Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Virgin Birth: The Concept in Prophecy

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

There is probably no aspect of the Christian faith that has been subjected to more abuse than the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus.

The first mention of the concept in prophecy is found in Genesis 3:15. In this verse, God tells Satan that the redemption of Mankind will come through one who will be born of "the seed of woman."

Isaiah makes the same point in Isaiah 7:14 where he states the Messiah will be born of a "virgin." It is true that the Hebrew word used by Isaiah can also be translated "maiden." But when a group of rabbis translated this verse into Greek in what is known as the Septuagint Version of the Hebrew Scriptures (about 285 BC), they used a Greek word that can only mean "virgin." Likewise, when Matthew quoted this verse in his Gospel (Matthew 1:23) and applied it to Jesus, he used the same Greek word that can only be translated "virgin."

A third prophecy is found in Jeremiah 31:22, "The Lord has created a new thing in the earth — a woman will encompass a man." This is a rather enigmatic prophecy, but the important thing about it is that Jewish rabbis over the centuries have interpreted it to mean that the Messiah will have a miraculous origin. As one rabbi put it, the conception of the Messiah will be "like the dew of the Lord upon a woman."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Virgin Birth: Attacked By Satan

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

There is probably no aspect of the Christian faith that has been subjected to more abuse than the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus.

Satan hates the doctrine of the virgin birth because it clearly points to the divinity of Jesus. Satan has thus done everything he can to undermine the doctrine's validity.

Satan's most effective attack has been to raise up scoffers and mockers at the very center of Christianity — in the pulpit. The usual approach is to ridicule the nativity story as the product of the over active imaginations of ignorant disciples.

The Lord obviously anticipated this attack on His Word, for the Holy Spirit motivated a very special man to give us most of the details regarding the virgin birth. That man was Luke, who just "happened" to be a medical doctor! (See Colossians 4:14.) Isn't that neat?

Think of it, the Bible's leading advocate of the virgin birth was a highly educated man who fully understood the biological aspects of conception and birth. He was the person who would have been the most skeptical regarding any "legend" of a virgin birth.

Important too is the fact that the virgin birth of the Messiah was prophesied by the Hebrew prophets. This fact discounts the idea that the virgin birth was a johnny-come-lately idea conjured up by a bunch of illiterate and superstitious shepherds.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Virgin Birth: Central or Peripheral?

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

There is probably no aspect of the Christian faith that has been subjected to more abuse than the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus.

The world, of course, laughs at the concept. But, tragically, so do many professing Christians. I think it would be safe to say that most liberal Christian spokesmen, representing the mainline denominations, would reject the idea of the virgin birth as nothing more than a crude attempt by ignorant First Century disciples to attribute deity to Jesus.

Is the virgin birth central to the Christian faith, or is it only a peripheral issue that should be relegated to the realm of opinion?

I believe it is absolutely essential to the faith, for it attests to the identity of Jesus — namely, that He was God in the flesh.

Make no mistake about it — if Jesus was not God, then His sacrifice for our sins was meaningless. No imperfect man could have died for our sins, because his death would not have appeased our Creator's demand for justice. Our sin bearer had to be a perfect man, and thus he had to be divine.

The Hebrew prophets pointed to the divinity of the Messiah. Isaiah said He would be "Immanuel," meaning "God with us" (Isaiah 7:14). Isaiah also said the Messiah would be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6). Micah stated that the Messiah would be one who had existed "from the days of eternity" (Micah 5:2).

If Jesus was the Messiah, as He claimed to be (Mark 14:61-64 & John 4:25-26), then He had to be God in the flesh. That requires a miraculous conception, because all people born of human parents are born with a fallen sin nature (Psalm 51:5 & Ephesians 2:3).

To deny the virgin birth is to deny the deity of Jesus.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Prophetic Significance to the Celebration of the Birth of Jesus

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Every year at Christmas time I am reminded of the remarkable prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and how they substantiate His deity and the faithfulness of God. Let's take a look at the celebration of the birth of Jesus in prophecy.

The conception and birth of the Messiah were celebrated in some remarkable prophetic hymns. Mary prophesied in a song of rejoicing that the child she had conceived was evidence that God's "mercy is upon generation after generation" (Luke 1:50). She went on to prophesy that He would "scatter the proud," "bring down rulers," "exalt the humble," and "fill the hungry" (Luke 1:52-53).

Her relative, the priest Zacharias, also sang a prophetic song of celebration when his son, John the Baptist, was born. Referring to the baby in Mary's womb, he proclaimed that God "has raised up a horn of salvation for us" (Luke 1:69). He then declared that his own son would be called "the prophet of the Most High," and he prophesied that his son would "go before the Lord to prepare His ways" (Luke 1:76). He concluded his song with one of the most beautiful poetic prophecies concerning the Messiah that can be found anywhere in Scripture: "Because of the tender mercy of our God... the Sunrise from on high shall visit us, to shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Luke 1:78-79).

The next prophetic song of celebration was sung on the night of the Messiah's birth when an angel appeared to the shepherds of Bethlehem and proclaimed: "Behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11). That angel was suddenly joined by a multitude of angels who sang a triumphant chorus: "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased" (Luke 2:13-14).

The final prophetic song related to the Messiah's birth was sung by a "righteous and devout" man of Jerusalem by the name of Simeon. The Holy Spirit had come upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die before he saw the Messiah (Luke 2:25-26). He was given that glorious privilege forty days after the Messiah's birth when the parents of Jesus came to the temple in Jerusalem to dedicate their baby to God.

Simeon took the Christ child in his arms, thanked the Lord, and then sang: "My eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples — a light of revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel" (Luke 2:30-32).

The Significance of the Birth Prophecies

The fulfillment of all these prophecies in the life of one person, Jesus of Nazareth, is proof positive that He was who He said He was, namely, the Messiah of God (Mark 14:62 and Luke 22:70).

God's faithfulness in fulfilling each of these prophecies in detail is also significant because it gives us assurance that He will likewise faithfully fulfill all the prophecies He has given to Christians regarding the soon return of Jesus.

A God of Prophecy

Our God knows the future and has the audacity to proclaim it (Isaiah 46:10). He also has the power to see to it that what He proclaims will come to pass (Isaiah 46:11). Most important, He is faithful (1 Corinthians 1:9), so we can rest in His promises.

Let's rejoice that the Bethlehem birth so long ago is proof positive that the one born there will soon return in glory as the King of kings and the Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Nature of the Birth of Jesus

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Every year at Christmas time I am reminded of the remarkable prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and how they substantiate His deity and the faithfulness of God. Let's take a look at one of those prophecies.

It had been prophesied that the special child born in Bethlehem would be both human and divine. Daniel emphasized the Messiah's humanity when he referred to Him as "the Son of Man" (Daniel 7:13). Isaiah stressed His divinity when He said that the Messiah would be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

His divine nature was also indicated in other prophecies about His birth. For example, the first Messianic prophecy in the Bible is one spoken by God Himself in the Garden of Eden when He told Satan that he would one day be defeated by the One who would be born of "the seed of woman" (Genesis 3:15). This seems to be a clear indication that the Messiah would be born miraculously through a virgin. Thousands of years later Isaiah specifically prophesied that the birth would occur in this manner: "Behold, a virgin shall be with child and bear a son..." (Isaiah 7:14).

It was further foretold by Isaiah that the Messiah would be given a name that would signify His divinity. He will be called "Immanuel," said Isaiah, which means "God with us" (Isaiah 7: 14). Six hundred years later when the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her that she would be the mother of the Messiah, he specified that she was to name the baby Yeshua (Luke 1:31). That name in Hebrew means "God's Salvation" (Matthew 1:21).

Other details prophesied about the Messiah's birth included the presentation of gifts to Him by kings (Psalm 72:10-11 and Matthew 2:1-12), the slaughter of the infants of His birthplace (Jeremiah 31:15 and Matthew 2:16), and His sojourn in Egypt (Hosea 11:1 and Matthew 2:11-15).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Place of the Birth of Jesus

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Every year at Christmas time I am reminded of the remarkable prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and how they substantiate His deity and the faithfulness of God. Let's take a look at one of those prophecies.

The place of the Messiah's birth had also been precisely prophesied five hundred years earlier by the prophet Micah: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel" (Micah 5:2).

Have your ever wondered what the term, "Ephrathah," means in this passage? It is a geographical designation to indicate precisely which Bethlehem is being identified. It's like differentiating between Springfield, Missouri and Springfield, Illinois.

