Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Rumors of war

As Jesus stated in His end times discourse, known as the Olivet Discourse - He told us that we'd see significant warfare during the last generation and He also noted that we'd be hearing "rumors of war" as well. We've been consistently hearing about the various "rumors of war" recently: Russia marching south (towards Israel) and threatening both Georgia and Ukraine, China threatening war with Taiwan, Israel threatening Iran, Iran threatening Israel, Pakistan's fight against the Taliban increasing with control of their nukes in the balance, and on and on the list goes.

This week, North Korea is in focus. Because South Korea has joined an international group imposing sanctions on North Korea, in turn, North Korea is threatening war with South Korea, (read here). At the same time, Russia has issued a warning over this, calling it a "dangerous brinkmanship, a war of nerves" that must stop.

Additionally, the U.S. is being threatened (read here), as North Korea restarts their weapons grade nuclear plant. Quotes from this news article include the following:

"The North's military said in a statement that it will respond with 'immediate, strong military measures' against any attempt to stop and search North Korean ships under the Proliferation Security Initiative. The statement, carried by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, also said the regime no longer considers itself bound by the armistice that ended the Korean War."

"It also said it cannot guarentee safety for South Korean and U.S. navy ships sailing near the disputed western Korean sea border."

Interestingly, but not surprising - we see the following headline "Iran missile experts in North Korea to help with rocket launch", As usual, Iran is in the middle of things, further stirring the pot. It appears that Iran is working closely with North Korea in their missile development program.

Japan, perhaps more concerned than any other nation, has implemented the following as a result:

"As tensions increase ahead of the rocket launch, Japan's Air Self-Defense Force began deploying units capable of shooting down a rocket to the northern prefectures of Akita and Iwate...On Friday Tokyo gave its military the green light to shoot down any incoming North Korean rockets"

At the same time, still under the category of "Rumors of war", we see that Iran has also sent warships (six) into international waters (read here). Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, quoted by the ISNA news agency stated "Iran has dispached six...warships to international waters and the Guld of Aden in an historically unprecedented move by the Iranian Navy...and is indicative of the country's high military capability in confronting any foreign threat on the country's shores."

The world is unwittingly preparing for the most massive period of warfare ever experienced on earth. During the Tribulation, the world will see warfare occur in ways that have never been seen before. In the first few judgments of Revelation, we see a fourth of the world engaged in warfare, followed by massive death and destruction (Revelation 6:8), and then, just a little later in the Tribulation, one third of the earth will be burned as it goes up in flames (Revelation 8:6-12).

Jesus knew that His bride, the Church, would witness the build-up and preparation for the coming wars. That is why He added these comforting words in the context of these building rumors of war:

"You will hear of wars and rumors of war, BUT SEE TO IT THAT YOU ARE NOT ALARMED. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come." (emphasis mine - Matthew 24:6)

How awesome, that we worship a God that loves us enough to give us a template of what is to come. He gave us all of the signs around us, so that we would know what to expect. He gave us this information to comfort us during these troubling times.

He also told us something even more comforting during these times:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." (Luke 21:28)

Comforting words indeed.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Israel draws a line in the sand

President Obama has made it clear - he supports the idea of dividing Jerusalem, and returning to the "pre-1967 borders" which would dictate that Israel give up the West Bank and the Golan Heights as well. If this were to happen, Israel would be at an enormous disadvantage militarily, which is the main reason the terrorists covet that land so much. Such divisions, with a "continuous" Palestinian state would also divide Israel (at least what small part of Israel is left) into two halves, a northern half and a southern half.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has come out and stated in very clear terms that under his watch, Jerusalem will never be divided. So within one week of meeting with President Obama, we can see that no agreement was reached between these two leaders (read here):

"Jerusalem was always ours and will always be ours. it will never again be partitioned and divided", stated Mr. Netanyahu on Thursday, following meetings with Obama.

At least now, both parties have a clear understanding of their two widely different positions. That explains the bizarre body language that we all witnessed during the press conference. Obama refused to make eye-contact with Netanyahu and Netanyahu was leaning forward while staring intently at Obama. This strange press conference was noticed by many members of the media, so it wasn't just my personal observation (alone).

To take this division between the U.S. and Israel one step further, we also see a response from Israel, regarding Obama's demands that the Israel MUST inform the U.S. of any potential strike against Iran, in advance of such action. Confirming (again) that Israel will not allow Iran to complete their nuclear development, Israel's National Security Adviser, Uzi Arad stated that Israel would not necessarily give the U.S. forewarning on such an attack. Arad also stated that Mr. Netanyahu had just "clarified that Israel reserves operational freedom and several of the most senior figures in the administration said 'of course'" (read here), confirming Netanyahu's full support internally.

So there we have it. A line has been drawn in the sand. The next move will probably come from Obama, when he visits Cairo the first week of June and rolls out his plan for the Middle-East.

This situation is getting VERY interesting. Things are happening in a fast and furious way; the "world" is demanding that Israel give up their land to the terrorists who intend to destroy Israel. Israel is refusing to do so. The push for a "peace plan" is being pushed by the UN, the EU, the U.S., Russia, and most of the countries surrounding Israel, like never before.

But Israel is standing firm. They have made it clear that such divisions of their land is unacceptable.

Like a chess match - we await the next move. Unfortunately, for Israel, this is not a game. Their very existence is hanging in the balance. And finally, they have a leader who recognizes this fact, and he will do everything possible to preserve Israel's existence.

What happens next?

