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A Sign For The Rapture?

Most people have an idea of the coming Biblical judgment on earth, although their skepticism may override their thinking on the matter. It is portrayed on the evening news and in the Hollywood movies. Armageddon, for example, is a term used often by the secular world, even though they have little to no knowledge of the subject matter. Rapture, Tribulation, Armageddon, these words are thrown around like rice at a wedding, usually in order to induce excitement or to make a point. I’m still speaking of the secular part of society of course. Unfortunately, many Christians are no more educated on these terms than they.

My only intent at this time is to clear up a misconception about the Rapture. Is there anything that must be fulfilled before the Rapture can take place? For those who may not know what I mean by “Rapture,” it is the event when Jesus Christ comes for His Church, His Bride, and removes all true Christians from the earth prior to the beginning of the seven years of Tribulation.

Jesus told us in His Word that there would be signs ushering in and included in the Tribulation that will be on earth (Matthew 24, et al). The Tribulation is a commonly recognized name for Daniel’s Seventieth Week, which is simply the remaining seven years God promised Israel. These remaining seven years will occur just prior to Christ’s second coming to the earth (Matthew 24:29-31). His first coming was to die on the cross and leave an empty grave to make provision for all who come to Him in belief to be spiritually born again (John 3). His second coming is to put an end to the seventieth year, the Tribulation, and rule the world for the next one thousand years. I understand that this is very simply stated and basic, but my intention again is the Rapture.

The seven years of Tribulation on this earth is going to take place soon. When? I don’t know. I do know that there are so many signs that are self-evident and exponentially increasing, it can’t be far off. This period will be the most horrific time mankind has every endured upon this earth. It cannot be hell, for hell is far worse, but it will seem like hell on earth.

Prior to this seven year period of judgment and reconciliation, judgment for the world and reconciliation for Israel, Jesus will remove all those who have put their trust in Him (Revelation 3:10, et al). They are called Christians, His Church and His Bride. These are true believers, not those who espouse Christianity for their convenience, but actually have put their trust in Jesus Christ through their belief in Him, and have been saved by His grace. By removing His Church He will end the dispensation of the Church Age and return to Israel to complete the promises He made her.

Is there any sign, any prophecy, anything that needs to happen before the Rapture occurs, now that we understand what the Rapture means? No. The Rapture has always been an imminent event, meaning that it is always looming and pending with sudden expectancy. It can occur at any time, and will be over within the “twinkling of an eye” after it starts. There will be no time to think, no time to call forth, “Take me too!” At the snap of a finger, God’s in this case, the world will be thrust into the last seven years it has to exist, prior to the thousand years where Christ will rule the earth as it should be, a time called the Millennium, meaning “thousand years.”

Two things will happen, in case you haven’t noticed it yet, that will be so instantaneous and unchanging when the Rapture occurs. In the “twinkling of an eye” those who know Jesus as their Savior will be transported to Heaven, and in that same “twinkling of an eye” those who have not trusted in Jesus will be left to endure all that the Tribulation has to offer.

I ask again. Is there anything that must happen that could forewarn the world that the Rapture is about to take place? Is there something that the world can grab hold of at the last minute, so they won’t miss it? No.

Here is where I find it unfortunate that some prophecy students and/or scholars make one statement that seems to nullify this thing about signs for the Rapture. I am dismayed that some will say that when the Gospel has been preached in all the world, then Christ will come for His Church. This is taken from Matthew 24:14.

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

They go on to state that in the electronic age we live in with television, internet, travel, etc. we have almost reached everyone and it won’t be long now.

My dear friends please pass the word along that Matthew 24:14 has nothing to do with the Church Age. The Church will be long gone at this point. This Scripture passage is for those in the Tribulation. Before the Tribulation ends, the world will hear the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom.” Then the end will come.

Notice four truths of this verse:

1.     “gospel of the kingdom” – the Gospel that Jesus Christ is coming to reign (Millennium)

2.     “shall be preached in all the world” – by 144,000 Jews, by two prophets, and one angel

3.     “for a witness unto all nations” – all nations, and their peoples, that have been in rebellion against God during the Tribulation

4.     “then the end shall come” – the Second Coming, when Jesus Christ will return with His Church (Bride) to end the seven year Tribulation period and usher in His one thousand year reign, the Millennium.

Notice the verses preceding and following Matthew 24:14. Jesus is talking about the seven year period of Tribulation, not the time prior to the Rapture, the period we are now in, which is prior to the Tribulation.

However, notice this also, as I have previously said. Since we are seeing so many signs attributable to the Tribulation, which follows the Rapture, doesn’t that tell us that the Rapture could be close at hand? How close? I haven’t a clue. We’ll have to wait and see, but there are no signs for the Rapture, including Matthew 24:14. It can happen at any time, and it will happen without warning.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4275

Building a Throne in the Middle East

 

The Turkish AK Party is on the verge of altering the balance of power in the Middle East. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan could soon be recognized as the most powerful man in the region.

Erdogan is campaigning to merge the offices of Turkey’s president and prime minister. Currently, the Turkish presidency is a ceremonial role with some judicial appointments, but the president also has the power to call for referenda, appoint the chief of the Turkish military and to mobilize the Turkish military. However, the chief of the general staff is the effective commander in chief, with the president only having a figurehead role. That could change.

The prime minister is the head of government, leader of Parliament and the driver of the legislative agenda. He also coordinates the foreign policy of the government but is limited by the powers of Parliament and the need to seek approval in advance for many initiatives. Erdogan has been open about his admiration of French and U.S.-style executive power.

The similarity between Erdogan and another regional strongman have not gone unnoticed. Islamism expert and Turkey observer Joel Richardson has noted the danger.

“No doubt, Turkey has found its Putin. One notable difference, however, is that Erdogan is loved both within and outside of his home country. While some have said that in Putin, a new czar has emerged, it’s actually much more accurate to say that in Erdogan, a new caliph has emerged. Even Khaled Meshaal, the exiled political leader of Hamas, recently stated, ‘Erdogan, you are not only a leader in Turkey now, you are a leader in the Muslim world as well.’”

Mr. Erdogan has pursued his goals relentlessly. When the AK Party did not win the two-thirds majority in Parliament necessary to unilaterally rewrite the Turkish constitution, it settled for a less ambitious amendment project and won a 2010 referendum, which enhanced the powers of the party but included minor reforms that pleased European Union observers. In 2007 the party pushed through the switch from a parliamentary vote for the presidency to a popular one and allowed presidents a second term.

Now, even without the merged powers of the prime minister’s office, the future presidents of Turkey will have increased influence through a personal mandate from the voters. Additionally, the 2007 changes forbid former presidents from seeking popular election, which – coincidentally, I’m sure – leaves Erdogan with a smaller pool of credible rivals but allows the prime minister to run without resigning from his office prior to the election. However, Erdogan must achieve his goals soon; he recently won his third term as head of the AK Party, which bans fourth terms for its leaders. Erdogan has announced that he will keep his word to leave the premiership in 2015. If, however, the presidency is reshaped in time for presidential elections in 2014, the prime minister may have a better job to go to anyway.

There is a fear that the Iranian regime and its terrorist network are in a position to seize hegemony in the Middle East. With its influence in Syria and Lebanon, it is believed that Iran is positioning itself to build a petro-terrorist empire. However, the Iranian clerics are not in a position to challenge Turkey. If they were to try, I believe that the tale of the tape is weighted in Turkey’s favor.

As a member of NATO the Turkish military has received American military technology and boasts a modern command-and-control structure. Additionally, the Turkish economy has grown by an average of over 5 percent for a decade, a record that is the envy of the United States and Western Europe. Turkey and Iran are nearly equal in population, with 79 million people in Turkey and 78 million in Iran. But the Turkish GDP is $770 billion while the poorer Iranians make do with $330 billion. Richardson has emphasized the scale of Turkish economic ambition, highlighting the fact that “Prime Minister Erdogan has recently announced plans to renovate a massive section of Istanbul as an international banking center that will compete with Dubai.”

Economics do not reveal the entirety of Iranian disadvantage, however. As always in Middle Eastern calculations, the religious element must be considered. While the populations are equal, the Turkish population is 75 percent ethnic Turkish, while only 53 to 61 percent of Iranians are Persian. Additionally, 20 percent of Iranians are members of various Turkic ethnic groups sharing cultural and linguistic ties with Turkey. Further, while 99 percent of Turkish citizens are Sunni, the Shia population of Iran is an 89 percent majority with a not-to-be-ignored 10 percent Sunni minority. The Sunni Arab states – with the significant exception of Shia-dominated Iraq – are more likely to accept Turkish leadership over Iranian Shia dominance.

