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BILLY GRAHAM: ‘FINAL CALL’ FOR AMERICA TO REPENT

 

Believing God will allow him to live to 95, famed evangelist Billy Graham is making his “final call to America to turn to God.”

Timed to coincide with his 95th birthday, Graham is calling people in the United States and Canada to repentance as part of the “My Hope with Billy Graham” evangelistic outreach set for the week of Nov. 7, 2013.

Unlike his famous stadium crusades over the past six decades, Graham is asking Christians to invite family, friends and neighbors to their homes to watch the “Living Room Crusade” on their televisions, tablets or smartphones as part of a massive grassroots effort to ignite a spiritual awakening in North America.

In what is expected to be the largest undertaking in its 60-plus year history, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hopes to mobilize millions of Christians to register as host “Matthews” at www.myhopewithbillygraham.org and undergo training to learn how to share their faith with others.

“We have seen God visit our nation in powerful and transformational ways in the past,” Preston Parrish, vice president of “My Hope with Billy Graham,” told WND.com. “We are praying this will be a real moment of revival and awakening and transformation across our nation.”

The announcement comes as Graham – whom Parrish described as “very sharp and keen mentally” at age 93 – released a letter last month entitled, “My Heart Aches for America.” In the letter, Graham recalled how his late wife Ruth once expressed concerns about the “terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards” – exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Graham wondered what his wife would think of America today – noting millions of babies have since been aborted and “self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”

“My heart aches for America and its deceived people,” wrote Graham, who has preached to more people – 2.2 billion – than any other Protestant in history and has provided spiritual counsel to every president from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush. He received Barack Obama in his home in 2010.

“The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower – wealthy, unconcerned and self-centered. When the prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard and repented. I believe the same thing can happen once again, this time in our nation.”

Anne Gimenez, the national chairperson of America for Jesus – The Awakening, says similar revivals have occurred in the past in America and Europe during other times of declining morality and spiritual darkness.

“I think Billy Graham’s idea is genius,” says Gimenez, whose organization expects hundreds of thousands of people to gather at Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pa., Sept. 28 and 29 to pray for another Great Awakening in the United States. For more information, log onto www.afj2012.org. “We’ve been waiting for an idea that would spark America into revival and perhaps this is it.

“America and the world seem to be in a state of growing apostasy and unbelief. Atheism and agnosticism is growing by leaps and bounds. In history, when there is great darkness engulfing the world, there is also the opportunity for a great light to come – the gospel light. And so at this time when we seem to be spiraling downward into spiritual darkness, it is the ideal and opportune time for a great spiritual awakening.”

Graham’s letter comes as a growing number of spiritual and political leaders have made similar calls for repentance, stressing that the nation is in a downward spiral of economic decline, corruption, immorality, secular humanism and attacks on religious liberty.

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Harbinger – The Ancient Mystery that holds the Secret of America’s Future,” says the fact Graham released the letter at “this point in his life” and “at this moment in America is very significant.”

“Billy Graham has been a pastor to presidents and the most famous evangelist in the world for the past several generations. For such a word to come from such a voice is stunning,” says Cahn, the senior rabbi at the nation’s largest messianic congregation, the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, N.J. “He is giving the nation a prophetic warning.”

“His words match the overcall message and call of ‘The Harbinger,’ that America is in rapid departure from God and His ways – that it now stands in danger of judgment and the signs that appeared in judgment of Israel are now reappearing on American soil. And yet no matter how dark it gets, there is still hope for mercy and room for redemption, but that redemption can only come through the repentance and prayers of God’s people.

“The other thing that’s striking about Billy Graham’s warning is that it comes at the same time when believers across the nation are sensing this very same thing and when leaders are increasingly calling for prayer and intercession for America. ‘The Harbinger’ ends with a call for prayer, repentance, and revival among God’s people. That all these things are converging at the same time is significant.”

In fact, the most in-demand Christian video around today is “Isaiah 9:10 Judgment,” the video that explains the message from “The Harbinger.”

The Graham crusade also comes as several organizations are planning prayer gatherings, evangelistic festivals and other events over the next year.

Starting Sept. 28 and continuing through Nov. 6, 40 Days to Save America is calling for repentance, prayer and fasting in the 40 days prior to the presidential election. For more information, log into http://40daystosaveamerica.com.

This event and others follow The Response when Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared Aug. 6, 2011, a day of prayer, fasting and repentance. He invited fellow governors to attend the event at Reliant Stadium – saying it was time to “convene the leaders of each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel.”

Luis Cataldo, the director of The Response and an intercessory missionary at the International House of Prayer, says when a “father of the faith like Billy Graham” issues a letter of this magnitude it has to be taken seriously.

“When he says America is in trouble, we have to repent,” Cataldo says. “He’s gone through global wars as a spiritual shepherd. He’s seen a bunch of stuff and he’s saying America, ‘We have to repent.’ This may be our last chance to repent. We’ve turned away from God and God is just, loving and right to bring judgment.”

Even more significantly, Cataldo says, God is now awakening the church through a convergence of political and spiritual leaders calling the nation to prayer, fasting and repentance.

“It’s almost as though the Lord is trying to awaken the church and is now bypassing the church and going to government officials,” Cataldo says. “Gov. Perry, (Kansas) Gov. Sam Brownback and other leading government officials are calling for Joel 2 solemn assemblies. They are doing it because there is a spiritual crisis in America.”

Billy Wilson, executive director of the Awakening America Alliance and the Center for Spiritual Renewal, says the alliance representing a coalition of 300 Pentecostal and charismatic ministers is partnering with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as it prepares for the crusade.

“We are very excited about Dr. Graham”s desire to speak at this stage in his life to our nation,” Wilson says. “Obviously, Dr. Graham’s voice in America is one of the strongest of perhaps the last two generations of Christians. We are honored to partner with him and ‘My Hope with Billy Graham.’”

At this time, Wilson says America finds itself in perhaps the place of greatest spiritual need in its history.

“We find ourselves in a 21st century world where in many ways our future and destiny is at stake,” Wilson says. “Really, the only hope for America is God’s grace and His covering over our nation. That only comes when God’s people humble themselves and pray, and sometimes we forget the last one – turn from our wicked ways. The call for righteousness among Christians and the church in America should be very strong in every pulpit across the nation right now.”

“My Hope with Billy Graham” is a massive effort to reach people across the United States and Canada with the “good news of God’s love,” Parrish says.

