New episode from JD Farag “Mid-East Prophecy Update – January 15th, 2017” Fresh off the press! JD Farag just published a new podcast episode.

This is totally current end times prophecy happening as this message was given – yesterday, Sunday, 1/15/17.  It revolves around the decision of the United Nations to make Palestine a state, thus fulfilling the Two State Solution.  This is an excellent Biblical interpretation of current events.

 

It’s a Fact!…God Gave Israel to the Jews

The following article is by J.R. Church, the founder of Prophecy In The News.  Israel belongs to the Jews and is the apple of God’s eye!  This is historical fact and spiritual truth, going back 4,000 years to the loins of Abraham.  The Islamic Ottoman Empire broke up 100 years ago, followed by the Balfour Declaration from England, promising Israel a nation with a generous portion of real estate, called Transjordan.  Later negotiations with pro Muslim nations and their leaders totally dissed this wonderful plan.  Adolf Hitler’s persecution of the Jews, started the Jews’ migration to the Holy Land, and they became a nation in 1948.  The surrounding Arabic nations attempted to exterminate Israel at their inception in 1948, in the 1967 Six Day War, also in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, and in every way possible since they became a nation.  The most recent attempt is the so called “Two State Solution,” whereas nefarious Arabic persons have concocted and invented the “nation” of Palestine, solely for the purpose of exterminating Israel.  Enjoy the following article that expounds on the nation of Israel.  It is important for nations to bless Israel.  Why?  I am glad you asked.  Because:

Genesis 12:1-3 King James Version (KJV)

12 Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:

And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:

And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

Blessings, Pastor Steve

 

 

It’s a Fact!…God Gave Israel to the Jews

It’s a Fact!…God Gave Israel to the Jews

Written by: J.R. Church

  • the-holy-land

 

First published in 2008 – President George W. Bush made his first “official state visit” to Israel on January 9-11, 2008, during his last year in office. For the last seven years, he stayed away, while travelling to several Arab countries. However, he finally decided to go – for the purpose of forcing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to actively seek an agreement that will lead to a Palestinian state. His plan is to carve the borders of “Palestine” out of the heartland of Israel, with Jerusalem as its capital.

bush-israel-poster

On the eve of his arrival, at least six Israelis were arrested for hanging posters around the Old City. Also, Orthodox Jews prayed at the Western Wall wearing “sackcloth” in an effort to register their public protest to his visit. The Sanhedrin Court drafted a “Bush Scroll” calling him the “Chief Prince of Meshech and Tubal” and begging him not to betray Israel.

It was on November 2, 1917, that the British government issued the Balfour Declaration promising a homeland for the Jews. Thirty years later, on November 29, 1947, the British government placed the matter of Israel’s future before the United Nations, resulting in another historic declaration – the establishment of the state of Israel.

state-of-israel

A few months later, on May 14, 1948, the nation was born.

The restoration of Israel is one of the most controversial political issues of the century. Palestinians have claimed that the land is theirs, that the Jews have no right to even one square foot of it, though the area had been under the control of the Turkish government for some 400 years – not JewsPalestinian control. Just who deserves the land? Do the Jews?  Do the Palestinians?  Do Jews have a right to control the land in the so-called “occupied West Bank” areas?

Though the United Nations established Israel in 1948, most of the world no longer supports the concept of Jewish sovereignty. They regret ever giving them any territory in the Middle East. The controversy rages today as much as it ever did. The children of Abraham are still fighting it out! If the fate of the Israeli government were placed in the hands of any human court, the verdict would probably be disastrous. Time and time again, the United Nations has taken the side of the Arabs against Israel. While dedicated Christians around the world are in favor of Israel’s existence, their governments are not. The only political ally on the side of Israel is the United States – and many in Washington are wavering. In light of these developments, let us appeal to the court of heaven for the final verdict in the case.

God Owns the Land

There is one verse of Scripture, which declares the absolute ownership of, not only the Middle East, but the entire world:

“The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1).

Since God created the earth, the right to ownership is His. Whether man recognizes the existence of God or not is irrelevant, for in the final analysis God will lay claim to His earth. He not only owns the world, but also everybody in it. Among the continents, however, there is one special area to which God lays a unique claim. It is the land of Israel. There are several places in the Bible where God calls the land, “My land.” For instance, in Ezekiel 38:16 God condemns the mighty Gog and Magog for the invasion of His land:

“And thou shalt come up against my people of Israel, as a cloud to cover the land; it shall be in the latter days, and I will bring thee against my land” (Ezekiel 38:16).

Here, God emphatically calls the land of Israel His land. That claim is repeated in Joel 3:2:

“I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land” (Joel 3:2).

Both of these verses pronounce a judgment upon Gentile nations for their part in denying the Jews a right to live in God’s land. Notice that God calls Israel, “My People,” and He calls their land, “My land.” When Gentile nations challenge the integrity of the land and its people, God steps forward to proclaim His judgment upon them.

A Covenant With Abraham

God is the absolute Owner of the land, and as such, had every right to evict the Jewish people 20 centuries ago. But He also has the right to bring them back in this generation. God is Sovereign over the land. Let us review Genesis 17 – the days of Abraham – and determine God’s sovereign disposition over HIS land.

“And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.”

“And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:7-8).

