Convergence!

Every so often a new word or phrase seems to dominate the writings and messages coming from those within the ranks of teachers, preachers, and scholars in the Biblical eschatology community. For instance; “late great” has been used with regard to the planet Earth, the United States, and the church. “Left Behind” and “blood moons” are other examples, as are the words “worldview” and “globalism.” Today the word we are hearing the most is convergence. And, if we take a critical look at the days in which we are living, and compare them to prophetic Scripture, I find this word not only to be apropos, but perhaps the most significant of all descriptive words which we have used to date.

Regardless of where you place your finger in end times prophetic Scripture; whether the writings of the Old Testament prophets, the New Testament apostolic writings, the words of Christ in the Gospels, or in His Revelation to the Apostle John, we find evidence of fulfillment converging on a daily basis. In our Lord’s Olivet discourse alone, recorded in Matthew chapter 24, we read prophetic words which today are being fulfilled as never before.

Matthew 24:5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.

There has never been before in history, such a proliferation of religions and religious groups as there are today, with many being led by charismatic men or women who claim divine knowledge or special inspiration. Even secular humanism and atheism have been elevated to religion status, whether they like it or not. Yet, in all of these groups the commonality is they deny the deity and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, there are many who believe they are eternally secure who in fact are not. Narrow is the way!

Matthew 24:6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. Matthew 24:7a For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

At no time in the history of the earth have war drums beat in so many different places. In Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Indonesia, Central America, South America, the South Pacific, armed conflict is the norm rather than the exception and nearly the entire Middle East is in flames. Conflict rages because of cultural, economic, ethnic, and religious differences and man’s inhumanity to man has never been on greater display that it is today. In the Middle East, the Islamic ideology has given rise to unprecedented persecution of Jews and Christians as well as other Muslims, resulting in mass executions, beheadings, crucifixion, disembowelment, and other horrific forms of murder.

Matthew 24:7b And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

It would take 5000 words alone to describe the crisis in food production which is being experienced worldwide today. Crop failures due to weather events, whether flood or drought, are worldwide and in many areas planting and harvests did not take place because of the conflicts raging there. The possibility of famine is a reality in many countries and food prices in the US are continually on the rise because of drought and disease. The cost of Protein (Beef, Pork, Chicken, Eggs) has risen by as much as 25% in the past year, with expectations that this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Viruses and diseases are growing worldwide, many in near pandemic proportions. The Ebola virus continues to spread in Africa and because of modern transportation, threatens the entire world. Other infectious viruses such as SARS and MRSA continue to mutate and defy antibiotic treatment, and evidence of the Plague has once again appeared in the Western US. Diseases once thought to be nearly extinct such as tuberculosis, polio, measles and the whooping-cough have returned worldwide with a vengeance (and brought to the US again by illegal aliens crossing our southern border with Mexico).

In 2010 the USGS attributed the increase in the reported number of earthquakes to a greater ability to record them, but in an article published July 1, 2014 they admitted that the number of earthquakes registering 5.0 or greater had increased by 50% over the previous 12 months and 65% over the previous 24 months. In Oklahoma the number of earthquakes greater than 3.0 have risen by 23,000% (that is a real number, not a typo) over the previous 12 months. While the Oklahoma activity has been related (whether correctly or not) to fracking, the worldwide increase of earthquake activity cannot be attributed thusly. Additionally, more closely related to the seismic activity of earthquakes is the increase in volcanic activity worldwide. Currently, there are more active volcanoes spewing forth magma and ash than at any time in recorded history.

Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

The “beginning of sorrows” is a phrase that is most often related to the birth pangs experienced by a woman in labor. These labor pangs occur at a point in time when there is a physical convergence of events in the gestational process leading to the birth of a baby. I am not a physician but I was present at the birth of all four of my daughters, and I am a ranch raised cowboy who has birthed horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, as well as a great number of dogs. I can tell you that there was pain associated with absolutely every one of those births. We are living in the days of convergence, the days that the Scriptures describe as “the beginning of sorrows” and the painful birth that is about to take place is described in the Scriptures as a time of “great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” Matthew 24:21

The Olivet discourse in Matthew continues beyond verse eight to describe many more details which we can expect to soon come to pass. For believers, one of the most significant of these is the very fact of the increased persecution of followers of Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:9) as this time of tribulation grows nearer. We see that persecution already taking place daily around the world, especially in the Middle East, and of course there is growing evidence of intolerance of, and the persecution of, Christians in the US. However, the blessed hope of the Church, the true followers of Jesus Christ, is the Rapture described in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17.