Mr. Erdogan has a firm foundation on which to build Turkish hegemony. Could the Iranians accept Turkish power? Maybe. It is not impossible for them to experience a “revelation” that allows for Shia-Persian and Sunni-Turkish rapprochement. In any event the Iranians will recognize that if the Sunnis support Turkey, al-Qaida and other allied groups could match Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies in terrorist lethality. The AK Party and Prime Minister Erdogan’s time is coming.

Joel Richardson agrees: “There is no question that in the chess match for regional dominance, Turkey is about to place Iran in checkmate. While Iran’s economy is buckling under the pressure of sanctions, the Iranian regime is struggling to appear confident while fighting to avoid a free fall into hyper-inflation. Meanwhile, Turkey’s economy is roaring. The final straw that will break Iran’s back and set in motion the final shift toward Turkey’s ascendancy will be the fall of Basshar Assad’s Alawite regime that functions as an Iranian proxy. In the absence of an Iranian pawn in Syria, Erdogan will no doubt extend his Sunni paternal hand of assistance to the newly forming government. All of this together will guarantee Turkey’s dominance over the Middle East.”

Richardson’s appraisal of potential counterbalances to Turkey in the Arab counties is bleak: “After Iran falls under Turkey’s growing umbrella of power, only Egypt and Saudi Arabia will remain.” This outcome would render U.S. hegemony in the Middle East untenable. Neither would China or Russia be able to take America’s place without military intervention. In either case, if Turkey can stabilize its hegemony, it would be able to defeat any attempt at interventionism.

Turkey is unhindered in its rise. Europe and North America are largely blind to the danger. The Western diplomatic establishment – including the U.S. leadership – continues to see Turkey through the pre-2002 paradigm that existed before the AK Party took over. They view Turkey as a model for Muslim democracy. They should be reminded that Erdogan was jailed by Turkey’s secular authorities – and initially banned from taking office as prime minister – for inciting religious hatred with the words “the mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers. …”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4265

A Critique Of The Preterist Interpretation Of Daniel 2 & 7

Another Joel Richardson classic!

A Critique Of The Preterist Interpretation Of Daniel 2 & 7

10/07/2012

By Joel Richardson – “In the second chapter of the Book of the Prophet Daniel, we are introduced to King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of a massive metallic statue:

“You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” —Daniel 2:31-33

The statue, we are then told, represents a series of historical kingdoms or empires. Daniel informs the king that the first component of the statue, that of gold, represents the historical Babylonian Empire, which Nebuchadnezzar ruled over. Scholars and commentators are in general agreement that the next three empires represented by the respective metals of silver, bronze, and Iron are the Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman empires. Though this is the majority position, in my book, Mideast Beast, I demonstrate that the descriptions of the kingdom of Iron laid out within the text align perfectly with the historical Islamic Caliphate, and not with the Roman Empire. Though this view will likely be met with skepticism by those who have not yet considered the exegetical and historical arguments in support of this view, what is unarguable is that during the final days of the fourth kingdom of iron, a stone suddenly appears and strikes the feet of the statue, causing the entire statue to shatter:

As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. —Daniel 2:34

Commentators of all persuasions identify the stone as representing the Messianic Kingdom of God here on the earth. As the stone shatters the statue, the fragments are seen to blow away as dry chaff in the Autumn winds. The stone however, is seen to grow and spread, until it fills the entire earth:

Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. —Daniel 2:35

Later, in Daniel 7, we are given further details concerning the timing of this victory of the Kingdom of God over pagan earthly governments. There, we are told that it will come after a period of intense persecution, even near complete victory, by the final empire, against the saints:

“I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.” —Daniel 7:21-22

This is essential to note. The timing of the coming of the Messianic Kingdom of God is placed in the midst of an intense period of great persecution against ‘the saints of the Highest One’. It is not until after this period of great tribulation that the saints then come to possess the Kingdom of God.

The Futurist versus the Preterist Interpretation

Among Christian interpreters, there exists disagreement concerning the nature and timing of the stone striking the statue. Those who take the Futurist position understand this event to remain yet in the future. The feet of mixed iron and clay represent a secondary, distinct and final manifestation of the empire or iron—the final Antichrist empire—which will be utterly destroyed when Jesus returns. The stone, of course, represents the second coming of Jesus the Messiah, whose kingdom will then come to dominate the whole world.

Alternately, the Preterist interpretation sees the feet of mixed iron and clay to simply be one with the legs of iron. To the preterist, there exists no distinction between the legs of iron and the feet of mixed iron and mixed clay. The stone that strikes the feet represents the first coming of Jesus with his invisible, spiritual kingdom. Preterists would claim that the legs and feet represent the historical Roman Empire, which was conquered by the coming of the invisible Kingdom of God. Today, this spiritual kingdom is spreading throughout the earth.

The purpose of this article is to very briefly discuss some of the more obvious failures of the Preterist interpretation of Daniel 2 & 7.

The Five Components of the Statue

The first problem with the Preterist view of Daniel 2 is its inability to account for the two-fold division of the fourth kingdom between the legs and feet. Although the passage speaks of ‘four kingdoms’, when one analyzes the structure of the passage, the statue is seen to be divided into five distinct components. There is both a continuity and a division between the legs of iron and the feet of iron and clay. Consider the following structure of the text translated literally, word for word, in exact order:

The Image Head Fine Gold Breast Arms Silver Belly Thigh Brass Legs Iron Feet Part Iron Part Clay. —Daniel 2:32,33

The following chart demonstrates the organization and structure of the passage, again with the words maintaining their exact order:

Body Part / Element
——————————
Head / Fine Gold
Breast Arms / Silver
Belly Thighs / Brass
Legs / Iron
Feet / Part Iron – Part Clay

Because the Preterist position is unable to satisfactorily account for the clear distinction between the legs of iron and the feet of mixed iron and clay, it is forced to argue that the feet merely represent a particular period within the broader historical Roman Empire. Some argue that the clay intermixed with the iron in the feet represents the mixture of Roman and Jewish-Herodian rule during the first century. This explanation however doesn’t represent the totality of the Roman Empire, but merely one very small segment of the broader empire. Nor does this view satisfactorily account for the sharp distinction between the legs and feet.

The Futurist view however, understands the feet of the statue as describing the broader final period of the fourth empire as defined by its revival in the last days. This latter days revival of the fourth kingdom is clearly articulated by John the Apostle in the Book of Revelation. There, John speaks of the final kingdom as suffering a fatal head wound and coming back to life’

I saw one of his heads as if it had been slain, and his fatal wound was healed. And the whole earth was amazed and followed after the beast —Revelation 13:3

Later, the apostle also speaks of the same final ‘seventh’ empire, as being an empire which ‘was, and is not’ and finally reviving as an ‘eighth’:

The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. —Revelation 17:11

And so it is seen that only the Futurist position is able to reconcile Daniel’s prophecies with the Book of Revelation’s descriptions, accounting for both the continuity and the division of the last empire. The Preterist interpretation however offers only a strange and forced explanation, which does not sufficiently explain the distinction, nor can it define any period within the Roman Empire when any could say that it ‘was and is not’.

It should also be noted that the Preterist position here is forced to understand the seven heads of the Beast to represent specific historical Roman emperors, rather than as historical kingdoms, as is consistent with the motif of ‘mountain’ as found throughout the Bible. While virtually all Preterists attempt to identify the final seventh heads / mountain of Revelation 13 and 17 as referring to some series of historical Roman emperors, it seems as though no two Preterists can agree as to which seven these might be. Virtually every Preterist seems to have a different list of which Roman emperors they believe ‘fit’ the criteria of the prophecy. Futurists however, share general agreement that the seven heads of the beast represent a series of pan-historical, pan-Biblical pagan empires, beginning with Egypt, each which at one time, tried to destroy the Hebrew people and her connection to the promised land.

