The Bible Teaching Ministry of David Hocking
“The Word of our God shall stand forever” Isaiah 40:8

THE REALITY OF HELL

April 13th, 2015

THE REALITY OF HELL
by David Hocking

THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT THERE IS A PLACE CALLED “HELL”
The Bible continually warns of a place called hell. There are over 162 references in the New Testament alone which warns of hell. And over 70 of these references were uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ!

In Luke 16, Jesus Christ gives a frightening picture of hell:
22 . . . the rich man also died, and was buried;
23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
27 Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:
28 For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. (Luke 16:22-28)

HELL IS A PLACE OF FIRE

The man in Luke 16:24 cries: “. . .I am tormented in this FLAME.”
In Matthew 13:42, Jesus says: “And shall cast them into a FURNACE OF FIRE: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.”
In Matthew 25:41, Jesus says: “Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting FIRE,. . .”
Revelation 20:15 says, ” And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the LAKE OF FIRE.”

THE BIBLE GIVES THE LOCATION OF HELL
When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He descended into hell. In Acts 2, Peter is speaking, verse 31, ” . . . seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in HELL”
When Jesus Christ died His soul went into hell.

And in Matthew 12:40, Jesus Christ says:
“For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly: so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the HEART OF THE EARTH. ”

The Bible is clear — Hell is inside the earth!
Ephesians 4:9, says of Jesus: “Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the LOWER PARTS OF THE EARTH.”
Scientist and Bible teacher, the late Henry Morris also agrees the Bible plainly teaches that hell is in this earth:
“So far as we can tell from Scripture, the present hell, is somewhere in the heart of the earth itself. It is also called ‘the pit’ (Isaiah 14:9, 15: Ezekiel 32:18-21) and ‘the abyss’ (Revelation 9:2). . .
The writers certainly themselves believed hell to be real and geographically ‘beneath’ the earth’s surface. . .

To say this is not scientific is to assume science knows much more about the earth’s interior than is actually the case. The great ‘pit’ [hell] would only need to be about 100 miles or less in diameter to contain, with much room to spare, all the forty billion or so people who have ever lived, assuming their ‘spiritual’ bodies are the same size as their physical bodies.” (Henry M. Morris, The Bible Has the Answer, p. 220)

The Birmingham News, April 10, 1987 had an article entitled “Earth’s Center Hotter Than Sun’s Surface, Scientists Say”. The article stated that scientists have recently discovered, “THE EARTH’S INNER CORE HAS A TEMPERATURE OF OVER 12,000 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT!”

Have you seen pictures of a volcano erupting, spewing a lake of fire from inside the earth — consuming everything within miles just from the heat? When Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18, 1980, it was described by reporters, “when HELL surfaced upon the earth.” The book, Volcanoes, Earth’s Awakening (p.91) describes an erupting volcano as “descent into HELL”.

Thousands of years ago, the Bible described a place called hell in the heart of the earth that matches exactly what science is discovering.
YES! THERE IS A PLACE CALLED HELL!

In Numbers 16, the Bible gives the account of people falling into hell alive! “And THE EARTH OPENED HER MOUTH, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive INTO THE PIT, and the EARTH CLOSED UPON THEM:” Numbers 16:32-33

Inside this earth, this very moment, there are millions of lost, tormented souls — burning, weeping, wailing — without any hope whatsoever!
In Mark 9:46, Jesus Christ says about hell: “Where THEIR WORM dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Jesus said explicitly — THEIR worm — not a worm, or the worm — but THEIR worm. The Bible teaches that Christians will one day have a body like the Lord Jesus Christ. Could it be, as some Bible students teach — that men and women in hell take on the form of their father, Satan (John 8:44)? In Revelation 12:3, Satan is described as a red dragon. Could Jesus Christ be referring to the body lost men and women will have for eternity?

The earth’s crust on land is normally 50 miles thick. You’d have to go down 50 miles before the edge of the fire. But in parts of the ocean floor, the earth’s crust is less than a mile thick.

Scientists recently discovered cracks on the ocean floor where fire was leaking out. Do you know what they found around these fire-breathing vents in the crust? Eight-foot long worms, found no other place in the world! The book, The Deep Sea, by Joseph Wallace (p.39), reads, “Perhaps the strangest of ocean creatures recently discovered are Riftia, the giant tube WORMS. Measuring up to 8 feet in length, the worms are ONLY FOUND NEAR DEEP SEA VENTS.”

And Jesus Christ said, “Where THEIR WORM dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Have you read Isaiah 66 where the Lord Jesus Christ is quoting Mark 9:46?
Look at the context and time period of Isaiah 66:22-24:
22 “For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.”
23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD.
24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.

The “new heavens and new earth” of Isaiah 66:22 matches Revelation 21:1. This occurs AFTER the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:10-15! The references to “carcases”; “their worm”; “their fire” (v. 24) — is AFTER the Great White Throne Judgment of the LOST people! The reference to “. . the men that have transgressed. . .” are the LOST people AFTER the Great White Throne Judgment.”

And at this point — they have received their NEW BODY! Notice what Isaiah says, the saved people shall “LOOK upon the CARCASES of the men that have transgressed. . .” It’s worth mentioning that a “carcase” is not always a “DEAD body”. For instance, two times the Bible specifically uses the term “dead carcase” (Deuteronomy 14:8 and Ezekiel 6:5). If a carcase is ALWAYS a “dead” body, then why say “dead” carcase? And there’s NOTHING in the context of Isaiah to imply these “men that transgressed” are “dead”.

In fact, Isaiah clearly says, “their worm shall NOT DIE”. Even in our language, we refer to a living body as a “carcase”. For example, “Get your carcase [body] in here”. Why is that important? Because when the saved people in Isaiah 66:24 are “looking upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed” — And do you know what they are SEEING? “Their worm”! The “carcase” they are seeing is “their WORM that shall not die”. The end of Isaiah 66:24 is a frightening endorsement of this interpretation. What the saved people are viewing Isaiah says is , “. . . an abhorring unto all flesh”. And my friend, that is not JUST a normal flesh body they are looking at! It is something that will send chills screaming through your soul at the horror. And it will happen!
And it will happen TO YOU if you die without the Lord Jesus Christ!

Even though the world tries to extinguish the cries and reality of hell — the truth of hell echoes throughout our world. We desperately pretend to cover our ears and ignore the “screams, the weeping, the wailing, the gnashing of teeth” but it is there. . . And we know it. We refuse to accept such a place exists. But it is there. And we know it. Nothing we can do, nothing we can say, can erase the horror of hell from our minds.
It is there. And we know it!

THE LORD WILL DO BATTLE FOR YOU AND YOU SHALL BE SILENT!

