Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
|Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
By Jack Kelley
(note: I originally published this article in 2000, but with the Obama administration’s renewed emphasis on achieving an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, I’ve updated it and offer it for your consideration.)
Right from the beginning, most informed commentators have predicted that the only logical conclusion to the so-called Middle East Peace process would be war. Contrary to what our leaders have told us, the Palestinian goal has never been to accept a two state solution. They’ve already turned that deal down at least twice. No, the goal has been to eliminate the Jewish state altogether. As long as they could win concessions at the bargaining table war could be avoided, but the day would obviously come when no more concessions could be given, and the only option would be to go to war for the rest. That day may have come, and of course the stumbling block is Jerusalem.
I Am Going To Make Jerusalem A Cup That Sends All The Surrounding Peoples Reeling … Zech. 12:2
How have we come to this? Let’s review the real issues. The Koran teaches that any land conquered in the name of Islam will never be lost. The very existence of the nation Israel is a violation of that teaching because the land of Israel, including and especially Jerusalem, was once conquered for Islam. Since 1948 the utter destruction of Israel has been the stated Moslem goal, but half a dozen wars have taught them that Israel was too strong to be destroyed militarily. The brilliance of the “Peace Process” is that it enables the Palestinians to win back much of the land through inexpensive negotiations. This has the effect of simultaneously weakening Israel and giving the Moslem forces time to gain the necessary strength to take the rest.
Land For Peace?
What most people don’t realize is that with the speed of modern aircraft and missiles, conventional warfare requires more geography rather than less to give defenders sufficient time to react to an attack. Taking land from central Israel (the West Bank) means that attack aircraft could traverse the country in about 8 minutes. This is not enough time to react with effective counter measures. Giving up the West Bank would make Israel less secure rather than more.
Also, Israel’s enemies have used the time spent in negotiations to create long-range ballistic missile and biological warfare capabilities in an effort to neutralize Israel’s nuclear threat. A nasty situation all around. Most informed observers believe that as soon as the Moslems have gained everything possible from negotiating and believe they’re strong enough to destroy Israel, they’ll attack. And unless major changes in the Jewish position concerning the sovereignty of Jerusalem are forth coming, the negotiations are effectively over. Whether Israel’s enemies are strong enough yet for a military victory may soon be revealed. Combatants on both Israel’s Northern and Southern borders seem ready to find out.
I Make Known The End From The Beginning … Isaiah 46:10
Over 2500 years ago the Lord informed Ezekiel of a great battle involving a coalition of nations who would align themselves against Israel (Ezek. 38-39). He said this battle would take place in the latter days, after the Jewish people had been gathered in the land from many nations following a great war, and would be a surprise attack on the mountains of Israel (West Bank). But he also said the people would think they were living in safety when the attack came (Ezek. 38:8), a peaceful and unsuspecting nation (Ezek. 38:11). But that doesn’t seem to define their current state.
Recently a little known prophecy from Psalm 83 that might be a bridge between here and Ezekiel 38 has come to the surface. Psalm 83 is a prayer that God would defeat a coalition of nations that could represent Israel’s current next door neighbors, who the Psalmist accuses of conspiring against God’s people, threatening to destroy them as a nation. There is no evidence in the historical record that such a coalition ever rose up against Israel, so Psalm 83 may very well be speaking of an attack that a growing number of strategists expect to come in 2010. If so then it’s obvious Israel will emerge victorious and will fall into the state of complacency suggested by Ezekiel 38:8-11. This would also explain why none of the nations named in Psalm 83 are included among the attackers of Ezekiel 38. (Read about Psalm 83 here)
Who Started This?
The so called Arab-Israeli conflict has actually been brewing for over 4000 years. It began with Isaac and Ishmael, the sons of Abraham, escalated in the time of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac, and continued through out the Old Testament. It became a Moslem-Jewish conflict with the advent of Islam in the 6th century AD. But behind the scenes the real battle has always been a spiritual one, because ever since God chose the Jews as His people, Israel as His land, and Jerusalem as His city, Satan has been working overtime in an effort to take the land away from Him by destroying His people. After all, he thinks Planet Earth is his. So this is not just a political matter or even a religious one. It’s a spiritual matter and will not be resolved until Satan is defeated and the Lord Himself causes every knee to bow and every tongue to confess that He (alone) is Lord (Phil 2:10-11).
Why Pray For The Peace Of Jerusalem?
On several occasions I’ve been asked something like, “If this is a great cosmic problem that won’t ever be solved until the 2nd coming, how can our prayers help?” Here are some good reasons why we should pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
1st, speaking of the Jewish people the Lord said, “Whoever touches you touches the apple of my eye” (Zech. 2:9) and to tribulation survivors He’ll say, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt 25:40). I know it breaks His heart to see the way His city has been defiled by hate and bloodshed. As Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision has said, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” It’s good for us to be on the Lord’s side.
2nd, He has commanded it and rewards us for obedience. All of Psalm 122 speaks of the special nature of Jerusalem, the one place on Earth God specifically chose for His dwelling, and promises prosperity to those who pray for its peace. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. (Psalm 122:6 KJVKJV)
And 3rd, when you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, you’re praying for the Messiah to come and establish His Kingdom. Maybe that’s the best reason of all.
You can almost hear the Footsteps of the Messiah.
Deliverance From Strongholds
By Joseph Chambers
Satan is on the move. The fiery darts of his evil workings are capturing an unsuspecting multitude and taking them captive. Our churches are full of good people that are bound and shackled. The unchurched world is equally blind, fettered, and unable to see or hear the saving Gospel. We hear much about praying, but I fear that most praying today is as empty as a desert. Please do not think I am being critical or down on the good saints that are striving hard to see results in spiritual matters. My effort is to answer this desperate need and see the devil defeated. Please read every word of this article.
Stealth is the first design of Satan. He hides his every move. Most of the church world and almost the entire secular world deny that Satan even exists. Satan has basically made himself a non-entity and the only people that believe he is around are his worshippers. He loves his obscurity. The truth is that he is a fallen angel and as powerful as the strongest of angels. He is not supernatural, but he is paranormal and can accomplish some wild things when unhindered by the power of God. Apostle Paul wrote Timothy and warned him of Satan’s design to ensnare the saints. He stated, “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (II Timothy 2:26). We live in the ultimate day of his dark deeds.
There are many ways that good people are brought under his control. The Spirit said to the Hebrews or converted Jews, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright” (Hebrews 12:15-16). By the same Holy Spirit Peter said, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Peter 5:8). Satan and his army of fallen spirits have every person on this earth in their sight. They are out to buttonhole you and put you in their straitjacket.
It is impossible to name every bondage or stronghold. Certainly, roots of bitterness – something or someone offends you and you hold onto that offence – are a type of bondage. Jealousy, anger, resentment, and unforgiveness are emotions that easily become strongholds. If you disobey a truth in the Bible and do not repent, it will become a stronghold. Many fleshly habits, such as tobacco, drugs, or alcohol quickly become a bondage or stronghold. Worldly entertainment, immorality, and immodest dress will capture your very soul. Many people are bound with the decoration of the body and the passion of looking like the models in the latest Vogue Magazine.
