1235) acknowledges in his comment on Hosea 3: ‘These are the days of the present Gentile captivity in which we are in the power of the Gentiles, and in the power of their kings and princes, and we are without a sacrifice to God and without an image to false gods, and without an ephod and without teraphim – without an ephod to God by which we could foretell the future as with Urim and Thummim and without teraphim to false gods. And this is the condition of the children of Israel in this present captivity.’ However the next verse says: ’Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days.’ 3.4-5.
‘David their king’ points to the Messiah, Son of David, who is the Prophet, Priest and King of Israel. Jesus is the Messiah who came the first time to suffer and die for our sins, fulfilling the prophecy of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. He is coming again to complete the Messianic programme, when He will rule and reign over restored Israel and the whole earth in the Messianic kingdom.
He is the Prophet like unto Moses spoken of in Deuteronomy 18.18 ‘I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.’ He is the sacrifice for the sin of the world, prophesied in Isaiah 53: ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.’ He is the coming King who will save Israel and bring peace to the world: ‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell safely; Now this is His name by which He will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS’ Jeremiah 23.5
God will bring the Jewish people back to the land of Israel and then back to the Lord: ‘For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God.’ Ezekiel 36.24-28.
After gathering His people to the land of Israel, God will give them a new heart and a new spirit as He cleanses them from sin and puts His Spirit within them. His purpose is to bring them into the new covenant by which they will know the Lord, have His law written on their hearts and their sins will be forgiven, as Jeremiah the prophet foretold. ‘Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.’ Jeremiah 31.31-34.
Ezekiel speaks of having a new heart and a new spirit. Jeremiah prophesies the new covenant which will replace the covenant with Moses as the means by which we can come to know the Lord and have our sins forgiven. Both of these are fulfilled in Yeshua, Jesus the Messiah, who died for our sins and rose again to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. Through His blood shed at Calvary our sins are cleansed so we can receive the Holy Spirit and be born again to newness of life as His law is written on our hearts by faith. He ascended to heaven from where He will return in person at the end of this age and bring in the Messianic kingdom of which the prophets spoke. At the time of His return He will find a Jewish reception committee, who have called on His name for salvation and welcome Him as the Messiah.
There is a fascinating scripture in Hosea where the Lord says: ‘For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. I will return again to My place till they acknowledge their offence. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me. Come, and let us return to the Lord; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.’ Hosea 5.15-6.3.
Yeshua has come as the Suffering Servant Messiah, to die and rise again from the dead, then to return to ‘My place’, heaven. From there He will return again when they (the Jewish people) acknowledge their offence (not receiving Him as Messiah and Saviour). They will return to Him in the midst of a time of affliction (the tribulation of the last days) and earnestly seek Him and He will heal them and raise them up to live in His kingdom where all who are redeemed will know the Lord and the eternal life He has come to give us.
Signs of the Times.
Muslims also find Messiah!
Millions of Muslims all over the world are giving their lives to Jesus Christ, and in many instances this is happening because of dreams, visions and other supernatural encounters. While Christianity declines in most of the western world and many see judgment about to hit our churches, in other areas of the globe, Christianity is experiencing absolutely explosive growth even in the midst of persecution.
This is particularly true in Islamic nations, where we are seeing things happen that could have come straight out of the Book of Acts. All over the planet, Jesus is personally visiting Muslims in supernatural ways, and this has resulted in an enormous wave of conversions.
Prophecy News Watch writes: ‘A family of Syrian refugees that converted to Christianity while living in Lebanon, and it all happened because of a dream. ‘Abu Radwan enters a church on the outskirts of Beirut with his wife and two kids. His wife removes the black headscarf covering her hair. It was here, a year and a half ago, that they converted to Christianity. ‘Of course it was a difficult decision,’ Abu Radwan says. ‘I was born into a Muslim family.’
The family is from the city of Homs in Syria. They sought refuge in Lebanon at the beginning of the war. Then two years ago, Abu Radwan says Jesus appeared to him in a dream. ‘I started going to the church,’ he says. ‘I believed that Jesus was coming to help us, to save us.’
