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‘GATE TO HELL’ DISCOVERED IN ANTICHRIST’S NEIGHBORHOOD

Joel Richardson

A significant recent archeological discovery in western Turkey may hold a prophetic hint as to the nation from which the Antichrist will someday burst forth onto the world scene.

According to a recent report by Fox News, archeologists have uncovered the ancient “gate to hell.” Not literally, of course, but rather they’ve discovered an ancient pagan temple known as “Pluto’s Gate,” the cave that was believed to be the portal to Hades, in Greco-Roman mythology.

According to the Greek geographer Strabo, the cave emitted a thick vapor that would kill any who came into contact with it. According to Francesco D’Andria, the archeologist who discovered the gate, “We could see the cave’s lethal properties during the excavation. Several birds died as they tried to get close to the warm opening, instantly killed by the carbon dioxide fumes.”

Some students of prophecy have noted the similarity of the gate to hell to the “Abyss” as described in the book of Revelation:

“When [the angel] opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions.” (Revelation 9:2-3)

What is more interesting about this find as it relates to biblical prophecy is the fact that the gate was discovered in modern-day Pamukkale, Turkey, known in ancient times as Hierapolis. According to the first-century historian known as Pliny the Elder, Hierapolis was also known as “Magog.”

In fact, it was specifically this ancient Turkish-Magog connection that informed the understanding of a wide range of Jewish and Christian theologians concerning the region from which the armies of Gog and Magog would descend into the land of Israel.

Gog and Magog, according to the biblical prophet Ezekiel, are armies of the final antagonists of the Jewish people, who would invade the land of Israel just prior to the return of Jesus. While many prophecy teachers today hold to the idea that the Battle of Gog of Magog is a preliminary and distinct battle from the final Battle of Armageddon, this belief is actually a relatively new minority view within church history. Consider the following partial survey of theologians, both Christian and Jewish, who have long looked for the Antichristian armies of Gog of Magog to come from the land of Turkey:

Hippolytus of Rome (170–235), an early Christian theologian, in his Chronicon, connected Magog with the Galatians in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey.

Moses Ben Maimonides (aka Rambam) (1135–1204), the revered Jewish sage, in Hichot Terumot, identified Magog as being on the border of Syria and modern-day Turkey.

Nicholas of Lyra (1270–1349), a Hebrew scholar and renowned biblical exegete, believed that Gog was another title of the Antichrist. Lyra also affirmed that the religion of the “Turks,” a term used to refer to Muslims in general, was the religion of the Antichrist.

Martin Luther (1483–1546), understood Gog to be a reference to the Turks, whom God had sent as a scourge to chastise Christians.

Sir Walter Raleigh (1554–1618), in his History of the World, also placed Magog in Asia Minor, or modern-day Turkey:

“Yet it is not to be denied, that the Scythians in old times coming out of the northeast, wasted the better part of Asia the Less, and possessed Coelesyria, where they built both Scythopolis and Hierapolis, which the Syrians call Magog. And that to this Magog Ezekiel had reference, it is very plain; for this city Hierapolis, or Magog, standeth due north from Judea, according to the words of Ezekiel, that from the north quarters those nations should come.”

John Wesley (1703–1755), in his Explanatory Notes on Ezekiel 38 and 39, identified the hoards of Gog and Magog with “the Antichristian forces” who would come from the region of modern day Turkey.

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), one of American history’s most renowned theologians, also viewed modern-day Turkey as the nation from which the coming Gog Magog invasion would come forth.

John Nelson Darby (1800–1882), the British-Irish evangelist and a father of modern Dispensationalism and Futurism, in his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, views Gog as the final Antichristian forces God will bring against Israel:

“Gog is the end of all the dealings of God with respect to Israel, and that God brings up this haughty power in order to manifest on earth, by a final judgment, His dealings with Israel and with the Gentiles, and to plant His blessing, His sanctuary, and His glory in the midst of Israel.”

C.I. Scofield (1843–1921), author of the Scofield Reference Bible, viewed the oracle of Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38 and 39 as speaking of the Battle of Armageddon. Scofield, spoke of Ezekiel’s oracle thusly:

“[T]hat destruction should fall at the climax of the last mad attempt to exterminate the remnant of Israel in Jerusalem. The whole prophecy belongs to the yet future ‘day of Jehovah’; Isaiah 2:10-22; Revelation 19:11-21 and to the Battle of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14).”

Charles Lee Feinberg (1909–1995), a prominent Messianic Jewish expositor in his commentary on Ezekiel, states, “The armies of chapter 38-39 would appear to be included in the universal confederacies seen in Zechariah 12 and 14.”

Charles Ryrie, in his Ryrie Study Bible, views Gog and his hordes as one and the same with the Antichrist and his armies.

Dave Hunt, apologist, author and radio commentator, identifies the Gog of Magog Battle with other Antichristic prophecies and views it as a reference to the ultimate battle of Armageddon.

Many other prominent Christian theologians could be cited. If all of these theologians are correct, and Antichrist/Gog does come forth from the modern nation of Turkey, then it would certainly seem appropriate that Turkey is the home to the mythological location of the ancient gateway to hell.

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FINAL SIGN ‘PREVENTING 2ND COMING OF JESUS’

He continued: “Is it remotely possible that the Jewish temple does not belong up on top where the Dome of the Rock defiantly sits? The crushing weight of Jewish tradition refuses to allow such an inflammatory and repugnant question. But a more critical question that trumps this colossal consensus is this: Would God Himself allow for His temple to be rebuilt where it does not belong?”