The Nature of the Destruction of the Statue

Some further insurmountable problems with the Preterist interpretation of Daniel 2 is that the text portrays the final kingdom, in fact, the whole statue, as being destroyed suddenly, immediately, and completely. No sooner does the Messianic rock strike the feet of the statue that it is shattered, and its residue is blown away. The Messianic Kingdom of God fills the whole world leaving no trace of the previous pagan kingdoms. All four of the kingdoms are destroyed ‘at the same time’ (Dan. 2:40, 44). When one compares the descriptions given concerning the end of this final pagan kingdom, in both Daniel 2 and 7, it is clear that the text emphasizes the finality and totality of the transition from pagan to Messianic rule. First, the establishment of the Kingdom of God is expressly placed within a particular timeframe. It is established ‘in the days of those kings’, a reference to the final period of the fourth kingdom:

“And in the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever.” —Daniel 2:44

An essential portion of the above verse is often overlooked. We are informed that, unlike the other kingdoms mentioned within the passage, the Kingdom of God will not be left to others. This same theme is later expressed again in Daniel 7:

“Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. “As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time. —Daniel 7:11-12

Many have misinterpreted this verse to mean that the other kingdoms in Daniel 7 are essentially contemporary empires or kingdoms that exist in their fullness during the time when the fourth kingdom is destroyed. This is not the meaning of this verse however. Instead, its point is to contrast the nature of the destruction of these previous empires. The other empires, unlike the final empire were given to other peoples, with much of their culture, languages and peoples having lived on in those empires that conquered them. This is not the case however with the fourth kingdom. It would first suffer an apparent death. Then, after having come back to life will suffer a final, devastating, immediate and ultimate blow. This is also seen to contrast sharply with the Messianic Kingdom of God, which will never be given to another people, but will last forever:

‘Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’ —Daniel 7:27

Yet history informs us quite clearly that the Roman Empire never met such a fate. In fact, the fate of the Roman Empire was precisely the exact opposite of the descriptions given within Daniel’s prophecy. Instead of meeting an immediate and decisive blow, the Roman Empire continued to exist and even grow for many years after the coming of Jesus in the first century. The Roman Empire, suffering from internal decay and external attacks, sputtered and crept along for another 1400 years after the coming of the Messiah. History informs us that it was not the influence of the Church that destroyed the Roman Empire, but moral decay within, and pagan forces from without. And all of this, over a very long and drawn out time-frame, at various times, in various places, long after the coming of Jesus.

Christo-paganism? Who Assumed Who?

Additionally, it can also be argued that instead of being entirely overwhelmed by the gospel, instead, the Roman Empire essentially incorporated and assumed Christianity into itself, resulting in a significant Roman-pagan influence within the culture, practices, traditions, and even to some measure, the liturgy and doctrines of Christianity. Though I reject the radical views on these matters as argued by Alexander Hislop and many after him, it must be admitted that the exchange between Roman and Christian culture was certainly not entirely one-way.

In keeping with the language of the passage, the Futurist interpretation looks forward to the time when Jesus will return to genuinely shatter the pagan governments, and ungodly systems of this world, resulting in the complete and utter victory of the very real and substantial Messianic Kingdom of God filling the whole earth, leaving no remnant of the former pagan influences.

The Timing of the Coming of the Kingdom: During Great Persecution

Earlier, we showed that the timing of the coming Messianic Kingdom is said to occur specifically during a time of unparalleled persecution by the final empire against the ‘saints of the Highest One’:

“I kept looking, and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them until the Ancient of Days came and judgment was passed in favor of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.” —Daniel 7:21-22

The Preterist interpretation of these chapters cannot account for this clear statement concerning the timing of the coming of the Messianic Kingdom of God. When Jesus came the first time, it was not during a time of unparalleled persecution by the Romans against the Jewish peoples, nor did the Kingdom come later during Roman persecution against the Church. The Futurist position, on the other hand, in faithfulness to the text, looks forward to the time when the Messiah will deliver his people from out of a period of overwhelming persecution under the Antichrist, perhaps even in the near future.

Who Struck Who?

Another point that few Preterists seem to acknowledge is that unlike the descriptions of the prophecy, the Romans struck and killed Jesus, not the other way around. It will not be until Jesus returns that his victorious judgments will be executed against the pagan governments of the earth.

True Messianic Hope

In the perpetual cycle of increasingly frustrating and even outright depressing seasons of political elections, it is heartening to take note of the fact that when the Messiah comes, all corrupt, pagan, and ungodly politicians, governments and unrighteous leaders throughout the earth will be utterly, completely and finally judged and removed. Unlike the vague, partial, and perpetually drawn-out hope that is held-out by the Preterist vision of history (and the future), only Futurism provides us with a vision of the days to come that truly encourages our hearts with the incorruptible hope of a soon coming transition to truly righteous, humble and godly leadership throughout the whole earth. Maranatha! Source – Joel’s Trumpet.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4255

Iran preparing for nuclear war

Despite the statement by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel’s red line on Iran’s illicit nuclear program could be reached by next spring, Iranian officials are adamant that war is close.

In analyzing Mr. Netanyahu’s recent speech to the United Nations General Assembly, an Iranian nuclear policy strategist boasted to state media outlet irannuc.ir that Mr. Netanyahu’s red line is based on the current enrichment process to the 20 percent level at the Fordow nuclear facility. A recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report shows Iran has 90 kilograms of 20 percent enrichment, needing just 130 kilograms of such material for a nuclear bomb, which the Israelis conclude will happen by next spring.

“The first important fact is that Netanyahu has assumed that the speed of 20 percent enrichment by Iran remains the same till next year, but if the speed of such conversion then is changed, the timeline for such capacity will change, too,” said the unnamed strategist, hinting that Iran could obtain the needed material for the bomb sooner than Israel expects.

The Aug. 30 IAEA report showed Iran has doubled the number of centrifuges at its Fordow facility deep within a mountain to more than 2,000, and work continues unabated at the 20 percent enrichment level. Meanwhile, over 10,000 centrifuges at the Natanz facility are enriching to the 3.5 percent level with enough low-enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs, should Iran decide to enrich further. According to a source within Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Iran has already armed some of its ballistic missiles with chemical and biological warheads, to use against Israel should Israel attack.

Revolutionary Guard commanders in recent weeks have warned Iranians that the possibility of war is real. The guards’ chief commander, Mohammad Ali Jafari, said war will break out, and should Israel attack Iran, it will be destroyed. Javad Estaki, another guard commander, recently stated, “The enemy has always threatened us and we consider [the probability of] military confrontation at 100 percent . There are signs that the threat is real, we are ready and the people should be ready, too.”

The radical leaders of the Islamic regime are worried on two fronts as they speed up their nuclear bomb program: They fear an attack on their nuclear facilities before they complete their nuclear bomb goals and internal uprisings due to deteriorating economic conditions.

As the regime prepares for both scenarios, the West must tighten the screws on Iran’s economy with even harsher sanctions, thereby bringing about critical mass for a new Iranian revolution before the regime becomes nuclear-armed.

The Revolutionary Guard, in fear of a break in communications in case of war and internal chaos, has set up command-and-control centers in 31 provinces, acting under the orders of 10 operational bases, with orders to confront any enemy aggression (foot soldiers) and suppress civilian riots.

Thousands of units have been formed within the Revolutionary Guards and Basij paramilitary forces to maintain order and attack protesting civilians.

A recent Intelligence Ministry memo warned Iranian officials that deteriorating economic conditions from international sanctions greatly increase the possibility of an uprising and urged them to take appropriate action.

The once-secret report, according to the Iranian Internet site Kaleme, the official site of the Green movement, specifically warned of riots by hungry masses on the outskirts of major cities across Iran.

The government’s economic commission has concluded that the country will run out of foreign currency reserves in the next six months and that inflation plaguing the Iranian currency will see another steep rise, reports showed.

Last week, the Iranian currency reached a historic low in which one U.S. dollar was equivalent to 39,000 Iranian rials. The commission expects the exchange rate on the open market to increase to more than 67,000 rials. The exchange rate before sanctions on Iranian oil and banks took effect July 1 was about 12,000 rials.

The devaluation in Iranian currency caused riots in downtown Tehran, as hundreds of merchants marched on Parliament in protest of the collapsing currency and the Islamic regime’s financial support of Syria’s government under Bashar Assad. Riot police violently clamped down on protesters. The government will also have problems in making payrolls for its employees and related institutions. Employees could lose 50 percent of their pay.

