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Feb 05

2,800 Year Old Prophecy Fulfilled As Bible Comes to Life in The City of David

By Dr. Rivkah Lambert Adler February 1, 2018 , 2:30 pm

“[The Lord] says: Build up, build up a highway! Clear a road! Remove all obstacles From the road of My people!” Isaiah 57:14 (The Israel Bible™)

Excavations at the City of David in Jerusalem. (Shutterstock)

What is so compelling about a video, originally produced this past summer by Christian Broadcast Network (CBN) and shared by the Israel Video Network earlier this month, that has been watched well over 800,000 times?

The 5-minute video is an interview conducted by Chris Mitchell, Middle East Bureau Chief for CBN, with AnaRina Heymann, Outreach Coordinator at the City of David in Jerusalem. Heymann explains that most of the Old City of Jerusalem is not in fact part of ancient Biblical Jerusalem.

“The only part of ancient Jerusalem that lies in the Old City is the Temple Mount. The walls of the Old City were built 450 years ago by Suleiman the Great. The walls of the City of David are more than 3,000 years old,” Heymann told Breaking Israel News.

The honor of being identified as ancient Biblical Jerusalem is given to the City of David, whose excavations are proving the Bible and fulfilling Biblical prophecy everyday.

“As we uncover the city, the archaeological finds provide unequivocal proof not only of the Jewish presence of more than 3,000 years in the land, but also the Biblical connection to Jerusalem, which UNESCO and the UN vehemently deny,” Heymann said.

Why is the exact location of ancient Biblical Jerusalem so important? Heymann asserts, “I believe that anyone passionate about Jerusalem and serious about the Bible needs to know about the true location of the ancient Biblical Jerusalem. There is a massive realignment, cognitively and spiritually, happening as people are becoming more aware of this.”

In the video, Heymann shows Mitchell two especially powerful Bible-based sites.

First, at 1:47, Heymann says, “Most of the kings of Israel were anointed where we’re standing right now.” Elaborating for Breaking Israel News, she noted that “the anointing of the King of Israel had to take place at a live water source.”

“We know that this is the place where Solomon was anointed,” she continued. “In 1 Kings 1:33, David urged Bathsheba and Nathan to take Solomon to the Gihon Spring and anoint him there.”

The king said to them, “Take my loyal soldiers, and have my son Shlomo ride on my mule and bring him down to Gichon. 1 Kings 1:33

“Tradition also identifies this as the place where most of the kings from the line of Judah were anointed,” Heymann explained.

The second site has prophetic implications. At 2:40, Heymann introduces the excavations at the tunnel that lead from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount and connects them to a prophecy in the book of Isaiah.

This, according to Heymann, is the walk that pilgrims made when they visited the Temple Mount during the Biblical festivals. First, they immersed in the Pool of Siloam and then walked to the Temple Mount. All of this has been hidden for 2,000 years.

“After 2,000 years, the ancient city was rediscovered by Charles Warren in the year 1867. We are now opening up the ancient road between the Pool of Siloam and Temple Mount,” said Heymann. This excavation is fulfilling the exact words of Isaiah.

[The Lord] says: Build up, build up a highway! Clear a road! Remove all obstacles From the road of My people! Isaiah 57:14

Furthermore, Heymann sees an echo of this prophecy in today’s Jerusalem. “I also believe that, as we are opening up the ancient road between the Pool of Siloam and Temple Mount (the final ascent that every pilgrim had to walk), there is a strong parallel to how the modern highways to Jerusalem are opening up too.”

In fact, earlier this month, JNS reported that Yisrael Katz, Israel’s Transportation Minister, had announced that the new high speed train to Jerusalem will launch in time for Passover. “I made a promise, and I will fulfill it. This coming Pesach (Passover), we will allow all of Israel to come en masse to Jerusalem, via the express train from Tel Aviv,” he said. “We are connecting and strengthening our capital city of Jerusalem, and we are connecting to Jerusalem’s history.”

In addition, Heymann said that “the cable car line that will bring masses of people to the Kotel from different points in the city is now being developed.”

Heyman calls the site, “the spiritual nucleus; the touchdown of the End of Days prophecies” adding that “the Bible comes alive 360 degrees in the City of David.”

“Everyone passionate about Jerusalem and serious about the Bible has to reconnect with the true location of ancient Biblical Jerusalem,” she continued. “For all Bible believers, we are talking about the place where kings reigned, prophets walked and epic battles ensued.”

“People can now become a tangible part of prophecy by joining our efforts through the Jerusalem Watch project. Millions of people around the world feel a deep personal and spiritual connection to Jerusalem and are seeking a meaningful way to express their devotion and commitment,” Heymann added.

“In response to this, the Jerusalem Watch initiative offers those passionate about Jerusalem a tangible opportunity to connect by taking an active role in uncovering the glory and history of Biblical Jerusalem, literally becoming part of the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9002

Feb 05

The Underground Battle For Mount Zion

By Adam Eliyahu Berkowitz February 1, 2018 , 3:02 pm

“But David captured the stronghold of Tzion; it is now the City of David.” II Samuel 5:7 (The Israel Bible™)

Mount Zion (Photo Israeli Police Facebook)

Mount Zion, a site of great importance to the Jewish people, is almost entirely owned by the Vatican. It happens to also be a focal point of a political battle being fought, oddly enough, underground.

Harry Moskoff is an executive producer and writer of The A.R.K. Report, an account of his research into the location of the lost Ark of the Covenant. Moskoff is a devout Jew who uses archaeology to investigate his Biblical theories.  He is preparing to film a documentary that will investigate what lies below some of Jerusalem’s holiest sites.

One segment of his documentary will focus on Mount Zion specifically, located directly west of the Old City outside of the ancient walls. Moskoff notes that when the Bible refers to Mount Zion, it is actually using one of the names for the Temple Mount, which is also known as Mount Moriah. In that regard, he will investigate a theory of his that King David moved from his palace in the city of David, located on the southern slopes of the Temple Mount, to Mount Zion in the latter parts of his life. While some archaeologists believe that King David is buried near the City of David, Moskoff contends that his tomb is in fact located on Mount Zion.