There can be no doubt that such a covenant was declared and recorded 4,000 years ago. Ah, but the Arabs also claim to be descendants of Abraham. They are children of Ishmael.

Does not the land then also belong to them? You may recall, the Arabs are descendants of Ishmael, while the Jews are descendants of Abraham’s other son, Isaac.

Isaac’s Inheritance

The controversy was settled in Genesis 26:3-4. It is there that God narrows down the covenant to exclude the children of Ishmael. It was to Isaac that God said:

“Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;

“And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 26:3-4).

God not only promised the land to Isaac, but He gave what the Scripture declares to be “all these countries.” In fact, He used the term twice in His promise to Isaac.

Jacob’s Inheritance

However, Isaac had two sons – Jacob and Esau – and there is a good deal of evidence that the Palestinian people who live in the land today could be descendants of Esau. Do they not also have a claim to the land? God has decided that they do not have any claim on the Promised Land. He narrowed the inheritance of the land to Jacob and his descendants:

promised-land

“And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy lions;

“And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land” (Genesis 35; 11,12).

The proclamation is clear. God has promised the land to Jacob and his descendants – namely the 12 tribes of Israel. When we consider these three covenants together, the line of descents to which the land is promised is evident. In each case, God narrowed His promise of the land – from Abraham, to Isaac, to Jacob, and then to his descendants after him.

The Verdict

In view of God’s covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we must declare a verdict in favor of Jacob’s descendants. We have no choice. We stand without reservation on the side of Israel. We must conclude that the land of Israel has been given to the people of Israel – to the descendants of Jacob. However, we know that the people were evicted from their land almost 2,000 years ago. It is the prophetic Scripture to which we must look for the final disposition of the land – and the prophecies do not differ from the original covenant.

Had It Not Been For Israel

Humanly speaking, we owe our eternal destiny to Jacob’s descendants. If there had been no Israel, there would have been no patriarchs, no prophets, no apostles, no Bible, and no Savior.

In John 4:22 Jesus, Himself, summed up all of this in one simple statement. He said,  “…for salvation is of the Jews.” Regardless of our nationality or background, we owe a spiritual debt to the Jewish people that can never be calculated.

The first 11 chapters of Genesis serve as an introduction to the main theme of the Bible. They fill in the background and set the stage for all that is to follow. From that point forward, the Bible is essentially the history of Abraham and the nation that descended from him through Isaac and Jacob. The Bible is basically the story of Israel embracing both the past and future. Geographically, the Bible is set in the land of Israel, and historically, its theme is the people of Israel. It is a Jewish Bible penned by Jewish men, giving both the history and the future of the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Even the New Testament is a Jewish book. The most important Person in the New Testament, Jesus Christ, was a Jew. Furthermore, He did not lose His Jewish identity after His death and resurrection. Sixty-three years after His crucifixion, Revelation 5:5 still referred to Jesus as the “Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David.” He is still identified with the family of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is forever a Jew.

Furthermore, Jews penned all of the New Testament books. Contrary to the opinions of some, I am convinced that Luke was a Jew. The twelve Apostles were Jews. Paul, who became the Apostle to the Gentiles, was a Jew. Most of the co-workers of these great men were also Jews.

The writer of Hebrews tells us that the ultimate goal of all true believers is a “city which hath foundations whose Builder and Maker is God” (Heb. 11:10). In Revelation 21, the holy city New Jerusalem, is described as having gates and foundations. On its gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. On its foundations are the names of the twelve apostles of Jesus. Every name inscribed in the New Jerusalem is a Jewish name. I must say that no one with an anti-Semitic prejudice could ever feel comfortable in the New Jerusalem.

Written by:  J.R. church/Article originally published in the February 2008 PITN magazine.

https://prophecyinthenews.com/bookstore/nations-united-how-the-united-nations-undermines-israel-and-the-west/embed/#?secret=5UuVzOWcTx

About the Author:

J.R. ChurchJ.R. CHURCH (1938-2011)- Founder of PITN Converted at age seven, J.R. Church set out with one main goal in life – to win others to Jesus Christ. He received a B.A. degree with a major in Bible and a minor in history at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, TN. In 2001, he was given an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Immanuel Baptist Theological Seminary in Peachtree, Georgia.  His love for history gave him insight into God’s great “Plan of the Ages” and prompted him to pursue this field of prophetic research. J.R. and Linda were married for 52 years.  They have two children and five grandchildren. After pastoring a church in Lubbock Texas for 17 years, in 1979 he moved his family to Oklahoma City and developed the PROPHECY IN THE NEWS ministry. He has traveled across America many times lecturing on eschatology – the study of prophetic subjects.  He has hosted several tours to Israel and the Middle East. J.R. has authored eight books with chapters in several other books. Prophecy in the News publishes a monthly 48-page magazine as well as a weekly syndicated television broadcast which airs on stations across the country and via satellite network to most of the United States. Before he went to be with the Lord on March 22, 2011, after a three year battle with cancer, J.R. Church was convinced that Jesus Christ would return soon. He was famous for his saying, “KEEP LOOKING UP!”

https://prophecyinthenews.com/product-category/authors/j-r-church/

Israel’s PM Netanyahu Calls White House Action on U.N. Resolution ‘Shameful.’ President Obama’s Departing “Gift” To Israel, As He Throws Our Ally Under The Bus, And Destroys Our Relationship That We Have Had With This Nation Since 1948.

