Israeli Parliament member rips up New Testament

Joel C. Rosenberg

(Jerusalem, Israel, July 19, 2012) — Please pray for Michael Ben Ari. He’s a member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) who this week was given the gift of a Hebrew New Testament study Bible by the Israeli Bible Society but chose to rip it to shreds and throw it into the garbage and do so in front of the press. It was a reprehensible act and a childish temper tantrum and the controversy over what he did and why he did it has made headlines here in Israel and around the world. The good news is several leading Israeli officials condemned Ben Ari’s action and called for him to apologize. Personally, I’d like to see Prime Minister Netanyahu make a strong statement condemning Ben Ari’s action, as well. I’m not aware that the PM has yet done so.

At the end of this column, I post some of my thoughts about why I believe this controversy is important.

But first, here are the latest details: “MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union), a member of the Israeli parliament tore up a copy of the New Testament and threw it in the trash, an act that was apparently caught on camera,” reported Ynet News. “Ben Ari and several other Knesset members received by mail on Monday a copy of the New Testament, sent by the Bible Society in Israel, an organization that distributes religious books. In the letter sent with the book, director of the Christian organization Victor Kalisher wrote that the new edition ‘sheds light on the Holy Scriptures and helps understand them….We hope the book will help you and illuminate your way.’….However, while most MK’s chose to ignore the book or return it to its sender, the rightist lawmaker chose to term the book a ‘provocation,’ tore it up into shreds and then threw it out. ‘This abominable book (the New Testament) galvanized the murder of millions of Jews during the Inquisition and during [other] instances,’ Ben Ari said adding that ‘Sending the book to MK’s is a provocation. There is no doubt that this book and all it represents belongs in the garbage can of history.’”

“The religious and ultra-Orthodox Knesset members should honor those who want to read the book, Kalisher said,” noted the Times of Israel, “adding ‘it could help them expand their own knowledge.’ Kalisher also denied the notion of missionary activity, saying his organization studied and spread the holy scriptures, providing people with knowledge and study tools. There was no intention to ‘hurt the feelings of Knesset members,’ he said. ‘It’s a Jewish book, written by Jews. To better understand Judaism you need to study the New Testament.’

MK Ben Ari’s deplorable behavior was denounced by other Knesset members, including the Speaker of the Knesset Reuven Rivlin. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to their credit, also called on MK Ben Ari to apologize for his behavior. I agree with the ADL and am encouraged by their statement, which I’ve posted on the blog.

That said, I would encourage all of the Members of the Israeli Knesset to ready and carefully study this Hebrew edition of the New Testament and to proactively study the life of Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth. Indeed, my prayer is that all Israelis would read and study the New Testament and decide this question: Is Yeshua the Jewish Messiah foretold by the Hebrew prophets, or not? This is the most important question in all of human history, and the most important and urgent of questions that must be answered by each and every Jew and Gentile. Indeed, our eternal destiny depends on how we answer this question and what actions we take based on our answer. Thus, I’m grateful this controversy has been sparked. May it lead many to decide to obtain a copy of this Hebrew New Testament and study carefully it for themselves.

[To read these stories in full — and/or to read excerpts from IMPLOSION, and/or to find links to the latest news and analysis of events and trends in the U.S., Israel, Russia, and the Middle East — please go to: http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/.%5D

—————

ALSO ON THE BLOG:

* BUS BOMBING KILLS AT LEAST 7 ISRAELI YOUTH IN BULGARIA: Iran suspected

* MOFAZ QUITS ISRAELI GOVERNMENT: Why he did it, and what it means.

* SERMON IN HAIFA: “O GOD, IN LIGHT OF THE GROWING THREATS TO ISRAEL, OPEN OUR EYES” (2 Kings 6:8-23)

* INTERVIEW: IMPLOSION AUTHOR DISCUSSES “RAPTURE”

* IRAN LEADER: WE MUST PREP FOR THE “END TIMES”

* WILL AMERICA EXPERIENCE A THIRD GREAT AWAKENING? Listen to sermon online

* DOES BIBLE PROPHECY FORETELL THE DESTRUCTION OF DAMASCUS? (a look at Isaiah 17 and Jeremiah 49)

* TWITTER — I’ve become active on Twitter. Please join me @jcrflashtraffic.

