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Pope Francis assures atheists: You don’t have to believe in God to go to heaven

 

Michael Day

More articles from this journalist

Milan

Wednesday 11 September 2013

In comments likely to enhance his progressive reputation, Pope Francis has written a long, open letter to the founder of La Repubblica newspaper, Eugenio Scalfari, stating that non-believers would be forgiven by God if they followed their consciences.

Responding to a list of questions published in the paper by Mr Scalfari, who is not a Roman Catholic, Francis wrote: “You ask me if the God of the Christians forgives those who don’t believe and who don’t seek the faith. I start by saying – and this is the fundamental thing – that God’s mercy has no limits if you go to him with a sincere and contrite heart. The issue for those who do not believe in God is to obey their conscience.

“Sin, even for those who have no faith, exists when people disobey their conscience.” 

Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent for the Catholic journal The Tablet, said the pontiff’s comments were further evidence of his attempts to shake off the Catholic Church’s fusty image, reinforced by his extremely conservative predecessor Benedict XVI. “Francis is a still a conservative,” said Mr Mickens. “But what this is all about is him seeking to have a more meaningful dialogue with the world.” 

In a welcoming response to the letter, Mr Scalfari said the Pope’s comments were “further evidence of his ability and desire to overcome barriers in dialogue with all”.

In July, Francis signalled a more progressive attitude on sexuality, asking: “If someone is gay and is looking for the Lord, who am I to judge him?”

popekiss

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5638

ARE TERRORISTS SETTING U.S. WILDFIRES?

Joe Kovacs

As the 2013 season of devastating wildfires continues to rage across the American West, the question of arson as a form of major terrorism is again being raised.

Already this year, 35,440 reported fires have burned a total of 3.9 million acres, with a quarter-million acres scorched the iconic Yosemite National Park.

Large blazes continue to burn in several states, with six alive in Idaho, five each in California and Montana, and one each in Alaska, Louisiana, Oregon, Texas and Washington.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, says at this time last year, 45,278 fires had burned 7.9 million acres, and in 2011, there were 55,619 fires devastating 7.2 million acres.

In July 2012, William Scott, a former National Security Agency official and Aviation Week editor, told the American Center for Democracy that terrorists are using fire as a tactical weapon of war.

“Perhaps the most simple form of economic warfare is wild land arson,” Scott said in his “Fire Wars” presentation. “That’s just setting fires in U.S. forests [and] grasslands.”

“For any terrorists that are determined to inflict significant damage with very little investment or risk, fire is an extremely high-leverage weapon of mass effect.”

Scott explained that after U.S. Navy SEALs killed al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, they “captured a treasure trove of material that provided some unprecedented insight into the al-Qaida plans. And one of those was a detailed campaign for starting fires throughout the [American] West.”

“U.S. officials have pretty much determined that some of the fires that burned in California [in 2011] were ignited by al-Qaida operatives,” Scott said.

An editorial in June by the Washington Examiner noted, “Those trying to downplay the threat of terrorism have dismissed such a possibility as paranoid. As Americans learned in 2001, and again as recently as 2012 in Benghazi and 2013 with the Boston Marathon bombing, terrorist threats are not something to take lightly.”

This year’s wildfire in Yosemite started Aug. 17 in the Stanislaus National Forest, but authorities believe it was not an act off terror. They say a hunter’s illegal fire swept out of control, torching 394 square miles of timber, meadows and sensitive wildlife habitat. The Associated Press reports it has cost more than $89 million to fight, and officials say it will cost tens of millions of dollars more to repair the environmental damage alone.

 

Yosemite National Park has been decimated by fire in the summer of 2013.

As WND reported in June, an expert on Islamic terrorism believes a wildfire that ravaged the outskirts of Colorado Springs, Colo., killing two people and destroying more than 500 homes, should be examined by terror investigators.

“One thing that my investigators have given me the authority to state is that they have all but ruled out natural causes as the cause of this fire,” said Sheriff Terry Maketa at the time. “I can’t really go any further on that, but I can say we are pretty confident it was not, for instance, a lightning strike.”

That single blaze in Colorado caused more than $85 million in damage, but that figure is expected to rise to possibly $120 million.

The causes for most forest fires are limited to electrical problems, out-of-control campfires or grills, accidents such as a car fire and sparks from chain saws or other back-country tools.

Those causes, to an expert investigator, are readily identifiable.

But authorities said they were focusing on a 28-foot square patch where they believe the fire started, examining some portions with a magnifying glass.

At the American Center for Democracy, noted terror funding expert Rachel Ehrenfeld suggested circumstances are a little suspicious.

Ehrenfeld, once targeted by a Saudi official with a foreign lawsuit over her work in the United States, was the reason the “Securing the Protection of our Enduring and Established Constitution Heritage Act” was adopted by Congress.

It put an end to lawsuits brought in foreign jurisdictions where speech protections do not exist or are not as robust as in the United States which were simply intended to censor or chill speech in the U.S.

“Bill Scott, who’s a senior fellow at ACD, warned about such a scenario last July, speaking at the ACD-EWI Economic Threats briefing on Capital Hill,” Ehrenfeld wrote. “An expert on aerial firefighting, he presented a sobering analysis of the devastating (2012) Waldo Canyon Fire [in Colorado], pointing out that the striking rise [in] Western U.S. wildfires may be caused by elements other than nature.

“He noted that in spring 2012, al-Qaida’s English-language online magazine, Inspire, published an article called ‘It Is of Your Freedom to Ignite a Firebomb,’ which featured instructions on how to build an incendiary bomb to light forests on fire.”

She explained that Russia’s security chief, Aleksandr Bortnikov, also has warned, “Al-Qaida was complicit in recent forest fires in Europe” as part of terrorism’s “strategy of a thousand cuts.”

“Since then, more fatwas advocating that ‘fire is a cheap, easy and effective tool for economic warfare’ have been issued,” Ehrenfeld wrote. “They’ve included detailed instructions for constructing remote-controlled ‘ember bombs, and how to set fires without leaving a trace.’”

Israel’s forests also have been targeted, she noted.

“While many of the fires that have scorched millions of acres and destroyed thousands of homes in Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and other states have been identified as arson, none has been publicly attributed to criminal or terrorist groups, despite the presence of Mexican gangs and [a] large number of other illegals in our Western states,” she said.

Mother Jones reported Don Smurthwaite, a Bureau of Land Management spokesman, “downplayed” Ehrenfeld’s ideas, “but he didn’t dismiss the notion outright.”

“We don’t have any hard evidence that any wildfires in the U.S. were started by terrorists in recent years,” he told the publication. “But is it a possibility? Certainly.”

He noted the last confirmed weaponized wildfires were in World War II, when the Japanese sent incendiary balloons across the Pacific.

However, the Christian Broadcasting Network reported al-Qaida was advising would-be terrorists how best to burn America.

The terror group’s magazine included pictures, diagrams and explanations on how to start fires to obtain the most damage.

CBN analyst Erick Stakelbeck said the extreme detail provides reason for concern. The information, he said, is “all designed to cause the maximum amount of carnage and death.”

CBN noted that in the U.S., more houses are built in the countryside than in the cities and cited a Montana fire chief who said the prospect of a wildfire terrorist attack was not farfetched.

WND also reported websites run by jihadis made claims of arson in a number of California wildfires.

WND reported in 2004 that an Arabic-language jihadi website also posted a message purporting to be “al-Qaida’s plan of economic attack” on the U.S. that including proposals to turn the nation’s forests into raging infernos.

The National Terror Alert Response Center report said: “We are NOT implying that the California fires are an act of terrorism; however, the threat of pyro-terrorist attacks pose a significant risk to the U.S. and the fires in California and Greece earlier this year should be a wake-up call.”

Even in 2003, an FBI memo warned that national forests in the West could be the next target for terror by Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.

The memo, obtained by the Arizona Republic, warned law enforcement that a senior al-Qaida detainee told interrogators he planned to spark multiple, catastrophic wildfires simultaneously in Colorado, Montana, Utah and Wyoming to strike a blow to the U.S. economy.

WND also reported documents recovered from a remote area along the Pakistan border revealed that bin Laden wanted al-Qaida to launch a “global fireball” by lighting forest fires in Europe, the United States, Australia and South America.

The documents, uncovered during an operation led by the British intelligence service MI6, were described by experts in that agency as “the most worrying [plot] that the world is facing

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5636

Are We Living in the ‘End Times’ as Prophesied in the Bible? Shocking Poll Reveals Americans’ Views

A startling proportion of Americans believe that we’re currently living in the End Times, according to a stunning new poll that was conducted by the Barna Group, a research firm that focuses on faith. In fact, more than four in 10 individuals (41 percent) over the age of 18 believe that “the world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophecies in the Bible.”