Convergence quite aptly describes the growing evidence of the fulfillment of End Times prophecies. Certainly the scoffers described in 2 Peter 3:1-3 are among us today, however God’s Word is true and His prophecies will be fulfilled. The convergence is real, the “beginning of sorrows” has already begun. The Rapture of the Church is imminent, the time of Tribulation is near, and;

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

Nearing Midnight – And the World Keeps Turning and Tilting

This week in our Signs of the Times commentary, we begin with a brief comment on the weather before we move to the major story of the week. In the US there were no significant or catastrophic weather events, but  drought conditions continued in Texas and in California, Kansas and Oklahoma. Something we now see cropping up is the specter of multi-day dust storms due to the excessively dry conditions. Parts of Kansas experienced a two day dust storm; last month Lubbock, Texas had a three day dust storm. People are beginning to compare conditions to the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s, mentioning the creation of the “Great American Desert” across Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, real “Grapes of Wrath” type conditions. Given the severity of some of our weather events over the past few months, it is a blessing that America is not involved in Middle Eastern peace negotiations at present.

Middle East – The major story this past week has been the visit of Pope Francis to the Middle East. It was a trip viewed as quite significant and had much symbolism. It can also be seen as being an event which moves end times prophetical events further along:

  • Pope Francis began his trip in Palestinian controlled territory, signaling his sympathy and support for the Palestinian cause
  • He hugged and kissed the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who recently signed a unity agreement with the terror group Hamas; he referred to Muslims as dear brothers
  • The Pope publicly called for a “State of Palestine” which would be within the biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria. He used the term “State of Palestine” several times at differing locations as he spoke across the Middle East; even using it in his Bethlehem homily, showing both his own church and the Muslims that he favors creation of such a state in the Promised Land of Israel
  • The Pope invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinean President Mahmoud Abbas to a prayer summit at the Vatican in early June

Through all of his trip, the Pope spoke:

  • As if Muslims worship the same God as Christians and Jews.
  • Emphasizing that the birthplace of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is the Holy Land.
  • Noting that the Dome of the Rock reminds him of the three great faiths — Christianity, Islam and Judaism.
  • Noting that Jews, Christians and Muslims all believe they were created by God and are destined for eternal life.

In doing these things, Pope Francis is showing he has been influenced by the views of many Middle Eastern Catholic bishops who deny Israel’s right to the land and is fueling the anti-Semitism that exists within the Roman Catholic Church. We are seeing the blending of politics and religion in the region that the End Times prophetical events will come to pass. We see the move toward a one world religion, and it clearly appears that the unification of world religions is an agenda topic of Pope Francis.

While the Pope was visiting the Holy Land, there were other signs of the coming one world religion. Bishop Tony Palmer, the man who delivered “the protest is over” message to Kenneth Copland is continuing to call for the unification of all “Christian” denominations, calling for all Protestant denominations to sign the 1999 Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, which is supposed to be the official end of the protest. He calls for a new day of Christianity, effectively calling for Protestants to live in a post-Protestant world. And you know who expects to be the head of this unified church. This is all part of the growing pressure on evangelical Christians to embrace Catholicism as one more Christian denomination in an attempt to make ecumenicism within Christianity one of the driving forces behind a move to a one world religion.

The American State – Tolerance continues to go down a bifurcated path in American society. President Obama makes a speech at West Point this past week, citing terrorism as the number one threat to our country, stating it repeatedly, but refusing to name the source of the threat or its ideological roots. Once more, a pattern of refusing to acknowledge or allow discussion of jihad or Islam and the connection to terrorism. Meanwhile, Stacey Dash, an actress of African-American and Mexican descent, known for her support of Mitt Romney in the last presidential election, was hired by Fox News to provide cultural analysis and commentary. Dash, well known for her conservative views, is savagely attacked on social media sites by liberals and members of the black community; being called crazy, a turncoat, self-hating and useless. Apparently, your race does matter to your politics among the tolerant left in America.

On the economic front, the U.S. gross domestic product dropped 1% in the first quarter of 2014, many economic analysts felt it would have dropped 2% without all the increased spending on Obamacare, raising concerns in some of another recession being upon us. But many mainstream economists shrugged the drop off, calling for 3 to 4 % growth in the second quarter with no real reasoning behind these claims, blaming the current reports on a severe winter. All this while exports dropped around 6% in the first quarter, there are growing concerns of stagnant retail sales (in a country that has 3 to 8 times the retail space per capita of anyone else), we have a reported unemployment rate of just over 6%, yet 1 in 5 households have no one working, and many cities have rates in the mid-teens. Does this make sense to anyone?

Domestically, the Secretary of Veteran Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned under the pressure of the scandal of delayed care for veterans as a result of enrollment practices for benefits. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney resigned as well, one can imagine the toll it takes on a person having to defend the administration’s position on all sorts of scandals.