Remembering the Holocaust: Never Again!

By Joel C. Rosenberg

Today in Israel, and around the world, we stop to remember the evil that was perpetrated during the Holocaust, pray for the survivors and their families, and recommit ourselves to the principle: Never Again.

“A two-minute siren sounded across the country at 10 am Thursday in memory of the six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust,” reports Ynet News. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered a moving address honoring Holocaust Remembrance Day, and applied its lessons to the current showdown with Iran. Israeli President Shimon Peres also discussed Iran today in light of the Holocaust. I commend these to your attention.

Last November, I had the opportunity to travel to Poland with two pastors and their wives to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps for the first time. My son, Caleb, and I produced a short video of that trip which might help you and your family and friends get a brief glimpse inside the tragedy and what it means.

Most of all, please pray for these survivors, that the Lord would draw them close to His heart and heal their memories and show them His amazing grace and mercy. As the Hebrew prophet Isaiah wrote, “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” (Isaiah 52:7)

IRAQ REBUILDING ITS MILITARY, EVEN AS THEY REBUILD BABYLON: Prophetic significance? « Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

IRAQ REBUILDING ITS MILITARY, EVEN AS THEY REBUILD BABYLON: Prophetic significance? « Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog.

Very interesting article in relation to Prophecy.

Is Netanyahu’s Patience with Iran Running Out?

Posted: January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized
by Joel C. Rosenberg

Does Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu think the West is taking decisive action to stop Iran from getting the Bomb, or does he think the West is fiddling while Tel Aviv runs the rising risk of burning? That’s the Big Question as tensions continue to mount in the epicenter this week. Iran is making new threats to close the Strait of Hormuz to oil shipments, just days after test-firing missiles over the Strait. The U.S., Britain and France are sending additional naval forces  into the Gulf. The European Union is taking new steps to impose an oil embargo on Iran. The U.S. is taking steps to sanction Iran’s third largest bank, though dragging its feet on actually sanctioning Iran’s Central Bank. Adding to the regional tensions, Russia is lashing out at the EU and selling $550 million worth of arms to one of Iran’s key regional allies. Will such Western moves be enough to stop Iran from building an arsenal of nuclear weapons? Personally, I’m not convinced. Such moves would have been good a few years ago. Now they strike me as too little too late, especially after the Obama White House disastrous decision recently to cancel joint military exercises with Israel for fear of being “too provocative” towards Iran. But it doesn’t matter what I think. What matters is what Netanyahu thinks. If he decides the West isn’t doing enough and Iran is going to get the Bomb, then he is going to hit Iran hard, soon, and without warning.

In that context, it’s worth noting a speech Netanyahu gave Tuesday warning his nation that the world has not internalized the lessons of the Holocaust. ”Speaking at the Knesset just days before  International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), Netanyahu reasoned that the Jewish people must not put their fate in the hands of the  international community,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “Posing a rhetorical question, Netanyahu asked, ‘How does the world react to the calls for genocide against the Jews today? Seventy years after the shoa [Holocaust], Iran is calling for us to be wiped off the map, Hezbollah is calling for our extinction, as are many in Hamas….The Jerusalem Mufti [Sheikh Muhammad Hussein] called on Sunday for Jews to be killed wherever they are…echoing his predecessor Haj Amin Al Husseini, who actively helped Hitler and Eichman,’ he said. ‘I do not hear the international community condemning this. I hear them  condemning buildings in the West Bank. But I don’t hear them condemning  this incitement,’ said Netanyahu.”

Could Netanyahu be signaling that his patience — and that of the Israeli government and military – is running out?

Worth noting: “Two Iranian lawmakers on Monday stepped up threats their country would close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s crude flows, in retaliation for oil sanctions on Tehran,” reports Haaretz. “The warnings came as EU nations agreed in Brussels on an oil embargo against Iran as part of sanctions over the country’s controversial nuclear program. The measure includes an immediate embargo on new contracts for Iranian crude and petroleum products while existing ones will be allowed to run until July. Iran has repeatedly warned it would choke off the strait if sanctions affect its oil sales, and two lawmakers ratcheted up the rhetoric on Monday….For its part, the United States has enacted, but not yet put into force, sanctions targeting Iran’s central bank and, by extension, the country’s ability to be paid for its oil. Some 80 percent of Iran’s oil revenue comes from exports and any measures or sanctions taken that affect its ability to export oil could hit hard at its economy. With about 4 million barrels per day, Iran is the second largest producer in OPEC.”