While this number is certainly noteworthy, among various cohorts, the results were even more stunning. While 54 percent of Protestants agreed that we are currently living in these times, the vast majority of evangelicals — 77 percent, to be exact — embrace this same sentiment.

Meanwhile, more generally, Catholics took on very different views on the matter. Seventy-three percent felt that the End Times are not upon us; 45 percent of practicing Catholics (a more narrow group) answering affirmatively, though, potentially showing a closer tie between the literal practice of faith and the belief in End Times theology.

On the racial front, there were also some intriguing disparities. While 39 percent of white Americans said that we’re living in the End Times, 48 percent of Hispanics and 54 percent of African Americans said the same. Those who are married (46 percent) and families with kids at home (47 percent) reported the same. Both of these latter statistics are larger than the national average (41 percent).

The thought-provoking question was commissioned by WatchWORD Bible New Testament producer Jim Fitzgerald, whose Bible digitization project was featured by TheBlaze back in May 2012. The results of the intriguing curiosity shocked him, as the numbers ended up much higher than he had anticipated.

“Even I was surprised by the findings. I thought the numbers could possibly be as low as 10% for the overall population and maybe 30% for Christians in general, or less,” he said. “I had no way to know before the survey. But the response of the overall population was higher than what I expected from Christians, and the Evangelical’s response was nearly twice what I thought.”

The original question, “Do you, personally, believe that the world is currently living in the ‘end times’ as described by prophecies in the Bible, or not?,” was asked of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older in a Barna Group survey that was conducted online from July 29 through Aug. 1, 2013. The sample was representative of all U.S. adults, with a margin or error of +/- 3.2 percentage points.

The study comes on the cusp of a plethora of interest in the Bible’s End Times theology. While some might argue that 1,000 is a small sample size, it is considered scientifically sound. Past studies have also found that nearly four in 10 Americans see some of the signs and events of late to be evidence of the End Times as well, corroborating some of the elements in this most recent inquiry.

Regardless of where you stand, interest in the subject is nowhere near subsiding.

hand-of-god-nebula

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5633

IS U.S. MILITARY SAUDI MERCENARY FORCE?

Joseph Farah

I can’t believe what I’m hearing in Washington these days.

Did John Kerry, who achieved national fame as an anti-war protester, really say that the Arabs have agreed to pay for the overthrow of the Syrian regime?

Did the man who opposed the overthrow of Saddam Hussein after he voted for it in the U.S. Senate become the No. 1 war hawk in the country?

Did the man who accused U.S. military men in Vietnam of routinely committing all manner of atrocities a la Genghis Khan suddenly come to the conclusion that missiles are more discriminating in their destructive power than soldiers with consciences?

Honestly, the hypocrisy of the political left is so thick and so blatant, I can’t believe duplicitous, double-talking monsters like Kerry and Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel and Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton are even taken seriously anymore.

Why does anyone believe anything they say?

Please don’t tell me they are anti-war. They are anti-war only when it suits their purpose. They are anti-war only when the going gets tough. They are anti-war only when they are not running things. They are anti-war only when it is convenient for them. They are anti-war only when it is politically expedient for them.

There is no principle in them whatsoever.

They are liars – pure and simple.

I can almost understand John “the poker player” McCain. He never met a war he didn’t like. I get that. He’s dead wrong. But at least there is some consistency. He’s a hawk. On Syria intervention, his only question is whether lobbing some cruise missiles at unspecified targets is doing enough. He doesn’t know good guys from bad guys or bad guys from really bad guys. He’s become a walking anachronism. But, give him his due, he’s consistent – even if he’s consistently wrong.

How does one begin to comprehend the newfound machismo and phony bravado of the Obama inner circle?

How does Kerry, after dining so famously with Bashar Assad, his wife and Teresa Heinz-Kerry and characterizing the Syrian leader as a positive force for peace and stability in the Middle East, now enthusiastically call for bombing him?

I’ll tell you how.

I’ve said it before.

And since I said it others have come suddenly come to the same conclusion.

The Saudis are demanding it.

Kerry as much as admitted it when he said “the Arabs” are willing to finance the whole war with Syria. What Arabs do you think he means? It’s not Jordan. It’s not Egypt. It’s the oil sheikhs.

And we all know when the Saudis speak those who listen and respond adoringly wind up as wealthier men after they leave their temporary elected or appointed political offices. It’s a better deal than the K Street lobbyists offer.

Jimmy Carter is no longer farming for peanuts after doing their bidding.

Bill and Hillary Clinton no longer have to worry about writing any more unjustifiably big-advance, low-selling books.

George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush certainly don’t have to worry about where their bread is buttered.

And we all know Kerry, who twice fell in love with and married heiresses, is always looking for opportunities for more personal wealth.

Could it be that simple?

Just study Occam’s razor, the principle that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions is probably right.

That leads me to conclude that these men and women are content with the hideous, almost unspeakable notion that the U.S. military can and should be used as a Saudi mercenary force if it is in their best personal interests.

I know it’s almost too unbelievably horrific to imagine, but try to explain why American leaders are seriously debating a wildly unpopular military attack on a faraway nation that poses no threat to U.S. security and is disconnected with any U.S. vital interests.

This is what Congress should be investigating. This is what Congress should be holding hearings about. This is what Congress should be debating – not whether to authorize an attack Syria, but why the executive branch is so determined to do so, with or without Congress’ approval.

a flag

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5617

Exclusive: High Level Source Confirms Secret US Nuclear Warhead Transfer

Anthony Gucciardi & Alex Jones
Infowars.com
September 3, 2013

A high level source inside the military has now confirmed to us that Dyess Air Force base is actively moving nuclear warheads to the East Coast of the United States in a secret transfer that has no paper trail.

According to the high level military source, who has a strong record of continually being proven correct in deep military activity, the Dyess Air Force Commander authorized unknown parties to transfer the nuclear warheads to an unknown location that has been reported to be South Carolina, where the warheads will then be picked up and potentially utilized.

This is of particular interest not only due to the fact that the Syrian situation has escalated to the point of a very realistic hot war scenario, but due to the fact that Dyess has repeatedly denied the existence of nuclear warheads inside the base.

The brief report from the top level military source, which was written in a rush to get the information out, reads:

“Dyess is beginning to move out nuclear war heads today. I got a tap from DERMO earlier. He said it was the first time they have been even acknowledged since being put there in the 80′s. No signature was required for transfer… There was no directive. He said that Dyess Commander was on site to give authority to release. No one knew where they were going really, but the truck driver said to take them to South Carolina and another pick up will take them from there.”

The fact that this transfer was not signed for and there were no papers is key. It shows how the military is now secretly operating with the transfer of nuclear weapons, and what’s more, we know that DERMO (a military base in Florida) is a hotbed of special operations. Why is DERMO operating the nuclear warheads out of Dyess Air Force base with no paper trail? This shows that this is a highly secretive, black ops style move here that the military does not want on record.

The fact is that they don’t move all of these assets unless they plan on using them. Nuclear warheads are not simply moved to the East Coast for no reason, and the bottom line is that these missiles are likely being used for something even much greater than Syria.

Top Level Military Officer ‘Extremely Alarmed’

This leak inside the military industrial complex comes after prior sources have also revealed to us that B-1′s and B-2 bombers were ordered to head out of their respective bases (B-1B’s leaving Dyess specifically) across the nation and they haven’t come back. All of this is happening amid the growing Syrian crisis that has developed amid the ignition of a WW3-level wrestling match between the United States and Russia.  Now, based on the transfer to South Carolina that is not on record and was not signed for, we may be looking at a pattern that reveals an extremely hot war scenario.

And here’s what’s essential to understand: There’s no question that the Syrian issue is huge, and it’s very possible that the US military is now under orders by Obama to prepare a strike, but the reality is that the much greater issue here is what’s going on with the US and Russia. What we’re seeing here is a proxy war turned hot with Syria, and we’ve been covering this for months now. Even the mainstream media has reported in the past how the evolution of war in Syria has turned into a hot proxy war against Russia via the Syrian rebels and Assad’s troops.

We now even have the Russian media openly discussing the hot war by the United States against Russia and how this will essentially lead to World War 3.  But the fact of the matter is that we’re already progressively moving towards World War 3 . Obama and United States officials are already talking about boots on the ground in Syria and taking down the Russian-backed Assad regime. They are already moving forward following the blatantly staged chemical attacks that were absolutely carried out by the Obama-funded Syrian rebels in order to initiate a war scenario.

Why do you think Obama has been aiding in the training, funding, and supplying of the bloodthirsty Syrian rebels since 2011 through secret orders admitted by Reuters? The entire angle here is not to help the civilians of Syria, who the Obama-backed rebels already are beheading and murdering to cheering crowds. No, this has always been a buildup to a World War 3 scenario between Russia and the United States. And now, with the absolute insanity of Obama and the military industrial complex pushing these wars, it’s here.