When he launched his investigation, Moskoff was shocked to find resistance from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that tried to prevent him from accessing the site.

“I was naive but I was immediately made aware of a political battle being fought in the guise of archaeology,” Moskoff told Breaking Israel News. “These groups wield a lot of power. They are working to prevent me from going into the tunnels under Mount Zion.

“Their method is very simple: they take us to court and claim we are harming the Palestinian rights,” he continued.

One such NGO is Emek Shaveh, an Israeli organization describing itself as one comprising archaeologists and community activists who are focused on the role that archaeology plays in Israeli society and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The NGO claims that the Israeli government’s archaeological activity on the Temple Mount and Mount Zion are unscientific and only intended to undermine Palestinian rights in those area.

Emek Shaveh’s description itself give off an appearance of being an organization that acts primarily out of humanitarian concerns. However, according to NGO Monitor, a watchdog organization that investigates the activities of anti-Israel NGOs,  Emek Shaveh receives its funding from the European Union, as well as from individual European governments and anti-Israel organizations like the New Israel Fund.

“These NGO’s are trying to discredit the Biblical basis of the archaeology in Israel,” Moskoff said. “This is a political battle being fought on the battlefield of archaeology, but the archaeological sites are also the Biblical sites. They are hijacking the science of archaeology for what is really a religious battle.”

Eli Dan, who served as assistant director of the Diaspora Yeshiva, a Torah institution on Mount Zion, which was charged with running the compound of King David’s Tomb after the 1967 war, has witnessed what he describes as a “long and complicated war” with the Vatican.

“The Vatican fought for years to gain control of Mount Zion,” Dan told Breaking Israel News. “Their main interest lies in the room where the Christians believe the Last Supper was held.”

“The previous Pope promoted a political agenda that advanced the Palestinian cause because he wanted to gain control of the site,” he elaborated. “But that room is in a building adjacent to the Tomb of King David.”

Dan explained that King Solomon, King Hezekiah, and several high priests are also believed to be buried at the site.

“The battle going on now for Mount Zion goes much deeper,” Dan added. “The battle is for the identity of the site: whether it is a Jewish religious site, a Catholic site,  or whether it is simply a tourist attraction with no religious significance.”

“The Palestinians have no say here and don’t have any cultural or religious connection to the site,” he continued. “Their influence has all but disappeared, but the NGO’s still cause trouble, speaking very loudly in their name.”

Moskoff does not believe the battle has been won yet for Israel and the Jewish people.

“People have to know about this, that these groups will do whatever it takes to keep us out of there,” Moskoff said. “If we don’t act, they will take away our rights to every one of our holy sites.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=9000

Feb 05

Jim Caviezel: New ‘Passion of the Christ’ to be ‘biggest film in history’

‘There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience’

Published: 14 hours ago

Joe Kovacs

Jim Caviezel, who stunned the world with his portrayal of Jesus in the 2004 blockbuster “The Passion of the Christ,” is now confirming he’s on board with director Mel Gibson for a sequel, and predicts it will be “the biggest film in history.”

“There are things that I cannot say that will shock the audience,” the 49-year-old actor told USA Today. “It’s great. Stay tuned.”

Both Gibson and Caviezel have not said much about the story focusing on the resurrection of Christ, but the star indicated he’s encouraged by the direction the project is taking.

“I won’t tell you how he’s going to go about it,” Caviezel said of Gibson. “But I’ll tell you this much, the film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”

The original “Passion of the Christ” followed the last 12 hours of Christ’s life. The movie brought in more than $611 million worldwide on a $30 million budget, and remains the highest-grossing R-rated film ever in North America with $370.8 million.

In 2016, Gibson spoke with USA Today about his plans for the sequel.

“The Resurrection. Big subject.” Gibson said. “We’re trying to craft this in a way that’s cinematically compelling and enlightening so that it shines new light, if possible, without creating some weird thing.”

Earlier this month in Chicago, Caviezel warned against false Christianity, and urged believers to publicly voice their faith in “this pagan world.”

“I want you to go out into this pagan world, I want you to have the courage to step into this pagan world and shamelessly express your faith in public. The world needs proud warriors animated by their faith,” he told the Fellowship of Catholic University Students SLS Leadership Conference.

“Warriors like Saint Paul and Saint Luke who risked their names, their reputations to take their faith, their love for Jesus into the world.

“God is calling each one of us, each one of you to do great things but how often we fail to respond, dismissing it as some mental blurp. It’s time for our generation, now, to accept that call, the call of God urging all of us to give ourselves entirely to Him.”

“Set yourselves apart from this corrupt generation,” the actor continued. “Be saints. You weren’t made to fit in. You were born to stand out.”

“We must shake off this indifference, this destructive tolerance of evil. But only our faith and the wisdom of Christ can save us,” he said. “But it requires warriors, ready to risk their reputations, their names, even our very lives, to stand for the truth.”

“By God, we must live,” Caviezel concluded, “and with the Holy Spirit as your shield and Christ as your sword, may you join St. Michael and all the angels in sending Lucifer and his henchmen straight right back to hell where they belong!”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8998

Feb 01

Experts Warn China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ Initiative Seeks to Undermine U.S.-Led World Order

by Kristina Wong26 Jan 20181,053

The United States and China are in a battle for global supremacy — one that the U.S. is losing, experts said at a congressional hearing on Wednesday.

“The United States and China are locked in a consequential geopolitical competition right now that will determine the character of the 21st Century,” said Ely Ratner, the Maurice R. Greenberg Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“The United States is losing that competition right now,” he added.

Ratner’s warning came during a day-long hearing held by the congressionally-appointed U.S. China Commission, on China’s new “One Belt One Road” initiative, which experts warned is aimed at replacing the current U.S.-led world order.