Two Mistakes Regarding Iran

by Joel Rosenberg

 

>> Rating the GOP presidential candidates on the Iran issue

The White House has made two new and serious mistakes on Iran in recent days:

  1. The Obama administration has just canceled joint military exercises with the Israelis.
  2. The Obama administration has both denied killing a top-ranking Iranian nuclear scientist and condemned the scientist’s assassination.

Given that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Iran could have the Bomb by the end of 2012, the U.S. should intensifying pressure on the evil regime in Tehran. This would include dramatically escalating covert ops inside Iran, and making preparations for possible air strikes if there are no other alternatives to neutralizing the Iran threat. Instead, the senior team at the White House just blinked — twice — showing weakness instead of resolve. They have also made it more likely, not less, that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu may conclude this year that he has no other choice but to launch a massive first strike against Iran. Thus: The United States has stepped up contingency planning in case Israel launches a military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday. According to the report, U.S. defense officials are becoming increasingly concerned that Israel is preparing to carry out such a strike.” At the moment, Army General Martin Dempsey, the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is heading to Israel for talks about Iran.

Meanwhile, “Israeli Cabinet Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Sunday he was disappointed that the U.S. has not expanded sanctions to further damage Iran’s central bank and its energy industry. He also suggested that the Obama  administration hasn’t been as forceful as Britain and France in  imposing sanctions. ‘In the United States, the Senate passed a resolution, by a majority of 100-to-1, to impose these sanctions, and in the U.S. administration there is hesitation for fear of  oil prices rising this year, out of election-year considerations,’ Ya’alon told  Israel Radio, according to Haaretz newspaper. ‘In that regard, this is certainly  a disappointment, for now.’”

This is exactly why I’m saying we’d better keep praying for peace, while preparing ourselves for war.

 

FOUR REASONS WHY GOD IS SHAKING AMERICA & THE WORLD: Text of “Wake Up Call” sermon

Posted: September 13, 2011 by joelcrosenberg in Uncategorized


http://flashtrafficblog.wordpress.com/

The following is the text of the sermon I delivered Sunday night, September 11th during the “Wake Up Call.” The video will soon be posted online, and I’ll let you know where and when as soon as possible.

“FOUR REASONS WHY GOD IS SHAKING AMERICA AND THE WORLD”

The Wake Up Call Event

Joel C. Rosenberg

September 11, 2011

Thank you. It is an honor to be here tonight — especially at this critical moment in American history, and in the history of the world.

Thousands of years ago, through the Hebrew Prophet Haggai, God told us what He was going to do — that He was going to shake us.  “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations…. I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.’” (Haggai 2:6-7, 21-22)

That’s what Bible prophecy is – an intercept from the mind of the all-knowing, all-seeing God of the universe….a weather report from the future….a storm warning from the future — not so that we will be afraid, but so that we will be awake and ready and faithful and walking close to Jesus when the storms come.

  • Do you remember where you were on September 11th, 2001?
  • Do you remember how you felt when you saw the Pentagon burning, the smoldering wreckage in Pennsylvania, the two towers imploding?
  • Not since Pearl Harbor had so many Americans been killed in a single attack – more than 3,000 that day.

None of us will ever forget that day — nor should we.

God didn’t cause 9/11 to happen….fanatics devoted to the false teachings of Radical Islam caused 9/11 to happen….but the True and Living God — the God of the Bible — let it happen to shake America….to get our attention….to wake us up.

I want to ask you some questions tonight as we reflect on 9/11, as we reflect on the state of our union, and the state of the Church, both here and around the world: On this anniversary of 9/11, are you morally and spiritually better off ten years ago? Is your family? Is your church?

Now is an appropriate time to take a spiritual audit — to assess how you’re doing morally and spiritually, how your family is doing, how your congregation is doing. Ten years ago, God shook us – the question is: Were we listening?