The Spirit warns us about being captured by this world. Peter stated,”While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning” (II Peter 2:19-20). The normal state of an unbeliever or the person that has not been born again is bondage to this world. “Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world” (Galatians 4:3).
Every power or bondage and every spiritual stronghold is empowered by demons or fallen angels. A person bound with tobacco has a spirit of uncleanness. The worldly lifestyle is an unclean bondage. Anything that holds you captive is the work of Satan. Jesus came to give you liberty, to set you free, and to fill you “with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (I Peter 1:8). He wants you to be free like a bird, to soar in Spiritual things, and to be full of His Holy Spirit. He wants to plant you in His Church and make you faithful to the House of God.
Now, it’s time to learn powerful praying so we can see deliverance from strongholds. I have wasted much of my prayer life, but thank God that has changed. The Son of God was the master teacher on prayer. First, He warned us that Satan had to be bound before any victory was possible. Here are His words, “Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house” (Matthew 12:29). It does not matter what you are praying about – someone being saved, healed, or delivered from drugs or immorality – you must first defeat the spirits. Every life that is not free in Jesus Christ is bound by the enemy of Jesus Christ. There is not a “no man’s zone” in the spiritual world. You are either in or you are out.
Unsaved people are blinded by Satan, who the Bible called “the god of this world.” “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:4). If you intend to be a soul-winner, you must first be a prayer warrior. That blindness in the sinner’s mind is their stronghold. Without the work of the Holy Ghost, it is impossible for that sinner to be converted. You may lead them to make a religious decision, but they will be just as lost as before. Praying the sinner’s prayer is powerless without conviction by the Spirit that breaks the stronghold of sin. Our churches are full of unconverted religious church members.
Mighty, anointed prayer is God’s design for victory in His Church. Man did not institute prayer. The Father Himself made prayer and communion with Himself our first line of victory. Forget your preaching, singing, or church worship if you have not learned to pray. Souls are saved in prayer closets before the first song in the House of God. When Zion travails, souls are saved, men are delivered, and the Kingdom of God comes to town. Read what the Spirit says, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled” (II Corinthians 1:3-6). Jesus has won this victory and we live in it by prayer.
Pentecost came after ten days – ordained and required by Jesus Christ – of soul-surrendered and unified praying. The early church leaders refused to become the Red Cross Brigade, but gave themselves to the Word of God and prayer. As the church shook the world, the saints of God prayed. “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). By the power of the Spirit it is about to happen again!
By Daymond Duck
The disciples asked Jesus, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age” (Matthew 24:3)?
After several comments, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, this generation shall not pass away till all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34).
Controversy surrounds what He said. Some say “this generation” means the generation that was alive when Jesus was speaking. Most who believe this way spiritualize the Bible. They say Jesus came back about 2,000 years ago and that His return was a spiritual return. Others say “this generation” means the generation that sees “all these things” that Jesus had just mentioned in Matthew chapter 24. Most who believe this way take the Bible literally. And they say the return of Jesus is still future. It seems more likely that this second group is right.
For one thing, Jesus talked about “the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing in the Holy place” (Matthew 24:15). That didn’t happen in the generation Jesus was speaking to. But it will happen in the future when the Antichrist defiles the rebuilt Temple 3½ years after a seven-year covenant for peace in the Middle East. There’s no evidence of a seven-year covenant for peace in the Middle East when Jesus said these things.
For another thing, Jesus talked about “great tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world, no nor ever shall be” (Matthew 24:21). It’s a stretch to say that 70 A.D. was worse than the Flood, worse than WWI, worse than WW II, worse than the Holocaust, or worse than anything that will happen in the future.
For another thing, Jesus said, “Except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved” (Matthew 24:21). No one came close to destroying the Romans Empire or everyone on earth in 70 A.D. There’s no evidence that Jesus came back and prevented anything like this from happening.
For another thing, Jesus said, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:29-31). There’s no evidence of a darkened sun and moon, falling stars, everyone seeing Jesus, everyone on earth mourning, trumpets sounding, and all the elect being gathered together in 70 A.D.
Finally, Jesus told the parable of the fig tree (Matthew 24:32). Many commentators believe the fig tree represents Israel. Many believe that Jesus was saying when you see Israel back in the land know that the Second Coming is near. Israel had to be destroyed before she could come back into being.
How Long is “This Generation”
The Bible is vague and speculation abounds on this. After many years of saying we don’t know how long a generation is, this ministry has turned to saying, “We believe the terminal generation started in 1948 and it is our opinion that it will last 70 to 80 years.”
The major reason for this change is that we have a better understanding of Psalm 90. It is the first of eleven Psalms that were written by Moses. Many believe it’s the oldest Psalm in the Bible. It begins with a comment about all generations. Moses said, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Psalm 90:1). It talks about God forming or creating the earth (Psalm 90:2). It says, “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night” (Psalm 90:4). Peter said it this way, “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (II Peter 3:8). Psalm 90 makes a reference to the Flood and the brevity of life (Psalm 90:4-8). It turns to a discussion of our days and years (Psalm 90:9). Then, Moses said, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” (Psalm 90:10). We will come back to this, but for the time being let’s stick to the remainder of the Psalm. It mentions the anger and wrath of God which could be a reference to the Tribulation Period (Zephaniah 1:14-15; Revelation 6:16-17). It asks God to teach us to number our days that we may use our precious days wisely (Psalm 90:12). It calls upon the Lord to return which could be a reference to the Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation Period and asks how long it will be (Psalm 90:13). Then, it closes with four verses that can well be applied to the Millennium (Psalm 90:14-17).
Now, let’s go back to verse 10 which reads, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten (70 years); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (80 years), yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” We are not predicting a date, but assuming that the terminal generation started in 1948, and it will be 70 to 80 years long, it appears that God will fulfill everything including the Rapture, Tribulation Period and Second Coming, in 70 or perhaps up to 80 years (by 2018, but He may delay up to 2028). If one subtracts seven years (from 2017 or up to 2018) for the Tribulation Period, and an unspecified amount of time for the period between the Rapture and the beginning of the Tribulation Period, it’s obvious that the Rapture could happen any time.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
The Folded Napkin
By Author Unknown
The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.
The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved. She said, ‘They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don’t know where they have put him!’
Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see. The other disciple outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in.
Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head was folded up and lying to the side.
Was that important? Absolutely!
Is it really significant? Yes!
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this tradition.
When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it was exactly the way the master wanted it. The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not dare touch that table, until the master was finished.
Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and toss it onto the table. The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the wadded napkin meant, ‘I’m done’.
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table, because………..
The folded napkin meant, ‘I’m coming back!’
He is Coming Back!