On the foreign policy front, the President’s announcement that troops in Afghanistan will be reduced to 9,800 by the end of 2014, and to zero by end of 2016 signals the end of about 15 years of war and demonstrates another American foreign policy failure, one of which four American presidential administrations can share in. A speech yesterday by Defense Secretary Hagel that China was a destabilizing influence with its territorial ambitions was met with harsh criticism and condemnation by Chinese officials, demonstrating the strained relationships with China that mirror the strain between the US and Russia. We make speeches, while others lay claim to more and more territory in outright defiance to the US, and seemingly, little intention to curb their territorial appetite based on the wishes of the United States.

As you think of the fact that America has no place in Biblical prophecy in the End Times, why should it be a surprise that we as a nation have leaders who refuse to acknowledge and address what is going on in this country. We will continue our slide from importance into irrelevance in the course of world events in the prophetical stage now being set.

Russia/Ukraine –A top Kremlin adviser accused the US of trying create a military conflict between Russia and Europe over the Ukraine, stepping up the war of words between the US and Russia over the Ukrainian situation. He called the situation in the Ukraine chaotic, and a de facto war. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a Ukrainian army helicopter killing 14.  Meanwhile, US Defense Department officials are claiming that Russia troops are pulling back from the Ukrainian border, while we also denied US mercenaries are operating in the Ukraine. They accuse us of war mongering, we accuse them of retreating. Sounds like we are dealing from weakness once again.

European Union –European Union leaders are meeting to determine how to stay in power in the wake of European Parliament elections that have been described as a drubbing for the mainstream parties. The number of members of the parliament that are from “Eurosceptic” parties (United Kingdom Independence Party and National Front in France) has doubled. The power of Brussels (home of EU) is bothersome to many, especially in the UK, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. But calls for “less Europe” will be hard to realize, and many of the leaders (Merkel of Germany, Hollande of France and Renzi of Italy) believe the movement will lose force when the economy improves and unemployment drops.

The world is turning, but the world does seem to be tilting a little more each day. Yet, as the True Church we know these things (or at least events in general) must move inn this direction, the world must slide towards the abyss and get to the point that only the return of Jesus Christ can save humanity from itself, from its since and defiance of a most holy God. Stand your ground, stand firm for your beliefs, preach Christ, and Him crucified, and take heart.  Because we know that…

Jesus is coming soon!

 

 

 

God Works in Mysterious Ways

America’s poor leadership, the blatant sin in our once great nation, the drought in the southwest and California, high food prices, pestilence and prepping have all been in the news lately.

There is little doubt that Ahab was one of the worst leaders to ever occupy the throne in Israel. The Bible says, he “did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him” (I Kings 16:30). At least until the end of his reign, no leader of Israel had ever exceeded him in evil. He encouraged Baal worship and was often at odds with the true prophets of his day.

He married a Phoenician princess whose name, Jezebel, is synonymous with wickedness. He allowed Jezebel’s religion, Baal worship, to be practiced in Israel and he even built a temple close to the palace to make it easy for Jezebel to worship her false gods. She led many of God’s prophets astray and ordered others to be killed for protesting against her policies (I Kings 18:4). One of her greatest sins was to falsely accuse a man named Naboth so she could have him killed, steal his vineyard and give it to Ahab (I Kings 21:1-25). Jesus compared her to a harlot who encouraged immorality in the church at Thyatira (Rev. 2:20).

Because of sin, God sent the prophet Elijah to visit Ahab one day and 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). Then, God told Elijah to flee to the brook Cherith and drink from it. Elijah did, but while he was there the brook dried up from a lack of rain. God told Elijah to go to a widow at Zarephath who would feed him (Zarephath was located out of the country between Tyre and Sidon). Elijah left Israel, found her and asked her for something to eat and drink. The loss of her husband, and the God-sent drought and famine had hit her hard and she had prepared her last meal for her and her son. Elijah’s request was a great test, but she shared with him and God sustained her, her son and Elijah through the drought and famine (I Kings 17:3-16).

Let’s look at the story about Naaman and then I will get to the point. He was a captain in the Syrian army; a great and honorable man, but he had leprosy. On one of his missions, he defeated some Jews, captured a young Jewish girl and carried her back to Syria to wait on his wife. One day, the Jewish girl said unto her mistress, “Would God my lord were with the prophet (Elisha) that is in Sararia! for he would recover him of his leprosy” (II Kings 5:3). Naaman eventually wound up at Elisha’s house and Elisha sent word out for him to go dip in the Jordan River seven times. Naaman was upset, but he eventually did as he was told and he was healed (II Kings 5:14).