The “Belt and Road Initiative,” or “BRI,” as Western experts call it, is Chinese President Xi Jinxing’s plan to build roads — literally and figuratively — across Central Asia to Western Europe, in a bid to further integrate their economies.

The name of the initiative purposely hearkens back to the ancient “Silk Road” trade routes, when China was a great empire. China’s dream is to recapture that status and become the world’s leading power by 2050. In that regard, BRI is aimed at slowly reorienting nations away from the U.S. and towards China and its preferred world order.

“BRI is a comprehensive vision for political and economic integration under Beijing’s helm,” said Nadege Rolland, senior fellow for political and security affairs at the National Bureau of Asian Research.

Under BRI, China will work with other nations, particularly developing countries, to build infrastructure linking the East to the West, including railways, pipelines, fiber optic cables, ports, and other infrastructure.

To build this network, China will use its growing economic might to loan developing countries money to build the infrastructure, in what they hope will become “even bigger than the Marshall plan,” said Randal Phillip, managing partner at the Mintz Group.

Rolland said BRI’s “intangible manifestations are as important if not more than its actual physical development.”

It is really a “multilayer web of … security ties that China is developing with the developing world … shaping before our very eyes,” she said. The goal is “unleveled Chinese influence over a key region, if not the world,” she added.

Already, several countries have announced their intention to link their development to one belt one road, said Jonathan Hillman, fellow and director of the Reconnecting Asia Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The initiative is also drawing China closer with Pakistan, he said.

Phillips called BRI’s mission statement “beautiful” and attractive to other nations.

“It talks a lot about win-win,” for China and other nations, he said. But, he added, the joke is that it really means “China wins twice.”

Experts noted that the concept for the BRI first emerged in 2013 to little fanfare, as a response to the Obama administration’s “Asia Pivot” and to the U.S. joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact with Asian nations excluding China.

But since then, Chinese President Xi Jinping has embraced it and elevated it to Chinese Communist Party doctrine and integrated it throughout all levels of Chinese government. Rolland said China’s determination to implement it is “deadly serious.”

Experts also testified that BRI would have huge military implications for the U.S. by giving the Chinese military more places to deploy and potentially try to block the U.S. military.

“BRI will increase demand to send the Chinese military abroad,” said Daniel Kliman, senior fellow at the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security.

The more involved Chinese companies are in other nations, the more China’s military will be involved in humanitarian missions, as well as rescue missions, Kliman said. It will also reinforce voices within the People’s Liberation Army for more “power projection” — ports, airfields, and a more robust logistics network, he said.

As an example, he pointed to how China first built a commercial port in Djibouti, and then built its first military overseas base there as well, right next to a U.S. military base.

From these military bases, Chinese ships can operate farther away from its shores and hold the U.S. military off with weapons such as long-range anti-ship missiles, Kliman said.

BRI would also allow China to use the growing infrastructure network to glean large amounts of data that would fuel China’s artificial intelligence industry, he said.

And if developing nations cannot afford to pay China back for loans, Chinese would likely seize the assets or demand concessions as they have over a Sri Lankan port they helped build in Colombo — in what experts called a “debt trap.”

Either way, Ratner said, China will gain “increased access” and coercive power over so-called “BRI countries” over time.

Overall, experts said, if BRI is successful, it could have very serious implications for Americans in everyday life.

Under a China-led world, “markets will be closed to American business. China’s policies will bankrupt American businesses,” Ratner said. “They’re being completely transparent about their goals to do just that.”

Already, he noted, Hollywood is censoring their movies for Chinese audiences. Newspapers are self-censoring the reporting they’re doing on Xi. Universities are censoring themselves in exchange for Chinese money, he said.

“Do we want our selves and our children to live in a world … that is fundamentally free or not?” he said.

Experts said BRI did have some risks for China. Nations could turn on China if there is a gap between expectations and reality from developing nations, or if China turns predatory. But so far, Phillips said, developing countries are “happy to see the cash come in.”

Experts testifying to the commission agreed that BRI could already be considered a success, particularly since it has no hard objectives, targets, or end date. They noted that it has already succeeded in piquing international leaders’ interest.

They noted that China’s Belt and Road Forum — which they jokingly called “BARF” — drew 29 world leaders and representatives from more than 130 countries.

“People didn’t kowtow but they came with gifts. In return for that they got access, investment, protection,” Rolland said. “It’s already happening, it’s already successful.”

“Their global stature is already enhanced,” she added. “There is no leader around the world that is not paying attention to China’s proposal and how they can get some benefit from it. Just that … is very important.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8996

Feb 01

Is the Shroud of Turin Evidence of Jesus’ Existence?

Maybe the Turin Shroud is not real after all?

By Christian Evidence | Sat 20 Jan 2018 8:52 EST

Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body, and Pilate ordered that it be given to him. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” (Matthew 27:58-60)

The Shroud of Turin is an ancient, sepia-colored, rectangular, 14.3 x 3.7 foot linen cloth woven in a three-to-one herringbone twill composed of flax fibrils with the front and the back image of a naked man with his hands folded across his groin on it. It is considered to be the linen cloth the dead Jesus was wrapped in after He was crucified. Some have concluded it is the true burial shroud of Jesus. Others have pronounced it a medieval forgery. In my opinion, the evidence completely disproves it being a medieval forgery…

  1. A set of tests conducted on the Shroud place the cloth to the time ranging from 300 B.C. to 400 A.D., well within the time of Jesus of Nazareth (Stanglin, USA Today, 2013).
  2. The bloodstains, as forensic scientists and chemists now know, were created by real blood, specificallyblood of a torture victim. In addition to that, an x-ray-taken showed excess iron in blood areas, as expected for blood. Microchemical tests for proteins were positive in blood areas but not in any other parts of the Shroud. Furthermore, claims are that the blood has been confirmed as authentic hemoglobin and identified as Type AB!
  3. Microscopic traces of the flowers, and pollen, has been found throughout the Turin Shroud. Out of hundreds of flowers on the Shroud,twenty-eight of them grow in Israel. Twenty grow in Jerusalem itself, and the other eight grow potentially within the close vicinity of Jerusalem (Whanger and Whanger, Duke.edu, 2015). Of these twenty-eight plants, twenty-seven of the identified plants are in bloom in March and April.

Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem during the Passover in the Spring of c. 30 AD. (Matthew 26:12; Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1,7: John 18:28) Half of the floral images and pollen grains from the plants are found only in the Middle East or other similar areas but never in Europe, the favored location of the forgery of the Shroud. Most of the flowers were clustered around the head and chest of the man on the Shroud – consistent with Jewish burial custom in Jesus’ time.The pollen also dates to the first-century, further indication that the Shroud was first found in first-century Israel. In addition, many grains of the pollen, Gundelia tournefortii, have been identified. This particular pollen has large thorns, blooms in Israel between March and May, and most of the grains of this pollen have been recovered near the man’s shoulder! Could it have been the crown of thorns (Matthew 27:29)?

“In addition to being unable to explain so many things about the Shroud of Turin, did it ever occur to modern skeptics that no medieval forger would have been able to forge pollen grains and floral images. Pollen grains are able to be seen only through a microscope. A medieval artist/forger did not even KNOW about individual GRAINS of pollen, could never ever have seen a microscopic grain of pollen—until the 1800’s AD.”—Sandra Sweeny Silver

  1. The image is not a stain, it is not painted on the Shroud, nor is it burned on. Instead, it is seared on to the cloth with a technology that has yet to be explained. Scientists can’t even reproduce it with modern technology, let alone medieval technology! Nothing existed in medieval or ancient times that could produce such an X-ray as this. The only explanation would be some sort of large burst of radiation, that was emitted as Jesus was resurrected from the dead, creating the image on the cloth. The process causing the yellowness of the top most fibers of the threads responsible for the image is also unknown.

Italian scientist Paolo DiLazzaro tried for five years to replicate the image and concluded that it was produced by ultraviolet light, but the ultraviolet light necessary to reproduce the image “exceeds the maximum power released by all ultraviolet light sources available today.” The time for such a burst “would be shorter than one forty-billionth of a second, and the intensity of the ultra violet light would have to be around several billion watts.”

  1. The image of the man on the Shroud can be read by 3D imaging technology, something that paintings can’t do. The image on the Shroud is also only a few fibers deep. The image on the Shroud is not a painting, and that’s a fact!
  2. The type of cloth is consistent with fabrics from first-century Israel, but not with medieval Europe. A forger would have had to not only forge the image, but would have had to have detailed knowledge of linen weaves of the first century and then not only reproduce it, but age it convincingly.
  3. Usually, whenever there’s a picture depicting the crucifixion of Jesus, it shows the nail prints in the palms of the hand. However, modern science has shown that a nail through the middle of the palm of a man’s hand would not be sufficient to hold most of the weight of a man on a cross. The nail would tear through the hand. The placement of the nails in crucifixion was most likely in the wrist.

The Turin Shroud shows the nail marks at the lower part of the hand into the wrist, just as expected! Also, experiments conducted on cadavers note that the Turin Shroud accurately depicts how crucifixions would have transpired. In addition, the whip markings on the man’s back match the ends of the flagrums used by the first-century Romans for scourgings, his body shows signs of rigor mortis in a crucified position, some of his blood flows are post mortem, and it even shows marks indicating a spear wound – consistent with John 19:34. It matches the details of Jesus’ crucifixion accurately!

The evidence seems highly probable that the Turin Shroud is genuinely the cloth that covered Jesus of Nazareth before His amazing resurrection from the dead. However, we do not need to rely solely on the Shroud of Turin to provide evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, since the evidence from both Christian and non-Christian sources alone are enough to verify the reliability of the crucifixion and resurrection account. See: Historical Evidence For Jesus’ Resurrection.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8994

Feb 01

IDF Spokesman warns Lebanon of war with Israel if Iranian presence grows

By Anna Ahronheim

January 28, 2018 11:40

“The future of Lebanese citizens is in the hands of a dictator who sits in Tehran,” said Manelis.

IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis warned in a rare op-ed on a Lebanese opposition website that a war with Israel could break out if Iran develops precision missiles in the country.

“Lebanon has become – both by its own actions and omissions and by a blind eye from many members of the international community – one large missile factory,”  Manelis wrote on the Ahewar website.

“It’s no longer a transfer of arms, funds or consultation. Iran has de-facto opened a new branch, the ‘Lebanon branch.’ Iran is here,” he said.

“In Lebanon, Hezbollah does not conceal its attempt to take control of the state,” he continued, adding that “in the shadow of Nasrallah’s bullying behavior” the terror group has built “terror infrastructure and factories to manufacture weapons under the nose of the Lebanese government.”

Israel and Hezbollah fought a deadly 33-day war in 2006, which came to an end under UN Security Council Resolution 1701 which called for disarmament of Hezbollah, for withdrawal of the Israeli army from Lebanon, for the deployment of the Lebanese army and an enlarged UN force in the south.

“This past year (2017), like the 11 years that preceded it since the end of the Second Lebanon War, was characterized by relative stability on the Lebanese front. This quiet is for the benefit of residents on both sides,” Manelis wrote. “The fact that northern Israel and southern Lebanon have children who have not heard an alarm in their lives is a significant achievement of the Second Lebanon War, and the best proof of the stability of Israeli deterrence and the burning memory among the Lebanese about the magnitude of Nasrallah’s previous mistake.”

Nevertheless according to IDF assessments, Hezbollah has since rebuilt its arsenal with at least 100,000 short-range rockets and several thousand more missiles that can reach central Israel. In addition to a massive arsenal of rockets and missiles, Hezbollah is able to mobilize close to 30,000 fighters and has flouted its tunnel system, complete with ventilation, electricity, and rocket launchers.