When it comes to supernatural encounters, there is literally nobody that is out of the reach of the Lord Jesus. Voice of the Martyrs radio network reports of a YWAM worker who met
a former ISIS fighter who murdered Christians, but converted after a dream: ‘He told this YWAM leader that he had begun having dreams of this man in white who came to him and said, ‘You are killing my people.’ And he started to feel really sick and uneasy about what he was doing,’ Fadely continued. ‘The fighter said just before he killed one Christian, the man said, ‘I know you will kill me, but I give to you my Bible.’ The Christian was killed and this ISIS fighter actually took the Bible and began to read it. In another dream, Jesus asked him to follow him and he was now asking to become a follower of Christ and to be discipled.’
What has been happening in Iran is nothing short of miraculous. In one of the most radical Islamic nations on the entire planet, millions have come to faith in Christ over the past two decades, and dreams and visions are playing a major role. As Faithwire noted back in November, an Iranian Christian pastor claimed at the time that there’s a stunning revival underway in his country, where he says the number of Christian adherents has increased from 100,000 in 1994 to 3 million today.
There is also a wonderful revival going on in Bangladesh. Officially, 89 percent of the population of Bangladesh is Muslim, about 10 percent are Hindus, and less than one percent is Christian. But unofficially it is being estimated that somewhere around 10 percent of the entire nation has now come to Christ, and they continue to convert in huge waves.
Pastor Khaleque, 60, a former Muslim and now a Christian street pastor who works among the hill tribes, in the northeast part of Bangladesh, said, ‘In the last 12 months, more than 20,000 Muslims have converted to Christianity. More than 20,000 have converted, and this is becoming a real problem for the Muslims.’
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Perhaps we are just way too comfortable in the western world. We don’t have to pay much of a price for our faith, and so most people don’t seem to take it very seriously. On the other side of the world, standing up for your faith can literally cost you your life.
(Prophecy News Watch deleted)
Pope comes under fire from traditionalists.
According to a report in The London Times featuring the best selling Catholic author and journalist Antonio Socci, about 12 cardinals who have supported Pope Francis since his election in March 2013 now fear that his controversial reforms may cause a schism in the Church, and so they hope to pressure the Pope to resign.
‘Four years after Benedict XVI’s renunciation and Bergoglio’s arrival on the scene, the situation of the Catholic church has become explosive, perhaps really on the edge of a schism, which could be even more disastrous than Luther’s who is today being rehabilitated by the Bergoglio church,’ said Socci.
The main criticisms of the Pope come from his support for the globalisation agenda and his abandonment of the traditional Catholic moral teaching and the dogma that there is no salvation outside of the Roman Catholic Church. His statements in favour of inter-faith approaches to Protestants, eastern Orthodox and other faiths have caused alarm, including his statement that Christians and Muslims worship the same God.
The traditional Catholic LifeSiteNews says: ‘The most extraordinary new development has been the head of the Roman Catholic Church
recently proclaiming that Marxist ‘Liberation Theology was a good thing for Latin America,’
upsetting the traditional applications of Catholic moral teachings
calling on all ‘to defend our Sister Mother Earth‘ while accepting the false claims about climate change alarmism as coming from ‘a very solid scientific consensus,’
trashing capitalism, and urging for a Marxist-sounding new international economic order
strongly urging the opening of borders to millions of undocumented, poorly vetted Islamic immigrants with their radically different culture and religion-based laws.’
It criticises the Pope for lining up with ‘increasingly virulent, prominent New World Order enemies of Christianity’ and promoting ‘a worldly, modern ‘social justice‘ list of priorities which dominates Vatican actions and statements today.’ It draws attention to a talk given by Italian Cardinal Biffi when Benedict was Pope in which he says that the Antichrist is among us. The Cardinal quoted Russian religious philosopher Vladimir Soloviev, saying ‘the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist. … He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants, who will say to him, ‘You give us everything, except what interests us, Jesus Christ and a Christianity which puts aside Jesus with his cross and resurrection.’ The cardinal said he believes that this is ‘the danger that Christians face in our days … the Son of God cannot be reduced to a series of good projects sanctioned by the prevailing worldly mentality.’