Prophecy in the News:

Israel’s PM Netanyahu Calls White House Action on U.N. Resolution ‘Shameful’

December 26 2016

  • shameful

Prime minister labels U.N. resolution on Jewish settlements a hindrance to peace

TEL AVIV—Israel’s prime minister on Saturday accused the Obama administration of a “shameful” act against his country after the U.S. helped pass a United Nations resolution that labels Jewish settlements illegal, saying it will only make it more difficult to negotiate peace with Palestinians.

The comments by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came a day after the White House broke from a longstanding tradition of defending Israel against censure by the U.N. Security Council. Palestinians, too, voiced skepticism that the resolution would advance a two-state solution to their decades-old conflict with Israel.

“The Obama administration made a shameful anti-Israel ploy in the U.N.,” Mr. Netanyahu said. “The decision not only doesn’t bring peace closer, it keeps it away.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s statements Saturday elaborated on the Israeli government’s comments after the resolution passed.

The Obama administration said the move to abstain was in line with decades of U.S. policy aimed at establishing a Palestinian state and condemning settlement construction.

The U.S. decision not to veto the resolution underscored the fractious relationship between President Barack Obama and Israel’s leader over the past eight years and again put the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the center of global diplomacy.

It was the first time in 36 years the Security Council was able to adopt a resolution condemning Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It was approved with 14 members in favor and the U.S. abstaining.

Both government and opposition lawmakers in Israel criticized the U.S. decision. Officials accused the Obama administration of working behind Israel’s back with the Palestinians to put forward the resolution, a charge the White House denied.

The Obama administration for months had been considering ways to revive Israeli-Palestinian talks after the last round of U.S.-brokered negotiations collapsed in 2014. Israel’s government became increasingly convinced Mr. Obama might take action after Donald Trump’s surprise election victory, describing the time before the president-elect’s Jan. 20 inauguration as the “kill zone” for a move.

The resolution labeled Jewish settlement illegal and called on U.N. member nations to distinguish “in their relevant dealings between the territory of the state of Israel and the [Palestinian] territories.”

The organization that represents Jewish settlers echoed Mr. Netanyahu’s assertion that the resolution will only make Palestinians less apt to compromise on any Middle East peace deal and will encourage violence against Israelis.

A few hours before the U.N. passed the resolution on Friday, a Palestinian assailant stabbed an Israeli settler in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, wounding the victim before fleeing, Israel’s military said.

A few miles away from Efrat in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, residents celebrating Christmas Eve were skeptical that the U.N. resolution would change Israel’s policies. A resolution condemning the settlements had become more urgent for Palestinians with Mr. Trump’s election as he supports moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

Palestinians oppose such a move, as they want part of Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Palestinians welcomed the U.N. vote as a step forward in nonviolent resistance against Israel.

Written by: Rory Jones/WSJ. Com

About the Author:

Bethlehem TODAY – The Birthplace of Jesus!

Bethlehem TODAY – The Birthplace of Jesus!

Bethlehem TODAY – The Birthplace of Jesus!

Written by: Prophecy in the News

  • grotto-birthplace-5

If you have ever had the opportunity to visit the town of Bethlehem in Israel, you will find that the place where Jesus was born is nothing like you would imagine. Perched on a hill at the edge of the Judaean Desert, Bethlehem is the historical place where Jesus was born “in a manger” and is now preserved by the “Church of the Nativity.” It is considered a major Christian holy site and is one of the oldest surviving Christian churches.

The birth of Jesus is told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

Matthew 1:18-25 – King James Version (KJV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

24 Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

25 And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus.

Luke 2 – King James Version (KJV)

1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.

(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)

And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.

16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

21 And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called Jesus, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

According to the Bible, both accounts agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth. According to Luke 2:7 (in the traditional translation), Mary “laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.” However, the Greek can also be rendered, “she laid him in a manger because they had no space in the room” — according to some scholars, they perhaps imagine Jesus being born in a cave. The gospel accounts do not mention a cave, but less than a century later, both Justin Martyr and the Protoevangelium of James say Jesus was born in a cave. Some believe this is reasonable, as many houses in the area are still built in front of a cave. The cave part would have been used for stabling and storage – thus the manger.

justin-martyr

Saint Justin Martyr, (born c. 100, Flavia Neapolis, Palestine [now Nāblus]—died c. 165, Rome [Italy]; feast day June 1), one of the most important of the Greek philosopher-Apologists in the early Christian church. … He spent a considerable time in Rome.

WIKIPEDIA: The Gospel of James, also known as the Infancy Gospel of James or the Protoevangelium of James, is an apocryphal Gospel probably written about AD 145, which expands backward in time the infancy stories contained in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and presents a narrative concerning the birth and upbringing of Mary herself. It is the oldest source to assert the virginity of Mary not only prior to but during (and after) the birth of Jesus. The document presents itself as written by James: “I, James, wrote this history in Jerusalem.” The purported author is thus James, the brother of Jesus, but scholars have established that the work was not written by the person to whom it is attributed

History of the Church of the Nativity

church-of-the-nativity

The first evidence of a cave in Bethlehem being venerated as Christ’s birthplace is in the writings of Justin Martyr around 160 AD. The tradition is also attested by Origen and Eusebius in the 3rd century.