Western leaders believe that by early next year, economic conditions will force regime leaders, fearing a revolt from within, to change course and negotiate. The Islamic regime is preparing for the worst and racing to the finish line to acquire the bomb, believing that it will become invincible once it does so.

The best course of action for the United States is to support the Iranian people who aspire to freedom and democracy, and help them bring change from within. The country is ripe for revolt, and Western support is critical as the regime prepares to confront its own people over policies the majority of Iranians have long resented.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4249

Archbishop tells UN we need World Government

The Vatican’s Chief Foreign-Policy official, Archbishop Dominque Mamberti ,tells the UN General Assembly that the world has lost confidence in the moral principals that sustain the organization.

The archbishop states that international problems and the economic fears is due to “a profound anthropological crisis—that is, a loss of a common understanding of what is truly human.” The Vatican official explained that “only an international community firmly anchored in authentic values consistent with human dignity can produce viable solutions to new types of conflicts.”

Referring to terrorism, Mamberti  said there needed to be a consensus of mortality  as an antidote  to “new types of conflicts initiated by transnational groups that spread a pseudo-religious ideology of contempt for human rights and civil peace.” He said that the problem is shown “most flagrantly by current developments in the Middle East, and in particular in Syria.”

The archbishop praised the UN’s work for world peace but felt the structure was lacking, stating the organization “deprived of the force of unity and persuasive power that it could legitimately have” because of the lack of a clear international accord on basic moral principles, such as those that were set forth earlier in fundamental international agreements on human rights.

 “How is it,” the archbishop questioned, “that in spite of universal acceptance of the UN charter and fundamental treaties, we cannot establish a real and equitable system of world government?”

Mamberti also mentioned the disparity between the rich and the poor and that “world wide action” is needed to quell the global financial crisis.

Source: catholicculture.org,

My Comment:

Anyone with eyes to see, can see the woman riding the beast. The Vatican is demanding quick action by the UN to bring in world government and a world currency.

It is clear the Vatican is getting impatient by basically asking “Now that you have world wide approval from the nations and everything is in place, why don’t we have world government yet?!”

The Vatican notes,that they will approve of this new world order as long as all of her doctrines and dogmas are accepted into the world religion to come with it.

After the murder of the USA ambassadors, Catholic  Bishop Giovanni Martinelli, the apostolic vicar of Tripoli, told Vatican Insider that Western countries should have the “courage” to ban “all blasphemous projects” and establish “a policy that is respectful of religion.”

This is the beginning of the world religion that will be implemented into the fast approaching world government. No one will be able to insult Islam or Catholicism or other world religions. Freedom of speech will be quelled because the true Gospel will be called hate speech.

The underground church will again resurface as we will join our brothers and sisters who worship in secret in many places around the world.

Revelation 17:1-2

 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4243

Islamic-Christian Alliance in Israel

Islamic-Christian Alliance in Israel

By Gary Stearman on September 30, 2012

The following news item was recently published in Israel: Arutz Sheva, Aug. 27th – “The Temple Mount, the place where Avraham [Abraham] came to sacrifice his son to God, the site of the first and second Jewish Temples, where the Jewish people worshiped for hundreds of years and the focal point of every practicing Jew’s prayers, is under increasing assault from the Islamic-Christian Committee.

“This relatively new Palestinian institution has been able to win the support not only of the entire regional Christian leadership, but also of leading Christian personalities from abroad.

“The Islamic-Christian Commission has just warned that the Israeli authorities are working to impose ‘a false Jewish history’ in Jerusalem, ‘the occupied city,’especially ‘on the area known to Jews as the Temple Mount.’ The Committee warned of a new ‘Judaization.’ Such fabricated lies help the Palestinians to conquer a seat in the international agencies like Unesco and to excite the Muslims against the Jews.”

In this report, we see the sad truth that not all Christians understand the prophetic truth that Israel is destined to return to the Holy Land in the last days. Instead, they view the institutional church – not Israel – as the central element in God’s plan to renew the Earth. Some even envision transferring their ecclesiastical headquarters to Jerusalem when the time is right, to greet the Lord upon His return in the Second Coming.

In their thinking, the church has superseded Israel, and is destined to create the spiritual platform that will pave the way for the Lord’s return, as He brings the Kingdom of God to its final fruition upon Earth.

In their world view, termed “replacement theology,” modern Israel is a temporary accident that will soon be swept aside into the dustbin of history. They see it as a strange offshoot of the Jewish Holocaust of World War II, whose presence in the Middle East is an irritant and obstacle to peace. Prophecy has been improperly taught for centuries; any attempt to correct long-held positions will certainly be met with dramatic resistance.

In this arena, we encounter a real contradiction in the interpretation of Bible prophecy. In sharp contrast with this view, Dispensationalism was developed in the 19th century under the leadership of John Nelson Darby and his immediate support group. They restored the long-extinct Apostolic doctrine of imminency and placed national Israel at the center of prophetic fulfillment.As dispensationalists, we do not see the Church – the body of Christ – as usurping Israel’s central place in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy.

Part of the problem is that Christians who follow denominational creeds are only rarely (if at all) involved in the study of Bible prophecy. Eschatology has been sidelined, and is considered nearly irrelevant. Besides that, it is generally thought to be so divisive in nature that it is approached with caution. For this reason, most seminaries now admonish their young graduates to steer clear of prophetic teaching, except in the most simplistic terms. In other words, be content with, “Jesus will return to Earth some day.” Christians who believe in the latter-day return of Israel to the Holy Land are continually amazed at the widespread failure to understand this basic Bible prophecy.

In fact, there is a long tradition of power politics behind the precautionary stance of today’s theologians. Religious empires have been built and are vigorously protected.

The Islamic-Christian Committee

The Committee mentioned earlier is comprised of theologians who represent the tip of the replacement theology iceberg. They are amillennialists, with an understanding of prophecy that goes back to Augustine, whose writings were a reaction to the allegorical biblical interpretations of earlier church fathers. He cut off their strange prophetic conjectures by denying that there would be a future Millennium.

Of course, national Israel found no place in his view. The Jews had been banished to the four corners of the world, and in his thinking, would never return.

And so, in the early 5th century, he envisioned a thousand-year Church Age. When that period passed, his timing was discredited. His followers in the Roman Church then spiritualized the remaining period, assigning it an indefinite duration. Once again, Israel found no place in this renewal of prophetic interpretation.

Though flawed, Augustine’s system of eschatology found practically universal acceptance in the medieval church. Centuries later, the Roman Church and the later Reformed churches continued to accept his theology as firm and correct tradition, which is still the case, today.

Today’s Islamic-Christian Committee is comprised of church leaders who follow Augustinian eschatology. Naturally, they see Jerusalem as he did: the City of God as capital of the Gentile world. The church institutions they represent are all steeped in this concept of Gentile authority.

One of them (left) is Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canturbury. He has been termed “Anglo-Catholic.” He recently said, “It is impossible to deny that Christians and Muslims have a common agenda here: both faiths have at their heart the living image of a community raised up by God’s call to reveal to the world what God’s purpose is for humanity.”

Fouad Twal, the new Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, serving in that capacity since 2008, recently took part in a meeting with Williams in London, England. There, he protested the fact that there are “more than 550,000 Israelis living in East Jerusalam and the West Bank.” He also spoke against “the demography of Jerusalem changing rapidly with the sacred space being threatened.” In other words, he detests the growing Jewish population there.

Another is the Vatican’s former archbishop in Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah. He has launched appeals in Europe and the United States, urging them to “stop the Hebraization of Jerusalem.”

The founder of the Committee, is Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, Atallah (Theodosius) Hanna. Since his appointment in 2001, quickly established himself as a vigorous political activist, publicly denouncing the “Israeli occupation” and the establishment of a “Palestinian identity.” Naturally, he is very popular among Arabs. Israeli authorities, however, have repeatedly arrested him on charges of “incitement.”

Hanna once said, “The suicide bombers who carry out their activities in the name of religion are national heroes and we’re proud of them.”

Supersessionism

There is a fundamental error in the theology that states it has replaced Israel, which it deems to be forever lost in sin.

Theologians sometimes refer to replacement theology as “supersessionism,” from the English word “supersede.” This church position states that the New Covenent replaces the Mosaic Covenant, which it refers to as the “Old Covenant.” On this basis, it believes that it has inherited the promises made to the biblical Israelites.

It is only natural, therefore, that modern church leaders would view Israel as a temporary obstacle to peace in the Middle East.