Since 2002, Graham’s son, Franklin, and grandson, Will Graham, have spoken at “My Hope” evangelistic festivals in 57 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. More than 305,000 churches have participated and more than 10 million decisions for Jesus have been recorded

“Now, in 2013, there is a broad sense of conviction and urgency about the timeliness of this important project in the U.S. and Canada,” Parrish says. “We want to help people in North America understand in a fresh way the love God has for them and the forgiveness and eternal life he offers them in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Following a simple biblical model, the outreach combines the reach and excitement of a nationwide media event with the power of personal relationships. Under the guidance of their local pastors, Christians across these two countries will open their homes to share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues and neighbors using different media programs featuring Graham’s message, popular music and real-life testimonies.

“The idea is part of the biblical pattern for us as Christians to be showing God’s love to the people around us,” Parrish says. “The most loving thing we can do for someone else is not only to give them food and water, but to give them the message that has given us hope for eternal life.”

The outreach is modeled after the biblical story of Matthew. After accepting Jesus’ call to follow Him, Matthew invited friends into his house to meet the person who changed his life, Like the Apostle Matthew, Christians in North America will invite their guests into their homes to learn about Jesus using prime-time television, while others will gather at a coffee shop or the park to watch the program on a tablet or smartphone. They will then share their own story of how they met Jesus and invite their friends to pray to receive Jesus. Each host will follow up with new believers and encourage them to become part of a local church.

With “My Hope with Billy Graham” and other events and outreaches planned in the coming months, Wilson says he has great hope for the spiritual future of North America.

“We may be on the edge of a new Great Awakening right now, to be honest,” Wilson says. “Though things look dark, that has always been true in America before every great spiritual movement. This was true before the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening and the other awakenings. In that darkness, God’s people united in prayer to turn the tide. If we unite together in prayer, I believe we can see a new Great Awakening and I believe what Dr. Graham is trying to do can be very effective – but only if God’s people really humble themselves, pray and repent in this season.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3969

The Crown of Righteousness

 

In many churches, those members who study Bible prophecy are relegated to the lunatic fringe or dismissed out-of-hand for wasting their time trying to divine the future.

The Bible says that there are other rewards, or crowns, set aside for those that dedicate themselves to Christ in a number of different theological disciplines.

Not so. Christians that study prophecy are not trying to “divine the future” – they are earning the “Crown of Righteousness” promised to all those that love His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8)

The Judgment Seat of Christ is the place where all of the deeds that individuals have done after they have become Christians are revealed and examined to determine whether they be good works or whether they be bad.

Let me emphasize that the word “bad” refers not to sin, but to deeds that are worthless according to His purpose.  Whether or not they were sin is irrelevant – all sin is forgiven at the Cross — but every deed has consequences.

The Bema Seat evaluation, therefore, is based upon whether the works that have been done are worthwhile or whether they are worthless.

The Greek word translated as the ‘judgment seat’ of Christ is the Greek word ‘bema’.  During the Greek Olympics of Paul’s day, the judge would sit on the ‘Bema Seat’ situated along the finish line.  His judgment was to determine who won the gold, who won the silver, who won the bronze, who came in fourth, fifth, etc.

Note that the only ones judged at the Bema Seat are those who cross the finish line.

The Bema Seat is reserved for believers — those who successfully completed the ‘race’ and specifically to determine their running order and to award their prizes.  Unbelievers will be judged at the Great White Throne.

Scripture teaches that after these works are judged, rewards will be given if the works are worthy. There will be no rewards if the works were unworthy — but that is not the same thing as being condemned.  

“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire.” (1st Corinthians 3:15)

Salvation is based on whether or not you trust that Jesus Christ made full payment for your sins, as He promised He would.  While we will stand before the Judge as judicially ‘righteous’ — that righteousness is Christ’s alone.

But it is freely offered to whosoever will accept it by faith.

Once we stand before the Bema Seat, our rewards are determined — not our punishment.  Our punishment, although richly deserved, has already been borne by our Savior.  Now, we are judged according to our works on behalf of the kingdom.

There are those who argue, “You know, I don’t think we ought to talk about our rewards.  We ought to serve the Lord just because we love Him.”

I agree.  We ought to serve Him because we love Him, but we have every right and reason in the world to strive to warn our rewards.

Our rewards are based on our works – but not our salvation.

“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.” (2 Corinthians 3:14)

First, let’s look at the different crowns available to the believer.  There is the ‘incorruptible crown’ — what one might term a crown of self-denial. 1st Corinthians 9:24-27 teaches:

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”

Not everybody will receive the crown of self-denial.  Each of us is gifted with certain strengths according to some predetermined purpose of God.  In other words, some things are harder for some than they are for others — according to God’s purposes — not our own.

We are judged according to how hard we try.

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.” (1st Corinthians 12:4-7)

There is also the Crown of Rejoicing — the ‘Soul Winner’s Crown’.

 “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord.” Note that Paul is addressing people as a ‘crown’. He is saying to those whom Paul has led to Christ, “You are my joy now and you will be my crown by and by.” (Philippians 4:1)

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”

Translated literally, it reads, “are not even you, in the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ when we stand before Him?”

“One of these days,” the Apostle says, “we are all going to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, you Philippians, and you Thessalonians, are all going to be elements of my crown.”

It is difficult for us to think of people in terms of a crown, but Paul emphasizes that the Philippians and the Thessalonians, among others, are the crown which he expects as an award to him at the Judgment Seat of Christ.”

James 1:12 identifies the ‘Crown of Life’: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him.”

Notice the word “temptation.”  That is a broad word.  Sometimes it means a solicitation to evil–that is, you are tempted to commit murder, or you are tempted to commit adultery.  It is a solicitation to evil.  Sometimes it is a reference to a test that God permits you to go through as a kind of ‘refinement by fire’.

The Lord Himself also speaks of the Crown of Life reward, promising: “be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

‘Faithful unto death’ is not a condition of salvation — salvation comes by grace through faith in the efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice for sin at the Cross.  Keep in mind that the only ones that will stand before the Bema Seat are ALREADY saved by grace.

The Crown of Endurance won’t be given to every believer — the Scriptures say of even those who receive NO crowns, as previously noted, “he shall suffer loss: but HE HIMSELF SHALL BE SAVED; yet so as by fire.”

There is the Crown of Glory — the crown of the ‘undershepherd’ or the ‘pastor’s crown’.

“The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” (1st Peter 5:1-4)

Not every pastor or undershepherd will receive this crown, either. There are those who will fail the test of ‘willing service’ or those who set themselves up as ‘lords over God’s heritage’ instead of being examples to their flocks, or those who fail to feed their charges with God’s Word.

Finally, there is the Crown of Righteousness.