In 326, Constantine and his mother St. Helena commissioned a church to be built over the cave. This first church, dedicated on May 31, 339, had an octagonal floor plan and was placed directly above the cave. In the center, a 4-meter-wide hole surrounded by a railing provided a view of the cave. Portions of the floor mosaic survive from this period. St. Jerome lived and worked in Bethlehem from 384 AD, and he was buried in a cave beneath the Church of the Nativity.

The Constantinian church was destroyed by Justinian in 530 AD, who built the much larger church that remains today. The Persians spared it during their invasion in 614 AD because, according to legend, they were impressed by a representation of the Magi — fellow Persians — that decorated the building. This was quoted at a 9th-century synod in Jerusalem to show the utility of religious images.

Muslims prevented the application of Hakim’s decree (1009) ordering the destruction of Christian monuments because, since the time of Omar (639), they had been permitted to use the south transept for worship.

The Crusaders took Jerusalem on 6 June 1009. Baldwin I and II were crowned there, and in an impressive display of tolerance the Franks and Byzantines cooperated in fully redecorating the interior (1165-69). A Greek inscription in the north transept records this event.

The Church of the Nativity was much neglected in the Mamluk and Ottoman periods, but not destroyed. Much of the church’s marble was looted by the Ottomans and now adorns the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. An earthquake in 1834 and a fire in 1869 destroyed the furnishings of the cave, but the church again survived.

In 1847, the theft of the silver star marking the exact site of the Nativity was an ostensible factor in the international crisis over the Holy Places that ultimately led to the Crimean War (1854–56).

In 1852, shared custody of the church was granted to the Roman Catholic, Armenian and Greek Orthodox churches. The Greeks care for the Grotto of the Nativity.

grotto-1grotto-2grotto-3grotto-4

The Grotto of the Nativity, a rectangular cavern beneath the church, is the Church of the Nativity’s focal point. Entered by a flight of steps by the church altar, this is the cave that has been honored as the site of Christ’s birth since at least the 2nd century.

grotto-birthplace-5grotto-6

silver star in the floor marks the very spot where Christ is believed to have been born. The star’s Latin inscription reads, “Here of the Virgin Mary Jesus Christ was born — 1717.” The floor is paved in marble, and 15 lamps hang above the star (six belong to the Greeks, five to the Armenians and four to the Latins).

All other furnishings date from after the fire of 1869, except for the bronze gates at the north and south entrances to the Grotto, which are from Justinian’s 6th-century church.

About the Author:

2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 41

Jim Fletcher    ~    The Plague Of Replacement Theology

…this is the view that God has replaced Israel and the Jewish people with the church.  This view used to be held in mainline churches, seminaries and in Catholicism.  Today, however, this problem has entered the evangelical community.  It spans all denominations.  Their desire is to minimize the uniqueness of the Jewish people and the state of Israel.  The issue of Israel is paramount proof that we are living in the last days.  This is a time in history where the Jews have reentered history.  This is astonishing.  A repeated theme in scripture is after the Jewish people spent a long period in exile, they will return to their ancient homeland.  In 1945 the Nazis killed six million Jews in Europe.  Three years later (1948) Israel was established, and today six million Jews are living there!  Many in the church culture in our nation are missing this point or want to miss it.  There is a sharp downturn towards the nation of Israel and Bible prophecy among evangelical leadership.

What is the answer towards antisemitism?  Why are people like this?  Why does it exist?  The hatred of the Jews is a spiritual sickness.  It has entered some of the American church.  An understanding of God’s redemptive plan is  the answer to antisemitism around the world.  Biblical illiteracy in our country today is at an all time high, it is frightening.  The view that the Bible is myth entered the blood stream of the American church in the 19th century.  This is one reason why the American church is ineffective today.  The so called nation of Palestine was created in order to get rid of the Jews.  Liberals claim the Biblical miracles are metaphors.

Replacement theology is the teaching that the Christian church has replaced national Israel regarding the plan, purpose, and promises of God.  Therefore, many of the promises that God made to Israel must be spiritualized.  Justin Martyr (AD 160) in speaking to the Jews said:  “The scriptures are not yours, but ours.”  [The Bible was written by Jews, it was lived by Jews, Jesus Christ and the apostles were Jews].  Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon (AD 177) declared:  “Jews are disinherited from the grace of God.”  Tertullian (AD 160-230), in his treatise, “Against the Jews,” announced that God had rejected the Jews in favor of the Christians.  The Assemblies Of God and the Southern Baptist Convention are being targeted by replacement theology.  Calvary Chapel rebuffed this false theology.  Jesus was NOT a Palestinian.  He was a Jew who lived in the land of Israel.  The American church has turned their back on Israel.  They do not like Jews.  They are told they are greedy and start all of the wars in the world.  These are all of the old medieval antisemitic lies repackaged for new audiences.