While the website does not apply this directly to Pope Francis, the way it is phrased certainly makes a link between this Pope and the Antichrist. And that is coming from a Roman Catholic!
European Unity in the face of a fraying world order.
Nothing illustrates the crisis facing the world order more than a letter circulated by Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council. Tusk’s message, addressed to the leaders of the European Union’s member states, pointed to the other Donald, describing the Trump administration as one of the potential ‘external’ threats facing Europe.
He wrote, ‘The challenges currently facing the European Union are more dangerous than ever before in the time since the signature of the Treaty of Rome. Today we are dealing with three threats, which have previously not occurred, at least not on such a scale.
The first threat, an external one, is related to the new geopolitical situation in the world and around Europe. An increasingly, let us call it, assertive China, especially on the seas, Russia’s aggressive policy towards Ukraine and its neighbours, wars, terror and anarchy in the Middle East and in Africa, with radical Islam playing a major role, as well as worrying declarations by the new American administration all make our future highly unpredictable. For the first time in our history, in an increasingly multipolar external world, so many are becoming openly anti-European, or Euro sceptic at best. Particularly the change in Washington puts the European Union in a difficult situation; with the new administration seeming to put into question the last 70 years of American foreign policy.
The second threat, an internal one, is connected with the rise in anti-EU, nationalist, increasingly xenophobic sentiment in the EU itself. National egoism is also becoming an attractive alternative to integration. In addition, centrifugal tendencies feed on mistakes made by those, for whom ideology and institutions have become more important than the interests and emotions of the people.
The third threat is the state of mind of the pro-European elites. A decline of faith in political integration, submission to populist arguments as well as doubt in the fundamental values of liberal democracy are all increasingly visible.
In a world full of tension and confrontation, what is needed is courage, determination and political solidarity of Europeans. Without them we will not survive. If we do not believe in ourselves, in the deeper purpose of integration, why should anyone else? In Rome we should renew this declaration of faith. In today’s world of states-continents with hundreds of millions of inhabitants, European countries taken separately have little weight. But the EU has demographic and economic potential, which makes it a partner equal to the largest powers. For this reason, the most important signal that should come out of Rome is that of readiness of the 27 to be united. A signal that we not only must, but we want to be united.’
If we are correct in saying that the EU is the revived Roman Empire out of which the Antichrist will arise, we should expect that it will survive the forces currently threatening it. At the same time it will remain an unstable coalition – the ‘iron and the clay’ which form the feet of the image of Daniel 2. This describes the world system in the days before the second coming of Christ. ’Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.’ Daniel 2.41-43.
Doctors shouldn’t call pregnant women ‘expectant mothers’, says BMA
The British Medical Association has issued a 14 page document ‘A Guide to Effective Communication: Inclusive Language in the Workplace’, to its 156,000 members, which is taking political correctness to new levels of absurdity, as it panders to the demands of the homosexual and transgender lobby.
It states that someone who is ‘biologically male or female’ should instead be referred to as ‘assigned male or female’. This is because ‘Gender inequality is reflected in traditional ideas about the roles of women and men. Though they have shifted over time, the assumptions and stereotypes that underpin those ideas are often deeply-rooted.’
It goes on to say: ‘A large majority of people that have been pregnant or have given birth identify as women. We can include intersex men and transmen who may get pregnant by saying ‘pregnant people’ instead of ‘expectant mothers’.’ The guide also advises against using the terms ‘born man’ or ‘born woman’ when referring to people who identify as the opposite sex to which they are born. It claims that these phrases ‘over-simplify a complex subject’.
Actually there is nothing complex about the subject at all. Either you are born a boy or a girl, with the sexual organs assigned to males or females. Also it is not a ‘large majority of people who have been pregnant or have given birth’ that identify as women. It is 100% of human beings from creation to today. Only women have the body parts required to get pregnant.
Currently in the UK there is a pregnant woman who now identifies as a man and is planning to have a sex change operation after she has had her baby. So she is an example of what the BMA is calling a ‘transman’ who has got pregnant. In reality whether this pregnant person wishes to identify as a man or a woman, the reason she was able to conceive and become pregnant is because she has the body parts assigned to women at birth by our Creator.