However, contemporary scholarship points out a fundamental error in their theology. They begin with the idea that Israel is forever lost in sin, never to be redeemed. However, the Apostle Paul speaks of national Israel as being at the center of God’s long-term plan for this world. Surely, anyone with the slightest experience in Scripture has read Paul’s explanation for the purpose of Israel’s rejection:

“I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness” (Rom. 11:11,12).

Here, he plainly states that the collapse of Israel’s rule in Israel was only temporary. It brought salvation to the Gentiles (through Christ’s death, burial and resurrection at the feast of Firstfruits). Then, he says that they will rise again to fullness. In order to throw out this Scriptural truth, one must nullify Paul as an Apostolic authority. He adds that Israel, like Christ, will rise from the dead:

“For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?” (Rom. 11:15).

But Paul’s pure and simple statement cannot be misinterpreted. It must be ignored. And so it has been, by those who believe that the church has superseded the promised Kingdom, composed of the twelve tribes of Israel.

According to those who follow it, supersessionism expresses itself in several ways. Augustine believed that the church superseded Israel in terms of a new form of management replacing the old. He saw this development as historical and practical.

Others say that supersessionism is structural. It is simply the natural development of God’s ages-long plan for the redemption of the Earth.

Still others see the church’s supersession as God’s punishment of the Jews, who continue to reject Jesus. In the second century, Justin Martyr wrote, “For the true spiritual Israel are we who have been led to God through this crucified Christ.”

In the third century, Hippolytus is quoted as having said, “The Jews … have been darkened in the eyes of your [the Lord’s] soul with a darkness utter and everlasting.”

Among many others, Hippolytus, Origen and Martin Luther held the belief that the Old Testament prophecies once intended for the Jews were now to be interpreted as pertaining to Christians.

And as stated above, most contemporary mainline churches continue to hold various forms of this view, opening the way for emphatic rejection of Israel as legitimately back in the Land.

What’s wrong with this view? First, it is erroneous to believe that the New Covenant is a replacement for the Mosaic Covenant. Christians have not received redemption through the Law of Moses, but through the finished work of Christ.

And the inescapable fact is that the covenant of His priesthood goes back to Abraham, centuries before Moses received the covenant of Law at Mount Horeb.

The Priesthood of Melchizedek

The writer of Hebrews makes this clear, by recalling that Abraham, after his military defeat of the four Gentile Kings, paid a tithe to the priest called Melchizedek.

“Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils. And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is, of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: But he whose descent is not counted from them received tithes of Abraham, and blessed him that had the promises. And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. And here men that die receive tithes; but there he receiveth them, of whom it is witnessed that he liveth. And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, payed tithes in Abraham. For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him” (Heb. 7:4-10).

Levi, the priest of the Mosaic law, is here shown to have an inferior priesthood to that of Melchizedek, by virtue of Abraham’s action toward Melchizedek. The author of Hebrews then goes on to point out that Christ’s spiritual heritage originates from him, rather than from Moses and Aaron:

“If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 7:11-17).

A Spiritual Priesthood

In his first epistle, Peter speaks of those who were not a people, but now through Christ and the mercy of God have become members of His family, having the ability to act as priests and co-regents:

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (I Pet. 2:9,10).

Certainly, this does not imply that God must throw away one group (the Jews) in order to elevate the status of another (the Church).

Yet this is the motivation behind the theology of the Islamic-Christian Committee. It is driven by an ages-long vitriol, expressed in the language of loathing. The group also includes in its membership one Sheikh Tamimi, a high-ranking judge in the Palestinian Authority (PA). He once said, “Perhaps one day the world will awake and realize that these Zionist elements are the bloodletters who hang on the peoples, sucking their blood and consuming their resources.”

The leaders of this group have for a long time, worked hand-in-glove with the PLO, Yasser Arafat, and the PA’s current leader, Mahmoud Abbas.

The Arutz Sheva article concludes with this brief historical note: “23 December, 1995, is the date of the turning point for the Islamic-Christian alliance against the Jews in Jerusalem. The Greek Orthodox patriarch of the holy land, Deodorus I, handed over the custody of Churches in Jerusalem to PLO leader Arafat. This was done in the presence of the Catholic, Anglican and Greek orthodox archbishops.

“The patriarch declared, ‘I am the heir of Sophronius and I am handing the keys (to Christian holy sites in Jerusalem) to the heir of Omar Ibn al-Khattab.’

“Omar, the caliph who claimed Jerusalem from Byzantine rule in 638, gave then Patriarch Sophronius custody of Churches and a pledge to safeguard them. The move was meant to put Christian holy places under the custody of Arafat, a Muslim, and strengthening the Arab-Islamic claim to Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state.”

The article ends with a question: “Will this new Islamic-Christian alliance be able to convince the European Union, the UN and the US to baptize Jerusalem, ‘Al Quds’”? This, the Islamic name for Jerusalem, means “the holy.” In context, it designates the Israeli capital as “the holy place.”

Certainly, it is that, with a history that dates back to Abraham, who paid tithes to the High Priest Melchizedek in this place, and later offered up Isaac here, on the holy mountain. It is the site of both Temples and the rule of King David. Its holiness was established before there ever was an Islam. And its prophetic destiny as God’s city is one of the most basic themes of the Bible. The Committee should know that changing the name of this eternal city will not change what has been written … and what will be fulfilled.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4230

Daystar, TBN ready for Messiah in Jerusalem

If the Messiah descends from the Mount of Olives as foretold in the Bible, America’s two biggest Christian broadcasters are well-positioned to cover it live thanks to recent acquisitions of adjacent Jerusalem studios on a hill overlooking the Old City.

Texas-based Daystar Television Network already beams a 24-hour-a-day live webcam from its terrace. Not to be outdone, Costa Mesa-based Trinity Broadcasting Network last month bought the building next door.

The dueling studios are part of an aggressive push by U.S. evangelical broadcasters seeking to gain a stronger foothold in the holy city. Their presence not only offers boasting rights with American viewers and contributors, but also — and more controversially — a platform for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ to Jews in Israel.

In addition to its new multistory building, TBN is negotiating with Israel’s Yes satellite television provider to secure a full-time home for its evangelical Shalom TV channel.

Daystar already airs its English-language programming in Israel with dedicated channels on both Yes and cable provider HOT Telecommunications Systems, claiming to be the first Christian evangelical broadcaster to transmit a gospel message to Israeli television sets 24 hours a day.

“The main thing we want to do is help sponsor what we call Messianic Jews, or Jews that have received Jesus Christ as their Messiah,” said TBN co-founder Paul Crouch, who recently wrapped up a tour of Israel with 1,800 TBN supporters, most of them from America. “We want to do some Hebrew language programs to reach out to Jews and entice them to read the word of God and become what we call a completed Jew.”

Such proselytizing angers Orthodox Jewish groups who say it threatens the character of a nation that was created as a home for Jewish refugees of the Holocaust. Christian proselytizing is legal in Israel, though the government has at times restricted and discouraged the practice; members of the Jewish faith do not seek to convert those of other faiths.

“One of the things I find offensive is that they are bragging about their missionary work,” said Ellen Horowitz, research director at Jewish Israel, a grass-roots group created in 2008 to track and counteract Christian missionaries in Israel. “They’re actually very in-your-face about it.”

Horowitz said proselytizing is a touchy subject in Israel. “Our people have been through the wringer already with either persecution or assimilation,” she said. “Now people finally get to a Jewish nation and someone pushes a copy of the New Testament in Hebrew at them. A sensitive line is being crossed.”

When Daystar debuted in Israel in 2006, it created such a public uproar that the channel was temporarily suspended from the HOT network. It was restored after a court challenge.

Since then, Christian evangelical groups have quietly and steadily expanded their footprint in Jerusalem.

Last spring, evangelist organizer Mike Evans began soliciting donations from U.S. supporters for his $10-million purchase of a prime commercial building in Jerusalem’s city center, where he plans to open a facility devoted to Christian evangelism.

In July, American missionary Rick Ridings, a nephew of Paul Crouch who operates a walk-in prayer center near Mt. Zion, hosted several hundred Israeli youths at a three-day gospel music and prayer festival in Tel Aviv.