There is no telling, but one thing is for sure - a line has been drawn in the sand by Israel - a line that won't be crossed.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Israel stands alone

Bible prophecy is definitive about one central point in the "end times", and that point is that Israel will stand alone in the world, with no "earthly" support. I say no "earthly" support, because God will certianly stand with Israel during the last days, as shown dramatically in the passages of Ezekiel 38-39. When the epic invasion of Israel takes place, as described by Ezekiel, there are no nations standing with Israel. Only God. Zachariah 12:3 also makes the same point:

"On that day, when ALL the nations of earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for ALL the nations."

It is clear that the Obama administration sees no urgency in dealing with Iran, rather, preferring "talks" with Iran. This is despite the fact that a decade of "talks" has produced nothing - not a shred of progress has been made. Iran has made a mockery of so-called "talks", while they race towards nuclear arms. Even today we see Iran boasting of their missile capability:
"Ahmadinejah claims Iran's new missile capable of hitting Israel". Now thats a call for peace isn't it? It is painfully obvious that Iran has NO designs on peace. Yet, the U.S. administration pretends that "talks" can be effective.

At the same time we see Leon Panetta, representing the U.S. (as head of the CIA), literally threatening Israel, that if they attempt to deal with Iran, alone, then they will be in "big trouble" (read here). In other words, it has become clear this week, that the U.S. is unwilling to take the Iranian threat seriously. Period. Israel must take the situation seriously, as their very existence is in question.

America, the last country left on this planet who support(ed) Israel is now abandoning that support, during this most critical time, while Israel's very existence is being threatened by a radical Islamic nation - a nation on the verge of nuclear weapons.

It is painfully clear (unless something changes - and with God involved, anything is possible) that Israel now stands alone in this world. America has made it clear that Israel must patiently "wait" while pretending that "talks" with Iran will be effective, all the while knowing that is impossible. All the while, watching Iran race towards completion of nuclear warheads.

Mr. Netanyahu knows that talks will be ineffective. He knows Israel's existence is at stake. Israel knows that she can accomplish this mission against Iran "alone".

Its all shaping up exactly as described in the bible. Everything we see today - almost every pertinent headline - can be found in the prophetic scriptures.

Israel stands alone. But God is patiently watching and waiting for His time. That time will be soon. As stated by God Himself, in terms of dealing with Israel's enemies in the last days (Ezekiel 39:21):

"I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them..."

"And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations." (Ezekiel 38:23)

God has made it abundantly clear that HE still stands with Israel. He also issued a warning (Zechariah 12:3) to those countries attempting to divide Jerusalem, which is called for in the current peace plans that the U.S. fully supports:

"I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for ALL the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves ("cut into pieces")."

The U.S. administration is pushing the plan with great enthusiasm - a plan which will divide Jerusalem, giving its most essential land to Israel's enemies.

God is watching this situation. He is watching the countries align themselves against Israel. He is watching all of the attempts to divide Jerusalem, and give away the very land that He granted to Abraham, in His everlasting covenant. He has also issued warnings to those countries involved.

Is anyone listening to God's word?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

More News:

More news articles are coming out regarding President Obama's Middle-East plan.

"Obama to Propose New Peace Plan for Middle East

"Peres welcomes new US peace push"

What we have thus far from the articles above:

- President Obama will propose a new peace plan for the Middle East that will "emphasize the whole region".

- The plan will insist on "moves by Arab states as well as [Israel]".

- Obama will unveil his plan when he visits Cairo next month (June).

- Jordan's King Abdullah II stated the following "We expect an announcement from the US administration" and it is expected that the United States is expected to unveil a plan to relaunch Arab-Israeli peace negotiations.

President Obama is scheduled to travel to the Middle-East next month and there, he will roll out a new peace plan for Israel and the surrounding region. This should be interesting and definitely worth watching.

Obama meets Netanyahu

The first meeting finally took place yesterday, concluding with the usual "political speech" and rhetoric. We are left to attempt to read between the lines and ponder what was stated behind closed doors. There will be additional meetings this week, which could reveal more information - we'll be watching closely. We are also led by biblical prophecy, which tells us that all nations will turn against Israel in the last days.

The best and most complete review of the meeting is found on Joel Rosenberg's website (see here). To me, the most revealing quote, as given by Mr. Rosenberg is quoted below:

"Yes, it appears a diplomatic train wreck is coming between the U.S. and Israel in the not-too-distant future given that Netanyahu understand Iran's leaders are part of an apocalyptic, genocidal death cult and believe it is their God-given mission to annihilate Judeo-Christian civilization as we know it, and the American President and his team clearly do not."

President Obama, consistent with his earlier rhetoric believes diplomacy will work in this situation and stated that he wants to see a "positive response from Iran by the end of the year."

The problem is, waiting until the end of the year may give Iran enough time to develop their enriched uranium into a nuclear warhead. The clock is ticking, and Israel's future is dependent upon stopping Iran's nuclear development. Obama seems to be in no hurry.

Perhaps more interesting is a quote from this meeting, as reported in the Jerusalem Post (read here), which referred to President Obama planning "to formulate a new Middle-East peace initiative which would be presented soon.".....A new peace plan? I'm surprised this isn't receiving more media attention. A new peace plan? This hasn't been mentioned before. We'll be watching for this "new" plan VERY closely as it develops.

One quote which would actually be funny, if it weren't so sad and true. Mr. Netanyahu stated the obvious:

"The prime minister said he is ready to resume peace talks immediately, but that progress is contingent on the Palestinians acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state." In other words, Israel is being forced to negotiate with groups/nations/states who REFUSE TO ACCEPT ISRAEL's RIGHT TO EXIST.