The point is that there was another Bethlehem in the land of Israel in the area to the north near the Sea of Galilee. It had been allotted to the tribe of Zebulun.

By specifying the area of Ephrathah, the prophecy of Micah made it clear that the Bethlehem that would host the birth of the Messiah would be the one in the south of Israel near Jerusalem. In fulfillment of this very precise prophecy, Matthew tells us that "Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea" (Matthew 2:1).

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Timing of the Birth of Jesus

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Every year at Christmas time I am reminded of the remarkable prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus and how they substantiate His deity and the faithfulness of God. Let's take a look at one of those prophecies.

The timing of the Messiah's birth had been indicated in Genesis 49:10 in words spoken by Jacob on his deathbed to his son Judah: "The scepter shall not depart from Judah... until Shiloh comes, and to Him shall be the obedience of the peoples."

The term "Shiloh" was recognized by the Jewish rabbis as a Messianic title. The "scepter" refers to the judicial power of the nation. Thus, this prophecy states that the Messiah will come at a time when the nation's judicial power has been removed.

Although Judah was deprived of its national sovereignty during the 70 year period of Babylonian captivity, it never lost its scepter, for the Jews were allowed to have their own judges even while in captivity.

Josh McDowell, in his book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, points out that "the first visible sign of the beginning of the removal of the scepter from Judah came about when Herod the Great, who had no Jewish blood, succeeded the Maccabean princes who belonged to the tribe of Levi and who were the last Jewish kings to reign in Jerusalem."

The crucial turning point came soon after Herod's death when, in about 7 AD, the Romans removed the power of the Sanhedrin Council in Judah to pronounce the death penalty. Thus the scepter (the supreme judicial power) passed from Judah.

There is a notation about this in the Talmud (the Jewish oral tradition). The Talmud states that on this occasion the members of the Sanhedrin were overtaken by "a general consternation." Incredibly, it is further recorded that they "covered their heads with ashes and their bodies with sackcloth, exclaiming: 'Woe unto us, for the scepter has departed from Judah, and the Messiah has not come!'"

What they did not realize was that Jesus the Messiah had been born around 4 BC during the last years of Herod (Matthew 2:1), so "Shiloh" had arrived shortly before the scepter departed — just as prophesied!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fitna

Can you imagine making a short video documentary, knowing that it would result in over a billion people wanting to personally kill you? Most people in their right minds wouldn't attempt such a suicidal project. But, Geert Wilders, a Dutch lawmaker, has. The final production is called Fitna.

Israel Today reports in their article "There is no 'moderate' Islam, Dutch lawmaker tells Israelis" by Ryan Jones (Dec. 15, 2008) why Wilders has produced such an explosive movie and who would take offense at it.

Because of his great concern for the islamisation of his native Holland and the rest of Europe, Wilders put together a roughly 17 minute documentary as a warning that should Islamic law become the law of every land, Islam would dominate the world. All non-Muslims would be killed instantly, women would lose all freedoms and face mutilations, honor killings would occur every day, little children would be raised to hate, and there would be a mosque on every corner enforcing sharia law. Wilders video demonstrates how Holland, Europe and then the whole world would have to live under such an oppressive Islamic system.

Wilders produced this video solely by piecing together passages from the Koran, speeches by Muslim clerics, footage of Muslim terrorist attacks, and the cartoon of the Prophet Mohammad with his turban as a bomb that caused such a violent reaction within the Muslim world. And, like the reaction to the cartoon, Islamic reaction to his video has been equally as strong. Wilders has earned an avalanche of death threats from angry Muslims and condemnation from his own government and even the United Nations.

Wilders attended a conference that dealt with radical Islam in Jerusalem in December 2008. At that conference in his speech, Wilders warned that Israel and its Western allies strategy of "building a policy based on the myth of 'moderate' Islam is a recipe for ultimate defeat." To Wilders, there is no moderate or peaceful Islam, and that because of the tenets of the Koran all Muslims desire world domination.

Is he correct? Is Islam really not a religion of peace that co-exist with other religions? The article answers those questions by reporting that Wilders went on to criticize Europe and America for failing to realize the threat posed by Islam in general, and not just the smaller number of violent jihadists that most Western leaders insist comprise the whole of the problem.

"The Islamic ideology does not seek cooperation or assimilation but aims for submission and dominance over non-Muslims. There is no moderate Islam, there will never be a moderate Islam. There might be moderate people who call themselves Muslim, but there is no moderate Islam." Moderate Islam, Wilders explained, will not pick up a sword in their pursuit of world domination, but "quietly work to accomplish via demographic changes and cynical use of Western legal and political systems."

The statistics Wilder uses proves his point. In Holland, the Muslim population went from 54 in 1901 to 944,000 in 2004. In Europe, statistics show the Muslim population has risen to 54 million Muslims. What the sword hasn't achieved in conquering a land, mass immigration certainly has. Europe faces very soon becoming Eurasia. North America isn't that far behind.

Wilders went on to thank Israel on behalf of the rest of the Judeo-Christian world for being on the frontline of Islamic aggression. "If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other places to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Therefore, the war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad... Thanks to Israeli parents who see their children go off to join the army and lie awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and have pleasant dreams, unaware of the dangers looming."

Signs of the End Times

A society that tolerates all ideas but biblical laws and morality loses its ability to discern right from wrong. It then loses the courage to fight for a cause, because it has lost any cause other than self-fulfillment. As Europe is proving by accepting their Muslim conquerors with open arms, the Western hemisphere is in no better shape mentally to stand up to such an absolute ideology. If the free world does not return to its Judeo-Christian values, it will be conquered by Islam.

Like Geert Wilders' expression of thanks imparted, though, God for His own purposes has set up Israel to stand as the ramparts against Islamic conquest, allowing the West to not become overrun in these last days before His soon return. Should we continue to appease Islam by sacrificing our support of Israel, though, God will most certainly remove His restraint.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is Ezekiel 38-39 Armageddon?

Nathan JonesPDFBy Nathan Jones

Questions and debate among students of Bible prophecy over if Ezekiel 38-39 is the Battle of Armageddon comes across my inbox frequently. Fortunately, The Herald of Hope website, an Australian Bible prophecy ministry, presents a excellent 10-point comparison of what the Bible is pretty clearly describing as two separate battles — the Ezekiel 38-39 Gog-Magog Battle and the Battle of Armageddon.

Question

Some commentators interpret the last-days invasion of Israel described in Ezekiel 38-39 as the battle of Armageddon, while others believe it is a separate invasion by Russian-led Muslims. Which view is correct?

Comparison

Some commentators have confused the invasion of Israel by Gog, from the land of Magog (Russia), as described in Ezekiel 38-39, with the final battle to be fought at Armageddon, as described in Rev. 16:16. The Bible makes it quite clear that there are two invasions of Israel during the Day of the LORD, otherwise called the Great Tribulation. These invasions have different participants, and have an entirely different purpose. Joel describes BOTH conflicts separately and indicates that Armageddon is AFTER the Russian/Muslim invasion and Israel's repentance (see Joel 2 and 3). Ezekiel's prophecy explains the rise of Islam, and cannot be Armageddon for the following reasons:

1) The invasion described by Ezekiel involves only a limited number of nations which are named. They are Meshech and Tubal from the land of Magog (Russia), Persia (Iran), Togarmah (Turkey), Libya, and Ethiopia (Sudan in our day) with protests from "the merchants of Tarshish and the young lions thereof" (Britain and USA etc) and "Sheba and Dedan" (Arabian Peninsula). The invaders are Muslim nations led by Russia, whereas the final battle to be fought at Armageddon will involve "the kings of the earth and of the whole world" (Rev.16:14; Joel 3:1).

2) There are different leaders in these two invasions. The first invasion is led by Gog from the land of Magog (Russia), while Armageddon is orchestrated by Antichrist who is the final ruler of the Roman Empire (EU).

3) A large component of the armies at Armageddon will come from "the kings of the east", and their number is stated as 200 million and is said to come from the east beyond the Euphrates, whereas the Russian-led invasion is described by Joel as "the northern army" (Joel 2:20). Muslim nations couldn't raise an army of this size.

4) After the Russian/Muslim invasion one sixth of the invaders will be driven into Siberia, "a land barren and desolate with his face toward the east sea" (Joel 2:20), but there will be no place for the armies to escape from Armageddon. Those surviving will actually be gathered to Jerusalem for final judgment as "sheep" or "goats" (Matt. 25:31-46).