World War 3 Is Starting

I have spoken to my connections in the Russian media and they are all confirming that World War 3 is the hottest topic right now amid the populace, and the fact of the matter is that all of the top level military officials over there are looking at this Syrian incident as the catalyst — as the spark. There’s a reason that Russia has begun amassing 160,000 troops and heavy military equipment following an Israeli strike on Russian missiles in Syria. There’s a reason that the troops were called along with naval ships and bombers to attain ‘immediate combat readiness’ along the border. We reported on this months ago while the media was too busy focusing on the Trayvon Martin case to talk about the ignition of World War 3.

What we’re looking at right now is the beginning of World War 3 unless we manage to stop it. The elite are crazy enough and drunk enough with power to launch anything if it means advancing their vast lust for power and control. Thankfully, we now have a public that is much more awake to what’s going on and able to put a speed bump in the overall war plan as admitted by Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski last week, but it will take a lot of awakening to stop Obama from launching these attacks that have been in the works for years.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5604

Last Days power!

A Disciple Named…

by Gary Wilkerson | August 26, 2013

Acts 1-6 describes one of the most glorious works of God in history. It’s an amazing sequence of action-filled events: powerful preaching, mass conversions, miraculous healings and wonders. All were the fulfillment of a divine promise foretold by Jesus.

Before his resurrection, Christ instructed the disciples to wait in Jerusalem to receive the “promise of the Father.” That promise began its fulfillment on Pentecost, Israel’s feast of “first fruits.” The world was about to see the first fruits of Christ’s labor on the cross for us.

The disciples couldn’t have possibly imagined what God had in mind for them. They probably thought, “Great! This promise means God is about to restore Israel. He’ll free us from the shackles of Roman bondage forever, and we’ll be his people again.”

Today I think the church might have a similar reaction if we heard the same promise from Jesus. We might think, “When God’s promise comes, our churches will be filled to bursting. The Holy Spirit will move in other cities and people will travel from all over just to get a taste. We’ll be blessed as never before!”

We should want the Holy Spirit to fill our sanctuaries, to bring joy and comfort to God’s people. But when God’s glory comes, it won’t be for our benefit alone. Jesus didn’t say, “When you receive power from on high, you shall be my churchgoers, my Bible studiers, my prayer meeting attenders.” He said, “You will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth.”

God’s power is meant to go beyond the walls of the church to the very farthest reaches of the world.

That’s what we see unfolding in the book of Acts. When Peter got up to preach to the crowd that had gathered, 3,000 people were saved. Later, as Peter and John testified throughout Jerusalem, signs and wonders followed in miraculous healings and deliverances.

Yet that was only the beginning. If the work of the Spirit had stopped in Acts 6, all the power of God would have remained in the hands of twelve apostles. Instead, a tectonic shift took place. God said, “My Spirit will no longer move through just a select few. I’m going to empower every man, woman and child who calls on my name.”

I thank God his promise didn’t stop in Acts 6. Yet in a sense, that’s just where it has stopped in the church today. We assign God’s power to preachers, leaders, broadcasters, authors, anyone with a “platform.” But is God at work in the pews? Is the Spirit’s power working through every believing man, woman and child, the way the Lord intended? If we have been saved, then we’re meant to be filled with the power of God to do the works of God.

Here’s how it happened in Acts: “There arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles” (Acts 8:1). According to this verse, the apostles stayed in Jerusalem. But all the other believers were scattered throughout the region. “Those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ” (Acts 8:4-5). And so the new power to minister was unleashed.

Let me add that the man named Philip mentioned here wasn’t the apostle in Jerusalem but a layman. Signs and wonders followed this simple man as he preached. Demon-possessed people were delivered. Disabled people were healed and leaped for joy. Later, when Peter came to Samaria to witness these works, he saw that “there was much joy in that city” (8:8). An entire city was touched by the joy of God! That’s quite an impact made by a single layperson. Yet the Holy Spirit has given the same power to us that he gave to Philip, to do the same spiritual works.

Next we see Ananias, a follower of Jesus who lived in Damascus. We aren’t told much about Ananias. All we know is that he was filled with the Holy Spirit — and he had a tough job ahead of him: God had called him to witness to Saul, the famous Christian-hunter. At the time, Saul was “raging” against the church — and Ananias was being called into the line of fire. He knew that if he wasn’t hearing God correctly, he could be killed.

What would this mission sound like today? Maybe something like this: “Gary, I want you to go into the hills of Pakistan. There’s a man hiding in a cave, and he’s the head of Al Qaeda. I have blinded him temporarily. He’s ready to reject his Muslim faith and follow Jesus. Now, go to him and give him the gospel.”

Ananias had to overcome a very real fear for his life. He did it by being overcome with God’s love. Suddenly, Ananias was filled with compassion for a man who had proclaimed himself the mortal enemy of every Christian. So he went in faith — and the story of Saul’s conversion is well known. His transformation into Paul — the most famous follower of Jesus of all time — may be the most important conversion in history. Paul not only got saved but wrote a major portion of what became the New Testament.

God also used women and young people throughout Acts, just as he used Philip and Ananias. At one point we meet Tabitha, whom I call the Pentecostal Mother Teresa. She was known throughout Joppa for her good works and acts of charity, ministering to people at every level of society. Timothy was a young man who apprenticed under Paul, a pair God used mightily “so (that) the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily” (Acts 16:5). Every single day scores of people came to Jesus under a ministry co-partnered by a young person.

Then in Acts 11, we read of another tectonic shift in church history. This one came through Spirit-empowered believers whom Scripture doesn’t even name. These were the first witnesses to Gentiles, taking the good news of Jesus beyond the barriers of Judaism: “There were some of them…who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus” (Acts 11:20). I love the phrase used here — “some of them.” These faithful, unnamed believers had no idea of the crucial part they played in history.

In every movement of God, simple, unseen laypeople get hold of the power of Pentecost to do great things in his name.

Pentecost wasn’t just a historical event that happened 2,000 years ago. It is a living, breathing phenomenon that’s still happening. Missiologists say Pentecost occurs around the world every thirty minutes. Somewhere at this moment a small group of people are crying out to God — and his Spirit is falling on them, empowering them to be his witnesses to an unsaved world.

Pentecost is happening right now in Varanasi, a city in northern India I visited not long ago. Less than 1 percent of the population had been churched when a young Christian woman arrived there a few years ago. She began leading people to Jesus one by one, and those converts began leading others to the Lord. Now there are thousands of dynamic churches in the region with a powerful witness for Christ. This young woman didn’t keep Pentecost to herself. There are others just like her all over the world — Christians who cry out to the Spirit to take the Father’s love farther.

On several occasions my father, David Wilkerson, told me what grieved him most when he pastored a small Pennsylvania church in the 1950s. It was a Pentecostal church, so the services followed a certain course. Sister so-and-so played the organ and the congregation sang some traditional songs. Someone stood up and delivered a message in tongues, followed by another who provided the interpretation. Dad then preached. Afterward, he offered a prayer and people came to the altar crying forthe Holy Spirit to come down. Then everyone went home.

This church had no outreach. It had no ministry of mercy. Very few people wee brought to Christ during the few years my father pastored there. These were Christians who sought Pentecost for themselves; they never knew the Pentecost God had in mind for them. My father’s heartbroken prayer said it all: “Lord, if this is Pentecost, I don’t want it. If it’s about having a ‘bless me’ club week after week, I’ll have nothing to do with it.”

It was out of his desire for true Pentecost that Dad stopped watching television and spent time praying instead. The rest is history. These decades later, his book The Cross and the Switchblade has sold multiple millions, with over 1,000 Teen Challenge Centers around the world working to rescue the lost and broken. All of these works proclaim God’s active power today through the Holy Spirit.

The church has yet to finish reading an important chapter of the Bible: Acts 29.

Of course, there are only 28 chapters in Acts. But for centuries God has been writing another chapter through tens of thousands of disciples. Their names aren’t Philip or Tabitha or Timothy. Today they have names like Jenny, who attends our church in Colorado Springs. She’s a red-haired Australian with the most fun laugh you’ve ever heard — and she’s crazy for the gospel. Every day she and her husband see God’s power move on the people they encounter.

There’s also a disciple here named Jimmy, a guy I’ve ministered alongside for decades. Few people evangelize the way Jimmy does. Recently, when he led someone to the Lord, he suggested, “Let me lead a Bible study in your house.” Soon more people in that neighborhood were coming and getting saved. Jimmy did the same thing in another neighborhood. Then another. Bible studies are popping up all over the city because of one radical Christian who believes in the Spirit’s power to move hearts supernaturally.

