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IN TODAY'S NEWSLETTER
- Iran Seen Trying New Path to a Bomb
- 94-year-old Billy Graham's warning for America
- Nearing Midnight: Dining with Danger
- Enough, Already
- The Existence of God: Irrefutable Proof
- Daily Jot: Prophetic Warning: Danger Ahead
- Daily Devotion: Passing Inspection
- Featured Article: The Quiet in the Quake
Iran Seen Trying New Path to a Bomb - Jay Solomon - http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323997004578644140963633244.html
U.S., European Officials Say Tehran Could Start Making Weapons-Grade Plutonium by Next Summer
Iran could begin producing weapons-grade plutonium by next summer, U.S. and European officials believe, using a different nuclear technology that would be easier for foreign countries to attack.
The second path to potentially producing a nuclear weapon could complicate international efforts to negotiate with Iran's new president, Hasan Rouhani, who was sworn in Sunday in Tehran. It also heightens the possibility of an Israeli strike, said U.S. and European officials.
Until now, U.S. and Western governments had been focused primarily on Iran's vast program to enrich uranium, one path to creating the fissile materials needed for nuclear weapons. Now, the West is increasingly concerned Iran also could use the development of a heavy water nuclear reactor to produce plutonium for a bomb. A heavy-water reactor is an easier target to hit than the underground facilities that house Iran's uranium-enrichment facilities.
Some Iranians and foreign diplomats hope that Mr. Rouhani, a former top nuclear negotiator, will try to negotiate an end to the sanctions that have crippled the Iranian economy. After being sworn in, Mr. Rouhani called on the West to drop the sanctions. "If you seek a suitable answer, speak to Iran through the language of respect, not through the language of sanctions," he said.
In Washington, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Mr. Rouhani's inauguration represented "an opportunity for Iran to act quickly to resolve the international community's deep concerns over Iran's nuclear program." "Should this new government choose to engage substantively and seriously to meet its international obligations and find a peaceful solution to this issue, it will find a willing partner in the United States," Mr. Carney said.
In recent months, U.S. and European officials say, the Tehran regime has made significant advances on the construction of a heavy water reactor in the northwestern city of Arak. A reactor like the one under construction is capable of using the uranium fuel to produce 40 megawatts of power. Spent fuel from it contains plutonium-which, like enriched uranium, can serve as the raw material for an explosive device. India and Pakistan have built plutonium-based bombs, as has North Korea.
The Arak facility, when completed, will be capable of producing two nuclear bombs' worth of plutonium a year, said U.S. and U.N. officials.
Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog, that it plans to make the reactor operational by the second half of 2014 and could begin testing it later this year.
The IAEA has been monitoring Arak since its construction began. But following Iran's latest timeline, the site's importance has vastly shot up for Washington and Brussels, said U.S. and European officials. "It really crept up on us," said an official based at the IAEA's Vienna headquarters.
Iran denies it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons. It has told the IAEA it is building Arak to produce isotopes used in medical treatments, said U.N. officials.
The development is of deep concern to Israel, which fears it could become the target of any Iranian nuclear attack. It presents a new challenge to the Obama administration's efforts to engage with Mr. Rouhani, a Scottish-educated cleric who has pledged to negotiate with the U.S. and other world powers over Tehran's nuclear program.
U.S. and European officials said in recent interviews that they are hoping to start negotiations with Mr. Rouhani's new government in September.
"At this stage, our most pressing concern is dealing with the enrichment of uranium. But we are increasingly concerned about activity...at Arak," said a senior European official involved in the Iran diplomacy.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly threatened to attack Iran's nuclear facilities if international diplomacy stalls. He publicly warned Iran in July not to move forward with the commissioning of the Arak reactor, or risk facing military action.
"They're pursuing an alternate route of plutonium...to build a nuclear bomb," the Israeli leader said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on July 14. "They haven't yet reached it, but they're getting closer to it. And they have to be stopped."
Israel has twice destroyed reactors in neighboring Middle East countries before they could produce plutonium, believing they were part of covert nuclear-weapons programs. The Arak plant is viewed as a much easier facility for the Israeli military to strike than Iran's enrichment facilities in the cities of Natanz and Qom.
"There's no question that the reactor and its heavy water are more vulnerable targets than the enrichment plants," said Gary Samore, who served as President Barack Obama's top adviser on nuclear issues during his first term. "This could be another factor in Netanyahu's calculations in deciding how long to wait before launching military operations."
Any Israeli strike on the reactor complex, said current and former U.S. officials, would likely have to take place before Tehran introduces nuclear materials into the facility, because of the potential for a vast environmental disaster a strike could cause.
Iran started building the Arak facility in 2004 based on designs provided by Russia, according to former U.N. officials. Two years later, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution requiring Tehran to cease construction because of the IAEA's concerns Iran might have a covert nuclear-weapons program.
Tehran has refused to comply, one of the reasons the U.N. has enacted four rounds of sanctions on Iran. It has also significantly restricted the IAEA's ability to inspect the reactor and its development plans, according to U.N. officials.
In June, Tehran announced it installed the reactor's vessel, which houses the facility's nuclear fuel load. Tehran also has been mass producing "pellets," comprised of natural uranium, to make up the fuel rods to run the plant. In March, Iran told the IAEA it would produce 55 bundles of fuel rods to power Arak by August.
Iran's plans to start running Arak by next summer might be ambitious, said current and former IAEA officials.
Iran has missed a number of self-announced deadlines in the past to finish building parts of its uranium-enrichment program. The IAEA also says that it has no indications yet that Tehran has built a reprocessing facility at Arak, which would be needed to harvest the plutonium from the reactor's spent fuel.
Still, nuclear experts who have studied Arak said it was likely Iran could start running Arak by the end of next year. "There is a good possibility that [the reactor] can reach its first nuclear criticality by the end of 2014," said Olli Heinonen, a former head of the IAEA's inspections unit, who is now at Harvard's Belfer Center, which focuses on the studies of nuclear-arms reduction. "However...no significant quantity of plutonium should be available for actual extraction before 2016."
U.S. and European officials are closely monitoring the formation of Mr. Rouhani's new government to gauge what policies the president might pursue in future nuclear negotiations.
On Sunday, Mr. Rouhani nominated U.S.-educated diplomat Mohammad Javad Zarif as foreign minister. Mr. Zarif, Iran's former U.N. ambassador, has been a strong proponent of engagement with the U.S. He closely cooperated with the George W. Bush administration after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan to put in place the government in Kabul now headed by President Hamid Karzai. U.S. and European officials, who said Mr. Zarif's nomination is a promising sign, are closely watching who Mr. Rouhani will name as his chief nuclear negotiator.
94-year-old Billy Graham's warning for America - Troy Anderson - http://www.wnd.com/2013/08/94-year-old-billy-grahams-warning-for-america/
International evangelists believe God turning their attention to U.S.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first of a seven-part series by veteran journalist Troy Anderson about major evangelists who are turning their attention toward America to help ignite what Billy Graham describes as an end-times "great spiritual awakening."
"God's prophet" - famed evangelist Billy Graham - is praying America will experience another "great spiritual awakening."
International evangelist Reinhard Bonnke - whose ministry records 72 million people responding to the call of salvation in Africa and elsewhere - says God told him the time has come for "a mighty wave of salvation to sweep the USA."