This is one I can honestly say I have never seen circulating in the emails so; if it touches you, you may want to forward it.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
John the Baptist was not Elijah
By Daymond Duck
The expectation that Elijah will come back is based on a prophecy in the Book of Malachi. God said, “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he shall turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse” (Malachi 4:5-6).
The Jews put out a cup for Elijah at the Passover Meal because they are so sure that he will literally come back. After the meal, they say a prayer and ask a family member to open the door to see if Elijah the prophet has arrived.
Jesus was talking about His Second Coming when He told His disciples, “The Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:27-28). Six days later, Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the Mount of Transfiguration where they saw Jesus talking to Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:1-4). This is important because it shows that Elijah did show up in a vision (Matthew 17:9).
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus asked His disciples not to tell anyone about the vision until He had been risen from the dead. This puzzled the disciples. They asked, “Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come” (Matthew 17:10)? In other words, they were asking Jesus, “If you are going to die before Elijah shows up, why do the scribes say Elijah will come first?” They didn’t understand that there Jesus would come twice (first and Second Coming). And they didn’t understand that Elijah will show up before the Second Coming.
Anyway, this puzzled the disciples. “Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them” (Matthew 17:11-12). Jesus was saying the disciples were right. They rightly understood what the scribes were saying. Elijah will show up before the great and terrible day of the Lord or before the Tribulation Period. He will show up before Jesus comes in His glory which means before the Second Coming of Jesus. This is one reason why some think Elijah will be one of the Two Witnesses that will preach during the first half of the Tribulation Period and before the Second Coming.
Now, here is the problem: “Jesus said Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall the Son of man suffer of them.” The fact that Jesus said “Elias is come already” sounds very much like Jesus was saying John the Baptist was Elijah.
But this is explained in Matthew 11:14. Concerning their coming King, the kingdom and John the Baptist, Jesus said, “IF ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.” He was saying, “IF you will accept the fact that I am your King and believe that the kingdom has come, I will accept John the Baptist as a fulfillment of the prophecy about Elijah.”
“IF” is a big word. It is a conditional word. And the point is that the Jews didn’t accept the fact that Jesus was their King and they didn’t believe that the kingdom had come so Jesus didn’t accept John the Baptist as a fulfillment of the prophecy about Elijah.
Luke 1:17 reveals more. When the angel Gabriel told Zacharias about the birth of John the Baptist, Gabriel said John the Baptist will come in the spirit and power of Elijah. John the Baptist didn’t come as Elijah. He came in the spirit and power of Elijah.
Jesus would have accepted John’s coming in the spirit and power of Elijah as a fulfillment of the prophecy if the Jews had accepted Jesus as their King and believed that the kingdom had arrived. But the Jews didn’t do that. The “IF” didn’t happen. John the Baptist was killed. Jesus was killed. And the kingdom wasn’t established.
So Jesus didn’t accept John the Baptist as the coming of Elijah. And that’s exactly what John the Baptist said when the priests and Levites asked him “Art thou Elias” (John 1:21). He said, “I am not.”
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck
2010…What’s Likely, What’s Not
By Jack Kelley
The following is not intended as prophecy. The only thing I can safely say I got from the Lord is the idea to write it. But with things happening so quickly these days I think it’s good to get some perspective on Biblical events that may affect our lives in the coming 12 months. It’ll be a good follow-up to our recap of 2009.
The Battle of Psalm 83…Likely.
Something big seems to be brewing on both Israel’s northern and southern borders. In the south, Egypt and the US are said to be teaming up with Israel. Their plan is to drive Hamas from power in Gaza. Egypt is already building an iron wall along its border to prevent Palestinian entry into the Sinai desert. There are 2 motivating factors at play. One is that the US seems determined to broker a peace agreement this year. To accomplish this, Hamas has to be taken out of the way so Mahmoud Abbas can be the undisputed leader of the Palestinians. The second is the fact that al Qaida is building a strong presence in Gaza. Egypt sees this as a national threat. Some are already calling Gaza the new Yemen.
Israeli experts at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Universities strongly believe that in the north, Iran is preparing to preempt a military attack against its nuclear program by going to war against Israel, using Hezbollah and several other Palestinian militias from Lebanon as proxies. These experts say that such a move by Iran will give Israel the needed justification to wage a destructive war of unprecedented proportions against both Hezbollah and Lebanon, totally crippling their capabilities for many years to come. They predict that with the resolve of Israel’s current leadership it will only take them 5-6 weeks to liquidate Hezbollah and dismantle the Lebanese Army.
They also believe the Netanyahu government will use the opportunity to widen this war to include Damascus and Northern Syria, wiping out Syria’s chemical and nuclear programs in the process. In the wake of all these dramatic events, Syria and Lebanon will have no other option but to sign a peace treaty on Israel’s terms. (Source: Hamid Ghoriafi, journalist and Middle East analyst in a report to the Lebanese Canadian Coordinating Council.)
If this happens it will explain why none of these entities was named in Ezekiel’s roster of enemy combatants.
The Battle of Ezekiel 38…Not Likely
Reading Magog’s (Russia’s) mind God said, “You will say, ‘I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people-all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land.’ ”
“Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, ‘Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?’ “ (Ezekiel 38:11-13)
Three factors argue against Ezekiel’s Battle coming this year. First, Turkey hasn’t yet completed its change of allegiance from Europe to the camp of Islam, although this could be completed very soon.
Second, Israel hasn’t acquired the wealth necessary to make it a tempting target to Russia, as required by Ezekiel 38:13. The multi-billion dollar gas strike off the Mediterranean coast, and the recent discovery of oil near Tel Aviv could soon provide sufficient motivation to meet this requirement as well.
But third and most importantly, Israel is not living carelessly in a state of perceived peace, and has neither dismantled the security wall that divides it from the Palestinians, nor relaxed its guard in any other way. On the contrary, the military has just concluded successful tests of its “Iron Dome” missile shield in preparation for installation. While Israel sincerely desires peace, the country is not unsuspecting of attack, and is in fact preparing to either receive one from Hizbollah, or launch one against Iran or both.
Current news out of the State Department indicates that the US may have abandoned its effort to impose stronger economic sanctions on Iran, for all practical purposes leaving only the military option. I really think that unless Iran’s nuclear ambitions are curtailed in some other fashion, the Israelis will be looking for an opportunity to take care of the matter themselves and therefore will not be taken by surprise this year.
The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse…Not Likely
For several years people have been asking if we’re in the Seal Judgments of Rev. 6. They ask these questions because some teachers say the first seals are already open. But the opening of the seal judgments requires the 70th Week of Daniel to have begun, and that can’t happen until Israel is officially back in a covenant relationship with God. That means God will have revealed Himself to them by defeating their attackers in the Battle of Ezekiel 38 (Ezek. 39:21-22) It’s helpful to remember that from chapter 6 thru chapter 19, the Book of Revelation is a commentary on Daniel’s 70th Week, a period of time during which the Church is not present on Earth.