Many Christians expect a temple to be rebuilt before Jesus returns to Earth, as He spoke of “the abomination of desolation” standing in the holy place (Matthew 24:15), which is thought to be the inner sanctuary of the temple.

“Jerusalem and the Lost Temple of the Jews” revisits the facts of history by delving into archaeological discoveries, Bible Scripture, historical writings and eyewitness accounts.

It spends examining New Testament statements from Jesus concerning the temple, statements that may or may not have been fulfilled when the Romans leveled Jerusalem some 40 years after Jesus was executed there.

“After all the archaeological digs that have taken place in Jerusalem, not even one has unearthed any remnant of any foundation of any building from the first century. It was gone. It became just as Jesus said it would become, not one stone left standing upon another.

“But there’s a problem with the words of Jesus’ prophecy, because there are many stones left in the walls … that date back to the time of Herod. They are still standing one upon another, in fact close to 10,000 of them. So, either Jesus in His prediction wasn’t being precise in His facts, or there is something else we just do not or cannot understand.

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Palestinians kick off Jerusalem bid by ceding Holy Sites Custodianship to Jordan’s king

A historic agreement signed in Amman Sunday, March 31, between Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II takes a new stand on Jerusalem – one of the core issues subject to negotiation with Israel – by accepting the king as Custodian of the city’s Holy Sites. The Palestinians agreed that Abdullah “will oversee and manage the Waqf (Muslim religious authority) in Jerusalem” and represent the interests of the Holy Sites “in relevant international forums… through feasible legal means.”

Where the Palestinian (Wafa) and Jordanian (Petra) versions of the same agreement differ is over the definition of “Palestinian sovereignty.”

debkafile: However, by this document, the Palestinian leader and the king have laid the foundation for a mixed Arab-Palestinian-Israeli framework for managing the shrines holy to Jews (who are not mentioned), Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem. It has opened the door to what many will be perceive as a proposal to internationalize Jerusalem’s sanctuaries, a status affirmed but never honored from 1948 to 1967.
This foundation will not only raise strong Israeli objections but also be challenged by many Palestinians and therefore will have to last a long and tortuous course to survive.
Its importance lies in that the Palestinian Authority has taken the historically momentous step of ceding to the Hashemite throne the custodianship – religious, political, legal, and security – of the Muslim shrines on Temple Mount with authority over the Palestinian Waqf.

It means that henceforth, instead of the Palestinian Authority, Israel will have to engage the Jordanian government in discussions of matters pertaining to Temple Mount, especially hyper-sensitive security arrangements.
This should not be too much of a stretch since in practice, Israeli and Jordanian intelligence have cooperated quietly on such issues for many years.

The Hashemite House comes out of the accord with Palestinian recognition for the first time as the Custodian of the Holy Places of Jerusalem, especially the Mosque of al Aqsa, a title which parallels the Saudi king’s traditional title as Guardian of the Holy Places to Islam in Mecca and Medina.
The degree of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s involvement in Jordanian-Palestinian accord is still to be determined and also whether Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians) were privy to its substance.

The Arab League summit meeting in Doha March 26-27, which debated the dormant Saudi Peace Plan,  was certainly not in the picture. Those rulers now have much to chew on.
It may be instructive to cite here the exclusive debkafile report published on Dec. 27, 2012:

A confederation plan for a Palestinian West Bank state and Jordan was the real subject of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s recent conversation with King Abdullah in Amman, debkafile’s sources reveal – not Syria. This idea has become a focal talking point in Amman, Washington and Palestinian centers. It ties in with the report from US and Jordanian sources that Israel and the Palestinians will resume talks in the spring.

The new Abbas-Abdullah accord appears to be a strong move towards bringing this plan to fruition.

That it is a practical document and not just a declaration is indicated by the detailed definition of the Custodian’s purview appearing in the Jordanian version:

“Recalling the unique religious importance to all Muslims of al-Masjid al-Aqsa with its 144 dunams including include the Qibil Mosque of al-Aqsa, the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock and all its mosques, buildings, walls, courtyards, attached areas over and beneath the ground (a hint at Israeli archeological digs for the Biblical city and Temple)…”

Jordan and Palestine also pledged “all efforts to protect Jerusalem and its Holy Sites from Israeli escalatory Judaisation” – according to another clause in the Petra version.
On at least one very important point the Palestinian and Jordanian communiqués varied significantly:

According to PA Minister of Waqf and Religious Affairs Mahmoud Habash, “The agreement confirmed Jordan’s historic role in caring for the religious sanctuaries. It also confirmed Palestinian sovereignty over all of Palestine, including East Jerusalem as its capital.”
However, Article 3:3.1 of the agreement published in full by Jordan puts it this way: “The Government of the State of Palestine, as the expression of the right of self-determination of the Palestinian people, shall have the right to exercise sovereignty over all parts of its territory, including Jerusalem.

While hailing their accord as a historic breakthrough, the Palestinian and Jordanian leaders will obviousy need to get all parts of their act together before they face Israel.

temple

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The Dark Side of Bible Prophecy

By Gary Stearman on March 30, 2013

People often ask why we spend so much time in the discussion of bizarre topics, like UFOs and hybrid giants. They wonder why prophecy studies give any time at all to weird subjects like mystery lights in the sky, aerial trumpets and explosions, “alien implants” and “the nephilim.” They wonder why some opt for prophetic sensationalism, rather than focusing on the Gospel, or maturing the saints with the Word of God through traditional Bible study.

Such questions are not really new. Traditionally, the mainline institutional church has criticized Christians at the cutting edge of prophecy study for being irrelevant and speculative. They have taken the view that this age is going to end somehow, but the details are so unsupportable that no one can say exactly how. They insist that the elements of Bible prophecy are so confusing that no one can understand them anyway. Rather than have disagreement, they say, let’s avoid the subject entirely. Let’s just spend our time on teaching the daily walk in Christ. Maturing the saints is the real work of the church.