And Harvest Crusades President Greg Laurie - a Southern California megachurch pastor who became a believer during the legendary Jesus Movement of the late 1960s and 70s - believes America's "only real hope" is national revival.
At a time when many believe the midnight hour on God's prophetic clock is fast approaching, major evangelists - Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, Bonnke, Laurie, Chuck Smith, Banning Liebscher and others - are turning their attention toward America in the hope of helping ignite an end-times awakening.
The movement comes as Graham, the 94-year-old New York Times bestselling author and evangelist who has preached to more people - 2.2 billion - than any Protestant in history and has provided spiritual counsel to every president from Harry S. Truman to George W. Bush, released a letter last summer titled "My Heart Aches for America."
In the letter, Graham wondered what his late wife, Ruth, would think of a nation in which "self-centered indulgence, pride and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle."
Graham compared America to the ancient city of Nineveh, the lone superpower of its time. When the prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God's warning, the people repented and escaped judgment, Graham wrote.
"I think it's an apt description," Laurie said. "I think in many ways America is like Nineveh. The wickedness of Nineveh was so great that God effectively said it was recognized up in heaven - 'the sin of Nineveh has come before me' - and I believe America is at such a state."
Laurie said Graham "is a prophetic voice, and to me it's like Isaiah or Jeremiah standing up and telling our nation what we need to do."
"We would be wise to heed his warning and his admonitions and turn back to God, because I believe God's prophet is speaking to us," Laurie said.
Hope for America
Believing that America, like Nineveh, also has a window of time to repent and return to God, Graham is holding the My Hope America with Billy Graham evangelistic outreach the week of Nov. 7, his 95th birthday. [More information can also be found by calling 1-877-7MY-HOPE, or 1-877-769-4673].
"My Hope has been used in many countries and hundreds of thousands of people have received Christ as Savior," Graham said. "I think it's going to be a tremendous time of evangelism. I think that the Lord is going to use it mightily. I've been praying that we might have a spiritual awakening. But I think that becomes possible as individuals surrender their lives fresh and anew to Christ. And that's the hope that we have."
In a massive, nationwide event now involving more than 16,000 churches and hundreds of thousands of people, Americans are expected to gather with family, friends, neighbors and co-workers the week of Nov. 7 to watch programs featuring a new and powerful message from Graham, dynamic music and testimonies.
Some will invite guests into their homes or churches to learn about Jesus using television or video, while others will gather at a coffee shop or the park to watch the program on a tablet or smartphone.
"I believe this could be a huge night in American church history as hundreds of thousands of homes are opened and hundreds of thousands of people are sitting and watching and hearing the gospel," said Franklin Graham, Graham's son and president and chief executive officer of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "It just might be one of the largest evangelistic efforts in the history of our nation."
The My Hope America with Billy Graham event is part of a larger effort by major evangelists and ministries who are planning numerous evangelistic crusades, conferences and other events this year and next.
The movement began in February when Bonnke declared to 5,000 people in attendance at the two-day Gospel Fest in Vero Beach, Fla. that, "All America shall be saved!" Bonnke is best known for his crusades in Africa and for his cry, "All Africa shall be saved!"
On June 16, several thousand "Jesus People" gathered at the Calvary Chapel Summer Crusade with Franklin Graham and Calvary Chapel Pastor Chuck Smith in Costa Mesa, Calif. Then, on July 22-24, about 6,000 youth gathered for the Jesus Culture Conference in Universal City, Calif. where Bonnke spoke.
Bonnke, known for his Great Gospel Crusades in Africa in which as many as 1.6 million people attend, said God told him last year it was time to "cast the Gospel net across America."
Bonnke will speak next Sept. 27-28 at the Good News Orlando crusade at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
He said he wants to fill the Orlando arena and then "go from city to city, from state to state and from coast to coast."
"America will be saved!"
Bonnke said Americans "need to hear the Gospel." When he preached in Germany, he said, skeptics told him Germans had rejected the Gospel.
"I preached in a stadium and when I made the altar call, the power of God was so wonderfully present that I saw with my own eyes people jumping over the benches to come forward," Bonnke said. "They couldn't come forward for the prayer of salvation fast enough, and then I realized one thing: Germany has not rejected the Gospel. I think the new generation has never really heard the Gospel.
"Every generation has a right to hear the Gospel, the ABC's of the Gospel - the Gospel of salvation. And I believe the younger generation in America also has the right to hear the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ and make up its own mind."
Call to repentance
The crusades and other events come as a number of spiritual and political leaders have made calls for repentance in recent years, arguing the nation is in a downward spiral of economic decline, corruption, immorality, secular humanism and attacks on religious liberty.
WND.com founder and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Farah is calling for a nationwide day of prayer, repentance and fasting on Sept. 11 - the 9/11: National Day of Prayer and Repentance - in response to the "ongoing downfall of our nation." The plan is embraced by thousands around the country, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., Chuck Norris, Laurie and Rabbi Jonathan Cahn.
Cahn, author of the New York Times bestselling book "The Harbinger: The Ancient Mystery that holds the Secret of America's Future," said there is a strong awareness among believers and Christian leaders that America is in "great spiritual danger."
"The speed of its departure from God has accelerated," said Cahn, the senior rabbi at the nation's largest messianic congregation, the Beth Israel Worship Center in Wayne, N.J., and a descendant of Aaron, the brother of the biblical prophet Moses. "Hardly a day passes without another step in the nation's moral and spiritual descent. To anyone who is spiritually sensitive or, for that matter, who reads the Bible, the picture is clear.
"We stand at a tipping point," he said. "I believe that's why the Lord caused 'The Harbinger' to be released at this exact point in time. It's a warning, the sounding of the trumpet, the call to return. The only hope we have is that of a turning of course, repentance, revival, a return to God."
In addition to the annual Harvest Crusade Aug. 23-25 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif., Laurie will preach Sept. 28-29 at Harvest America at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Harvest Crusades, in its 24th year of leading national and international Christian revivals, selected Philadelphia because of its history as the birthplace of the nation.
Many believe the U.S. is at a new historic crossroads and hope that events such as this can help bring spiritual revival across the land. The event will be held at 7 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29. Thousands of other locations around the country will participate via satellite and live-streaming.
"I think (Graham) is the reason we are seeing this emphasis on the gospel and bringing it to America," said Laurie, who has preached to more than 4.7 million people and has seen nearly 400,000 make a faith decision since beginning Harvest Crusades in 1990. "Those of us who are Christians recognize that the only real hope for our country is for us to have a spiritual awakening."
Meanwhile, hundreds of ministers and others in all 50 states are continuing to gather in preparation meetings for My Home America with Billy Graham. At the meetings, pastors and lay church leaders are learning how to maximize the nationwide evangelistic outreach in their own congregations. Meetings are still taking place across the country through the summer. In addition to the meetings, thousands of individuals have registered for the project and participated in the free online training.
"The My Hope strategy asks churches to involve their members as Matthews," said Preston Parrish, the BGEA vice president for My Hope America with Billy Graham. "Matthew was an early follower of Christ in the New Testament who had been a tax collector for the Romans. When he met Christ and began to follow Christ, he threw a party in his home and invited his friends so they could meet Jesus as well and experience his life-changing power.
