What About Persecution?

Usually, for our Sunday article, it is my practice to quote a passage from a message or book written within the past 100 years or so, and then to make commentary as to its relevance for today. Today however, it is the constant reminder, by way of the media, of stories dealing with Christian persecution which has caused me to write. Because of much unbiblical teaching, emanating from many pulpits, in “churches” which have compromised on the Word of God and are now preaching “another gospel” I felt it necessary to put forward this brief excursus on persecution.

Words of Grace for Strength

From the very beginning, the true Church of Jesus Christ has faced persecution. Acts chapters 4 and 5 speak of the very beginning of that persecution in the ministry of the apostles Peter and John, and we find at the end of chapter 5 these words:

Acts 5:34-35
Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.

Act 5:38-42
And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.” And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

It is estimated that between 100 million and 150 million Christians worldwide face some type of persecution on a yearly basis, and depending upon whose report you believe to be most accurate there are between 55,000 and 100,000 Christians martyred each year. Some have even estimated that more Christians have been martyred in the first 15 years of this century than all of the previous 20 combined.

Christian persecution is found on every continent, and in every country, and is perpetrated by many religions as well as atheistic and intolerant totalitarian governments. In some places the persecution is subtle while in others it is horrifically overt. Christian persecution is found in many forms; such as slander and libel, confiscation of property, false accusations, imprisonment, kidnapping, slavery, beatings, dismemberment, torture, rape, and in varying degrees of severity up to and including murder by means of shooting, stoning, and beheading, burning, and even crucifixion.

Beginning with John and Peter’s first persecution, and with Steven’s death as the church’s first martyr, the church age has been marked by suffering, persecution, and martyrdom of the followers of Jesus Christ. All of the apostles, with the exception of John, were martyred as were most of the New Testament disciples named in the books written by Luke, Peter, John, and Paul.

Throughout the successive centuries the persecution has only grown, and as we live in these last days, awaiting the return of Jesus Christ to Rapture His Church, we can expect its intensity and frequency to grow exponentially. Jesus Christ was Himself our suffering Savior, and He was persecuted even unto death. We who are His followers, should at no time be surprised when we too are persecuted. Jesus promised us; “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” John 15:20a

Looking back to our text in Acts 5, we find that those who are persecuting the apostles are the Sanhedrin. Later in the book of Acts we find the followers of Christ being persecuted by differing groups of Gentiles and most especially the Romans. Throughout the succeeding centuries Christians have faced persecution from many different religions, ideologies, and governments.

Today Christian persecution comes at the hands of Islamists and various other religions; from communists, socialists, progressives, and other political ideologies; from atheists and agnostics; and from the radical LGBT community as well as other social activists such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the ACLU. In fact, I’m certain many of you would agree with me when I say, active Christian persecution emanates from our own White House and the administration which now occupies it.

But, I believe we who are followers of Christ, His True Church, have actually forgotten who our enemy really is. In John 14:30 he is called “the ruler of this world,” in Ephesians 2:2 he is called “the prince of the power the air,” and Paul names him as the devil in Ephesians 6:11. In fact, in Ephesians 6:11-12 Paul warns us to; “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Whether it be religions, governments, or ideologies, these and the mere mortals who lead them, are no more than pawns in this great spiritual war.

Today the True Church of Jesus Christ, the Bride of Christ, is involved in this spiritual war for the universe. Satan’s goal is to corrupt, marginalize, render ineffective, and destroy the Church of Jesus Christ. It is also his goal to destroy God’s chosen people, the Jews and their nation of Israel. Ultimately, Christ Himself will win the war. But, until we are relieved of our duty by either death (which the apostle Paul calls “gain.” Philippians1:21) or Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17), we are to equip ourselves with the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) and make a stand for the cause of Christ.

Once again as we look back to Acts 5:41, we note that John and Peter rejoiced that they were found worthy to suffer for Christ. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:14 that if we suffer for righteousness sake we are blessed. And James writes in James 1:2 that we should count it all joy when we face trials. Contrary to what is taught in many “churches” today, this is the normal Christian life, to be continually facing persecution for our obedience and fidelity to the cause of Christ. Like so many saints before us, who had also counted the cost, we must be willing not only to suffer, but to lay down our life in the service of the cross.

There is an old gospel song titled “I came here to stay.” I don’t know who the author is, but I believe this song should be on the lips of every Christian as we are involved in this spiritual battle. The chorus of the song says;

Run if you want to, run if you will,
But I came here to stay.
If I fall down I’m gonna get right up.
Because I didn’t start out to play.
It’s a battlefield, brother,
not a recreation room.
It’s a fight, and not a game.
Run if you want to, run if you will,
but I came here to stay.