Three men control the direction of the evangelical church in America.  1)Rick Warren on the west coast, 2)Bill Hybels in middle America, and 3)Andy Stanley on the east coast.  Lynne Hybels, Bill’s wife, is an enthusiastic supporter of the Palestinian narrative.  As a co founder of the Willow Creek association, she is in favor of the PLO and blames Israel for everything.  “Hank Hanegraaff’s blend of preterism and idealism produces an eschatology that is viciously anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian.  His brand of replacement theology teaches that national Israel has no future since she is replaced by the church.”  -Thomas Ice.

How do we handle this?  We need to confront error boldly.  Ask replacement theologians to explain the existence of the Jewish people in Israel today, after centuries of exile.  Use your sphere of influence in order to emphasize truth.

**********

Note:  At the June, 2016 Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, a small yet vocal minority promoted Replacement Theology during our business session.  By the grace of God, the overwhelming majority of the messengers at the convention did not agree with their theology in the least.  Thank you Jesus, and God bless Israel.  Pastor Steve

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 6

Day #6

While eating breakfast at the Shalom we observed a beautiful sunrise over Jerusalem.  While eating breakfast I looked around and observed the Israelites, thinking what a stubborn people they were, and how the Lord still has His hand on them, even though they do not believe in Jesus and the New Testament.  Our hotel gave us a beautiful view of Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is a melting pot with all kinds of people.  All of the people in Israel, the men and the women, must serve in the army for two years and take their vows on Mount Masada.  I found the people in Israel to be friendlier, more courteous, and more respectful (especially the children) than Americans.

Today, our first stop was at the model of Jerusalem (The “Model City”).  The model depicted Jerusalem at the time of the Second Temple (the time of Jesus).  The Model City displays the many walls, the residences, Herod’s Palace, the Fortress of Antonio, the Temple, and many other things.

Next, we went towards the Mount of Olives.  On our way, we observed an Arab kiss his camel, and give our pastor a ride.  We went up the Mount of Olives to the temple of Ascension which is now a Mosque.  (refer to Acts 1:4 through Acts 1:11).  There is an “alleged footprint” where Jesus ascended from, inside the small temple upon a rock.  Next, we went a short distance away and took several pictures of Jerusalem from this panoramic view.  From our location on the Mount of Olives, we had a view of Jerusalem over the Kidron Valley.  Also observed was David’s City, the Dome of the Rock, as well as the northern end of Jerusalem.  It is interesting to note that the current city walls are only five hundred years old, and built by the Ottoman Turks.  Mount Ophel is David’s old city, and Mount Zion is above David’s City, outside the wall.  We saw Absalom’s tomb in the Kidron Valley.  As we departed from the Temple of Ascension, a burro blocked our path on our way to the Garden of Gethsemane.

We went into the Garden of Gethsemane (“semane” means olive oil).  Gethsemane may have been near John Mark’s home.  We entered the Church of All Nations where the alleged rock is that Jesus prayed at.  This is located next to the Garden of Gethsemane.

We drove up to the Old City of Jerusalem and entered Stephen’s Gate, which is also known as the Lion’s Gate, with a lion on each side of the gate.

Next, we observed a fine site of archaeology – the Pool of Bethesda.  The pool has five porches where people were healed, and is dug out very deep.

The streets of Jerusalem are very narrow.  The women wore robes, and carried large objects on their head.  Beggars and cripples lingered on the street corners.  Walking in the “Old City” is like walking into the past.  Burros carrying loads walk in the streets.  Flutes, and other eastern instruments can be heard.  Muslim people can be heard wailing over microphones.

Next, we arrived at my favorite archaeological site in the whole city – we entered the Judgment Hall at the Fortress of Antonio.  There was a cistern and a water supply here.  We observed areas cut by Herod, which was originally the moat of the Fortress of Antonio.  Next, we went deep into the beautiful, large, and open Strutheon Pool.  Water runs down into the pools from the mountains.  We approached other cisterns and lithostrotos pavement that Jesus walked on.  The pavement was made up of large stones with wedges to prevent slipping.  A church was built above this pavement.  Jesus was tried and judged near here by Pontius Pilate.

We walked down today’s Via Dolorosa, where Jesus is supposed to have carried His cross to Calvary.  The actual road, however, would be many feet underground.  The Via Dolorosa featured an arch overhead, this is an original arch left from the Fortress of Antonio.

The business district was bustling – people commonly walk up to you in order to sell you just about everything.  There are money changers today in Jerusalem just like in Christ’s time.  Many people wear cloaks, robes, togas, and turbines.  Conservative Muslim women wear veils.  We stopped and looked at a Muslim water trough.

We approached the Western “Wailing” Wall and we were frisked on the way into this area.  The wall is near Mount Zion and the Tyropoeon Valley.  The Tyropoeon Valley, filled over the years, is right in front of the wall.  The wall is very long, and is the last part of the temple that was not destroyed – hence the Rabiis, Orthodox Jews, etc. wail there.  We observed the same wall nearby extending underground.  The entire original wall is 150 feet high.  When the rabiis pray – they read their Tora, and they chant, buck their head backwards and forwards, and side to side.  They shake their knees.  Loads and loads of prayers were stuck in the cracks of the walls.  The rabiis wore prayer boxes (Phylacteries; Matthew 23:5) on their foreheads and arms, and were dressed all in black.  In essence, they are modern day Pharisees.  They are very, very zealous.  If they were converted, their zeal would turn the world upside down (like Paul of Tarsus).  When we entered, we put on “cardboard beenies” or Kippurs, like everyone else.  A head covering, they feel, is needed in a holy place.  Orthodox Jews of the law, modern day Pharisees, were seen everywhere.