In the Book of Hebrews we read: “See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” Hebrews 12:25-26)

Our Lord Jesus Christ — sitting with His disciples on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem — also warned in Matthew 24 that we would be shaken in the last days, those days leading up to Jesus’ return. “The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the power of the heavens will be shaken,” Jesus said. And then, when men least expect it, Jesus said, “the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:29-30)

America was shaken on 9/11. Today, God is shaking us again.

  • Nine of the ten costliest – most expensive – hurricanes in American history have happened since 9/11. The worst was Hurricane Katrina which nearly wiped out an American city and ended up costing $108 billion.[i]
  • Hurricane Irene will likely rank in the top five and has made 2011 the worst year in American history for natural disasters, with ten separate catastrophes costing $1 billion or more.[ii]
  • This year, we’ve seen the worst outbreak of tornadoes in nearly half a century.[iii]
  • The worst fires in the history of Texas – amidst the worst drought in the history of the state.[iv]
  • The biggest earthquake on the East Coast since 1875.[v]
  • The biggest earthquake in Colorado since 1882.

At the same time, our economy is being shaken to its core.

  • 42,000 American factories have shut down since 9/11.[vi]
  • Fourteen million Americans have lost their jobs just in the past few years.
  • Millions of families have lost their homes.
  • Washington is running up the national credit card to jump start our economy, but it’s not working.
  • Our federal debt is now more than $14 trillion – that’s trillion with a “t.” It’s hard to imagine so much money. But put it this way: if we were to pay one dollar per second every hour of every day of every month to pay down our national debt, it would take us more than 32,000 years just to pay off $1 trillion – but we have more than $14 trillion of debt.[vii]
  • No wonder nearly eight-in-ten say America is on the “wrong track.”[viii]
  • No wonder nearly half of all Americans fear we’re heading for another Great Depression.[ix]

People are beginning to wonder if we can turn this thing around, or whether we’re heading towards an economic collapse, an economic implosion. Sometimes, it feels like we’re out on the middle of a frozen lake and suddenly we begin to hear the ice cracking under our feet. We haven’t plunged down into the icy waters yet, but we’re not sure where to step, or whether we can get back to the safety of the shore.

That’s the economy.  But what of the state of our culture?

  • Since 1973, more than 53 million abortions. More than 53 million children murdered, and there is no end in sight.[x]
  • Pornography revenues today exceed the revenues of ABC, CBS and NBC – combined.[xi]
  • Today the pornography industry is larger than the revenues of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, Yahoo!, Apple, Netflix and EarthLink – combined.[xii]

Where are the Christians? What difference are we making? The answer is painful too hear. Too many people who say they are Christians are asleep, or distracted, or intoxicated by the world. Like the old country and western song, “Looking for love in all the wrong places,” too many people who say they are Christians have been looking love and meaning and purpose outside of Christ and His love.

George Barna, the Christian pollster and researcher, has just released a fascinating but sobering book entitled, Futurecast, Which I commend to your attention. In it, he devotes consider time to analyzing the state of Christianity in America today, and it is revealing:

  • 85 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians.[xiii]
  • “84 percent consider it a holy or sacred book” and “the typical American household owns four Bibles” [xiv]
  • Yet only 56 percent believe that “the Bible is accurate and without error.”[xv]

Clearly, there’s a disconnect between who we say we are, and what we say we believe, and how we’re living. Barna offers many examples. Let me share just two.

  • First, there is no statistical difference between the percentage of non-Christians who get divorced (33 percent) and the percentage of “born-again Christians” who get divorced (32 percent).[xvi]
  • Second, only half of all born again Christians say they even try to share the Gospel with even one unsaved person one time – one time – a year.[xvii]

How is this possible? How can we be salt and light to the lost world around us if we are no different than that lost world? How can possibly hope for a spiritual revival or a Third Great Awakening in this land if we are barely all sharing our faith in Jesus Christ with one person a year? Jesus said in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” This is an important question for us tonight.

Yet God isn’t merely shaking America — the Lord said through the prophet Haggai, “I will shake all the nations.”