At the risk of stating the obvious:

How can you negotiate peace with groups who are committed to your complete destruction?
How can you negotiate peace with groups who refuse to admit that you even have a right to exist?

The basic premise of demanding that Israel seriously "negotiate" under such a scenario is so ridiculous, its hard to believe, yet we all pretend that "real peace" can be brokered under such a bizarre setting.

More importantly - what is really going on between Obama and Netanyahu, behind closed doors.

Thus far the picture that is emerging (and this could rapidly change depending upon circumstances):

- President Obama still believes that you can negotiate with Iran, apparently not understanding or simply not caring about their religious, apocalyptic view of destroying Israel in order for their (Islamic) Mahdi to return.

- Prime Minister Netanyahu did not even utter the words "two-state solution", and has probably realized that he will not receive help from the U.S. in terms of seriously dealing with Iran. Apparently Obama was unable to convince Netanyahu to buy-in to the U.S. view. That is comforting for anyone who is concerned for Israel's future.

- Prime Minister Netanyahu may be seeing these meetings as one last chance to obtain U.S. "buy-in" for launching a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel CAN do this on their own, without U.S. approval, but it will be more difficult. I believe Israel is prepared to complete this mission even if the U.S. strongly disapproves. Their survival as a nation may depend on it.

- It is clear that the U.S. feels no urgency in dealing with Iran, despite their race to complete the final stages of nuclear development.

- President Obama has a "new plan" being developed? THAT could prove to be very interesting, yet interestingly, isn't receiving much attention.

There should be more information leaking out this week, as further meetings take place, between Israel and the U.S.

For a prophecy watcher - this is fascinating because we are seeing a push for a comprehensive, Middle-East peace plan, like we haven't seen before. Things are moving rapidly, and any new development is potentially significant.

We're watching this situation closely for any significant developments. Meanwhile, be listening for the Trumpet to call us home - it may not be long now.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How close are we?

Often, its easy to get caught up in the daily prophetic events and watching the various signs, and as a result, its easy to forget the bottom-line on prophecy. To me, that "bottom-line" refers to the grand finale: The Rapture of the Chuch, followed by the Tribulation which concludes with the Second Coming of Christ Jesus.

We watch the various signs that have been given; those signs that indicate that we're in the last days. These get discussed daily, and most of us are well familiar with them. But occasionally its best to go back to the basics and a couple of key "events" which warrant close observation.

We ("we" being the group of prophecy watchers who take a highly literal view of biblical prophecy) believe the bible speaks to prophecy in a specific, detailed, literal way. We take such a view, because ALL prophecy which has already been fulfilled, going back several thousand years, has ALL been fulfilled in a literal manner. There is no reason to believe that future prophecy will be any different.

As far as the sequence of events, we believe that there is overwhelming biblical evidence that the Rapture of the Church takes place prior to the Tribulation. The bible gives us one important "date" for a clear and distinctive event that indicates that the Tribulation has "officially" started, and that is the verse given in Daniel 9:27. That verse tells us that the Tribulation begins when the "covenant" is confirmed between the antichrist and "the many": a comprehensive peace deal that finally gives the world "peace and safety" for Israel and her surrounding neighbors.

Another key "date" is given by Jesus in the Olivet Discourse of Matthew 24. In this discourse, Jesus said that only one generation would witness ALL of the events (aka "signs") that He had just given, including the signs of the generation, the Tribulation and the Second Coming.

So we have two key dates that seem highly significant:

- The "confirmation" of the peace covenant (which marks the beginning of the Tribulation), and
- The length of a generation - which tells us how long these signs will last before the Tribulation and Second Coming.

Regarding the peace covenant, it appears that we are finally at the threshold of confirming such a covenant. As stated in earlier posts, the Obama administration is putting on the "full-court press" towards a peace plan in the Middle-East. The international community, as led by the "Quartet" (Russia, U.S., UN and the EU), and its special envoy, Tony Blair (who is also speculated to become the "permanent" President of the EU, interestingly), and the surrounding muslim countries, who are all pressing for a "final solution" to the ongoing Middle-East conflicts.

Almost everything being discussed now, in terms of a peace plan, is based on the "Oslo Accords" of 1993, which was intended to be a 7 year plan - which involved progressive independence of a separate "Palestinian State". The plan involved a 5 year period, followed by a 2 year period (its complicated), before the final Palestinian State would be recognized. The plan was agreed, but never "confirmed" in 1993 due to the violence which erupted shortly after the plan was signed. We are now watching the process of having this plan "confirmed".

In 25 years of watching prophecy I have never seen the world SO lined up and ready to confirm such a covenant. I believe we're VERY close to the fulfillment of Daniel 9:27.

So the question becomes - what does it mean to "confirm" a covenant? This idea receives a lot of attention in prophecy circles. I believe (and this is just my opinion) the "confirmation" aspect involves sending in peace-keeping military forces into the region (mainly Israel), in order to ensure that the plan is enforced (aka "confirmed"). I believe this for one simple reason: in the past, any such agreements immediately dissolved because of violence in the region. The only way to prevent such violence is to have a strong military presence in the area.

Therefore, I believe (again, my speculation only) that the antichrist could be the individual who arranges for, and agrees to sending in the peace-keeping forces. In the past, the EU has offered such "assistance", and those plans have been offered in the past. The reason is obvious: the U.S. cannot send in troops to maintain the peace, as they are not trusted by the Islamic groups in the area. The UN could, theoretically, but they are stretched to the max currently and its hard to imagine the UN having a potent force in the Middle-East. However, the EU would be a desirable candidate for many reasons.