Further Decline Of The US…Likely
Since the US is not mentioned in End Times prophecy, although it’s been a dominant world power for nearly all of our life times, its further decline in 2010 is likely. Here’s why I think the US will be increasingly irrelevant as the End Times approach.
More and more “experts” are saying that the recession is not only not over but in 2010 will take an even larger bite out of our economy. Continuing to create money out of thin air to cover our soaring deficit will eventually catch up with us and when it does prices will begin to increase rapidly as the dollar loses what little value it still has. Some say we’ll begin to see the effects of this in 2010. Massive irregularities in the distribution of “bail-out” money are coming to the surface and are likely to further erode our confidence in what our government is telling us.
Most unnerving of all is the lack of trustworthy information from any source. Liberals say the worst is over and things are getting better. Conservatives say we haven’t seen the end yet and things will get worse. With the liberal media pretty much in the government’s pocket and the whackos on the right telling us to buy some guns and find a cave to hide in, where’s the voice of reason to give us the straight story? Or doesn’t any body know?
Experts are beginning to admit that neither political party has the will to do what’s required to save the US from economic ruin. The only question is how long it will take for us to self destruct. Some are saying that by the end of 2010 our situation may well be far worse than it is today.
The Rapture Of The Church…Likely
These days, any talk of coming events has to include the Rapture of the Church. To say that it’s unlikely to happen in 2010 would be misleading, because with each passing day it becomes more and more likely. Even though the timing of the rapture is based upon the number of Church members (Romans 11:25) and not a date, there are other dates that offer clues as to how close we’re coming.
In Matt. 24:34 Jesus said in effect that the generation being born at the time of the first End Times signs would still be alive at the 2nd Coming. The first sign is almost universally recognized as the re-birth of Israel in 1948. “For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24). From Psalm 90:10 we learn that although some may live longer, an average lifespan is about 70 years. 70 years from 1948 would be 2018. Both Romans 11:25 and Acts 15:13-18 indicate that the 70 Weeks of Daniel, interrupted 7 years short of its promised 490 year duration, would resume after the Lord has taken His Church from among the gentiles. Subtracting 7 years from 2018 puts the latest time for the rapture sometime in 2011. Since it could happen at any time, and will happen before Daniel’s 70th week begins, we can realistically look for the rapture any time now.
Every Jewish person dreams of one day celebrating Passover in Jerusalem and so at the end of the Passover Seder, a final toast is traditionally offered. Everyone raises their glass and drinks to the fulfillment of that dream, saying, “Next year in Jerusalem!” Maybe in Church gatherings during 2010 Christians will begin raising their glasses to the toast, “Next year in the New Jerusalem!” It could happen. You can almost hear the footsteps of the Messiah. 01-09-10
Turkey Boosts Ties with Lebanon, Syria and Iran
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
An interesting article the other day mentioned that Turkey is currently boosting ties with Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The article mentioned that the Lebanese Prime Minister was in Turkey ratifying documents that would scrap visa requirements, strengthen defense pacts, etc. This article is especially interesting if one looks at the future prophecy of Ezekiel 38-39. Turkey and Iran are specifically mentioned in the prophecy as major players. Couple this with the increased cooperation between Russia and Iran in recent weeks, and then you will see a pattern that looks very much like chess pieces being moved across the board what for their final moves. The Israel National News is reporting:
Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri is visiting Turkey to ratify agreements that would scrap visa requirements and strengthen defense cooperation as Ankara tightens its friendship with Israel’s three declared enemies to the north. Turkey and Lebanon also are signing military agreements for training, weapons and exchanging expertise.Turkey’s continuing warming of relations with Iran, Syria and Lebanon comes as leading Israeli media have criticized Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon for disparaging the Turkish ambassador to Israel. Ayalon voiced anger at the envoy on Monday over a Turkish soap opera that spread a blood libel against Israel by depicting Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) agents as kidnappers of babies.
We can see from the above quote that there has been a diplomatic emergency over the last few days in which Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon reprimanded the Turkish ambassador to Israel. This unfortunate series of events occured after it was discovered that Turkish TV had been showing programs spreading a blood libel against Israeli security agents and portraying them as kidnappers of babies. The blood libel issue against Jews is nothing new. Many Islamic news outlets depict Jews as making bread, crackers, etc. with the blood of Palestinian children. The depictions are almost always of a caricature of a Jewish person with a big nose, sinister face, etc. This is nothing but blatant anti-semitism and it is quite upsetting to Israel and her friends who take offense to this criminal behavior and libel propaganda. This is the same sort of propaganda that fueled the anti-semitism of Nazi Germany in which 6 million Jews lost their lives as a result of the Holocaust.
After the reprimand of the Turkish ambassador, the Deputy Foreign Minister apologized not once, but twice for something he did not have to apologize for. In fact, I have yet to see an article from the Turks apologizing for showing such anti-semitic and libelous TV programming. I’m not even sure if the Turks have apologized or not?? And yet Israel was given an ultimatium to apologize by a Wednesday midnight deadline or Turkey would recall it’s ambassador. Well, unfortunately we know that there was pressure on the Israelis to appease the Islamic masses and issue an apology. I for one do not think Israel needed to apologize for anything. If anyone should have apologized, it should have been Turkey. But as backwards as the Middle East is with the Islamics, it was just business as usual I guess that Israel once again had to get the short end of the straw in the situation.
One of the ideas floating around in the political establishment in Israel was that the reprimanding of the Turkish ambassador was an attempt by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon to keep Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak from visiting Turkey in the near future. Before the current tension over the Turkish ambassador situation, Turkey had been making several anti-Israel comments and this was a cause for serious concern in the Israeli political establishment. The Israel National News went on to further report:
Foreign Ministry bureaucrats suggested that Ayalon and Minister Avigdor Lieberman are trying to create a crisis in order to torpedo a planned visit by Defense Minister Ehud Barak to Turkey.Ankara used to be considered a close friend of Israel, an image that officials of the Labor party, headed by Barak, are trying to maintain. Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, a veteran Labor politician, said last month that there is no diplomatic crisis between the two countries despite harsh statements against Israel by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ministers.
An example of the recent statements by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan are as follows:
Erdogan this week castigated Israel for bombing Gaza terrorists, allegedly without provocation, and accused Israel of threatening stability in the world because of its assumed nuclear capability. He said in Lebanon, “Is the Israeli government in favor of peace or not? Gaza was bombed again yesterday. Why?” Although Gaza terrorists have escalated rocket fire on Israel almost every day the past week, Erdogan stated, “There were no rocket attacks” when the IDF retaliated.At a joint press conference with Erdogan, Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri declared that Israel is an enemy of Lebanon.
So, we can see that lately there has been some added tension in the region due to active Turkish incitement against the Israelis. To me, this is just a further indication that Turkey is suiting up for her date with destiny per Ezekiel 38-39. Turkey has been making active moves to the East over the past couple of years after trying desperately to obtain membership in the European Union. But after years of stalling and denying the Turks a perferred membership status, it appears Ankara has now turned their sights away from the West and more towards the East and their fellow Islamic brothers and sisters. In my humble opinion it’s just a matter of time before these things come to a head.