5) The armies at Armageddon will fill the land of Israel and reach Jerusalem (Zech. 14:2) and "the valley of Jehoshaphat" (Joel 3:2), whereas the Russian/Muslim army is destroyed on "the mountains of Israel" (Ezek.39:4). There is nothing to indicate they will reach Jerusalem.

6) Armageddon will see the visible appearance of Christ sweeping through the armies of the kings of the earth, who will be slain by the sword that proceeds from His mouth (Rev. 19:15), but the northern army of Russians and Muslims will be slain by an earthquake, disunity (they will slay each other), disease, hail stones, and fire and brimstone. At Armageddon the Lord says, "Of the people there were none with me" (Isa. 63:1-6), but in the northern invasion God uses natural agencies. They are totally different scenes.

7) The purpose of these invasions is quite different. Armageddon is to bring the judgment of God on the Gentile nations led by Antichrist and to deliver Israel who will be in grave physical danger, whereas the Russian/Muslim invasion is intended to bring Israel to repentance.

8) To describe Ezekiel 38-39 as Armageddon is totally inconsistent with the message of Ezekiel. His commission was exclusively to Israel, whereas Armageddon is the final rebellion of the Gentile powers. Ezekiel was told, "Thou art NOT sent to a people of a strange speech and of an hard language, but to the house of Israel" (Ezek. 3:5). Daniel's prophecies, however, are essentially about the "times of the Gentiles."

If we trace the message of Ezekiel through his 48 chapters, he describes Israel's sin and the glory of God departing from the Temple in his own day. This is followed by prophecies which have already been fulfilled by the Babylonians, and the final segment, from chapter 34 to 48, describes events of the last days which bring Israel to repentance, and sees the glory of God return to a rebuilt Temple in the Millennial Kingdom. There is nothing in Ezekiel's prophecy about the final judgment of Antichrist and the Gentile nations but only God's response when Israel repents (Ezek. 39:22-29; Joel 2:20). The purpose of the Russian/Muslim invasion is to bring Israel to repentance.

9) Since the conversion of Israel occurs at the Russian/Muslim invasion (Ezek.39:22), and Israel has "the testimony of Jesus Christ" at the midpoint of the 7-year Tribulation (Rev. 12:17) when she is driven into the wilderness for the last 1,260 days, then the Russian/Muslim invasion must occur in the first half of the Tribulation. It cannot be before the Rapture or there would be no Jews here for the Tribulation. They would become part of the Church and all be raptured.

10) The reason why some commentators have confused these two conflicts is because they have assumed that Israel repents when Christ returns to earth, but Israel will then be a saved nation and looking for the Lord when He comes. It will be too late to repent when Christ appears in judgment. They will say, "Lo, this is our God: we have waited for him, and he will save us" (Isa.25:9). He would not rescue a nation that was still rejecting Messiah!

Additional Thought

I'd like to add an eleventh point beyond the Aussie's article that Ezekiel 39:9 states that the Gog-Magog Battle will supply Israel with seven years worth of fuel and verse 12 states that Israel will take seven months to bury the dead. As Armageddon ends with Jesus' Second Coming, the Gog-Magog Battle must be a separate incident. It is also no coincidence that the Tribulation lasts seven years, placing the date of the Gog-Magog Battle at the very beginning of this upcoming time period.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Geographic Imperative

What would life be like if your government cut your county in two and gave half of it to a terrorist jihadist organization?

The result would be that any industry in that given half of the county would go to the terrorists — your farms, banks, airports, schools, military bases, munitions depots, and factories. Since a jihadist lives to annihilate all those who don't accept Allah as their god, they will turn those resources that were once part of your county against you. No longer miles away, you would now live right next door to incursive attacks into your half of the county, rockets falling into your playgrounds and parks, and road bombs going off on your major highways. You'd live in a state of fear and dread as your family's and neighbors' bodies begin to stack up around your battered home.

This is what it is like to live on the borders in Israel. And, this is what it would be like to live in every part of Israel if Israel has to pull back to its pre-1967 borders.

The Report

A contact to the ministry recently sent some very enlightening information and pictures from his son-in-law, an officer in an elite IDF combat unit, of what it would be like for Israel to live in a 2-State "solution" with a formal Palestinian State. "Close proximity" doesn't even begin to explain how disadvantaged Israel would be defensibly.

He writes: "Proponents of Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria often cite the Demographic Imperative as the reason for their position.

There is however an equally grave and menacing and more immediate imperative that militates strongly against such withdrawal.

This is the Geographic Imperative — which needs to be addressed before any responsible Israeli government can contemplate relinquishing control of Judea and Samaria (the 'West Bank'), from which all of the following will be in range of weapons being used today against Israel from territories relinquished to Palestinian rule (misrule?):

  • Major Airfields (Civilian and Military) including the Country's only International Airport

  • Major Sea Ports and Naval Bases

  • Vital Infrastructure Installations

  • Main Land Transport Routes (Road and Rail)

  • Principal Power Plants

  • The Nation's Parliament

  • Centers of Government and Military Command

  • 80% of the Civilian Population and of the Commercial Activity in the Country

The photographs below, taken on a recent trip I made with my son-in-law — an officer in an elite IDF combat unit and an accomplished photographer — to areas designated for the Palestinian State envisioned in the 'Peace Process,' graphically illustrate the gravity of the Geographic Imperative and the potential perils involved in not addressing it.

They show quite vividly just how exposed and vulnerable vital strategic locations and major urban population centers would be, should Israel transfer control of the highlands east of the coastal plan to a Palestinian regime.

The selection of pictures, shot from sites close to the Palestinian villages Rantis and A-Luban (and the Jewish settlements of Beit Aryeh and Ofarim), illustrate dramatically the commanding view the Palestinians would have of:

  • The Main Terminal and Runway at Ben Gurion Airport

  • Planes Taking Off On Runway of Ben Gurion Airport

  • The Main Terminal at Ben Gurion Airport

  • Azrieli Towers and Central Tel Aviv

  • Diamond Exchange Area, Ramat Gan

  • Reading Power Station and North Dan Region













(All photos by Hagai Nativ with thanks to Col. (res) Yehoar Gal, who helped organize the trip and choose the locations.)"

Conclusion

Just as there'd be no doubt in your mind that giving up half your county to a war-bent extremist group who seeks your personal annihilation would be suicidal, so too would Israel be suicidal in doing the same thing in giving up half of its land. Should Israel make such a stupendously stupid decision in the hopes of some kind of peace with its hostile Islamic neighbors, then Israel will find itself in the very same predicament that Gaza should have already taught them to avoid — facing down the barrel of annihilation.

"This is what the LORD says: 'Cries of fear are heard — terror, not peace. Ask and see: Can a man bear children? Then why do I see every strong man with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor, every face turned deathly pale? How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.'"
— Jeremiah 30:5-7 (NIV)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cooling Global Warming

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Former Vice President Al Gore has been called many things in his life, but the latest is "Chicken Little." "Chicken Little" is the children's story of the little chick knocked on the head by an acorn, who then panics and frantically proclaims to all he can find "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Al Gore has made it his mission since leaving politics to champion the cause of radical environmentalism, with his rendition of "global warming, global warming!"

Al "Chicken Little" Gore got a wake-up call in Poznan, Poland, where a U.N. climate change conference was held in December 2008. WorldNetDaily.com reported in "Scientists Abandon Global Warming 'Lie'" (Dec. 11, 2008) that a whopping 650 Nobel prize and award winning scientists who are current and former members of the U.N.'s own Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came together to "scoff at doomsday reports of man-made global warming — labeling them variously a lie, a hoax and part of a new religion."

What are the reasons the scientists turned about-face and jumped the clarion call that man is heating up the world? Some of the following quotes say it all.

From scientific research:

"For how many years must the planet cool before we begin to understand that the planet is not warming? For how many years must cooling go on?" — Geologist Dr. David Gee, the chairman of the science committee of the 2008 International Geological Congress who has authored 130 plus peer-reviewed papers, and is currently at Uppsala University in Sweden.
"Even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapor and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will." — Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering of the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
"The models and forecasts of the U.N. IPCC are incorrect because they only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity." — Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

From a sociological standpoint:

"Creating an ideology pegged to carbon dioxide is a dangerous nonsense... The present alarm on climate change is an instrument of social control, a pretext for major businesses and political battle. It became an ideology, which is concerning." — Environmental Scientist Professor Delgado Domingos of Portugal, the founder of the Numerical Weather Forecast group, has more than 150 published articles.
"CO2 emissions make absolutely no difference one way or another... Every scientist knows this, but it doesn't pay to say so... Global warming, as a political vehicle, keeps Europeans in the driver's seat and developing nations walking barefoot." — Dr. Takeda Kunihiko, vice-chancellor of the Institute of Science and Technology Research at Chubu University in Japan.
"The [global warming] scare mongering has its justification in the fact that it is something that generates funds." — Award-winning Paleontologist Dr. Eduardo Tonni, of the Committee for Scientific Research in Buenos Aires and head of the Paleontology Department at the University of La Plata.