April 13th, 2015

THE LORD WILL DO BATTLE FOR YOU AND YOU SHALL BE SILENT!
by Rabbit Shlomo Riskin (Arutz Sheva news)

The last day of the festival of Passover is dedicated to the splitting of the Red Sea, one of the most dramatic and cataclysmic events in Biblical history. The Israelites have left Egypt and believe they are “home-free”; however, the Egyptian hordes change their mind and begin to chase after the newly formed free men. The Israelites, faced by the Egyptians behind them and the Sea in front of them, panic – and in their fear they cry out to Moses, ‘Are there then no graves in Egypt that you have taken us out to die in the desert?!’” (Exodus14:11). Moses attempts to comfort his people, exhorting them not to fear but rather to watch for Divine salvation “The Lord will do battle for you and you shall be silent” (Exodus14:14).

But is this indeed the religious message of the Exodus? Does the Almighty expect us to stand quietly by in times of danger and challenge, simply waiting for the Almighty to emerge as adeus ex machina plucking us out from the fires of our enemies? Is such silence on our part consistent with Jewish History, and especially with these last six decades following the Holocaust? Where would the Jewish people be today had we not attempted to take our destiny into our own hands and fought battle after battle for the Jewish State?

Indeed, the classical Hassidic interpreters have turned the verse we’ve just cited on its head by providing an alternate literal interpretation: “The Lord will provide you with bread (the Hebrew yilakhem can mean to do battle but can also mean to provide bread from the Hebrew lekhem; most wars are after all fought after bread or material gain) but you must plow (the Hebrew heresh can either mean to be silent or to plow).” (Exodus 14:14) And although this reading of the verse would seem to be the very antithesis of its meaning in context, it is nevertheless the true meaning of this most dramatic miracle.

Yes, Moses expected God to act and counsel the Israelites to silently await God’s miracle. But that is not the message that God conveys to Moses in the very next verse of the text: “And God said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Speak to the children of Israel and let them move forward’” (Exodus14:15). God is ready to effectuate a miracle, but not before the Israelites prove themselves by putting their lives on the line. Before God does anything, the Israelites must jump into the raging sea and attempt as best as possible to get away from the Egyptians. It is only after “the children of Israel have entered into the midst of the sea” – despite its inherent dangers – that the waters will miraculously part and the Israelites will find themselves “on dry land” (Exodus 14:16).

Rashi even goes as far as saying in God’s name, “This is not the time to engage in lengthy prayer when the Israelites are in such deep trouble.” When the going gets tough, tough people get going; from God’s point of view; prayer must be coupled with action. From this perspective, the Hassidim may be literally wrong but conceptually right.

I believe there is yet a second interpretation of Moses’ statement to the Israelites that God will do battle and they remain silent. Perhaps Moses understood very well that although the ultimate victor in Israel’s battles is the Almighty Himself – “The Lord is a Being of battle, the Lord is His name” (Exodus 15:3) – nevertheless, God does not fight alone. He battles alongside of the Israelites, but the Israelites themselves must wage the war. They were frightened to take on the seven indigenous nations inhabiting Canaan during their first forty years in the desert, so God did not make war either. It was only in the case of Amalek and then later in the time of Joshua that Israel fought – and then God fought with them and led them to victory.

However, every war is a tragedy because the fallout of every war is the cruel and untimely death of the best and brightest of our people. Yes, we won the wars against Amalek, just as we won the wars in conquest of Israel four thousand years ago; we also won our recent wars of self defense enabling us to come home after 2,000 years of exile and establish Jewish Sovereignty in Jerusalem. But despite these miraculous victories, we suffered unspeakable losses of so many of our best and brightest and bravest and most committed.

In 1952 I was privileged to pray in the Beth Moses Hospital, which had been taken over by the Klozenberger Hassidim who had survived the European Holocaust. That particular Sabbath was the first Sabbath circumcision the Hassidim had experienced since leaving Europe. The Rebbe, who himself suffered the loss of his wife and 13 children, rose to speak ‘And I see that you are rooted in your blood (damayikh) and I say to you, by your blood shall you live, by your blood shall you live.’

This verse of the Prophet Ezekiel is intoned at every Jewish circumcision, explaining to us that the price for our eternity is the necessity that we shed blood on behalf of our God, our faith and our ideals. However, I would give the verse an alternate interpretation. The Hebrew word dam is usually translated as blood; but the root d-m can also mean silence, as in “vayidom Aharon”, and Aaron was silent, when his two righteous sons died a tragic and untimely death. I believe the prophet Ezekiel was telling us that when Jews suffer, and even seem to suffer needlessly, tragically and absurdly, but still remain silent and refuse to cry out against God, we express with that silence the profound inner strength which justifies our eternal life. “I see that you are rooted in your silence and I say to you that because of that silence do you live.’”

Perhaps this is what Moses was saying to the Jewish people: yes, the Lord will wage battle for you, and some very good Israelites will tragically die in battle, but you must still remain silent in terms of your relationship to God. It is by the faith of that silence that you will live eternally and ultimately redeem the world.

THE TWO STATE SOLUTION – NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

April 8th, 2015

THE TWO STATE SOLUTION – NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!
by Rabbi Dov Fischer (Arutz Sheva News)

Several friends are having coffee at a café. Someone asks: “If Barack Obama gives you ten million dollars, how will you spend it?’ You answer: “I would spend it on building yeshivot (Jewish religious day schools).” Another person gets angry: “That makes no sense! We have enough buildings. You need to spend it on subsiding yeshiva tuitions so that students can afford to attend!” The next one says: “I thought I knew you both better. This is a crisis time — I would donate it to Birthright to bring more young people to Israel.” The next one: “I would donate it to the yishuvim (settlements) in Judea and Samaria.” Another pipes in: “I would build another Holocaust museum. You can never have too many Holocaust museums.”

The Arabs are not asking to be given the Mediterranean Sea. Thoughtfully, they are reserving that venue for the Jews of Israel. Soon, they all are arguing and fighting. Harsh words are spoken, and life-long friendships are jeopardized. And then Elijah the Prophet enters the room, and he speaks these words: “News flash! Barack Obama is not going to give you ten million dollars, not one million dollars, and not a single dollar.” Everyone pauses. The Prophet is right. They all thank Elijah and calm down. Back to sipping coffee.

There will not be a “two-state” resolution west of the Jordan River. It never is going to happen. The debate once may have made sense. It no longer makes sense; it is absurd. It never-ever will happen. No one is going to uproot 750,000 middle-class and upper-middle-class Jews from their homes. And there is nowhere to put nearly a million Jews, all uprooted at once. Israel could not even find homes for the uprooted of Gush Katif. Where are they going to put a million uprooted Jews? Is the Knesset going to set up D.P. Camps for displaced persons? Refugee camps like the ones on the borders of Syria and Iraq and Turkey and Somalia? Will they sublease space in refugee camps in Jenin? Will the Knesset ask Poland to reopen the Auschwitz facility for emergency housing? Will they ask the UNRWA to do it? This is never-ever going to happen.