There is a disciple here named Chris, a young man in our church who got saved just a few months ago. He was suicidal when he met Jesus at one of our street outreaches. Now Chris is involved in a home group and is full of God’s Spirit. He asked his group to pray for his old friends, some of whom he says are demon-filled. An older man in the group offered to go with Chris to witness to his friends, but Chris chuckled: “You don’t want to go where I’m going.” Our seasoned teams have gone into some of the city’s darkest places, but God has chosen to send a bold, young believer to reach one of the darkest.

There is a thirteen-year-old disciple named Jonathan in our church who prays with the authority of a lifelong missionary. His prayers bring adults to their knees because he has the sound of a broken and contrite heart. Jonathan hungers to see God save the lost, and his spiritual hunger is infectious.

The disciples I’m describing are 21st century Christians who have been given 1st century power. And you and I are called likewise — to be equipped by the Spirit of God to do the work of God. I believe it’s time for many in the church to no longer be merely hearers of his Word but doers. Bible studies and prayer groups are good, but it’s one thing to know about Jesus and his glory; it’s another to have his Spirit living inside us so that we minister as he did. That’s the reason the Holy Spirit has come: to live in us so he can accomplish his purposes through us.

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Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5594

Holy work or troublemaking? Laying the groundwork for a Third Temple in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM (JTA) – No praying. No kneeling. No bowing. No prostrating. No dancing. No singing. No ripping clothes.

These are the rules that Jews must abide by when visiting the Temple Mount, the site where the First and Second Holy Temples once stood, located above and behind the Western Wall in the heart of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Although the area is under Israeli sovereignty, the mount — known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif — is controlled by the Islamic Wakf, a joint Palestinian-Jordanian religious body. As the site of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, whose golden dome overlooks the city, the Temple Mount attracts daily crowds of Muslim worshipers.

Under Wakf regulations, Jews may only access the mount for 4 1/2 hours per day and are forbidden from praying there.

But when Rabbi Chaim Richman stands only feet from the Dome of the Rock, surrounded by Muslim visitors, he whispers a chapter of Psalms.

“God will answer you on your day of trouble,” he mutters on a recent visit. “The name of the God of Jacob will protect you.”

On previous visits to the mount, Richman says he’s sung the entire Hallel prayer under his breath.

A frequent presence on the mount who knows the guards by name, Richman is the international director of the Temple Institute, an organization based in the Old City with a singular goal: to rebuild the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Ahead of Tisha b’Av, the fast day next week that commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples, the institute released a video showing Jewish children donning tool belts and leading their fathers out of synagogue to begin construction of the Holy Temple.

“Our goal is to fulfill the commandment of ‘They shall make a Temple for me and I will dwell among them,’ ” Richman says, quoting Exodus. “The basis of a Torah life is action.”

Following the Second Temple’s destruction in 70 C.E., most rabbis adopted the position that Jewish law prohibits reconstructing the Holy Temple prior to the age of messianic redemption, or that the law is too ambiguous and that the messiah must come first.

The Temple Institute takes a different position.

“There are no Jewish legal barriers” to rebuilding the temple, Richman says, only political ones.

The institute isn’t shy about advocating what many see as a radical goal: replacing the mosque at the Dome of the Rock with a new Jewish Holy Temple. A painting in the institute’s exhibition depicts this scenario, with the city’s light rail line taking residents to the Temple Mount. The Temple Institute is dedicated to laying the groundwork for this vision.

The organization has formulated a program for where the temple will stand and what its vessels will look like, aided by 20 men who study Temple law full-time. The products of this research — 40 ritual objects — are on display in Plexiglas cases at the institute’s headquarters in the Old City.

Silver trumpets to be blown by priests and a wooden lyre are perched next to two deep pans with long handles — one for collecting blood from small sacrificial offerings and another for large sacrifices like the Passover lamb.

In another room, mannequins with beards wear the respective vestments for deputy priests and the high priest. The high priest’s outfit, with azure weaves, gold thread and a breastplate with 12 precious stones, took 11 years of research and $150,000 to complete. Next to it stands a massive 12-spigot sink with electric faucets — technology that Richman says will be permitted in the Third Temple.

The institute’s crowning achievement — the Temple’s golden, 200-pound, seven-branch menorah — stands outside in a case overlooking the Western Wall. Unlike art or history museums, the institute’s goal is to remove the objects from their cases and bring them to the mount for use as soon as possible.

Many Israelis view the goal as a danger to the status quo that has kept this site holy to Muslims and Jews from turning into a tinderbox.

In 1984, Israel’s security services stopped a group of Jewish terrorists conspiring to blow up the mosque at the mount who reportedly got very close to achieving their goal. Ever since, authorities say they have kept a close watch on any attempts to disturb the peace on the mount.

Though observant Jews pray thrice daily in the Amidah prayer for the Temple to be rebuilt, few do anything about it. That’s as it should be, says Michael Melchior, an Orthodox rabbi and former Knesset member who is considered a religious moderate.

“We pray for holiness, but we also need to be careful of others’ desire for holiness,” Melchior said. “The moment you want to translate that into building a Temple, you upset the sensitive balance we’ve created here, by which we exist here.” He called Temple construction advocates “irresponsible.”

Given the obstacles to breaking ground on a Holy Temple, the institute also has taken up a more modest cause: expanding Jewish rights on the Temple Mount to allow unrestricted access and prayer. In that endeavor, Richman is joined by several right-wing Knesset members and a group of archaeologists who say the Wakf is reckless with archaeological remains at the site.

“It has exceptional historical importance,” Eilat Mazar, a Hebrew University archaeologist, said of the site.  “There needs to be access for everyone. Authorities don’t take care of it.”

Moshe Feiglin, a nationalist Likud Knesset member, made a practice of visiting the Temple Mount monthly until Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu banned him from the site in order to prevent provocations there. Last month, Feiglin wrote on Facebook, “Whoever turns his back on the Temple Mount is also giving up on construction in the city.”

Richman says support for the institute’s goals is growing. For him, the issue involves far more than politics, archaeology or even Jewish legal research. The Temple Institute, he says, is doing God’s work.

“The point is that we can’t live without the Temple,” Richman says. “It’s not about building, it’s about a concept: the idea that all of human experience can be elevated to a sense of divine purpose.”

temple

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5590

New Oil Field Could Yield Rich Returns for Israel

A newly discovered field off Israel’s coast may have a significant amount of light crude oil – the kind of oil that international producers use to make most of the world’s gasoline. The Shemen company informed the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange Monday that the Yam 3 field, where drilling has been going on for several months, shows signs of light crude under the sea bed, at a depth of about 5,500 meters.

So far, the oil field appears to be have a depth of about 90 meters, although drilling is continuing. Drillers have also seen strong signs of natural gas as well. There was no numerical estimate on the amount of oil or gas that might be in the field.

Shemen said that it would wait until the drilling project was finished before determining whether to commercially develop the field.

If the field is commercially viable, it could be an important one for Israel. Light crude is the most popular among oil refiners, and its properties make if preferable for refining into gasoline and diesel fuel. It fetches a higher price than heavy crude on commodity markets.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=5579

New Signs of an Imminent Rapture – By Carl Worline

Around the middle of July, I wrote an article about how there are so many signs pointing to the end of the Age of Grace that we can hardly see the road upon which we are traveling as we move ever closer to the Rapture of the church. Approximately four weeks have passed since I wrote my previous article and during that time so many new signs have popped up that I feel an urgent need to list some of the more prominent ones.

I hope this article will encourage those who are patiently watching and longing for Jesus to come and take us home. I also hope that, perhaps, somebody who is only lukewarm in their walk with the Lord will find this article and realize that it is time to get serious. We actually are the last generation of the Age of Grace.

Something big is about to happen and it is not only going to happen really, really soon; it is also going to be so spectacular that it is beyond our ability to comprehend.

Time and space only permit me to list the most significant signs that have popped up in recent weeks. There is so much more going on in the world that is pointing to an imminent rapture. Please forgive me for all that I have failed to include. I will also make a sincere attempt to leave out all of the signs I pointed out in my first article so as to have room for the newest signs that I feel require our attention.

The earth continues to groan as it longs to be free of the curse that was pronounced upon it when Adam and Eve first sinned again God. Freakish weather continues to be the new “normal.” This freakish weather is not being caused by: global warming.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that data for 2012 shows we are now experiencing a cooling trend, and a recent report by the Met Office show that global warming actually ended 16 years ago. The arctic saw the shortest summer in recorded history.

South America is currently in a massive deep freeze as the death toll in China rises from their record heat wave. The lingering heat wave in Japan has left 19 dead and put 9,800 people in the hospital so far. Heavy rain in Pakistan has killed hundreds. Severe flooding continues in Southeast Asia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

In the past month more than 150,000, have been displaced by flooding in Sudan─with more rain expected in the coming days. Meanwhile, Germany is experiencing a heat wave and hailstones the size of tennis balls.