From a religious standpoint:

"I am a skeptic... Global warming has become a new religion." — Nobel Prize Winner for Physics, Ivar Giaever.

And a religion Global Warming is indeed, a subset of earth worship that puts man as the sole savior of the world.

Romans 1:18-25 explains the motivations the followers of their man-centric religion:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles... They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised. Amen."

According to Bible prophecy, the 7-year Tribulation to come will radically turn back all efforts of today's environmental endeavors, as the globe experiences a nuclear and supernatural holocaust the brings the environment to the brink of death. But, upon Jesus' return, He will wipe out the forces of evil and restore the planet to pristine condition once more. The Earth will experience an explosion of life and healing as it returns to the abundance the likes of the Garden of Eden. If there was ever an ultimate environmentalist, it is Jesus Christ!

I'm excited to hear scientists get a backbone and finally call a hoax a hoax, even if it flies in the face of their humanistic egos. Now, if only they'd get the same courage up about the woefully defunct Theory of Evolution.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Great Prostitute of Revelation 17

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Revelation 17 lays out a wildly disturbing scene. A Bowl Judgment angel approaches the Apostle John and says, "Come, I will show you... the Great Prostitute."

For her physical appearance, the Great Prostitute is described as having tattooed emblazoned across her forehead the title by which she goes by: "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the Earth." The woman is dressed in purple and scarlet, and glitters with gold, precious stones and pearls. She holds a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.

As for her actions, she commits adultery with the kings of the earth. She intoxicates the inhabitants of the earth with the wine of her adulteries. She rides upon a seven-headed, ten-horned, scarlet beast which is covered with blasphemous names and sits on many waters. She is found drunk on the blood of the saints who proclaim Jesus Christ.

Poll

November's blog poll, "Who or what is the Great Prostitute of Revelation 17?," sought to determine people's views on who or what they thought the woman that verse 5 calls a "Mystery" really is. The results are in the graph below:


Fortunately for the reader of Revelation, the Bowl Angel goes on to explain to John what he is seeing. Unfortunately, though, the angel's description of the Prostitute is almost as mysterious as the scene itself, giving credence to her name "Mystery." And yet, the reader can look upon the larger structure of Bible prophecy within the Scriptures to discern who or what she is and is not.

Who She Is Not

The Great Prostitute is not a yet unrevealed woman. For one, no individual can sit upon many waters (verse 1). Secondly, she is called a "great city that rules over the kings of the earth." Cities in the Bible are often used to represent people groups, empires, or systems. As much as some would like to point to the pop singer Madonna or a particular female politician, neither they nor any other single woman fits the bill.

She is not the United Nations or European Union. The Beast we are told is the future one-world leader who is handed over power to rule what ten future leaders of the earth will hold (verses 12-13). While the Antichrist and ten kings will make war against Jesus and certainly kill many of Jesus' followers (verse 14), they hate the Great Prostitute and by God's prompting participate in her destruction (verse 16-17). Since these political systems will give rise to the ten kings, neither can be the Great Prostitute because they hate and kill her.

She is not Hollywood. While Hollywood certainly spews its licentious garbage upon mankind who thirstily drink it in, it cannot be accused of the mass murder of believers in Christ (well, at least physically).

She will not be a newly constructed city called Babylon. Babylon was certainly a great city like verse 18 states. But, it is a city cursed never to be rebuilt. Isaiah 13:20 makes it very clear that Babylon would cease to be inhabited forever. In accordance with this prophecy, Babylon was conquered by the Medes, and it began a long decline that ultimately resulted in its abandonment to the forces of nature. By the time of Christ, one eyewitness reported that the city was nothing but "mounds and stones and ruins." Even Saddam Hussein was not able to rebuild it into more than a paltry tourist spot. Then why is she also called "Babylon the Great?" Because Babylon has always been credited as the source of world cultic spiritual evil, which will hold a dominant presence during the Tribulation.

She is not Islam. Women are often used in the Scriptures to symbolize religious systems, and Islam is certainly a religious system. It has caused the bloody martyrdom of countless Christians in its 1,400 years. But, by the time of the Tribulation, Islam will be just another false religious system that will be wiped out. Their battles against Israel in Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38-39 will bring about the demise of Islamic power.

What She Could Be

Because women are used in the Scriptures to symbolize religious systems, the Great Prostitute is indeed a religious system. The three remaining religious systems on the survey are the apostate Church, a one-world religion, and secular humanism (which at its core is the worship of self).

Which religious system the Great prostitute is can be interpreted by where she sits. The text says she sits in four places — on the beast (Antichrist), on seven hills, on seven kings, and across the nations and peoples of the world.

The majority of voters (47%) voted for the apostate Church. These voters could be correct based on the sitting reference in verse 9 to seven hills. Two major cities that rest upon seven hills are Rome and Istanbul (formerly Constantinople named after the Roman Emperor Constantine), and both were centers of government in the Roman Empire at different points in time. Istanbul can be discounted, though, for at the time of John's writing Rome was the commanding city of the known world, and John would have recognized it as such. Also, Istanbul loses any future prominence due to the elimination of Islam as a world religious system, as mentioned earlier. John was clearly looking towards Rome as the city on seven hills. Rome is the heart of the revived Roman Empire, which the world today is seeing grow out of the European Union.

Rome also houses the Vatican, which is the seat of Roman Catholic papal authority. This authority reaches across the "peoples, multitudes, nations and languages" of the world as verse 15 states. In its history, the Roman Catholic Church has the blood of countless Protestant believers and the victims of crusaders and inquisitors on its hands.

Also, after the Rapture, the only "Church" left will be the apostate followers of Christ who, as 2 Timothy 3:5 states, "have a form of godliness but denying its power." While many true believers will come out of the Catholic Church and be raptured as part of the Bride of Christ, the overall heretical structure will continue to exist during the first half of the Tribulation to give credence and support to the other apostate Christian denominations left in the world. The Vatican after the Rapture will be the universalistic banner to which all the Christians in name only will rally to.

The second largest voting bloc in the poll (28%) believe the Great Prostitute will be a one-world religion. These voters could be correct based on her sitting on the seven kings of verse 10. Five of the kings fell before John's time, so they must have been pivotal to world rulership in relation to Israel. The sixth "one is" to John would have been Caesar. The seventh king who "has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while" is the Antichrist, called so in 1 John 2:18. "The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king" and "belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction" could only be Satan himself ruling through these seven human rulers throughout history, as there are no other kings after Jesus Christ once Jesus sets up His Millennial Kingdom. These kings extend over a time period much longer than the 2,000 years the Church has been around, and cover all the world's peoples.

A small minority, only 2%, voted that secular humanism was the religion of the first half of the Tribulation. I myself voted in this group for this reason — all false religion stems from man's belief in Satan's lie from the Garden of Eden, when Satan said "you will be like God" (Gen. 3:5). All expressions of worship not towards God are flat out rebellion against the Creator. Even if we personally are not the object of our worship, by setting ourselves up in our own religion, we are worshipping self and therefore humanism.

The Old Testament is overwhelmingly filled with God's stated hatred of spiritual harlotry. He chastises Israel again and again for running after foreign gods in rebellion. Be it an apostate form of what God truly wants, or a deviation from all norms that God has established for worship — man's rebellion is about the worship of self.

By the midpoint of the Tribulation when Satan indwells the Antichrist, whatever flavor of humanistic self-worship the people adhere to, all will be made to cease to exist. The Antichrist, False Prophet, and ten rulers will be sure to take the Great Prostitute of human-willed spiritual harlotry and the institution in which she is enshrouded and "bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire" (verse 16). Only one religion will be allowed to exist 3 1/2 years into the Tribulation by the Antichrist's demonic master, and that will be the worship of Satan through his Antichrist "messiah."

Praise be to Jesus Christ who returns 3 1/2 years later to doom that "beast" to eternal destruction and set up His kingdom of peace and righteousness!

A Better Communion

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

When Jesus first broke bread and presented the cup in the Upper Room, He was only hours from His crucifixion. For Jesus and His disciples it was a heavy, sad, somber affair.