Know your enemy, know the battlefield, face persecution without fear, rejoice, and having done all to stand, stand therefore!

God Reveals Himself

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets to ever walk the face of this earth. He changed the culture of his day (I Kings 18:36-46). He was raptured without dying (II Kings 2:11).

God ended the Old Testament with the promise that Elijah will come back (Malachi 4:5-6). He was so great that some thought Jesus was Elijah (Matt. 16:14). And many think that Elijah is one of the Two Witnesses that will come back to prophesy, cause a drought and lash out with fire during the Tribulation Period (Revelation 11:3-12).

Ahab and Jezebel, two of the most evil people to ever live, ruled Israel during Elijah’s lifetime. They were immoral idol worshippers. They killed many of the true prophets and established false prophets, false religions and false worship in Israel. During their reign, the tide of evil was so strong they almost wiped out true worship and probably would have—if God had not intervened.

The story of God’s intervention is one of the most famous stories in the Old Testament (I Kings 18). Ahab and Jezebel’s sin, and the impact they had on Israel, was so great that God sent Elijah before them to say:

“As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (I Kings 17:1).

Elijah told that evil couple God intends to send a devastating drought on Israel and it won’t end until I announce its end.

To make a long story short, Elijah left Israel for three and one-half years (Luke 4:25; James 5:17). During his absence, severe drought, accompanied by a terrible famine gripped the nation. Ahab and Jezebel’s false gods were helpless to stop it, and before it ended the children of Israel were ready for revival. It is a fascinating story, but I want to skip to the end.

God finally sent Elijah back to Israel to face Ahab and to announce an end to the drought (I Kings 18:1-2). Following an incredible encounter with Ahab and 450 prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel, Elijah built an altar, placed a sacrifice on the altar and started to pray: “LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again” (I Kings 18:17-35).

“Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God” (I Kings 18:38-39).

God answered Elijah’s prayer. Fire fell from heaven, consumed the stones of the altar—including everything on and around them, and this great miracle left no doubt in the minds of the people that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is God. Then a little cloud formed, it grew and the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain (I Kings 18:41-45). The drought was over (see II Chronicles 7:13-14).

Let’s fast forward to the battle of Gog and Magog (Ezek. 38-39). There will be another mountain top revelation when God pulls Russia, Iran and others onto the mountains of Israel in the latter days and latter years (Ezekiel 38:1-6; 8, 16). At that time, it is clear that none of these nations, including the nation of Israel, will know that Israel’s God is God (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:7).

But God will send an overflowing rain, great hailstones, fire and brimstone on Israel’s enemies. Five sixths of them will be destroyed (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:1-2). Then many nations, including Israel, will know that Israel’s God is God (Ezekiel 38:23; 39:7).

This is God’s creation, He is Israel’s God, and He intends for the nations, including Israel to know this. He used fire from heaven in the past to reveal Himself (Genesis 19:24; Leviticus 10:2; II Chronicles 7:1; I Kings 18:38). And He will use fire from heaven (and more) in the future to reveal Himself to Israel and multitudes of unbelievers.

If the battle of Gog and Magog is close, God’s revelation of Himself is close.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck

Watching For A Hook

The list of experts who teach that Russia, Iran and others will attack Israel in a future war called the Battle of Gog and Magog is impressive (Ezek. 38-39). So for the sake of brevity, I will simply state that God will put a hook in the jaws of Russia’s leader (Ezek. 38:4) and drag him and his allies into Israel in the latter days (Ezek. 38:16) and latter years (Ezek. 38:8). And I will make eight points about this in connection with current events.

First, Israel attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities is not the Battle of Gog and Magog. But, if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, Russia and Iran have said they will counterattack and that could be the Battle of Gog and Magog.

Second, I agree with those who say Psa. 83 is a prayer about a war between Israel and her neighbors that will take place before the Battle of Gog and Magog. This war hasn’t happened, but events seem to indicate that it could happen soon. An Intifada has been raging in Jerusalem for more than two months; there is currently a temporary ceasefire between Israel and the PA, but Hamas is threatening to break it and no one expects it to hold.

