Category: Israel

Perfect Red Heifer Discovered In US to Be Sent To Israel to Purify Coming Third Jewish Temple –

The time of Jacob’s trouble

 

“And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:” Numbers 19:1,2

 

There is a group in Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem called the Temple Institute. For the past 27 years they have worked tirelessly to fashion all the items that will be needed to for worship in the Third Jewish Temple.  It is a painstakingly-slow job but one that they have accomplished. One missing ingredient, however, was a perfect, unblemished red heifer as found in Numbers 19 whose ashes would be used in a purification cleansing ritual for the Temple. For the entire time that the Temple stood in Israel, a total of nine red heifers were used. Jews believe that the appearance of a perfect red heifer would usher in the appearance of the long-awaited Messiah. The 10th red heifer has been found in America, and preparations are now underway to bring the animal to Israel.

 

“For thus saith the LORD; We have heard a voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness? Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jeremiah 30:5-7

 

The 9th chapter of the book of Daniel tells us that the Temple is indeed standing during the time of Jacob’s trouble as found in Jeremiah 30:7. Daniel learned much from the writings of the prophet Jeremiah. But Daniel goes on to say that when the Temple is rebuilt, it will be inhabited by the Antichrist – the false messiah. Daniel devotes multiple chapters to this man of sin that will arise and deceive the Jews by flatteries.

 

“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.” Daniel 9:27

 

The appearance of a perfect red heifer has sent shock waves amongst the Temple faithful in Israel, for they believe it will usher in the Messiah. But it will not. It will usher in a time of agony, bloodshed and woe the likes of which this world has never seen. It will start with a false messiah in a rebuilt Third Temple, and it will end with the time of Jacob’s trouble leading into the Day of the Lord from Joel chapters 2 and 3.

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Cruz: Israel Strike Against Iran ‘Could Happen In A Matter Of Months’

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz told a small gathering of pro-Israel American leadersTuesday that an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities “could happen in a matter of months.”

“In my view, [Iranian Supreme Leader Ali] Khamenei believes there is no credible deterrence from the United States, there’s not realistic risk of significant consequence for moving forward with their nuclear development,” the Republican told the Spring National Leadership Meeting of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) at the Willard Hotel. “That means, that if they keep going forward, I think if it comes down to it, I have real confidence that the nation of Israel will act to preserve her national security, even if this administration will not act first. And that could happen sooner rather than later — that could happen in a matter of months.”

Cruz, who met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a trip to the Jewish state in May, didn’t say how he came to believe an Israeli strike might happen within a matter of months. But Cruz told the assembled JINSA leaders that he believes the Obama administration, which is currently engaged in negotiations with the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, has shirked its responsibility in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program and is not taken seriously by Iranian leadership.

“In my view, here is what a responsible president would do,” Cruz, who is believed to be considering a 2016 presidential run, said. “A responsible president would stand up on the world stage and say, ‘Let me be clear: Under no circumstances will the nation of Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capability. We will impose crippling sanctions but they will either stop or we will stop them using all available means, including if necessary direct military force.’”

“In my view, a policy of weakness and appeasement only increases the chance of military conflict,” he said.

Cruz said he believes that preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear-weapons power should be a responsibility shouldered by the United States, but in the absence of U.S. leadership, he takes comfort that Israel will act to defend itself.

“I don’t think Israel should have to act to prevent Iranian nuclear-weapons capability because itis so profoundly in U.S. national security interests that we should act, rather than forcing Israel to act,” he said, “but I do take some comfort that if this administration will not defend our interests, at the very least Israel will defend her interests.”

Over the last several years, there have been many predictions by U.S. political and opinion leaders of an imminent Israeli air attack against Iranian nuclear facilities. So far, none of those predictions have proven accurate.

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Israel: Hezbollah is now stronger than any Arab army

Israel’s top military officer warned today that Hezbollah is more powerful than most of the world’s armies and that a confrontation between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militant organization was a near certainty.

While the threat posed by conventional Arab armies has diminished in recent years, Israel now faces highly mobile enemies like Hezbollah, skilled in asymmetric warfare and equipped with advanced weapons systems, Gen. Benny Gantz said. However, the massive destruction Israel can inflict on Hezbollah’s assets and Lebanon’s infrastructure continues to deter Hezbollah from overt aggression against Israel. 

“Bring me four or five states that have more firepower than Hezbollah: Russia, China, Israel, France, and England,” he told Israel’s annual security-oriented Herzliya Conference. “What is this enormous power that they [Hezbollah] have that can cover every area of the state of Israel?”

Gantz’s comments reflect Israel’s longstanding concern about Hezbollah’s growing might, which has soared in terms of weaponry, technology, and personnel since the two enemies last fought each other in open war in 2006.

Last week, an anonymous Israeli intelligence officer wrote in Israel’s Maarachot military magazine that in the next war, Hezbollah would not merely defend against an Israeli invasion but could make a “ground offensive and multi-pronged attack on Israeli territory.”