But Bible prophecy is now shining light on places that we’ve never been before. The stage is set in the Middle East. Latter-day Israel is positioned to fulfill the many prophecies laid out in the Old Testament. These deal with Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Jordan and other revolutionary powers appearing in the daily news.

In addition to that, the prophesied one-world governmental system is being forged into recognizable form, following two World Wars and growing stockpiles of superweapons. The shadowy outlines of Daniel’s fourth beast empire can now be recognized. It will arise out of a series of wars and economic cataclysms. All these things are poised for final fulfillment.

For over half a century, Bible scholars have detailed these and other international developments. Their books and recorded lectures are everywhere. They have sounded their warnings to anyone who would listen. Some have heeded their words; most have not. The important point here, is that regardless of the many disagreements, prophetic Bible study has now been accepted as more or less normal. There are different methods of interpretation, but the general belief is that we’re living in the end times.

This is an important factor for many Christians. In popular culture, it has become known well enough that non-Christians ridicule it. But even they grudgingly acknowledge its primary assertions. For example, the rapture is often lampooned on network television comedy stages. Even Jesus’ Second Coming is now being parodied as some kind of laughable fantasy.

Something New Has Been Added

The time has come. There is another aspect of Bible prophecy that, up until the last couple of decades, has remained quietly in the background. It grows out of the biblical pronouncement that the latter days would witness a veritable explosion of dark and alien power. The reality of this development is becoming self-evident.

Books, television, motion pictures and video games are replete with themes of malevolent beings that rise from the depths of Hades, and descend from the heavens. Whether they be outer-space aliens, fallen angels or devils escaped from the dungeons of the deep, they create a reality that haunts the mind of modern man. The veil that separates them from humanity is already growing thin. Among the young, there is a popular fascination with the human “undead” – werewolves, vampires, zombies and the like – who have risen to create their own reality. A generation ago, they fell in love with the cuddly E.T., the extraterrestrial. Creatures like him, both good and bad, have arrived in the hundreds. Fiction teems with his ilk.

These “imaginary” creatures have created a reality all their own. But curiously, they resemble biblical descriptions of the myriads of the damned. However, as mentioned in Scripture, they are anything but imaginary. Their presence should come as no surprise to Bible-believing Christians. Like expanding clouds, their presence rolls across the landscape, darkening this once-blessed nation.

In response, students of Bible prophecy are beginning to speak and write about subjects that have not been considered appropriate within the bounds of Christian tradition.

Actually, most of our time is spent on Scriptural exegesis concerning Bible prophecy and its relevance to current world events. And there, we are again faced with the basic question: If the supernatural is manifesting itself on a global basis, should we ignore it? Of course not! The Word of God always provides the best explanation for every event of our daily lives, no matter how bizarre or unexpected.

Once, not so long ago, the study of Bible prophecy was confined to certain classic approaches. Scholars dealt with prophecies of the Millennium, Daniel’s Seventy Weeks, Christ’s First and Second Comings, the destiny of the Church, the rise of the Antichrist, the nature and timing of the judgments, Dispensational issues and so on. But something in the world has radically changed. After two world wars and the development of computers, lasers, particle-beam weapons, high-tech surveillance systems and the rise of government monitoring, our vision of the future has become a ghastly mélange of sci-fi terror, satellite spying and the specter of genetic manipulation. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research projects Agency, has declared its intent to develop genetically enhanced super-soldiers, and super-intellects with imbedded microchips. Once underway, there will be no end to such diabolical tinkering.

In the latter case, gene-splicing is now taking its place in modern medicine. Animals can be made to grow human replacement parts. But isn’t such an animal a chimera? And the Mosaic Law expresses God’s displeasure with such abortive creations. It forbids even the interbreeding of species, and current experimentation is much more serious than that.

Now, we are discovering that even classic physical and biological research is emerging at the forefront of the present eruption of sinister phenomena. This world has long been driven by dark entities lurking just behind the scenes. Now, they are coming forward into full view.

Those who bother to study the literature will quickly discover that every world government has highly-funded programs that deal with the paranormal: Top-secret organizations (already well established by the time of the Eisenhower administration) have devoted black budgets to the investigation and exploitation of strange alien activities. Their copious records reveal that they believe they are dealing with extraterrestrials from other planets. As we have pointed out over the years, every major government in the world has devoted its resources to working with these entities. Of course, we view them as demonic.

A visible example of this is the British military preoccupation with mysterious crop circles. Debunkers attempt to explain the complex mathematical designs as the products of imaginative hoaxers. But thousands of witnesses in England can document the sudden appearance of military helicopters and jets flying low over the newly-emerging crop designs that appear in the fields near Silbury Hill and Stonehenge. Curiously, these are the sites of ancient pagan religions … the “high places” of wicked sacrifices. Who’s making those exotic designs? None other than the ancient demonic powers!

From vampires to crop circles and beyond, ghostly and mystical apparitions appear in the vision of a public steeped in the ubiquitous background of dark supernatural literature, movies, video games, and demonic worship. In case you hadn’t noticed, these are constantly available in entertainment centers and living rooms around the world.

To explain these new experiences, we must turn to Scripture. After all, the Bible is the final authority on every aspect of life. More urgently than ever, we are returning to its pages in a quickening attempt to understand these new experiences. In the last couple of decades, we have become increasingly curious about UFOs and alien abductions. At the same time, we’ve become more conscious of the fact that Scripture speaks of aliens and their illicit relations with humans. It tells us about the fallen angels and giants who strode the Earth in ancient days, and their success in interbreeding with humans.