This brings us to the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. He arrived at Nazareth where He grew up, went to the synagogue on the Sabbath, read from the Book of Isaiah and spoke, but His message was rejected (Luke 4:14-22). Then He said, “I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias (Elijah), when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias (Elijah) sent, save unto Sarepta (Zarephath), a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus (Elisha) the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:25-27).

Because of wicked leadership and sin in Israel God sent a drought and great famine that covered the land for three and one-half years. There were many widows (and probably hungry children) among the chosen people in Israel, but God sent Elijah to feed only one widow who lived in a foreign land. There were many lepers among the chosen people in Israel (and all of them probably prayed to be healed), but the only person God healed was a foreign soldier who had defeated some Israeli troops. So Jesus said God sent a drought and famine on Israel for three and one-half years and He didn’t send anyone to feed or heal any of the hungry and sick widows and lepers. What He said really upset the people in His hometown and they tried to kill Him.

When I suggest that national disasters are increasing or there could be more terrorist attacks and it might be a good idea to do some prepping I sometimes hear “God is in control. He will take care of me.” There is no doubt that God is in control and He cares for us with a love that will never end. But He does not like self-righteousness, being tempted or taken for granted; our blessings are not entitlements; He brings down godless nations (Dan. 2:21); He chastens those He loves (Heb. 12:6); Christians are suffering all over the world and Noah had to build his own boat (Gen. 6:14). My mom loved me, but she spanked me when I needed it.

In my mind, America’s leaders are the worst we have ever had. No president has ever supported some of the wicked things our president supports (abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage, lying, spying on us, betraying our friends, kind words for Allah, etc.). We have great sin in America; drought in the southwest and California; soaring food prices, millions on food stamps (including widows and children), spreading STDs (especially among the gays) and more. It seems to me that America is already paying a price for sin and if the Rapture doesn’t happen soon, the price may increase. His judgment could fall harder and He could decide to feed and heal good people in other countries instead of the United States.

Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
daymondduck@bellsouth.net

“Signs of the Times” Volcano’s, Earthquakes, Israel, Palestine, Russia, China… and More!

Since it seems to have become our custom, we will begin our update again this week with the weather.

Weather

For the first time in several weeks Washington DC and the East Coast were not affected by extreme winter weather. However hail, heavy rain, strong winds and flash floods pummeled parts of the South and the Midwest. As I noted last week these storms were predicted, but thankfully there were no deaths and very few injuries reported. Tornadoes touched down in Missouri and Texas, and large hail fell in Texas and Arkansas. The National Weather Service had been very concerned about the magnitude and intensity of the storms, but the threat did not evolve catastrophically.

By the way, Secretary of State John Kerry canceled his planned trip to Israel this past Tuesday saying the framework for peace negotiations had hit an impasse and were at risk of failing. Whew…. Relief from pressure on Israel to divide the land and storms in the US that did not reach their anticipated intensity. Are these related? In light of historical evidence it is something to consider. We’ll get back to Kerry, Israel and the Palestinians in a bit.

In Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13 we find the record of Jesus Christ’s Olivet discourse to His disciples where He prophesied of the events that were to take place before His second coming. We find written in Matthew 24:6-8: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Obviously we are aware of ongoing wars and conflicts in nearly every part of the earth, and there are reports of food shortages and famine in many countries due to weather events and/or conflicts. And in just the last couple of weeks we have been made aware of a significant Ebola outbreak in a few West African countries. This coupled with various influenza outbreaks in China and the Far East and resurgence of polio and other viruses around the world including the United States, pestilence seems to be on the rise as well.

In fact pestilence is affecting more than the human population. There have been reports of large numbers of fish dying in lakes, streams and oceans around the world; birds both wild and domestic have seen large instances of “die off” in various parts of the world; and in the US alone it is estimated that over 40% of the nation’s swine have been lost due to a new viral disease.

So then, that brings us back to the weather and natural events. This past week we have seen a number of earthquakes around the world many ranging between 4.0 and 8.0 on the Richter scale. In fact there are some interesting numbers out of Oklahoma. From 1975 until 2008 the state of Oklahoma recorded less than six earthquakes a year. From the period between 2008 and 2012 Oklahoma recorded 278 earthquakes that registered 3.0 or greater, and in 2013 there were 222 earthquakes which registered 3.0 or greater. And now in 2014 in less than four months state of Oklahoma has registered 253 such tremors.

These numbers and percentages of increase are reflected in most states in the US, and in fact a similar percentage of increase in frequency is reported in every country and every continent around the world. And, that being the case, this increase certainly cannot be blamed on “fracking” alone, because this practice is not in use in every oil-producing country, and certainly isn’t in use in countries that do not produce oil.