In the past eight years, the Iran-backed group is believed to have acquired GPS-guided Syrian-manufactured missiles fitted with 1,100-pound warheads with ranges of at least 150 miles. That puts Tel Aviv within range of the Lebanese border. It also has drones that can carry dozens of pounds of explosive. In October 2012, a drone operated by Hezbollah penetrated Israeli airspace in the south before being detected and shot down by Israeli jets.

Hezbollah’s reconnaissance and communications capabilities have also improved. Fighters serving in Syria use thermal imaging cameras to monitor rebel movements and prepare ambushes, including one in February that killed 175 rebel fighters near Otaiba, east of Damascus. It has built a few dozen training camps across the Bekaa Valley in recent years to process the steady influx of new recruits.

But the most significant change may be the crucial combat experience Hezbollah’s cadres have gained from fighting in Syria’s war on behalf of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Hezbollah is credited with helping turn the tide against the rebel forces in the past year, granting Mr. Assad the confidence to hold a presidential election last week that saw him earn his third seven-year term in office in a poll widely derided by the Syrian opposition and the West.

“Iran is investing a lot in Hezbollah in Syria…. Hezbollah is involved up to their necks in it,” Gantz said.

It is fortunate for Israel that Hezbollah’s attention is divided between domestic politics, military preparations against Israel, and its intervention in Syria, Gantz said. Fear of a damaging war has served as a mutual deterrence.

“Hezbollah is like a state and they know exactly what is going to happen in Lebanon if they start a war with us, and that this would set Lebanon back decades,” he said.

Despite that, tensions rose in February and March after an Israeli airstrike on a Hezbollah facility in the Bekaa Valley. The target was a 2,450-sq.-ft. utility building, possibly a temporary arms storage facility, beside a track used by Hezbollah to smuggle weapons into Lebanon from neighboring Syria, according to comparisons of satellite imagery on Google Earth.

It was the first Israeli air attack against Hezbollah in Lebanon since 2006. In response, Hezbollah detonated a roadside bomb against Israeli troops on Lebanon’s southern border. It is also thought responsible for staging three other attacks against soldiers in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, wounding four.

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FRANKLIN GRAHAM: ‘I WORSHIP A JEW’

WASHINGTON – Franklin Graham, the president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, offered a major reason why he unequivocally and unapologetically supports Israel, saying, “I worship a Jew.”

“I support Israel not only because I worship a Jew but because of what the Bible says about Israel and the future of Israel,” Graham said in an address to the 13th annual Israel Solidarity Event at the Israeli embassy.

The event was associated with the National Day of Prayer.

In his message, Graham cited God’s promise of the land of Canaan, His choice of Israel as His people, His instruction to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and His sending of His Son, Jesus – a Jew – to bring hope of eternal life to those who turn from their sin and put their faith in Jesus.

“In the past,” Franklin said, “there were many wicked, evil men who in the name of Jesus Christ used this story to persecute the Jews. To kill the Jews. They called them ‘Christ-killers.’”

Graham said, however, it wasn’t the Jews or even the Romans who killed Jesus Christ.

“It was each and every one of us,” he said. “Because the Bible says, ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’

“You see, God sent his Son on a rescue mission, and Jesus Christ voluntarily went to the cross to take your sins and my sins,” Graham said. “It was you, it was me, it was all of us that nailed Him to the cross. … And I thank God that He loved me enough to send His Son to take my sins and to die on the cross for me.”

Prior to Graham’s message of solidarity, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer addressed the evangelical leaders in attendance.

“To be Israel’s ambassador to America is to be the ambassador to the friendliest country on earth to Israel,” Dermer said. “And the anchor of support for that friendship in America is you.”

Graham finished with a personal message of support.

“Mr. Ambassador, we love Israel, and we love you, and we thank God for your country. And I can’t speak for evangelicals, but I can just say for me, I’m going to support Israel.”

franklin

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Pentecost: Festival of Mystery – Gary Stearman

This month the Jewish observance of Shavuot – Pentecost – falls on Wednesday, June 4th. In the Jewish calendar, this date corresponds to the 6th of Sivan of the year 5774, marking the first of two days of celebration. Since the Second Century A.D., this commemoration has been given two days, and accommodates the natural fluidity of the calendar which, when counted from the lunar cycle, has no fixed date. In fact, they refer to it as “the festival without a date,” giving it an aura of mystery.

 

About this time every year, we are reminded afresh of Pentecost’s enormous significance in the panorama of biblical prophecy. Almost three decades ago, we first brought you its amazing prophetic truths. Better than any other ancient

 

Jewish festival, it embodies the elements that we associate with the catching-away, or rapture, of the church. We repeat them here to refresh your memory concerning the joys of this season and to remind you that the Lord is near, even at the door.

 

As we move toward the halfway point of 2014, we find ourselves experiencing another wave of renewed excitement about the near possibility of the rapture of the church. With Russia on the move in Ukraine, and nuclear weapons being brandished by Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Middle-East war threat rises to the highest probability we’ve ever seen. As a result, interest in the prophesied culmination of the church age has risen to extreme anticipation.