  • Japan is suffering what her Prime Minister calls the worst disaster since World War II – a devastating earthquake, the resulting tsunami, and multiple nuclear meltdowns all at once.[xviii]
  • Australians have faced devastating flooding this year – one headline read: “Australia Faces Biblical Floods”[xix]
  • God is shaking the Arab world through revolutions and uprisings. The prophet Haggai said, “I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.” And sure enough we have see rulers and regimes overthrown and destroyed in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, and Libya – and more may be coming.
  • Russia is suffering the worst drought in 100 years.[xx]
  • China is currently suffering its worst drought in 200 years.[xxi]
  • The earthquake in Christchurch last year was the worst in the history of New Zealand and left 1/3 of the city’s buildings facing demolition.[xxii]
  • Last year, God shook Haiti – the deadliest earthquake in nearly 500 years, and the second deadliest in all of human history.[xxiii]

The question is: Why is God shaking us?

The Bible teaches us that at this stage in history, God is shaking us not to punish us — though judgment will come.

There are, however, four reasons, I believe.

First, God is shaking us because He loves us and He wants us to repent – What is repentance? Some people think of it as a very heavy religious word. But my wife, Lynn, and I have tried to teach our four sons what repentance means in a very simple way. Our youngest is Noah, and so I’ll bring Noah over to my side and say, “Noah, start running away from me, out of the family room, through the kitchen and to the dinning room. Ready? Go!” So Noah starts running. Then suddenly I say, “Stop, Noah!” And he stops. And I say, “Repent, Noah.” And he turns around. And I say, “Come back to daddy!” And he comes running to me and jumps up in my arms and I hug him and kiss him. That’s repentance. God is telling to stop, because we’re running in the opposite direction, away from Him. He tells us to repent – to turn around – and to come running back to Him so that He can forgive us and dust us off and restore us. And that’s why He shakes us. He is trying to get us to let go of anything and everything we are holding – every form of ideology, or philosophy, or religious beliefs, or political beliefs, or material possessions – whatever we’re holding onto that we think will give us hope and peace and security other than Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son.

Second, God is shaking us because He wants us to realize there is no One else who can satisfy us or give us true peace and security except Jesus Christ – no other water that will quench our spiritual and emotional thirst except His living water, and He wants us to discover Him and draw near to Him and drink the water only Jesus Christ gives us.

Third, God is shaking us because He has a mission for His Church, a mission for each follower of His – good works that He prepared before the world began that we should walk in them – and He doesn’t want us to miss the blessing of serving Him and seeing Him bear fruit through our lives of obedience.

I’ve had the opportunity to travel into Iraq four times in recent years. Last year, we were invited to bring a team of pastors and staff from The Joshua Fund to do a pastors conference in northern Iraq, near the province of Ninevah. We have a son named Jonah, and he really wanted to go with me so he could see Ninevah. Lynn and I weren’t so sure about that, but we prayed, and felt God’s peace, so Jonah came with me. But as we were flying in, a big storm came up and prevented our flight from landing in northern Iraq. We were diverted back to Amman, Jordan. There, I texted Lynn and told her what happened and said Jonah and I were disappointed and weren’t sure what was going to happen next. She texted back to say, “Don’t worry. This would be the first time in history that a Jonah wanted to go to Ninevah and God prevented him from going. But I think God is going to actually let you and Jonah get to Ninevah after all.” And she was right.

Now, in the Bible, the Lord gave the Hebrew prophet Jonah a mission — to take a warning of judgment and the urgency of repentance to the people of Ninevah in modern day northern Iraq, but Jonah refused to listen to the word of the Lord, and tried to run away from the Lord by boarding a ship that was heading for Tarshish, which is modern day southern Spain.

What happened? God began to shake Jonah’s world. We pick up the story in Jonah 1:4-6. “The Lord hurled a great wind on the sea and there was a great storm on the sea so that the ship was about to break up. Then the sailors became afraid and every man cried to his god, and they threw the cargo which was in the ship into the sea to lighten it for them. But Jonah had gone below into the hold of the ship, lain down and fallen sound asleep. So the captain approached him and said, ‘How is it that you are sleeping? Get up, call on your god. Perhaps your god will be concerned about us so that we will not perish.’”

Jonah — a man of God, a prophet of God, a teacher of God’s Word — was on the run from God, and asleep to His voice.