Hezbollah has also increased its military capabilities due to its fighting in Syria on the side of President Bashar Assad, and has spread its troops across the entire Middle East.

“The past year has been further proof that Hezbollah serves as an operational arm of Iran. In every place where there was instability, we discovered the fingerprint of Iran and everywhere we discovered Hezbollah’s involvement,” Manelis wrote.

Some 200 villages in south Lebanon have also been turned into “military strongholds” from which Hezbollah militants are able to watch Israeli soldiers at any moment.

“The ordinary citizen will be mistaken to think that this process turns Lebanon into a fortress, it is nothing more than a barrel of gunpowder on which he, his family and his property are sitting,” Manelis said in his op-ed on Sunday.

“One in every three or four houses in southern Lebanon is a headquarters, a post, a weapons depot or a Hezbollah hideout. We know these assets and know how to attack them accurately if required.”

Israeli officials have repeatedly voiced concerns over the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah and the growing Iranian presence on its borders, stressing that both are red-lines for the Jewish State.

Senior officials from Israel’s defense establishment have repeatedly stated that while the chance of escalation on the border is low, the smallest incident or a miscalculation by either side has the possibility to lead to conflict.

“The future of Lebanese citizens is in the hands of a dictator who sits in Tehran,” Manelis wrote, adding that “I think it is right to warn the residents of Lebanon of the Iranian game in their security and in their future.”

In September, Israel carried out its largest military exercise on the northern border in 20 years with tens of thousands of soldiers from all branches of the army simulating a war with Hezbollah.

“The past year has been used by the IDF to significantly improve preparations for war on the northern front,” Manelis wrote. “If our enemies understood how much we knew about them, they would be deterred from entering into another conflict for many more years to come.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8992

Feb 01

The U.S. And Turkish Forces Coming Into Military Conflict. Erdogan Is Confronting The ‘Strongest Fortresses’ In His Push To Control The Region

By Walid Shoebat

U.S. President Donald Trump urged Turkey yesterday to curtail its military operation into Syria urging not to bring U.S. and Turkish forces into conflict. But sooner or later, the U.S. and Turkey must clash. So is Erdogan coming close to “confront” “the strongest fortresses” as predicted in Daniel 11:39?

We ought to pay close attention to that part of the world where things could turn on a dime. Isaiah and Ezekiel gave us a series of events that define Antichrist’s expedition. These are Syria, Egypt, Arabia, Iraq and North Africa.

This is exactly what we see Turkey’s Erdogan focusing on these days. And its not only a plan, but action is speaking louder than rhetoric, as we see Erdogan quickly and incrementally expanding his military muscle into the Red Sea area, Sudan, Qatar, Somalia, Iraq and Syria while the world remains asleep.

Students of prophecy fail to see the link for a simple reason. For example, when they saw Syria in turmoil, most focused on “the destruction of Damascus” mentioned in Isaiah 17 while they excluded other prophecies. Yet isolating one chapter ignores the bigger picture: these prophecies encompass much territory. Antichrist is not simply “the Assyrian”, he is “King of Babylon” (Iraq/Arabia) and at the same time, he is “Pharaoh of Egypt” and he also “confronts the strongest fortresses” (Daniel 11:39).

This combination is key.

He is also Gog of Magog (Asia Minor). And him being “Pharaoh of Egypt” means that he later on invades and rules over Egypt. Erdogan is coming closer to Egypt as he positions his military in the Red Sea.

Then the prophets reveal that he is possessed with Lucifer himself.

Antichrist comes as “Gog” and as “King of Babylon” and as “Pharaoh of Egypt” and as “The Assyrian” and as “the man of sin” where God provided ample explanations to his rise, his alliances, even including when he and his cohorts and allies are cast into hell and even names his allies one by one in Ezekiel 28 to Ezekiel 39.

We must view the Antichrist in such combination and not isolate chapters and verses.

Yet the same students rarely if ever do follow the news to see who is attempting such combined control of such region. They focus on Erdogan’s desire to rule Jerusalem and not realize that Antichrist wants more.

So this week we read the headlines revealing that Erdogan of Asia Minor, the Gog of Turkey, isn’t backing down from his threat to invade Manbij in Syria after he’s done in Afrin. He’s now saying that he’ll attack Manbij even if it risks a military confrontation with the US (the strongest fortress). The U.S. currently has forces in the city along with the Kurdish SDF:

REUTERS – President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday Turkey would extend its military operation in Syria to the town of Manbij, a move that could potentially bring Turkish forces into confrontation with those of their NATO ally the United States.

CNN Turk is reporting that Trump and Erdogan have already spoken on the phone yesterday, and that Trump warned Erdogan not to risk a confrontation with US forces:

In a blatant move, Erdogan warned the U.S., that his country would expand its military operation in Syria to include the city of Manbij. He even pointed that his move could put the Turkish forces in confrontation with the United States.

Erdogan is already challenging the strongest fortress.

So will the Trump administration risk war with Turkey over these areas of Syria? Are these prophecies about to spark in fulfillment into an escalating war?

Answer: Not yet.

First of all, both realize that the United States does not have any reliable military partner in Syria other than the Kurds. Secondly, The United States involvement in Syria is its hope to use the YPG’s control of the area to give it the diplomatic muscle it needs to revive U.N.-led talks in Geneva on a deal that would end Syria’s civil war and eventually lead to the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

Such ‘ouster’ is what both, the U.S., and Turkey wants after all.

Both have, and are openly collaborating with the Islamist Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Trump (as we have predicted he will do) is less focused on foreign policy than he is focused on ‘making America great again’.

This ‘greatness’ is to expand U.S. economic might and not international control.

He is unlikely to commit more troops or covert operators to Syria, even if Turkey made a move from Afrin to Manbij.

Therefore, Turkey will enter Syria and establish the buffer zone of control and with this it encroaches to consume much flesh later on.