 

We have demonstrated numerous remarkable connections between Pentecost and the prophetic conclusion of the church age. It is the fourth and central feast among the seven Feasts of Israel: Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Tabernacles. The first three are spring festivals, representing the blood sacrifice and resurrection. The last three come in the fall, calling forth judgment and the establishment of the Kingdom. At the center – in the summer – is Pentecost. In the Bible, it is represented by two loaves of leavened bread, held aloft by the High Priest. Today’s Jews celebrate it in a ceremony called, “decorating the bride.” In a most remarkable way, it typifies the rapture of the church.

 

Pentecost is a harvest festival that marks the passage of seven weeks after Firstfruits:

 

“9 Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from such time as thou beginnest to put the sickle into the corn. 10 And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the Lord thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the Lord thy God, according as the Lord thy God hath blessed thee” (Deuteronomy 16:9 – 10).

 

Over the years we have stressed the fact that Pentecost is the most mysterious of all the Jewish festivals. Called by the Jews, the “Feast of Weeks” [“weeks,” or in Hebrew “Shavuot”], it is the festival of the early summer harvest. But its associated symbols and metaphors invoke meanings far beyond the mere harvesting of grain.

 

Among the Jews, this is the festival that celebrates the giving of the Torah, or Law. Shavuot (Pentecost) was the time, they say, when the Twelve Tribes gathered at the foot of Mount Sinai. There, they heard the actual voice of God, as He spoke the commandments. The Bible does not seem, at first glance, to make a clear connection between Sinai and Pentecost. Nevertheless, the link is there, if we take the time to look.

 

Furthermore, this festival presents the ceremony of the marriage between God and Israel. In this context, Passover (which precedes Pentecost by seven weeks) becomes the period of God’s courtship of His wife.

 

The Harvest

 

From its earliest days, Pentecost was known as a festival of the harvest. Long ago, the Omer was offered by the high priest, who stood before the Tabernacle, or later, the Temple. It was the token of the Festival of Firstfruits. In Leviticus 23:11, it is called, “the sheaf.” In its most common sense, an omer was a dry measure that amounted to a little over two quarts. The offering of the Omer marked the first day of a fifty-day countdown to Pentecost:

 

“15 And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf [omer] of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete: 16Even unto the morrow after the seventh sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto the Lord. 17 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baken with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord” (Leviticus 23:15-17).

 

The counting of fifty days from Firstfruits to Pentecost is typical of redemption in general. For the Jew, it has always represented the maturing relationship between God and Israel.

 

The Early Rain and the Latter Rain

 

Once the Holy Spirit was poured out in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, the prophecy of the “early rain” was fulfilled. Some day, the Holy Spirit will be poured out again in Jerusalem. It should fulfill the promise of a “latter rain.” Will it also occur on Pentecost? In Peter’s second sermon, he spoke of the ultimate outworking of the festival cycle. In Acts 3:19-21, he said:

 

“19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 19 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

 

The prophetic implications of the festival cycle lie in God’s promise to restore the earth to the state of glory that He originally intended. So that His people would always remember what He has in mind, He planted this prophetic scenario in their culture. At some future time known only to Him, the story will become a reality. The festival narrative is arranged around events in their calendar that foreshadow their future counterparts.

 

Judgment of the Fruit of Trees

 

Traditional Jewish belief holds that Pentecost is the day when the fruit of trees is judged in heaven. Christians throughout the Church Age have believed that the fruit of one’s life will be judged following the rapture. This, of course, is the picture given by the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth: “10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10).

 

The resurrection of Jesus as the Omer or offering of Firstfruits began a countdown to the completion of the body of Christ. The good fruit of the righteous will be reviewed, then will come the judgment of the depraved world.

 

But there is more to add to this picture. Jewish families observe Pentecost by wearing bright and festive clothing. Homes are decorated with green plants and traditional foods of celebration are prepared.

 

According to Hayyim Schauss, writing in The Jewish Festivals:

 

“The custom of decorating the homes and synagogues with green plants is variously explained. One theory is that the day is marked in heaven as the Day of Judgment for the fruit of the trees.”

 

Here is the theme of fruit-bearing, which points to the Judgment Seat of Christ following the rapture and resurrection. In Matthew 7:15-20, Jesus likened true versus false teaching to the fruit of trees:

 

“15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

 

Pentecost, the Festival Without a Date

 

Pentecost is called Shavuot (or Weeks), in the Hebrew. It is so named to reflect the nature of its dating. It always falls seven weeks plus one day after the offering of the Omer.

 

Since it is based on counting the seven weeks following the Feast of Firstfruits, the date of Pentecost is fluid. Thus, when the Jewish calendar was still based upon visually marking the appearance of the new moon, Pentecost could fall on the fifth, sixth or seventh of Sivan. The final determination of the date would depend upon whether or not the months of Nisan and Iyar were full thirty- day months.

 

To this day, if one calculates the date of Pentecost as actually instructed in the Bible, its precise timing is always something of a mystery. Symbolically then, it becomes a perfect model for the rapture, since its date is also beyond reckoning.