Third, I agree with those who say Isa. 17 prophesies a war between Israel and Syria that will take place before the Battle of Gog and Magog. This hasn’t happened, but it is something else that could happen soon. The U.S. and several Arab allies have already attacked oil fields, refineries, Islamic State troops, other terrorists and weapons in Syria even though Russia, Iran and Syria warned us not to do it. In the past, Syria, Russia and Iran have threatened to attack Israel, if Syria is attacked. Israel has her troops on high alert and the IDF has just shot down a Syrian jet that supposedly strayed over Israeli territory.

Fourth, on Sept. 17, 2014, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence, Yuvall Steinitz said Iran is nine to eighteen months away from developing a nuclear bomb and Iran already has missiles that can deliver one. He pointed out that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “Israel will not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.” Nine to eighteen months will quickly come and go. Therefore, it is obvious that time is running out for Israel to act and for Russia, Iran and others to respond.

Fifth, on Sept. 18, 2014, the P5 +1 (the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) began what they call their final round of negotiations with Iran over the abandonment of Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. Furthermore, the two sides have agreed to resolve all of their differences by Nov. 24, 2014. So the P5 + 1 and Iran are now less than two months away from their self-imposed deadline, the talks are going nowhere and Iran says she will not give up her nuclear program. In addition to this, because of western sanctions on Russia over her actions in Ukraine, Russia has threatened to retaliate against the west by siding with Iran in these negotiations.

Sixth, in 2013, Israel included almost three billion dollars in her budget to finance a war with Iran. In 2014, Israel budgeted almost three billion dollars more for a war with Iran. In Sept. 2014, while preparing Israel’s budget for 2015, a problem arose. Israeli Finance Minister, Yair Lapid, did not want to raise taxes on the Israeli people, but Israeli Air Force Commander, Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel, wanted more money to upgrade Israel’s Air Force and Prime Minister Netanyahu wanted more money to finance operations to deal with security threats against Israel. Some in the media took Mr. Netanyahu’s request for more money to mean that Israel will soon attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Could it happen in the next nine months?

Seventh, Russia’s economy is in trouble. Mr. Putin is still financing a covert war in Ukraine. Western nations have gradually upped sanctions on Russia and the sanctions are finally beginning to take hold. Russia threatened to cut off the flow of natural gas to the EU, but the loss of income could be devastating. The value of the Ruble has dropped 15% against the dollar this year and a recession is looming. Russia will soon have to change her ways, deal with a recession, or find a prey with silver and gold, cattle and goods.

Eighth, based on the Jewish Talmud (not the Bible) some say a Tetrad of blood moons are an omen of war for Israel. It is a debatable issue, but no one can deny that the first blood moon in the current Tetrad occurred on April 15, 2014 (the Feast of Passover), the next blood moon will occur on October 8, 2014 (the Feast of Tabernacles) and there will be two more in 2015.

Russia is still causing trouble in Ukraine; Pres. Obama is arming the so-called friendly rebels in Syria; the U.S. and several Arab allies are attacking the Islamic State in Syria; Israel’s war with Hamas is probably not over; so it is quite possible that within months God could set the hook on Russia. Time will tell.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck

Why I Am Watching Israel and Gaza

The little book of Zephaniah (3 chapters or 53 verses) begins by prophesying the destruction of Judah (the Southern Kingdom) in the days of King Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon. It moves on to prophecies about Judah and the nations as the day of the Lord (a term often applied to the Tribulation period that Zephaniah used more than any other prophet in the Bible) approaches and plays out. Then, it finishes with Judah’s restoration during the millennial reign of the Messiah.

These prophecies clearly have past fulfillments, but some writers think Zephaniah was saying those experiences would be small compared to a greater fulfillment in the future. One of Zephaniah’s more famous statements reads, “The great day of the LORD is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the LORD: the mighty man shall cry there bitterly. That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities (Israel has built a fence to protect her cities), and against the high towers” (Zeph. 1:14-16).

Dropping down to Zeph. 2:1, God told the Jews to gather themselves together (to assemble) and He calls Judah a “nation not desired.” Israel is clearly the apple of God’s eye, but this could mean she is a nation not desired by God at this time because she has rejected her Messiah. And it could also mean that she is a nation not desired by the nations of the world because they want to destroy her.

In Zeph. 2:2, God told the Jews He wants them to assemble “Before the decree bring forth (before the 7 year covenant is signed), before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you (to assemble before the Tribulation Period comes upon the Jews).”