Scripture speaks of the unspeakable: Often, the ancient gods of Mesopotamia, Canaan and Egypt were human/animal hybrids, called “chimeras.” As this is written, they are a scientific reality. The coding of God’s genetic designs has been deciphered, enabling scientists to create genetic monsters in the name of improvement. The cure of disease and deficiency through creative genetics is possible, but at what price? The old world of Noah was destroyed precisely because of such genetic tampering.

Scripture tells us that there is nothing new about these things, as strange as they may seem. The Bible is becoming far more than a guide to daily devotions; it is a manual that offers the only hope for surviving the coming maelstrom.

Back to Daniel

To illustrate this premise, we should note that even the “prophetic classics,” like the book of Daniel, have recently opened up in unexpected ways that cast new light on the dark side of Bible prophecy. A perfect example of this is Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:

“31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces” (Dan. 2:31-34).

The traditional interpretation of this monstrous image is that its four metallic sections represent four great world empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. The latter-day revived Roman Empire is seen in the statue’s iron legs and its feet of iron and clay. Iron is the metal of enterprise and the industrial revolution. Iron smelting in the Roman Empire and the Western world created armies and machines of war, later rising on the power of its development in shipping, railroads, skyscrapers and bridges, to name of few of its attributes.

Common sense and simple observation will tell anyone that when an attempt is made to mix iron and brittle clay, the result is structurally unsound. This prophecy suggests that the iron empire will ultimately collapse because of its weakened foundation. But this raises an important question. Namely, what does the clay represent? Iron, we can understand. But clay … is it an infiltration of opposing principles? Is it an invasion by other nations?

Until recently, it was conceded that this was some human scheme that would topple the empire of iron. A popular view was that it referred to political marriages. Others have conjectured about the meaning of this strange prophecy, but the answer has evaded their grasp.

Fortunately, thanks to the context of the contemporary era, we now know exactly what it means. The verses that follow mention a group of interlopers, who attempt to inject themselves into the human race:

“42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay” (Dan. 2:42,43).

Here, we find that a latter-day mystery group will endeavor to mix its own genetic material with the “seed of men.” This expression is clearly speaking of the human genome. The seed of man is his genetic signature. And from beginning to end, the Bible is preoccupied with the idea that this seed is central to salvation. From the seed of Adam and Eve came the seed of Abraham and the twelve tribes. From the tribe of Judah came the seed of the woman. From it, sprang the virgin-born Messiah, Jesus.

That being said, it is clear from this prophecy that there will be another, latter-day attempt by the mysterious “they” to infiltrate the genome of mankind. They know that if human seed can be corrupted, it will render God’s plan of redemption null and void.

When did this happen the first time, and who did it? The clear answer is given in Genesis, Chapter Six, in the record of the fallen angels who mingled their seed with the seed of mankind, resulting in a societal monstrosity that God was forced to destroy in the Flood of Noah. There is growing historical evidence that the entire creation – human and animal – was tainted.

Daniel’s prophecy tells us that just before the giant statue’s iron legs crumble (in the days of the Great Tribulation), fallen angels will descend openly to Earth once again. Then, they will repeat their evil work. Jesus own statement gives credence to this idea, as recorded in Luke 17:26:

“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.”

Are we living in these days now? The answer is “Yes, certainly.” And how do we know this? Because those with eyes to see can understand that an alien force is now infiltrating the human race, with the express purpose of creating human-alien hybrids, some of which are indistinguishable from pure human beings. In other articles, we have documented the abduction phenomenon in explicit detail.

And why would they do this? To create a race of beings from which the Antichrist will emerge. In Revelation, he is called the “beast.” A beast is not a human being.

We have arrived at the heart of this “unmentionable” topic: human/alien hybridization. If it’s in the Bible, and if we see the first signs of it in daily observation, we should discuss it.

In Daniel, Chapter Eleven, the prophet gives us his view of the “beast.” It is couched in terms of what we would call “the supernatural.” But again, we must deal with it as a reality:

“36 And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things. 39 Thus shall he do in the most strong holds with a strange god, whom he shall acknowledge and increase with glory: and he shall cause them to rule over many, and shall divide the land for gain” (Dan. 11:36-39).

Here, we see Daniel’s vision of the Antichrist. His description, perfectly in agreement with that seen in Revelation, displays a persona of things mystical and paranormal. He appears as superhuman, above earthly temptations of the flesh, disdaining relations with women and with any competing “god.” He sees himself as unique, even indomitable. His appearance suggests that he is something different from a normal human being. In fact, it is strongly suggested that he is controlled by a dark power who occupies and guides his mind. He would not be the first despot to fit this category, but he will be the most powerful example of it. To ordinary humans, he will seem like a superior being, able to summon the powers of the heavens.

In short, he is seen as godlike, making amazing proclamations of virtually divine nature, during the Tribulation.

He does not honor the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. But he establishes himself in Jerusalem, apparently in an edifice built upon the Temple Mount. Who is he?

Seen in the context above, he must be something other than human … a semi-human creature spawned by the mysterious “they” of Daniel’s earlier vision.

We live in alarming proximity to the fulfillment of this prophecy. At present, we are in transition to a time when the supernatural will become the natural.

We have reached the time when Bible prophecy has become serious. Its dark side is rapidly becoming visible. This being the case, the end of the Church Age must be very, very near

comet.