We observed the excavated Tyropoeon Valley (Old Jerusalem) near the Wailing (Western) Wall.  We passed a Byzantine, Muslim Mosque and approached the Dome of the Rock.  It was built in the eighth century.  Abraham offered the sacrifice of Isaac at the rock in the Dome – the rock inside is the ONLY part of Mount Moriah that Herod left exposed after all of his building.  The best marble available was used to build it.  There is a hole in the rock, and a drainage area below for all the blood sacrifices.  Blood would run underneath, all the way down the mountain.  The Dome of the Rock is surrounded by a Muslim Mosque and worship area.  From this area, one can see the Tyropoeon Valley, the Western Wall, and David’s City beyond.

Jerusalem is a melting pot of cultures, beliefs and different people’s religions.  At lunch time, a man on the tour (Steve Abbott) was drinking a milkshake for lunch and was told to leave – this is NOT KOSHER.  Dairy products cannot be eaten with meat products.  The religions of Jerusalem are 1) Islamic (Muslim) 2) Jewish 3) Christian and 4) Armenian (preceded by Greek Orthodox).  All believe in one God and are monotheistic, and all of them go back to Abraham.

We observed the remains of Byzantine shops.  The shops were Roman streets with columns (pillars), and stores on both sides of the street.  These shops were part of Jerusalem after 70 A.D., when Titus destroyed Jerusalem.  Farther down the row of shops, modern shops are built in the original shops.  We then passed a display revealing the Maccabean, Hasmonean ruins and walls.  These dated from 100 B.C. to 700 B.C., the bottom stones were from the time of Hezekiah and the first temple.  Next, we saw an area where the Israeli and Hasmonean walls joined together.  We passed a Byzantine mosaic map, revealing Jerusalem in the sixth century – showing even the streets with the shops that we previously observed.

In Jerusalem, the people bargain and haggle over everything – nothing has a set price.  The people are friendly and get satisfaction in helping you.  A boy gave me an olive branch, expecting nothing in return.  I bought film from a boy, and he brought down the price for me.

Next, we entered the upper room on Mount Zion.  A Muslim Arab altar was put there when they took over.  This is just the traditional location.  The upper room is traced  back only to the Byzantine period, hence it cannot be real.

We went to Mount Zion, King David’s tomb.  Muslim and Byzantine architecture was observed here also, hence this location is probably also traditional.  We observed the Hinnom Valley off in the distance.

We entered Caiphas’ Palace, which was located below a Catholic Church.  We saw a prison where prisoners were dropped through a circular hole.  Could Jesus have been kept here?  More prisons and dungeons were located below.  This was definitely the main prison of the House of Caiphas.  There were even holes in the walls where the prisoners were strapped into place when they were whipped and beaten.

Caiphas’ Palace was a great archaeological site.  Wonderful views were observed of the Kidron Valley, the Tyropoeon Valley in the lower city in Old Jerusalem, and the ruins of Caiphas’ Palace located outside the Catholic Church.  David’s city is located on Mount Ophel, the original Canaanite stronghold of Jerusalem.

Note:  Since traveling to Israel nearly thirty years ago, there is another school of thought regarding archaeology in Jerusalem.  The “Wailing” Wall is now thought to be from the Fortress of Antonio rather than from Herod’s Temple.  Bob Cornuke’s book Temple is the watershed book regarding this new discovery.  I believe Bob is correct in his assessment.  

 

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 5

Day #5

In Galilee we had cheese and fish for breakfast.  Ramat is located on the north end of the Sea of Galilee, on the northwest corner of the Golan Heights.  Gadara is at the northeast corner of the Sea of Galilee.  [We left Gadara by boat and crossed the Sea of Galilee.  The previous evening, my pastor Bill Grimes, assigned me to preach the Gospel on the boat as we crossed over the Sea of Galilee.  I selected the title:  “Jesus Walking On The Water, A Challenge To Our Faith.”  Matthew 14:22-33.  12/30/1987.  Interestingly, our Jewish boat and tour guides, peeked around the corner and took in every word I said.  The Jewish people from Israel are often curious about the Gospel, observing firsthand how born again Christians drop millions and billions of dollars in order to visit their land!  This caption is typed in red because it was not in my original journal.]    As we left our hotel and entered our boat, we proceeded clockwise around the Sea of Galilee, to the east, and we encountered a rocky area full of cliffs.  It came to mind that Jesus sent the swine over the cliff in an area that must have looked like this- where the Gadarenes lived.  Sure enough, we were approaching Gadara!  Every place we come to matches up perfectly with the Bible, and it should, because the Bible is God’s Word.  When we went out on the Sea of Galilee, we looked around and could see the following:  Gadara, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Magdala, Capernaum, the Mount of Beatitudes, Tabgha the seven springs church (location of the feeding of the five thousand), and Tiberias.  Our boat left Gadara and arrived in Capernaum.  Capernaum may have been the village of Nahum the prophet.  Simon Peter, of course, was from Capernaum.  Capernaum is best known perhaps, as being the home base or headquarters of Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee region.  We saw another ancient olive press here.  Capernaum was owned by the Romans.  We were blessed with the opportunity to observe three different time eras of the town.  There was Capernaum at the time of Jesus.  Another time era was represented by a Muslim Synagogue in the city.  Finally, further archaeological remains depicted Capernaum at a later time, the 5th century under the Byzantines.  We left Capernaum and passed through Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene.  Now, we left the Sea of Galilee, and headed for the boyhood home of Jesus- Nazareth.  Along the way, we passed another of the many Crusader strongholds which were taken over by the Muslims.  The drive towards Nazareth was very scenic, with rocky gorges and mountains.  We drove through lower Galilee.  We passed through Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle in His ministry, turning the water into wine.  Cana kept its name for two thousand years.  The Roman Catholic Church has the “alleged pot” which Jesus used to perform this miracle.  In a postcard I have of the “pot,” it looked in very good shape for its age.  We then passed through Reina, a suburb of Nazareth, near Gath-hepher, the home town of Jonah.  We arrived in Nazareth, which has a population of forty five thousand Arabs, Muslims, and Christians.  There were many crowded streets.  Remember Nathaniel’s comment:  “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”  We visited the Nazareth Baptist Church whose pastor was of Arab descent.  The Baptist Church had a dynamic Christian School, and ALL of the many, many students, like the pastor of the church,  were converted Arabs.  Next, we visited the Greek Orthodox Church in Nazareth.  It reminded one of a Catholic Church with all the icons, paintings of Mary, the candles, etc.  “Mary’s well” was inside.  This was the only water source of the city.  This church dates to Byzantine times.