In Zeph. 2:3, God told the Jews and all who will humble themselves to “Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.” He wants the Jews and everyone on earth who will humble themselves to meet before the Tribulation Period begins to seek three things: the Lord, righteousness and meekness. Those who do may be hidden (Raptured) before the Tribulation Period begins, but after it begins it will be too late.

In Zeph. 2:4, God mentions four cities: “For Gaza shall be forsaken, and Ashkelon a desolation: they shall drive out Ashdod at the noon day, and Ekron shall be rooted up.”

God said Gaza, one of the largest and most northern cities in the Gaza Strip, will be forsaken. As I write this article, IDF planes are dropping leaflets in the northern part of the Gaza Strip for a second time advising residents to forsake their homes and clear out. The first time Israel did this, thousands of residents left, but many stayed because they were told to ignore Israel’s warnings. This time, it looks like Israel’s troops will enter the city and it remains to be seen how many people will stick around.

God said Ashkelon, a Jewish city of more than 100,000 people about 8 miles north of the Gaza Strip border, will become desolate. Its closeness to Gaza makes it a frequent target of Muslim rockets. As I write this article, more than 60 rockets have been fired at Ashkelon in recent days; an Israeli teen has been seriously injured; an Israeli man has been lightly wounded; many Jews are spending the day in bomb shelters; and some have moved to safer territory.

God said Ashdod’s residents will be driven out. More than a quarter of a million people live in Ashdod and it is about 18 miles from Gaza. As I write this, the Iron Dome Missile System has shot down 5 rockets; a Patriot missile has shot down a drone; an 8-year old boy has been slightly injured while playing in his yard; fear and anxiety are spreading in Ashdod; and Hamas has rejected an Egyptian cease-fire proposal.

Kiryat Ekron is a Jewish city of slightly more than 10,000 people. It is named after the Biblical city of Ekron and it is located about the same distance from Gaza as is Ashdod. I have read of sirens sounding in Ekron and the surrounding area, but no injuries.

I can’t predict how things will play out, but a best case scenario could be another temporary suspension of hostilities. And a worst case scenario could be that this conflict spreads into a war with Israel’s neighbors (Psa. 83), including Syria (Isa. 17) and Egypt (Isa. 19), or even the Russian/Islamic invasion of Israel (Ezek. 38-39).

One more thing, based on the Jewish Talmud (not the Bible) some are saying a Tetrad of blood moons are an omen of war for Israel. It is a debatable issue, but no one can deny that the first blood moon in the current Tetrad occurred on April 15, 2014 (the Feast of Passover) and the next one will occur on October 8, 2014 (the Feast of Tabernacles). Between these first two blood moons in this Tetrad war is raging.

[Last minute update: Israel is attacking the Gaza Strip from one end to the other by land, sea and air. It is too early to say that Gaza will be forsaken at this time; and Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ekron are still inhabited; but God is in control, His Word must eventually be fulfilled, war rarely goes exactly as planned and, if God allows it, I plan to keep watching Israel and Gaza.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymond.duck@yahoo.com (this is my new e-mail address)

Wars and Rumors of Wars!

Last Tuesday our Signs of the Times update concentrated on Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and the collapsing peace process. This week I’d like to revisit that subject in some detail, but first we need to take a look at the ongoing crisis situation that exists in the Ukraine, and perhaps gain some insight as to how these two international crises are related to one another in light of Biblical Prophecy.

During the EU and US sponsored talks in Belgium which brought the Russian and Ukrainian government representatives face-to-face, an understanding was reached calling for the withdrawal of all insurgents occupying government facilities. However, apparently each side in this dispute has a different idea of who the insurgents are. The Russians believe the insurgents are those who now control the Ukrainian government having forced the removal of the pro-Russian government. The Ukrainians believe the insurgents are the pro-Russian forces which have barricaded themselves inside police stations and other government facilities.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov declared Friday that the pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine will only lay down their arms if the Ukrainian government clears out the Maidan (square) protest camp in Kiev, and liberates the buildings that have been illegally seized. And so the stalemate continues. Meanwhile as the US begins to enact more economic sanctions on Russia, Russian President Vladimir Putin has halted all communication with President Barack Obama. In fact the Kremlin has shut down all intensive high-level communication between top Russian and US officials.