How convicting is this: that a pagan ship captain had to shake a teacher of God’s word, and wake him up, and beg him to pray for his salvation?

What about you? What mission has God given you? Are you obeying, or are you on the run from the Lord and asleep to His voice?

There is a fourth reason, too — the Lord is shaking us because Jesus Christ is coming back soon, and the time to get right with the Lord is running out.

How do we know Christ is coming back? Because He said so.

Revelation 22:12 – Jesus said, “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.”

John 14:1-6 – Jesus said, ‘Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.’ Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’”

When is Jesus coming back? We don’t know exactly, because He didn’t tell us. “But of that day and hour no one knows,” Christ said, “not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Matthew 24:36)

But our Lord Jesus did give us signs to watch for that would tell us when His return was near.

In Matthew 24, and Luke 21, and Mark 13, and throughout the Scriptures we find lists of signs:

  • wars and rumors of wars
  • uprisings and revolutions
  • earthquakes
  • natural disasters
  • lawlessness
  • false prophets
  • false teachers
  • false messiahs
  • the rise of evil in our cultures previously unimaginable
  • persecution of the believers
  • betrayal
  • apostasy
  • …..to name just a few.

Jesus said we will experience “birth pangs.” Are we not experiencing all these today?

But you say, Joel, when in history have we not had wars and revolutions and earthquakes and apostasy? What makes this period of time different from all others?

The answer is Israel. Bible prophecy makes it crystal clear that in the last days before the Second Coming, the world would witness the miraculous, prophetic rebirth of the State of Israel, Jews coming back to the Holy Land after centuries of exile, Jews rebuilding the ancient ruins, Israel becoming the epicenter of international attention, and growing international hostility and isolation — and we have seen all this happen in our lifetime.

The prophetic rebirth of Israel on May 14, 1948 — together with the reunification of Jerusalem under Jewish control in June 1967 — is what Bible scholars call the “super sign,” the definitive sign that we are truly in what the Bible calls the “last day” before the return of Christ. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel is symbolized as a “fig tree.” Jesus told us the “parable from the fig tree” in Matthew 24. Jesus said, “Now learn the parable from the fig tree; when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near; so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door.” (Matthew 24:32-33)

  • We are seeing the signs that will precede Christ’s return.
  • We are experiencing the birth pangs that will come before Christ’s return.
  • We are being shaken, as prophecy warned, because Jesus wants to wake us up.

We don’t know the day or the hour, but Jesus said we would know the season, and we should be living as though His hand is on the door, ready to come back.

Matthew 24:42 — “Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.”

Matthew 24:43 – Be “on the alert.”

Matthew 24:44 – “For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

Are you ready to see Jesus face to face? Have you given your life to Jesus Christ? Are you absolutely sure that if you were to die tonight that you would go to heaven? Tonight, you can be certain.

Maybe you are already believer — maybe you have given your life to the Lord….but in your heart you know you’re not walking faithfully with Him….you’re drifting….or far away….tonight, God is calling you back to Him….He’s calling you to repent, turn around, come running back into His arms, asking for His forgiveness – for a fresh start, for a righteous and willing spirit. And the Scriptures tell us, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

But to start, we need to wake up.

The Hebrew Prophet Joel wrote: “Wake up and weep, you drunkards!” Why? “For the Day of the Lord is coming; surely it is near.” (Joel 1:5, 2:1)

The Lord Jesus said in the Book of Revelation to the Church in Sardis: “I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God. So remember what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. Therefore if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come to you.” (Revelation 3:1-3)

Is that you tonight? Is that your family? Is that your church?  Perhaps you have a reputation that you’re spiritually alive — but maybe that’s not how Jesus sees you. Maybe He sees you as dead inside. Maybe you’re not obeying Him. Maybe you’re not worshipping Him — not really — not with your heart. Maybe you’re not sharing the gospel with family or friends. Maybe you’re not making any disciples. Maybe you’ve never made a single disciple. Maybe you don’t know what it means to make a disciple, even though Jesus commanded, “Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Where are you tonight? Are you awake, or asleep? Are you running with Jesus, or are you running from Him, and from the mission He has for your life — like Jonah?