Two-thousand years later, Communion continues to be a heavy, sad, somber affair every time believers participate in its remembrance. And rightfully so, for it is the time when we remember our Lord's great act of love and mercy by sacrificing Himself brutally on the cross on our behalf. Participating in Communion is like attending a funeral. Each of us feels personally responsible for killing our loving God with our own sins.

The contrast to Communion is the Marriage Feast of the Lamb. More than a paltry meal of a bit of bread and drink of juice, it is a great banquet of unimaginable splendor. Everybody around the table sparkles with that fresh feeling as if having had an invigorating bath after working long in the fields. Jesus Himself will be there, not weighted down by a crushing sorrow, but exuberant at a soon expected triumph. The Feast is not tainted by the guilt of sinners, but by the shared glorification of saints. There will be happiness, love, praise and energy. It will be communion as it was meant to be — personal and joyous!

I hope that we will not have to have many more Communion services before Jesus takes us up to be with Him in Heaven. Our Savior has better ceremonies of worship and remembrance planned ahead.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Was Jesus Born?

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

According to Luke 1:24-26, Mary conceived Jesus in the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy with John the Baptist. This means that Jesus was born 15 months after the angel Gabriel appeared to Elizabeth's husband, Zacharias, and informed him that his wife would bear a child.

According to Luke 1:5, Zacharias was a priest of the division of Abijah. Luke 1:8 says that Gabriel appeared to Zacharias while he was serving as a priest in the Temple.

We know from the Talmud and other sources that the division of Abijah served as priests during the second half of the fourth month of the Jewish religious calendar — which would have put it in late June (the Jewish religious calendar begins in March with Passover).

Fifteen months later would place the birth of Jesus in the seventh month of the Jewish calendar. That would be in the fall of the year, in either late September or early October. His conception, not His birth, would have occurred in December of the previous year.

The seventh month of the Jewish calendar is the month of the Feast of Tabernacles. John 1:14, speaking of Jesus as the Word, says: "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth." The word "dwelt" that is used here is the Greek word "skenoo" which literally means "to tabernacle"!

So, when God came to earth to tabernacle among Men it appears that He timed His arrival in the Bethlehem manger to coincide with the Feast of Tabernacles. That was only appropriate, for the Feast of Tabernacles is the most joyous of all the Jewish feasts. It is, in fact, their feast of thanksgiving.

The total meaning of that feast will not be fulfilled until the Lord returns again to tabernacle among Men for a thousand years while He reigns over the earth from Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. Isn't the Word of God marvelous?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mumbai Proves Islam Hates God

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

Does Islam really need to do more to prove it is fanatically anti-semitic?

After the Mumbai (former Bombay), India terrorist attacks over Thanksgiving weekend, there is little reason to question the outlet of Islamic hatred — the Jew, and the heart of Islamic hatred — God Himself.

Columnist Michael Medved in his Townhall.com article "Messages From Mumbai" sharply analyses the horrific attacks, whittling the event right down to its core motivations.

"Islamist extremism is at its core fiercely, fanatically anti-Semitic — not just opposed to specific Israeli governments or particular western policies. Apologists for Islamo-Nazi terror try to describe it as an inevitable response to American imperialism or Israeli 'occupation' policies. The Mumbai atrocities highlight the absurdity of such claims. Local Muslim communities in India and Pakistan (which alone supplied the killers this time) bear no connection with Israel at all and no connection with America, other than receiving abundant American aid and business (showered on India and particularly on Pakistan). Neither the United States nor Israel has played any role in the ongoing dispute between Hindus and Muslims over control of the remote, mountainous territory of Kashmir — the main point of agitation for the Mumbai killers — and yet those killers nonetheless made a point of targeting Americans and Jews.

The specific focus on the peaceful, unarmed, social service/religious operation at Chabad House demonstrates that the Islamists count as fanatical, anti-Semitic Nazis, not just anti-Zionists or anti-imperialists. The total Jewish population of Mumbai was less than 4,000, before these attacks — barely .0002% of an overall population of 19,000,000. The targeting of this miniscule, quiet and obscure community shows the importance of describing the extremists as Islamo-Nazis, not Islamo-Fascists. Like the Nazis, and unlike other Fascist organizations in Italy and Spain, the Islamists embrace Jew-hatred as an essential, inseparable element of their very identity. Authorities in Mumbai say many of the bodies of hostages show signs of grotesque and indescribable torture, but the Jewish victims — particularly the women — apparently suffered even worse than the others. There's obviously no substance at all to the notion that the kindly, selfless and deeply religious personnel at Chabad House (who concerned themselves with providing kosher food, visiting the sick, performing weddings, and studying religious texts) somehow connected with Islamist complaints over Kashmir.

The West needs to understand that Islamo-Nazis feel motivated by implacable hatred for all Jews (and all Christians) rather than objections to particular elements European or American or Indian culture or policy."

One's hatred of the Jewish people is one's open declaration of hatred towards God.

How could I possibly make such a dogmatic statement? Because the Bible says the true power behind the rulers and authorities of this dark world are the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). Satan and his forces are at war against Jesus Christ, the ruler who is to come. Islam is merely a satanic tool used in an attempt to nullify God's promises of land (Gen. 17:7; 1 Chron. 16:17-18; Psalm 105:8-11; and Rom. 9:4) and the future honored Millennial position of Israel (Zech. 8:23), and so thwart God Himself.

Do you hate the Jews?

I'm not talking dislike of certain Jewish individuals, for we all don't get along with everybody. No, I'm asking about the Jews as a people and nation. If the Jew is the "apple of My [God's] eye" (Zechariah 2:8), then, as the Pharisee Gamaliel in Acts 5:38-39 wisely advised, "Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God."

Monday, December 8, 2008

The Arab Covenant

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Did God give the Arabs a covenant?

As descendants of Abraham's son, Ishmael, they too have a promise, but it is not a promise of land like God gave to Abraham (Genesis 17:8) and to his descendants through Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5) and Jacob (Genesis 28:1-4,13-14). The covenant God made with Ishmael had to do with the number of his descendants. Ishmael was promised that his descendants would be "multiplied exceedingly" (Genesis 17:20).

God has faithfully kept His promise to the descendants of Ishmael. Today there are 21 Arab states with a combined population of 175 million Arabs. There is only one Jewish state with a population of 5 million. The Arab states contain 5.3 million square miles of oil rich land. Israel has only 8 thousand square miles of land with no major oil reserves that have been discovered. That's a population ratio of 43 to 1 and a land ratio of 662 to 1!

Not All Muslims Are Arabs

A popular misconception is that Arab identity is determined by religion — that if you are a Muslim, then you are an Arab. That is not true.

One of the most populous Muslim nations in the world is Indonesia, an island nation in Southeast Asia. Indonesians are not Arabs. They are Malays. Likewise, the nation of Iran is composed of Muslims, but they are not Arabs. They are Persians.

Arab identity is not determined by religion. Most Arabs are Muslims, but not all; and all Muslims are certainly not Arabs.

Arab identity is determined by ethnic heritage. And the amazing thing is that all Arabs — like all Jews — are descended from the family of Abraham! That means the Arab-Israeli conflict is a family dispute — the longest running and most intense family squabble in history.

Arab Prophecies

The Bible has made a number of prophesies for the Arab peoples. First, it says they will claim the land of Israel which God gave to their brothers, the Jews. The prophet Ezekiel says this claim will be made in the end times (Ezekiel 35:5,10; 36:2,5).

This prophecy has been fulfilled in our time! For 2,000 years the Jews were dispersed from the land which God gave them, and during that long period of time there was never an Arab state in the area that the world called Palestine. The Arabs who lived in the land considered themselves Syrians. They had no consciousness as Palestinians, and no effort was ever made to create a Palestinian state.

When the Jews began returning in this century, the Arabs gleefully sold them the land at inflated prices because it was considered worthless. It was World War I that changed the Arab viewpoint. The war resulted in the land of Palestine being transferred from the Turks to the British, and the British immediately proclaimed it to be a homeland for the Jews. Suddenly, the Arabs were confronted with the prospect of a Jewish state, and they began to dig in their heels, claiming the land as their own.

The British gave in to Arab pressure, and in 1922 they gave two-thirds of Palestine to the Arabs, creating the state of Jordan. This was land that they had promised to the Jews. But this action did not satisfy the Arab appetite. They wanted all the land God had given to the Jews, and they still covet it to this day, just as prophesied.

Arab Judgments

The Bible further prophesies that God will pour out judgment upon the Arab nations in the end times for their hostility toward the Jews and their attempt to claim the Jewish homeland as their own.