“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” (2nd Timothy 1:8)

Those who study prophecy, those who dedicate themselves as watchmen on the wall, ready to give the warning of His soon appearing, will receive the Crown of Righteousness from the Righteous Judge at the Bema Seat.

Literally, the Crown of Righteousness means ‘a crown for doing right.’ Paul is saying, “I have loved the appearing of the Lord.  Because I have loved the appearing of the Lord, I have fought a good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith.”

Note what Paul did NOT say.  He did NOT say, “If you keep the faith, you will receive the Crown of Righteousness.”  Instead, he says, “If you love His appearing, you will.”

Personally, I am not certain that I will receive the crown of self-denial.  I am not too sure that I keep my body under control enough to deserve this reward.

I am not too sure I will win the soul winner’s crown, although it is one I really, really hope to earn.

I am not sure that I will get the Crown of Glory — as an undershepherd, I have many shortcomings.

I pray for the Crown of Life for enduring life’s trials — but I am not certain that I have endured them with the long-suffering love of Christ as I should.

So I am not sure about that one, either.

But I am hopeful of the Crown of Righteousness — it is the easiest one to get.  My righteousness is not my own, but that of Christ’s, and my love of His soon appearing is an all-consuming passion.

The point to it all is this: We will all one day stand before the Bema Seat — but the Bema Seat is where we are judged for our rewards.

Whether or not I receive all — or even any — of the rewards that are available to me as a believer, I have the certain assurance that, even if I suffer loss, I will still enter heaven, even if it is ‘as if by fire’.

And so will all those who have trusted Jesus for their salvation.

“Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s.”

“And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” (2 Corinthians 3:22,23)

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3965

The mystery of the skeletons and the fall of Jerusalem

An archaeological scandal stirs Jerusalem this week: Who were the thousands of people whose skeletons were filmed by journalist Benny Liss at the foot of the eastern wall on Temple Mount? Were they victims of a Second Temple-era massacre or simply corpses buried in a Byzantine gravesite?

Nadav Shragai

The Gate of Mercy, near the cave in which the skeletal remains were found.

Like something out of a horror movie: a still image from Benny Liss’ chilling film.

The winter of 1995-6 was a hard one for Jerusalem, particularly for archaeologists. Rabbi David Schmidl and his organization, Atra Kadisha, were terrorizing the Antiquities Authority. In Jaffa, a ritual Pulsa di Nura curse was cast on three Antiquities Authority employees who participated in a salvage excavation — part of the early stages of the construction of the Andromeda Hill housing project — in which many graves had been discovered. In Jerusalem’s Mamilla region archaeologists were still licking their wounds from their battles with the ultra-Orthodox over the burial caves that had been found there.

But Amir Drori, the director-general of the Antiquities Authority at the time, was not about to compromise with Schmidl and his team.

Maybe that is why, when the Ophel Archaeological Park was about to be built, and the fate of the burial caves on the eastern slopes of the Temple Mount — most of which are from the Byzantine era — had to be decided, the high-ranking personnel of the Antiquities Authority chose one of the coldest, rainiest nights of February to visit the site, and did so only after midnight.

In the area that stretches between the eastern wall of the Temple Mount and the channel of Nahal Kidron there is a Muslim cemetery right up against the wall of the Temple Mount. But it was the haredim, not the Muslims, whom the archaeologists feared. The Antiquities Authority officials who visited the slope at the foot of the wall on the Temple Mount that night were Drori (who has since passed away), Gideon Avni (the district archaeologist of Jerusalem) and Boaz Zissu (then the director of the unit in charge of preventing the theft of antiquities).

Benny Liss, the archaeological affairs reporter at Channel One, who had close ties with the Antiquities Authority, joined the group. They entered some of the caves that night, along with Liss and a small team. It appears that an agreement had been reached that the reporter would be allowed to tag along solely for documentation purposes, and not for release to the media.

Last weekend, three days before the fast of Tisha B’Av, Liss, now retired, dropped an archaeological bombshell. For the first time, at a conference given by Megalim, the City of David Institute for Jerusalem Studies, he showed the footage that he had filmed in those caves that night. Along with the shocking images of skeletons he filmed, came Liss’ own theory, that the skeletons belonged to the 6,000 people who had been killed on the Temple Mount during the destruction of Jerusalem, as described by first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. The audience was in shock.

On Sunday, the main points of Liss’ theory were printed on the news pages of Israel Hayom. Since then, the foreign and local media have had Liss’ phone ringing off the hook. I went back to him as well, and together we watched the film again.

Laid out in an orderly fashion

First, here is a clear, succinct description of the footage. Night. Darkness. Liss holds a flashlight. The cameraman holds a lamp. The lighting is not optimal, but they make do. Liss goes down the stairs into the cave, the photographer following him. The floor of the cave is covered with skeletons, bones and fragments of bones. There is also a bit of carbonized material there. Some of the skeletons are not intact. One is missing a leg. Two of them look like they were laid there in a more orderly manner instead of merely thrown inside.

The images are reminiscent of a large mass grave. Thousands upon thousands of bones, if not more. Liss recalls: “It was very disturbing.”

“I wanted to see how deep the bones went. I lay on top of them and put my arm in as far as it would go, until my shoulder was also inside. I didn’t reach the bottom,” he says. The last images in the film are of Liss and his cameraman leaving the cave, breathing heavily and reciting the blessing: “Blessed is He who raises the dead.” Cut.

Liss offers a theory, “not a scientific statement,” he says. Unlike the adjacent burial caves, there are no Christian symbols, such as crosses, or accessories or sandals in this cave. The cave, which is near the Golden Gate, was the ideal place for the Romans, who stayed on the Temple Mount for a month after destroying the temple, to bury the thousands of corpses. The corpses could not be removed west of the area of the Western Wall because that was the way to the upper city, which the Romans had not yet occupied. They could not go north because that was the way they had come to conquer the city. Nor could they go south to the built-up area of the Hulda Gate, which was the entrance to the Temple — that was not proper. For the Romans, the caves to the east, near the Golden Gate, which were much lower down at the time, were a natural solution.

Liss relies on Josephus’ shocking description of the events and also on the research done by historian Nathan Shor, who documented the literature of travelers to the Land of Israel. Shor’s research cites evidence that Jews were among those buried on the slope that Liss and his associates visited that night. Shor quotes the account of an unnamed Jew, a student of Nahmanides, who wrote about the discovery of Jewish graves on the slope facing the Mount of Olives, at the foot of the city wall. He also quotes a similar account by an Italian monk, Niccolo da Poggibonsi, but relies mostly on the description of the region given by Rabbi Yitzhak ben Meir Latif, who was born in Italy in the second half of the 15th century. Latif reports that the Muslims took the Jewish cemetery beside the Golden Gate from the Jewish community and pushed the Jews to the lower slope that was closest to the Mount of Olives.