Finally, the increased military cooperation between Turkey and her Islamic neighbors was highlighted at the end of the article:
Turkey’s closer military ties with Lebanon follow by two months defense pacts signed with Syria and Iran. Erdogan last October stated that cooperation with the Syria and Iran is important for peace in the Middle East.During a visit by Erdogan to Iran, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised the Turkish Prime Minister for his “clear stance against the Zionist regime.” Turkey also has signed military pacts with Syria and held a joint military drill with its army shortly after canceling the annual military exercise in which Israel participated.
In other news it is being reported by the Iran Focus news website that Russia is making good progress towards getting Iran’s first nuclear reactor online. The Iran Focus website reports:
Russian nuclear reactor builder Atomstroyexport announced on Tuesday that it had been successful in testing the second circuit equipment of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant, state media reported. The successful completion of the hydraulic testing of second circuit equipment of the Bushehr nuclear power plant with pressure buildup to 110 kg/cm2 is seen as a significant step in completing the plant, the state-run Fars news agency reported.
With the region in an escalated state of tension, Iran making more progress towards their evil nuclear ambitions, continued firing of rockets in to Israel by the Iranian proxy terrorists, it does not look like it will be long before something happens that sets the region ablaze. The main players in end times prophecy are definitely moving around the prophetic chess board and taking their places for their final assault on the apple of God’s eye. And when that happens, it won’t be very pretty for the Islamic invaders.
With that said, let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem. Let us pray for the lost souls who will find themselves on the wrong end of the stick for eternity as they followed their wicked ways against Israel and against God. Let us pray that the lost souls of this world come to know the loving and saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. And as always, keep looking up, for your redemption is drawing nigh!!
Israel hints at taking Philadelphi Corridor in next Palestinian conflict
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
In today’s news we find several interesting articles that point to a possible escalation of tension in the Middle East region particularly as it relates to Israel and her Islamic neighbors. For the past several days Israel has seen rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel. The rockets so far have not caused any casualties and the strikes have so far inflicted minimal damage. But regardless this breaching of Israel’s security and safety is not to be taken likely as suggested by government officials. There have been many reports out lately from analysts who have speculated that a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organizations could break out at any moment. The recent rocket firings into Israel is just the match that could light the fuse to setting off the Middle East region. Let’s take a look at the headlines and news stories to try to get a feel for the situation on the ground.
The Haaretz news agency is reporting that a rocket fired today into Israel was the fifth consecutive day that Israel has seen a rocket fired into their territory. The Haaretz news article reported:
A Qassam rocket fired by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip struck the Western Negev on Monday, for the fifth consecutive day. There were no casualties or damages reported in the incident.
Israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak had a few words for the Palestinian terrorists and also issued a warning to them:
Addressing an increase of rocket fire into Israel from Gaza, Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday advised Gaza’s Hamas rulers to “watch their step, and not to cry crocodile tears if they force [Israel] to take action.”
As we can see from the news article Israeli Defense Minister Barak is hinting at a possible Israeli retaliation for the continued and increased firing of rockets into Israel. These rocket attacks come on the heels of reports that 2009 was one of the calmest years in recent memory after the Operation Cast Lead ended in January 2009. Israelis enjoyed a pretty peaceful year given the situation in the region with less fatalities and injuries from her Islamic enemies. The re-newed rocket attacks could be a warning sign of difficulties to come in 2010.
The Jerusalem Post is reporting that IDF officials have said that in the next conflict with the Palestinians in Gaza, that the IDF might decide to take over the Philadelphi corridor between Gaza and Egypt in an effort to stop weapons and arms smuggling. This would help to “cut off the oxygen” to Hamas and hopefully result in calm. The Philadelphi corridor is a continual trouble spot for Israel as security at times between the Gazans and Egyptians is lax which in turns allows for arms to be smuggled into Gaza from Egypt and used against Israel. The Jerusalem Post article reported:
The IDF is prepared for the possibility that in a future conflict with Hamas it will be ordered by the government to take over the Philadelphi Corridor in the southern Gaza Strip, which is lined with hundreds of weapons smuggling tunnels, defense officials said on Sunday.Plans for such an operation have been drawn up and would likely include the deployment of several units in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and along the 14-kilometer strip of land called the Philadelphi Corridor under which Hamas has dug several hundred tunnels that are used to smuggle weapons and explosives into the Strip.
In describing a potential take over situation of the Philadelphi corridor the article went on to say:
Such an operation would be designed to prevent Hamas from rearming following the larger conflict. It would require troops to go house-to-house in Rafah to search for tunnels and to destroy them. There is also the possibility that following such an operation, the IDF would retain a presence in southern Rafah to prevent the re-digging of the tunnels.The IDF believes that since Cast Lead ended in mid-January 2009, Hamas has significantly boosted its military capabilities and has obtained long-range rockets, mostly from Iran. One of these rockets was recently tested by Hamas and has a range of more than 60 km., which means it could hit Tel Aviv.
In addition, Hamas is believed to have obtained advanced, mostly Russian-made anti-tank missiles and shoulder-to-air missiles and is reportedly trying to get its hands on an anti-ship missile that would enable it to prevent the navy from attacking Gaza from the Mediterranean.
As we can see from this article it is possible that the Israelis are going to take a much more active approach to dealing with the Palestinians should the next conflict take place soon. As mentioned in the article, the previous government of Ehud Olmert declined to take such a stand to stop smuggling along the Gaza and Egypt border. As a result, it is estimated that in just a year Hamas has rebuilt their military strength past pre-Operation Cast Lead levels. This is not a good situation for Israel to be in. In fact, as we’ve reported here in the Rapture Report before, the next conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians will probably result in far greater casualties for Israel as well as the Palestinians.
Ongoing appeasement of the international community and Islamic enemies has left Israel in a very difficult place to be. Unlike the Operation Cast Lead war, the next conflict will likely see the Palestinians’ new and improved missiles hitting the heart of Israel and places like Tel Aviv that have remained unscathed in previous flare-ups. The Israelis realize that there is a new reality on the ground and the tension in the region is very high. The Israelis will be forced to act soon, especially if the Palestinians continue to fire rockets into Israel. With Iran racing towards the nuclear finish line, it would not be surprising to find out later that they might be behind the rockets. I would suspect as they get closer and closer to their nuclear finish line, that Iran will use their proxy terrorist groups to try to distract Israel so they can cross the line. However, I do not believe that Israel taken an eye off Iran, no matter what happens on her borders. I believe that Israel has one eye fixed constantly on Iran at this time. and I do not believe that will change.