Crouch said TBN, whose recently purchased building houses the Los Angeles Times Jerusalem bureau, is striving to promote Christianity in Israel, where the faith is sometimes overshadowed by the struggle between Judaism and Islam. Trinity Broadcasting already is one of the world’s largest religious broadcasters, with 18 networks in seven languages.

“Christianity is not represented in Israel as well as it could,” he said. “We hope to equalize that and give Christianity a better platform.”

The latest inroads by evangelical Christians have not triggered the backlash that occurred in 2006 when Daystar went on the air. In fact, Crouch said TBN’s biggest obstacle in Jerusalem so far is rival Daystar, which he said tried to block TBN’s Shalom Channel from airing on Yes satellite.

“They raised a stink,” Crouch said. “I guess some of our Christian brothers don’t want the competition.”

A Yes spokeswoman said negotiations with TBN are ongoing and a final deal has not been reached. Daystar officials declined to comment, but said in a statement that the company “loves and appreciates Israel.”

Some Israelis are welcoming members of the American evangelical community as strategic partners, both politically and economically.

In addition to becoming the fastest-growing segment of Israel’s tourism market, U.S. evangelicals tend to be staunchly pro-Israel, lobbying in Washington on the Israeli government’s behalf on such matters as the Palestinian conflict or West Bank settlement construction.

Christian broadcasters have donated tens of millions of dollars in recent years to build Israeli schools, community centers, hospital wards and even synagogues. Part of the support is based upon their belief that the return of the Jewish people to Israel will usher in the second coming of Jesus.

Christian groups have forged close ties with Russian-born lawmakers in the parliament, or Knesset, and recently helped push through a law that extended property tax exemptions once available only to Jewish religious institutions to those owned by Christian congregations.

“They are much more sophisticated and calculated than they were before,” Horowitz said. “With all the millions of dollars they are giving, it’s harder for the government to say no.”

Her group said the number of evangelical Christian congregations in Israel has grown to 150 with as many as 20,000 followers, up from an estimated 3,000 in 1987, based on estimates from the congregations.

Christian broadcasters boast to their viewers that they are seeing a record number of Jews convert to Christianity. “The harvest is coming in so fast,” Crouch said.

Much of the growth is coming from the 1 million Russian immigrants who arrived in Israel during the 1990s. Many of the immigrants were never considered Jewish by Orthodox rabbis or had practiced Christianity in Russia.

“They see Russians as a way to get a foothold in Israel and create a Christian revival here,” Horowitz said. “We don’t have anything against Christians. But the Jewish people have to watch their backside to make sure this evangelical embrace does not become a hold that we can’t get out of.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4227

Israel intensifies exercises for ground war following Iran strike

The Israel Army has intensified training for a war with the
Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah.

Military sources said the army is stepping up training for a war with
Hizbullah over the next few months. They said exercises have been conducted
in several locations, including the Golan Heights, Jordan Valley and Negev Desert.

 “The exercises were based on the need for a rapid ground offensive in
Lebanon,” a military source said.

The army preparations took place amid threats by Iran and its
proxies of a war with the Jewish state. Hizbullah was said to have amassed
an arsenal of 60,000 rockets, many of which were deployed in southern
Lebanon.

The sources said Teheran has assigned Hizbullah a leading role in
retaliation for any Israeli or U.S. strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

They said Hizbullah, trained by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,
also formed infantry units and mobile rocket squads to invade Israel from
Lebanon.

The Israeli exercises have consisted of Merkava-class main battle
tanks, Namer armored personnel carriers and other combat vehicles. The
sources said the aim was to achieve rapid mobility and capture Hizbullah
rocket and other targets.

In August 2012, the army conducted a night infantry exercise in the
Jordan River. During the maneuvers, the Golan Brigade’s Battalion 13,
accompanied by MBTs and APCs, crossed the Jordan River in what was meant to
represent Lebanon’s Litani River.

The exercises marked a revision of military strategy over the last five
years. In 2006, the Israel Air Force was used to attack Hizbullah bases and
particularly rocket launchers in what was regarded as an unsuccessful
effort.

Hizbullah has also been training. Over the last month, Hizbullah,
directed by IRGC, mobilized 10,000 fighters for an exercise around the
Litani River.

“The assessment is that Iran and its proxies were preparing for a
regional war over the next year,” the source said.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4218

Please Sober Up!

Please Sober Up!

      By Tim Cameron


 

“Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.’” ─2 Peter 3:3

I sincerely think there are thousands upon thousands of us that are drunk on the Kool-Aid thinking that this is a normal time in our lives. Despite the many dark an ominous signs to the contrary, there is something in us that wants to cling to a hope that this world is going to get better─despite what God has so graciously and lovingly warned us about:

“In the last days perilous times will come.”

I understand that desire. I’m a carnal man living in a world that is all I’ve ever known. I have an awesome wife, three kids, a home, a career, “The American dream.”

“Tim, just keep your head in the sand and enjoy the ‘here and know’ besides….
People have been preaching Jesus is coming back for 2,000 years.”

Man, if there was ever a broken record in the church, it is: “Jesus is coming.”

Then there is the divide among believers, seriously, about who is right: Pre-Tribulation, Pre-Wrath, or Post-Tribulation. You might say: “Ahhh, that is so confusing, I’m just a Pan-Tribulation person. I’ll just leave that to God and believe it will all ‘pan out.’”

But there is a kicker to all that─Jesus would call you a hypocrite.

“Then He also said to the multitudes, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming;’ and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, ‘There will be hot weather;’ and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?’”  (Luke 12:54 -56).

Sobering words if you think about it. Jesus saying that people who aren’t paying attention are hypocrites…why? Because if you say you are hanging out with Him You would be hearing what is on His heart and Jesus is heavy-hearted for the times we live in.

It’s very much on the heart of our God that His people would know His voice and what is on His heart. Noah is a picture of someone being able to discern the times and be prepared, as is Lot and his family. It’s imperative that we know the times we are facing!! Now before you pass that off as just cliché, the Scriptures about Noah and Lot are warnings or pictures of people we are told to emulate, “as it was in the days of Noah,” and “as it was in the days of Lot.”

There is a work of preparation that needs to be taking place in every believer and one thing that needs to happen is a major sobering up from being drunk on this life! I’m sorry if this sounds like bad news but if you will hang on…there is some great news coming.

Now I can hear the skepticism from the verse in 2 Peter screaming at me, “all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”
Ok, well I’m all about keeping it real, keeping it simple. Number one: Jesus told us that when the fig tree (Israel) blossomed in the desert that THAT generation would not pass away! Before 1948 there was a time that Israel ceased to exist as a nation…up until that time I can understand how there were those who believed that the church had “replaced” Israel. But once the rebirth of modern Israel took place in 1948, I have got to believe that anyone who had a Bible and studied it would have considered that a monumental wake- up call:

“Oh snap, Israel’s a nation again!!” Holy Moly! Jesus said that would happen and that it would be a major signal that the end of the age (Church Age) was at hand and that “the time of the gentiles” was being fulfilled! Daniel had said of this same time in history, that things would change in a major way in relation to how people traveled and there would be a dramatic increase in knowledge.

For thousands of years travel was with horses, donkeys and camels but then, boom, in the same century of Israel’s rebirth we see the crazy changes in travel. You can literally ship packages around the world in three days and can talk instantly globally through text, tweet or chat. Knowledge increasing? Satellite TV’s in SUVS with GPS talking to you while you listen to a song just downloaded seconds ago via iTunes in the UK…need I say more?

When I attended Bible school and listened to my professor talk about the “last days” I would say, “Please, please just cut to the chase.” Patience is not my strongest suit. I remember being blessed to get to sit in a one on one session with eschatological scholar, Dr. George Westlake Jr. in Kansas City and ask: “Pastor Westlake, in lay mans terms how will we know?” I remember hearing “We are not to look for the Antichrist, but we will see his stage. He will solve two major global problems and because of it the world will worship him. The two issues will be a global economic crisis and major volatility in the Middle East that is wrecking havoc on the whole world.”

I used to sit and listen to Pastor Westlake expound on eschatology and be so in awe and yet perplexed and question God, “Dear God, why oh why are you having me sit under this man and study this topic and yet you gave me no gift to teach?”

A few years ago, during a very stormy night…Our local weatherman rudely interrupted our TV show to give an urgent warning “People in Lawrence County take shelter.”