In the naïve days of Oslo, there were leftist Jews willing to give up “land for peace.” A fool named Stanley Sheinbaum, a California Jew who married into the Warner Brothers millions, joined with four other American Jewish naifs and met with Yasser Arafat, arms around each other. Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin, others believed Arafat would make peace everlasting if only he were given a country of his own or a foundational land grant intended for statehood. So they gave him the Palestine Authority. They gave him control of television and radio, newspapers, schools, text books, summer camps, naming street signs. Gee, that worked swell.

After Arafat checked out, the insane idea of a “Palestine” country consisting of two disparate lands — Gaza on one side and Judea-Samaria on the other side — quickly blew up when Hamas seized Gaza from the P.L.O. or Fatah or whatever name Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas) called his henchmen. In seizing Gaza, Hamas terrorists tortured and murdered so many Fatah terrorists that Abbas ultimately realized that, if he wanted to keep Hamas from gaining Judea and Samaria, he had to cancel future elections, pretty much for the rest of his life. So he ended up with an elected term that expired six years ago and never held another election. Smart.

Ehud Barak boasted his creative thinking as he just walked away from South Lebanon without any quid-pro-quo deal, his sure-fire way to create a haven of stability. Immediately, Hezbollah rushed in and soon were shelling Israelis throughout the north. Ariel Sharon, after trouncing Barak electorally, in great measure because voters rejected Barak’s failure, eventually replicated the insanity by walking away from Gaza without a quid-pro-quo deal, expelling the Jews of Gush Katif. Hamas rushed in and soon were shelling Israelis throughout the south. That leaves Israel’s Left with only two boundaries to give away: the Mediterranean Sea and Judea-Samaria.

The Arabs are not asking to be given the Mediterranean Sea. Thoughtfully, they are reserving that venue for the Jews of Israel. And only the most oblivious and suicidal of Israelis harbor any notion that an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria will result in peace. If Israel were to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, the question is not whether Arab terrorists would enter and start shooting rockets into Tel Aviv and Haifa (and Raanana and Herzliyah and Kfar Saba and . . .). Rather, the question only is who: Al Qaeda? ISIL? Fatah? Hamas? Force 17? PFLP? Or one of the hundred new terrorist outfits that have not yet been heard from? They grow every day not like weeds but like kudzu.

The Labor Party leadership knows this. Every single time the rockets of Hezbollah and Hamas are extinguished, they re-stock. Every single time that Israel allows cement and steel inside for re-building hospitals and schools, the materiel ends up being used instead to build terror tunnels. Everyone in Israel, except for 5 ultra-leftist Knesset members from Meretz, and the delegation of Arab List Knesset members pledged openly or quietly to erase Israel from the map, has it figured out.

A “Two-State Solution” is a “Final Solution.” We Jews do not do so well with other people’s Final Solutions for us.

France has other ideas? So be it. In a century, if not sooner, the French will be knocking on Israel’s doors, pounding and pleading, like today’s immigrants into Israel from Africa, begging to be granted asylum and refuge from the demographic change that will end their way of life. They do not know it yet. But tell your children that you read it first here.

As for “American guarantees” that “we have Israel’s back,” ask the South Vietnam government how those guarantees worked for them. South Vietnam disappeared from the map, watching all the guaranteeing Americans race for the helicopters to get out. It made for a great musical scene on Broadway. The Americans came in to secure South Lebanon. One day, 241 marines were blown up by Arab terrorists, and America left the region. Israel does not have that luxury.

And Obama? His word does not matter. He does not matter. The plain fact, after six years, is that he now is revealed to be a shameless public liar. Ask the former government of Yemen how Obama’s protection helped. Obama? He promised Americans that, if they liked their health plans and doctors, they could keep their health plans and doctors under a new Obamacare health law. It was a lie. He drew a red line with Syria. He backed down. He told people for six years that he lacks Constitutional authority to change American immigration law unilaterally, and then he did so anyway.

He lies. Sometimes he knowingly lies, and sometimes he makes promises without thinking through the consequences, therefore needing to change his mind afterwards when he figures out the calamity he has caused. Sometimes he is too inconsequential to honor his promises anyway.

And then there is his National Security Advisor, Susan Rice.

It always cheapens an opinion editorial to engage in name calling like “stupid” or “idiot.” So we shall say of Obama’s National Security Advisor merely that she is inartful and lacking in political erudition. In America, she is a punchline to jokes. When America’s ambassador was murdered in Benghazi, on the eleventh anniversary of September 11, she appeared on one television talk show after another, blaming his assassination on a ten-minute Youtube video that virtually no one had seen.

When Obama released five major Al Qaeda terrorist leaders in return for a captive American soldier named Bowe Bergdahl, Rice went all over, repeatedly telling the newsmedia and the American public that Bergdahl had served the American military with “honor and distinction.” Meanwhile, in the outdoor world of reality, from whose glaring daylight Obama thoughtfully shields Ms. Rice, Bergdahl now is being charged by the military with desertion and with one count of “misbehavior before the enemy by endangering the safety of a command, unit or place.” So her opinion does not matter either.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden is already advising American Jews that only Israel can guarantee their future, not America. In the topsy-turvy world of Obama’s Washington, that actually is the most honest statement of all.

There is no room for another terrorist country in Israel. There is no inherent need or “right” for a “Palestine.” America is not creating a separate country for its Native Americans — no Sioux State, Navajo State, or Cherokee State. Not even a single “Indian – Native American State.” When will Putin create an independent Armenia? When will France or Spain give independence to Basques? What of a Kurd country carved out of Turkey? Surely, Turkey can be carved.

Even if a “Palestine” were created insanely in the “West Bank,” that would not address the majority of claimants who insist that they and their fig trees came from Yafo or Haifa or somewhere else that Jews have blossomed and have no interest in living in Jenin. That is why those who do live in Jenin call their homes a “refugee camp.” Who ever heard of natives living in “refugee camps” in their own country? The thing is, they do not regard Jenin or Ramallah as home, merely a stepping stone to King George Street in West Jerusalem. O Jerusalem! — a city that neither they nor the Koran coveted through their first thousand years, until Jews lived there. They want Tel Aviv and Haifa and Beersheva and Ashkelon, not Ramallah. The country they covet is not Gaza nor the “West Bank.” They want pre-1967 Israel, all of it, and nothing less.

When Jordan illegally occupied Judea and Samaria before June 1967, did the PLO terrorize Jordanians as “occupiers” of “Palestine”? Did they attack Egyptian airliners or athletes then, even though Egypt held Gaza through those years before June 1967? No. They did not want Gaza or the “West Bank.” Rather, Al Fatah attacked Israel. Israel is their “Palestine.” Ours, too.