Retracing past excavations

Dr. Dotan Goren of Bar-Ilan University, who documented the Jewish efforts to buy land in the holy sites in Jerusalem and its environs during the Ottoman era, gathered quite a few accounts of ancient Jewish burial sites there. Liss believes that the cemetery that was taken from the Jews was the continuation of the Jewish settlement that existed there and of the disorderly burial that the Romans gave the Jews who had been killed during the destruction.

The big problem for Liss, and also for the archaeologists with whom we spoke this week, is that the burial cave was never sampled. The bones and any other findings that may be there were never dated. The cave was sealed by officials of the Antiquities Authority as quickly as it had been opened because the people in charge of the Ophel promenade project had promised that the caves would not be disturbed during the construction of the promenade and the improvement of the road nearby.

The attempt to retrace earlier archaeological excavations did not help to solve the mystery either. In 1869, Charles Warren, the well-known archaeologist, excavated, by means of shafts and tunnels, the lower portion of the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. Robert Hamilton, the British archaeologist, dug there in 1935 and discovered graves from the Byzantine era. In 1995, Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron excavated as part of the development of the Ophel road. Their dig uncovered findings that hint at dwellings, evidently Jewish ones, that existed in the area in Second Temple times. It also documented about 25 Byzantine burial caves along the length of the eastern slope.

Even the many renowned Israeli archaeologists whom we contacted kept their statements vague. They all spoke of the need to take samples from the cave before drawing any conclusions, and said that the footage was not enough. Professor Dan Bahat raised the possibility that the skeletons could be the remains of Christians massacred by the Persians in 614 C.E. Dr. Gabriel Barkai mentioned Muslim group burials in the area. Hillel Geva, the director of the Israel Exploration Society and the archaeologist of the Company for the Reconstruction and Development of the Jewish Quarter, mentioned the possibility that the remains might belong to victims of an earthquake or an epidemic. He also mentioned the massacre of the Christians by the Persians. Everybody said that all options were open, including the option that Liss mentioned.

But Liss found himself in an impossible situation this week. Everyone wanted to know what had brought him to the cave, and he told a different story to each person who asked him. He wanted to protect his sources.

That is, until I reached Boaz Zissu, then an employee of the Antiquities Authority and now Professor Boaz Zissu of the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University. He also co-wrote, together with Professor Amos Kloner, a book titled “The Necropolis of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period.” Zissu was able to shed some light on the mystery for me.

“I was there that night,” he said. “Even though I didn’t go inside the cave that Liss and his crew documented, I went into one that was nearby. With us in there were people from the Antiquities Authority, including the late director-general, Amir Drori, the district archaeologist, Gideon Avni, and others. After studying still photographs from Liss’ film and comparing them to other photographs from that night, Zissu said that Liss’ film showed that the cave was a Byzantine burial site.

“What shows this clearly is the double trough where the skeletons and bones are placed,” Zissu said. “Also, the entrance shafts to the caves that I remember from that area were covered by stone slabs, which is characteristic of Byzantine burials.”

Which cave are we talking about?

Zissu also relies on Gideon Avni’s doctoral thesis, which was published in 1997, about a year after that night. In his thesis, Avni writes that at the junction of the Ophel highway (on the basis of conversations with Reich and Shukron), there was “a series of hewn burial caves, extremely crowded together. These included caves built of a single hewn room with curved walls and flat areas, and more complex caves that had several rooms and flat areas. Large accumulations of bones were found in each of the flat areas. Many glass vessels from the Byzantine era were also found in some of the caves.”

But the last word in this mystery-filled debate has not yet been uttered. Liss insists that the cave that he documented was higher up, near the wall. Zissu is talking about a few meters above the road, much lower down. Liss insists that in the cave he filmed there were no Christian symbols. Also, it was not a hewn cave but rather a natural one, unlike the nearby caves that he documented, which were lower down.

He also mentions the carbon remnants, which he says may hint that the skeletons do in fact belong to the victims of the massacre on the Temple Mount, and bones with cuts or other kinds of damage that could be evidence of wounds sustained in battle.

Officials of the Antiquities Authority say that they know nothing of this issue and would be happy to receive information from Liss about it.

One of Avni’s successors at the Antiquities Authority says that he heard about a large burial cave in the region that has never been investigated.

One way or another, the chances that the cave that Liss documented, with its thousands of skeletons, will be opened anytime soon, are slim. The cave is below the Muslim cemetery, which spreads out over a large area below the eastern wall of the Temple Mount. Only recently, the Temple Mount Rescue Committee won its battle to prevent the cemetery’s expansion southward, into uninhabited areas.

The Muslims will firmly oppose anyone who dares to approach their territory to try to solve the mystery, so Schmidl and his colleagues in Atra Kadisha can relax.

The story also shows us how little we know about Jerusalem in ancient times. It also shows the major archaeological role that the Temple Mount itself, which has never been excavated due to Muslim opposition, could play in drawing up a more precise map of Jerusalem’s past.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3956

Daniel Greenfield: The Mega Mosques Boom, ‘A Center Of Subversion And Terrorism’

Revelation 17:5-6a, “And on her forehead a name [was] written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus …”

                        By Daniel Greenfield, FrontPage Mag – “Murfreesboro, a city in the heart of Tennessee, and, Marseille, France’s second-largest city and its largest city on the Mediterranean coast, have few things in common. The two cities are separated by nearly 5,000 miles, and by equally wide divisions of language and culture. And yet Murfreesboro and Marseille are connected by a common challenge. Both cities have struggled against the creeping rise of the mega mosques.

The mega mosque in Marseille has been the subject of an extended legal fight going back a decade. The one in Murfreesboro had a briefer history of being on the wrong side of the law. But in both cases elected officials did their best to aid the mega mosques while ignoring local residents and the law.

The mega mosque business is booming around the world. The Marseille mega mosque has a proposed capacity of 7,000 seats which would make it the largest mosque in France, overshadowing the Ervy mosque which has a mere 5,000 seats. Both of these French mega mosques would have been dwarfed by a proposed London mega mosque with 12,000 seats and usability targets as high as 40,000. If the London mosque is ever built, it will dominate the Mosque of Rome, currently the most mega of all the mega mosques of Western Europe.