We also know that the antichrist will come from the "revived Roman Empire", and the EU certianly fits that bill. So, as the month of May progresses and meetings between parties in the region are progressing in a fast and furious way - one thing I am paying CLOSE attention to, is any offer to "confirm" the treaty via peace-keeeping forces, during these negotiations.

The second "key date" is the length of a generation - as Jesus said only one generation will witness ALL such end-times events, including the Tribulation period and the Second Coming.

So what is a generation?

Biblically, there are many references. This receives a lot of discussion, and it would take too long to dissect each view. Some folks want to say it must be 70 years. Some folks believe its 40 years. I am part of the group who believes a "generation" (given the context of Matt. 24) represents the length of a life-span, during THAT era being discussed - in this case, as directed to the people living during the end times events.

Currently people are living to 110-120 years and there are many people alive today who are between 110-120 years of age.
(see here). Additionally, we were told, by Jesus, that these end times would be like the days of Noah:

"As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man" (Matt. 24:37)

We can then read those specific scriptures regarding the "time of Noah" (Genesis 6:3):

"Then the Lord said, 'My Spirit will not contend with man forever, for he is mortal; his days will be a hundred and twenty years".

Interestingly, from the linked article above, we can see that the longest life-span in this generation has been 122 years, and we can also see that there are many people alive today who are 110-120 years of age. Interesting correlation.

Combine that fact - with the beginning of the generation - and we have something to work with.

According to Jesus' very words, He clearly identified the beginning of "birth pains" (aka the "generation"), and we believe that the WWI era fit Jesus' description perfectly. Each of the beginning signs, as given by Jesus, appeared in that era around 1918. World war, famine, earthquakes, pestilences, ALL spiked dramatically, together, for the first time in human history during that era. There was never before such a time, when ALL of these signs spiked, in concert, at the same time.

So. Putting two and two together becomes quite revealing. If the "last generation" began during the WWI era, and I believe the evidence is overwhelming that it indeed began at that time (1914-1920 period), and given that a generation today is approximately 120 years, that places us at the very very end of "the generation". Further confirmation of this idea is revealed because ALL signs which have been given for us to watch - have ALL occured during this generation.

Then, on top of these ideas - we see the "final peace" settlement for Israel and her neighbors coming together in a fast and furious way, right here at the end of the generation. All we need is for a "great leader" to step forward and come up with a plan to "confirm" the peace deal. I believe we are right at this threshold.

Two last points:

1. Jesus did not say that the generation would be "completed" when we see the conclusion of end times events. He merely said that not one generation would pass before these events conclude with His Second Coming. In other words, the conclusion of stated events will come at some time before the generation ends. How close these very last events occur in relation to the very end of the 110-120 year period is anyone's guess.

2. We know that the Tribulation will have to reach its conclusion before the Second Coming. The Tribulation is a 7 year period, so that time period must be factored in as well. So a prophecy watcher, who is waiting for a pre-tribulational Rapture of the Church, must subtract 7 years from this generational period.

All of these factors give strong indication that we are very very close to the last days of this generation. The push for this so-called "final peace solution" screams to the believer that the time is upon us. The antichrist is alive today and waiting for his opportunity to come to power; that much seems clear. He'll make his initial "splash" on the world-wide scene by confirming this covenant.

But we won't be here for that. We have a destination that awaits us, a destination far better than anything on earth. Its our heavenly destination. Jesus will take us there, as He has promised:

"I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." (John 14:1-3).

That glorious place awaits us now. The signs tell us that we will be there soon.

Maranatha! Our Lord Comes!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

When They Say Peace....

Below is a commentary as found on the "Rapture Ready" website (here), as written by Terry James. It is worth repeating here, as I believe it applies to the age we are living in, particularly concerning the rapidly changing situation in the Middle-East as it applies to biblical prophecy. The scriptural reference at the very end of the commentary (1 Thessalonians 4-5) is one of the many references pointing to a pre-tribulation rapture. The body of believers are in the "light" not in darkness, and not appointed to experience the "Day or the Lord", aka the Tribulation. We do have an appointment however - and that appointment is to meet Jesus "in the air", followed by an immediate escort to heaven. It is clear from these scriptures (and many many more) that we are not destined to encounter the Tribulation.

When They Say Peace…

The drumbeat for peace can be heard within the rumblings of strange changes that inflict convulsive crisis after crisis upon this troubled planet. Israel, just as Old and New Testament prophets foretold, is at the heart of the birth-like contractions that have to be deliberately ignored to be missed. Paul the apostle and prophet wrote under inspiration, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape” (1Thessalonians 5:3).

This prophecy, I’m convinced, is most relevant to this particular hour in these waning days of human history. I believe, as a matter of fact, that this and surrounding Scripture relates directly to the rapture of all believers in Jesus Christ. I will attempt to explain a bit further into this commentary. First, I want us to try to understand exactly where this generation is presently positioned on God’s prophetic timeline.

Israel, which Zechariah the prophet said would become a burdensome stone and cup of trembling to the whole world, is already, in this pre-tribulation era, exactly that at this juncture in the geopolitical scope of things. The Jewish state is at the center of a call for peace that is unlike any such call in history.

Potential for nuclear conflict has diplomats—particularly of the western world--on edge, to put it mildly. Pakistan is in danger of falling to Taliban marauders, such prospects causing great consternation. The thought of Pakistan’s nuclear weaponry in the hands of those who have thrown in their lot with the likes of Osama bin Laden are disconcerting. That Iran is on the precipice of having such weaponry is even more disturbing, and a thing those who cry peace and safety simply cannot and will not tolerate.