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. Look at a picture of the Hamas logo . Or the Fatah logo. It is not the “West Bank” and not the Gaza Strip. It is, rather, pre-1967 Israel. All of it. That is what they want. That is all they want. Obama may speak of a “Two-State Solution,” and Hillary Clinton may speak of a “Two-State Solution,” but it never will happen. Look at the pictures. Those who represent the “Palestinian People” want a One-State Solution: Israel off the map, and they in its place. For those who cannot listen, they just need to look at the pictures. Even the politically myopic are not literally blind. Look at the pictures. One-State Solution.

There is little chance that one day Barack Obama will give someone (other than his kids) ten million dollars, and there is no chance that there ever will be a “Two-State” resolution west of the Jordan River. It never will happen.

OBAMA: VULNERABLE ISRAEL WOULD BE THE “FAILURE OF MY PRESIDENCY”

April 6th, 2015

VULNERABLE ISRAEL WOULD BE THE “FAILURE OF MY PRESIDENCY” (Arutz Sheva Staff)

Obama talks about ‘moral failure’ if his actions endanger Israel, vowing to defend Israel while claiming Iran deal is ‘most effective.’

US President Barack Obama has said that a weakened Israel would be a “fundamental failure of my presidency,” claiming solidarity with America’s long-time ally despite recent differences over the Iran nuclear deal.

Obama admitted Israel has reason to be concerned about its foe, Iran, but he defended the framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that negotiators drew up last week.

Obama made the comments to The New York Times in a 45-minute video interview on Saturday that was posted on Sunday, reports AFP.

“I would consider it a failure on my part, a fundamental failure of my presidency, if on my watch or as a consequence of work that I’ve done, Israel was rendered more vulnerable,” Obama said.

He said he would consider it “not just a strategic failure, I think that would a moral failure,” adding that no disagreements between Israel and the United States can break their bond.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has strongly denounced the agreement which America and world powers sealed with Tehran as a bad deal endangering Israel’s survival, pointing out that it will leave Iran with all of its nuclear facilities intact and will allow it to continue enriching uranium at a limited rate for ten years, at which point those limitations are to be lifted.

The two leaders have also clashed over the peace process, with Netanyahu saying a Palestinian state will not be created in his term – a statement he quickly distanced from, while the White House has been pressing to divide Israel in the two-state solution paradigm.

“Even in the midst of the disagreements that I have had with Prime Minister Netanyahu both on Iran as well as on the Palestinian issue, I have been consistent saying that our defense of Israel is unshakable,” Obama claimed.

Regarding defense, during the counter-terror operation against Hamas in Gaza last summer, tensions between Obama and Netanyahu were seen at a high as Obama blocked a routine transfer of Hellfire missiles and ordered greater scrutiny on future transfers.

The US President also defended the Iran nuclear deal, which paves the way for Tehran to continue enriching uranium at limited amounts in exchange for relief from punishing economic sanctions that brought it to the negotiating table.

“There is no formula, there is no option, to prevent Iran from getting a new weapon that will be more effective than the diplomatic initiative and framework that we put forward, and that’s demonstrable,” he told the newspaper.

But Netanyahu has pressed for America to ramp up its sanctions against Iran instead, to force it into accepting a better deal. Israel has pointed out that of the 17 states with peaceful nuclear programs, none of them enrich uranium, a key component in building a nuclear weapon.

Obama said Israel was “right to be concerned” about Iran, and sent a message to enemies of Israel.

“What we will be doing as we enter into this deal is sending a very clear message to the Iranians and to the entire region that if anyone messes with Israel, America will be there,” he said.

On the Iranian negotiations, Obama said that Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is “a pretty tough read” and “deeply suspicious of the West.”

But Obama added: “He does realize that the sanctions regime we put together was weakening Iran over the long term, and that if in fact he wanted to see Iran enter into the community of nations, there would have to be changes.”

THE NEED OF PRAYER

April 5th, 2015

THE NEED OF PRAYER
by David Hocking

Yeshua told us that “men ought always to pray and not to faint.” Don’t ever give up!

Thank you all for your prayers for my wife – she still is unable to walk, and remains bed-ridden in a rehab facility. Your prayers and words of encouragement mean so much to us during this difficult time.

Our good friends, Richard & Dorothy Bennett, have been great examples of prayer. Richard is having surgery Monday, April 6 – please pray for him. The current prayer letter of their ministry – “Cross Currents International Ministries” is a grat blessing. That organization has been using “GOOGLE ADS” to reach people in persecuted and difficult regions. There have been over 425,000 responses to their wonderful booklet entitled “YOUR QUEST FOR GOD” – it is on the front page of our web site.

If you would like to communicate with these wonderful friends of ours, here is their address:
Richard and Dorothy Bennett
PO Box 1058
Lynden, WA 98264

Their recent prayer letter focuses on the terrible killings and persecution of believers in central Africa. How we need to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering greatly under such persecution.

Today is RESURRECTION SUNDAY – we rejoice that our Lord Yeshua is alive and is coming soon!

God bless you all – David

ISRAEL SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STRIKING IRAN

April 3rd, 2015

ISRAEL SHOULD SERIOUSLY CONSIDER STRIKING IRAN by Benny Toker and Ari Soffer (Arutz Sheva News)

Israel should “seriously consider” a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities in the aftermath of the “framework deal” announced between Tehran and western powers Thursday, a leader defense and security expert said.

Speaking to Arutz Sheva Friday, Professor Efraim Inbar, who heads the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, said the deal had realized Israel’s worst fears by leaving Iran’s nuclear program essentially intact.

The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program has been granted “legitimacy” by the agreement, which still allowed it to continue enriching uranium and to maintain a reactor capable of producing enriched plutonium, he said. “And that’s what worries Israel, that they (Iran) will be able within a short time frame to reach a nuclear bomb.”

“I hold the view that the only way to stop Iran in its journey to a nuclear bomb is through military means,” Inbar maintained, suggesting that “Israel needs to seriously consider striking a number of important nuclear facilities” to head off the threat.

Inbar went further, stating that Israel had made a serious mistake in not taking out Iran’s nuclear facilities until now. Now that the deal – however bad – was struck, a military strike would be far more difficult, he posited.

Nevertheless, practically-speaking Israel was left with little choice short of accepting a nuclear-armed Iran.

“As long as there was no deal it was easier for Israel to strike. They should have carried out a strike two years ago,” he said. “This is not an easy decision but it’s what needed to be done.”

Despite that fact, many countries – most notably Israel’s immediate neighbors – would be supportive of such a strike, and were waiting for Israel to neutralize the threat posed to them by a nuclear-capable Iranian regime.

“In practice no one wants to see a nuclear Iran; all of them are playing the game so that Israel can pulls the chestnuts out of the fire.

The deal, announced yesterday at a joint conference in Switzerland and widely celebrated as a “victory” in Iran, was quickly lauded by US President Barack Obama as an “historic” agreement.

“I am convinced that if this framework leads to a final comprehensive deal it will make our country, our allies and our world safer,” Obama asserted, insisting that despite criticisms the agreement would effectively cut off any options for Iran to build a nuclear bomb.