With the annexation of Crimea completed, and growing unrest in evidence throughout Eastern and Southern Ukraine, I believe it is only a matter of time before Russia completes its takeover ambitions. Russian military elements along the Ukrainian border have engaged in a new series of military exercises in response to ongoing NATO exercises in Poland. As I have stated before, I believe there are several reasons for which Vladimir Putin believes Russia must control the Ukraine. These reasons include:

  • The natural gas pipeline which services all of Europe travels from Russia through Ukraine to Romania’s Black Sea coastal plain into the Black Forest of Germany in the heart of Europe.
  • South Ukraine contains huge natural gas and oil deposits both on and offshore in the Black Sea.
  • South Ukraine is the industrial home of much of the Russian military, with factories producing small arms and ammunition as well as military equipment and components, not to mention vast shipbuilding yards.
  • South Ukraine contains nuclear, coal, and hydroelectric power plants essential for Crimea. The uranium mine at Zheltiye Vody is located in South Ukraine as is Dneprozerzhinsk (the heavy water production site), capable of producing 250 metric tons of heavy water yearly.
  • And finally, there is a significant Russian speaking majority in South Ukraine just as there is in Crimea.

This is all necessary “stage setting” for the End Times war spelled out in Ezekiel 38 & 39 when Gog, of the land of Magog, the Prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal leads his armies and those of Persia, Ethiopia, Libya, Gomer, and Togarmah against Israel. Crimea and the Ukraine are Russia’s gateway to the south via their ports on the Black Sea.

Turning now to Israel, this past week the Palestinian Authority completed a unity agreement with the terrorist organization Hamas, which controls Gaza. This of course effectively ended negotiations between Israel and the PA as the Palestinians sought a two state solution leading to their independence. For Mohammed Abbas, this was a clear sign he saw the peace talks going nowhere. And, unfortunately, that he cares more about relations with hard-line terrorists than he does about relations with the United States or Israel.

Two weeks ago Mohammed Abbas signed 15 international agreements which require PA to respect human rights and punish war criminals. This past week he signed a unity deal with terror groups whose leaders are war criminals. Every leader of Islamic Jihad and Hamas are considered international war criminals, partly because every single rocket launched from Gaza into Israel is a separate war crime. Under the Geneva Conventions, which Mahmoud Abbas signed onto just a couple of weeks ago, he is required to put them on trial for their war crimes. This simply proves to me that Mahmoud Abbas is himself a terrorist and the PA is a terrorist organization.

This agreement between Hamas and the PA came just days before the Holocaust Remembrance Day in Israel. On Sunday evening at Yad Vashem during the official state ceremony commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “This evening we will mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and the State of Israel will remember the six million victims of the Holocaust.” Earlier Sunday at his regular weekly cabinet meeting the Prime Minister stated “the main difference between the Jews’ helplessness during the Holocaust and their situation now, is that we now have a sovereign state with a strong military that protects us from those who seek to harm us.” He continued saying “Iran is at the top of the list of those who seek to destroy us” and “Aside from its own nuclear ambitions, Iran finances, arms and trains Hamas and the other terror groups lurking on our borders. Hamas denies the Holocaust while trying to facilitate another one by destroying the State of Israel.”

In the US however, Secretary of State John Kerry and this present administration continued to lay the failure of the peace process at the feet of Israel. This administration over the past 5+ years has continually treated our closest ally in the Middle East with disrespect and disdain, vilifying them for their desire to live securely within their own land. This is by far the most anti-Semitic administration in the history of the United States. From Barack Obama’s demand that Israel return to its pre-1967 borders (essentially the borders of 1949), to declaring his dislike of the Israeli Prime Minister (calling him a liar) to the president of France, to John Kerry’s continued pressure on Israel, stating that Israel was at risk of inviting the third intifada, to his most recent suggestion on April 25, that Israel is on the verge of becoming an “apartheid state,” this administration has demonstrated an unprecedented hostility towards Israel.

In fact, John Kerry’s libelous statement is a dangerous example of the precedent that has been set by this administration. This demonization of Israel only emboldens those who seek her destruction. Israel is surrounded by people’s and nations which seek to wipe her off the face of the map, and John Kerry’s anti-Semitic rhetoric will only lead to more bloodshed.

Israel’s enemies in the PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and the ISL among others are representative of the people groups listed in Psalm 83 whose desire is her total destruction. I believe this too is “stage setting” for the Last Days. Understanding the Scripture, we know that war in the Middle East is inevitable, and its outcome was prophesied many years ago. The tragedy here isn’t the war or its destruction, the tragedy is the many lives which will be lost for eternity because they reject the God of Israel and His Son, Jesus Christ.