"So these participating churches, more than 16,000 of them now, are encouraging their church members to make themselves available as Matthews - as people who will open their homes to their family members, neighbors, friends, co-workers and others in conjunction with a specially-prepared program in which Billy Graham communicates the Gospel."
After the broadcast, Parish encourages these "Matthews" to share their brief, personal stories of salvation about how Jesus has changed their lives and then give a "loving invitation ... to begin having this experience of a relationship with Jesus Christ too."
Franklin Graham, who conducted his first evangelistic event in 1989 and has since preached to more than 7 million people around the world, said it's called "living room evangelism."
"It's beginning to pray now for your unsaved family and friends and on Nov. 7 invite them to your home," he said. "Have a hot dog, have a meal. Everyone has friends and family come to their homes, but invite some of your unsaved ones. Have them come and we will bring the telecast everyone can watch, either by downloading it on your computer or watching it on television. There are a number of formats in terms of ways it can be seen.
"But the point is it's a 30-minute program and at the end of the 30 minutes the Gospel is given. The invitation is there. All you have to do then is turn to your family and friends and say, 'You heard Dr. Graham. What do you think? Would you like to invite Christ into your heart?' Once the invitation is extended, then you just watch the Holy Spirit go to work."
Franklin Graham said the event couldn't come at a more important time in America's history. He says America "is in trouble."
"We have turned our back morally and spiritually on God," Franklin Graham said. "Our churches are in trouble, too. We are so concerned about being relevant to the culture. God never called us to be relevant to the culture. Our Father in heaven has called us to be obedient to Him. We are to be faithful and true. But the fact this whole relativism has got a hold of our churches is troubling to me. We need to get back to what God has called us to do and that is to evangelize."
The church, he said, is "losing our country."
"We are not evangelizing," he said. "We have all these religions coming into our country. We have opened up the door to Islam and Hinduism and all these other religions have come in. They are making great strides, but the church is asleep. We are praying that with My Hope this fall that churches would catch a vision for evangelism and they would see that evangelism works."
When asked if there is still hope, Cahn said if there was no hope there would be no harbingers and no book called "The Harbinger."
"Why would there be warnings if there was no chance to heed them," Cahn said. "If I only looked at the direction in which American culture is heading, I would have no hope. But with God, there's hope. The fact that so many of God's people and leaders are feeling led to pray, to seek God's face, and to repent is a good sign. It may even be taken as a sign of God's grace."
When people ask Cahn what the future holds for America - judgment or revival - he says he answers "there can be both."
"In fact, revival can even come through judgment and national shaking," Cahn said. "And the Lord can touch a remnant in the midst of national judgment. It's interesting that these calls for prayer including that of 9/11: National Day of Prayer and Repentance converge around the time of the holy days of the Bible - the days which are linked to judgment, repentance and return to God."
OUR NEWEST DVD - NOW SHIPPING
JERUSALEM: A CUP OF TREMBLING
"Jerusalem: A cup of Trembling" is completed and is now shipping! I honestly feel that this DVD is one of our very best and could not be timelier. Tomorrow is Jerusalem Day in Israel the day they celebrate the anniversary of the liberation and unification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War.
As I was putting the final editing touches on the DVD and reviewing it last night I was also watching the news, it gave me chills as current events unfolding in the Middle East coincide exactly with what I was watching! Bible Prophecy is being fulfilled right before our very eyes, thank God that He has shown us in advance through His Word exactly what is going to happen! Time is truly short! Soon the term that is often spoken of our loved ones that have gone ahead of us to be with the Lord, "...they have gone to Glory," will be said of us!
Jerusalem: A Cup of Trembling
"Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem. 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 are gathered together against it... Zechariah 12:2-3
Jerusalem: A Cup of Trembling covers and explores the following topics, THE BATTLE FOR JERUSALEM, HISTORY OF JERUSALEM, JERUSALEM THE PRIZE OF WAR, JERUSALEM THE MYTH, WHO OWNS JERUSALEM?, DIVIDING THE INDIVISIBLE, WESTERN INTERFERENCE, THE PEACEMAKER and many more.
I listened to the new DVD you sent., listened straight through. In fact, I couldn't stop listening! It so clearly presents the facts of this present age - from the history of how we got into this mess in the first place, to all the players and their roles, to the next act in the prophetic scenario to a clear, step by step presentation of the gospel. Hard to believe people will still reject His grace.! - Joanne A. - California
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Revelation Series DVD #3
Worthy is the Lamb /
God is still on the Throne
The third DVD, "God is still on the Throne / Worthy is the Lamb" covers chapters four and five of the book of Revelation and will also include the purpose for the Rapture and the Tribulation. The book of Revelation is the unveiling of Jesus Christ. The book unveils his relationship to the church, to judgment and to the things to come in the future.
This chapter begins a new phase in the book of Revelation. The church plays a prominent role in the first three chapters, mentioned over 18 times. After chapter 3, the church is not referred to again until chapter 22 verse16. In chapter 4, John the Apostle, called up to heaven, reports to the reader what he sees and hears. John is the eyes and ears of the believer.
Chapter 4 presents the reader with the throne of God and events taking place in Heaven. This begins a chain of events leading to the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who Revelation 19 pictures as conquering King. From chapter 4, we see God's throne and the events surrounding it. Chapter 5 continues from 4, and takes the reader to the throne itself and the opening of a scroll with seven seals. The opening of this scroll puts events into motion leading to the return of Christ in chapter 19.
Throughout Revelation, John is reporting to the reader what he sees and hears. John told to write what he sees; lets the reader see events through his eyes and ears. In Chapter 4, John is caught up to a scene taking place in heaven. Although not mentioned explicitly, John's call up to heaven by a voice sounding like a trumpet, parallels events in I Thessalonians 4:13-18, John represents a picture of the rapture. In the rapture, the church is "caught up" to the presence of Christ with a shout from Christ and the call of God's trumpet.
I always believed in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture but sometimes I had doubts, your movie completely and clearly erased any doubts. I challenge everyone to watch this movie and erase any doubts that you might have! - D. Koerner - California
A powerful and very high quality video full of the Word of God, inspiring graphics and most of all, the truth of God. I will watch this several days in a row. The promise and goal of being considered worthy to be an overcomer is the "so great a salvation" Paul spoke of. Those with "ears to hear" though the Holy Spirit understand the Word and the rapture. 81 views? 2,000,0000 views for foolishness on many youtube channels? as God said "a remnant shall be saved" so "walk the narrow road"! Amen! - joesnyder5
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THE REVELATION SERIES
You are about to embark on a journey through the final book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation. You might want to fasten your seatbelt because this journey is going to literally rock your world. The journey begins nearly 2000 years ago on a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea and ends in the not so distant future in a Paradise that makes our wildest and dreams and imaginations pale by comparison. Along the way you will meet some very interesting characters and experience sights and wonders that will literally take your breath away. So join with us as we begin this exciting journey into the book of Revelation through are new "Revelation Series" on DVD.