Rainfall in Iran has decreased by 58 percent as they continue to threaten to destroy Israel. There were 1,122, record cold temperatures recorded in the U.S. during a single week. The drought in New Zealand has been the most extreme in history. Natural disasters displaced 32.4 million people in 2012 with 2013 on track to be even worse.

We are currently experiencing 34 major wildfires burning across 11 western states and staggering amounts of rainfall in 16 eastern states. Severe heat is being felt across the entire nation. Dormant volcanoes are coming back to life.

The last time I checked there were 7 volcanoes that were showing new activity and 9 volcanoes with on-going activity. A volcanic eruption in Indonesia just killed 6 scientists. Earlier this year we had 4 volcanoes erupting in Russia within a range of just over 100 miles of each other. Many other volcanoes are showing a growing increase in seismic activity.

Earthquakes continue at an alarming rate and have become so common that they are seldom reported in the news. The latest one was a severe, damaging, and shallow magnitude 6.9 in New Zealand on August 15th.

Strange unidentified sounds coming from no apparent source or direction continue to be reported all over the world. The sounds are described as heavy scraping, to groaning, to booms or explosions, to a continuous hum.

A steady, droning sound that creeps in slowly in the dark of night and continues for many hours at a time has been reported in places as disparate as Taos, New Mexico; Bristol, England; and Largs, Scotland. Loud booms have been reported in 25 regions of the U.S.

In the Bible we are given a message of judgment in the last days. The prophet Hosea foretold how the land, itself would mourn:

“Therefore the land mourns, and everyone who lives in it languishes, along with the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky; and also the fish of the sea disappear” (Hosea 3:2).

Perhaps we should believe what Hosea prophesied around 710 years before Christ. I had planned to list the mass animal die-offs that have occurred in just one month picked at random this year, but the list would be too long. Please go to the link below, which lists 519 known mass animal die-offs that have occurred in 78 countries so far this year.

These are only the know occurrences. Many more unreported ones certainly exist. While you are there please take a few moments to pause and consider this incredible loss of life. God is using the animals as a warning to us of what is about to come upon mankind.

On Wednesday, August 7, 2013, Japanese officials informed us that highly radioactive water is pouring out of the damaged nuclear power plant complex at Fukushima at the rate of 300 tons per day. This highly radioactive water is systematically poisoning the entire Pacific Ocean.

There are also 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel rods that are tightly packed together at the moment and need to be removed as part of the clean-up. This nuclear material has the very real potential of releasing 14,000 times the amount of radiation that was released from the atomic blast at Hiroshima 68 years ago.

Despite all of the current flooding throughout the world fresh water is becoming scarce. One-third of the world’s population has limited access to clean water. Egypt is ready to go to war with Ethiopia over the Nile. Pakistan is on the verge of a crisis over the lack of drinking water. Sub-Saharan Africa is in particularly dire need. In 20 African countries, more than 30 percent of the population does not have access to safe drinking water.

China and India are also experiencing unprecedented strain on their drinking water supplies. Drought in Namibia is threatening over 400,000 people with hunger. A recent report confirms that the 2013 drought in New Zealand was the worst of all time. The largest reservoir in New Mexico only contains 3 percent of the water that it did during the 1980s and 1990s.

In chapter 24 of Matthew Jesus told us that there would be signs in the heavens of His Second Coming. This seems very logical since they will be visible to the entire world. There has been a huge up-tick in solar activity, especially in the southern hemisphere of the sun.

NASA tells us the sun will reverse its magnetic polarity within the next three months and the effects will be felt far beyond the orbit of Pluto, which is the farthest planet in our solar system.

A high-speed solar wind is currently buffeting the Earth’s magnetic field and this is causing a G-1 geomagnetic storm around the Earth’s poles. There was a very spectacular filament eruption on the sun on August 6th.

During the middle of July there was a coronal mass ejection from our sun that was large enough to have produced a Carrington-class electromagnetic pulse (EMP) disaster. This huge pulse crossed the Earth’s orbit and barely missed colliding with the Earth.

A coronal hole has formed on the sun’s northern hemisphere and it is spewing solar wind into space. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory photographed the UV dark gap during the early hours of August 14th.

These coronal mass ejections in recent months have produced some spectacular displays of northern lights. In the meantime, the Perseid meteor show has just concluded. A new star has been discovered in the constellation Delphinus.

There was a 1,250 mile-wide hurricane at the north pole of Saturn, and a meteor struck a garbage dump in China punching a 6-foot deep hole into the ground.

Jesus told us that there would be an increase of evil in the last days. We are certainly seeing an increase of horribly sick and disgusting acts. One small recent example would be the two 18-year-old girls whose faces and upper bodies were horribly burned with acid during the recent celebration of Ramadan in Zanzibar.

I am not going to list any further examples because they are just too sickening to think about. Nevertheless, the number of these acts continues to rise dramatically.

Islam continues to spread throughout the world with a rabid vengeance. A group called the American Muslim Political Action Committee is planning a one million man Muslim march on Washington D.C. to protest the profiling and treatment of Muslims and they are also planning to hold it on September 11, the anniversary of the worst domestic massacre in American history in the name of Islam.

The Muslim world continues to demand that the rest of our planet accept Sharia Law with all of its horrors. Islam hates Jews, Christians, and all other religions with a fanatical passion that can only be described as “supernatural.” There is also a huge increase in Muslim vs. Muslim fighting.

When the restraining influence of Christianity is snatched away from the world in the harpazo (Rapture) a single worldwide religion will form in which Islam will play a very major role. Even the leaders of Islam can sense this. Leaders in Iran are, once again, loudly proclaiming that Armageddon is at hand and to prepare for war because the arrival of the Mahdi is imminent.

Christianity continues to spiral out of control toward extinction in the Middle East and the rest of the Muslim world. Churches, homes, and businesses of Christians in Egypt have been stormed and burned. Egypt is the home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world and also has the largest Christian population in the Middle East, totaling 8 to 12 million people. The government of Cameroon has shut down 50 Pentecostal churches and has vowed to shut down an additional 50 churches.

Christianity is fast becoming an endangered species in Nigeria where over 100 Christians are murdered each month. Jihad is emptying entire towns in Syria. Christian students in Eritrea have been beaten and imprisoned for refusing to renounce Christ. In India five women were publicly beaten for sharing the gospel.

On August 2nd three evangelists in Indonesia were sentenced to 3 years in prison for “evangelizing Muslims.” U.S. State Department spokesperson, Jen Psaki, issued a press release condemning the “enemies of Islam” who were responsible for terrorist attacks at the end of Ramadan while remaining totally silent about the terrorist attacks against Christians throughout the entire Middle East and Muslim world.

Persecution of Christians here in the U.S. continues to grow in intensity. Ever since the June 26th pro-gay rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, religious persecution of Christians within the United States has increased dramatically. One example would include people who provide services for weddings and have been particularly targeted with horrific fines and even jail time for refusing to provide services for same-sex weddings.

Another example would include an airman who wrote an article titled: “No atheists in foxholes,” and was severely reprimanded for his beliefs, while atheists demanded even more severe punishment.

Anti-Semitism is also increasing. At Toronto’s Al Quds Day, very young children were featured making hate filled rants against Israel and Jews.

A major sign that the Rapture and the end of the Age of Grace, has to be near is the crumbling of fundamental Christian doctrines. The name of Jesus has become a dirty word in politically correct America as well as the rest of the world.

The new pope says it is not for him to judge homosexual priests and the Vatican is even offering “time off from purgatory” for those who follow Pope Francis tweets. Are we back to selling indulgences again? Our evangelical community is turning away from opposing homosexuality in favor of a more tolerant atmosphere.

Television evangelist and pastor John Hagee has publicly declared that he no longer opposes a proposed ordinance that seeks to protect the rights of gays, lesbians, transsexuals, and transgender people in San Antonio, Texas.

More people in the U.K. believe in aliens from outer space than do people who believe in God. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has publicly declared that Christianity has helped to make Russia a great nation.

President Putin has called for an end to worldwide persecution of Christians, while President Barack Obama has publicly declared that the United States is not a Christian nation and has remained silent about worldwide Christian persecution.

On July 31st a Muslim Imam opened a session of the United States Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. with an Islamic prayer.

Blasphemy and mocking have reached a fever pitch, just as we were told it would in the last days. A few days ago I watched a story on Fox News showing a small child praying to Obama and praising him for his greatness. I also saw an article about a Facebook post titled, “Virgin Mary Should Have Aborted.”

The content of the post was equally as offensive. Similar pages are becoming increasingly more common. I will not list any further examples because I find them so offensive. We are very definitely in the last of the last days.