Another part of the tragedy that I see in these Last Days, is that because of creeping liberalism within the “churches” in the US, having embraced Replacement Theology, anti-Semitism has infected not only the “church” but our politics as well. This nation is nearing destruction because it has turned its back on God’s chosen nation Israel. (See Genesis 12:3)

If you desire to know more about what the Bible says prophetically about the wars which are still to come at the end of the age, keep reading our blog for this teaching. The End Times are upon us as we live in these Last Days. There is no better time than now to turn your heart toward God because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!


Wonderful Promises

God has made some wonderful promises to Israel. He will gather the Jews from all over the world back into the Promised Land (Deut. 30:1-5). They will get all of the Promised Land (Gen. 17:7-8). They will be exalted above all of the nations on earth (Deut. 28:1, 13). Jesus will sit on the throne of David and rule over them (Luke 1:32-33). Jerusalem will become the center of the nations and the Word of God will go forth to all nations from there (Ezek. 5:5; Hos. 4:2).

God said these things will happen and every jot and tittle of them will happen. But let’s be realistic. As things stand today, the Muslims in Gaza, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon are not going to freely turn part of their land over to Israel. China, Russia, Iran and the like are not going to voluntarily accept the fact that tiny Israel is more important than they are. The UN, EU, US and others are not going to willingly submit to the rule of Jesus. All of the nations on earth are not going to agree to let the Word of God go unhindered within their borders. So as things stand today, there is not a chance in the world that God’s wonderful promises to Israel are going to be fulfilled.

This brings me to what triggered this article. Someone recently sent me some interesting information that he said comes from the Gemara, one of the two sections of the Jewish Talmud (Mishna and Gemara). The information concerns what the Gemara says about the significance of solar and lunar eclipses (especially eclipses on Feast Days such as the recent Blood Moon on Passover and the upcoming Blood Moon on Tabernacles). It is important to note that Christians don’t consider the Gemara to be Scripture, but it contains the remarks ancient Jewish rabbis that I don’t want to overlook.

The Hebrew children were slaves in Egypt when God sent the Ten Plagues to make Pharaoh let them go. According to the Gemara, if God had not sent the Ten Plagues, Egypt would not have collapsed, Pharaoh would not have released the Hebrews from slavery and the nation of Israel probably would not have come into being. Without the nation of Israel, we might not have had the Scriptures, the Temple, the Messiah, the prophets, the Church, etc. So the Ten Plagues played a crucial part in the return of the Jews and the conduct of God’s plan during Old Testament times. Also, the fall of Egypt on the first Passover celebration can be seen as the beginning of the nation of Israel and many other great blessings. It can be seen for the good things that happened for all people not the bad things that happened to Egypt.

Now, let’s direct our attention to the future. We are living in a period of time that the Bible calls the Times of the Gentiles, but the Times of the Gentiles must come to an end (Luke 21:24). The Gentile nations must be brought down so Israel can rise up and fulfill the role that God said she will fulfill in the future. The Gentile nations must be subdued so Jesus can reign, Israel can be exalted above the nations of the earth, the Word of God can go all over the world, etc. (Psa. 110:5-6; I Cor. 15:24-28).

The Gentile nations are not going to go easy. This is where the Tribulation Period comes in. It will be a time of judgment upon the nations (Zeph. 3:8). The Antichrist will rise to power and go forth conquering and to conquer (Rev. 6:1-2). Peace will be removed from the earth (Rev. 6:3-4). War will prevail and the nations of the earth will be brought low (Rev. 6:8; 8:11; 9:15). This will pave the way for the rise of Israel; the millennial reign of Jesus; peace, justice and righteousness on earth, etc. Christians should focus on the good that is coming to the earth not the bad.

Now, I don’t know much about blood moons. I haven’t totally avoided the subject, but I have said very little about it. I do know several things: One, God put lights in the heavens “for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14); Two, NASA’s SOHO satellite videotaped large dark spots on the sun in 2013; Three, the Hebrew calendar and the Tribulation Period are based on the moon (30 days/month; 7 yrs. X 360 days/yr. = 2520 days); Four, the prophet Joel said, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come” (Joel 2:31); Five, Peter quoted Joel when the Church began by saying, “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come” (Acts 2:20); Six, a tetrad of blood moons started on April 15, 2014 and this is before the day of the LORD; Seven, the convergence of signs seem to indicate that like the day of the LORD is getting close; And eight, I am not predicting it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if war broke out in the Middle East in the coming weeks or months.