And since we’re looking at seismic activity, the Earth’s crust, and natural disasters; last week seven volcanoes in six different countries began erupting within hours of each other. Volcanoes in Japan, Mexico, Vanuatu, Guatemala, Italy, and Indonesia (Mount Sinabung and Mount Merapi) all began belching lava and ash. Ash clouds from 4 to 6 miles high were reported over these volcanoes, and in some cases interrupted airline flight patterns. So many volcanoes throwing so much gas, ash and particulates into the air can have an effect on climate, this is a scientific fact. I’m not saying that these volcanoes herald the start of a new ice age but the planet certainly seems to be getting a bit more active of late.

Continued large eruptions put a huge amount of particulate matter into the atmosphere, and these particles reflect sunlight away from earth and when there is enough of them the temperatures can drop. Aside from the devastating effects the lava and ash can have on the lives of those living near to them, due to crop and property losses, and other economic factors, the global impact can be enormous. These losses can lead to many hardships including hunger and famine as is evidenced after the Tambora eruption of 1815, and the Icelandic eruption of Eyjafjallojkull in 2010.

These earthquake and volcanic spasms of the earth continue to come without warning, but at the same time these spasms should be a wakeup call to all of us that we are indeed living in perilous times, and as Christ foretold; “all these are the beginning of sorrows.”

Israel and Palestine

Well now, as I mentioned before John Kerry postponed his latest trip to the Middle East. The Secretary of State said that the United States was evaluating whether to continue its role in Middle East peace talks after claiming that both the Palestinians and Israelis had taken steps that were not helpful to the negotiations. Kerry said that it was “reality check time” because there was a limit to the amount of time United States could spend on the peace process. Saying it was important to keep the peace process moving, but that “in the end, it is up to the parties,” Kerry said; “This is not an open-ended effort, it never has been. It is reality check time, and we intend to evaluate precisely what the next steps will be.”

I wrote last week that a senior Palestinian official had admitted that the only reason the Palestinians had entered into the negotiations for peace was to secure the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners (most of whom are terrorists). This statement set off a chain of events which has led to this impasse. After hearing the comments of Palestinian official, Israel decided not to release the final 26 prisoners they were scheduled to release as a condition for these ongoing talks. Following that Mohammed Abbas signed 14 UN conventions including the Geneva Convention and has positioned the Palestinians to sign up to 25 more in an effort to move Palestine closer toward Statehood recognition by the UN.

Additionally Abbas has made new demands on the Israelis including;

  • Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital.
  • The release of 1,200 Palestinian prisoners.
  • Israel must release three senior-level prisoners: Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa’adat and Fuad Shobaki.
  • Israel must cease settlement construction.
  • The PA is to be given sovereignty over Area C in the West Bank (the area Knesset Member Naftali Bennett wants to annex)
  • Israeli military operations must stop in PA-controlled territories and “reunion” permits are to be issued for 15,000 Palestinians.
  • The border crossings must be reopened and the blockade on the Gaza Strip lifted.
  • The Palestinian gunmen who were deported to the Gaza Strip and Europe after they sought shelter in the Nativity Church in Bethlehem must be allowed to return to the West Bank.

The Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said Wednesday the Palestinians may seek to join the International Criminal Court and more U.N. agencies if there is no progress in peace talks with Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised retaliatory measures on Sunday after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made the unilateral moves towards statehood (moves which the PA agreed it would not make while the “Peace” talks continued). While not immediately specifying what action he would take, he said Israel remained willing to press on with U.S.-brokered peace talks, but not “at any price”.

Also in Israel, the IDF struck militant targets in the Gaza Strip this past weekend after Palestinians renewed rocket fire into Israel.

Syria

Israeli security source confirms Assad regime recently used chemical weapon. According to Israeli security assessments, Syrian government forces used non-lethal substance on March 27 against rebel fighters near Damascus. Despite the assertion by the security source that the chemical is nonlethal, some reports suggested that four people were killed in the March 27 attack. The “Syria Deeply” website cited the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), a group of Syrian-American doctors and surgeons traveling in and out of Syria, as condemning what it described as a “poisonous gas attack” in Harasta.

Saudi Arabia

After President Obama’s visit with the Saudi King last week sources inside (Sunni) Saudi Arabia say it is apparent to them that the Obama administration has sided with (Shiite Iran). The Obama administrations interference in the Middle East has brought an end to Sunni controlled governments in Egypt and Libya while doing very little to end the Shiite regime of Bashar al Assad in Syria. Interestingly neither Obama and the US delegation nor the Saudis brought up the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during the talks. It is widely understood that the Saudis have adopted the idea that the enemy (Israel) of my enemy (Iran) is my friend. The Saudis are indeed as concerned that Iran may achieve nuclear capabilities as Israel is.