There will be 11 DVD's in the series:
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**(Introduction and the Great Unveiling)
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**(Seven Letters to Seven Churches)
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4 - Chapters 6 & 7
**(The Wrath of the Lamb / From Tribulation to Jubilation)
5 - Chapters 8 & 9
**(A World at War / Demons Unleashed)
6 - Chapters 10, 11 and 12
*(It Only Gets Worse / Hell on Earth/ War in Heaven)
7 - Chapters 13 & 14
8 - Chapters 15 & 16
9 - Chapters 17 & 18
10 - Chapters 19 & 20
11 - Chapter 21
Seven Letters to Seven Churches - a few reviews:
A powerful and very high quality video full of the Word of God, inspiring graphics and most of all, the truth of God. I will watch this several days in a row. The promise and goal of being considered worthy to be an overcomer is the "so great a salvation" Paul spoke of. Those with "ears to hear" though the Holy Spirit understand the Word and the rapture. 81 views? 2,000,0000 views for foolishness on many youtube channels? as God said "a remnant shall be saved" so "walk the narrow road"! Amen! - Joe Snyder
This is awesome! Loved it. Thanks for this teaching. - Lovelightshine1
Excellent Blessed work. God bless you. - Joakim Alfred Dipankar Sarkar
I love this video. Thank you for making this. God bless you! - iwbi1976
Disc's #1 - #4 completed and shipping, Disc #5 in production. I hope and pray to be able to complete the rest at about one every 3 weeks until completed. Many of you asked to make possible a complete package instead of having to pay for them individually as they are completed. So now we are offering the entire package, 11 DVD's for $79.95. When you order you will receive the case (holds 12) for the series plus any of the DVD's that are already completed at the time of ordering. Then as the other DVD's in the series are completed you will automatically receive them until the series is complete, just watch and add to your series case.
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Nearing Midnight: Dining with Danger - Terry James - http://www.raptureready.com/rap16.html
Which of us who, upon learning that Islamist terrorists were responsible for the most horrific attack ever against America on this continent, would have believed it? Who would have believed that an American president of the United States with the middle name "Hussein" would a little over a decade later be hosting a dinner in the White House in celebration of the very religion that spawned the attacks by murderous fanatics who reportedly shouted: "Allah Akhbar" (from Arabic, literally: God is most great), just before slamming three airplanes loaded with humanity and jet fuel into the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon?
This is not to equate all who believe in the religion of Islam to being people who want to murder all others who don't agree with them. But this is indeed meant to equate the religion itself to one whose so-called holy book-the Koran-advocates the murder of all who will not yield to the supposed edicts of their supposed god-Allah. The same president who let us know that America is no longer a Christian nation has since his election in 2008 shown himself to be, if not a closet Muslim, certainly one sympathetic to Islam. His family history is steeped in the Islamist faith, even though he has told us he is a "Christian."
I must and will leave that determination to Christ and those who claim to be His followers. However as a fruit inspector, as I believe we who name the Name of Christ are instructed to be (Matthew 7:16, 20), it is my observation that the president's is far from a belief system that holds to major precepts of the Christian faith. He openly supports abortion-the murder of children in their mother's wombs, and even outside the mother's wombs under certain conditions. He supports the homosexual agenda at a number of levels, including gay marriage initiatives. He advocates change in areas where God's prescription throughout the Bible hasn't changed-or God does not change.
It is an interesting exercise to wonder how America's founding fathers might react, should they suddenly return to this earthly sphere and be confronted by the way the country has drifted from the Judeo-Christian principles upon which they founded the nation. Even the most secular of them like-Jefferson and Franklin-I am convinced, would be absolutely amazed, and chagrinned.
They would, I think, be completely perplexed, even angered, to see a president honoring the Muslim religion's religious holidays with a White House celebration, while consistently casting aspersions on the Christian religion and favoring the elimination of its influence throughout America at every opportunity.
The president celebrated Ramadan this week just passed, by hosting a traditional late dinner, in the State Dining Room of the White House. He remarked that throughout America's history, "Islam has contributed to the character of our country." In his remarks before the Iftar dinner eaten by Muslims after sunset, to end the day of fasting, the president quoted from the Koran: "As the Koran teaches, whoever does an atom's weight of good will see its results." Mr. Obama said, further, "Muslim-Americans and their good works have helped to build our nation, and we've seen the results."
Within the Koran's system of righteousness, "good," is, it seems, a relative term. The only "good" that there is apparently resides within works done for the putting forward of Allah's will-as given in the shouts the murderous terrorists screamed just before guiding the fuel-laden passenger planes into the Trade Towers: "Allah Akhbar!" If I may, Mr. President, I hereby alert you to the dangers presented by inviting the Koran's duplicitous influence upon this nation you claim to love, in honoring its religion with an official state dinner.
The following synopsis, I find, encapsulates those dangers inherent within the Koran. This excerpt was written by Frosty Wooldridge, a journalist who for many years worked and lived around Detroit, who watched Islamist influence help bring that once great city to destitution.
You have already seen it in Madrid, Spain, London, England, and Paris, France with train bombings, subway bombings and riots. As their numbers grow, so will their power to enact their barbaric Sharia Law that negates republican forms of government, first amendment rights, and subjugates women to the lowest rungs on the human ladder. We will see more honor killings by upset husbands, fathers and brothers that demand subjugation by their daughters, sisters and wives. Muslims prefer beheadings of women to scare the hell out of any other members of their sect from straying. Multiculturalism: what a perfect method to kill our language, culture, country and way of life. The God of Israel gives the penalty for following any false religious system.
"But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it" (Deuteronomy 20:17-18).
Enough, Already - By Jim Fletcher - http://www.raptureready.com/soap/fletcher5.html
We live in a time in which Tony Jones can say publicly that he no longer believes in Original Sin...and not only does he continue to teach at Fuller Seminary, no national leadership anywhere even blinks an eye.
We live in a time in which Jones and his friends in the so-called Emergent Village can actually present their own brand of eschatology and worldview (what Bob DeWaay refers to brilliantly as a "theology of despair," echoing Francis Schaeffer)...and contribute mightily to the despair and hopelessness of today's youth. Not a peep from national leadership.
We live in a time when the leading periodical for young evangelicals, Relevant magazine, is anti-Israel and a mocker of classic Bible prophecy teaching.
We live in a time in which leading apologists and apologetics ministries wholly ignore the specialness of the Jews and Bible prophecy.
We live in a time when the giants of Bible prophecy teaching have passed or are passing from the scene, and frankly, the dearth of up-and-coming teachers willing to step up is alarming.
We live in a time in which Bible prophecy teaching is marginalized more from ministry leaders and clergy than at any time in our nation's history.
So what is much of the Bible prophecy community doing?
Engaging in fringe and embarrassing topics. Giving ammunition to the scoffing, laughing critics within the Church.
There is no greater apologetic to be used for the advancement of the Gospel than the plain presentation of the Bible's predictive prophecy. For heaven's sake, we live in the time in which Israel has been restored. This is very basic and simple: one of the dominant themes in the Old Testament is God's provision for the Jews down through history, culminating in their re-gathering to their ancestral land in the last days.
This is a "The sky is blue" moment.
Millions of lost people would respond to this message if it was presented to them. Most people on Earth today have zero idea about any of this. It is new information to them.