 

According to Hayyim Schauss, the date for Pentecost cannot be fixed. He calls it the “only Jewish festival for which there is no fixed date.” The Books of Moses do not state on which day of the month Pentecost is to be observed. It says only that it is to be celebrated fifty days after the offering of the Omer [Firstfruits], the first sheaf of the grain harvest, which was to be offered on “the morrow after the Sabbath,” as we have already seen in Leviticus 23:15-17.

 

Following the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, it became physically impossible to commemorate either the Festival of Firstfruits or the waving of the loaves at Pentecost. The calendar date for Pentecost then became fixed at the sixth of Sivan … the date upon which it is remembered to this day.

 

The Trumpet and the Bride

 

Around the same time, Jews adopted Pentecost as the time to commemorate the giving of the Law. The 19th chapter of Exodus relates that the giving of the Law at Sinai came in the third month on the third day of the month. This places the event at the time of Pentecost. They call it, “the revelation at Sinai.” This revelation and the symbols of harvest are intertwined to give full significance to the observance of Pentecost.

 

In the festival, they also commemorate the symbolism of the marriage between God, the Groom, and Israel, the bride. They view Mt. Sinai as an enormous ketubah, or wedding canopy. The two tablets of the Law that Moses brought down from the mountain represent the marriage contract.

 

As mentioned earlier, this image is developed at Passover, which becomes the time of God’s courtship with Israel, and Pentecost comes to represent the marriage itself. In its traditional aspects, Pentecost pictures the catching away of the bride more clearly than any other festival.

 

We have noted before that the blowing of the ram’s horn on Rosh Hashanah has been suggested as representing the final trumpet of resurrection. But does it really? Is it possible that the trumpet blast on Rosh Hashanah represents instead, a “memorial” of the heavenly Pentecost trumpet?

 

“24 In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation” (Leviticus 23:24).

 

Dispensational Change

 

Let us review the part Pentecost has played at the beginning of two dispensations – Law and Grace. The rabbis themselves say that the Dispensation of Law began on Pentecost. On that day, a heavenly trumpet was heard at Mount Sinai. The Jews remember this as a time when their national identity took a new direction.

 

“19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice” (Exodus 19:19).

 

Many Jews say that this, the first mention of a trumpet blast in Exodus was regarded by the spiritual leaders of Israel as having occurred on Pentecost. Exodus 19:1 tells us that this event came about in Sivan, the third month.

 

Furthermore, the trumpet was sounded, not by man, but by a heavenly being. It was God’s own voice! Moses and the Chosen People had gathered at Mt. Sinai, on the third day of preparation, wherein they washed themselves, cleaned their clothes, and were forbidden to touch the mountain. When God came down, a trumpet sounded long and loud, filling the people with awe and terror. On that occasion, the fire of God’s glory descended and God gave the Ten Commandments. Here, we find the only heavenly trumpet recorded in the Old Testament. The next such trumpet should sound on the day of rapture and resurrection, making the day of Pentecost an interesting possibility for that event:

 

“16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (I Thess. 4:16).

 

The Order of the Resurrections

 

For the Gentile, it represents the relationship between Christ, the Bridegroom and His bride, the church. As mentioned earlier, the resurrection of Jesus was a literal Firstfruits offering that looked forward to the resurrection of all the faithful:

 

“20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (I Corinthians 15:20-24).

 

The early church thought that His coming might be somehow timed with Pentecost. The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible offers the following comment:

 

“The Church Fathers highly regarded Pentecost. Easter was always on Sunday, so Pentecost was also. Between Easter and Pentecost, there was to be no fasting. Praying was done standing, rather than kneeling.

 

During this time, catechumens [new converts] were baptized. Many expected, because the Ascension had taken place near Pentecost, that Christ would return in the same season.”

 

Pentecost was a time of expectation for the early Church. They felt that Christ might come for His own during this period. Why did they believe this? Was it because of its closeness to the time of the Ascension, or was it because of something else they had been taught? Remember, Christ’s actual Ascension took place forty days after His resurrection. Ten days later, the Holy Spirit empowered the church for its future role in the harvest of souls … the fifty days till Pentecost.

 

Prophecies of Summer

 

Biblically, the harvest of early summer is often seen to typify the “harvest” or catching-away of the church. As we have seen, this is the season when grain and fruit crops come to maturity. Fruit is judged and stored. Wheat is now safe in the granaries of the land. At Pentecost, a small sample is taken, ground into flour and baked into two loaves. They are the leavened “test loaves” of the new harvest. Scripturally, they typify the two bodies of the redeemed at the end of the age: Israel and the church.

 

Bread and fruit are the perfect picture of redemption, blessing and bounty. But to Israel, at the time of Jacob’s trouble, the harvest will not bring satisfaction. Instead, there will be the realization that something drastic has happened. This, we see in the words of Micah:

 

“1 Woe is me! For I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape gleanings of the vintage: there is no cluster to eat: my soul desired the first ripe fruit. 2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net” (Mic. 7:1, 2).