Water is always the bottom line in any potential dwelling area:  1) Where Moses smote the rock near Petra, 2) Where Elisha turned the bitter waters sweet at Jericho, 3) Mary’s well in Nazareth, 4) At the Megiddo tunnel, 5) In Jerusalem at the Canaanite Well, and Hezekiah’s Tunnel which empties into the Pool of Siloam (in Jerusalem is also the Pool of Bethesda), 6) And at En Gedi – the spring where David hid from Saul, also known as David’s Spring or David’s Wadi.

We passed the cliff where Jesus disappeared from the angry people.  Then we came to the eye catching Valley of Jezreel or Valley of Armageddon (Revelation 16:14-16).  Some people think the battle will actually be fought here, such as Hal Lindsey and other literalists of Bible prophecy.  Personally, I believe that “Armageddon” is a symbolic term due to all the battles fought there, just as “Sodom” is symbolic of homosexuality, and “Babylon” is symbolic of spiritual whoredom.

We passed Mount Tabor, where Barak and Deborah the judges had their military base.  Next we approached Megiddo, the strategically located fortress where many famous men died, among these was Josiah.  We were also approaching Mount Carmel.

We observed other fruits in Israel in this area, namely strawberries, grapes, olives, oranges, avocados, cantelopes, etc.

We went by picture perfect Nain, a pretty hamlet on a hillside.  Then we went through Afula.

We came even closer to Megiddo and Mount Carmel (Megiddo is actually a part of the Carmel Mountain Range).  Megiddo is a tell of   about twenty towns which were destroyed.  As mentioned, Megiddo was in a strategic place – blocking the Carmel mountain pass.  Megiddo goes back to 1500 B.C., and Canaanite kings before Joshua.  There is a model of the Megiddo tell on the scene.  The importance of Megiddo lies in the fact that it is the only pass through the mountain range, for the invasion of Jerusalem from the west.  Ancient Megiddo goes back from 4000 B.C. to 500 A.D.  The source of water was an underground tunnel and spring which was camouflaged so the enemy could not poison it.  Mount Carmel is easily scene from Megiddo.  The Catholic “Elijah Church” is seen on Mount Carmel, and is the alleged place where Elijah called down fire from heaven and slew the four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal.  From Megiddo, one can see the mountain of Ahab’s Palace to the west, the Gilboa mountains, Mount Tabor, and the Nazareth mountains.  The oldest feature known in Megiddo is a center for Baal worship which dates back to 4,000 B.C.  There were many huge grain silos at Megiddo from the time of Jeroboam.  Ahab had a “chariot city” at Megiddo in the 9th Century B.C.  Also featured in Megiddo are horse stables and a feeding trough from the time of Solomon and/or Ahab.  We went through the water tunnel which leads to the spring, the water source of Megiddo.

Upon leaving Megiddo, we noticed anti-aircraft, Israeli tanks, and military installations everywhere.  We went down the narrow Megiddo pass upon exiting.  We passed one of the largest Israeli Arab settlements in Israel.  During our travels, Pastor Grimes and our Jewish guide Naphtali were talking about King David.  Naphtali said he came from Bethlehem.  In response, Pastor Grimes said that David HAD to come from Bethlehem because he was a type of Christ.  It seems that the best way to witness to Jewish people is to reveal prophetic truths in the Old Testament, show them how the Old and New Testament fit together, show them how the New Testament completes the Old Testament, and show them how Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the entire Word of God, and the law, the psalms, and the prophets (Matthew 5:17, Luke 24:44).