Fears of the growing Iranian threat have to some extent brought even the Israelis and the Arabs to the point of talking things over. Jordan's King Abdullah told a news conference in Berlin, "What we are discussing today is a combined approach of bringing together Arabs, Europeans, and the United States as a team to create the circumstances over the next several months that allow Israelis and Palestinians to sit at the table, but also with Lebanese, Syrians and Arab nations” (“Jordan says new approach to Mideast peace emerging,” by Salah Nasrawi, Associated Press,5/6/09).

So, international negotiators led by the Obama administration are putting unprecedented efforts into coming up with a strategy for peacemaking. Those calling for peace will have to convince the Israeli government and the Arab Islamic nations of the Mideast to agree to do the give-and-take compromises essential to formulating a peace that will defuse war seen as inevitably on the horizon.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, now international Mideast envoy, announced that the Obama administration and others are working on the strategy for peace talks that he expects to be unveiled within six weeks. “ ‘We're about to get a new framework,’ Blair said late Tuesday. ‘I can only speculate right now about what that framework is going to be. The reason I say people should be more hopeful is that this is a framework that is being worked on at the highest level in the American administration, (and) in the rest of the international community’" (“Blair: New Mideast Peace Plan Unveiled in Weeks,”, 5/6/09).

Paul’s words of end-times prophecy resound within current headlines. The world’s call for peace and safety just happens to be focused on the one city about which God told Zechariah to issue the Lord’s proclamation: “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3).

The fascinating thing to consider here is that in Bible prophecy the focus of nations on end-times Jerusalem and the call for peace are connected in a way that cannot be denied. Neither can it be realistically denied that the focus on the exigencies of the present, with the international community trying to divide Jerusalem for the sake of “peace,” causes words of concern to leap from hourly news headlines.

Now for something of truly astounding importance to be considered. Please weigh carefully what follows.

The Apostle Paul is the prophet given the duty of laying out the coming of Jesus Christ for believers. The prophecy likens that coming as “a thief in the night” breaking in upon an unsuspecting household. This cannot be the second advent of Revelation 19:11 because the entire world of earth-dwellers who are still alive after the seven years of tribulation will see the coming of the King of kings and Lord of lords. It will not be a stealthy coming, but a glorious re-entry (with the saints accompanying their Lord) into a world about to be destroyed by incorrigibly wicked humanity.

To make the point of the astounding importance of the current cry for peace surrounding Jerusalem and Israel, let’s consider the Scriptures immediately surrounding Paul’s prophecy about “peace and safety”—i.e., let’s look at this block of Scripture in context:

“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: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-5:4).

Even so, come, Lord Jesus

Friday, May 8, 2009

EU closer to a permanent presidency

In one interesting bit of news today; news that won't get much public attention, but for prophecy watchers is very interesting - we discover that the EU is rapidly moving towards ratification of the "Lisbon treaty". What is the Lisbon treaty?
To understand this and the potential prophetic significance, one has to go back several years in the development of the EU.

For years, the EU attempted to have a unifying constitution signed by every country. Back then, the idea was to have each country take a country-wide vote (ie, the citizens of each country) from each country in order to formalize the EU. There were three countries who refused to vote positively for the constitution: France, Netherlands and UK.

So. In an interesting development, the EU decided that it would shelve the idea of having the constitution formally ratified and instead shifted to the "Lisbon treaty" - which effectively accomplished the same things as the constitution. It does not require a "vote" from the citizens of each country. One of the most interesting aspects of the Lisbon treaty (and there are many), is that once ratified, it will create a "permanent" EU president. Currently the EU presidency rotates on a six-month basis, among member states.

We know that biblical prophecy calls for the antichrist to rise from the revived Roman Empire, aka the EU. Therefore any position which becomes very powerful within the EU is worth watching. A "permanent" president of the EU most definitely fits in that category.

Previously, it looked like the Czech Republic and Ireland would be the only "hold-outs", refusing to go along with the Lisbon treaty. Primarily because of the economic situation, the Senate of the Czech Republic is now backing the Lisbon treaty, making it far more likely that all 27 members of the EU will now ratify this treaty.

The news article describing this scenario, (read here), is also stating that Ireland now has the votes for approval. That would remove the last obstacles standing in the way for the Lisbon treaty ratification and a permanent presidency for the EU.

Perhaps even more interesting in this "watch" is the fact that Tony Blair has been quietly lobbying for this top position within the EU. It is still early in the process, but he seems to be the leader for this presidency. New names could emerge and Mr. Blair is certianly not a lock for the job, however many publications are already making the assumption that he is the frontrunner. We shall see; this is most definitely worth watching.

Meanwhile, there seems to be more and more concensus on a peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians, which is rapidly developing (read here). Quotes from this article:

"Palestinian sources in Ramallah said on Wednesday, thet they expect the Obama administration to force a new peace plan of its own on Israel and the Palestinians next month."

"The American plan would, however, have the support of the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, said the sources. It would deal with a final settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict, including relations with Syria and Lebanon. It would also mention the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Israel and Arab states."

There is only one glaring problem with this peace plan. The Palestinians, Hamas, and Hezbollah - all surrounding Israel and pivitol to such peace - refuse to declare that Israel has a right to exist. But the world refuses to admit to this rather delicate problem. We all turn our collective heads ("we" being the media, heads of state, the representatives of the EU, US, Russia and the EU) and pretend that the surrounding terrorists - those who must "buy-in" to the agreement - are not continually calling for the destruction of Israel.