 

Here, the prophet Micah speaks as the voice of Israel in the latter days. The time is set at the end of fruit harvest – late April through early June – the season that begins with Passover and ends with Pentecost.

 

The summer fruits have been “gathered,” or harvested. The Hebrew term asaph, means “to remove, or take away.” But one of its major meanings is, “to be gathered to one’s fathers at death.” This translation easily fits in the context of these verses. The good fruit of the righteous has been harvested and taken for inspection and storage. From Micah’s point of view, the friends of Israel have gone away.

 

As we continue, Micah’s distress becomes more clear. He has a deep desire for the fruit that has been removed. And what is this fruit?

 

Verse 2, tells us that it is the “good man,” who has “perished” from the earth. This fits perfectly with the idea of the judgment of the fruit of trees.

 

“Perish” comes from the Hebrew verb avad, meaning, “to cause to vanish!” As the picture develops, it is easy to see that Micah’s vision perfectly describes the conditions that will prevail when righteous mankind is instantly transported from the earth at the catching-away of the church.

 

Jews Stay Up All Night

 

At this point, it is of great interest to note another element of this Jewish festival: The Jews stay up all night in their synagogue’s house of study, poring over “tikkun.” This consists of little sections from each book of the Torah and the Talmud, representing all of the most important texts of Judaism. But even this act of staying up all night sets forth the theme of resurrection. Michael Strassfeld writes of this custom:

 

“A kabbalistic custom emanating from the mystics in Safed (sixteenth century) is to stay up the whole (first) night of Shavuot studying Torah. The tikkun – a set order of study – was composed of selections from the Bible, rabbinic literature, and even mystical literature such as the Zohar. In this fashion the kabbalists prepared for the momentous revelation of the following morning.

 

“This practice of staying up all night is in stark contrast to that of the Israelites at Sinai, who according to tradition slept late that morning and had to be awakened by Moses. In atonement for this, Jews nowadays stay awake all night. The sense of preparation for Sinai is heightened by a mystical tradition holding that the skies open up during this night for a brief instant. At that very moment, we are told, God will favorably answer any prayer. The kabbalists also regard Pentecost as the wedding of God and Israel. Therefore, we stay up all night to “decorate the bride.”

 

What an incredible picture of the rapture! The opening of the heavens “for a brief instant” corresponds with the message in I Corinthians 15:51:

 

“51 Behold, I show you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye …”

 

Here is the perfect picture of Christ coming to catch away His bride! And where does He take her? – to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb! This corresponds with Pentecost, when the Jews “stay up all night to decorate the bride,” then feast the next day. And all this, on the festival without a date!

 

No one know when the church will be caught up in the rapture. But it could be soon, so keep looking up! 

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Prophecy Fulfilled – We need to learn Romans chapters 9-11

Most humans on planet earth know the Pope visited Israel this past week. Some call it the Holy Land, some call it “Palestine,” some call it Israel. It sort of depends on one’s worldview.

There was a telling interview given by Bishop Munib Younan, after the Pope’s visit. Younan is the president of the Lutheran World Federation, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church Bishop of Palestine and Jordan in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land.

Got it?

The Palestinians were as keen on the Pope’s visit as anyone else, given the opportunities for propaganda.

Born in Jerusalem in 1950, Younan often says politically correct things, but still embraces and advances the Palestinian narrative: it’s all Israel’s fault. So it was that one of his comments is more fodder for marginalizing Israel:

The Mass gave the Palestinian people – both Christians and Muslims – a feeling of hope. To see the Palestinian President, the Prime Minister, the Ministers, Heads of Churches – all of these people attending, with locals, with people from Galilee, with people from all over the world, over 10,000 people in Manger Square – raised the morale of the Palestinian people. While the Palestinians are under occupation we need a leader to show that the world is listening and hearing us and I believe Pope Francis showed this to our people.”

Now, all this reminds me of a quote from Caroline Glick, in a February 13, 2009 Jerusalem Post column:

“The existential threats Israel faces today from Iran and its proxies are exacerbated by the fact that the West’s position on Israel is swiftly converging with the Arab world’s position on Israel.”

I cannot escape the gigantic, overwhelmingly critical truth that biblical eschatology points to a world infested with anti-Semitism. At a moment designated by God, the international community will come against Israel in a final attempt to exterminate the Jews. The most specific prophecies specifically say that Jewish Jerusalem will be the match that lights a global confederation coordinated to wipe Israel out.

These above quotes speak to that and they obviously were spoken in our time. At the same time the Pope visited Israel, Jordan’s King Abdullah gave a speech in which he trumpeted the growing cooperation between Christians and Muslims.

This type of cooperation—called “interfaith dialogue”—is spreading in the American church. Recently, Ed Stetzer of LifeWay once again whitewashed Rick Warren’s involvement in this area. Texas pastor Bob Roberts Jr. continues to chortle about his linking arms with imams and mullahs, even hosting them in his church.