But despite Obama’s claim that there was “no daylight” between the US’s commitment to Israel’s security and the framework deal, Israeli officials heavily criticized it as an “historic mistake”.

“If an agreement is reached on the basis of this framework, it is an historic mistake which will make the world far more dangerous,” said the officials, briefing journalists on condition of anonymity.

“It is a bad framework which will lead to a bad and dangerous agreement. The framework gives international legitimacy to Iran’s nuclear program, the only aim of which is to produce a nuclear bomb,” they added.

In Congress as well – where legislators on both sides of the aisle have expressed serious concerns over the pending deal – House Speaker John Boehner branded the agreement “an alarming departure” from the President’s own declared goals. Nevertheless, legislators have given the White House a three-month reprieve on a bill to level harsher sanctions against Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to address the deal directly at a press conference Friday, after holding top-level talks with security officials.

IRAN TALKS WRAP UP WITH NO END IN SIGHT

April 2nd, 2015

IRAN TALKS WRAP UP WITH NO END IN SIGHT
by Shlomo Pitrikovsky & Cynthia Blank (Arutz Sheva)

Two days past deadline, all night negotiations between Iran and world powers adjourn at six a.m. to begin again later on Thursday.

US negotiating team meets with Iranian counterparts for nuclear talks

After an all night round of extended talks between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, negotiations have adjourned until later Thursday.

United States Department of State spokeswoman, Mary Sharp, wrote on Twitter Thursday morning that talks in Lausanne, Switzerland, which are already two days past their March 31 deadline, came to a close at 6 a.m. local time.

Despite ongoing debate, no agreements have been reached between Iran and the foreign ministers of the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.

Negotiators are expected to resume talks in the coming hours, in yet another attempt to overcome differences and reach an understanding between Iran and the world powers.

Representatives of the world powers have already begun blaming the lack of progress in talks on Iran. Reportedly, the Iranians are refusing to be flexible or present an alternate position to advance a final deal.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who returned Wednesday night to Lausanne, despite having left for Paris the previous day, told reporters Wednesday that “we are a few meters from the finishing line, but the last meters are the most difficult.”

He also urged Iran to make an “extra effort” to reach an agreement.

For his part, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said that the nuclear talks will only succeed if the West drops its “excessive demands.”

“Iran has shown its readiness to engage with dignity and it’s time for our negotiating partners to seize the moment,” Zarif told reporters in Lausanne, according to AFP.

Iran had shown that it wants “an entente” with the world but it “will not accept submitting to force and excessive demands. Those we are negotiating with should accept this reality,” Zarif declared.

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PASSOVER

April 1st, 2015

WHAT EVERY CHRISTIAN NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT PASSOVER by David Lazarus (Israel Today News)

This is the title of a new book (available on Amazon) by Reform Rabbi Evan Moffic, who demonstrates a deep appreciation for the central place of Jesus in the Jewish Passover. In his book, which came out in February just in time for the holiday, Moffic hopes to help Christians understand the intimate connection between Judaism and Christianity in the Passover, the principal festival for both Jews and Christians.

“Exploring the Passover helps us learn more about the context of Jesus’ own religious and spiritual life, and it sheds light on Easter, the resurrection of Jesus and the meaning of redemption,” he explains.

Written in a popular style for a wide audience, the rabbi’s book should appeal to Christians wanting an inside, intimate look at a traditional Jewish Passover. “Jesus experienced a traditional Passover Seder guided by the blessings and rituals Jews have practiced for three thousand years,” writes Moffic. “The stories and interpretations he heard are ones still taught at Jewish Passover Seders today. In this book you are invited to experience the real thing.”

In a chapter titled, “Celebrating the Passover Seder Yourself: A Haggadah for Home Use by Christians and Jews,” Moffic offers a Passover celebration with annotations for those wanting to commemorate Jesus as the Passover Lamb of God. By including ancient Hebrew prayers and even recommendations for traditional holiday recipes, he provides Christians interested in the Hebrew roots of their faith with an authentic Passover experience.

For example, the rabbi notes that “the shank bone symbolizes the lamb offered as a sacrifice at the Temple in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. The lamb symbolizes God’s mercy in redeeming the Israelites from slavery to Egypt. In Christian tradition, the lamb symbolizes Jesus, the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice frees believers from the sins of the world.”

Moffic makes it clear throughout the book that the Passover celebration should never be a boring religious tradition, but rather a life-giving experience setting us free from our painful past and giving us hope for a better future. “What meaning do we make out of tragedy and loss? God commanded them to observe a holiday in which they were to make some sort of sense, some sort of meaning, from their loss.

The Passover celebration is the medium through which Jews, over the centuries, have remembered and made meaning from the trauma of slavery. They do not define themselves as victim. They do not seek revenge. Rather they hold the first sacred Passover meal telling their story of God’s redemption.”

Moffic offers some unconventional interpretations of the Passover ceremony, many of which are already used in Messianic Seders that seek to join faith in Jesus with the Jewish festival. “In Christian tradition, the three pieces of matzos [unleavened bread] represent God’s presence as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost,” he writes. “Some Christians interpret the perforations of the matzo as symbolic of the piercings of Jesus on the cross. Jesus is the Bread of Life afflicted in sacrifice yet nourishing the world.”

In a moment of unrestrained candor, Moffic confesses that he has “found great inspiration in the description of love from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. My own prayer life has been transformed by what I learned from pastors and Christian writers. Quite often I learn more about my own faith.” Conversely, the rabbi reminds us of the ways in which “Jewish wisdom can bring Christians closer to their faith.”

This is not the first time Rabbi Moffic of the Solel Congregation in Chicago writes openly about Jesus. It was with great fascination that I reviewed his previous essay, 5 RABBIS EXPLAIN JESUS, which demonstrated that for the better part of the past century, and especially in more recent years, Judaism has been looking to reclaim Jesus.

ISRAEL BAFFLED BY US NUCLEAR OFFER TO IRAN

March 30th, 2015

ISRAEL BAFFLED BY US NUCLEAR OFFER TO IRAN
(Israel Today News)

Israeli officials this week were increasingly perplexed by the terms of an emerging nuclear deal between Iran and Western powers led by America. The self-imposed deadline to reach an agreement is tomorrow, March 31.

That talks are coming down to the wire likely suits Iran, which knows that the Obama Administration, at least, is desperate for a diplomatic achievement and might be willing to sign off even on what Israel would consider a “bad deal.”

“This agreement confirms all our fears and exceeds them,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday.

The currently known terms of the agreement would leave Iran with at least 6,000 centrifuges capable of producing enriched uranium, and would largely trust Iran to keep its word that the uranium would be shipped to Russia.

“You don’t need to be an intelligence officer to see Iran is lying barefacedly, and is today the greatest danger to the stability of the Middle East,” added Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.

Both Netanyahu and Ya’alon pointed out that even as America and the West are negotiating this misguided deal, Iran is busy extending its dangerous influence around the Middle East.