According to former head of the Southern Command Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yom-Tov Samia, who continues to function as the current SC head’s deputy in the reserves, Israel will be expected to deal Hamas a serious blow in order to make them realize the error and consequences of their ways. Describing the future conflict Samia went on to say:
“We are facing another round in Gaza,” said Samia, who during Cast Lead functioned as the deputy to OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant. “I am very skeptical about the chance that Hamas will suddenly surrender or change its way without first suffering a far more serious blow than it did during Cast Lead.” The blow, he said, would be “more focused with long-range results including the conquering of territory that Hamas will understand it lost as a result of its provocations. We need to create a situation which reduces its oxygen supply.”
This future conflict and resulting aftermath could potentially lead to a new reality on the ground. With the dovish Ehud Olmert government out of the picture and the more hawkish Netanyahu government at the helms, it is likely that a major operation could quickly spiral into a fulfillment of the Psalm 83 scenario where Israel actually gains land as a result of defeating her terrorist enemies. I certainly would think this is possible given the serious threats Israel faces on both her southern and northern borders from Hamas and Hezbollah. And if things were to get really out of hand, it is not too far fetched to see that Isaiah 17 could also be fulfilled should Syrian President Assad join in the conflict and make a fatal move on Israel. One thing is certain and that is that conflict is inevitable in the region, it is simply a matter of time before something happens.
With all the tension in the region right now, there is a good chance that 2010 could be a very important year for Israel and that her current situation with the “Palestinians” could prove to be a year for the record books.
Keep looking up, your redemption is drawing nigh!!
December 2009 Israel and Middle East News Review
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
ISRAEL AWAITS FREEDOM FOR SHALIT
As Israeli government leaders worked tirelessly during the last month of 2009 to free kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, the general public waited and prayed that the young prisoner would soon be released. However many politicians and media commentators questioned the high ransom being demanded by the Palestinian Hamas movement in exchange for Shalit, who was abducted in June 2006 by Hamas fighters during a cross border raid into Israeli territory.
Israeli intelligence officers confirmed media reports in early December that Hamas now possesses Iranian-built longer range rockets that can strike Tel Aviv, some 30 miles north of the Palestinian Gaza Strip. Meanwhile Iran announced it would step up financial aid to several of its regional allies, including Hamas and the Lebanese Hizbullah militia force. This came as Iranian leaders continued to verbally defy international calls to cease enriching uranium and come clean on all aspects of the country’s alarming nuclear development program.
In Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, clashes erupted between Israeli settlers and security forces several times during the month as protests took place against the Netanyahu government’s late November freeze of all Jewish homebuilding projects in the disputed territories. This came as government agents fanned out to enforce the building ban, to the chagrin of many local residents.
Cracks appeared in the government coalition after the left of center Labor party vigorously endorsed the construction halt while the Russian immigrant-based Yisrael Beiteinu party strongly questioned the action, along with several lawmakers inside the Prime Minister’s own Likud party. Cheered on by the Israeli business community, Netanyahu defended the building ban as unavoidable if Israel is to nurture and guard its vital relationship with the United States. At the same time, he renewed efforts to woo the rival Kadima party to join his government coalition, hinting he might work for Kadima’s dissolution if party leaders do not jump on board.
OFF AND ON DEAL
A deluge of media reports in late November and December claimed that a final deal to free Gilad Shalit was imminent. Still, details of the seemingly pending agreement, mediated by German diplomats with the help of Egyptian officials, were few and far between, with conflicting reports published and broadcast by Israeli and Arab media outlets.
The constant stream of information, or disinformation, only heightened the Israeli public’s desire to see the incarcerated young man released from over 42 months of captivity, although many also expressed concern that the government would hand over some hardened Palestinian terrorists who would soon return to their murderous ways.
By early December, the picture became even murkier when Hamas leaders maintained that Israel was wrecking the deal by withholding the final list of Palestinian convicts to be released in exchange for Shalit. As in previous prisoner swaps, the Palestinians were demanding freedom for dozens of men “with blood on their hands,” in other words, those who had directly participated in or led terror assaults that resulted in Israeli casualties.
Exactly to where the freed prisoners would be released was also in dispute, with several Israeli cabinet ministers insisting that some be sent to Arab countries away from Israel’s immediate vicinity. Others with homes in Judea or Samaria would be effectively exiled to the nearby Gaza Strip. Hamas leaders maintained that all the prisoners must be allowed back to their family homes, including those who resided in and around Jerusalem.
Not a few government ministers echoed opposition criticism of the proposed deal. Many worried that additional IDF kidnappings will follow if Hamas is able to boast that the large prisoner exchange was totally lopsided in its favor. Still, the desire to see Gilad Shalit finally set free after over three years of fruitless efforts to secure that goal seemed strong enough to overcome all political obstacles on the Israeli side.
Concerns escalated after the government revealed that it was preparing to release nearly 1,000 Arab prisoners in exchange for Shalit. Hundreds of others are due to be handed over to the Palestinian Authority in an effort to blunt the political victory that Hamas will claim when it dramatically gets back many of its most infamous terrorist henchmen.
The information that 980 Palestinian prisoners were to be set free was published as part of the government’s legal response to a lawsuit filed by an Israeli group that supports Jewish victims of Arab terror. The group, Alm Agor, reported that around 180 Israelis have been killed by terrorists who walked out of prison in previous lopsided swaps, arguing that further releases would soon come back to haunt the nation.
As the German-mediated negotiations dragged on during December, Hamas officials said disputes remained over some 50 names out of 980 prisoners expected to be set free as part of a final deal. Unconfirmed media reports indicated that the list includes some of the most notorious terrorist murderers incarcerated in Israeli prisons.
Reports peaked in early December that a prisoner swap was imminent. The likelihood that a deal was about to be announced seemed to be enhanced when Hamas leader and former PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh suddenly cancelled a planned visit to Mecca to mark the annual Haj pilgrimage to the Islamic holy city. Yet continuing disputes about the makeup of the Palestinian prisoner list and internal Israeli struggles over that issue and others connected to it kept the emerging deal under wraps as Christmas came and went.
German mediators ran into a major roadblock mid month centered on Hamas demands that three well known terrorists be included in the prisoner exchange. Two of the men, Abdullah Barghouti and Ibrahim Hamed, were behind the deadly 2003 attack upon the Moment restaurant, located just one block from the Prime Minister’s official residence in central Jerusalem. Barghouti was also involved in the terrorist assault on the Sbarro pizza parlor that left scores dead and wounded next to the bustling central Jerusalem intersection of King George Street and Jaffa Road. The third convict, Abbas Sayid, helped plan one of the worst terrorist atrocities ever launched in Israel—the 2002 Passover bombing at a hotel in the coastal city of Netanya. That heinous assault left the restaurant partly destroyed and 30 Jewish Seder guests’ dead, including children, with many others wounded.
Calls for the release of former Fatah militia leader Marwan Barghouti were sounded by many Palestinian legislators and pundits, and by not a few Israelis who believe he might emerge as the new PA leader. Barghouti, who was jailed earlier this decade for life, was convicted of being directly responsible for the deaths of five Israelis as head of the Fatah Tanzim militia. He is widely perceived to be tough enough to negotiate a final peace accord with Israel, announcing that he will be a parliamentary candidate if freed before Palestinian legislative elections are held sometime next year. Barghouti pledged to focus his political energy on efforts to bring lasting reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.