Thirdly, the United States has little pressure it can apply on Turkey given that the U.S. military is heavy dependent on a Turkish base to carry out air strikes in Syria against anyone, be it Bashar al-Assad or the Islamic State. The U.S. also risks losing its base with a bundle of nuclear weapons stationed on the Incirlik base.

Therefore, Turkey’s confrontation with the “strongest fortress” (the U.S.) has to wait till the last straw breaks the elephant’s back.

But what about the bigger picture?

Erdogan’s expedition goes beyond Syria. Reuters last month even states that this expedition into North Africa is to revive what was once under Ottoman hegemony.

His expedition into North Africa is also going according to plan. He is now expanding his military fortresses in the Sudanese island of Suakin on the Red Sea. The ultimate goal of Turkey’s presence in Sudan is a military one. Erdogan said in his speech, given at the University of Khartoum, that defense industry will be among the major investments that Turkey will make in Sudan. The strategic reason for Turkey to be in the Sudanese island of Suakin is historical.

Sawākin, Sudan

Turkey is expanding its hegemony in Africa in the name of “rebuilding” and reinvigorating its authority in the Muslim world as a global power.

Erdogan is now looking to expand towards Chad and then Tunisia (part of biblical Phut), where these too will follow in his footsteps. His alliances with north Africa (biblical Phut), Sudan and Somalia (biblical Cush) and Iran (biblical Persia) is being formed. So far what we have stated decades ago, on how the neo-Ottomans will create its Antichrist empire is coming to fruition, exactly as we stated. Accuracy, patience and long-suffering is key in comprehending the events to come.

Ultimately, this is about reviving the Ottoman Empire, and the Sudanese, the Somalis, the Chadians and the Tunisians — that is, the people of Cush and Phut — are receiving Turkey in Submission just as we predicted they will do.

But it is Egypt, that Daniel is clear about; it is taken by military might. Eventually: “He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels.” (Daniel 11:43)

Erdogan’s policies to approach Sudan by reviving the history of the Ottoman Empire and deploying forces in different areas in the Middle East and Africa do not satisfy Arabs, especially Egypt.

It will still take years from now until Erdogan’s footsteps repeat the Ottoman Empire, when they fully took control of all Syria, Palestine and Egypt within 500 years ago, from 1516 to 1517.

Students of prophecy must exercise patients. Today, the ”new Ottomans” simply fulfill an event out of hundreds to come.

Headed by Erdoğan, the neo-Ottomans are moving further from Al-Bab into Afrin and next stop is Manbij. Americans entered Manbij and now Turkey will have to go to direct conflict with Syrian forces (covered by the Russian Aerospace Forces) and Kurds (covered by the USA) to expand the control zone in Syria where the victor will be Turkey. The U.S. will simply pull its forces and yield to the Islamists. This we guarantee will be the outcome. Just be patient.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8990

Feb 01

Iran and Saudi Arabia Revisit Their Strategies

By Dr. James M. Dorsey January 24, 2018

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 723, January 24, 2018

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Expressions of support for the Iranian anti-government protests by US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have provided grist for Iranian claims that the protests were instigated by foreign powers. The assertions, while largely baseless, nonetheless offer insight into the very different strategies adopted by Iran and Saudi Arabia in their vicious struggle for regional dominance.

There is little doubt that the Iranian protests were fueled by widespread economic grievances, and Iran’s detractors abroad resembled not always helpful fans on the sidelines. In fact, Saudi Arabia, Iran’s nemesis, was the one opponent of the Islamic Republic to refrain from joining those fans publicly in a bid to stop the regime in Tehran from using it as a scapegoat. The Iranian leadership pointed a finger at the kingdom anyway, and in so doing illustrated the dynamics of the Iranian-Saudi rivalry.

Both the Iranian and the Saudi approaches to their rivalry are in flux. Protesters in Iran challenged the government’s heavy expenditure on propping up allies like Syrian President Bashar Assad and funding proxies in Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine, and Yemen, not to mention proselytization campaigns in West Africa.

The protests are unlikely to change Iranian policy, which the country’s leaders view as the crux of their defense strategy in Iran’s covert wars with the US and Saudi Arabia. Those wars have been ongoing since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the shah – an icon of now waning US power in the region.

Nonetheless, Iranian leaders will have to take public grievances into account even if the protests peter out. Rather than touting its regional successes publicly, Tehran is likely to be more circumspect about its foreign involvements. While that will not change things on the ground, it may contribute over time to a lessening of tensions.

Despite the protests, Iran has little reason to change facts on the ground. With access to the world’s most advanced weapons systems severely restricted for decades because of sanctions and boycotts, some in response to provocative Iranian actions and policies and others part of regional power struggles, Iran has sought to fight its battles far from its borders. Many Iranians bought into the argument that that policy had largely shielded their country from the instability and jihadism wracking the rest of the region.

Simultaneous Islamic State attacks last June on the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, which killed 12 people, were viewed as exceptions that proved the rule. That perception has changed, however, among a significant segment of the population. Protesters demanded that funds allocated to Iran’s defense doctrine and enhancement of its regional influence be invested instead in improving deteriorating living standards.

“Our military doctrine is…based on historical experience: During the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein rained Soviet-made missiles on our cities, some of them carrying chemical components provided by the West. The world not only kept silent, but also no country would sell Iran weapons to enable us to at least deter the aggressor. We learned our lesson,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote in The New York Times weeks before the protests erupted.

Speaking recently at a Brookings Institution seminar in Washington, Iranian-American journalist Maziar Bahari described Iran’s doctrine as a more brutal and militarized version of the late Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion’s policy of the periphery: in the absence of relations with Israel’s neighbors, he sought to forge ties with neighbors of the neighbors.

Zarif represents the view of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s pragmatic government, a view shared by conservatives as part of a far greater ambition that they have no compunction about articulating.