The tetrad that started in 1949 followed the establishment of Israel. The tetrad that started in 1967 preceded Israel’s capture of the Temple Mount. And the Tribulation Period is the seventieth week of Israel’s punishment (Dan. 9:24-27). Each person needs to make up their own mind, but God is in control and His wonderful promises to Israel will come to pass.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck


Editor’s Note:

When the subject of the Blood Moon Tetrads began to be discussed by various teachers in the area of Biblical Prophecy, I decided to undertake a study of them and their possible significance. Utilizing the same NASA website as Mark Biltz, John Hagee, Perry Stone and others; I researched the occurrence of the Tetrads which aligned with the Lord’s “Feast Days.”

The hypothesis of these teachers is that the Tetrads have a significance which affects the nation of Israel, or the Jewish people. However, I must call into question their conclusions. Of the seven Tetrads since the birth of Christ, only three are said to have shown relevance to the Jewish people.

    • In 1492 the Jews were given the order of Expulsion from Spain. The Tetrad happened in 1493 & 1494. Pastor Hagee associates this Tetrad with the discovery of America as a “safe haven” for the Jewish people, though most fled into eastern Europe or back to Palestine (only three are known to have reached the “new world” at this time, and only one of these stayed).  I find this assertion of relevance disingenuous and sensational. If the voyage of Columbus had anything to do with the Jewish people, it was to discover wealth to finance further crusades to Jerusalem.
    • The Tetrad of 1949 – 1950 is said to coincide with the Founding of the modern Nation State of Israel which took place on May 14, 1948. The Israeli “War of Independence” was fought in 1948-1949. A lunar eclipse did not take place on the day of declaration or on any day of significance during the war.
    • The Tetrad of 1967 -1968 is said to be associated with the “Six Day War” during which Israel regained control of all of Jerusalem. Again, a lunar eclipse did not occur on any day during that “War.”

If the Tetrads which occur on Feast Days are considered so important to the Jewish people, why were there no Tetrads associated with these important events?:

    • 70 AD The destruction of the Temple and expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem.
    • 132-135 AD The expulsion of the Jews from Israel after the Bar Kokhba revolt, after which Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed Israel “Palestine.”
    • 1181 AD French King Philip banished the Jews from France.
    • 1298 AD Persecution of the Jews in Franconia, Bavaria, and Austria when more than 100,000 Jewish people were killed during a six month period.
    • 1903-1906 AD Frequent pogroms (massacres) in Russia and Ukraine were carried out against Jewish shtetls (small villages) during which thousands were slaughtered.
    • 1939-1945 AD The Holocaust during WW2.
    • 1956 AD The “Suez War.”
    • 1973 AD  The Yom Kippur War.
    • Additionally, there is no evidence of a Tetrad having any significance to Israel prior to the birth of Christ.

I would also like to point out that while I agree that Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20 are referring to a time “before the great and the terrible day of the LORD”; this takes place during the Tribulation just prior to Christ’s Second Coming, and the written word suggests the sun darkening and moon turning to blood happen at the same time. This is NOT a typical astrological event. Remember, the return of Jesus for His Church (the “Rapture”) is imminent, requiring no signs before it occurs. To infer that anything like this might need to happen before the Church is “taken away” is just not biblical.

In conclusion, while I agree with Daymond that each person must decide for themselves if there is any prophetic significance to the “Blood Moon” Tetrads, I simply cannot ascribe any real significance to them. I do however see a convergence of real “Signs of the Times” which make me believe that war will break out in the Middle East in the near future. We will comment on these Prophecies in more detail in the coming weeks.

Respectfully, KD Tucker Whitaker DD, PhD

Biblical Prophecy ~ Part 3 ~ Israel the “Super Sign”

Much of the God’s Word contains prophetic teaching, in fact nearly 30% of Scripture is prophetic in nature. Of the hundreds of specific prophecies contained in Scripture many have been fulfilled and many are yet to be. In this part of our teaching on Biblical Prophecy we want to focus on Israel as a people and a Nation State. The Super Sign of the Last Days, is that Israel is once again a nation. The Jewish people are returning from exile. After nearly two thousand years of rejection, God is going to call them His people again (Hosea 1:9, Romans 9:25-26), but first He must deal with their transgression of the Law (Daniel 9:24).