The Ground Zero Mosque, located near the site of the most brutal Muslim atrocity inflicted on the West in centuries, had a more modest 2,000 seating capacity plan, but would be vertically taller than most of the mega-mosques with a proposed 100,000 square feet of space. This would make it larger than the Marseille mega mosque, the Murfreesboro mega mosque and the London mega mosque. But despite their differences in size, all four mega mosque projects have followed the same pattern of lawsuits, public protests, exposures of shady mosque backers and public officials eager to look the other way.

The Cologne mega mosque in Germany has also followed the same pattern and is set to become the biggest mosque in Germany. But big is never big enough. The Stockholm mega mosque was finished in the year 2000 and has a capacity of 2,000, but a decade later there was already a proposal to replace it with an even larger mega mosque. At its current size the Stockholm mega mosque had already managed to feature sermons in support of Islamic terrorism and serve as a recruitment center for Al-Qaeda. At several times the size the situation could only get worse.

In yet another common pattern of mega mosques, the Stockholm mega mosque was funded primarily by Sheikh Zayed, the ruler of the United Arab Emirates. The Cologne mega mosque was primarily funded by Turkey’s Islamist government. The Marseille mega mosque is being funded by a number of foreign Muslim governments.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has said, ‘The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.’ The foreign funding of mega mosques has raised the question of whether Muslim governments aren’t constructing their own barracks and armies in the middle of European cities.

In some cases the militarization of the mega mosque is so overt that it might as well be a bayonet. One of the most blatant examples may be the Copenhagen mega mosque with a capacity of 3,000 which is being financed by Iran. Iran has already constructed another mega mosque in Helsinki and has similar plans all across Europe and the world.

The Copenhagen mega mosque’s Imam is Mohammed Mahdi Khademi who ran the ideology department of the Revolutionary Guard militia, an arm of the theocratic regime, which was designated a foreign terrorist organization by the United States. It would be hard to imagine a more explicit example of mega mosque militarization than a regime that sponsors acts of worldwide terror funding a mega mosque headed by the former Islamist political commissar of its terrorist wing.

Not to be left out the Sunnis are getting their own Copenhagen mega mosque funded by Saudi Arabia. This will involve an architectural ‘mountain’ across from the University of Copenhagen topped by two minarets, transforming the Sunni-Shiite rivalry into a competition to create the biggest Islamist eyesores in a city generally known for a quieter brand of architecture.

It’s not only in the West that the mega mosques are rising. In Moscow, Muslims have taken over entire streets to call for the construction of new mosques. And the Saudis have already offered to cover the cost.

In China, Saudi money has been transforming mosque designs from the Chinese pagoda to the dome and minaret favored by their new patrons. The more traditional Chinese look of the Great Mosque of Xi’an is making way for the Xiguan Mosque, a monstrous 3,000 capacity mega mosque which looks as if a chunk of Saudi Arabia had been dropped into the middle of Lanzhou.

In Argentina, a year after the bombing of the Jewish center by Muslim terrorists, President Carlos Menem, who has been accused of complicity in the attack, allotted 7.5 acres of public land to build the King Fahd Islamic Cultural Center, the largest mosque in Latin America. It overshadows the Caracas mega mosque in Venezuela which has a capacity of 3,500. Both mega mosques were built by the Saudi royal family.

For now the Islamic Center of America, located in sunny Dearborn, Michigan where Christians can expect to be stoned if they get too close, is the largest mega mosque in the United States. The Shiite mega mosque was already the target of a Sunni Islamic terrorist plot. Nearby is the Sunni Dearborn Mosque which claims the same capacity in an extension of the Sunni-Shiite rivalry. But so long as there’s oil money fueling the projects then the mega mosques will keep on growing.

From Markham in Canada down to New York City, and from the West Midlands in the United Kingdom to Sydney, Australia; cities around the world are facing the same threats to their communities. For Muslim states the mega mosque is a tool of power giving them the ability to centralize control of overseas Muslims with a single facility in a single city. For non-Muslim countries, the mega mosque is a center of subversion and terrorism.

As the mega mosque projects grow explosively across the country and the world, so does the resistance to the long shadows that they cast.” Source – FrontPageMag.com.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3821

The Daniel 11 Prophecy And The Antichrist

Interesting article for study from Joel Richardson. Keep looking up!

The Daniel 11 Prophecy And The Antichrist

08/02/2012

By Joel Richardson – “Among the many prominent end-time passages of the Bible, one of the clearest passages that proves the Antichrist and his coming armies will arise from the Middle East, is Daniel 11. In this chapter, a prophecy is given that begins with the historical Medo-Persian empire and concludes with the death of the Antichrist.

A large portion of Daniel’s prophecy (vv. 20-34) is focused upon the historical conflict between the infamous Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the king of the Seleucid Kingdom, who is called ‘the King of the North’ and King Ptolemy VI, the king of the Ptolemaic Kingdom who is called ‘the King of the South.’

The Seleucid Kingdom in the north included the region of modern-day Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Iran and even Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Ptolemaic Kingdom in the south ruled Egypt and portions of modern-day Libya and Sudan.

All scholars agree that Antiochus IV Epiphanes, in the north, is perhaps the most significant type of the Antichrist in the whole Bible.

In the later portion of Daniel’s prophecy, the historical events and wars that took place between Antiochus IV in the north and Ptolemy VI in the south bleed into a powerful end-time prophecy concerning the Antichrist (the King of the North) and Egypt (the King of the South). In fact, this chapter is among one of the clearest ‘slam dunks’ for the view that the Antichrist will come forward out of the Middle East and not a revived Roman or European kingdom.

Recognizing the highly problematic nature of this passage for the European-centered view, however, some teachers, in more modern times, have developed a view which holds that the King of the North is not a reference to the Antichrist, but instead is his enemy. Careful consideration of the text, however, reveals that this view simply doesn’t make any sense, as it turns the flow of the entire prophecy completely on its head, casting Antiochus IV as both a type of the Antichrist in verses 20-34, and then suddenly as a type of the Antichrist’s greatest enemy in verses 40-45. This view also takes the flow of the entire chapter, wherein the King of the North and the King of the South are historical enemies, and suddenly casts them as allies. This view fundamentally violates the clear flow of the entire prophecy in multiple ways.

But despite the popularity of this modern interpretation, a survey of views on this passage, from the very earliest days of the church until modern times, shows that the vast majority of responsible interpreters throughout church history have always understood the last-days King of the North to be a reference to the Antichrist. Consider the following brief summary of Christian leaders and theologians, from the earliest centuries of Christianity to modern times, who have affirmed the notion that Daniel’s ‘King of the North’ is none other than the Middle Eastern Antichrist:

Hippolytus of Rome (170–235), one of the most important theologians of the second and third centuries. According to tradition, Hippolytus was a disciple of Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, a disciple of John the Apostle who wrote extensively about the end times.