So what has one self-appointed teacher written? That the modern state of Israel is illegitimate. Let me be clear: that view, my friends, is worldview, Hamas-style. It plays into the false teaching of such figures as Stephen Sizer, Naim Ateek, and Brian McLaren. Not to mention any growing number of national evangelical leaders promoting the Palestinian narrative.
We are also seeing a proliferation of teachings using alleged "archaeological" evidences that purport to have something to do with Genesis 6.
A plain reading of Genesis 6 reveals to us that at the time of Noah, a group of diabolical giants terrorized the world. God saw that it was necessary to bring a global flood to destroy them and preserve one righteous man and his family. That's really all we know.
Instead, what we are getting from some prophecy teachers is a steady diet of extra-biblical sources that have nothing to do with the Bible. Further, the use of apocryphal sources is an exceedingly poor support/substitute for the all-sufficient Scripture.
Yesterday, I actually heard a fellow who attends an evangelical church say that some of Paul's writings are not inspired!
Or, witness those who cast doubt on the moon landing in 1969. Perhaps tomorrow someone will put forth "research" that an alien from Planet Gort really killed Kennedy. Bizarre conspiracy stories are mushrooming and each has zero to do with presenting the Gospel.
The world is dying and we are having these discussions.
A guy once told me that the Illuminati leadership in the 18th century had phones with which to communicate across vast distances. Where was the evidence for this? It didn't exist. Yet these fringe ideas titillate like horror movies, or Dan Brown novels.
My friends, this is a dangerous development. In large part, this nonsense has arisen from a dereliction of duty from some prophecy teachers. They are not stemming the tide of unbelief by presenting the overwhelming evidence that the Bible is true. They are too busy combing-through ridiculous extra-biblical sources.
Ironically, we are seeing in real-time the fulfillment of 2 Peter 3, yet my sense is that some teachers, recognizing correctly that much of the Church is sliding into apostasy, desire genuinely to stop that bleeding. Problem is, they feel that in order to get attention, "new" and spectacular revelations are needed. The plain old prophecy teaching won't do. We need to tie alleged forensic evidence with aliens, or whatever it is they claim.
That is false.
What is needed is a clear presentation of the Gospel, using prophecies already fulfilled and those being fulfilled. Young people in America are dying for it. They want to find meaning in their lives-they are searching. All manner of false teaching meets them eye-to-eye every single day, from public schools to universities, to media, to...church. In none of those places do they hear one whit about Bible prophecy.
Oh, that we would return to the plain teaching of such things and abandon the sensational, flaky, and false.
Actually, there is some truth after all in the claim that people want/need sensationalism to stay engaged. But do you know what my answer is when someone asks me who I think the antichrist is?
"I don't know."
Do you know what my answer is when people ask if I think the current pope is the last pope?
"I don't know."
This last point I come to because biblically, there is zero information about this subject. Zero. An elaborate treatment of it must be obtained from extra-biblical sources, and that is the last thing we need in our present predicament, which is life in this world.
We need the Bible. We need men and women who will plainly teach it. We need a love for the power and majesty of the living God revealed in the real-time fulfillment of prophecy.
We need to point east to that small nation on the shores of the Mediterranean and open our Bibles and point to the hundreds of prophecies that look forward to her rebirth in the last days.
What we do not need is one more ounce of bizarre "scholarship" that takes one sentence of Scripture-"As it was in the days of Noah..."-and builds book series, dvds, and scary Powerpoint presentations to make...some kind of point.
Have you noticed that the farther down that rat-hole one goes, the less we even think of the Gospel? How can one come to know the Person of Jesus Christ as revealed in Scripture if we are focusing on scary scenarios involving genetic tampering? We already know from real history, from Scripture (Genesis 11), that the minute mankind gets into position to achieve more than he is allowed to by the Creator, God shuts that thing down. Why do we worry about stuff that should be and is in the realm of the SyFy Channel?
And make no mistake: the world-secular skeptics, New Agers, media, religious sources, Matthew Paul Turner, Brian McLaren, Relevant magazine, etc., etc.-is making huge fun of us for the wayward teaching that has mushroomed in the American Bible prophecy community. They love it. They snicker and address college students and point at us.
This is what irresponsible teaching has brought us, and it is a disaster.
Rather than talk about genetically altered humans, what if we addressed audiences by talking about the Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament? Isn't that mind-blowing enough?
I am stunned 24/7 by the power of God, who makes known His purposes through the story of the Jews and their restoration to the land. I don't need to read about wacky conspiracy theories. I need to read my Bible, meditate on the Word, and pray.
The apparently profitable cottage industry that yearns to go far beyond that simplicity can't abide such simplicity. So we get Facebook discussions of weird, extra-biblical topics that are not only without real evidence-they take away focus from the Gospel itself.
No, what we need is the instruction Paul gave to Timothy: Preach the Word.
Of course, that assumes one believes Paul's writings are inspired, and not the work of The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion Nephilim.
The Existence of God: Irrefutable Proof - By Nathan Jones - http://www.lamblion.us/2013/08/the-existence-of-god-irrefutable-proof.html
What's the irrefutable proof that God exists?
We asked this question on our television show Christ in Prophecy of Carl Gallups, senior pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Florida, and the author of the best-selling apologetics book, The Magic Man in the Sky. He is also the founder of the world famous PPSIMMONS YouTube channel and prominent Freedom Friday radio talk show host.
Dr. Reagan: Carl, one of the most interesting things in your book to me was when you began to discuss the existence of God. You point out that most Christian leaders argue that there is no way you can prove the existence of God, and that you just have got to take a great leap of faith and accept Him by faith.
Carl Gallups: Yes, and that's one of my favorite topics to share with people, especially for the Skeptic. They will usually start with something like, "If you could prove the existence of God to me, then I would believe in Him. But, since you can't prove Him, I'm not worried about it."
I'm always prepared for this statement and begin by saying, "Not only can I prove there is a God, but it is irrefutable, it's undeniable, and it's indisputable proof."
After I've now gotten their attention, I ask, "I just used some bodacious words on you, so now are you sure you want me to go forward? Because, once I do, you're going to have to make an eternal decision. Your decision can still be, 'No, I'm not going to accept it.' But, you will no longer ever be able to say, 'I don't believe.'"
When someone says you can't prove the existence of God, then just wait a minute and think about that logically. If there is a God, and I believe there is; and if He is the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, Creator of the universe, and of course I believe He is; and if He is the God of the Bible and if the Bible is God's Word, and I believe all of that; then doesn't it make sense that God could prove Himself? That God would prove Himself? And, that God has proven Himself? Why would a God that awesome leave Himself to where you can't prove His existence?
Well, as a matter of fact, not only has God proven His existence, but He declares in His Word that He would prove it. God said He would do so in such a way that it would be irrefutable and indisputable. He gave us some little hints of what that great proof would be in Deuteronomy 4:32-40, where He says, "And I have done this thing so that you will know that I am God and beside me there is none other."
Deuteronomy 4:32-40 is one of the first places where God makes that declaration, but throughout the Bible, that declaration is made in other places. In the book of Isaiah, there are several huge declarations. In Ezekiel, that same declaration is made.
So, what is this proof that God says He will do? Listen to what God said, "So that you will know that I am God, and beside me there is none other." So, what He's saying is when He accomplishes this work then you will know that God will have proven His existence. That proof will be indisputable and it is irrefutable. Not only that, but this proof will show that He is God and there is no other God.