Like a ton of bricks that moment screamed in my hearing, not just of the impending warning but froze me in my tracks as I heard, “Tim, you see that young man warning of the coming storm? He studied meteorology but he’s not teaching it, he is just warning of the moment at hand and that is why I had you study what you studied not to teach but to ‘just warn.’”

I sit here typing this current message trembling and tears are streaming down my face because I sense an urgent stirring in my spirit …to sound an alarm to all who have ears to hear….

I so wish I could just share a “feel good” message that we could all cheer and have a gazillion likes on Facebook or in general because my carnal side wants to be liked, but that is not the call of this hour. God is raising-up many voices in preparing His way with a message of:

SOBER UP! Please realize that this is not the “same ole same ole.” Entire nations are on the edge of insolvency, the Federal Reserve is printing money over and over. NOT to bail us out but to enslave by extending the grasp of debt upon more and more people.

There have been wars and rumors of wars in my lifetime, I was born at the tail-end of the Vietnam war …saw the first Gulf War, the 2nd…but the one that is “even at the door” is of biblical proportions…

The end of “this age” is a time called “Jacob’s Trouble” and it is all about Israel being dealt with by God and it’s rejection of His Son Jesus! They will have no ally but God and they will be scared. You can see it already when they talk of Iran’s nuclear program and deal with their superpower friend, America, seemingly leaving them out to dry. When war does break out…this world will never be the same!

Just one issue of our lives─the gas pump─ it will become so scary that people will panic….

Retirement plans are crashing, 401ks were cool in the 90s but how is yours looking now? Are you seriously trusting in your pension when entire companies are collapsing?

Are you looking to government as your back up plan, “There is always unemployment insurance if I lose my job.” OH YEAH, for how long? America is broke!! There is a reason power brokers are sheltering their money in silver and gold…(not that it will help them).

Romney and Ryan cannot fix this…. It will take a man with an evil plan.

9-11, 2001 came and went and we have forgotten! Madonna sings that America has a “Muslim president” but she obviously doesn’t know what that means…In their book she is an infidel and must convert or die a heinous death! That is their mission and that is their goal, and yet we are asleep thinking that they will never come to our towns?
Gloom and doom and agony for me?

“Dude, Tim, the gospel is Good News,” and I say AMEN! It is the ONLY Good News we have to cling too!

On a stormy night in Missouri, something becomes vitally important: The storm shelter!

You see, in 2012 in a lot of circles the gospel has been compromised to be a means to an end instead of the end itself! Jesus is our destiny…. the Good News is that Jesus came and died and rose again and then went “to prepare a place for us, that where I am you may be also.”

In following Him, we too, were to let go of this place and instead long for the place where Jesus dwells. There is a major difference between earth and heaven…one is sin cursed and headed toward a time where unless God shortened the days no flesh will survive versus the place where the Builder and Maker─the Lord dwells.

Lot’s wife experienced a time of longing, to hang on to what God said was going to be destroyed…

Lets not be like her. Instead, let us “sober up” from our best life now….

Put down the Kool-Aid and pay great attention to whatever it is that God is trying to get us to hear, and I’m not talking about this particular message. I’m talking about your own particular assignment, the email you need to type to a friend or neighbor or prodigal child or making right of a broken relationship due to lack of forgiveness.

Getting our priorities of our daily routines in order that have included God but giving Him your leftover time instead of our best time.

IF there was ever a time in your life that God was calling you to a dedicated, intentional and purposeful time in your prayer closet, it is now!

Its time to “turn from wicked ways” to sincerely draw near to God, to “decrease that He might increase.”

There are thousands of blogs and thousands of voices and thousands of conferences…but The ONLY message God set in place to save the lost soul is Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

When was the last time we heard just the uncompromising and simple message of the cross? It is the storm shelter. It is our Noah’s Ark and the ONLY hope for the times we are now living in!

“Dear Father, I’m scared. Muslims are holding up signs that say they are going to kill me, and my kids and rape my wife. They are demanding Sharia law right here in America.”

“Do not fear those who can kill the body but rather fear him who can destroy body and soul in hell.”

 “That isn’t very reassuring Lord!”

“Count the cost. A servant is not greater than His master, if they hated me that will hate you.”

“But be of good cheer? HOW GOD?”

“I have overcome the world, for whoever believes in Me shall NOT perish but have everlasting life. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in this world.”

I encourage everyone to really study and cling to Psalm 91 as it is about as reassuring a passage as there is for a time such as now. We definitely need to know God’s promises and hide them in our hearts.

Things are becoming more and more polarizing, almost like there is a sifting taking place right before our eyes! On the one hand we have those who are occupying and demanding their rights and looking for salvation from fellow man…very stubborn and determined to get their way almost acting like a goat.

On the other hand, there are those who are realizing that this is a perilous time and asking for wisdom and guidance …needing a shepherd.

Well, here is what that Good Shepherd has said about this time….

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:1).

I will close with this: In the days of Lot in a place called Sodom and Gomorrah, a family was surrounded by the vilest of vile and murderous rage-filled the streets…it looked hopeless and scary…and at a moment Lot and his family for sure “thought not,” God sent forth his ministering angels and gathered Lots family to a place of safety removing them from a place that He was about to pour out His wrath upon.

Right now, all around us is a world gone mad. The wicked are springing up like grass, threatening and spewing out their evil desires.

BLESSED HOPE!

Our God is once again getting ready to remove those who have called upon the Name of His Son Jesus to a place of safety, because He is about ready to pour out His wrath!

So please sober up, but LOOK UP…

Our Redeemer draws near.

In Christ,

Tim Cameron

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4206

Ahmadinejad’s End-Times Speech At The UN Calls The Mahdi ‘The Ultimate Savior’ Who Is Coming ‘Soon’ To Rule The World

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.”

With great anticipation, the Islamic world awaits a “savior.” They call him “The Mahdi.” They believe that he will unite the Muslim world together against all who refuse to submit to Islam, creating peace and lasting security by leading all nations into a new era of global Islamic “justice.” And today, at the annual United Nations General Assembly and in front of millions of people around the world, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has announced that we would soon witness a new “global management” ruled by the Mahdi and his deputy, “Jesus Christ.”

The world of Biblical eschatology has undergone a major shift over the past few years. Many discerning Christians now recognize immediately this “Islamic messiah” as a prime candidate for the Biblical Antichrist. But despite all that has happened and continues to happen in the Muslim world as of late, there are still many others who continue to resist any notion that Islam is the religious ideology of the Beast in Daniel and Revelation and that the Biblical Antichrist could be a Muslim or arise out of Islam. In their way of thinking, the argument always begins with the premiss that the Antichrist will be someone who will literally announce to the world that “I am God” and will then demand to be worshipped as God. Since no Muslim would ever dare claim to be God (under accusation of blasphemy and penalty of death) and since no Muslim would ever dare to worship a mere man who made such a claim (under accusation of blasphemy and penalty of death), Islam must, they believe, either be all but destroyed before a non-Islamic Antichrist comes to power or undergo a significant theological metamorphosis, making it virtually unrecognisable to the Islam that we have today. But there is something very significant that many are missing, and it involves the premisses upon which their conclusion is derived.

When someone assumes even one or two false premisses as true, the wrong conclusion will more often than not be the end result. The belief that the Antichrist must say “I am God” is one example in particular. In 2 Thessalonians 2:4 the Apostle Paul writes that the man of lawlessness “shows” or “proclaims” himself to be God. The Greek word is “apodeiknymi” and it means “to declare” or “exhibit” or “show” or “demonstrate”. The implication of “apodeiknymi”, therefore, is not that the he says “I am God” in any sort of a veracious verbal declaration, but rather that he displays himself as God through behaviour or action. But how?

According to Sunni and Shi’a Islam, the Mahdi or 12th Imam is believed to be “the infallible intercessor between Allah and faithful Muslims” [1]. The Iranian President even described the Mahdi today as ”The Ultimate Savior” of the world. The significance of this claim cannot be overstated. According to Scripture, there is only One who is the intercessor between man and God:

Romans 8:34, “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

And there is only One who is worthy to be called the Savior:

Isaiah 43:11, 46:9b, “I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior… I am God, and there is none like me.”