Then, just this week, I heard for the first time (after several attempts) from Sami Awad, director of The Holy Land Trust. Awad of course spearheads efforts to pry support for Israel away from evangelicals.

Awad was responding to my request for a comment about the recent incident in which the IDF allegedly bulldozed 1,500 mature fruit trees belonging to the Daoud Nassar family, near Bethlehem. There are disputed reports about this incident.

Awad said to me in response:

“I believe that in situations of conflict and war there are in most cases grey areas as to what happened? and who started first? and why people do the things they do. In the Palestinian and Israeli context we have many shades of the gray; from out political and theological perspectives and biases we many times fall into traps where we may not justify or excuse an act of violence but bring an understanding of it as being a response to something that happened. Every once in a while you get a story like the Nasser family and the uprooting of hundreds of their trees and the only history behind that is desire by some of the nearby settlers to take over their land and there is no security or political precedent for the act and the fact that the Nasser family pants trees in their legally recognized land is a threat for the future expansion of the settlements. I hope that people look at this situation not in the political context of the conflict but just as a case that cannot be accepted and justified and therefore something has to be said and done especially to those who are committed to Israel and its rights to exist.” 

Personally, I see a veiled threat in the last sentence. This follows the pattern now established by others in the American Christian community, from those like David Gushee and Brian McLaren. They have marginalized those of us who support Israel—knowing perfectly well what they are doing—and in the wider picture, Israel is being maligned daily around the world.

Scripture tells us it will be this way.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6420

REBUILDING GOD’S TEMPLE FROM THE INSIDE OUT

Israeli women are weaving Holy of Holies veil

Published: 15 hours ago

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The Jewish Temple is ever to be rebuilt in Jerusalem, the massive curtain – 66 feet high by 33 feet wide and 2 inches thick – that once hung in the Second Temple and was consumed by fire in A.D. 70, will need to be recreated.

That task is already underway in the Jewish community of Shiloh, located in biblical Samaria about 40 minutes north of Jerusalem, reports Israel Today.

For more than two years women from the community have been working to assemble the materials and learn the techniques needed to weave the veil that will hang between, and separate, the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies.

While the command given to Moses at Sinai – “You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen … with an artistic design of cherubim” (Exodus 26:31) – may have been clear to the people of Israel in the mid-15th century B.C., the techniques for weaving the required six-cord threads and the proper way to recreate the needed dyes are unknown today.

The scarlet is believed to have been made out of an oak aphid, reported Israel Today, and the blue from a special sea snail. The purple was also animal-derived, but which animals is unknown.

In some ways Shiloh as the place for “the women of the veil chamber” to pursue their task is a natural one.

Ancient Israel’s Tabernacle – precursor to the First Temple built in Jerusalem by King Solomon – stood in Shiloh for over 300 years. It was to Shiloh that the tribes of Israel came for annual festivals. One of those occasions is the biblical setting for the begining of the ministry of the Prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1). It was from here the Ark of the Covenant was sent into battle against Israel’s arch enemy, the Philistines, and captured (1 Samuel 4). Some 300 years later, in the time of the Prophet Jeremiah, the city was in ruins.

In 2013, archaeologists announced they had found the site at Shiloh where the Tabernacle had stood. Hewn holes that once supported wooden beams, large stoves not meant for home use, structures dating to the period between Joshua and King David and proximity to the city gate led to their identification. Past findings in the surrounding hills include what researchers say are the bones of sacrificed animals that were eaten during those times when thousands of Israelites would assemble at Shiloh, reported Israel National News. The bones have been dated to the same biblical period.

The synagogue of the modern community of Shiloh is designed as a replica of the Tabernacle.

The veil project mirrors another that has been underway for four years, recreating the priestly garments needed for Temple worship. Some Jews who claim priestly lineage have already purchased the special clothing.

The weavers of the veil see their work as a “holy activity” that hastens the time of Israel’s redemption.

The Gospel of Matthew records that upon Jesus death, the great veil of the Temple “was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split.” (Matthew 27:51)

temple

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6408

GOVERNMENT PLAN WOULD TRANSFORM ISRAEL INTO THE WORLD’S FIRST CASHLESS SOCIETY

by Michael Snyder | American Dream| May 27, 2014

Will Israel be the first cashless society on the entire planet?  A committee chaired by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff has come up with a three phase plan to “all but do away with cash transactions in Israel”.  Individuals and businesses would still be permitted to conduct cash transactions in small amounts (at least initially), but the eventual goal is to force Israeli citizens to conduct as much business as possible using electronic forms of payment.  In fact, it has been reported that Israeli officials believe that “cash is bad” because it fuels the underground economy and allows people to avoid paying taxes.  It is hoped that requiring most transactions to be conducted in cash will reduce crime and help balance the national budget.  And once 98 or 99 percent of all transactions are cashless, it will not be difficult for the Israeli government (or any other government) to go the rest of the way and ban cash transactions altogether.  But is a cashless society actually desirable?  This is a question that people all over the world will have to start asking as governments increasingly restrict the use of cash.