If it weren't so sad and prophetic, it would be hilarious. But its not hilarious; its symptomatic of the state of affairs in the world today.

We know from bible prophecy that the peace plan, or the "covenant" which the antichrist brokers, will be confirmed with the "many" (Danial 9:27). Does this refer to the concensus being gathered by the "quartet", which is represented by the EU, UN, US and Russia? Note the news quote above, that each of these countries are moving towards agreement of the so-called peace plan now circulating.

Everything is moving towards the "end game". We see the EU growing and growing; now close to formal ratification of the Lisbon treaty and closer to a formal, permanent presidency...We see the "final solution" to a peace plan in the Middle-East being circulated with great urgency...We see Iran moving closer and closer to nuclear arms, while calling for the destruction of Israel...We see the Med Union now broken into two halves (north and south)...We see the world moving towards a single currency and most definitely global regulation...We see calls for a global governance...We watch the technology advance which would allow for the "Mark of the Beast" to come into existance...We watch the alliances of "Gog-MaGog" (Ezekiel 38-39) strengthing and threatening Israel on a daily basis...and on and on it goes.

As previously mentioned, but worth repeating, all of the end times prophecy signs that we have been given scripturally are present and accounted for. Not only that, but these signs are moving rapidly towards conclusion. Its almost hard to believe, but its all right there - right in front of us to watch and observe. We were given these signs in advance - and they are all happening, just as described.

As many prophecy watchers - I too believe that we are very very close to the beginnings of the Tribulation. We are also very very close to seeing Jesus' words conclude:

"When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near" (Luke 21:28)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

In the news

Several news articles are circulating this week, which are interesting from a prophetic perspective:

"Barack Obama hints at tougher line on Israel"

"Obama engineering 'most serious crisis in 61 years'"

"Lieberman Gives Iran Three Months - Or Else"

Highlights from these articles:

- Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Italian Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi that Iran should be given three months to respond to diplomacy regarding their nuclear ambitions, and afterwards take "concrete steps" against Iran.

- Described as "blackmailing techniques" - the U.S. administration appears to be offering help with the Iran situation only if Israel agrees to a "two-state" solution and complies with U.S. plans for the Middle-East, regardless of how destructive these plans are for Israel. In the "crisis" article above, an interesting quote is found: "In other words, the new America's message to Israel is: Resist our will, and we'll allow Tehran to continue its quest for an atomic bomb to fire at you."

- Obama's National Security Advisor, James Jones, advised a European foreign minister that "unlike the Bush administration, Obama will be forceful with Israel. The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question."

Overall, it appears that the U.S. feels that Israel needs our assistance in dealing with Iran's nukes. Subsequent to this, the U.S, will demand that Israel agree to the U.S. administration's plans for the region, including Israel giving up an enormous amount of land, and land that is critical from a military perspective. Additionally, the U.S. will demand that Jerusalem becomes divided, under UN control.

The significance of these potential peace talks and progress in the Middle-East is quite simple.

First - the bible tells us that there will be no real peace in the Middle-East until Jesus returns and sets up his 1,000 year reign on earth. There will be a brief period of false peace as "confirmed" by the anti-christ (Danial 9:27). The problem with the peace plan, as confirmed by the anti-christ, is the following scripture, where Paul discussed the beginnings of the Tribulation (also referenced in Daniel 9:27) in 1 Thessalonians 5:

"...for you know very well that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When people are saying, 'Peace and safety', destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman."

The antichrist will appear to have finally created peace in the Middle-East, and that will lead to global cries of "peace and safety"....However, as detailed in the book of Revelation, this false peace will quickly end in "destruction" coming on them "suddenly".

Second - We watch the progress of a peace plan in the Middle-East, because we know that ultimately, only the anti-christ will step forward with a definitive plan which "confirms" peace in the region. According to bible prophecy, the Church will have been removed prior to this event (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:4-9, Revelation 3:10, etc). Therefore, the closer we are to a peace plan in the region, the closer we are to completion of the prophecies given which describe the "catching up" or "gathering up" of the Church (1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15).

Third - if the U.S. continues along its path of demanding that Israel give up more and more land, in effect, weaking Israel and making their very survival tenuous, then I believe we are in significant danger of encountering the scriptural warning given directly by God in Genesis 12:3.

Things are moving rapidly right now. As previously mentioned, there is a flurry of diplomatic activity scheduled for the month of May. The Obama administration has now seemingly placed Middle-East peace discussions at the forefront of their agenda.

Even if misdirected, ultimately, thats good for the body of believers.

Jesus will come for His Bride. Its a promise.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Gathering Storm

A commentary which is focused on Israel and the Middle-East is worth repeating in its full form (below). Tom Mountain, a columnist for The Jewish Advocate, has written a timely piece regarding the situation between Israel and Iran, with appropriate historical references (original article here):

The Gathering Storm
by Tom Mountain

Iran's nuclear program appears to be on schedule.

"It's 1938 and Iran is Germany." So declared Benjamin Netanyahu. That the Israeli Prime Minister would offer such a chilling historical analogy should leave little doubt as to the grave implications of Iran proceeding on its
As a ruse, he claimed that he only wanted self-determination.
militaristic course, as well as the imperative need to confront that threat before it's too late.

In retrospect, 1938 was a pivotal year, the last chance for the Allies, namely Britain and France, to have stopped Hitler's Germany before it began its blitzkrieg for world conquest, and its genocidal campaign against the Jews. Germany had not yet reached the point where it was capable of launching an attack against its primary foes, France and Britain. It had just annexed Austria in a predictable, bloodless coup and prepared for its next target, Czechoslovakia.