The story of Israel began in the book of Genesis. God makes a binding covenant with Abraham, who was to be the father of the Jewish nation. The provisions of that covenant are recorded in Genesis 12:1-3, “Now the LORD had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

God’s land covenant promise to Abraham is the linchpin of one of the most important of all Biblical prophecies. Israel’s eternal right of possession of the land God promised to Abraham. This covenant with Abraham is confirmed several times to his descendants in the Old Testament. When these descendants (after 400 years of bondage in Egypt) were about to enter the land promised to them, Moses told them of a coming time when their idolatry would cause them to be driven from the land that God was giving them. In Deuteronomy 4:27 we find recorded; “And the LORD will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the LORD will drive you.”

The Jews subsequently were partially scattered by the Assyrians and Babylonians, and then after a time of exile God restored them to the land. However in 70 AD, as Jesus Himself prophesied, the temple was destroyed by the Roman armies of Titus, and the Jews were driven from Jerusalem. Israel, as a nation, began again to be scattered, and then during the Bar Kochba Revolt from 132 to 136 AD, Emperor Hadrian sent 12 of his 24 Legions to expel the Jews from Israel completely, and they were scattered like chaff in the wind to the four corners of the earth. Hadrian then renamed the occupied territory Palestine.

Yet in spite of all of this, God chose the Jews. He gave them a land; He made them an irrevocable promise, it is a binding covenant! Over the intervening centuries at various times small groups of Jews tried to return to Palestine. They returned in small numbers following various persecutions in the lands that they had been scattered to such as the Spanish expulsion of the Jews in 1492 when 800 to 1200 Jews returned to Palestine. Not until the late 1800s was there a truly united effort to reestablish a permanent community of Jews in the Holy Land as some began purchasing property there.

Beginning with the British Balfour Declaration in 1917 a multinational effort was begun to allow the Jews to return to Palestine. This effort intensified after the horrors of the Holocaust in Nazi Germany during World War II. By 1948 the Jewish population of Palestine numbered approximately 800,000.

In understanding Biblical Prophecy as it relates to the Last Days, one must realize that Israel is God’s time clock. Every prophecy relating to the end times require Israel to be back in their land, the land promised to them by God in His covenant with Abraham. The fulfillment of this prophecy truly began on May 14, 1948 with the rebirth of the Nation of Israel. In comprehending what an incredible act of God this was, we need to understand than never before in the history of the world had an ancient people retained their identity while scattered throughout the world, and then returned to their homeland to reestablish their national identity.

The most significant event since Israel’s independence in 1948 was their capture of Jerusalem and the West Bank at the culmination of the Six-Day War in 1967, when they were attacked by their Arab neighbors. Jerusalem is once again the Capitol of the nation of Israel. Not only have they restored the land itself but they have also resurrected their historic Hebrew language. No people have ever endured more suffering over the centuries than exiled Jews. The persecution they endured is unimaginable, in fact during the Holocaust alone they saw the extermination of one third of the worldwide Jewish population.

The re-gathering of the Jewish people in their homeland is necessary for the rest of the end time prophecies to be fulfilled. The events in the prophecies found in Isaiah 17, Isaiah 19, Psalm 83, Zechariah 12, Ezekiel 38 and 39, all hinge on Israel being in their homeland. And from Revelation 4:2 through Revelation 19, God is dealing with the nation of Israel to draw them to Himself while punishing the nations for the way they have treated His chosen people, Israel. The Tribulation begins with a peace treaty signed between Israel and the antichrist. Many other things such as a false peace, the rebuilding of the third Jewish temple, and a coming great persecution of the Jewish people under the antichrist have all been prophesied. It will all take place because God has said it.

This incredible rebirth of Israel as a nation is only the beginning, the most incredible in dramatic events of the end times concerning the world and Israel as a nation lie ahead. One only has to look at the news today to realize that the issue of who controls the Promised Land is still one of the most volatile subjects in international politics. Today Israel is surrounded by nations both near and far who have vowed to see Israel wiped off the face of the earth.

In Zechariah 12: 1-3 the Scripture reads, “The burden of the word of the LORD against Israel. Thus says the LORD, who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I will make Jerusalem a cup of drunkenness to all the surrounding peoples, when they lay siege against Judah and Jerusalem. And it shall happen in that day that I will make Jerusalem a very heavy stone for all peoples; all who would heave it away will surely be cut in pieces, though all nations of the earth are gathered against it.”

Yet God will be Israel’s defender as we read in Zechariah 12: 8-10; “In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem; the one who is feeble among them in that day shall be like David, and the house of David shall be like God, like the Angel of the LORD before them. It shall be in that day that I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem. And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.”

This is why as believers we need to understand the importance of Israel in these Last Days. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem and pray for God’s chosen people Israel because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!