Ten years ago, Americans got a wake up call. The 9/11 attacks stunned us, and they drove us back to church by the millions. But did it last? George Barna’s research shows that “after the 9/11 attacks, religious activity surged, but within two months, virtually every spiritual indicator available suggested that things were back to pre-attack levels.”[xxiv] In other words, the wake up call came and people jumped out of bed — but before long, they went back to sleep, back to business as usual.

But look at the list of signs that the Bible says we will see in the last days. Then look at what is happening in our world. Wouldn’t you say the list is being checked off, one by one? I would. Which is why I would this: if you consider yourself a follower of Jesus Christ and you’re planning any major sins in your life right now, can I urge you to postpone those plans, or better yet, cancel them outright. This is not a good time to be goofing around. This is not a good time to be doing something, watching something, listening to something, reading something, spending time with someone or something for which you would be ashamed when Jesus comes back.

The Apostle John put it this way: “Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming.” (1 John 2:28)

Let’s be clear: the Bible tells us that these shakings are going to continue, and get worse, like birth pangs, increasing in frequency and intensity — contraction and release, contraction and release. Our Father is trying to wake us up before it is too late. Our Lord Jesus Christ is giving us time…..

  • to rekindle our first love with Him
  • to embrace Him
  • to eat of the Bread of Life
  • to drink of the living water
  • to follow Him no matter what the journey
  • to serve Him no matter how high the cost
  • to discover His mercies afresh every morning
  • to discover that when the world is being shaken, you don’t have to be – not in your heart, not in your soul – because your hope and trust is fully in Him.

Hebrews 12:28 — When we give our lives to Christ, the Scriptures say we will “receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken”

The Psalmist wrote: “I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)

And, “Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22).

Where are you tonight? Are you ready to meet Jesus face to face?

– End –


[i] Eric Blake, et al, “The Deadliest, Costliest, and Most Intense United States Tropical Cyclones From 1851 to 2010,” NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS NHC-6, National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center, August 2011, p. 9, http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/nws-nhc-6.pdf

[ii] “2011 Record Year For Weather Disasters,” UPI, August 19, 2011, http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2011/08/19/2011-record-year-for-weather-disasters/UPI-57581313783153/

[iii] Marty Roney and Carolyn Pesce, “Dozens of Tornadoes Kill At Least 297 People In South,” USA Today, April 29, 2011, http://www.usatoday.com/weather/storms/tornadoes/2011-04-28-deadly-tornado-south_n.htm?loc=interstitialskip.

[iv] See “Worst Fires On Record Ravage Texas,” Voice of America, http://www.voanews.com/english/news/usa/Worst-Fires-on-Record-Ravage-Texas-129366213.html; see also, “Worst Drought In Texas History Ravages Crops, Livestock,” PBS NewsHour, August 31, 2011, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/weather/july-dec11/texasdrought_08-31.html,

[v] Katharine Q. Seeyle, “Above All, Eastern Quake Rattles Nerves,” New York Times, August 23, 2011, http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/us/24quake.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all.

[vi] Richard McCormack, “The Plight of American Manufacturing,” American Prospect, December 29, 2009, http://prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_plight_of_american_manufacturing.

[vii] 1 trillion seconds is 31,688 years; see http://www.defeatthedebt.com/understanding-the-national-debt/millions-billions-trillions/

[viii] A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken in August 2011 found 73 percent of Americans believing the country was on the “wrong track.” See Steve Holland, “Most Americans say U.S. on wrong track: poll,” Reuters, August 10, 2011.

[ix] Specifically, some 48 percent of Americans believe a Great Depression is coming, CNN poll released June 8, 2011.

[x] National Right To Life fact sheet, January 27, 2011, http://www.nrlc.org/Factsheets/FS03_AbortionInTheUS.pdf.

[xi] Jerry Ropelato, “Internet Pornography Statistics,” Internet Filter Software Reviews, http://internet-filter-review.toptenreviews.com/internet-pornography-statistics-pg2.html.

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] George Barna, Futurecast (Carol Stream, IL: Barna/Tyndale House Publishers, 2011), p. 124.

[xiv] Barna, p. 132-134.

[xv] Barna, p. 132-134.

[xvi] Barna, p. 35.

[xvii] Barna, p. 172.