In a column in the conservative Tehran Times entitled “What makes Iran stronger than Saudi Arabia?”, sociologist and journalist Muhammad Mazhari argued that “the Saudi regime has no comprehension that money cannot replace ideological values.” By contrast, Mazhari wrote, “there are common ties between Iran and Hezbollah, but the crux of those ties is not monetary. What drives Iran is not a superficial goal; it is working hard to restore the empire, but this time culturally, while Saudi Arabia and its alliances have no clear vision nor project in the Middle East save for keeping their thrones.”

Prince Muhammad vowed, months before Zarif articulated Iran’s defense doctrine, that the fight with Iran would take place “inside Iran, not in Saudi Arabia.” In so doing, the crown prince was playing on deep-seated Iranian fears rooted in a history of foreign intervention that stretches from ancient to modern times as well as highlighting the fundamentally different Saudi and Iranian strategies.

Since coming to power in 2015, Prince Muhammad has shifted the emphasis of Saudi strategy from 1) long-term cultural and public diplomacy focused on the promotion of Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism as an antidote to Iranian Shiite and revolutionary ideology and 2) passive reliance on the US to defend the kingdom by containing Iran to a more assertive confrontation with the Islamic Republic everywhere but in Iran itself.

Prince Muhammad’s approach is a power play based primarily on checkbook diplomacy, pressure tactics, and projection of the kingdom as the custodian of Islam’s holiest cities. It is an approach that is void of any ideology or worldview beyond the need to counter Iran and support autocratic or authoritarian rule in a bid to ensure the survival of the royal family’s rule.

Prince Muhammad’s approach has so far produced mixed results at best. His effort to force a political crisis in Lebanon by pressuring Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign backfired. King Abdullah of Jordan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the crown prince’s demand that they not attend an Islamic summit in Istanbul convened last month to condemn Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The prince’s one military adventure, the intervention in Yemen, has produced a quagmire, severely tarnished the kingdom’s image, and even provoked criticism from one of his greatest fans, President Trump. Egypt has adopted an independent foreign policy that is at times at odds with positions adopted by Saudi Arabia despite being financially dependent on the kingdom.

Hanging in the balance is the question whether Prince Muhammad’s declaration last year that he wants to return the kingdom to a yet undefined moderate form of Islam means he will introduce an ideological element to his strategy that would replace the increasingly problematic propagation of Sunni Muslim ultra-conservatism.

It’s a tall order in a country whose religious establishment and culture is steeped in ultra-conservatism despite support for more relaxed religious and social codes among a significant segment of a predominantly young population.

A successful redefinition of Islam would not only significantly enhance confidence in Prince Muhammad’s ability to change the nature of Saudi society and economy but also strengthen the kingdom in its struggle with Iran, which – despite being fought as a zero-sum game – can only be resolved with an agreement that recognizes both Saudi Arabia and Iran as key regional players.

Economics rather than Tehran’s rivalry with Riyadh and hostility towards the US and Israel is at the crux of the anti-government protests in Iran. Nevertheless, the protests are likely to force Iranian leaders to repackage their foreign involvements at a time when Prince Muhammad is seeking to revamp his kingdom as part of an economic and political survival strategy. In the longer term, that could unintentionally create building blocks for the lowering of tensions in a dispute that has wreaked havoc across the Middle East and the wider Muslim world.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8988

Jan 29

Irish Exorcist Calls for Back-Up to Face Surge in ‘Malicious Activity’ by the Devil

by Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.25 Jan 2018683

The demand for exorcists “has risen exponentially” in Ireland thanks to a surge in demonic activity, according to exorcist Father Patrick Collins, who has called on the nation’s bishops to train more priests to fight the devil.

In declarations to The Irish Catholic, Fr. Collins said he has been overwhelmed by requests for exorcisms from the faithful in Ireland, and in an open letter, he has begged the Irish bishops to train more priests to deal with the demand.

The renowned exorcist, a Vincentian priest based in Dublin, said that he is inundated almost on a daily basis with desperate people seeking assistance in dealing with assaults from evil spirits.

In the face of the rising tide of demonic activity, Father Collins said he is “baffled” that the Irish bishops are not reacting to the need by appointing more priests as exorcists. Complaints range from claims of ghostly encounters, to people being pulled from their beds, and even “full-blown possession.”

The priest said that the surge in demonic disturbances is a relatively new phenomenon, and “it’s only in recent years that the demand has risen exponentially.”

“What I’m finding out desperately, is people who in their own minds believe – rightly or wrongly – that they’re afflicted by an evil spirit,” he said.

The key is to have well-trained personnel to deal with the issue and help people get the assistance they need, the priest insisted.

“I think in many cases they wrongly think it, but when they turn to the Church, the Church doesn’t know what to do with them and they refer them on either to a psychologist or to somebody that they’ve heard of that is interested in this form of ministry, and they do fall between the cracks and often are not helped,” he said.

The priest has seen what he calls a growing apostasy within the Church, which he ties to demonic activity. “As this has happened, there has been increasing evidence of the malicious activity of the evil one,” he wrote.

Father Collins’ impression of the crisis is echoed by other exorcists throughout the world, who have witnessed a similar spike in spiritual warfare. The International Association of Exorcists (IAE), a group of 400 Catholic leaders and priests, has reported “a dramatic increase in demonic activity in recent years,” according to the Catholic News Agency.

The situation has become so acute that in 2014 the IAE described the intensity of demonic activity in the world as a “pastoral emergency.”

In Italy, the number of exorcisms has risen in recent years, with some 500,000 Italians requesting an exorcism each year and not nearly enough exorcists to meet the rising demand, according to recent reports.

The archdiocese of Milan in northern Italy has doubled the number of its exorcists, while an exorcism hotline has been launched in Rome, but those in the field claim it isn’t nearly enough.

Rome’s most famous exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth, passed away in 2016 and his successor, Father Vincenzo Taraborelli, has said he cannot keep up with the constant requests for liberation from demonic influence. “Padre Vincenzo,” as he is known, handles some 30 “clients” a day, and is calling on the Church to appoint more priests as exorcists to share in the mission of satanic deliverance.