According to Biblical Scripture, anyone who would proclaim himself to be the “intercessor” between man and God or the “savior” of the world would be attributing to himself a title or position that is exclusive to God alone, therefore presenting himself as God. To the Islamic way of thinking, however, this is not the case at all. Their religious jurisprudence is based upon Islamic texts, not upon the Hebrew/Greek Scriptures. Since ”savior” is not one of the 99 names of Allah in the Qur’ancalling someone the “savior” or claiming to be the “savior” is therefore not an attribution or declaration of divinity in the Muslim mind. They will not view any such proclamation as making oneself equal to the Almighty.

One of the claims often pushed by Muslims against the Christian belief in the Deity of Christ is that Christ never said, “I am God” anywhere in Scripture. And they are right. Jesus never said to the Sanhedrin “I am God.” However, He showed Himself as God by accepting worship. He demonstrated it by forgiving sins. He proclaimed it when He declared to the Sanhedrin to be “I Am” and called God His father. And the Sanhedrin understood immediately the theological significance of His words and sought to kill Him because He was “making Himself equal with God” (cf. John 5:18) by attributing a title or function to Himself that can only be attributable to the Almighty or His office. If someone was present who did not know the Hebrew Scriptures as the Jews did, would they have understood the theological significance of what Jesus did or what He said? Of course not. Likewise, when Antichrist proclaims himself to be God, he will do so in such a way that Jews and Christians will recognize it immediately, but those who believe the lie will not. The elect will not be deceived (cf. Matthew 24:24). Proclaiming to be God does not therefore necessitate the words “I am God” in order to make the claim. In fact, while accepting the position or claiming to be the “savior” on one hand, he would deny the accusation that he is claiming to be God on the other. But in the eyes of the God of Israel, this is precisely what he would be doing.

Does The Prophet Daniel Tell Us That Antichrist Will Exalt Himself Above Every God, Including Allah?

One other argument against an Islamic Antichrist that is often raised involves Daniel 11:36-37:

Daniel 11:36-37, “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. 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.”

The argument asserts that the Antichrist could not be Muslim since Daniel tells us that he will “magnify himself above every god” and “will exalt himself above them all.” And since “every” must also include Allah, the Antichrist therefore cannot be a Muslim.  To address this concern, we should first be made aware that even though most translations incorporate the word “every” in verse 38, it is not included in the original Hebrew. For instance, the NCV renders Daniel 11:36 to say that Antichrist “will brag about himself and praise himself and think he is even better than a god.” Wycliffe’s translation says that “the king shall do by his will, and he shall be raised [up], and magnified against each god, and against God of gods he shall speak great things.” Moreover, the thrust of Daniel 11:36-37 will not be fully understood unless it is read in full light of the verses that follow it:

Daniel 11:38-39,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. 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.”

Context is key. Daniel 11:36-39 is not only a perfect description of how Islam operates, but it is also a perfect description of what Islam is. An Islamic Antichrist will exalt himself over every faith and belief system that exists or has existed outside of his estate, outside of the religious ideology that the “seat of the beast” forces upon everyone under its control. Antichrist (and by direct implication the one whom he represents, Satan) will position himself against everything called god or considered God or divine, outside of his base/estate/office (H3653 ken — base, estate, office). He will exalt himself over Ayyavazhi. Over Buddhism. He will exalt himself over the gods of Hinduism and each and every single one of its sects or denominations. He will exalt himself over Manichaeism. Over Mithraism. Over Zoroastrianism. Over Confucianism. Over every Shinto sect and school of thought. Over every indigenous religion that exists or has existed in the Americas, in Eurasia, in Africa, in Oceania or elsewhere. He will even exalt himself over the One True God of gods — the God of his fathers — over Adonai, over Mashiach, over Ruach ha Qodesh. He exalts himself over them all. How? By calling himself the savior of humanity, and by definition declaring himself to be the God of gods. Daniel was clear to show us in verses 38-39 that “in his estate shall he honour the God of forces.” He honours “a god whom his fathers knew not,” one that would be familiar to him, but not one that would be familiar to his fathers Abraham and Ishmael.  He cannot honour his god and increase him with glory if he believes that he is his god [Allah] or that he is above him. That would be nonsensical.

Calling the Mahdi the savior makes this man to be “Christ.” (The word “anti” doesn’t just mean against. It also means “in place of”).  This is blatant idolatry and blasphemy in the eyes of God, making YHWH and His Messiah a liar, and is all a part of the deception that is Islam. Consider for a moment their behaviour and teachings in light of Biblical revelation. On one hand, Islam convinces Muslims that they must not worship idols, yet on the other hand it commands them to kill anyone who says or does anything negative to the Qur’an, and to be willing to die for it. It commands them to kill anyone who says anything negative about Mohammed, and to be willing to die for their prophet.  It causes them to bow down facing Mecca five times a day where the Black Stone (Kaaba) sits, even teaching them that touching the Kaaba absolves them of sin(!). They will gladly offer their lives for every one of these, each of which is blatant idolatry in the eyes of YHWH because it is worship of the Qur’an, of their “prophet”, of the Black Stone, of their “savior.” It is worshipping the image of the Beast.

What Does It All Mean?

Islam is directly influenced, controlled and is even being given its authority by Satan himself. I think most of us would agree. Lately, however, Islam has been strengthening considerably in its authoritative influence, and may even strengthen militarily if/when Iran reaches nuclear capability. But it is more than just a violent religion that hates everything outside of its ideology. It is Satan’s platform upon which he is attempting to exalt himself and become like the God of Heaven. It is a means to an end.

As the Prophet Isaiah tells us, Satan has explicitly declared his intention to rise above the stars of God and to become like Him:

Isaiah 14:12-14, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation … I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

It is no coincidence that this also happens to be the exact description of Antichrist as given to us by the Prophet Daniel. Isaiah exposes Satan’s own corrupted ambitions, to magnify himself above everything that is called god, above everything that is associated with the God of gods, to be like God Himself.  And the Ummah of Islam is how he intends to accomplish this. The “stars of God” may even be referring to the the people of God, His ekklesia:

Deuteronomy 1:8-11, “‘See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to your fathers–to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–to give to them and their descendants after them.’ … ’The LORD your God has multiplied you, and here you [are] today, as the stars of heaven in multitude. ’May the LORD God of your fathers make you a thousand times more numerous than you are, and bless you as He has promised you”

The name of Satan in Isaiah 14:12 (Lucifer) is “heylel,” which means “light-bearer”. The Arabic equivalent of Satan’s name is “hilal,” which means “crescent moon.” Also consider the “Takbir” of Islam, the victory cry of “Allahu Akbar.” What are they saying? It doesn’t mean “God is great” as it is often translated in the West. It actually means “Allah is greater.” If it is Satan’s intention to be like the Most High and to exalt his throne above the stars of God and sit upon the mount of his own congregation, it only stands to reason that Satan will seek to accomplish these things and perform these blasphemies through Islam, through the system to which he has given power. After all, those who marvel and follow the Beast “worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast” (Rev 13:4), and Satan knows that when they are worshipping “Allah” and the image of the Beast, they are worshipping him. Satan is therefore working to exalt and magnify himself as the Prophet Isaiah described through the office of Antichrist, through the religious ideology of Islam that diametrically opposes everything that the Judeo-Christian faith represents and stands for. But although the enemy will try to destroy what God has created, he cannot and will not prevail against the ekklesia of God. All he can do is create his own corrupted version of God’s elect, to wage war against God’s elect, in an effort to replace God’s elect with one that is created in his own image:

Yahweh has the Ekklesia.
Satan has the Ummah.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia is “as a bride adorned for her husband” and filled with “the glory of God”.
Satan’s Ummah is a harlot “decked with gold and precious stones and pearls” filled with abominations.

Yahweh has given the Ekklesia His Word, the Bible.
Satan has given the Ummah its corruption, the Qur’an.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia is the multitude of the Lamb, whom they follow.
Satan’s Ummah is the multitude of a man, the “prophet” Muhammed, whom they follow.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia comes out of Great Tribulation.
Satan’s Ummah is responsible for it.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia receives the seal of God upon their foreheads and are redeemed.
Satan’s Ummah receives the Mark of the Beast upon their foreheads and are condemned.

Yahweh’s Ekklesia will be lead to springs of living waters.
Satan’s Ummah will drink of the wine of the wrath of God.

In the “theatre” of Biblical eschatology, the stage is now set for the final act.  All “props” are in position.  The “characters” are in full costume.  And the world is watching in attendance. Very soon we will witness the final act begin, and through Islam Satan will make his final stand against the Prince of princes.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=4203