In mid-December, Palestinian Authority leaders convened a special session of the PLO Central Committee in Ramallah north of Jerusalem. The announced purpose of the gathering was to discuss ongoing political attempts, led by Egypt, to reconcile the PLO’s Fatah party with the rival Hamas movement.
However, PA president Mahmoud Abbas used the special session to unveil yet another pre-condition for resuming stalled peace negotiations with Israel. International efforts led by Barrack Obama to get the talks rolling again in 2009 came to nothing.
Abbas said Israeli leaders must agree in advance that the final borders of a future Palestinian state will be established along the ceasefire lines that existed at the end of Israel’s Independence war in 1948-49. A total Jewish settlement freeze, including in every portion of the eastern half of Jerusalem, must also be enacted, Abbas repeated. Israeli officials insist that adjustments must be made to the 1949 truce borders to reflect the many significant changes that have occurred on the ground since Israeli forces captured the area in 1967, particularly the fact that nearly 300,000 Israelis now reside in the contested zone.
FREEZE WELCOMED AND REBUKED
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s late November announcement that he would enforce a ten month residence building ban in all Jewish communities located in Judea and Samaria was quickly condemned by most leaders of the settlement movement, even as it was welcomed and praised by the Obama administration and many governments in Europe and elsewhere.
The Palestinian Authority rapidly condemned the move, terming it totally insufficient to lure them back to the peace table. PA leaders decried that fact that the building ban is only designed to last a pre-set limited time and does not include construction of new Jewish homes inside Jerusalem’s sprawling municipal boundaries. Netanyahu has made clear that he will never take any action that might call into question his long held commitment to guard Jerusalem’s current status as Israel’s undivided capital city.
Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip showed their contempt for the Prime Minister’s building freeze by lobbing five mortar shells into Israeli territory the day after the housing ban was announced. Hamas claimed it was not behind the barrage, which caused no injuries, attributing the firings to Islamic fringe groups not under its direct control. On the same day near Hebron, an Arab assailant stabbed and wounded a Jewish man and woman at a convenience store before being shot by nearby soldiers as he fled the crime scene.
American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued an official statement that lauded the Israeli building freeze while hinting that the Obama administration supports Israel’s oft stated position that negotiations alone must determine the final borders of any Palestinian state, which will not be identical to the ceasefire lines that existed up until the 1967 Six Day war.
“Today’s announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”
The Israeli Yediot Ahronot newspaper reported that the American administration actually followed up Netanyahu’s welcomed announcement by requesting additional Israeli concessions. In particular, the White House team pushing with the State Department for renewed Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations wants Netanyahu to unilaterally transfer further sections of Israeli-controlled land to the Palestinian Authority, especially in the strategic Jordan Valley and areas north of Jerusalem.
Under the Oslo peace accords, the land in question is listed as Areas B and C. Area C was mostly comprised of territory that Israel hopes to keep control over as part of any final peace accord, while Area B was meant to be temporarily patrolled by Israeli security forces while quickly coming under overall PA political control. The Oslo plan basically collapsed when the Palestinians began their violent Al Aksa attrition war in September 2,000.
PLEASING UNCLE SAM
During a speech broadcast live to the nation, the Likud leader explained the rationale behind the decision to ask his cabinet to approve a construction freeze. Netanyahu stressed that he was only proposing “a temporary halt” to construction, pointing out that work would continue unabated on public buildings like schools, medical clinics and synagogues. Construction would also progress on 3,000 apartment units currently nearing completion.
Calling it “a far reaching and painful step,” the PM averred that the building moratorium would demonstrate that he and his government are “serious about peace with the Palestinians.” He repeated his readiness to negotiate “an historic peace agreement” anytime the Palestinian leadership is finally ready to so.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak enthusiastically endorsed the housing freeze, which he helped craft. The veteran Labor party leader acknowledged that it was arrived at in close coordination with the United States government, with whom he acted as an interlocutor on behalf of the Likud Premier.
Analysts said Barak was basically repeating what Netanyahu essentially said: Israel has no practical choice other than giving in to the strong White House-led pressure for a settlement freeze. The small Jewish state, especially its core business and security sectors, are loathe to do anything to irritate the elected leaders of America, let alone outright offending Israel’s most important strategic and economic ally. Analysts add that this is particularly the case in these tempestuous days when Israel is preparing for a possible nuclear showdown with Iran.
Meanwhile PM Netanyahu was busy during December trying to persuade the main opposition political party, Kadima, to join his colorful coalition quilt. He met with party leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni to make his case that Kadima—comprised mainly of former Likud members who followed Ariel Sharon into the new centrist grouping in 2005—should join his broad coalition, if not be folded back into the party’s natural Likud home.
Netanyahu noted that Kadima has fewer political differences with the Likud party than does the Labor party that currently sits around the cabinet table. Analysts say the personal animosity Livni feels for the charismatic Likud leader is behind the continuing rift, which might prod some Kadima Knesset members to simply return on their own to their Likud roots.
ENFORICING THE BAN
Settlement leaders reacted with anger when Defense Minister Barak announced he would hire some 40 new inspectors to enforce the building ban. This came as two dozen local Jewish council heads were served legal injunctions removing their normal authority to issue construction permits until the ten month freeze is rescinded.
Many of the disgruntled leaders and their followers then decided to physically block the inspectors from entering their communities, prompting clashes with Israeli police and paramilitary forces. Netanyahu subsequently met with many of the upset settlement leaders, telling them that while the building ban was “painful,” it was also “temporary,” and would definitely be lifted late next year.
Thousands of Jewish demonstrators protested the construction freeze in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and elsewhere. Hundreds gathered just outside Jerusalem on December 7 where they succeeded in temporarily shutting down the main highway linking the two large cities. Police forces worked to reopen the road amid scuffles with many of the irate protestors.
As the Knesset met in special session to discuss the building ban, the financial cost of the move was also under scrutiny. Likud legislator Ze’ev Elkin said research conducted in his office showed that the freeze would cost the government around 500 million shekels (over 100 million US dollars) in lost tax revenues and higher unemployment payments. The government will also need to cover compensation costs for homeowners who are struggling to pay back bank loans on their suddenly frozen property projects.
WAR GAMES AMID FIGHTING WORDS
The Iranian military stage massive war games in early December aimed at testing the country’s ability to protect its far flung nuclear facilities from foreign attack. This came amid continuing defiance expressed by Iran’s rogue Shiite leaders in the face of growing international pressure to halt their uranium enrichment program and come clean on all nuclear dealings.
Meanwhile Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards announced that it would funnel an additional 20 million dollars in aid to various regional allies that are “committed to resistance against the Zionist entity and its allies,” including the Hizbullah militia force in Lebanon, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad forces that mainly operate out of the Gaza Strip. The financial dispersion was endorsed by the Iranian parliament mid month.