Back in September, it was announced that the Israeli government had formed a committee to “examine ways to eliminate cash from the Israeli economy”

The government on Tuesday authorized establishment of a committee that will examine ways to eliminate cash from the Israeli economy – the better to prevent citizens from cheating on their taxes. The committee will be chaired by Harel Locker, director of the Prime Minister’s Office.

This committee had the full backing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and some of the goals of the committee included finding ways to increase tax revenue and prevent money laundering

Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office declared that “around the world, it is recognized that cash is a key element of the illegal economy and money laundering. It allows a wide gap between reported and actual incomes, with the corresponding effect on tax revenues.” By eliminating cash, the PMO said, “it will be possible to expand the tax base, and prevent money laundering.” The committee will study the issue from all its perspectives and make recommendations, the PMO said.

The committee has had quite a few months to examine these issues, and now they have come back with their recommendations.  Just this week we learned that a three phase plan is being proposed…

A special committee headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Harel Locker, has recommended a three-phase plan to all but do away with cash transactions in Israel.

The motivation for examining a cash-less economy is combatting money laundering and other tax-evasion tactics, thereby maximizing potential tax collection and greatly expanding the tax base. This is important considering the enormous strain put on Israel’s national budget by the army, healthcare system and other public services.

The committee estimated that the black market represents over 20 percent of Israel’s GDP, and cash is the facilitating factor. Cash enables tax evasion, money laundering and even financing terrorism.

So what do the specifics of the plan look like?

Well, there will be very strict limits on the use of cash for individuals and businesses, any violations will be considered criminal offenses, and all Israeli banks will be required to issue debit cards to all account holders

What the committee would like to see happen, pending government approval, is greater restriction on the use of cash, limiting the use of checks as a means of payment and exchange for cash, and promotion of the use of electronic (and therefore verifiable) means of payment.

The following guidelines were set out by the committee for the short-term:

  • Limit business transactions done in cash or by check to NIS 7,500 ($2,150) immediately, and reduce that further to NIS 5,000 ($1,433) one year from the date of legislation;
  • Limit private transactions done in cash or by check to NIS 15,000 ($4,300);
  • Any violation of these limitswould be a criminal offensewarranting a stiff fine.

In conjunction with these new restrictions, Israeli banks would be required to provide all account holders with debit cards to further promote electronic payments.

But of course this move toward a cashless society is not just happening in Israel.

In Sweden, it is estimated that just 3 percent of all transactions involve cash at this point.  In fact, according to an article in the Washington Post, some Swedish banks do not handle cash at all anymore…

In most Swedish cities, public buses don’t accept cash; tickets are prepaid or purchased with a cell phone text message. A small but growing number of businesses only take cards, and some bank offices — which make money on electronic transactions — have stopped handling cash altogether.

“There are towns where it isn’t at all possible anymore to enter a bank and use cash,” complains Curt Persson, chairman of Sweden’s National Pensioners’ Organization.

And the U.S. is starting to move in that direction as well.

According to a study conducted by MasterCard, approximately 80 percent of all consumer transactions in the United States are now cashless.

But isn’t there a downside to all of this?

Just about everything that we do in life involves money.  So yes, a government can track electronic payments to make sure taxes are being paid and money laundering is not happening, but it would also enable a government to do so much more.

If a government can track all of your transactions, it will essentially be able to monitor everywhere you go and pretty much keep track of virtually everything that you do.

If you doubt this, just try to live without any money some time.

You won’t get very far without putting some gas in your vehicle.

And without being able to buy food, you will get hungry pretty quickly.

Are you starting to understand?

This is why governments love the idea of moving toward a cashless society.  It would give them an immensely powerful surveillance tool.

So let us hope that this does not happen in Israel or anywhere else in the world either.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6401

Israeli, Saudi Ex-Intel Heads in Rare Face-to-Face on Nukes

The former head of Military Intelligence, Major General (res.) Amos Yadlin, and Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, director of the General Intelligence of Saudi Arabia from 1979 to 2001, took part Monday in a rare one-on-one panel in an international conference hosted by the German Marshall Fund, and discussed the Iranian nuclear program, the Israeli/Palestinian-Arab conflict and other burning regional issues.

 The very holding of the one-on-one panel, hosted by the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, can be seen as a sign that the Iranian crisis and the perceived American abandonment of the interests of its allies in the region is indeed – as some analysts say – pushing Israel and Saudi Arabia much closer together than anyone could have dreamed just a few years ago.

Al Saud, the youngest son of the late King Faisal, urged that Israel sign on to the Saudi initiative, also known as the Arab Peace Initiative, and join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in order to turn the Middle East into a nuclear-free zone.

Yadlin replied by saying that things were not so simple. “The real problem is that the Saudi initiative became the Arab League dictate in a summit in Beirut in 2002,” he said. “The Saudis modified it into a take-it-or-leave-it offer with parameters we can’t accept, mostly in the issue of returning the Golan to Syrians.”