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Is the Sky Falling? – Perry Stone

I won’t rehash the recent event that made global news, neither will I comment on the numerous “talking heads” making comments and warning the world of a possible asteroid striking the earth. The attention of the world was riveted to Russia, where over 1,000 people were injured in a town – not from the asteroid striking buildings, but from doors being blown open and from flying glass from thousands of broken windows. The wreckage was caused when this large asteroid entered the earth’s atmosphere.

Several eyewitnesses taped the arrival of the cosmic object on their cell phones and the images have gone viral on the internet and have been viewed by millions over television. Within days, over California, Europe and Cuba, individuals reported the streaks in the heaven where small asteroids or “fallen stars” broke up. In one week, four asteroids were spotted coming close to the earth. In January, I along with Larry and Gina Bean were flying from Florida in the ministry plane when the pilot said, “Look out the front window!” We all were stunned and amazed to see a small asteroid or falling star breaking apart as it entered the earth’s atmosphere. We were flying 24,000 feet in the air and the night sky was clear. There were countless streaks and sparks behind the moving object. My comment was, “What would happen if our plane was in the track of that object?”

There are numerous prophecies in both the Old and New Testament that indicate a shaking in the heavens (Isa. 13), and stars falling from heaven (Matt. 24:29). In fact, Luke speaks of “signs in the sun, moon and the stars,” and of “great and fearful signs from heaven” (Luke 21:11; 25). When the cosmic heaven is shaken and the falling stars and asteroids strike the earth, this is a major sign of the return of the Lord. In the book of Revelation, a “star” falls from heaven, striking an unknown location on earth, causing a third of the grass and trees to be destroyed and the water to become bitter. In Greek this word “star” is aster, or literally a fallen heavenly body, such as an asteroid (Rev. 8:10-11). It has been reported that there are over 10,000 asteroids that could be a danger to the earth and only 1,000 are spotted at this time.

In the future tribulation there will be countless signs from the heaven in the form of falling stars, asteroids and so forth. This is one reason men’s hearts will begin to fail them for fear of looking after those things that are coming upon the earth. Recently, the government conducted a series of investigations on Capitol Hill as to what would occur if a large asteroid were to strike a major city in America, and how can you prepare for it. The answer was a one word statement…”Pray.”

4-horsemen

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Tamar Gas Field Gives Israel Energy Independence

After four years of exploration and drilling, as well as a $3.5 billion investment, Israel announced Saturday that the Tamar offshore gas field has finally come online, a move government officials say will diminish Israel’s dependency on foreign gas imports.

Tamar is believed to have reserves of up to 238 billion cubic meters (8.4 trillion cubic feet). Discovered in 2009, the field, which lies some 130 kilometers (81 miles) west of Haifa, is jointly owned by American company Noble Energy and three Israeli firms: Delek, Isramco and Dor Alon.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on Saturday that the event marked “an important day for Israel’s economy.”

The Energy and Water Resources Ministry confirmed that “natural gas is now moving from the Tamar reservoir to a new naval production rig across from Ashdod, from where it will within 24 hours reach an absorption station in Ashdod.”

Energy and Water Resources Minister Silvan Shalom said, “This is Israel’s energy independence day. It is truly a historic event — Israel has received energy freedom.”

Delek Group owner Yitzhak Tshuva was quoted by Agence France-Presse as saying: “This is a very proud day for all of us. Our vision has become a reality. This is a tremendous achievement for the Israeli energy market and the beginning of a new era.”

International Relations, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, who — while serving as finance minister in Netanyahu’s previous government — promoted legislation that paved the way for offshore drilling in Israel, said, “Pumping natural gas from Tamar will not only afford Israel clean and cheap energy, but it will also yield the state considerable revenue.”

The royalties the three Tamar partners will pay the state and Israel’s potential natural gas exports are expected to yield some 450 billion shekels (about $123 billion) in state revenue over the next 25 years, AFP said.

Israel generates approximately 40 percent of its electricity from natural gas and until 2012, Egypt provided much of those needs. That supply, however, was constantly interrupted in the wake of the Egyptian revolution, as the pipeline connecting the two countries was repeatedly blown up by terrorists. Cairo canceled its gas supply agreement with Israel in April 2012, claiming the terms of the deal were undermining Egypt’s interests.

Despite the fact that Tamar has come online, domestic electricity prices are not expected to drop. Israel Electric Corp. announced that its plan for a 6.5% price hike, slated for mid-April 2013, still stands. Tamar’s gas supplies are expected to affect the domestic consumers’ power bill in 2015 at the earliest.

Energy experts said that Tamar has the ability to meet Israel’s energy needs for decades and it is expected to save the market about 13 billion shekels ($3.6 billion) a year; as well as create thousands of new jobs and promote Israel’s position in the world energy market.

Israel’s second offshore gas field, Leviathan, which has yet to come online, is twice the size of Tamar, AFP said. It is believed to contain 450 billion cubic meters (some 15.9 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas. Once online, Leviathan has the potential to make Israel a key player in the world energy market.

The Energy and Water Resources Ministry estimated in 2012 that once Tamar and Leviathan are both fully operational, Israel would be able to export some 53% of its natural gas.

israel_flag

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Iran crisis: Would Israel launch an attack?

As US President Barack Obama arrives in Israel, he does so amid a growing sense of urgency among the Israeli leadership over Iran’s nuclear programme – and the possibility it will take military action to stop it.

The window in which to solve the crisis by peaceful means, estimated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN last September as this spring or summer, is closing, and the prospect of a military strike looms.

Then, the prime minister, in front of a global audience, famously produced a caricature of an Iranian “nuclear bomb” and, with a red marker pen, drew a line near the top – making crystal clear where along Iran’s path of uranium enrichment Israel would not allow it to reach.