This came as the Lebanese government announced that no moves will be taken to try to disarm Shiite Hizbullah forces despite a commitment to do so issued at the end of the 2006 war with Israel. Maronite Catholic government ministers had demanded that the illegal militia be disarmed: “We cannot accept that there will be another authority that has the power or competence to use coercion in Lebanon other than the state,” Social Affairs Minister Salim Sayeh told reporters after the controversial decision was announced.
Meanwhile a report released by the US Office of Naval Intelligence revealed that the Revolutionary Guards have increased spending on Iran’s increasingly menacing naval forces stationed in the Gulf. The new assets include anti-ship cruise missile batteries, torpedoes, air defense systems, fast moving small patrol boats, and sea mines designed to blow up commercial oil tankers in time of war. The report notes that Iran can easily shut down the Straight of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf, through which over 30% of the world’s oil supplies pass every month.
As the first decade of the new millennium enters its last year, Israelis can be thankful that a year which began with warfare in and around the Gaza Strip amid a worldwide financial crisis ended in a relatively peaceful manner. Of course, many challenges lay ahead, especially the threat of war with Iran and its proxy forces. But whatever occurs, the God of Israel reigns supreme, and His will will be done on earth as it is in heaven! “There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will accomplish this” (Isaiah 9:7).
DAVID DOLAN is a Jerusalem-based author and journalist who has lived and worked in Israel since 1980.
Iran testing key nuclear bomb component
Rapture Forum Staff: Chris
In today’s news we find a very disturbing article that reports that Iran is currently testing a key nuclear bomb component called UD3, or uranium deuteride. This is bascially the trigger for a nuclear bomb and what causes the chain reaction for a nuclear explosion. The Iran Focus website is reporting:
One formula stands out in the documents obtained by The Times: UD3, or uranium deuteride. Independent experts have confirmed that the only possible use for UD3 is as a neutron source, the trigger to the chain reaction for a nuclear explosion. Critically, while other neutron sources have possible civilian uses, UD3 has only one application — to be the metaphorical match that lights a nuclear bomb. UD3, when used in a neutron initiator, emits a stream of neutrons that ignite the core of a bomb, either weapons-grade uranium or plutonium. The stream of neutrons is released using high explosives to compress a core of solid UD3, creating fusion.
This development can be seen as a “smoking gun” for the true intentions of the radical Iranian regime. Iran has for years claimed that it’s nuclear program was for peaceful purposes, but this recent discovery casts doubts and a new light on the illegal Iranian nuclear program. This discovery is likely to fuel fears across the world, especially in Israel as Iran moves closer and closer to the nuclear finish line. In a Haaretz news article today a nuclear expert claimed that this was indeed a “smoking gun” against the Iranian claims of peaceful nuclear technology. The article reported:
Mark Fitzpatrick, senior fellow for non-proliferation at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, told The Times that the “most shattering conclusion is that, if this was an effort that began in 2007, it could be a casus belli. If Iran is working on weapons, it means there is no diplomatic solution.”"Is this the smoking gun? That’s the question people should be asking. It looks like the smoking gun. This is smoking uranium,” Fitzpatrick added.
For students of Bible prophecy this development should not be surprising as we have known all along that Iran was lying about their true intentions when it comes to their nuclear activites. The Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has declared time and time again that the “imminent” collapse and destruction of Israel was at hand. And it doesn’t take a whole lot of imagination to see that Iran plans to achieve their destruction of Israel by using these nuclear weapons against them. This is why it is so critical that the international community stop Iran, even if it means by force. The Iranians must have their nuclear program destroyed and crippling sanctions applied to them so as to force regime change so that the world is no longer under the threat of the radical mullahs in Tehran. If Iran is allowed to continue their nuclear program all the way to the finish line, they will then have the nuclear deterrent then to hold the world hostage and to threaten the world’s supply of oil. The Iranians see the nuclear weapon as the key to taking a hold of power in the region and in the world.
As we have mentioned before in the Rapture Report, there have been several countries that have been front and center in helping Iran with their rogue nuclear program. They have mainly been Russia, North Korea, and Pakistan among others. The Haaretz article went on to report that the nuclear blueprints for the latest discovery very likely came from Pakistan.
Experts also mentioned to the British newspaper that Uranium deuteride is the material used in Pakistan’s nuclear weaponry bomb, from where Iran obtained its blueprint. “Although Iran might claim that this work is for civil purposes, there is no civil application,” David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, told The Times of London, adding that the document was “a very strong indicator of weapons work.”
In signs that this could be the final straw that broke the camel’s back, it was being suggested that the latest intelligence information about the UD3 development could increase pressure from the advocates in the US and Israel who support a pre-emptive attack on Iran. An Israeli spokesman responded:
Responding to The Times’ findings, an Israeli government spokesperson said that Israel was “increasingly concerned about the state of the Iranian nuclear program and the real intentions that may lie behind it.”Publication of the nuclear documents will increase pressure for tougher UN sanctions against Iran, which are due to be discussed this week. But the latest leaks in a long series of allegations against Iran will also be seized on by hawks in Israel and the US, who support a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities before the country can build its first warhead.
While the article mentioned that there were suppose to be talks this week about further sanctions on Iran, it was also reported today that these talks were canceled until next year as the Chinese claimed that they had conflicts in their schedule and could not meet with the rest fo the world powers over such a serious topic. Another Haaretz news article reported:
Senior officials say that a meeting by five world powers on Iran’s nuclear program has been canceled on China’s request. The U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany had planned to meet Friday. Officials from three of the five powers demanded anonymity Monday because their information was confidential. One of the officials said China cited scheduling problems in asking for the cancellations. He and another official said the five now planned to talk via conference call.
I find it particularly curious and interesting that the Chinese could not find time in their schedules somewhere to discuss such an important development on the world stage as the newly revealed documents as those of the Iranian UD3 issue. We know from past Rapture Reports, that the Chinese have enormous economic interests invested in Iran. I have a feeling that this is simply a delay tactic on the part of the Chinese to help buy more time for Iran. It truly would not surprise me if the Chinese were the ones who were helping Iran with the UD3 issue if more infromation comes to light later. And on a final note, the news article reported further that Israel was adamant that the international community take action on Iran.
Israel’s defense minister urged the world Monday to agree to tough new sanctions on Iran, suggesting that military strikes remained a final option should Tehran refuse to heed Security Council demands.
So it appears again that the news out of the Middle East continues to get more dangerous and explosive with each passing day. New discoveries about the Iranian nuclear program continues to set the stage for a possible confrontation between Israel and Iran. While the world heads furiously down the path toward propehtic fulfillment and finally towards the Tribulation period, the church always has the blessed hope of the rapture and the promises of God to be spared from the wrath to come. Let us keep focusing on the Middle East and the prophetic scenario that is unfolding before our eyes because before long we will here those wonderful words to “Come up hither”!!