[xviii] “Japan Quake Worst Crisis Since WWII, Says PM,” BBC, March 13, 2011.

[xix] Nick Meo, “Australia Faces Biblical Floods,” U.K. Telegraph, January 1, 2011, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/8235159/Australia-faces-biblical-floods.html.

[xx] “Russia Struck By Worst Drought In 100 Years,” Voice of Russia, July 18, 2010, http://english.ruvr.ru/2010/07/18/12667465.html.

[xxi] “East China wheat basket braces for worst drought in 200 years,” Xinhua news service, February 8, 2011.

[xxii] “Christchurch earthquake leaves third of city buildings facing demolition: New Zealand’s PM says quake is country’s worst-ever disaster as death toll climbs to 145 and much of business district in ruins,” The (U.K.) Guardian, February 26, 2011.

[xxiii] The deadliest quake in all of human history occurred in 1556 A.D. in China. See “Earthquakes With 50,000 Or More Deaths,” U.S. Geological Survey, http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/world/most_destructive.php, accessed September 2, 2011.

[xxiv] George Barna, “The Year’s Most Intriguing Findings, From Barna Research Studies,” Barna Update, December 17, 2011, http://www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/64-the-years-most-intriguing-findings-from-barna-research-studies.

Iran Threat Rising

 

By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Washington, D.C, August 24, 2011) — “While the U.S. is entering into a catastrophic financial and economic phase,” Iranian Brigadier-General Masoud Jazayeri recently said in a speech to the Revolutionary Guards Corps ground forces, “Iran can, with a serious offensive, emerge economically and financially.”

You probably didn’t hear that on any of the networks’ evening newscasts. What about these headlines:

* Iranian persecution of Christians grows

* Reza Kahlili: Iranians: Time ripe for ‘Great Satan’ to be removed: Military leader says crises will bring America to its knees

* Ahmadinejad says Iran can cripple enemies on their ground, Tehran shows off new cruise missile

The Iranian threat to Israel and the West is rising. What’s more, next month Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is expected to return to New York City to speak to the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly. Will he again pray for Allah to hasten the coming of the Twelfth Imam? Will he go further?

To Shake us, to Wake us, to Get our Attention

RARE EARTHQUAKES SHAKE AMERICAN EAST COAST, ROCKY MOUNTAIN STATES

Is the Lord trying to get our attention? “The Gathering Storm” simulcast set for Oct. 22, will focus on rising threats to America, Israel and the Church.

By Joel C. Rosenberg
(Washington, D.C, August 23, 2011) — Two rare earthquakes have hit the U.S. in two days — a 5.9 magnitude tremor epicentered in southern Virginia on Tuesday shook the White House, Capitol and Pentagon and was felt up and down the Eastern seaboard; and the largest earthquake in Colorado and New Mexico four decades occurred on Monday. Until now, I’d never experienced an earthquake before. While the one here in the D.C. area was relatively mild (compared to the one in Japan, for example), it made me think of the column I wrote last month, entitled, “The Lord is shaking the nations physically, spiritually, financially: Why, and how should we respond?” A few excerpts might be worth reconsidering today:

* “Americans, too, are being shaken. We face arguably the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Nearly half of all Americans believe we are heading towards another Great Depression. Unemployment is over 9%. Housing foreclosures are skyhigh. People have lost enormous sums of money due to depressed housing prices and stock market volatility. The federal government is trying to spend our way to prosperity but is making things worse. Our annual federal budget deficit topped $1.3 trillion last year. This year, it looks like the feds will spend more than $1.5 trillion beyond what they are taking in in revenue. Our debt is skyrocketing. The U.S. is now on the verge of financial default, and hampered further by political ineptitude in Washington that threatens to comp0und an already precarious situation.”

* “What if these events are not all random? What if the God of the Bible is allowing these to happen to shake us, to wake us, to get our attention, that we might turn to Him and ask Him to have mercy on us and help us?”

* “The Lord said through the ancient Hebrew Prophet Haggai that the nations would be shaken in the future. “For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations….I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations.” (Haggai 2:6, 7, 21, 22)

Now would be a good time to rededicate ourselves to praying and fasting for America and Israel at this critical time and turning our hearts to spending more time in the Scriptures.