Victorinus (d. 333), an early Christian bishop and martyr. His commentary on the book of Revelation is the oldest complete commentary on Revelation in our possession.

Lactantius (240–320), a well-known early Christian apologist in the third and fourth centuries.

Jerome (347–420), the renowned Latin theologian and historian of the fourth and fifth centuries.

Theodoret of Cyrrhus (393–457), the highly influential author, theologian and bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria, in the fifth century.

S.P. Tregelles (1813–1875), an English biblical scholar, textual critic and theologian. Tregelles is most well-known for translating Wilhelm Gesenius’ famous Hebrew Chaldee lexicon into English.

C.F. Keil (1813–1890), the celebrated German Hebraist and commentator who co-authored a commentary on the Old Testament with Frederick Delitzsch.

Clarence Larkin (1850–1924), an American Baptist pastor, Bible teacher and author of the classic work on dispensational eschatology, ‘Dispensational Truth.’

Arthur W. Pink (1886–1952), an English evangelist and biblical scholar well-known for his book ‘The Antichrist.’

G.H. Lang (1874–1958), one of the foremost dispensational premillennialist biblical scholars of his day.

F.F. Bruce (1910–1990), another biblical scholar of the highest calibre who needs no introduction.

Edward J. Young, (1907–1968), former professor of Old Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary.

Gleason L. Archer Jr. (1916–2004), another well-known and deeply respected biblical scholar and theologian, known as one of the chief proponents of the doctrine of biblical inerrancy.

Steven R. Miller Ph.D., professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, author of the New American Commentary on the Book of Daniel.

John Goldingay, Ph.D., professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, author of the Word Biblical Commentary on the Book of Daniel.

Of course, this is only a partial list. Many other pastors, teachers, commentators, scholars and prophecy students alike could certainly be cited.

Some may be surprised to learn that so many highly respected Christian luminaries from across the centuries have supported this Middle Eastern view of the Antichrist. But while numerous Christian theologians and teachers have understood and recognized various elements of the Islamic Antichrist theory, never before in history has this view of prophecy ever been so thoroughly and systematically developed as it is today. In my new book, ‘Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,’ I make every effort to present to the reader a careful and balanced articulation of this deeply relevant prophetic view in a scholarly yet very readable fashion. It is essential that all true Bereans and students of prophecy take the time to consider what so many other great Christian leaders and theologians of both ancient and modern times have recognized from Scripture.” Source – WND.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3818

Billy Graham’s ‘Judgment’ Letter Sparks Charismatic Commotion

 

Famed evangelist Billy Graham’s letter calling America and its “deceived people” to repentance is one in a series of escalating warnings that the nation is in growing danger of God’s judgment, prominent faith leaders told Charisma News.

“This may be our last chance to call the nation to pray,” says Anne Gimenez, national chairperson of America for JesusAmerica for Jesus—The Awakening, which expects hundreds of thousands of people to gather at Independence Mall in Philadelphia Sept. 28-29 to pray and intercede for the United States.

“We believe it possibly could be the last time we have this opportunity. Nineveh is a great example. All the wickedness of that city, and yet when they did what God said they should do and repented, God healed their land. That’s right where America is today. We’re on the brink of America being destroyed as we know it, but I believe God is giving America a chance at this hour.”

In his letter, “My Heart Aches for America,” the 93-year-old Graham wrote that he recalled how his late wife, Ruth, once expressed concerns about the nation’s “terrible downward spiral”—exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Graham, who has preached to more people than any other Protestant in history—2.2 billion—wrote that he wondered what Ruth would think of the country today where “self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle.”

“My hearts aches for America,” wrote Graham, who has provided spiritual counsel to every president from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush and received Barack Obama in his home in 2010. He has been on Gallup’s “Ten Most Admired Men in the World” list 55 times since 1955.

“The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s Day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower—wealthy, unconcerned and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard and repented. I believe the same thing can happen once again, this time in our nation.”

Graham’s letter calling America to repentance comes as a growing number of highly respected Christian leaders have issued similar warnings in recent months, noting that the nation is in a downward spiral of economic decline, immorality, corruption, growing secular humanism and attacks on religious liberty.

Jack Hayford, the founding pastor of The Church on the Way in Van Nuys, Calif., and the former president of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, says Graham’s letter comes as the nation is in a “very grim hour as we approach the election this year.”

“What we need is something on the order of shock troops at this hour, and I can imagine that can be raised,” Hayford says. “I don’t feel despairing. I do feel the urgency. We are at a point that desperate action is needed and Billy’s voice, certainly as no other, can give rise to that.”

Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, the author of the New York Times best-selling book The Harbinger, says Graham’s letter is a “prophetic word” that parallels the message in The Harbinger—that America is rapidly departing from God and is in danger of judgment unless it turns back to God in humble and genuine repentance.

The fact that Graham released the letter “should get our attention” and is “very striking” and “very stunning,” says Cahn, the senior rabbi at the nation’s largest messianic congregation, the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, N.J.

“I believe this is a very, very critical time for America and for God’s people in America, and I believe it has ramifications for world history,” says Cahn, a descendant of Aaron, the high priest of the ancient Israelites and the brother of the Biblical prophet Moses. “The way that America goes is going to affect the world, and the way God’s people in America go will affect America.

“So, the message of The Harbinger is that we are in danger and that the same progression of judgment that occurred in the last days of ancient Israel is now occurring in America. The call is ultimately for salvation for those who don’t know the Lord and for repentance and revival for those who do. I see this (Graham’s letter) as another very stark sign that we are a critical point.”

Joel Rosenberg, the New York Times best-selling author of Implosion: Can America Recover from its Economic & Spiritual Challenges in Time?, echoed Cahn’s remarks in a blog entry last week, noting Graham’s letter highlights “the need for spiritual revival.”

“America is in grave danger,” Rosenberg wrote. “The massacre in Aurora. The child sex-abuse scandal at Penn State. The scourge of abortion and pornography and runaway spending and debt in Washington. The list tragically goes on and on. In Implosion, I try to document how serious the situation is, and how a Third Great Awakening is the
only answer.”

Graham’s letter comes as several organizations are planning prayer gatherings, evangelistic festivals and other events.

In his letter, Graham wrote his son Franklin Graham is planning to launch an outreach entitled My Hope with Billy Graham “that wouldbring the gospel into neighborhoods and homes in every corner of America next year.” 