The argument God gives continues in Deuteronomy 4 with this addition, "Has any other God ever done such a thing as this? Has any other God taken one nation out of another nation?" There is where the clue becomes easy to identify. The bottom line for the irrefutable proof of God is found in one word. I'm going to give the word, but first I'll warn that some will say, "I don't understand, how is that the proof of God?" First let me explain it and you will see how this proof is irrefutable.
The one word for the proof of the existence of God is - Israel.
Now, here's the explanation. In Deuteronomy, God speaking through the prophet Moses said he was going to enter into the Promised Land and here's what would happen. A lot of people don't realize that before the Israelites ever set foot in the Promised Land that God had prophesied their entire future through Moses, who by the way, never was allowed to set foot in the Promised Land. Conquering the land happened through Joshua, but Moses beforehand said, "Here's what's going to happen." I'm paraphrasing, but get into chapter 30 and 31 where God says what's going to happen.
Through Moses God foretold that the Hebrews were going to go into the Promised Land, where they were going to eat of the milk and honey of the land, and the vineyards and the houses that aren't theirs yet would become theirs. Moses warned that in the future the Israelites were going to turn away from God, and so He would scatter and disperse them among the nations. But in the last days, God will bring them back. He will bring them back to the land to show them His great love and to show the nations that He is God.
Again, that same declaration that God makes is later found again in Isaiah and Ezekiel. And so, we can look at history and see this very rebellion, dispersal, and return happen.
History Records and Confirms
Carl Gallups: Some people will say, "But you are trying to prove God from the Bible, and that's circular reasoning." No, no, no, because these words were proclaimed thousands of years before the return of the Jews to the Promised Land happened!
So, what do we know? Well, let's just forget the Bible for a minute and look at what history tells us. Forget the Bible, but for only a second, for we must hold onto the Bible because that's where God says to the effect, "Here is how I'm going to prove that I am God. This is My Word and My only Word. I'm the only God."
So, lay the Bible aside for now and let's just ask, "What happened?" Well, the Hebrew people came out of Egypt. They settled the land. They became the nation of Israel. Who in the world doesn't know about King David? King Solomon? King Saul? Of course, they were the great and mighty kings of the nation of Israel. Who doesn't know about the civil war in Israel between the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom? Who doesn't know about the Assyrian Empire conquering the Northern Kingdom and taking them into captivity, or the Babylonian Empire taking the Southern Kingdom? What about Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Who doesn't know about the Persian Empire that swallowed all of Babylon up? Or, the Greek Empire? This is world history. Then the Roman Empire came and there is no more Israel.
And yet, the prophecies continued down through the ages to the last days. In the depiction of the Valley of the Dry Bones, where in Ezekiel 37 he asks God, "Who are these?" And God says to the effect, "You know. These are my people. This is a whole house of Israel that I will bring back in the last days." What?!? There was no Israel when those words were spoken.
So, what do we know of what history says? History says all of this happened just as Moses foretold. The Jews were dispersed into the uttermost parts of the earth according to prophecy, but in 1948, in just one day as the book of Isaiah asks, "Who has ever heard of this? Shall a nation be born in one day?" Who can bring back a nation from the dead but God?
In one day - May 14, 1948 - the nation of Israel came back to their land, to their strength, and to their glory. The language of Hebrew was restored to a national language. The borders are restored. The strength is there, the glory is there, and the power is there.
Israel is also surrounded by enemies, and all of them conspiring and plotting to destroy Israel. They have been attacked six or seven times in major wars, but never have been defeated.
All of these historical facts were foretold thousands of years beforehand. God said that when we saw this happen, we'd know that no other god has ever done such a thing. Then we would know for sure that God exists.
Dr. Reagan: All I can say is when you said "Israel" and I read that in your book, I was up dancing and shouting! I've spent my whole life talking about Israel. And, the bottom line is that everything that happened of a major nature to the nation of Israel in history was foretold hundreds of years prior. The Jews were told if they continued in rebellion that they'd be dispersed among the peoples of the world. They would be persecuted everywhere they went. But, they would be preserved as a people group. What a miracle that is! They would be regathered. They would be re-established. All the nations of the world would come against them. And, that's where we are today, but it was all prophesied in advance.
What further proof would you have to have that the Bible is the Word of God and that God exists?
Carl Gallups: That's right. Hundreds of years before these events happened, and in some cases 2,000 years before they happened, the prophecies were given. We are the only generation in the history of the world to have seen the fulfillment of Bible prophecy through Israel happen.
Dr. Reagan: What a time to live!
Carl Gallups: We are living in the midst of God's proof to the world, so we are without excuse. There is no god but God, and the Bible is His Word.
In the seventh segment of our interview with Pastor Carl Gallups concerning the existence of God, he'll explain just what the Anthropic Principle is all about.
Prophetic Warning: Danger Ahead - Bill Wilson - www.dailyjot.com
Secretary of State John Kerry thinks he can single handedly save the world by forcing Israel and the terrorist block within Israel's borders to a land for peace deal. The occupant of the Oval Office has dusted off his blackmail foreign policy to use as leverage, restating his 2009 offer that the US will act on Iran if Israel comes to the peace table. Meantime, the occupant has held Iftar dinners with the Islamists he has in his political tent to celebrate Allah in the halls of the State Department and the White House. What doesn't the White House understand about "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" OR Psalm 33:12, "Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD"? There is much prophetic danger ahead.
There is a position among religiosity that the current nation of Israel is not the Israel spoken of in the Bible. For the record, I totally disagree. Jerusalem has been Jerusalem throughout the ages. The reformation of Israel in 1948 is the fulfillment of numerous prophecies. Yet many religious scholars and some not so scholarly insist that because the leadership in Israel and many of the people are not godly and are immoral, that this Israel cannot be the Israel of the Bible. I submit that not unlike the rest of us, God has His plan for Israel and the people in it. There are many examples in the Bible where the Lord says that He will gather his people back to Israel and he will cause them to be His people.
Ezekiel 37:27, "And I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God." In the context of the Day of the Lord, the Lord says in Ezekiel 39: 27-29, "When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies' lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; Then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them anymore there. Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God."
In God's time, those in Israel will know the Lord and have His Spirit. But Israel is Israel and dividing the land to give to the people of God's enemies--Islam--has dire consequences. Like many before him, John Kerry is playing a dangerous game that will impact you. The occupant of the Oval Office has catered to Islam like no other leader in American history. Zechariah 12:3 says, "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." On one hand prophecy is advancing. On the other, catastrophe awaits nations who are coming against YHVH God. Watch and see.
Passing Inspection - Greg Laurie - www.harvest.org
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
-2 Corinthians 5:10
If you have been involved in a building project, then you know your project must pass a final inspection. Sometimes you pass. And sometimes you don't pass and have to fix whatever it was that fell short of the inspector's requirements.
The apostle Paul describes a future inspection for believers in 2 Corinthians 5:10: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." The word "bad" in the original language means "evil of another kind." It also could be translated "good for nothingness" or "worthlessness."
Paul was speaking of Christians who have been saved by the grace of God and have put their faith in Jesus. But they have lived lives that largely have been wasted.