Yadlin, who heads the Institute for National Strategic Studies, went on to explain why the Iranian nuclear program is a burning problem for both Israel and the Gulf states, in view of the extremist nature of the Iranian regime: “If this very radical regime will marry a very radical weapon, for a people that went through a mass killing 70 years ago, in a war that we were not involved in, based on hate crimes that we saw here in this city on Saturday, we have to be very worried. Very worried. And to [do] everything so that Iran will not possess a nuclear weapon. I do not remember that the Soviet Union wanted to destroy the United States of America and vice versa. They had different ideologies, each one wanted to have hegemony, politically, ideologically, but annihilation was not the target.

“When a country like Iran goes down this path publicly, and makes every effort that they can [even] without nuclear weapons – because Iran is the source of instability, of terror, of war in the Middle East. Who is helping Assad to survive? The Iranian proxies, like Hezbollah. The Iranians are involved in Yemen, in Bahrain, they are already controlling Iraq one way or another, and if they have nuclear weapons, I think some of the neighbors beside Israel have to worry a lot about it.”

Israel supports a nuclear-weapon-free Middle East, he said, but said building of trust and peace in the region must come first.

Al-Saud replied by saying: “Not signing the NPT should not be a license to develop nuclear weapons. And that is what Israel has done. So building trust is mutual. It’s not one-sided.”

Arutz Sheva analyst Mark Langfan explained in a recent op-ed that while Israel and the Saudis want Iran’s nuclear program destroyed, “Obama is doing anything, and everything to, de facto, protect and enhance Iran’s nuclear weapons’ program.”

In addition, he pointed out, “Israel and Saudi Arabia see the destruction of Syria’s Assad as a prime element in the destruction of Iran’s waxing hegemonic enterprise from Tehran to the Mediterranean Sea.” And unlike other possible allies the Saudis could have chosen, “the Israelis don’t covet Saudi oil, or have designs on Mecca. They just want to tan themselves on Tel Aviv beaches, pray to the G-d of Abraham, and invent internet billion-dollar companies.”

As a result of this situation, Langfan opined, Israel and Saudi Arabia are finding themselves in a new Middle Eastern alliance that could include Greece as well

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6397

Pope Extends Dramatic Vatican Summit Invitation to Israeli, Palestinian Leaders

Pope Francis presides over an open-air mass on May 25 at Manger Square outside of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Sunday, 25 May 2014 08:20 AM

 

Pope Francis took a dramatic plunge Sunday into Mideast politics while on his Holy Land pilgrimage, receiving an acceptance from the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to visit him at the Vatican next month to discuss embattled peace efforts. Francis also buoyed Palestinian hopes by openly endorsing “the State of Palestine.” At his Regina Coeli address in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, he said, “All of us – especially those placed at the service of their respective peoples – have the duty to become instruments and artisans of peace, especially by our prayers.” In an extraordinarily powerful moment, the Pope referred to Bethlehem as “the birthplace of the Prince of Peace.”

The summit was an important moral victory for the pope, who is named after the peace-loving Francis of Assisi. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks broke down in late April, and there have been no public high-level meetings for a year.

Francis landed in Bethlehem, the cradle of Christianity, in a symbolic nod to Palestinian aspirations for their own state. He called the stalemate in peace talks “unacceptable” and stopped briefly to pray at the Israeli separation barrier surrounding this biblical West Bank town.

At the end of an open air Mass in Bethlehem’s Manger Square, the pope invited Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli President Shimon Peres to pray with him for peace.

“I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer,” he said.

The offices of the Israeli and Palestinian presidents quickly confirmed that they had accepted the invitation.

“We welcome Pope Francis’ invitation to the Vatican. President Peres has supported and will continue to support all avenues to bring about peace,” Peres’ office said in a statement.

Abbas’ spokesman, Nabil Abu Rdeneh, said the summit would take place sometime in June.

Peres, a 90-year-old Nobel Peace laureate, is set to step down over the summer, and the meeting would take place shortly before he leaves office.

Peres has been a fervent support of Mideast peace efforts, and the independent-minded Israeli president, whose job is largely ceremonial, risks upsetting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the move.

Netanyahu has expressed anger with politicians that have reached out to Abbas at a time when the Palestinian leader is reconciling with the Islamic militant group Hamas. Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group.

Francis also made his way Sunday to preside over a Mass in the West Bank, he made a surprise stop at the wall separating it from Israel. Photographers and onlookers rushed over to watch the pontiff close his eyes and pray against the separation barrier. Only a few bodyguards stood around Francis as he put his right hand against the gray-painted barrier, directly under a manned watchtower. Francis stood with his eyes closed in concentration. He pressed his forehead against the wall as well for a few moments, surrounded by graffiti including a “FREE PALESTINE” scrawled in red spray paint. When he finished, Pope Francis slowly crossed himself, then walked away. Israel says the massive concrete wall is necessary for its security and the Palestinians say has stifled life in Bethlehem and engulfed land across the West Bank. Francis’ stop, coming immediately after U.S.-brokered peace talks between the two sides broke down, carries a symbolic importance.

 

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-VATICAN-RELIGION-POPE-MASS

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=6391