“America is desperately in need of another great awakening,” says Cindy Jacobs, co-founder of Generals International. “As many other nations in history have belatedly discovered, one cannot eliminate the name of Jesus and think that God does not see. We all need to listen and respond to what the Lord has put on the heart of Dr. Billy Graham, and respond to his message of hope as well as courageously find our own voice in calling the church and nation to repent.”

Meanwhile, starting Sept. 28 and continuing through Nov. 6, 40 Days to Save America is calling for prayer, fasting and repentance in the 40 days prior to the presidential election.

“During the American Revolution, in the darkest days of the Civil War, at the outset of our involvement in World War II, leaders as different as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Delano Roosevelt declared national seasons of prayer, fasting and repentance,” wrote Rick Scarborough, chairman of 40 Days to Save America on the website.

“Today, our nation faces multiple crises—pending economic collapse, moral disintegration and international terrorism—but all have spiritual underpinnings. Together, they are even more daunting than those Americans confronted in 1776, 1863 and 1941. Now as then our national survival is at stake. Now as then, our destiny rests in God’s hands. The crises confronting us are beyond the power of human beings to resolve without divine guidance. Nothing short of a Third Great Awakening can save us.”

The calls for prayer and repentance come a year after Texas Gov. Rick Perry declared Aug. 6, 2011, a day of national prayer, fasting and repentance and invited fellow governors to attend The Response at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Given the trials besetting the nation from the “global economic downturn to natural disasters, the lingering danger of terrorism and continued debasement of our culture,” Perry said he believed it was time to “convene the leaders from each of our United States in a day of prayer and fasting, like that described in the book of Joel.”

Doug Stringer, the founder of Somebody Cares America and the national mobilization coordinator for The Response, says a battle for the soul of the nation is underway, the wake-up call has come and yet “we keep pushing the snooze button.”

“Coming from one who has been such a great giant—an ambassador for Christ around the world—I think [Graham’s] words at age 93 should deeply, deeply impact each and every one of us,” Stringer says. “I really believe we’re in a Joel 2 moment where the church must take seriously personal and individual repentance. America is in trouble. We need God himself to intervene.”

For another Great Awakening to occur, Hayford says the church and believers must engage in “gut-level, spiritually-impassioned intercessory prayer”—something lacking in most churches today, few of which even hold prayer meetings anymore.

“The undermining of the ensconced dark powers that are eating out the underpinnings of our national life are only going to be neutralized and cast down in one way,” says Hayford, author of Penetrating the Darkness: Discovering the Power of the Cross Against Unseen Evil. “You can preach about it, and that’s valid, and it’s not worthless. But it’s what is awakened in the church through prayer that becomes the truly penetrating and ultimately victorious dynamic.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3806

The Century Of Islam’: Iran Preparing Army Of Global Terror Operatives For Islamic Messiah, ‘Islam Will Defeat All World Powers’

By REZA KAHLILI – “The Quds Forces, a special Iranian unit of thousands of operatives tasked with exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution, are being told to step up preparations for terrorism for the coming of the last Islamic messiah and the destruction of the West.

Ali Saeedi, the Iranian supreme leader’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, emphasized during a Friday sermon in Tehran that the Islamic republic must directly confront America so that the necessary environment is created for the reappearance of Mahdi, the Shiite’s 12th imam, who will kill all infidels and raise the flag of Islam in all corners of the world.

‘In three points of history, God directly confronts the will of unruly humans in which, of course, the Right will overcome the False,’ Saeedi said, according to the Sepah News, the Guards’ official publication. ‘The first point in history was during the era of pharaoh, the second era was Bani Abbas, and the third is our current era in which it seems that God has willed us to enlighten the world with the coming of Imam Mahdi.’

Saeedi, ‘Many of the signs [necessary] for the coming have taken place during the previous years; however, the main sign will take place right before the coming.’

There are five levels of readiness that have to be prepared for the coming, he said: ‘Individual readiness, the readiness for creating the environment, systematic readiness, the readiness in the region and the international readiness. This means Occupy Wall Street must take place, the Americans must lose hope with the Democratic Party and others, and lose faith in the U.N., while at the same time the unraveling in the Middle East, which was not ripe before, must have taken place before the coming.’

This is the first time a high-ranking Iranian official has stated on the record that the Quds Forces are not only involved in the region, but also internationally for a final confrontation with the West.

‘The Revolutionary Guards are one vehicle for preparation for the coming, and in the current Islamic Awakening [the Arab Spring] in the region and on international arena, the Quds Forces play a major role in preparing the readiness of the human force needed for such an event,’ Saeedi said. ‘The chief commander of the Guards and the supreme leader’s representative are tasked for preparing the individual readiness, regional readiness as well as international readiness for the coming.’

In another Guards’ weekly publication, Sobhe Sadegh, a front-page analysis explains that the opening of Iran’s geopolitics and the empowerment of its Islamic power are a reality in which Iran’s influence has expanded not only in the region, but also in Africa, Latin America, Eastern Asia and even in Europe and America.

As was the fall of socialism and the Eastern bloc, the analysis promises, so will be the fall of the capitalism and liberal democracy.

The analysis refers to the statements of the founder of the Islamic revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini:

‘I say with all certainty that the 21st century will be the century of Islam.’

‘I say with all certainty that Islam will conquer all key entrenchments of the world.’

‘I say with all certainty that Islam will defeat all world powers.’

‘I say with all certainty that the 21st century is the century where the oppressed will be victorious over the oppressors.’

While the Quds Forces have recently expanded their operations in shipment of explosives to Latin America, Africa and other places in the world, and at the same time have put terror cells on high alert for terrorist acts, the Islamic regime in Iran has expanded its nuclear program in which over 11,000 centrifuges are now running at two facilities, increasing its enriched uranium stock.

As of the last report in May by the IAEA, Iran had enough enriched uranium for six nuclear bombs, and despite all negotiations and recent sanctions, the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, announced days ago that there will be no turning back from the nuclear path.” Source – WND.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3800

Why the Islamic Antichrist Theory Matters

Reposted from Joel Richardson

Why the Islamic Antichrist Theory Matters

July 26, 2012 in Updates

Joel Richardson WND
(Please post this article on your blogs, Facebook, Tweet it, and generally spread it around.)