Just days earlier, America had spurned Israeli attempts to set deadlines publicly, reiterating a preference for negotiations as “by far the best approach”.

In Mr Netanyahu’s view, discussions with Iran have served only to buy it time to finish its nuclear project, and are pointless unless coupled with a credible military threat.

The key question observers and analysts disagree over is whether this is merely a strategy by Mr Netanyahu to apply the greatest possible pressure on the US to take more robust action to get results, or whether he would actually order a strike.

“He’s not bluffing at all,” says Maj Gen (ret) Giora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council. “He believes if, at the end of the day all other options are exhausted – and there are only two options: either get used to nuclear weapons in Iran or try to stop it by Israeli means – then he will prefer the second.”

Israeli intelligence

In fact, an Israeli investigative programme said in 2010 an order was issued by Mr Netanyahu to the Israeli military to prepare for a strike on Iran within hours if required, but that the order was cancelled due to strong opposition from Israel’s military and intelligence chiefs.

I think Israel will not attack Iran for many reasons, above all because the United States doesn’t want Israel to attack Iran – it’s as simple as that”

A flurry of reports in August 2012 also suggested Israel was preparing a strike before that November’s US presidential elections.

At that time though, previous heads of Israel’s intelligence establishment publicly declared their opposition, saying an attack on Iran would be unsuccessful and counter-productive.

Among them was former domestic intelligence agency director Yuval Diskin, who expressed the view that bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would only lead it to accelerate its programme.

However, counter-opinion is grounded in precedent, with Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.

“When we were planning Osirak, we believed the operation would put back [Iraq’s nuclear programme] by three or four years,” says Dr Shmuel Bar, Director of Studies at the Institute of Policy and Strategy in Herzliya.

“Actually it put it back by 10 years – so you never really know when you shuffle cards what the results are going to be. So from the point of view of criticism that Israel won’t do it because Israel can only do so much damage, I think that’s a misconception.”

Such a result might only be achieved, though, if Mr Netanyahu acts sooner rather than later. Former Defence Minister Ehud Barak has said Iran could reach a “zone of immunity” – the point at which fortification of its nuclear sites would render a military strike ineffective – as soon as spring.

The single most important factor though in influencing any decision to attack Iran will be Israeli intelligence reports. While the intelligence establishment has not yet countenanced an attack, its position could change at any time – if, for instance, it believes Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has decided to actually go for a nuclear bomb.

“The possibility of an Israeli strike is realistic and even probable under certain circumstances,” says Brig Gen (ret) Shlomo Brom, of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

“For example, a situation in which Israel will have credible intelligence that Iran is on the verge of breaking out to military capability”, a process which could take as little as a few weeks. This is the “final stage” Mr Netanyahu said he would never let Iran begin.

Historical outlook

In judging whether Mr Netanyahu would order an attack or not, one has to take into account the forces which shape his character, particularly the importance with which he views history and the idea of destiny.

“History will not forgive those who do not stop Iran’s nuclear programme,” he said in January.

Iraq and Syria attacks: The precedents?

In June 1981 the Israeli air force bombed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, destroying it in the process. The operation followed years of public protest by Israel towards France and Italy, both involved in the reactor’s construction.

It was eventually carried out, after 18 months of heated secret debate within the political and security echelons, despite the opposition of the heads of military intelligence and Mossad, and without any of the same kind of current public debate about what to do over Iran.

The attack which destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor near Deir Ezzor in September 2007 has been widely attributed to Israel, though Israel has never confirmed or denied responsibility.

Like Osirak, the strike was not preceded by public debate in Israel, not least because no-one knew of the reactor’s existence.

The operation is still shrouded in secrecy, although reports afterwards said the then-Defence Minister Ehud Barak opposed the timing of the attack.

Israel did not inform the US in advance of its strike on Osirak, nor of its alleged bombing of the Syrian plant.

Time and again he has drawn parallels between the Iranian nuclear crisis and the world’s failure to prevent WWII and the Holocaust while it still had the chance.

“I don’t think Mr Netanyahu’s threats are rhetorical,” says Dr Bar. “You have to put it in an historic context of a leader of a certain age – [Netanyahu] has a tendency not only to look at politics but also at his role in history.

“There’s no doubt in his mind that Iran wants to acquire a nuclear weapon and will do so if allowed – if he’s PM and that happens, then he goes down in history as the person who allowed the existential threat to materialise, especially after having said he’s not going to allow it – so that’s tremendous pressure on any political leader to take action.”

However, Mr Netanyahu’s frequent warnings are taken by some as an indication he is not intending to act. Among the doubters is Yossi Melman, one of Israel’s leading security and intelligence journalists.

“Netanyahu’s threats are not realistic. He’s always talking about it – if you talk about it too much then I don’t believe you have intentions of doing it, because in the past when Israel and Israeli leaders wanted to do something they did it without talking,” says Mr Melman, author of Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars.

“That was the case when we destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, that was the case in 2007 with the Syrian nuclear reactor. Yes Netanyahu’s aware of history, but he is making this stupid, unnecessary comparison with the Holocaust – we are not facing a new Holocaust.

“I think Israel will not attack Iran for many reasons, above all because the United States doesn’t want Israel to attack Iran – it’s as simple as that.”

Public opinion

The position of the United States is critical to any Israeli decision to attack Iran, and is of prime importance in shaping Israeli public opinion on the issue.

Polls taken in the summer and autumn last year suggest a majority of Israelis are opposed to military action against Iran without US support.

We’ve had this war coming with Iran for more than 10 years now, but to me it’s a lot of bluff”

Dr Yehuda Ben Meir, of the Public Opinion and Security project at the National Institute for Security Studies, believes this is in large part to do with not wanting to jeopardise US support for Israel.