Many will argue that all sins are equally offensive to God, but I have always felt that homosexuality in all of its forms is particularly offensive to our Lord. Perhaps this is why the supernatural forces that are at work in the world against us are so intensely determined to force the homosexual agenda upon the rest of us.

Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu has declared that he would prefer hell, over a “homophobic” heaven. Gays are set to sue the Church of England for refusing to perform same-sex weddings. Churches in the United States now fear lawsuits over gay weddings as well.

A proposed law in San Antonio, Texas, would bar Christians, along with anybody else who opposes homosexuality, from holding public office or obtaining a city contract. Rhode Island and Minnesota have just legalized gay marriage, bringing the total to 13 states in the U.S.

Tel Aviv has been one of the most-friendly cities in the world for pro-gay couples in the world and Jerusalem, the city that God claims for Himself─just held a parade to support pro-LGBT legislation in Israel. America has granted gay spouses equal visa privileges.

The U.S. military has recently announced that same-sex spouses will gain all of the benefits open to opposite-sex spouses by September 3rd. This includes healthcare and housing, and will be open to any military member with a valid marriage certificate.

While all of this has been going on a California committee approved legislation, which would cause any non-profit organization that does not embrace homosexuals to lose their tax-exempt status.

Sexual perversion continues to increase as well. On August 11, California’s Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, signed into law the “bathroom bill” mandating schools to allow boys to use the girl’s restrooms and locker rooms, and vice-versa.

When it comes to Internet porn, a recent poll found that the U.S. is well ahead of the rest of the nations of the world and that we are the host of 60 percent of the world’s pornographic websites. The same poll found that 30 percent of all Internet traffic worldwide involves pornographic sites, and that 66 percent of the pornography in the United States originates in California.

Wars and the rumors of wars are one of the major signs we were told to watch for as a sign of the end of the age. Russia recently held the biggest war games in decades, involving 160,000 troops.

Well over 4 million people have been displaced, by the fighting in Syria, as the civil war in that nation lingers on. Chemical weapons have been used in the conflict. The fighting in Syria is becoming global as more and more nations send weapons and troops to participate in the fighting.

Zimbabwe’s government has signed an agreement to sell uranium to Iran. Japan just unveiled its largest warship since WWII. Bitter enemies India and Pakistan, both possess nuclear weapons, are now exchanging gunfire across their borders.

We have just learned that 400 advances hand-held surface-to-air missiles were stolen from Benghazi and have fallen into the hands of radical Islamists.

Britain’s busiest airport, Heathrow, has been put on high terror alert after “credible” intelligence emerged that al-Qaeda is plotting to bring down airliners flying out of London with the help of female suicide bombers with explosives concealed in breast implants.

The IDF reports that Hezbollah has a weapons cache of 60,000 rockets and that all of Israel is now in range. Israel is now facing an on-coming al-Qaeda on all 3 Israeli borders: Golan, Lebanon, and Sinai. Gaza has resumed firing rockets into Israel and Israel has resumed airstrikes against the terrorists who fire them.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has declared that his goal is to have “not a single Israeli” in a future Palestinian state.

The Palestinians have stated clearly and frequently that they will not compromise in their goal to steal all of the land of Israel and to completely once-and-for-all-time eliminate all traces of the nation of Israel and to kill every single Jew in the world. They refuse to recognize the very existence of Israel.

At the same time Israel continues to bomb yet another weapons convoy in Syria and has announced plans to begin the next block of homes in the West Bank, giving preliminary approval for 1,187 new settler homes. Instead of standing with our supposed friend and ally, the U.S. State Department has bitterly criticized Israel for building settlements in the disputed territory.

Secretary of State Kerry has publicly and firmly declared that the United States views all settlements in the disputed territory as illegitimate and illegal. America is the referee who is pushing (shoving) Israel to divide their land. God has promised in the Bible that we will be held accountable for harming Israel.

After assuring us for months that al-Qaeda has been decimated, the United States temporarily closed 21 embassies all over the Middle East and other parts of the world over fear of an imminent attack by al-Qaeda while violence and murders all over Iraq and Afghanistan are leading us to the realization that all of our fallen and wounded soldiers, and the unimaginable amount of money that we spend, were lost in vain.

Our president has assured us that he has al-Qaeda “on the run.” On this point he is absolutely correct. Al-Qaeda is definitely on the run. They are running straight at us with their bayonets fixed and wearing their explosive vests as they scream “Allah Akbar.”

We are told that one sign of the coming Rapture will be the world in a political upheaval. The latest death toll from the uprising in Egypt has now passed 800 with the number of wounded well into the thousands. It will get much worse in the coming days. On August 15th the military backed government of Egypt authorized the further use of live ammunition.

Anti-U.S. hostility is rapidly increasing in Egypt. They barely tolerate our existence as they soak up billions of dollars of American foreign aide. The new president of Egypt has even refused to take calls from Obama. We are on the very verge of the fulfillment of Isaiah 19.

Meanwhile, CNN reports that the CIA is going to unprecedented lengths to insure that whatever it was doing in Benghazi remains secret, even going so far as to require monthly polygraph examinations of those who know the truth.

Signs of an imminent worldwide economic collapse also point to a Rapture occurring at any moment. All of the nations of the world are bankrupt to one degree or another. Each nation holds the others up in a worldwide Ponzi scheme that could have only existed this long through divine intervention.

When the restraining force of our Lord is removed everything will collapse. The only solution will be a worldwide currency with a mandatory and infallible means of personal identification, such as a biometric scan or an RFID chip.

Right now over 97 percent of the money in the world exists only in the electronic memory of the world’s banking computers. Less than 3 percent of the money in the world is in the form of paper, coins, or bars of precious metal. Traders are talking about a worldwide gold conspiracy and there is evidence to back that up.

We have record high demand for physical gold. Earlier this year when the Germans asked for 300 metric tons of their gold from the Federal Reserve in New York they were told that it would take seven years for the Fed to come up with it.

This set off alarm bells all over the world. Right now the bullion banks are experiencing unprecedented difficulties in coming up with the physical gold and physical silver that they are supposed to have. The stock market continues to set record highs yet nothing has been fixed.

Something is very wrong here. There have been multiple occurrences of the “Hindenburg Omen” in recent weeks, which many analysts believe is a serious portent of doom in the stock market.

Nearly all of Mexico lives in poverty. Similar to what Cypress did, Australia is now proposing a levy on bank accounts to pay government debts. Unemployment just passed 27.6 percent in Greece. Japan’s national debt is at $10.5 trillion dollars and is poised to set off a global financial panic at any moment.

Currently, 50 percent of all government tax revenue in Japan goes to interest payment on its debt. Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, has claimed a mandate for “black empowerment” and has begun seizing all foreign and white-owned assets in the country.

Signs of an imminent financial collapse in America are equally as stark. Detroit can no longer pay its bills and has filed for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. Two Americans are enrolled in food stamps for every job our president has created.

A recent Associated Press survey found 4 out of 5 U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty, or reliance on welfare for at least part of their lives. California is releasing 9,600 inmates from state prisons to reduce chronic, severe overcrowding and to save money.

In a recent report black teen unemployment is at 41.6 percent. The U.S. debt obligation has now passed $70 trillion dollars. And finally, Americans living overseas are renouncing their citizenship in record numbers in order to avoid oppressive taxes being imposed on those living outside the U.S.

The American military is collapsing. Due to budget cuts brought on by sequestration the Navy has decided that it cannot afford to fix the Los Angeles class nuclear submarine Miami and is, therefore, decommissioning it. The Miami was damaged in May 2012 by a fire while undergoing repairs in dry dock.

We have aircraft carriers in port because we cannot afford to repair or refuel them. The Air Force Space Command has announced that it is shutting down its space surveillance system that detects and tracks satellites and space debris by October 1st due to budget cuts resulting from sequestration.

This system has been operating since 1961 and is now being shut down because we can no longer afford the $14 million dollars it costs to operate each year. So far this year 2 of the 3 intercontinental ballistic missile wings of the American military have miserably failed safety and operational evaluations, calling into serious question our ability to defend our nation in the event of a nuclear strike against us.

However, our military has decided that it could afford to host homosexual drag queens as part of a “diversity day” event at a Los Angeles Air Force Base.

At the same time a 19-year-veteran of the Air Force said that he was relieved of his duties after he disagreed with his openly gay commander when she wanted to severely punish an instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality. Soldiers should not be forced to embrace homosexuality in order to serve our nation.

America is not mentioned in biblical end-time prophecy. Perhaps that is due to America’s political collapse, which has already begun. Our current administration has been rocked by the Benghazi scandal, the IRS scandal, the Fast and Furious scandal, and the Associated Press scandal. As a result, polls show growing support for impeachment.