Last week, an Iranian-backed militia seized control of Yemen, much to the chagrin of neighboring states like Saudi Arabia, which has since launched a military offensive against the rebels.

“Iran’s proxies in Yemen are conquering large swaths of land in an effort to overtake the Bab al-Mandab straits, so that they can change the balance of power in shipping oil,” warned Netanyahu.

Should the Western powers sign the nuclear agreement in its current form, Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that the Jewish state would “need to reassess the whole resulting security situation.”

A senior Israeli security official who spoke to the Walla news portal said the deal would affirm that Israel cannot trust Washington when it comes to security and stability in the region. “We know that the United States will ignore the topic of Iran’s (nuclear) development proliferation and distribution of weapons, and its involvement in terrorism in the Middle East,” he said.

DAVID DOLAN FROM JERUSALEM

March 27th, 2015

DAVID DOLAN FROM JERUSALEM

Shalom From Israel!
Although this is a rather long letter from Israel, I believe it is the most important report that I have ever sent out. So I hope that you will take the time to read it through to the end and maybe send it to your friends.

I have been visiting this unique country that I called home for almost 33 years since the beginning of March, enjoying every day of it. Among many other things, I stopped by my former apartment in the center of Jerusalem with its magnificent view of the Temple Mount and the nearby Mount of Olives. There I happily learned that the young Israeli couple who bought it from me had triplets, two boys and a girl, just ten months after I returned to America in May 2013! I told their mother that I see this as a Divine blessing on my former home.

I’m planning to fly back to the United States just two days before Passover begins the first week of April. It’s been a wonderful time for me here in the Lord’s special land, visiting with many longtime friends including my now elderly “spiritual mentor” Lance Lambert, who is miraculously still alive and kicking at his home in Jerusalem after a serious illness nearly took his life late last year while visiting Greece. I spent my first week in Jerusalem, where I lived since 1984 after residing several years in the verdant northern Galilee region, and plan to spend my last few days of this trip in the Holy City as well, including sharing a Shabbat meal at Lance’s home.

I arrived on the festival of Purim just one day before a Palestinian terrorist deliberately crashed his car into a group of Border Policewomen in the northern part of the city. Welcome to Jerusalem! Currently I’m staying in the coastal city of Ashkelon at the vacation home of American friends.

Among the highlights of my visit so far was hearing some of the courageous army experiences of the sons of two Israeli couples who’ve been friends for many years. One of the young men, still a ponytailed teenage boy when I last saw him, ended his three year mandatory service earlier this month. We celebrated his exit at a Shabbat meal in the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Naturally both soldiers were very involved in last summer’s intense rocket war with Hamas militia forces in the nearby Gaza Strip. Of course, like most Israeli former fulltime military servicemen (along with some servicewomen), they are liable to be drafted for reserve duty at virtually any time if the government deems such a call up necessary. As I write, a noisy Israeli military drill is taking place along the nearby Gaza Strip’s northern border and in the skies above the area. Earlier I wondered if an actual new conflict had broken out until I happily heard on Army Radio that it was just a planned large scale exercise! Not to worry, they said.

Last week, I spoke to a new Israeli immigrant from America who moved here with her young teenage daughter early last summer, initially living in the same Ashkelon home where I’m currently staying. She told me her husband will soon follow after completing a work project in Texas. She described how her daughter reacted to the frequent air raid sirens that were sounded whenever Hamas rockets were aimed at the area. She said the girl became weary of rushing down almost every night to the basement bomb shelter with her, to the point that she actually moved her mattress down to what became her new bedroom! Welcome to Israel!

Still, she told me they were both glad they had moved to the world’s only Jewish State, especially in light of escalating Muslim terrorist attacks upon Jews in Europe and other parts of the world, and increasing signs of growing animosity towards Israel from the current American government.

ISRAELI ELECTIONS

We spoke only one day after Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party did unexpectedly well in last week’s national elections. The new Israeli voter informed me that, like many others, she had decided at the last minute to cast her ballot for his party. She had earlier planned to vote for a more rightwing party (Jewish Home) out of concern that the veteran leader’s center-right party might need to be “kept from giving in” to international pressure—particularly from the Obama Administration—to agree to the creation of a Palestinian state in Judaism’s biblical heartland just miles from Israel’s main international airport and major coastal cities, with part of Jerusalem as its capital.

As all must know by now, Netanyahu replied to a reporter’s unsolicited question about such a state on the eve of the election, stating it would not arise under his watch. This prompted the new immigrant to change her mind and cast her ballot for his Likud party. Israeli political pundits agree his short, unplanned answer was the main reason why his party surged way past pre-election surveys that it would capture only 22 to 24 Knesset seats. In the end, the Likud garnered 30 seats, fully one fourth of the legislative body, passing the left-center Zionist Union (basically just a clever new name for the once dominant Labor party) which captured 24 seats. Nineteen of the newly elected legislators are women, a record number. Women can’t even vote in some neighboring Arab countries, and are barely staying alive (or not) with their families to the north in Syria and parts of Iraq.

Many Israeli analysts say when President Obama and his cronies rushed to condemn Netanyahu’s supposed “sudden abandonment” of the vaulted, if surely presently unworkable, “two state solution” to the nearly 70 year old Jewish-Arab regional conflict, they displayed their growing antagonism toward the Jewish State’s democratically elected leaders and contempt of their supporters. The media is reporting that Obama and company will now at least partially withdraw “vital” US government political support for Israel at the United Nations, where it earlier vetoed the Palestinian attempt to unilaterally establish such a state. This news sent many Israelis into an immediate tizzy. Still, most recognize that the Republican-controlled Congress is not about to abandon its strong support for Israel, including many members of Obama’s own Democratic party.

Prime Minister Netanyahu tried to counter the Jewish Israeli apprehensions by quickly telling NBC News that he was only stating what is completely obvious to most Israelis, according to various opinion polls: There is NO CHANCE AT ALL of forging a final peace accord in the coming months or years with the Palestinian Authority while extremist anti-Israeli Islamic violence and rhetoric is exploding in the tumultuous Middle East. It does not matter if annihilationist hatred of Israel emanates from the clerical leaders of Shiite Muslim Iran and their various allies (who are currently taking over Yemen, to the deep chagrin of Saudi Arabia’s oil rich leaders due north of Yemen), or the mushrooming Sunni Muslim “Islamic State” army and its various Muslim cohorts who are currently wreaking havoc from central Africa to the Persian Gulf. This includes Hamas, headquartered just five miles south of where I write.

Let’s not forget, as a majority of Israeli voters apparently did not, that the Hamas terrorist group, which lobbed thousands of rockets at Israeli civilian centers just a few months ago, is now an official part of the “moderate” Palestinian Authority government led by Mahmoud Abbas that Israel is supposed to make a final peace deal with. Speaking of democracy, Abbas has “postponed” presidential elections several times since 2009 due to his well deserved conviction that Hamas would probably emerge victorious in them, as it did in the only Palestinian leadership contest held so far in 2006. Why would Netanyahu possibly allow a state, ruled at least partially by Hamas, to rise up next to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv?