As a well-known prophecy teacher, my email inbox is frequently full of questions, comments and news articles from those interested in biblical prophecy. While some of these emails are certainly helpful and interesting, there are also many that I would put into the category of “biblical prophecy as morbid trivia.” What I mean is that there are many believers who are overly fixated on discussing the many intricate details concerning the many dark events looming on the horizon. Now, to be clear, I say this as someone who deeply values biblical prophecy, but I will be the first to admit that much of what passes for biblical prophecy today is a mixture of conspiracy theories and extra-biblical concepts with only a thin ribbon of biblical passages intertwined throughout, so as to give it the appearance of credibility. I will also be the first to acknowledge that there are numerous Christians who have lost their way, having become completely distracted from the primary mandate of the Christian church, which is the proclamation of the gospel of the Kingdom – in both word and deed.

On the other hand, there are many Christians, who have overreacted to the unhealthy emphasis of some and now avoid the subject of biblical prophecy altogether. This is equally grievous. The Lord did not fill the pages of the Bible with prophecy because he wanted us to avoid the subject.

Although there are numerous highly relevant reasons for Christians to study biblical prophecy, I would like to use the remainder of this article to touch on just one deeply relevant reason specifically as to why the emerging Islamic Antichrist theory is so essential for the church to get a hold of. In brief, the answer is because the future of the missions movement depends on it. Allow me explain.

Today there are approximately 6.7 billion people in the world. Roughly 2.2 billion consider themselves Christians. This number is divided almost evenly in half between Roman Catholics and Protestants (with about 240 million Eastern Orthodox believers). There are also close to a billion secularists without a religion, a little less than a billion Hindus and only about 500 million Buddhists. The number of Muslims globally however is approximately 1.6 billion. This means that Muslims are far and away, the largest non-Christian people group in the world. More than any other people group in the world, Muslims need the gospel. The Islamic world needs missionaries. So one would expect the church to be obedient to the Great Commission of Jesus as found in Matthew 28:19 among Muslims:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Such, however, is far from the case. Although the Islamic world represents the greatest need, it has the least number of missionaries. In fact, on average, for every 1 million Muslims, there is only one Christian missionary! This is an absolute scandal, and I have no question that heaven is not pleased.

Now, while there is more than one reason why Christians are not going to the Islamic world, I want to touch on one very popular theological idea, a prophetic scenario actually, that is deeply demotivating a multitude of potential missionaries within many mainstream denominations from pursuing missions and church-planting among Muslims.

Briefly, this prophetic scenario holds that a series of imminent wars, most often referred to “the Psalm 83 War,” followed immediately by the “Battle of Gog of Magog” will soon result in the complete annihilation of most Muslims in the Middle East and Islam as a religion essentially drying up and fading away. This scenario is not some oddball prophetic interpretation, but is widely taught by numerous very well-known Christian leaders and teachers. Consider below just a small sampling of quotes from some such prophecy teachers, as it relates to future of the Islamic world:

“[T]he war of Ezekiel 38 will result in the annihilation of nearly all the armies of the Muslim nations of the Middle East. … Thus, if the Antichrist is a Muslim who is going to rule a Muslim empire in the Middle East during the Tribulation, then he is going to rule over an empire that has been reduced to ashes!” (David Reagan)

“I believe that the Ezekiel 38-39 war plays a key role in the rise of the Antichrist. It is clear in this passage that Iran and the Muslim coalition suffers a humiliating defeat. I believe God will use this war to bring the ultimate downfall of the Islamic religion and the false god Allah.” (Randy White)

“The elimination of this Russian-Islamic alliance and all their troops will pave the way for the Antichrist to posture himself to take over the world.” (Mark Hitchcock)

“Islam is just another system that will be wiped out before the Antichrist instills his system.” (Nathan Jones)

There is power in prophecy. What prophecy teachers teach has widespread and lasting implications. This teaching that Islam is about to disappear is truly destructive to the completion of the Great Commission among Muslims. And what makes matters worse is that the idea of the Battle of Gog of Magog as a distinct and separate battle from the final battles of the Antichrist described elsewhere throughout the prophets can easily be shown to be a bogus interpretation.

In my new book, “Mideast Beast: The Scriptural Case for an Islamic Antichrist,” I walk the reader carefully through the prophecies of Ezekiel 38 and 39 (The Battle of Gog of Magog), Psalm 83 and many others, so as to thoroughly dispel this false idea that the Islamic world and religion is about to face “annihilation” or “will be wiped out.”

In fact, if there is one primary underlying point I would wish to make with my newest book and which I am struggling to awaken the Christian church regarding, it is the simple fact that Islam is the single greatest challenge the church will face before the return of Jesus. But until he returns, it is not going away.

The mandate of the church at this moment in history is to rise to meet the challenge of Islam. Now is not the time for armchair prophecy-enthusiast Christians to sit back and passively await the destruction of the Islamic world.

Numerous Western Christians today are openly calling for war with Iran, yet few are aware of the fact that Iran is experiencing the single greatest Christian revival in the world!

Now is not the time to pray for the judgment of the Islamic world. Now is the time for the church to lift up their eyes and recognize the fact that the fields are white unto harvest and pray that the Lord of the harvest would send laborers into the fields! (Matthew 9:37-38; John 4:35)

It’s time that the church casts these false and deeply demotivating interpretations of prophecy into the waste basket. Hundreds of millions of souls are depending on it.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3794

Be Sober!

Please read the attached file. It is an article of extreme importance. If you were asked to take a microchip due to the Health Care Act would you? Well it is in the legislation that was passed and believe it or not it is set for March 2013. Read and be sober! Keep looking up!

Health Care1

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3789

Warning: The world is ending and the Messiah is coming!

On one of Israel’s largest websites Ynet a yellow banner with large letters appeared on Saturday proclaiming the coming of the Messiah. “The Messiah is in Israel. This will be the last government of Israel.” A click on the banner leads directly to the website 871. Here, the religious creators of the site warn about the end of the world. “The next leader will be the Messiah Ben David. The situation in the country is getting worse and the government will become more incapable. Only the Messiah can save Israel during the war of Gog and Magog. In the near future the world will witness terrible disasters, like earthquakes and tsunamis. Cities in Europe and the United States will disappear in the sea. The world’s financial system will collapse and God will destroy the Mammon (Yiddish slang for “money”). Anti-Semitism in the world will get worse, just like on the eve of World War II. For every inch of land that the government abandons the people of Israel will be punished for, because this is a rebellion against God. Solely because the two-state solution was discussed in Israel we must pay a high price. This land was promised to the people of Israel for eternity and who negotiates about the God-given land will not experience the redemption.” The ones behind the website, who regularly publish warning signals in the Israel network, are unknown. The majority of Israel’s society does not take such websites seriously, but still they appear on Israel’s largest Internet portals, such as Ynet.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=3754