Hitler knew that, in order to conquer Europe, he first had to force Czechoslovakia into submission, preferably without a military invasion. Yet Hitler not only wanted to eliminate Czechoslovakia as a military threat, but ultimately as a nation. As a ruse, he claimed that he only wanted self-determination for the Germans of the Sudetenland, hoping to compel the gullible leaders of France and Britain to acquiesce and sell out the Czechs.

By threatening war if Czechoslovakia didn't cede the Sudetenland to Germany, Hitler effectively blackmailed the idealistic, yet hopelessly naive British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, into forcing the insufferably timid Czech President, Edward Benes, to give up the strategic Sudetenland. After all, Chamberlain reasoned, this area was mostly populated by Germans who only wanted self-determination, and besides, the German leadership promised they had no more territorial demands. Benes, a weakling to the core, refused to go it alone and stand up to the Germans, despite his formidable Czech army, while Neville Chamberlain desperately wanted peace at all costs, and was willing to appease Hitler no matter what the cost. Even if it meant sacrificing a democratic ally.

After 1938 it was too late. By the spring of 1940 Hitler had defeated France and prepared to destroy Britain.

If today is eerily reminiscent of 1938, and Iran is the successor to Nazi Germany, then Barack Obama is Neville Chamberlain and the West Bank is the Sudetenland.

To characterize the new president as anti-Israel is perhaps unfair. He is not anti-Israel in the sense that he bodes ill for the Jewish state, but neither is he inclined to adamantly support Israel against its enemies, which also happen to be the enemies of the United States. The president is so devoted to the premise of "peace at all costs" he'd sell out both the Jewish state and, in the long run, the United States, in his quest to accommodate a rogue nation that desires the destruction of both.

The leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made no secret of his desire to destroy Israel. To do this he needs to acquire tactical nuclear weapons. He already has the missiles, he just needs the bombs. To get them he needs time, at most a few years, to continue unhindered to develop the atomic bomb. To do that, he needs the United States to be passive while Iran builds a nuclear arsenal. This also means that the Americans must prevent Israel from attacking Iran.

So Ahmadinejad will need to convince Barack Obama of Iran's peaceful intentions,
The Iranian nuclear program appears to be right on schedule.
which shouldn't be too difficult since this president is already predisposed towards striving for a peaceful outcome with any nation, be it Cuba, North Korea or Iran. All Iran has to do is declare its commitment to peace, then reinforce President Obama's belief that if only Israel gave up the West Bank to the Palestinians the Middle East would have "peace in our time." Iran will also need to count on the novice president to ignore or trivialize all of that on-the-record rhetoric from the Iranian leadership about how they want to destroy Israel, then the United States, in order to usher in a worldwide Islamic caliphate or die in the process.

So far, it's working. The Iranian nuclear program appears to be right on schedule. As expected, Barack Obama is cooperating, reminiscent of Neville Chamberlain. But Benjamin Netanyahu is not Edward Benes and Israel is not Czechoslovakia. Netanyahu is the right leader at the right time in Israel's history. He will not permit the United States to sell out Israel for some mythical guarantee of peace from Iran. He will go it alone and neutralize the Iranian threat before it's too late.

And a second Holocaust will be averted.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Rumors of war

Finally, the new administration has agreed to meet with Israeli officials. There will be a series of meetings during the month of May; something I find interesting because of the context. It looks like the month of May is being devoted to the Middle-East, as a series of meetings will take place between the Obama administration and various leaders from the region. Why now?

The context is interesting - at the same time that we see an acute focus on the Middle-East, we see many articles from the region pointing to ongoing war preparations:

"Hamas Army Preparing for New War"
"IDF staged drills over Gibraltar, in preparation for Iran strike"
"Arrow operators prepare for Iran threat"

Collective quotes from these three articles:

"Air Force reservists who operate the Arrow and Patriot missile defense systems have recently begun spending one day a week on duty to sharpen their skills, amid fears that in a conflict with Iran, dozens of long-range missiles would be fired at Israel."

"We are working hard to be ready for the Iranian threat" a top IAF officer said, "We are preparing for barrages, split warheads and other surprises..."

"The fact that the drills were held 3,800 kilometers away from Israel 'confirms that the Israel Defense Forces is making concrete preparations' to attack Iran over its refusal to cooperate with the international community..."

"We would not make a threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel's willingness to act."

Interestingly, suddenly the Middle-East is now in focus for the White House. That may not be good for Israel however. It is clear that Obama, as a continuation of the Bush policies will demand that Israel give up a substantial amount of land, including the West Bank: (read here).

Additionally, Benjamin Netanyahu fears that Obama will make further demands which will further weaken Israel (read here). According to this article, a number of aides to Mr. Netanyahu will meet with senior officials from the Obama administration and officials in Europe, for the same purposes.

It would appear that the Iranian issue is pushing leaders to get a handle on Iran and their nuclear threats. Speculation leads one to wonder if this could be the last flurry of activity, in a last minute attempt to prevent Israel from attacking Iran's nuclear facilities. Its hard to know - but its clear that May will bring the Middle-East to the top of the agenda for the White House and for leaders in the Middle-East.

The outcome from these meetings will be very interesting from a prophetic perspective. We'll be watching closely for any decisions made, and the general rhetoric coming from these leaders.

Whatever the outcome - God is also watching. Genesis 12 is absolutely worth repeating here, as God's word regarding Israel is absolute:

"I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will curse" (Genesis 12:3)

God repeated the same exact message to Isaac, regarding the land of Israel and her people:

"May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed" (Genesis 27:29)

God also confirmed His absolute committment to Israel's land:

"I will make you a communities of peoples, and I will give this land as an EVERLASTING POSSESSION to your descendants after you." (Genesis 48:4. emphasis mine).