America has shown a total lack of leadership in recent world crisis. The world is on the brink of war over tensions in the Middle East. When Egypt first erupted in chaos our president went golfing and our Secretary of State took the day off to sail on his private yacht. Neither lifted a finger or said a word to help.

As Egypt descends further into civil war our president continues to play golf on his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard. A former aide has revealed this week that President Obama played cards during the bin Laden raid, which he was later so quick to claim the credit for its success.

In an interview with the New York Times, President Obama suggested that you need to be a lawyer: in order to be able know what the Constitution actually says. President Obama held a Ramadan dinner at the White House while the U.S. is at war with radical Islam – the religion that tells every one of its members to kill every single Christian and Jew.

Obama canceled his “summit” meeting with Russian President Putin amid tensions over Russia granting temporary asylum to Edward Snowden. Apparently our president did not feel that this “summit” meeting was very important.

The approval rating for our president has now dropped to 41 percent.

Lawyers and politicians are now considered to be the bottom feeders of our society. We currently have a large number of politicians who are creating headlines for their sexual misconduct. Many Congressmen admit to passing laws they have not even read. What’s even worse, many of our political leaders, including our president, are refusing to enforce the laws they do not like.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was literally screaming at members of Congress two days after the Benghazi attack for daring to call the tragedy “terrorism.”

America runs off-shore-prisons, including but certainly not limited to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where inmates have been denied all of the rights guaranteed by our Constitution. Even worse, America has tortured prisoners in these off-shore-prisons and no amount of “spin” can ever change or justify it.

Our integrity has a serious stain upon it that can never be removed and we can no longer claim the moral-high-ground in judging any other nation. America has become something that our Founding Fathers never intended it to be.

America is collapsing morally. Recent polls show that the U.S. marriage rate has dropped to a new low. A newly released video shows college students signing a petition: to legalize abortion after a child is born. Time magazine is promoting the childless lifestyle as the path to “the good life” for U.S. couples.

More than a dozen leading baseball stars have just been given severe fines and suspensions from playing for illegal drug use. And an abortion clinic in Florida is now sending coupons to low income women offering a $50 savings on the cost of an abortion if the abortion is performed on a Sunday.

Political correctness is destroying America. An elementary school in Tennessee has banned pork so as not to offend Muslims. The Missouri State Fair has permanently banned a rodeo clown because he wore an Obama mask during a performance.

A high school track team was disqualified because one of its runners made a gesture thanking God as he crossed the finish line. A teacher in New Jersey was fired for giving a Bible to a student who asked for one. A Florida police officer was fired because he called Travon Martin “a thug” on Facebook.

In San Francisco authorities are installing “privacy screens” on computers in public libraries so perverts can view pornography without disturbing others. The Obama administration has banned any government training materials that link radical Islam with terrorism and is purging these references from all of its old materials.

And in a new Army training manual U.S. soldiers are being warned to avoid all criticism of pedophiles in order to avoid offending Muslims. After all, Mohammad did marry his favorite wife, Aisha, when she was only 6 years old.

Our government continues to conspire against its people. In my last article I talked about the 2 billion (plus) rounds of ammunition out government is hoarding, how the IRS is now training with M-16 full automatic assault rifles, the reported 2,700 armored personnel carriers it has purchased, and so much more.

However, in the last couple of weeks I did note that the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration just purchased 72,000 rounds of hollow-point ammunition. Obama’s federal government is now using automobile license plate readers to track the movement of U.S. motor vehicles. Even police departments in small towns are now tooling up with elite military hardware.

There is also the ever-increasing number of reports in the news of police in America turning into ruthless thugs. In one case, a man innocently searched the words “pressure cooker” on the Internet and another member of his family innocently searched the words “back pack,” only to find six armed agents knocking on his door shortly thereafter.

President Obama is set to sign the UN Arms Treaty this month while Congress is in recess. This will lead to mandatory registration of all firearms in the U.S.

In order to take over the world: The Antichrist will need to know as much as possible about every single individual. Our government is currently building a mega-data-base on not only all of its citizens, but all of the people of the world. You’ve never heard of XKeyscore, but it definitely knows you.

The National Security Agency’s top-secret program essentially makes available everything you’ve ever done on the Internet─browsing history, searches, content of your emails, online chats, even your metadata─all at the tap of the keyboard. …XKeyscore is its “widest reaching” system for developing intelligence from the Internet.

PowerPoint training materials obtained by the Guardian show how analysts could use the system to mine sprawling agency databases consisting of a vast reservoir of data. At least 41 billion records were collected and stored in a single 30-day period in 2012, according to the report, which also says XKeyscore collects more than 20 terabytes of information daily, including emails, chats, social media interactions, and even browsing histories-all in real-time.

The world is furious at us after learning of the extent of our spying on them from the Edward Snowden leaks regarding our mass surveillance programs. Germany canceled a decades long agreement with us to share vital intelligence information. Recently released documents by Edward Snowden reveal our president lied about our government spying on its citizens.

The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008. The government’s challenge to us through all of this has been that if we are not doing anything wrong we have nothing to hide and, therefore, no reason to object.

If we want to know where we are on God’s end-time timeline we need to look at what is going on in Israel. The European Union has redrawn Israel’s borders to the pre-1967 lines and has issued a directive barring all transactions with areas outside those borders. The UN has declared Israel to be an “occupier.”

The new ruler of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, appears to be as rabidly fanatical about the destruction of Israel as the former leader, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. As I mentioned a few moment ago, Secretary of State Kerry has declared, “The United States of America views all of the settlements as illegal. That is the policy of the United States.”

We have touched the “apple of God’s eye” in a way that has surely made God very, very angry with us. Our own Supreme Court has struck down a law allowing Americans born in Jerusalem to list Israel on their passport as their place of birth.

We have also publicly stated that the U.S. guarantees that Israel’s pre-1967 borders will be the basis for renewed peace talks with the Palestinians. Israel is very angry with the U.S. for revealing to the world that Israel used its submarines to launch cruise missiles that destroyed Russian made anti-aircraft missiles being delivered to the Syrians for use against Israel.

Obama has leaked this information to the world knowing full well that it invites retaliation against Israel, thus putting Israel in real danger. The Temple Mount is routinely being closed off to all Jews to appease Muslims who threaten to riot.

Jews were banned from Temple Mount for most of the month of Ramadan.

What I find most frightening of all are the remarks by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, which seem to indicate that Prime Minister Netanyhu is willing to relinquish up to 86 percent of the West Bank in a land-for-peace deal that has no possibility of ever succeeding, and every possibility of angering God.

The black horse of the Apocalypse looms just over the horizon as world hunger increases. President Obama just signed an order banning ammonium nitrate fertilizers in the United States. This will produce a very severe negative impact on the food grown on our nation’s farmlands.

Many parts of the world continue to ban genetically engineered crops. France has just announced that it will continue its ban on genetically modified corn. The war in Syria has destroyed half of their wheat crop. Freakish weather has destroyed a significant portion of the current world’s food supply.

The Bible tells us that there will be an increase in disease and pestilence in the last days. Anthrax is spreading over the northern region of Tajikistan. A plague-infected squirrel has been found in a California campground. Honduras has declared an emergency over dengue fever.

Hog producers are battling a virus that has killed piglets by the thousands and has a mortality rate of up to 100 percent. China’s bird flu has now started passing from human to human. There is a new mystery virus in the Middle East that is linked to camels.

A boy in Florida has recently been infected with a brain-eating amoeba. The east coast of the United States is being overrun with a plague of cicadas. Billions of locust eggs are hatching in the Negev desert.

Israel was hit by a plague of locusts just before Passover (That just has to be prophetic somehow!), and the capital of Bosnia has been hit by a plague of flies. One-third of the world’s food is destroyed by pestilence.

Advances in technology also point to our being in a time that closely parallels the “Days of Noah,” when the gene pool of mankind and the earth was polluted by angels who rebelled against God and caused God to be so angry that He destroyed the world with a flood. We have hacked our way past the firewalls of God’s computer and have gained access to the secrets of DNA that contain the codes of life.

Foolishly, we have tampered with these codes producing human-animal hybrids created in laboratories all over the planet. Scientists have just announced their most recent accomplishments of implanting false memories in mice and producing rabbits that glow in the dark. Human genes have been implanted in many different animals. One does not need the gift of prophecy to know that God is not going to tolerate this flagrant disobedience much longer.

Jesus told us that the Great Tribulation would start at the 3.5 year-point of Daniel’s 70th “week” when the Antichrist stands in the Temple and declares himself, to be god.   Therefore, there will have to be temple for him to stand in. The discussions on rebuilding the Temple are starting to get serious despite severe Islamic objections. The Israeli government is now funding the Temple Mount Institute and other organizations in their efforts to someday very soon rebuild the Temple.