We are all building on a foundation, and that foundation should be Christ. The building materials we use are important. A paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 puts it this way:
Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you'll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won't get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn't, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won't be torn out; you'll survive-but just barely.
One day we will stand before God, and He will look at the materials we used. Some of us will pass. Others will hear Him say, in effect, "You are in. I love you. But you didn't really pass inspection. You could have done more."
Will the life you are building pass inspection?
FROM THE HEART
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The Quiet in the Quake - By Kathy DeGagn�, - http://www.bridgesforpeace.com/teaching-letter/article/the-quiet-in-the-quake/
In the early 70s, my architect father was designing a school in a remote northern community. He occasionally had to go and inspect how the builders were progressing with its construction. The only way to get to this community was by floatplane during the summer and fall, or by ice road in the winter. During ice-out in the spring, the community was inaccessible.
One summer day, my dad and his pilot started their 400-mile journey north. At their first refueling point, they taxied into the fuel dock, but were told that payment had to be in cash; the place wasn't equipped to handle credit cards. The pilot only had a few dollars in his pocket and my dad had no cash with him at all.
Here they were, stranded in a remote community with no way to go forward or back. Not sure quite what to do about their predicament, Dad wandered down to the end of the dock. He looked down into the water, and noticed something riding on the top of a wave. He reached down and plucked it out of the water. It was a twenty-dollar bill.
He looked across the lake to see where it could have come from because the wind was blowing onshore. But the other shore was miles away. And there were no boats or other people in sight.
Dad took the money to the gas attendant and said, "Did anyone lose 20 bucks? I just found this in the lake." The attendant just shrugged, and said, "I guess it's yours now." With that $20 and the few dollars the pilot had, they were able to buy enough fuel to reach the next refueling point, which accepted credit cards. Dad later told us that he hadn't consciously prayed about the situation, but both he and the pilot realized that this was not just a happy coincidence. God was obviously with them.
Now, that may seem like a fairly minor miracle-if there is such a thing! But in these dangerous times, we need to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is with us-all the time.
The Whole World Quakes
In May of 2013, massive tornadoes hit Arkansas, Texas, and the whole Midwest-and didn't stop hitting. On the news, we saw people huddling in their storm shelters, emerging to find widespread devastation; their homes and often their whole communities wiped out. Recently, Colorado was ravaged by the worst firestorms in its history. And in Canada, my home nation, unprecedented flooding ravaged communities in the province of Alberta.
In November of 2012, some of us finally got a taste of what it was like to scramble to the safety of our bomb shelters, when Jerusalem was targeted by Hamas' long-range missiles.
And just over the border, Syria has been locked in an impossible deadlock between Assad and the rebel forces, and over 90,000 people are dead. Assad is threatening Israel with chemical weapons and has just taken delivery of Russian-supplied S-300 missiles. Iran is quickly developing nuclear capabilities. And Israel is stocking safe rooms, readying gas masks, and preparing for a possible pre-emptive strike on Iran.
A Psalm of Confidence
So, what do we do as believers, when the world seems to be collapsing around us?
Psalm 46:1 says, "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." This psalm is called "The Psalm of Confidence." Four times in the psalm, we are reminded that the Lord Himself will help us in times of storm or danger. We can be confident that God is with us every moment and is ready and able to help.
When I came to Israel, one of the first Hebrew words I learned, other than shalom (peace) was balagan. It means chaos. God is all we need in the midst of balagan-when the days get dark, the storm clouds descend, and when all is chaos, He is our Shalom. Operation Pillar of Defense, a military operation by the Israel Defense Forces into the Gaza Strip in November 2012, referred to the pillar of cloud that hovered over the children of Israel in their escape from Egypt. God's help is not just for thousands of years ago. Israel knows that today, God is still their very present help in times of trouble.
The Hebrew word for refuge is chasah-to take shelter in, to flee to a place of safety, like a high tower, a fortress, or a bomb shelter. The Hebrew word for present is matsa' and it can mean to be found, to be discovered, to be found sufficient, or to be enough. God has proven Himself to be sufficient in times of trouble. The word "very" emphasizes that He is more than enough. The Hebrew words, in fact, are very emphatic: ezerah betsaroth nimtsa meod, "He is found an exceeding or superlative help in difficulties."
Jewish sages say that "HaShem (literally the Name) not only defends us but also strengthens us during battle. He is our refuge when He protects us from the enemy's onslaught. Then He is our strength when we counter-attack and destroy the foe...Since He saves tiny, weak Israel from the threat posed by many mighty nations, God's help is indeed great."
When God instructed Moses to build the Tabernacle, it was intended to be the place where God would dwell with the children of Israel. The Hebrew word for tabernacle is mishkan and it is used 139 times in the Old Testament. That word is mentioned more than any other object; and the Anchor Bible Dictionary says: "The Word of God is essentially about God dwelling with man, until man, who chooses to receive the gift of His Son's sacrifice, dwells with Him". That's the theme of the whole Bible: God dwelling with us, so we can dwell with Him.
God Will Deliver His People
So what should be our response when we know that God is with us? Verse 2 in Psalm 46 says: "Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea." What is being described here is a natural disaster of catastrophic proportions. Mountains topple into the sea, and the earth is removed.
Psalm 46 has a notation at the beginning: "for the sons of Korah." The Korahites were the descendants of Levi, and in the priestly line. In Numbers 16, we read that Korah rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the desert, and God in His anger, opened up the earth, and it swallowed Korah and all those with him. But there was a godly remnant of the Korahites who survived and who became temple musicians dedicated to the worship of the Lord in song. If the sons of Korah wrote this psalm, they must have been remembering that tragic family story passed down from generation to generation when the earth was literally removed!
Even as they looked back to that event, the sons of Korah also looked toward future events when Israel would be threatened by armies and cataclysmic eruptions, strong enough to affect the entire world. One such event occurred when the Sennecherib, the king of Assyria, came up against Jerusalem in 701 BC.
The incident is recorded in Isaiah 36 and 37. The Assyrians had just finished demolishing Lachish, and turned their attention to Jerusalem. They taunted the Jews on the wall with the boast that one Assyrian could defeat 2,000 Jews. But then King Hezekiah pleaded for God's deliverance, and the angel of the Lord went out and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers during the night. The Jews sat on the wall and watched God deliver them without having to lift a finger in their own defense.
The Jewish sages believe that the other cataclysmic event which the sons of Korah foresaw in Psalm 46 was the coming War of Gog and Magog, when the armies of the earth would surround God's Holy City and wage war against Jerusalem, an event which must precede the coming of Messiah. As in His victory over the Assyrians, God will show the nations that He is Creator and Judge of the universe, and will rescue His Chosen People from their powerful enemies.
In biblical symbolism, mountains often refer to kingdoms. Scripture tells us that earthly kingdoms will be shaken. We've seen that happen, especially over the last two years in the Middle East with the Arab Spring. Kingdoms have been shaken, are still being shaken, and many have toppled. Verse 3 of Psalm 46 says, "Though the mountains shake with its swelling." Here, the word "swelling" implies arrogance and pride. God will bring the kingdoms low that are filled with their own arrogance and pride. We can all think of nations that are full of arrogance, and the future doesn't bode well for them, just as it did not for Sennecharib's powerful and boastful empire.