During my current visit, several Israelis have told me they are fully convinced that President Obama and his Secretary of State, John Kerry, are only pretending to be true friends of Israel (and not doing a very good job of it, then opined). They maintain their actions belie their words. They blame the Obama Administration’s untimely, if not inexplicable, efforts to finally “resolve” the long and bitter Israeli-Palestinian conflict at this time for sparking off last summer’s frightening war.

Many Israeli commentators say it was obvious from the dawn of the Obama-backed “Arab Spring” Islamic fundamentalist resurgence in 2010 that no far reaching final peace deal was possible under the current Palestinian and regional realities, even though PM Netanyahu expressed his willingness several years ago to agree to the establishment of a demilitarized Palestinian state next door to Israel. I found it more than ironic that just one day after Netanyahu’s latest electoral triumph, three Muslim terrorist shot dead around 20 foreign tourists in the heart of the government center in Tunis, where the “Arab Spring” began.

WOE TO AMERICA!

As an American now living back in my homeland, I sadly agree with the above Israeli assessments. More than that, I also sadly say WOE TO AMERICA if the Obama Administration continues to back away from the country’s traditional bipartisan, and I believe God-given, role of helping to protect the small Jewish State from its far more numerous regional and world enemies. The prophet Joel warned (3:1) that the nations will be judged in the last days for “dividing” up the land that God restored to the formally scattered Jewish people.

Many Israeli voters were incensed to learn that the State Department had been using American tax dollars to indirectly fund a campaign apparently aimed at ousting Netanyahu from power. I was incensed as well to learn that a portion of my taxes had earlier been channeled by John Kerry and his comrades to the One Voice NGO group, which states that its goal is to nonviolently “end the Israeli occupation” of Judea and Samaria. Let’s not forget that the “occupation” came about in the midst of a multi-country Arab war of annihilation launched against tiny Israel in 1967, leading instead to the fulfillment of various biblical prophecies that the Jewish people would return to all of Jerusalem and the hills and valleys of Judea and Samaria in the last days (Ezekiel 36 and Jeremiah 32, 33).

Putting flesh to its stated goal, the American One Voice group was in turn funding the local “V15” political organization tutored by Jeremy Bird, Obama’s former campaign director, who media reports say flew to Israel from Chicago for the Israeli election campaign. Talk about hutzpa!

“Bibi” Netanyahu complained in an afternoon Election Day tweet to his registered supporters that the American group was paying to bus Arab voters to the polls in droves in a transparent last minute attempt to bring a leftwing government to power. Arab votes would apparently be used to prop up a Zionist Union-led leftwing government in the Knesset, even if the new “Join Arab List” party would probably not be asked to formally join any government coalition led by Isaac Herzog (I noted the irony that his grandfather was the widely respected Chief Rabbi of Northern Ireland some decades ago, and that the election was held here on St Patrick’s Day…guess his grandson missed the luck of the Irish!). Indeed, with Obama’s indirect help, the Arab party emerged as the third largest in the new Knesset with 13 seats.

While condemned as a “racist” tweet by President Obama’s spokesman, many Israelis viewed Netanyahu’s short missive as a justified and understandable attempt by him to rally his own voters to head to the polls in light of the opposition’s gregarious American-aided efforts to do the same. By the way, the new Joint Arab List that most Arab Israeli voters choose on Election Day includes several politicians who openly call for an Islamic state to replace Israel, and others who demand that all Jews leave any Palestinian state created next to Israel—a racist demand if ever there was one.

DIVINE JUDGMENT

I wrote in my previous communication from Mexico late last month that I increasingly sense that the United States superpower giant that I once again call home may be facing imminent Divine Judgment. I am of course not alone in this ominous perception, with many pointing out that an obviously growing number of American and other world citizens have been idolatrously abandoning themselves over the past few decades to an inordinate love of money, commerce, gluttony, sexual immorality (leading in many cases to abortions and sexually transmitted diseases) and many other biblically proscribed things. Particularly in formerly majority “Christian” nations, these things have become their preferred “gods” instead of the God of Israel.

Divorce, for almost any reason or none at all, is rampant in America with nearly one out of two marriages now breaking up. Shockingly, numbers are almost as high among those who profess to be Christians (in Israel, one quarter of all marriages end in divorce). While the US Supreme Court gets ready to rule later this year on forcing all 50 states to allow same-sex marriage, straight couples are avoiding getting hitched in record numbers. Christian media outlets have been reporting that a national survey of American churches conducted over the past five years reveals that some 68% of church going men, including half of all pastors and priests, regularly view pornography, mostly via the internet (the actual numbers are probably higher since some would undoubtedly not admit this sin to a pollster). Does the One who created their eyes not know what they are watching?

Indeed, many citizens of contemporary Israel engage in similar unbiblical practices, and the small Jewish State would obviously suffer as well if its longtime main ally and benefactor goes down. America’s other friends and the entire world would also experience the effects. Still, if I was legally eligible to stay here in Israel, or to move back here, I would probably do so. I again urge all Jews living abroad who can do so to consider this option very prayerfully and urgently.

As I’ve stated many times before in my public speaking and writings, it would only take one or two relatively small “suitcase” or “backpack” nuclear bombs to quickly and severely alter life in America. Even if just lower Manhattan were obliterated—and it is after all just a small island abutting the Atlantic Ocean, and still undoubtedly Ground Zero to our enemies—all economic and political life in the wealthy United States and the world would be instantly altered, and obviously not for the good. The 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington were a Divine warning of further and more severe terrorist or military actions potentially ahead, I and many others believe. The American government and people would do well to heed the vows of self-declared enemy states like North Korea, Iran, and Sunni Muslim groups like Al Qaida and Islamic State, that the mighty United States will one day soon be attacked and destroyed.

Unlike some, I do not believe that my native country—which has often acted as a beacon of light, but also increasingly as an exporter of the fruits of a morally decaying culture—is going to completely disappear. I think any attacks or economic disasters allowed to take place by the Almighty God will mainly be designed for remedial purposes, to bring the people literally to their knees in search of Him. But I do suspect the United States of America may at least partially disintegrate as a unified functioning nation, with martial law, widespread violence and other negative things a likely outcome of any economic collapse, and/or massive terrorist or military attack, and/or a major natural disaster.