Consider Joel 3:19, for example. This passage has a clear end time context, and in that context it says, "Egypt will become a waste, and Edom will become a desolate wilderness, because of the violence done to the sons of Judah, in whose land they have shed innocent blood."

Keep in mind that Edom is often used as a symbolic term for all the Arab peoples, just as Israel is used as a term for all the Jewish tribes. Ezekiel says that "all Edom" will be dealt with in the end times because of its hatred against the Jews, and the result will be desolation (Ezekiel 35:10-11,15). The book of Obadiah prophesies a similar fate for Edom in "the day of the Lord" (Obadiah 15-18).

Arab Promises

But the future for the Arabs is not all bleak. They must suffer for their sins just as the Jewish people will suffer during the Tribulation. And, like the Jews, a remnant of the Arabs will emerge from their suffering with their hearts turned to the one and only true God (Jeremiah 12:14-17).

The most remarkable prophecy concerning the future salvation of an Arab remnant is contained in Isaiah 19:16-25. Isaiah says that when the Lord strikes Egypt and Assyria, they will turn to Him and He will have compassion on them and "heal them." Isaiah then presents an incredible picture of Egypt, Assyria and Israel living together in peace, worshiping the same God!

Another remarkable prophecy concerns the Arabs who will be living in the land of Israel after the Lord returns. This prophecy relates to the fact that the territory of Israel will be greatly expanded when Jesus returns, incorporating many of the Arab nations that exist today. (The considerably expanded borders of Israel during the Millennium are detailed in Ezekiel 47:15-20.) Amazingly, Ezekiel says that the Arabs living in Israel at that time will be "allotted an inheritance" of the land together with the tribes of Israel! (See Ezekiel 47:21-23 and Isaiah 14:1-2.)

An Impartial God

There is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11). He chose the Jews, not to be a repository of His blessings, but to be a vehicle through whom He would bless all the nations of the world, including the Arabs. But the fundamental requirement to receive God's blessings — for both Jew and Arab, as well as all people — is to accept God's gift of love in Jesus by receiving Him as Messiah.

When I consider God's grace toward the Arab peoples, I am reminded of what Paul wrote when he considered God's grace toward his Jewish brethren: "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Romans 11:33).

Keep in mind that the amazing grace which God is displaying toward the Arabs and the Jews is available to you. The message of God's dealings with the physical descendents of Abraham is that there is no sin so great and dark that it can separate you from the love of God which He has expressed in Jesus.

The key to experiencing that grace is repentance. As Paul put it in his sermon in Athens: "God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent" (Acts 17:30).

Friday, December 5, 2008

The Two Land Covenants

Dr. David R. ReaganBy Dr. David R. Reagan

Most people do not know is that there are two Old Testament covenants pertaining to the land of Israel. The Abrahamic Covenant gives the title of the land to the Jews in perpetuity. A later covenant, the Mosaic Land Covenant — or Canaan Covenant — of Deuteronomy 28-30 defines the conditions for possession and enjoyment of the land.

This latter covenant is often referred to as the "Palestinian Covenant," but that is a misnomer, for the land was never called Palestine until after the second Jewish revolt in 132-135 A.D. At that time the Romans dubbed it "Palestine" to erase the memory of its Jewish heritage and to insult the Jews, for Palestine is the Latin word for Philistine, the ancient enemy of Israel.

Let me illustrate the role and relationship of these two covenants with a modern day example. Let's say you buy a car for a child of yours and put the title in the child's name. But you explain to the child that there are conditions for using the car — such as no speeding. And you warn your child that a speeding ticket will result in the loss of the privilege of driving the car for a period of two weeks. If the child gets a ticket and you lock the car up in the garage for two weeks, the car still belongs to the child because the child's name is on the title. But the child has temporarily lost possession of the vehicle.

In like manner, the Abrahamic Covenant (about 2,000 B.C.) gave the title of the land to the Jews for eternity. The Canaan Covenant (about 1250 B.C.) defined the terms for possession and use of the land. Title and possession are not the same thing. The Jews have lost possession of the land from time to time, but they have never lost their God-given title.

The Canaan Covenant

The Land Covenant promised that Israel would become the prime nation of the world if the Jews were obedient to God (Deuteronomy 28:1,13). But the covenant warned that many curses would befall the people if they were disobedient (Deuteronomy 28:15-37), including exile from the land (Deuteronomy 28:38-57). The covenant warned further that if temporary exile did not restore the Jews to obedience, they would suffer worldwide dispersion and persecution (Deuteronomy 28:58-68). But nowhere are they told that their disobedience would lead to a loss of their title to the land.

In fact, the Land Covenant ends in chapter 30 with a prophecy and a promise that a day will come — after the Jews have experienced the curses of the covenant — when the Lord will restore them to their land once again: "The Lord will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it" (Deuteronomy 30:3-5).

For almost 1900 years the Jews wandered among the nations and suffered severe persecution, just as prophesied in Deuteronomy 28. During that time, their land became desolate as prophesied in Deuteronomy 29. But in this century, God has regathered them from the four corners of the earth, re-established them in their land, and transformed their land from wilderness to milk and honey — as prophesied in Deuteronomy 30.

The only prophecy left to be fulfilled in the Land Covenant is the spiritual salvation of the gathered remnant (Deuteronomy 30:6-8). That will occur soon when they repent and accept Yeshua as their Messiah.

The Abrahamic and Land Covenants make it clear that the Jewish people have both the right to the land of Israel and the right to be back in it today.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The United Nations in the Arms of Iran

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

If pictures are worth a thousand words, what does the following picture by Reuters say?

The man in the front of the picture with his back to the viewer is Iranian President Ahmadinejad. This is the same man who gets his orders from the Islamic Ayatollahs, who wishes to usher in the Islamic Mahdi (Messiah), is hell-bent on building nuclear weapons, who resists the world over developing its nuclear technologies, and who almost daily rants that the nation of Israel is a "filthy germ" that needs to be "wiped off the map."

The man in the back is the United Nations General Assembly President, Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann of Nicaragua, the Maryknoll priest who defied the Vatican to serve the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua in the 1970s (read more on Father d'Escoto). During the UN's International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People held November 29, 2008, which is the UN's celebratory anniversary of the 1947 date it adopted Resolution 181, calling for the further partitioning of the land to grant more Jewish promised land to the Arabs, Father D'Escoto called for an international boycott of Israel after accusing it of being an apartheid regime. D'Escoto went on to decry the plight of the Palestinians, describing the failure to create a Palestinian state as "the single greatest failure in the history of the United Nations."

The men are embraced in a formal hug of greeting at the United Nations.

So, on one side is the Iranian leader who denies the holocaust of the Jews during World War II, yet wants to create the holocaust of the Jews by starting World War III. On the other side, the UN General Assembly leader who, though a priest, says his highest influence isn't Jesus but Tolstoy, who was the international face of the first Sandinista government against the United States, who took the United States to the International Court of Justice — the World Court — charging Washington with aggression by land and with a sea blockade and won, and who now has called the world to sever its financial ties with Israel and impose sanctions against Jerusalem.

How well does this hug bode for Israel, that the United Nations is in the arms of Iran?

"This is the word of the LORD concerning Israel. The LORD, who stretches out the heavens, who lays the foundation of the earth, and who forms the spirit of man within him, declares: 'I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that sends all the surrounding peoples reeling. Judah will be besieged as well as Jerusalem. On that day, when all the nations of the earth are gathered against her, I will make Jerusalem an immovable rock for all the nations. All who try to move it will injure themselves."

"On that day I will strike every horse with panic and its rider with madness,' declares the LORD. 'I will keep a watchful eye over the house of Judah, but I will blind all the horses of the nations. Then the leaders of Judah will say in their hearts, ''The people of Jerusalem are strong, because the LORD Almighty is their God.'' 'On that day I will make the leaders of Judah like a firepot in a woodpile, like a flaming torch among sheaves. They will consume right and left all the surrounding peoples, but Jerusalem will remain intact in her place."

"'The LORD will save the dwellings of Judah first, so that the honor of the house of David and of Jerusalem's inhabitants may not be greater than that of Judah. On that day the LORD will shield those who live in Jerusalem, so that the feeblest among them will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the Angel of the LORD going before them. On that day I will set out to destroy all the nations that attack Jerusalem.'" — Zechariah 12:1-9

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The United Nations War on Israel

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

The United Nations is at war against Israel. While not an open conflict using missiles and tanks, the UN instead uses words and peer pressure in their attempt to bully Israel out of existence.

