Well once again we begin this week’s update with the weather. For the third weekend in a row a major winter storm slammed into the East Coast and Washington DC, as the US experiences its coldest six month period since 1912 (so much for global warming). Just three days before the official start of spring 10 inches of snow was reported at Washington Dulles international Airport in Virginia and the highest reported snowfall total was 13.5 inches at Singers Glen, Virginia. Once again the federal government was shut down on Monday thanks to the late winter storm. And, once again, pressure on Israel by the US government, to exchange land for peace and divide Jerusalem, invites judgment from God on the US. While “global warming” is pseudoscience propagated by socialists, there is 25 years of documented proof that every attempt by the United States government to pressure Israel into a peace process which causes their land, and their capital Jerusalem to be divided, significant weather events wreak physical and economic destruction on the US. (See my earlier Tuesday posts on the Signs of the Times, and William Koenig’s book; “Eye to Eye”)
Speaking of John Kerry’s “Framework for Peace”, in an appearance before the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Kerry made the statement that he views “as a mistake” Israel’s position on requiring the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as the Jewish State. He went on to say that he believed the issue was “sufficiently addressed by UN General Assembly Resolution 181 of 1947, which recommended the establishment of independent Arab and Jewish states in Palestine.” Not surprisingly Mohammed Abbas parroted that same statement to Barack Obama in his meeting with him on Monday, after Obama told Abbas that both he and Netanyahu would have to take “risks” for the peace process to work. Once again it seems that Kerry is attempting to deliberately compromise Israel’s positions in this so-called peace process.
In a radio broadcast last Sunday chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority only continues to take part in US brokered peace talks with Israel in order to secure the release of more jailed Palestinian terrorists. He also said he continues to urge Abbas to pull out of peace process. But, Erekat revealed, Abbas is determined to maintain the ruse of genuinely negotiating peace until the fourth prisoner release occurs. After having met with Obama early in the day on Monday, in a later statement to the press Abbas reiterated his position that the Palestinians would never recognize the legitimacy of the Jewish State of Israel.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told reporters on Sunday that because of the chasm which remains between the Israeli and Palestinian positions, it would require at least another year of serious negotiations to reach any agreement. Because Israel is unwilling to compromise on its security, and the Palestinians refuse to give ground on any of their demands, Netanyahu has said that even if an agreement is made it would take at least a decade to implement. And because Netanyahu has already stated that Israel would never again forcibly uproot Jewish civilians, should a Palestinian state be established, tens of thousands of Jewish settlers, at the very least, would either have to move inside Israel’s borders of their own will, or be allowed to live as residents or citizens of a Palestinian state. Of course this prospect does not set well with either Israelis or Palestinians.
Last week 70 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza and the IDF responded by hitting 29 terrorist sites within the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile Israel continues to monitor the deteriorating situation in Syria on its northern border and in the Golan Heights. While guarding against attacks from the Islamic jihadists, the Iranian backed Hezbollah, or the Syrian government itself, Israel continues to offer humanitarian aid and medical attention to those affected by the conflict in Syria.
Anti-Israeli sentiment in Jordan, on Israel’s border to the east, has reached a fever pitch in Amman, Jordan’s capital. IDF soldiers shot and killed a Jordanian judge at the Allenby Bridge crossing point between Jordan and the West Bank after he tried to take a rifle from an Israeli soldier. This led to protests in front of the Israeli Embassy in Amman organized by the Muslim Brotherhood. In the aftermath of the shooting and protests Israeli parliament suggested it might topple the government if the king does not expel the Israeli ambassador to Jordan and recall Jordan’s ambassador to Israel. Others called for King Abdullah II to release a Jordanian Army soldier who killed seven Israeli school girls, and annul the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
Another “Christ at the Checkpoint” conference concluded this past weekend in Bethlehem. The conference is hosted by Bethlehem Bible College and supported by a group of left-wing liberal evangelicals who have embraced replacement theology in the name of liberation theology. They are anti-Israel and anti-Christian Zionist. At the opening of the conference the former president of the college declared that “as evangelicals, we pledge our allegiance to Palestinian President Abbas and the prime minister.” This in spite of their stated goal of “peace, justice, and reconciliation.”
Not only does this conference delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, it ignores Israel’s right to defend itself against terrorism. It’s only focus is the Palestinian agenda and efforts to rewrite history as to the identity of Jesus Christ (they say he was a Palestinian not a Jew), and the identification of an “ancient nation of Palestinian people” (of which there is no historical evidence). They also promote a “Palestinian Church” which has never existed. The so-called “evangelical Christian” leaders of this conference deny the authority of the Bible in their manifesto by saying “any exclusive claim to the land of the Bible in the name of God is not in line with the teaching of Scripture.” This in spite of the fact that God promised the land to Israel in perpetuity in the Abrahamic covenant, a promise which he reiterated to Jacob, Joseph, David and others in the Scripture.