Russia

Meanwhile Vladimir Putin continues to take advantage of every foreign policy failure of the Obama administration. He has opened doors for communications with the Saudis, the Egyptians, and Palestinians, while maintaining his relationships with Syria and Iran.
The Russian takeover of Crimea and it’s continued presence along Ukrainian border have fostered rebellion among Russian speaking citizens of Ukraine which I believe will eventually lead to Russian takeover. Ukrainian troops have dug in at border in a stare down with Russian troops. Braced against the driving snow, fresh-faced newly conscripted Ukrainian soldiers stare over the border with Russia, waiting to attempt to fend off an invasion from Russian troops amassed on the other side.

China

As China continues to exert pressure on its neighbors in the South China Sea by claiming more and more territory, the US State Department issued a statement warning China not to attempt annexations such as that done by Russia with Crimea.
One day after China brought US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on board its first aircraft carrier as the first foreign visitor, its defense minister warned that no one, not even the United States, could contain its military ambitions. Gen. Chang Wanquan said; “With the latest developments in China, it can never be contained,” and that the US is “a country of worldwide influence, and the Pacific Ocean is huge enough to hold both China and the US for common development and also huge enough to hold the other Asia-Pacific countries.”

Again, the Obama administration has weakened the United States in influence economically, politically, and militarily throughout the world. This my friends is another “sign of the times” (see our Blog post “Biblical Prophecy; what is still to come? ~ Part 1”).

Keep your Eyes on Israel, and keep looking for the return of our Lord because; Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

Signs of the Times: SIN is SIN; Israel, Iran, Russia, Ukraine, US, China, North Korea… oh; and the Weather and Natural Disaster!

Weather

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, for the fourth week in a row a winter snow storm has descended on the East Coast and Washington DC. Of course while this is more than a little unusual, in light of our update over the past month it certainly shouldn’t be unexpected. Even as President Obama meets with European leaders at The Hague in the Netherlands, his administration continues to hold out hope that they can force Israel and the Palestinian Authority into accepting their “Framework for Peace.”

Israel

On Saturday Moshe Yaalon, Israel’s defense minister, said in a March 21 speech at Tel Aviv University that the United States is “demonstrating weakness” around the world. And, Caroline Glick, a senior contributing editor to The Jerusalem Post, says America, through President Obama, is “inviting this sort of aggression by countries like Russia, by countries like Iran, by showing such profound weakness in foreign affairs.” The Washington Times reported, Secretary of State John Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to complain about his defense ministers comments, and he continued his pressure on Netanyahu to make concessions with the Palestinians in the so-called peace process.

Meanwhile also on Saturday morning March 21, a rain-soaked hillside collapsed swallowing dozens of homes near Oso, Snohomish County in Washington State.

Rescue workers searched through mucky rubble on Tuesday with hopes dwindling of finding any more survivors from among as many as 176 people still missing from the devastating weekend mudslide which killed at least 14. More than 100 properties were hit by the mudslide. John Pennington, Snohomish County’s director of emergency management, said that after three days, the operation was shifting from a rescue operation to a recovery mission.

Is this merely coincidence, or another instance of another severe weather natural catastrophe resulting from continued pressure by the government of the United States on Israel to divide their land and eternal capital of Jerusalem? (Once again I encourage you to review our past Tuesday posts for more information.)

In other news concerning Israel, a rising chorus of Israeli voices is again raising the possibility of carrying out a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in what appears to be an attempt to draw renewed attention to Tehran’s atomic program — and Israel’s unhappiness with international negotiations with the Iranians. Despite ongoing talks and negotiations between Iran and the West over the Iranian nuclear program, Israel is taking no chances. Based on recent statements by senior military officers, a whopping amount of at least 10 billion shekels ($2.89 billion) has been set aside by Israel for a potential unilateral military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities in 2014. This decision reflects the determination of the Israeli government not to be bound by the interim accord that was reached between Iran and the US led Western nations.

Israel’s decision is based on the stated need to ensure its self-defense even as it becomes clearer that the Obama administration and the U.S, is not going to lead the campaign against Iran or to be a dependable ally for a military solution against Iran.

Joel Rosenberg has recently commissioned McLaughlin & Associates to take several Polls which have noted some interesting results.

In one exclusive new poll: 72% of Americans see Putin as a “clear and present danger” to U.S. and Israel. While other polls showed that 85% of Americans are concerned young people don’t know enough about the Holocaust or are learning lessons of how to confront evil.