What the United Nations Is

An organization once founded on the principles of bringing peace to a post-World War II world, the United Nations over the decades since has morphed into the anti-Semitic arm of its Muslim majority member states. The Muslim members are supported by the other member nations who are represented by idealistic pacifists who are terrified of Islamic terror and seek appeasement at all costs.

The United Nations of today does very little more than spend its time writing resolutions condemning Israel for existing. Whatever noble purposes it once held in bringing the world freedom and cooperation have long been lost to it.

What the United Nations Expresses

One weapon in the arsenal of the UN against Israel is its support of the so-called Palestinian people. On Saturday, November 29, the United Nations held its International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Since 1977's resolution 32/40 B, the General Assembly has called for that day to remember the 1947 Assembly adoption of resolution 181 (II) to partition Palestine. The UN's website explains the purpose of the Day of Solidarity: "to continue to organize an annual exhibit on Palestinian rights or a cultural event in cooperation with the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine to the UN. It also encouraged Member States to continue to give the widest support and publicity to the observance of the Day of Solidarity."

By the end of the day, the UN's International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People ended up promoting everything Palestinian and condemning everything Israeli. Leader after leader stepped up to the podium to blame Israel for the lack of peace in the Middle East (read leaders' accusatory statements).

Israel's Ambassador Gabriella Shalev strongly responded to the Day of Solidarity by asking her fellow UN members how the day the UN voted to establish the State of Israel had become a day of mourning and grief. Shalev accused the UN of being disconnected from reality, calling it an organization "that does not represent or reflect what is truly happening. The real things happen outside the UN." Shalev lamented the anti-Israel tone of the UN at a time when it is engaged in peace talks with the Palestinian Authority, and said if the discussions were to focus on the Middle East they should also touch on Iran's repeated threats to destroy Israel, Syria's armament of terrorists, Hamas's rocket attacks on Israeli towns and Hizbullah's growing strength. "We will not allow this lowest common denominator, of bashing Israel, to dictate these discussions," the ambassador said as reported by YNetNews.com.

What the United Nations Celebrates

What the UN is really celebrating is that this partition chipped further away at the land the Balfour Declaration of 1917 originally promised to the Jews as a national homeland, which included the lands of the modern-day country of Jordan. In 1922, the British broke that promise by using 77% of the land to create the Arab state of Jordan. What was left after the 1947 UN partition was half of modern-day Israel, which Israel used to create its own nation in May of 1948. After Israel fended off a multi-national Arab attack in 1967, Israel regained most of the post-1922 land that was promised them, land roughly the size of the state of New Jersey.

Who the United Nations Exploits

The people the UN have such supposed sympathy for, and who the Muslim nations rally their banner cry to, are today called the Palestinians. These people consist of would-be 1967 conquerors of Israel that lost and were not allowed to return to their native Syria, Egypt and other Arab nations. They also consist of the people who began settling into the land already promised Israel, but that the UN took away from Israel with the partition.

Historically, though, the idea of a Palestinian state never existed prior to Israel becoming a nation. From 70 A.D. to 1948 the geographical area known as Palestine was never an independent state nor did the Arabs residing there have any consciousness of themselves as a separate nation of people. They regarded themselves as Syrians. Also, Jerusalem has never served as the capital of any Arab nation, whereas it has been considered the capital of the Jewish people since 1000 B.C.

Also noteworthy is the fact that when the West Bank and Gaza were under Jordanian autonomy from 1948 to 1967, there was not any effort to create a separate Palestinian state. As a matter-of-fact, a Palestinian state four times larger than Israel has already been in existence — it is now called the country of Jordan.

The Palestinian people tragically suffer not at the hands of the Israelis, but the Muslim nations who will not let them return to Jordan and Syria, as well as the United Nations who continues to use them as a political weapon against Israel. The Palestinians are forced to live in refugee camps by their own people and the United Nations — all to be pawns in the quest to eradicate Israel. That is the horrific nature of Palestinian suffering. Anti-Semitism is not just then the world's war against the Jew, but ironically the Palestinian as well.

What the United Nations Will Become

"Why do the [United] nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain" (Psalm 2:1)? Because the "kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One" (Psalm 2:2).

The true power behind the rulers and authorities of this dark world are the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Eph. 6:12). Satan and his forces are at war against Jesus Christ, the ruler who is to come. The United Nations is merely a tool used in an attempt to nullify God's promises of land (Gen. 17:7; 1 Chron. 16:17-18; Psalm 105:8-11; and Rom. 9:4) and the future honored Millennial position of Israel (Zech. 8:23), and so thwart God Himself.

Satan and the nations that rage united against Israel and the one true God will fail (Rev. 12:12; 19:11-21). Bible prophecy says they will be no more.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Smart ID Comes to Israel

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

What is biometrics?

Biometrics, as defined by Dictionary.com, is "the use of special input devices to analyze some physical parameter assumed to be unique to an individual, in order to confirm their identity as part of an authentication procedure." It uses the "measuring and analysis of such physical attributes as facial features and voice or retinal scans. This technology can be used to define an individual's unique identity, often for security purposes."

If you've ever watched a spy movie and witnessed a laser scan a person's eye to allow them access through a secure door, scan a thumb to log into a computer, or use voice recognition to authorize the opening of a safe, then biometrics is familiar technology. It is also a technology that due to rising identity theft and easily forged paperwork is becoming less sci-fi and more frequently available. For these security devices to work, vast databases containing sensitive personal information about one's body are needed to compare the scans with the stored records.

What country is nationally adopting biometrics?

Ynetnews.com reports in their article "Smart ID Project Underway" by Niv Lillian (Dec. 1, 2008) that Israel is nationally adopting biometrics. The Ministry of Interior has awarded Hewlett-Packard with the $67.49 million "smart ID card" contract, "allowing every Israeli citizen to perform a variety of online functions pertaining to government bureaus, including signing forms using a digital signature."

Israel is under constant security threat, and feels for good reason that they need to close the holes in their security. "Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit recently noted that there are an estimated 350,000 forged ID cards in Israel, calling the situation 'outrageous.'" To tighten security, the Knesset has taken the first step in making biometrics mandatory by okaying the controversial biometrics bill. Once passed, Israeli law will compel all of its citizens to make fingerprints available to government, or risk jail time.

Reactions to a new law requiring all Israelis to have biometric data on file have not been met without alarm. The bill was debated for a whole decade. Opponents of this new invasive security have expressed fears of what would happen if so much personal information fell into the wrong hands, especially foreign enemies' hands. Aryeh Bar, director-general of the Israeli Ministry of Interior, has tried to alleviate these fears, saying that "such a database is crucial, adding that the access to it would be restricted, that the data itself would be encrypted and it would be placed under the supervision of a special authority, as well as a ministerial committee."

Will other nations adopt biometrics?

The trend globally is moving towards stricter methods of security, which means more personally invasive requirements. With terrorism, rampant crime, ease of forgery, identity theft and the loosening of morality worldwide, we live in a world that is becoming increasingly insecure. To gain security, people are willing to give up their personal freedoms and anonymity. So yes, I think we can all see we're heading to eventual world-wide adoption of biometric security and databases filled with our private thumbprints and other personal information.

Is biometrics the "Mark of the Beast?"

People are generally fearful about any government having sensitive information about them. And rightly so, as anonymity is a form of personal security. But, have a discussion about technologies like the Real/Smart ID cards, chip implants, barcodes and biometrics and someone will immediately point to these technologies as being the "Mark of the Beast."

Firstly, what is the "Mark of the Beast?" The Book of Revelation explains a dark apocalyptic world of the future where a one-world leader will control his subjects by their economics. Revelation 13:16-18 (NIV) describes the scene: "He also forced everyone, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on his right hand or on his forehead, so that no one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666."

Those who take the Mark are allowed the ability to buy what they need, but those who don't accept the Mark are killed. Revelation 20:4 (NIV) describes how those who refuse are massacred: "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands." But, to them is given the gift of life by Jesus Christ, for "they came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years."

Those who have accepted the Mark lose out in the end, though, for as Revelation 14:9-11 (NIV) describes, "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."

So, is the Mark of the Beast biometrics or any of these database-driven technologies? I would say based on the Revelation 13 description — No. These technologies certainly apply in making it possible to coerce the populace into accepting the Mark by controlling their purchasing, but the technology itself is not the Mark. The Mark looks like "the name of the beast or the number of his name," openly and visibly placed "on his right hand or on his forehead."