It is clear biblically, that God will not find favor with those who attempt to give away Israeli land. That land was granted to Israel, by God, in an unconditional covenant, confirmed by the passages in Genesis 15.

Of course, political leaders involved in the Middle-East are not looking to the Bible for any direction in these negotiations. As usual, "man" believes that he can make certian determinations regarding Israel, but God has a history of intervening when the time is right. He will do so again.

The month of May could be very interesting.

We'll be watching. So will God.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Will the U.S. continue to "bless" Israel?

Many "modern-day" churches have re-defined God. In efforts to become "seeker-friendly" we focus on a loving, kind God, who doesn't "judge" people, but, like a kind old uncle, pats you on the back and allows you to do whatever you want to do without consequences. God is most certianly a loving God, as proven by His sending Jesus, His only Son, to die for us on the cross, allowing for salvation and eternal bliss in Heaven.

But we often forget that God is also perfect in His judgments. God hasn't "matured" or become "new age" over the last generation as many folks would like to believe. The God that we worship today is exactly the same as the God of the Old Testament. This isn't a popular view, but it is an accurate view.

In this context, God made a definitive statement in the book of Genesis, which has been upheld throughout the generations, as He declared to Abraham ("Abram") regarding the land of Israel (Genesis 12:3):

"I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you:
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you and whoever curses you I will also curse"

God doesn't joke around, nor does He make declarations such as this and forget them. This statement has held up through the generations. By reading the book of Ezekiel, you can see multiple chapters and passages devoted to the "judgment of the nations", ie, "judgment" against those nations who "cursed" Israel.

I've been watching and waiting to see how the new U.S. administration would handle affairs with Israel. The first red flag, was Obama's frequent meeting with the heads of terrorists states, and other predominately Islamic groups. At the same time, the Obama administration has refused to meet with Israel, and on several occasions found themselves conveniently "out of town" when various Israeli officials were in the U.S. - attempting to meet with the new administration.

Now we see a report coming from Israel (read here) which is very concerning in reference to this scripture found in Genesis 12. First, the title is interesting:
"Report: Intelligence Warns Israel is now an 'Obstacle to Obama'". This verbiage is interesting, because the prophet Zechariah wrote similar words (Zechariah 12:1-2):

"This is the word of the Lord concerning Israel...'I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling...On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves.'"

So we know that all nations (including the U.S.) will turn against Israel. We are seeing this process now.
In this linked article we see the following:

"A report in the World Tribune quoted an Israeli source familiar with the intelligence assessment who said that "Obama wants to make friends with our worst enemies and [those who were] until now the worst enemies of the United States. Under this policy, the source added, 'we are more than irrelevant. we have become an obstacle.'"

Additionally we see the following facts:

- the US will most likely restrict arms exports to Israel, effectively weaking their defense abilities
- the U.S. will want to show Iran, Syria and radical Muslims that the United States will pressure Israel (to give up land) and the pressure has already begun
- the U.S. administration will reject Israel's intelligence opinions on Iran and Syria, while advancing the Obama plan to reconcile with the two states, although both were listed as state sponsors of terrorism.

The prevailing view, unfortunately, within the U.S. is that Isreal is a "burdensome stone" and we should separate ourselves from involvment in assisting Israel. Rather, the administration (as a continuation of the Bush administration policies) is poised to demand that Israel give up more land in this mythical quest for peace in the Middle-East. The very land that God granted to Abraham, and in turn, Israel - the land that God granted to Israel unconditionally.

God hasn't changed. God hasn't "matured". If you want to see God's view of Nations who have opposed Israel simply read the first 30 chapters of Ezekiel. God can and will do the same to America.

The U.S. policy is hinged on having Israel give up the Golan Heights, the West Bank, and half of Jerusalem including the Temple Mount. How incredibly arrogant, for any nation to step in and demand that Israel give up their God-given land. Imagine if the UN demanded that the U.S. give up part of Texas, part of California and all of New Mexico - to Mexico, since that land was disputed at one time.

I doubt that anyone in the current administration has viewed Israel from a biblical perspective. At least, there is no evidence to suggest such reading is taking place. Even before the Tribulation, God will hold true His word. Genesis 12:3 doesn't make any exceptions to the "rule"...God will bless those nations that bless Isreal and He will curse those nations that curse Israel.

Demanding that Israel divide their land, demanding that Israel give up most of Jerusalem, demanding that Israel give up the Golan Heights (land which is vital to Israel's defense), demaning that Israel give up the West Bank (also critical from a military perspective) while weakening Israeli defense and then siding with the very terrorists states who are sworn to destroy Israel - to me, counts as "cursing" Israel. We are on very very dangerous ground if these trends continue.

God hasn't changed. His words in Genesis are as relevant today as they were during Abraham's life. It may be time to pray that the current administration changes the current direction and policy towards Israel. God will judge those nations who weaken Israel and those nations who are aligned in attempts to destroy Israel.

Personally, I hope that Jesus will gather up His church before any such judgment falls on the U.S., and I believe this is entirely possible. But the statement seen in Genesis 12:3, as given by God is unconditional and permanent, and could happen at any time.

Only time will tell. The U.S. policy towards Israel is important to God, and He is most certianly watching how the nations align with or against Israel. Lets hope something changes and the U.S. takes the side that God favors: full support for Israel. If not, the consequences could be severe. Its been proven throughout the Bible.