“It’s clear this is a very important factor in Israeli public opinion because of the tremendous importance that Israelis attach to the close relationship with United States,” he says.

“If the public does not see an attack as creating tension in Israeli-American relations, then support for it will be much higher.”

Shmuel Bar points out that Israel did not inform the US in advance of the attack on Osirak or its alleged attack on the Syrian reactor, and may take the same approach in attacking Iran, as a way of side-stepping a potential “red light” from the US altogether.

Even so, there are those who reject an attack on Iran under any circumstances.

Graphic designer Ronny Edry has harnessed some of that opposition through a movement spawned on Facebook called “Israel Loves Iran”.

It has just marked its first anniversary, notching up over 108,000 likes, a third of which come from Israelis.

“We’ve had this war coming with Iran for more than 10 years now, but to me it’s a lot of bluff,” he says, sitting in his third-floor apartment in Tel Aviv.

“I don’t think Israel will attack Iran and Iran won’t attack Israel because it would mean mutually assured destruction. But if you talk too much about war it’s really dangerous – at some point you’re going to have to prove yourself, you’re going to have to go there, so what we really need to do now is calm the situation down.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4874

Russia Sending Permanent Warship Fleet To Mediterranean: Is A Russian Naval Base In Cyprus Coming Next?

That Russia has previously threatened, and followed through with, sending ships to the Mediterranean is nothing new. In the past, every such episode was related to the protection of what Putin considered vital geopolitical interests in the region: whether defending the Syrian port of Tartus, various crude and natural gas pipelines in the region threatened by NATO expansion in Turkey, or offsetting heightened US presence around Gaza and Israel (and of course Iran). Which is why with the legacy conflicts in the region dormant, and the only news of any relevance being the European intervention in Cyprus against Russian oligarch interests, it is surprising we learn today that the Russian Navy will dispatch a permanent fleet of five or six combat ships to the Mediterranean Sea, with frigates and cruisers making up the core of the fleet.

How far into the Mediterranean one wonders? It wouldn’t be too difficult to put two and two together and assume that with Cyprus just a few hundreds kilometers away from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Israel, Russia may have not only a new geopolitical target, namely the now pseudo-insolvent Russian protectorate of Cyprus, but a perfect alibi to be in the region as well, and more importantly, have a Plan B to the Syrian port of Tartus which is Russia’s only naval base in the region.

How soon until we read that Russia is willing to invest even more unguaranteed loans into the Cypriot financial system…. in exchange for one tiny little naval and/or military base?

“Up to five or six ships must be on a permanent basis in the Mediterranean Sea. They should be controlled through the command of the Black Sea Fleet,” Russian TV channel Zvezda quoted Admiral Chirkov as saying.

Supply vessels will also be included in the permanent deployment to the Mediterranean.

The decision to send Russian ships to the Mediterranean’s waters was first announced on March 11 by Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.

“I think that we have everything to create and maintain such a grouping. Certainly, this shows the positive dynamics of development of the Navy,” Shoigu told top officers of the Russian Armed Forces. By 2020, the Russian Navy will include eight missile submarines, 16 multipurpose subs and 54 combat ships, he added.

Chirkov said that top Navy officers are currently in the process of strategizing the deployment of a combat group to the Mediterranean. He also said that Russia is prepared to send combat ships to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

“There was an experience in the history of the Navy when we had squadrons in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Of course, if needed, we will [advise] the Defense Ministry’s top officials, the government and the President [on the deployment of] task forces on a permanent basis there,” Chirkov explained.

And an example of the kind of ship that will soon be floating in Cyprus’ back yard:

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4871

Billionaires Dumping Stocks, Economist Knows Why

By Newsmax Wires

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Despite the 6.5% stock market rally over the last three months, a handful of billionaires are quietly dumping their American stocks . . . and fast.

Warren Buffett, who has been a cheerleader for U.S. stocks for quite some time, is dumping shares at an alarming rate. He recently complained of “disappointing performance” in dyed-in-the-wool American companies like Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Foods.

In the latest filing for Buffett’s holding company Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett has been drastically reducing his exposure to stocks that depend on consumer purchasing habits. Berkshire sold roughly 19 million shares of Johnson & Johnson, and reduced his overall stake in “consumer product stocks” by 21%. Berkshire Hathaway also sold its entire stake in California-based computer parts supplier Intel.

With 70% of the U.S. economy dependent on consumer spending, Buffett’s apparent lack of faith in these companies’ future prospects is worrisome.

Unfortunately Buffett isn’t alone.

Fellow billionaire John Paulson, who made a fortune betting on the subprime mortgage meltdown, is clearing out of U.S. stocks too. During the second quarter of the year, Paulson’s hedge fund, Paulson & Co., dumped 14 million shares of JPMorgan Chase. The fund also dumped its entire position in discount retailer Family Dollar and consumer-goods maker Sara Lee.

Finally, billionaire George Soros recently sold nearly all of his bank stocks, including shares of JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs. Between the three banks, Soros sold more than a million shares.

So why are these billionaires dumping their shares of U.S. companies?

After all, the stock market is still in the midst of its historic rally. Real estate prices have finally leveled off, and for the first time in five years are actually rising in many locations. And the unemployment rate seems to have stabilized.

It’s very likely that these professional investors are aware of specific research that points toward a massive market correction, as much as 90%.

One such person publishing this research is Robert Wiedemer, an esteemed economist and author of the New York Times best-selling book Aftershock.

Before you dismiss the possibility of a 90% drop in the stock market as unrealistic, consider Wiedemer’s credentials.