A Flowing River
Psalm 46:4 may well be Messianic in character. We go from a raging sea and horrific natural forces to a peaceful river. "There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High."
A flowing river will make the people of Jerusalem glad. The river the psalmist is referring to may be the Gihon Spring which Hezekiah diverted into the city by tunnel. It was life-giving water to the inhabitants of Jerusalem in case of siege.
The significance here is that the city of God, Jerusalem, will be a place of peace and tranquility in the midst of turmoil happening in the nations surrounding Israel. Jerusalem is the place where God dwells, and where He is worshipped. One Jewish commentator says, "Although the entire land of Israel is God's dwelling place, the holiest place of all (where His spirit rests with the greatest intensity) is Jerusalem and the Holy Temple."
The river may also refer to the coming prophetic river in Revelation 22:1-2 "and he showed me a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."
At the Feast of Tabernacles, there was a priestly tradition that vessels of water would be carried up from the Pool of Siloam (Hebrew Shiloah) to the Temple. And the water represented God-given life. Jesus was at the Temple on the last day of the Feast, and shouted in a loud voice, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me...out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37-38).
Security in His Presence
History has shown us that walls and fortresses did not save Jerusalem. Her walls fell many times through the centuries. When archaeologists first began excavating the city, they discovered numerous layers of rubble and debris, some more than 60 feet (18 m) deep, indicating that parts of Jerusalem had been destroyed many times. Down through its history, Jerusalem was captured at least 40 times and besieged at least 23 times.
Jerusalem was completely destroyed at least twice, once by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25:8-10) and again by the Romans under Titus in AD 70, and those falls were catastrophic.
Walls did not save Jerusalem and will not save the city now, but what will make a difference is the presence of God (YHWH)* within the walls of the city. Psalm 46 looks forward to a time when the city will never be attacked or destroyed again-when foreign armies will never again lay siege to her walls. When the Lion of Judah lifts His voice, and the earth melts, Jerusalem will find her security in His presence-while the nations around her are reeling.
If the earth literally does melt when He lifts His voice, then the end for those nations is catastrophic indeed, and graphically foretold in Zechariah 14:12: "And this shall be the plague with which the LORD will strike all the people who fought against Jerusalem: their flesh shall dissolve while they stand on their feet, their eyes shall dissolve in their sockets, and their tongues shall dissolve in their mouths."
God is in Our Midst
"God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." (Ps. 46:5)
God has a long history of being "in the midst" in Scripture. He was in the midst when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, cloaking them in the power and protection of His living presence. And when they came out of the furnace, their clothes didn't even smell like smoke.
God wants us to know that wherever we are in the seasons of our life, He is with us. Some are dealing with debilitating loneliness; some are in financial difficulty; dealing with betrayal, or rejection; or a serious illness; or in a place of sorrow. God wants us to know He is in the midst of all these times with us. And when we emerge from the flames of these trials, our deliverance will be so complete, we will not even have the smell of smoke on us.
One evening, we attended a music recital at the Yuval School of Music in Jerusalem. The Yuval students proudly got up on stage and displayed their newfound musical talent.
At one point, four tiny violinists confidently went on stage with their miniature violins, obviously excited about performing. But one little girl, about four years old, was struck with such stage fright that she burst into tears. Our hearts were wrung by her distress. No one seemed to know quite what to do.
Then her father ran from the audience, gathered her into his arms, and placed her in the back row behind the other children. He knelt down beside her with his arm around her, and held the little violin to her chin. Even though I didn't see her play a single note during the whole performance, it was probably the most memorable moment of the evening for me. When the young violinists had finished their piece, this wise, loving father gathered his daughter into his arms and carried her off the stage.
It was a beautiful picture of our heavenly Abba, who embraces us in our time of distress. He doesn't help us because we give a great performance; He helps us because of who we are-His children. And He's ready to leap to our defense when we're overwhelmed. Like this young girl's father who wisely decided not to take her off the stage immediately but stayed with her during the entire performance, our Abba may not remove us from the situation we're in, but He is always right beside us-He's in our midst.
In Israel's Midst
Recently, I googled "Miracles in Israel" and spent a fascinating afternoon watching stories of supernatural miracles, most of which happened during Israel's darkest hours-when surrounding Arab nations threatened to wipe Israel off the face of the map as a nation and a people. Rather than annihilation, hundreds of miracles happened instead. God was in the midst of His people and intervened on their behalf.
After the miraculous victory Israel had in the Six Day War, Moshe Dayan's generalship was lauded by the secular media as one of the reasons Israel won the war. But General Dayan knew who was really behind Israel's victory. He scribbled a note at the Western Wall and placed it in a crevice. On it he'd written a line from Psalm 118, "This is the Lord's doing, and it is wondrous in our eyes."
The Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Romans, the Greeks, the Nazis, and numerous others-all have made war against God's people, and then disappeared. There will come a time when God says, enough! All wars will cease forever. He will break the bow, cut the spear in two, and jam the world's modern hand-held weapon of choice-the AK47-all 75 million of them.
Treasuries of Hail and Snow
In December of 2012, Rick Ridings, the director of Succat Hallel, one of the Houses of Prayer in Jerusalem, had a vision where Israel was protected by angelic beings that moved around the borders of Israel like flames atop the seven branches of a menorah. Then the Lord placed four huge angels in position. Two of them were at the southern border of Syria, and two were at the southern border of Lebanon. These angels had winds and weather patterns at their disposal to release at specific moments.
He said, "On January 8, a news report was released that the Syrians had begun mixing chemicals together for weapons. The intelligence reports said that if these chemicals were put into a missile or airplane to deliver them, they could be used within two or three hours." This report obviously caused Israel to heighten their security.
The next day, on January 9, a major snowstorm hit Jerusalem. The media called it the fiercest storm in 20 years. All across Israel there were heavy winds and rain, and in Jerusalem, heavy snowfall.
"When there are heavy winds or heavy rains, security experts say that chemical weapons either don't work, or can be blown back in the direction from which they come. No one can say for sure what Assad was doing at the time, but the severe weather did come the day after the reports of Syria's preparation to use chemical weapons."
Job 38:22-23 says, "Have you entered the treasury of snow or have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?"
Many of us were wondering why Jerusalem had been experiencing such unusually frequent and heavy winds throughout the first half of 2013. Could it be that the Lord was protecting Israel with His storehouses of wind, hail, rain, and snow?
"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" (Ps. 46:10)
"Be still" doesn't just mean be quiet-it is the Hebrew word raphah which means to cast down; to let fall, as in drop your hands. It means to let go, and remain calm in light of who we know our God to be.
Rashi, one of the foremost Jewish commentators on the Tanach (Gen.-Mal.) goes a step farther. He believes that here God is speaking to the nations. When God says "Be still," He means "Desist! Desist from your assault on Jerusalem." Drop your weapons! This is God's warning to the nations before He breaks their bows and spears in two.
God has intervened down through the ages to protect His people when they were surrounded by danger, and He is intervening today in miraculous ways. He intends to intervene in Israel's time of trouble so that the world will know there is a God in Israel who will be exalted, and His name is Adonai Tzva'ot, the One who commands the vast armies of heaven! Regardless of what the world does, He will right all wrongs, He will save His people, and He will be exalted.
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