In another new poll conducted at the request of Rosenberg: 68% of Americans fear a “nuclear holocaust” here in U.S. if Iran is permitted to build nuclear weapons, and the most recent of these polls find that: 59% of Americans support “decisive” US strike on Iran to prevent “Second Holocaust,” if diplomacy & sanctions fail. All of these polls seem to reflect a completely different attitude by the American people than that of our present administration.

Russia & Ukraine

As of Monday Russian troops have completed the takeover of all military bases in Crimea, and Vladimir Putin continues to ignore pressure from the international community. As I stated last week, the takeover of Crimea is a done deal, and as Russian troops continue to mass on the Ukrainian border, I believe it is only a matter of time, perhaps days, that Russia will invade and take over the rest of the Ukraine. President Obama’s war of words with Russia and Vladimir Putin continued on Tuesday from the Hague, as Russia was removed as a member of the G8. However, Russian leaders continue to mock the weakness of Obama’s leadership.

In other International News

North Korea fired 30 short-range rockets into the sea off the east of the Korean peninsula early on Saturday in response to continued joint defense drills by the US & South Korea.

China continues to help in the search for the missing Malaysian Jet, yet has used the experience to move more of its naval fleet into positions in the disputed territorial island groups in Japanese and Philippine waters.

The Malaysian Prime Minister meanwhile announced that they have determined that the jet crashed in the South Indian Sea and that there were no survivors. Chinese authorities have demanded to see all of the radar and satellite information which precipitated this announcement.

In an interesting commentary on the incident, Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Christian evangelist Billy Graham, recently drew a connection between the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and the Rapture, as described in Thessalonians 4:16-17. She made the connection on her personal blog just after the plane went missing, suggesting that the feeling of unknowingness and helplessness that has affected the world since the flight disappeared on March 8 will be the same feeling experienced by mankind when the Rapture happens and Jesus calls his church to meet him in the air and join him in heaven. She concluded, nonbelievers will be left to wonder: “Where have all the people gone?”

On the Culture front

Nabisco has added its voice to the current trend of forcing liberal social agendas on the rest of us by producing a commercial for their Honey Maid graham crackers and Teddy Grahams snacks showing a homosexual couple raising two children with a voiceover stating “this is wholesome.” The ad concludes by saying; “No matter how things change, what makes us wholesome never will. Honey Maid — everyday wholesome snacks for every wholesome family. This is wholesome.” So Nabisco has joined Coca Cola and Chevrolet in specifically marketing homosexuality.

Make no mistake, no matter what the LGBT groups, leftist liberals, and liberal theologies postulate, the Bible calls homosexuality a sin. And, God’s word is Truth and as such not open to revision or private interpretation. Sin is Sin no matter what the sin is, and there are no degrees of sin, in God’s eyes all are inseparable and all require repentance. Only the righteousness provided by Christ at the Cross can pay the debt of sin we owe. The good news is that while God hates sin, He loves the sinner and has provided the righteousness of Jesus Christ, through His shed blood, to redeem any who will accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of their lives, repenting of their sin.

Please be watching for our update on Friday as we take a look at the world of Finance.

Remember what our Lord Jesus said to His disciples about the events we are seeing happen around us today… Luke 21:28 “Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”

EvenSoCome

And the Hits, just Keep On Coming!!! Every Week the Signs Expand and the Time Grows Nearer!

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

EvenSoCome

Washington Weather; Kerry, Obama and Netanyahu; Corrupt Theology; Obama, Putin and the Ukraine, Oh My!!!

Well once again we lead off our update with the weather. Last week while John Kerry, President Obama, and other top administration people were pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to make peace with the Palestinians, the Washington area was hit hard by a major snowstorm and freeze. The Federal Government was shut down on Monday and from Washington to Baltimore the east coast experienced its coldest March temperatures in recorded history. Seriously, I know there has to be a copy of Bill Koenig’s book “Eye to Eye” laying around the White House somewhere, somebody needs to just pick it up and read it.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in Washington he was greeted with the content of an interview between Jeffrey Goldberg and President Barack Obama. The language in the interview, in regard to Israel’s acceptance of John Kerry’s framework for peace, could not have been welcomed by the Prime Minister. When asked about the subject of Middle East peace, Obama told Goldberg that the U.S.’s friendship with Israel is undying, but he also issued what Goldberg took to be a veiled threat: “The U.S., though willing to defend an isolated Israel at the United Nations and in other international bodies, might soon be unable to do so effectively.” Obama also said that if Prime Minister Netanyahu “does not believe that a peace deal with the Palestinians is the right thing to do for Israel, then he needs to articulate an alternative approach.” Obama then added, “It’s hard to come up with one that’s plausible.”