There is a growing movement of mainline Protestants who are critical of Israel, and this abandonment of God’s chosen people by these so-called “evangelical Christians” is simply another example of apostasy within the mainline denominations. For more than a century Christian Zionism has supported the right of Jews to their homeland as God’s chosen people, as is evidenced in His Holy Word. The efforts to delegitimize the Jewish Nation State by this conference and the mainline denominations, seeks to sway true evangelicals and the True Church away from support for Israel. However, in a recent Pew Research Center survey, results revealed that 72 percent of evangelicals support Israel, while only 4 percent support the Palestinians, and Eighty-two percent of evangelicals surveyed believe that God gave Israel to the Jewish people. As the True Church, His Remnant Church (see the Blog teaching), we must stand strong in our support of Israel.
In our lead up to the next part of our Signs of the Times update, I found an interesting commentary from our good friend Bill Koenig. “The US has been distracted twice with Israeli-Palestinian talks while Russia was making strategic ‘final-day’ land grabs. Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under President George W. Bush, traveled 23 times to the Middle East in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to mediate an Israeli-Palestinian accord. Meanwhile, the Russians invaded Georgia. President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, has shuttled 11 times to the region in search of the same elusive goal. And while American diplomacy was once again focused elsewhere, the Russians invaded Ukraine. Now, in an effort to curb Russia, the United States is pausing from its efforts to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace to generate international pressure on the Kremlin. But the pivot may prove impossible, as the issues of Russian expansionism and the stability of the Middle East remain dangerously intertwined.” Uh… Amen Bill!
This of course brings us to Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea. Today Vladimir Putin announced that as a result of Crimea’s vote Sunday to secede from the Ukraine and unite with Russia, he has instructed his nation’s parliament to begin the process of annexation. On Saturday prior to Crimea’s vote, Russian troops occupied a border community in the Ukraine taking over a strategic gas pipeline distribution point there. Make no mistake, this is far from over. Putin believes (I think correctly) that the United States and the European Union ultimately will not challenge his aggression in the Ukraine. Putin desires control not only the Ukrainian warm water ports in the Black Sea, but also the natural gas pipeline that services the EU through the Ukraine. Therefore I do not believe he will stop with the annexation of Crimea only.
As all of this is taking place, another round of violence and tragedy is emerging in the Ukraine. Hundreds of thousands of Jews in that embattled country have found themselves once again facing anti-Semitism from both Ukrainian nationalists and Russian nationalists. Following last month’s beating of two Jews in Kiev the chief Rabbi there has called on that city’s Jews to leave. And in Zaporizhia, located 250 miles southeast of Kiev, unknown attackers firebombed the Giymat Rosa Synagogue which had been a sign of Jewish renewal in the Ukraine with its opening in 2012. The synagogue had been built on the spot where the Jews of that community were made to gather before being deported by the Nazis to the death camps during World War II.
In other Russian news, during a telephone conversation Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin discussed strengthening and reinvigorating of the two states’ bilateral ties and cooperation in various areas. Rouhani praised Russia for its positive role in the nuclear negotiations within the Iran-powersˈ talks as one of the members of the Group 5+1 (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany), and said, “We will spend all-out efforts aimed at further development of economic cooperation between the two countries.” Does anyone reading this believe Iran has anything to fear from the current US administration?
And finally, to our last topic in this Signs of the Times update, the “One World Church” of the Last Days and End Times.
In a message to Kenneth Copeland, from Pope Francis, through Bishop Tony Palmer, there was a call for the end of Protestantism and the need for conciliatory reunification because (and I quote Bishop Tony Palmer here) “the protest is over.”
Also this week it was revealed that the founders of Word of Life Church in Uppsala, Sweden, Ulf and Birgitta Ekman, have decided to become Catholics and be received into the Catholic Church. The idea of them leaving Word of Life was “the unthinkable thought,” they said. Still, that is what now will happen as their view on Catholics and Catholic doctrine has changed, and because of their strong attraction to the Catholic Church.
Peter (inspired by the Holy Spirit) wrote of this very thing.
2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.
2 Peter 2:20-22 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A DOG RETURNS TO HIS OWN VOMIT,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.” (Capitalization here is from the Scripture)
These Scriptures are true of both those in the update on the “One World Church” and those who support the “Christ at the Checkpoint.” My friends, Jesus is Coming Soon! And, because of this fact, we need to recognize the difference between sound Biblical Doctrine and false teaching. We need to be Bereans and KNOW what the Bible says, and to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15