“There are only nine of us left and many more are needed,” he said. “We need other priests like me to meet the needs of so many families.”

In Rome, the Catholic Church has been offering an annual course in exorcism and demonic possession to prepare more priests and laypeople to recognize and combat the devil.

The yearly course titled “Exorcism and Prayer of Liberation” has been running for the past 12 years and boasts over a thousand graduates. Students, who include pastoral workers, psychologists, doctors, teachers, lawyers, as well as many priests, are introduced into a biblical understanding of the devil as the “father of lies.” They are also trained to distinguish between true demonic disturbances and problems of a psychological nature.

Teachers of the course have included Vatican officials, bishops, physicians, psychologists and even Riccardo Di Segni, the Chief Rabbi of Rome’s Jewish Community.

Still, according to Father Collins, many Church leaders seem oblivious to the problem of demonic activity and are therefore too slow in addressing the problem.

It’s clear in the Bible that exorcism is central to the public ministry of Jesus, he said, while wondering aloud whether clergy in the modern-day Church still believe in the presence of evil spirits.

“I suspect they don’t,” he said

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8985

Jan 29

Turkey to U.S.: End support for Syrian Kurd YPG or risk confrontation

Tuvan Gumrukcu, Dahlia Nehme

ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey urged the United States on Thursday to halt its support for Kurdish YPG fighters or risk confronting Turkish forces on the ground in Syria, some of Ankara’s strongest comments yet about a potential clash with its NATO ally.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is welcomed by Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag and Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli upon his arrival at the border city of Hatay, Turkey January 25, 2018. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE.

The remarks, from the spokesman for President Tayyip Erdogan’s government, underscored the growing bilateral tensions, six days after Turkey launched its air and ground operation, “Olive Branch”, in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region.

In Washington, the Pentagon said that it carefully tracked weapons provided to the YPG and would continue discussions with Turkey.

“We carefully track those weapons that are provided to them, we ensure that they, to the maximum extent possible, don’t fall into the wrong hands and we’re continuing discussions with the Turks on this issue,” Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, joint staff director, told reporters.

McKenzie said Turkey’s operation into Afrin was not helpful and was taking focus away from fighting Islamic State.

Turkey’s targeting of the YPG, which it views as a security threat, has opened a new front in Syria’s multi-sided civil war. The Syrian Kurdish group is a main part of a U.S.-backed rebel alliance that has inflicted recent defeats on Islamic State militants.

Any push by Turkish forces towards Manbij, part of a Kurdish-held territory some 100 km (60 miles) east of Afrin, could threaten U.S. efforts in northeast Syria and bring them into direct confrontation with U.S. troops deployed there.

“Those who support the terrorist organization will become a target in this battle,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said.

“The United States needs to review its solders and elements giving support to terrorists on the ground in such a way as to avoid a confrontation with Turkey,” Bozdag, who also acts as the government’s spokesman, told broadcaster A Haber.

The United States has around 2,000 troops in Syria, officially as part of an international, U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State. Washington has angered Ankara by providing arms, training and air support to Syrian Kurdish forces that Turkey views as terrorists.

The Kurdish-led autonomous administration that runs Afrin on Thursday called on the Syrian government to defend its border with Turkey in Afrin despite Damascus’ stance against Kurdish autonomy.

“We call on the Syrian state to carry out its sovereign obligations towards Afrin and protect its borders with Turkey from attacks of the Turkish occupier,” it said in a statement on its website.

The Syrian government has said it is ready to target Turkish jets in its airspace, but has not intervened so far. It suspects the Kurds of wanting independence in the long-run and does not recognize the autonomous cantons they have set up in northern Syria.

U.S. forces were deployed in and around Manbij to deter Turkish and U.S.-backed rebels from attacking each other and have also carried out training missions in the area.

U.S. President Donald Trump urged Erdogan on Wednesday to curtail the military operation in Syria, the White House said.

However Turkey has disputed that characterization of the conversation.

Turkey’s foreign minister said Erdogan told Trump that U.S. troops should withdraw from Manbij.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said she had seen media reports about the comments, but was not aware of any change in U.S. posture.

McKenzie added the United States and Turkey closely coordinated in the region but the United States would also ensure the safety of its troops.

LIMITED GAINS

Six days into the campaign, Turkish soldiers and their Free Syrian Army rebel fighter allies have been battling to gain footholds on the western, northern and eastern flanks of Afrin.

Turkish soldiers are pictured in a village near the Turkish-Syrian border in Hatay province, Turkey January 24, 2018. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

They appear to have made only limited gains, hampered by rain and clouds, which have limited the air support.

Turkish warplanes struck the northern borders of Afrin, in tandem with heavy artillery shelling, and one civilian was killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

Dozens of combatants and more than two dozen civilians have been killed so far in the offensive, the Observatory has said.

The Turkish military said in a statement it had killed 303 militants in northern Syria since the operation started.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a YPG-dominated umbrella group backed by the United States in the fight against Islamic State, has previously said that Turkey was exaggerating the number of the dead.

Relations between Ankara and Washington have neared breaking point recently over U.S. support for the YPG and other issues.

Ankara considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade-long insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast. Washington sees the YPG as an effective partner in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Turkey said the United States had proposed a 30 km (19 mile) “safe zone” along the border.

“(But) in order for us to discuss the security zone or any other issue with the U.S., we have to reestablish trust,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters.

In Washington, McKenzie said the U.S. and Turkey were continuing talks about a “secure zone” but there had been no final decision.

McKenzie said that he had not yet seen a movement of SDF fighters moving from the Euphrates River Valley to reinforce Afrin or Manbij, but was watching closely.

The Afrin operation has also triggered concern in Germany, another NATO ally, where the caretaker government said it would put on hold any decision on upgrading Turkey’s German-made tanks.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8983