In 2006, Wiedemer and a team of economists accurately predicted the collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, and consumer spending that almost sank the United States. They published their research in the book America’s Bubble Economy.

The book quickly grabbed headlines for its accuracy in predicting what many thought would never happen, and quickly established Wiedemer as a trusted voice.

A columnist at Dow Jones said the book was “one of those rare finds that not only predicted the subprime credit meltdown well in advance, it offered Main Street investors a winning strategy that helped avoid the forty percent losses that followed . . .”

The chief investment strategist at Standard & Poor’s said that Wiedemer’s track record “demands our attention.”

And finally, the former CFO of Goldman Sachs said Wiedemer’s “prescience in (his) first book lends credence to the new warnings. This book deserves our attention.”

In the interview for his latest blockbuster Aftershock, Wiedemer says the 90% drop in the stock market is “a worst-case scenario,” and the host quickly challenged this claim.

Wiedemer calmly laid out a clear explanation of why a large drop of some sort is a virtual certainty.

It starts with the reckless strategy of the Federal Reserve to print a massive amount of money out of thin air in an attempt to stimulate the economy.

“These funds haven’t made it into the markets and the economy yet. But it is a mathematical certainty that once the dam breaks, and this money passes through the reserves and hits the markets, inflation will surge,” said Wiedemer.

“Once you hit 10% inflation, 10-year Treasury bonds lose about half their value. And by 20%, any value is all but gone. Interest rates will increase dramatically at this point, and that will cause real estate values to collapse. And the stock market will collapse as a consequence of these other problems.”

And this is where Wiedemer explains why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros could be dumping U.S. stocks:

“Companies will be spending more money on borrowing costs than business expansion costs. That means lower profit margins, lower dividends, and less hiring. Plus, more layoffs.”

No investors, let alone billionaires, will want to own stocks with falling profit margins and shrinking dividends. So if that’s why Buffett, Paulson, and Soros are dumping stocks, they have decided to cash out early and leave Main Street investors holding the bag.

But Main Street investors don’t have to see their investment and retirement accounts decimated for the second time in five years.

Wiedemer’s video interview also contains a comprehensive blueprint for economic survival that’s really commanding global attention.

Now viewed over 40 million times, it was initially screened for a relatively small, private audience. But the overwhelming amount of feedback from viewers who felt the interview should be widely publicized came with consequences, as various online networks repeatedly shut it down and affiliates refused to house the content.

“People were sitting up and taking notice, and they begged us to make the interview public so they could easily share it,” said Newsmax Financial Publisher Aaron DeHoog.

“Our real concern,” DeHoog added, “is the effect even if only half of Wiedemer’s predictions come true.

“That’s a scary thought for sure. But we want the average American to be prepared, and that is why we will continue to push this video to as many outlets as we can. We want the word to spread.”

2012-trends-08162012

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4864

Jewish Home, Yesh Atid ink coalition deal with Likud-Beytenu

The Jewish Home and Yesh Atid parties signed a coalition agreement with Likud-Beytenu Friday afternoon, paving the way for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to swear-in his new government early next week.

“We promised during elections to take care of the cost of living, to increase competition in the marketplace and to restore to the state its Jewish soul, and now we’ve got the tools to do it,” Jewish Home head Naftali Bennett told reporters.

“With God’s help, we signed it. The 33rd government is ready to go!” he wrote on his Facebook account. “I encourage Prime Minister Netanyahu and all of us Cabinet ministers to remember that we are representatives of the entire Israeli public.”

The coalition agreement had seemed a done deal on Wednesday, but hit a snag Thursday after Jewish Home representatives skipped a final meeting with Likud-Beytenu negotiators, over the issue of whether Bennett would be afforded a deputy prime minister title.

According to the new deal, both Bennett and Lapid will forgo the mostly ceremonial title, Israel Radio reported.

In return, Bennett will head the Cabinet panel on concentration of wealth and market competition, and his party will head a joint Knesset committee tasked with drafting a new universal military conscription law, Ynet news reported.

On Thursday, representatives of Jewish Home failed to arrive for a scheduled noon meeting with Likud chief negotiator David Shimron, amid reports that the prime minister’s wife delayed the final completion of coalition talks by demanding that Bennett — with whom she reportedly fell out when he served as her husband’s chief of staff from 2006-2008 — not be given the title of deputy prime minister. The same title was also therefore to be denied to fellow putative coalition partner Lapid, who worked closely with Bennett during the negotiations.

Shimron said it was an “ugly spin” to claim that Sara Netanyahu was responsible for the “ridiculous” argument over the deputy prime minister designations, and was sure “Mrs. Netanyahu has nothing to do with this.”

Jewish Home sources told Israel Radio that “the decision was one-sided and endangered work relations in the emerging government.”

Likud sources said they had been in contact with Yesh Atid representatives, who also requested that Lapid maintain the title, but that it wasn’t an ultimatum.

The last-minute argument appeared particularly marginal, since the title of “deputy prime minister” does not signify that its holder fills in for the prime minister when he is abroad or incapacitated. In fact, Likud officials said Thursday, the government would have to choose a stand-in PM when necessary, and he or she would come from the main party of the government.

Netanyahu will now be free to formally notify President Shimon Peres on Saturday night — the final day of the six weeks allocated to him — that he has mustered a Knesset majority. The coalition will comprise four parties: Likud-Beytenu (31 seats), Yesh Atid (19), Jewish Home (12) and Hatnua (6), for a total of 68 members in the 120-seat Knesset.

The outgoing government is set to hold a final meeting on Sunday, and the new government is likely to be sworn in Monday — some 48 hours before the scheduled arrival of Barack Obama on his first presidential visit.

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