I firmly believe that UFOs will play a significant role in end-time events and that sinister supernatural forces have at been at work ever since the incident at Roswell in 1947, and even back to the earliest days of civilization, to plant the seeds in the mind of mankind that are necessary to carry out their evil plan.

There has been a huge up-tick in recent UFO sightings and in cattle mutilations, where parts of the cattle are removed with the surgical precision we are scarcely able to duplicate today. The beings that perform these mutilations go to great lengths to insure they are never seen, and yet they deliberately leave the carcasses in places where they are certain to be found. Why?

There are other miscellaneous signs at we are at the end. Water has turned blood red in 9 waterways around the world during the past 2 years. Massive sinkholes continue to appear all over the world. The latest one opened up a hole 200 feet wide and 90 feet deep for no apparent reason, and it continues to expand.

Why are these sinkholes gobbling up cars, homes, and people? Is the earth angry with us, or is it trying to tell us something?

In Revelation 3:3 Jesus commanded us to watch for His return. He also warned us that if we do not watch He will come upon us as unexpectedly as a thief in the night and if we do not watch, we will not know the day or hour of His return.

Paul told the Thessalonians in his first letter to them to watch for the Lord’s return in the clouds, when the dead in Christ will rise first when the trumpet blows.

The bulk of chapter 24 of the book of Matthew deals with Jesus answer when asked what the signs of his return will be. Chapter 25 contains the parable of the 10 virgins and the importance of watching and being prepared for His return.

Over the centuries there has been much debate as to whether or not we can know the day or hour, but we can certainly know the season. We have that on the highest authority.

Never before in history has there been such an incredible number of signs that something big is about to happen, especially when all of these signs are occurring simultaneously. Many in the unbelieving world react with anger whenever the Rapture is mentioned because it is becoming increasingly impossible to deny.

All of humanity can sense it. Something really, really big is about to happen and it is going to happen really, really soon. Stockpiling water, food, medicine, and ammunition is not the answer.

The answer lays in your own heart and where you stand with God.

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The End Times According To Peter – Jack Kelley

 

Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles. (2 Peter 3:1-2)

Peter wrote this letter, his final one, around 65 AD. He was probably in Rome at the time, since he was crucified in 68, though he may have still been in Babylon, where he’d written letter number one five years earlier.

His purpose in writing was three-fold: to stimulate spiritual growth among Christians, to combat the false teaching that was coming into the Church, and to emphasize the certainty of the Lord’s return. We’ll focus on this third purpose, which Peter addressed in chapter 3.

 

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”(2 Peter 3:3-4)

Peter’s first burden was to warn us about the false teaching that would come to be known as Religious Uniformitarianism. This view holds that God does not periodically intervene in the affairs of man but is content just to observe us as we experience a linear series of events over an extended period of time. Its proponents sometimes describe God as “the Great Watchmaker” Who constructed His universe like a master craftsman assembles a precision timepiece. Having “wound it up” and set it in motion, He’s now engaged in watching it run, apart from any subsequent involvement by Him. Galaxies, worlds and civilizations appear as if by chance as bits and pieces randomly come together to form them, and as species evolve into higher life forms. And as the enormous amount of time that’s passed demonstrates, we really shouldn’t expect anything more from Him. (An offshoot of this, called process theology, actually teaches that God is learning as He goes and is just as curious to see how everything will work out as we are.) As Peter implied, the emergence of this false teaching would in fact be a sign that the last days are upon us.

But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.(2 Peter 3:5-7)

These false teachers will have made conscious decisions to ignore three indisputable facts;

1) The Earth didn’t come into being by chance. It was created.

2) The One Who created it does periodically intervene in the affairs of man, at one time bringing a judgment so great that the entire world was destroyed.

3) And what’s more, He’s promised to do it again, because man didn’t learn from the first one.

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.(2 Peter 3:8-9)

I don’t believe this passage can be used to justify the “one day equals 1000 years” theory that some students of prophecy promote. Granted there are places like Hosea 6:1-2 where this theory seems to apply, and in Ezekiel 4 the Lord used a day to represent one year,  but He informed us that He was doing so. There are also passages mentioning the Day of the Lord that in some cases seem to cover a span of time as long as 2000 years and in others one as short as 24 hours.

But here I think Peter was simply trying to emphasize that God is not governed by time as we are, and so what we perceive to be a long time would not necessarily be so for Him. His point is this. The length of time that’s passed is no indication of a wavering intent. Instead it should be seen a measure of His patience in giving us as much time as possible to come to Him for forgiveness.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.(2 Peter 3:10)

Make no mistake, Peter warns us, the Day of the Lord will come, and when it does everything will be made new. Due to the popularity of the aforementioned false teaching it will catch a lot of people by surprise. And this is exactly the case today. Most mainline churches advocate the amillennial view of prophecy, which rejects the notion of a literal return by the Lord, and abandoned the Biblical creation account long ago. And even some conservatives deny a coming Kingdom saying all prophecy in the bible was fulfilled by 70 AD. (This is called the Preterist view). Remember, Peter wasn’t warning about non-believers promoting these ideas. He saw this teaching coming from within the church.

Some scholars have speculated that in verse 10 Peter was describing an instantaneous conversion of matter to pure energy and back to matter again in a “cleansing by fire.” If that’s the case then Peter would have been referring to the end of the Millennium when Earth and Heaven will flee from the presence of God (Rev. 20:11).

We shouldn’t confuse this with Isaiah 65:17 and Revelation 21:1 which both reference the time of the 2nd Coming that Jesus called the restoration (renewal) of all things (Matt. 19:28). We know this because in the verses following, Isaiah gave us one of the clearest descriptions of the millennium in Israel on Earth.  And John quoted Isaiah 65:17showing the New Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven, which also happens at the beginning of the Millennium.  And finally, Peter also spoke of this restoration in Acts 3:21 but made no reference to the Heavens and Earth being destroyed at the time.  Rather than being a restoration, 2 Peter 3:10 speaks of a total destruction.

Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise, we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.(2 Peter 3:11-13)

Can we really hasten the Day of the Lord? In Romans 11:25 Paul wrote that Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. This means the Church will contain a predetermined number of members, and when that number is complete, we’ll all disappear in the Rapture. Maybe that’s one reason why we won’t know the Rapture’s timing in advance. It depends on the Church achieving a predetermined number, not on reaching a predetermined date. By living Holy and Godly lives, we can influence others to respond more favorably when we talk to them about Jesus. That would make the Church grow faster, bring the Rapture sooner, and hasten the Day of the Lord.

While the New Jerusalem, being the exclusive home of the redeemed Church, can rightly be called a home of righteousness, there’s no way millennial Earth can be described as such. Many of its inhabitants will be in their natural states, having survived the Great Tribulation and come directly into the Kingdom.  Ezekiel’s description of Millennial Israel mentions sin offerings 14 times in 7 chapters (Ezek. 40-46).  And eventually the Millennium will end in mass rebellion against God (Rev. 20:7-10).  To me this settles the issue that in speaking of Heaven and Earth being destroyed to be replaced by a new Heaven and a new Earth, Peter was speaking of the transition from the Millennium into Eternity.

So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.(2 Peter 3:14-16)

Some believe Peter was referring specifically to the Epistle to the Hebrews here, which many in the early church believed Paul had written. Since Hebrews was written about the same time, there may be some merit to the assumption. In any case his statement that the Lord’s patience means salvation underlines his earlier one that the longer the Lord tarries, the more people can be saved before He comes. Where would you be, for example, if the Lord had come 30 years ago? Still saved? How about 50? Get the point?

Peter and Paul were in Rome together at the end of their lives, and both were incarcerated in the Mamertime prison while awaiting execution. Peter was manacled upright to a post for 9 months before being crucified upside down. Paul, being a Roman citizen, was beheaded. Between them 47 prisoners and an untold number of guards and jailers were converted to Christianity. It was their final tribute to the Lord while on Earth and they labored at it till the day they died.

Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3: 17-18)

Peter isn’t implying that listening to false teachers could cost us our salvation. The phrase “fall from your secure position” describes a state of mind rather than a state of being. He’s warning us not to let false teaching confuse us about the certainty of the Lord’s return, thereby depriving ourselves of our hope in the coming Kingdom and the sense of security this hope brings us.

The Lord’s return was as real to Peter as His first coming had been. Remember, Peter was an eyewitness on the Mount of Transfiguration, and watched as Moses and Elijah spoke with the Lord about it. But he believed that the words of the prophets provided even greater certainty, since they were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Take Peter’s advice and do your homework. Know what you believe and why. It’s your only protection against false teaching. And when you see all these things begin to take place stand up and lift up your heads, for your redemption is drawing near.(Luke 21:28) If you listen closely you can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 08-17-13.

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