In its very essence, the Mark of the Beast is one's declaration of loyalty to this future world ruler, a ruler who serves Satan himself. By the time the Mark is given out midway through the upcoming 7-year Tribulation, the people in that time will know who they are truly serving. Will they serve Satan, or will they serve God? The choice will then be very plain to make. I pray that those who will live in that future time period will heed Revelation 14 and choose eternal life.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Israel is Fulfilling Bible Prophecy

Nathan JonesBy Nathan Jones

When I read "Wake up, Israel: Time has come for dramatic reassertion of Israeli sovereignty" by Robert D. Onley of YNetNews.com (Nov. 18, 2008), I thought, "Wow, this article's summation of Israel's current predicament is dead-on Bible prophecy!" Check it out:

"No other nation on earth except Israel remains under the persistent attacks of an enemy whose reason for existence is the absolute destruction of the Jewish state. Few other nations would permit this barbarity.

Globally, only Israel is ludicrously lambasted by the collective world body as the 'greatest threat to world peace.' Even Iran fails to achieve such an honor from much of the world.

This, at a time when global jihad has been openly declared by Islamic terrorists, horrendous attacks occur almost bi-weekly somewhere in the world and Iran flagrantly ignores international demands to halt uranium enrichment while its president publicly denies the Holocaust."

Why is the world against Israel? What has Israel done to be hated by so many? What makes them more despised by generally the world at large more so than the butchers in Myanmar, the slavers in Sudan, the Communists of China, the terrorists in the Middle East, and the Hindu mobs of India? The answer is simple — Israel is God's prophetic time clock. Eliminate the nation and people, and the promises of God to believers in Christ, to Israel, and for Jesus' return to reign are nullified. It's a satanically-backed rage that marks Satan's time in this age as swiftly coming to an end (Acts 4:25-26; Eph. 6:12; Rev. 12:12).

"In an era where instantaneous electronic communication is the norm, Israel deals with an enemy in Gaza whose only true form of persuasion remains daily Qassam rocket and mortar barrages. And what of the supposed ceasefire?"

Instantaneous electronic communication and world-wide travel increasing knowledge and awareness of global events is in of itself a sign that Jesus will be returning soon. "But you, Daniel, close up and seal the words of the scroll until the time of the end. Many will go here and there to increase knowledge" (Dan. 12:4).

"Indeed, where in the UN Charter does it say that if a nation is subject to terror attacks, then that nation can be blamed for causing them? And who among Israel's political elite is actually convinced that some form of negotiated agreement, imposed or otherwise, will permanently end hostilities with Hamas and appease its leadership? Surely the failure of the current ceasefire should serve as a stark warning for any future permanent 'ceasefire.'

This censure is not meant to cast the 'peace process' as ultimately hopeless or impossible, nor to placate the UN as a meaningless collection of duplicitous extremists. Not yet anyway.

Rather, Israel must insist that the only acceptable precondition for any sort of negotiated peace 'agreement' should be the absolute cessation of terror — and that's what Hamas' rocket and mortar attacks are — and until this terror has ceased, the unrelenting persecution of those committing the attacks must go on. This execution of anti-terror policy must once again extend to Hamas' leadership."

Endless talk of peace for Israel with its hostile Arab neighbors vaguely masks the world's true desire to force Israel into an indefensible position so as to eradicate the Jewish people. "'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14).

"Perhaps some reminders are in order: Israel is the legal, independent state established in 1948 and recognized by the UN. Israel possesses a legal army that defends the Israeli people. And as a result of these two facts: Israel has the right to act to defend herself in removing existential threats to its existence. The recent lull in violence cannot be used to enhance Hamas' position by legitimating their despicable actions."

In Matthew 21:18-19 Jesus had put a curse on a barren fig tree causing it to wither. The fig tree as a symbol of the nation of Israel can be found in Hosea 9:10; Jeremiah 24:1-10; Joel 1:7; Luke 13:6-9. The curse was a prophetic sign that God would set the Jewish nation aside because of their spiritual barrenness — that is, their refusal to accept Jesus as their Messiah. Then, the next day, Jesus in the great end-time explanation of Matthew 24 in verses 32-34 calls the fig tree to mind and says, "Watch it. When it reblossoms, all these things will happen." The setting aside of Israel occurred in 70 A.D. The reblossoming took place in 1948 when the nation of Israel was re-established.

Israel as a nation has indeed returned after almost 1900 years. As Isaiah 66:8 states, "Who has ever heard of such a thing? Who has ever seen such things? Can a country be born in a day or a nation be brought forth in a moment? Yet no sooner is Zion in labor than she gives birth to her children."

Jesus also said that all the things He had spoken of concerning the Tribulation will be fulfilled during the generation that sees the "fig tree" reblossom. Israel's return marks our generation as the one that will see the Lord's return.

"The land Israelis inhabit is Israel's land — historically, Biblically, internationally and legally. Moreover, there exists no room for historical fidgeting. Enemy powers have come and gone in attempting to annihilate Israel and its people. They destroyed the Temple and built over top of its ruins, but by divine grace, within the lifetimes' of many still alive today, Israel was brought back together. Moreover Israel possesses incomparable wealth and power and indeed is the envy of many nearby; this wealth will only grow larger with time. So too will the envy.

As Israel's enemies fast encircle the land in preparation for a war to once and for all wipe the Jewish state 'off the map,' Israelis must not be deceived by the 'peace' talks with Syria, the 'lull' in violence with Hamas, or the calm vis-à-vis Hizbullah after the 2006 war. These moments are but fleeting mirages; Israel's enemies are not.

Leaders in Jerusalem must realize that one day soon, Israel will ultimately be alone in the world. Which world power legitimately can and will defend Israel once the United States packs up from Iraq and goes home to lick its wounds? Will Barack Obama supernaturally appear in the sky to save 'God's Chosen People?' Perhaps the Europeans will reluctantly pick up their guns to protect the same people they practically annihilated a mere 63 years ago? What of the 'new,' worldlier Russians? That would be the same Russians assembling Iran's nuclear program and supplying Syria's offensive missiles.

And so it seems even Israel's so-called 'friends' would not care much if the Jewish state would cease to exist tomorrow. That would actually solve a lot of the world's problems."

God gave the land of Israel to Abraham (Genesis 17:8) and to his descendants through Isaac (Genesis 26:2-5) and Jacob (Genesis 28:1-4,13-14). The Abrahamic Covenant (about 2,000 B.C.) gave the title of the land to the Jews for eternity. The Canaan Covenant (about 1250 B.C.) defined the terms for possession and use of the land. Title and possession are not the same thing. The Jews have lost possession of the land from time to time, but they have never lost their God-given title. And so, the article's author is 100% correct, the land is not the Palestinian's land, but the Jew's land.

As for Russia, Israel's wealth is what draws Russia like a "hook in their mouth" down to attack Israel in the Ezekiel 38-30 Gog-Magog Invasion. The result to Russia and Iran will be as Ezekiel 38:22-23 states, "I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD."

As for the EU, the Europeans will not help the Jews after centuries of anti-semitism. Instead, they are destined to be ruled first by the Antichrist. In Daniel 9:26-27 the Antichrist is referred to as "the prince who is to come," and he is identified as being from the people who "will destroy the city and the sanctuary." We know from history that both Jerusalem and the Jewish Temple were destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Therefore, according to Daniel, the Antichrist must be of Roman heritage. He will establish a covenant of peace with Israel at the beginning of the 7-year Tribulation, but only to break it midway.

As for the United States, all the nations of the world will come together against Israel over the issue of the control of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12:1-3), and the United States is leading in the goal of splitting Jerusalem. And, at the end of the Tribulation, ALL the nations will be under the control of the Antichrist and against Israel, including the United States (Zech. 12:3).

"History demands that Israel wake up, stop its internal bickering and incessant dithering, recognize its extraordinary past and patently defend the land it rightly possesses. If Israel does not do so, one day soon there will be more than just a few Arab nations calling for a 'final solution' to the Middle East conflict.

Decisions must be made today to defend against that future. Indeed, a nation that lacks the will to safeguard its sovereignty will one day simply fail to exist. Israel cannot fail at this crucial juncture; may history guide and protect her footsteps in these perilous times. Alas, no one else is willing."

Israel is currently like sheep without a shepherd, lacking cohesive leadership and direction. As the article's author laments, a nation in this condition cannot survive. But, God will use their feeble condition to bring them back to Him. The lack of leadership and the rage of the nations against them will by the end of the Tribulation bring the Jews to the end of trusting in themselves, making them finally accept Jesus as their Messiah (Zechariah 12:10, Romans 9:27-28, Romans 11:25-27). To that end, lies Israel's — and the believer in Christ's — hope.

Bible prophecy is alive right before our eyes — Maranatha!