All this nonsense is part of the campaign by antichristian forces in our society to blur the distinctions between men and women and to deny God in creation, who made us in His image: ‘He created them male and female and blessed them and called them Adam / mankind in the day they were created.’ Genesis 5.2. One of the strongest arguments for Intelligent Design by God in creation is sexual reproduction, with the male and the female complementing each other and coming together to bring the next generation into the world. The possibility of this incredibly complex and wonderful process coming into being by millions of years of evolutionary change is absolutely zero. For one thing if it does not work perfectly in the first generation, there is no second generation and therefore no millions of years to get it right! Genesis 1 tells how God created all creatures with the ability to reproduce ‘after their own kind.’ In order for this to happen He made them ‘male and female.’ Of course the homosexual agenda is a sexual dead end. If all people on earth were to follow its ways then the human race would die out!
Global Debt Bomb Ready To Explode.
According to the International Monetary Fund, global debt has grown to a staggering grand total of $152 trillion. If you take $152 trillion dollars and divide it by the seven billion people living on the planet, you get $21,714, which would be the share of that debt for every man, woman and child in the world if it was divided up equally. So if you have a family of four, your family’s share of the global debt load would be $86,856.
Very few families could write a cheque for that amount today, and those in the west also must remember that we live in some of the wealthiest areas on the globe. Considering the fact that more than 3 billion people around the world live on two dollars a day or less, the truth is that about half the planet would not be capable of contributing toward the repayment of our $152 trillion debt at all. So they should be excluded from these calculations entirely, and that would mean that your family’s share of the debt would ultimately be far, far higher.
Of course global debt repayment will never actually be apportioned by family. The reason why I am sharing this example is to show you that it is literally impossible for all of this debt to ever be repaid. We are living during the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and our financial engineers have got to keep figuring out ways to keep it growing much faster than global GDP, because if it ever stops growing it will burst and destroy the entire global financial system.
Bill Gross, one of the most highly respected financial minds on the entire planet, recently observed that ‘our highly levered financial system is like a truckload of nitro glycerine on a bumpy road’. And he is precisely correct. Everything might seem fine for a while, but one day we are going to hit the wrong bump at the wrong time and the whole thing is going to go KA-BOOM. The financial crisis of 2008 represented an opportunity to learn from our mistakes, but instead we just papered over our errors and cranked up the global debt creation machine to levels never seen before. Here is more from Bill Gross…
‘In 2017, the global economy has created more credit relative to GDP than that at the beginning of 2008’s disaster. In the U.S., credit of $65 trillion is roughly 350% of annual GDP and the ratio is rising. In China, the ratio has more than doubled in the past decade to nearly 300%. Since 2007, China has added $24 trillion worth of debt to its collective balance sheet. Over the same period, the U.S. and Europe only added $12 trillion each.
In the United States, more than $9 trillion was added to the national debt during the Obama years. If we had not taken more than $9 trillion dollars of consumption and brought it into the present, we would most assuredly be in the midst of an epic economic depression right now. Instead of taking our pain in the short-term, we have sold future generations of Americans as debt slaves, and if they get the chance someday they will look back and curse us for what we have done to them.
Many believe that Donald Trump can make short-term economic conditions better than Obama did, but how in the world is he going to do that? Is he going to borrow another $9 trillion? To do this he has to raise the debt ceiling for the US treasury or it will run out of cash very quickly. If the debt ceiling is not raised, it will almost certainly mean that a major political crisis and a severe economic downturn are imminent. But if the debt ceiling is raised, it will mean that Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress are willingly complicit in the destruction of America’s long-term economic future.
When you go into debt there are consequences. And when the greatest debt bubble in human history finally bursts, the consequences will be exceedingly severe. The best that our leaders can do for now is to keep the bubble alive for as long as possible, because what comes after the bubble is gone will be absolutely unthinkable.
Conclusion. All of these things happening in our world are signs of the soon coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now is the day of salvation, now is the day to call on the name of the Lord and ask him to forgive us for our sins and come into our lives by faith.
‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.’ John 3.16.