Let’s not forget that the former Soviet Union unexpectedly lost its superpower status and many of its component countries in an amazingly short period of time just over two decades ago, mainly due to economic implosion (there is after all no free lunch). I suspect the same thing could soon rock debt infested America, especially given the many negative things that have taken place in the country during previous “Shemitah” years. The US stock market is ridiculously high at present, I believe, with the recent drastic fall in world oil prices producing a temporary financial bubble for America’s consumer driven economy; unlike most of the rest of the world, which is either bordering on, or already in, recession. Many economists warn that American banks will probably never get back the huge sums they loaned to “start up” and existing oil companies as the price of oil soared over the past five years to record levels, which is eerily similar to what took place during the housing bubble that crashed during the last Shemitah year in 2008.

Only true national repentance could deflect pending Divine judgment upon America, I believe, with sadly little sign so far that this is on the horizon, although there is always reason to hope and pray.

LISTEN TO THE LORD

Believe it or not in this now overly connected world, I have not had access over the past two months to television while staying in a beachfront thatched roof cabana hut in eastern Mexico, and later at a Christian Guest House in Jerusalem, and then here in Ashkelon. Frankly I haven’t missed it much, although I do check out the latest news at least once a day via the internet or radio.

Instead, I have had lots of time to pray and meditate on God’s Word, and more importantly, to LISTEN to the gentle voice of the Lord. I believe I am issuing this warning of possible pending judgment via His commission, although I am not any less a flesh and blood sinner than anyone else, as the Apostle Paul frequently pointed out was true of himself. I do so with humbleness and hope that it might help to prepare everyone who reads my words, both spiritually and physically, for what seems to me to lie just up ahead, although of course only time will tell and prayer can and does change things.

As many Christians believe, the Lord may snatch ALL of His committed disciples away from this earth at any moment. Death could also take any one of us away with little or no notice. I would not complain if either was the case for me, a man now 60 years young (someone here wished me the traditional Hebrew blessing of “until 120” when they heard my 60th birthday was last month, which, given the realities of the contemporary human aging process, I frankly consider to be a curse!). I would personally not complain if my body were to perish, or better yet to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, before the biblically prophesied end of this age turmoil engulfs the world (as I’ve mentioned before, I believe the Scriptures reveal that the Rapture will take place just before the Lord judges the coming Antichrist and his empire at the end of his rule, but would be glad to be proven wrong!).

BLOOD MOONS AHEAD

After completing the above report late yesterday afternoon, I went out to a balcony here in Ashkelon that overlooks the nearby Mediterranean Sea to watch the sunset. It had been a mostly cloudy and windy day, and the setting sun was partially shielded by a thin layer of cloud out over the water, producing a beautiful red face as the sun seemingly sank into the sea. Moments later, a cloud higher up in the sky moved away to reveal a thin sliver of light at the bottom of the mostly dark moon above the western horizon. I then recalled that this cycle of waxing moon would climax on Passover, April 3rd and 4th, with the third of four “Tetrad” moon eclipses, visible in many parts of the globe as a “blood red” moon. The fourth eclipse is due on September 28th at the start of the annual Feast of Succot, just two weeks after the Shemitah year comes to an end on Rosh Ha Shana. The last business day of this Jewish year will be Friday, September 11th.

An hour later, I settled down to read an article in the weekly Jerusalem Post magazine published last Friday. It was authored by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat, a “settlement” located in the “occupied territories” south of Jerusalem. Titled “The Meaning of the Moon,” his article focused on the four blood moons of the current Tetrad cycle. He noted that the previous three occurred in the years 1492-93 (when the once flourishing Jews of Spain were expelled from that country), 1948-49 (when Israel’s first war took place and the State was created), and 1967, 68 (the Six Day War and capture of Jerusalem’s Old City, Judea, Samaria, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights). In my report on this same topic written a couple years ago, I pointed out that many Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed, and many more wounded, during the previous two Tetrad cycles. Yet both also led to extremely positive outcomes overall for the Jewish people of Israel.

Was last summer’s intense conflict with Hamas a fulfillment of my written prediction that another war would probably take place during or around this current Tetrad cycle, leading to significant loss of Jewish lives but also an ultimate positive outcome? I don’t think so. I believe another, much greater, conflict is probably on the horizon. As Rabbi Riskin noted, the most obvious pending war is probably with Iran and its allies (Hamas and Hizbullah included). Prime Minister Netanyahu’s reelection makes this all the more likely, especially if current American-led negotiations with the Shiite clerical regime in Iran do not end later this month with an acceptable cessation of its nuclear development program, as the Prime Minister warned in his eloquent speech before Congress last month will sadly probably be the case.

By the way, the ONLY time I had access to a TV over the past two months was overnight near the airport in Cancun, where I watched his entire speech live just before my hotel shuttle departed for my flight to Newark and Israel. As I was driven to the airport, I recalled when I first met Bibi on election night at Likud party headquarters in Tel Aviv in October 1988, where I was reporting for CBS radio news. I thought at the time that the newly elected Knesset member would probably emerge as a great leader of Israel one day —I had no idea how great!

Rabbi Riskin noted in his article that his longtime “special friend,” Pastor John Hagee of Texas, expects that a conflict with Iran will indeed take place “with or without American support,” and end with Israel’s “crippling Iran’s nuclear capabilities.” I agree that such a conflict and outcome is also very likely to take place, and probably very soon. Riskin then wrote that Pastor Hagee expects this “will then provoke Russia to invade Israel,” fulfilling the “Gog and Magog” prophecy found in Ezekiel 38 and 39. Although “the situation will look hopeless,” God will “save Israel and our supporters” and then “Messiah will come.”

I believe that this scenario is missing some essential prophesied parts, although they may be included in Hagee’s fuller teachings. Following a likely showdown with Iran, whether right away or later on, will not be the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy in my estimation, but a coordinated attack by various regional Sunni Arab forces that are named in Psalm 83 (see my book Israel in Crisis for full details). I suspect this will follow the toppling of Jordan’s current pro-American regime, replaced by radical Muslim jihadists currently being battled by Jordan and other Sunni Arab countries as part of the international US-led alliance against further Islamic State expansion. Amman is listed as one of the Psalm 83 conspirators, along with Assyria, located where Islamic State is fighting today in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Sometime after that prophesied regional Arab onslaught against Israel takes place, or possibly preceding or coinciding with it, I expect the evil “Antichrist” ruler spoken of by the prophet Daniel and the Apostles Paul and John will arise (probably quite literally) and rule the entire planet for three and a half years. I think Scripture suggests that only at the end of this period will the prophesied Gog and Magog Russian-led invasion of Israel (involving a revenge seeking Iran) take place as part of the final Armageddon War. And then the Messiah will come (return I believe) and the rest of remaining world Jewry will move to Israel (Ezk. 39:27). Finally the surviving remnant of Israel and the world will rest in everlasting peace as Messiah’s Kingdom is fully established on earth! May He come speedily in our day!

Whatever may lie ahead for us personally or corporately this year and beyond, we will spend eternity in His wonderful presence if we have truly surrendered to His sovereign will. I sincerely pray it would be so for everyone reading these words!

“Do not fear oh land, rejoice and be glad, for the Lord has done great things” (Joel 2:21).


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