In the interview, Obama made it clear that he views Abbas as the most politically moderate leader the Palestinians may ever have. And, it seemed obvious to Goldberg that the president believes that the next move is Prime Minister Netanyahu’s. Later in the interview Obama also said “I believe that President Abbas is sincere about his willingness to recognize Israel and its right to exist, to recognize Israel’s legitimate security needs, to shun violence, to resolve these issues in a diplomatic fashion that meets the concerns of the people of Israel.”

However, in an article published on Friday, March 7, by the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there is “no way” he will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and accept a Palestinian capital in just a portion of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem. Abbas’s comments signaled that the divide between him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains wide after months of mediation efforts by Secretary of State John Kerry. Abbas also said, he withstood international pressure in the past, when he sought UN recognition of a state of Palestine over Washington’s objections, and would continue to do so.

While in Washington Prime Minister Netanyahu addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference. Some of his key points in the speech were:

  • Jerusalem is the eternal undivided capital of Israel and the Jewish people.
  • The need to strengthen alliance between the U.S. and Israel, and safeguard and nurture the most important alliance in the world.
  • When Iran builds ICBMs they are to use against America.
  • The need to oppose Iran and stand for what is right.
  • The greatest threat to our mutual security is a nuclear Iran.
  • Iran wants a military nuclear program, not a peaceful one.
  • It is a mistake leaving Iran with the ability to enrich uranium; Iran may have a threshold nuclear program.
  • Pressure got Iran to the table, not backing off the pressure. The greater the pressure on Iran, the smaller the use of force will be necessary.
  • Time for PA to stop denying history. PA must recognize a Jewish state. President Abbas must recognize a Jewish state. We may have a territorial dispute, but tell the Palestinians we have a right to a Jewish state.
  • May take decades for formal approval of a Palestinian state to trickle down.
  • I am charged with the protection of the state of Israel. I will never gamble with the security of the only Jewish state.
  • BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement will fail. Won’t stop major companies from doing business in Israel. Apple, Google, Microsoft, Cisco and other major companies are doing business in Israel.
  • BDS is the latest chapter in dark history of anti-Semitism.
  • Israel’s best economic days lie ahead.
  • Americans and Israelis stand for life. We stand on the right side of the moral divide.

As Prime Minister Netanyahu returns to Israel, another “Christ at the Crossroads” conference has begun in Bethlehem. It is at the very heart of the BDS movement and is sponsored by “Christian” denominations who have rejected God’s eternal promises to Israel through the Abrahamic covenant. This theological error has caused them to embrace Supersessionism, also known as Replacement Theology, and in doing so they have become proponents of the so-called Palestinian liberation theology. In my opinion this is nothing more than anti-Semitism and further evidence of biblical apostasy in mainstream denominations.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Israeli defense forces intercepted a ship in the Red Sea carrying an Iranian arms shipment headed for the Gaza Strip. The Panamanian flagged ship, the “Klos-C”, was found to be carrying 150 shipping containers, 100 of which contained arms. After the initial inspection the ship was escorted to an Israeli port and unloaded. In total the ship contained 40 Syrian M-302 missiles, 181 heavy mortars, and 400,000 rounds of ammunition.

On Sunday, March 9 the European Union’s policy Chief, Catherine Ashton, met with Iranian President Rohani in Tehran to discuss Iran’s nuclear activities. Later on Sunday at his regular weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke out about the meeting in Tehran and the European Union foreign policy Chief’s visit there. “The goal of seizing the arms ship was to expose Iran’s true face,” Netanyahu told ministers. “I say this in order to bring it to the attention of Ms. Ashton, who is now visiting Tehran, and I wish to ask her whether she asked her hosts about the shipment of weapons to terrorist organizations.”

As all of this is happening, tension continues in the Ukraine as Russia has continued to occupy Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin has completely dismissed warnings from President Obama and his administration. His disdain for the US president and his spineless approach to foreign-policy by “leading from behind” is glaringly apparent. Putin maintains that they are only in Crimea to protect Russia’s national interests there and the Russian speaking citizens of Crimea.

In my opinion the Russian takeover of Crimea is a done deal and it only remains to be seen whether or not they will Annex the entirety of the Ukraine. Because of Russia’s desire to control the natural gas pipeline that services the European Union, and its need for the warm water ports in Crimea and the Ukraine, Vladimir Putin will not back down even under the threat of economic sanctions. He is aware that neither the United States, European Union, nor any of their allies are willing to commit troops to attempt to repel the Russian takeover.

Friends we are living in the Last Days, the signs of the times are everywhere, and I believe Jesus will soon return for His Church. End Times prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes, and it has never been more important for us as believers, His Remnant Church, to be sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with this world, which truly needs a Savior.