We approached Caesarea where Philip the evangelist lived with “his four daughters who did prophesy.”  Caesarea, as you can probably tell by the name, was a Roman settlement.  The town featured all of the attractions of Roman life – an amphitheater, race tracks, administrative buildings, and a regular theater in the round.  Our guides informed us along the way that the Byzantines took over the east after the time of the Roman Empire; the Byzantines came out of Turkey.  This brought to my mind the many empires that have risen and fallen during the ancient history of man.  Here is a list of just a few of the empires that I thought of:  1) Sumerians 2) Babylon 3) Assyria 4) Syria 5) Egypt 6) Neo Babylon 7) Medo-Persia 8) Greek  9) Roman 10) Byzantine 11) Muslims (Arabic) 12) Crusaders 13) The Ottoman Empire of the Turks in 1500.  All of the aforementioned empires had a heavy influence on Israel in the past.  If we thought even more, we could probably add several more to the list such as the Canaanites, Philistines and others.  It is no coincidence that Israel is a “land bridge” where many nations crossed in the past.  In this way, other countries could learn the gospel, and Israel could be humbled by other nations when she stepped out of line.

Herod built Caesarea for the Romans only.  Augustus Caesar made Herod “King of the Jews,” hence Herod named the town Caesarea in honor of the emperor Augustus.  On the way to Caesarea, we passed through the large, modern, contemporary Israeli city of Tel Aviv, where Naphtali our guide is from.

Caesarea was built in the first century by Herod the Great.  We observed an aqueduct built by Herod.  It had two large ducts on top in which to transport water.  The water came nine miles from Mount Carmel and into Caesarea.  We passed the hippodrome (hippo means horse), or Roman race track.  Caesarea also has a “Crusader City” or castle.  The thirteenth century Crusader’s castle is complete with walls and a moat.  The castle was in very good condition.  Caesarea, like many places in medieval times in the Holy Land, changed hands several times between the Muslims and Crusaders.  We stopped and looked at the semi circular Roman theater in Caesarea.  Next, we looked at the remains of the Herodian Palace.  (How many palaces and fortresses did Herod the Great have?)  All of the statue heads were hacked off by Muslims, who despised Roman pagan practices of nudity.  Caesarea is still one gigantic tell – most of which is still uncovered.

We passed through Hadera, on our way to Tell Aviv.  As we again approached Tell Aviv, we observed a beautiful sunset.  Tell Aviv was built in 1909 by Jews from Istanbul.  It is the largest city in Israel, and very modern.

We passed through the city of the Ottomon Empire, which was 500 years old, founded by a Turkish Sultan – New Joppa.  We then arrived in the older part of town, Old Joppa.  This, of course, is the home of Simon the tanner (Peter).  Jonah also went to Joppa, attempting to flee from God’s will.  It is interesting that when we tie Joppa in with Peter and Jonah, with both men the city is significant because it had to do with their respective commissions of taking the gospel to the Gentiles.  There were many narrow streets and shops near the water.  Excavations revealed the third century B.C. Greek occupation of Joppa.  It is a very quaint and pretty town, it reminds one of a fishing port.

Onward, for our one hour drive to Jerusalem.  On our way south, we passed the place where the sun stood still for Joshua’s army.  As we went towards Jerusalem, we gradually ascended.  Hence, even though we were going south, we were going “up” to Jerusalem.  The ONLY way to Jerusalem is a narrow, rocky canyon road.  The Arabs blocked this road in 1948.  Jerusalem is a town of vast hills and valleys.  Jerusalem is over 3,000 feet high and has a population of 450,000.  It has an old city and a new city – our attention will be focused on the old city.  When we arrived for the night, we stayed at the Shalom Jerusalem Hotel in the new city.

 

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 4

Day #4

We were told that we would go near Gilgal when we crossed the Jordan River this morning.  This is where Elisha and Elijah crossed the Jordan River prior to Elijah being taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot, and the beginning of the ministry of Elisha.  Our tour guide in Jordan, Jack, will take us to the border of the Jordan River, where another guide will pick us up and show us Israel.  We were informed that the inspection station at the Jordan, Israel border was very strict because of the tense situation in the Middle East.  Along our way, Dr. Grimes passed along some valuable information to us about Jericho, one of the first sites we will see on this date.  He said that the Jericho of today, or New Jericho, is at its present location because of Elisha’s Spring, where the bitter waters were made sweet.  It is amazing to observe how God’s blessings from thousands of years ago still bless and affect people today.

As we approached Israel from Jordan, we noted more trees, grass and hills.  We approached Mt. Seir which was both high and long.  This is where Esau settled, and Seir means red, the color of Esau’s hair.  Beyond Mt. Seir, we saw the beautiful Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea.  The scenery was spectacular.  We passed by Mt. Nebo, from where Moses saw Israel before he died.  We could really appreciate how easily Moses could see the Promised Land from Mt. Nebo.  As we quickly descended the mountains in Jordan our ears popped, and we were whisked to an entirely different atmosphere.  We passed banana trees, and tropical palm trees could be seen as we approached the Dead Sea.  The descent to the Dead Sea became more slow and gradual, and now we observed orange trees and cactus.

We finally reached the border inspection station, and we were advanced in front of other larger touring groups because of our small size.  So far so good.  Then we ran into the biggest snag and disappointment of our entire trip.  We were held up about two hours because we had to wait for a “regulation wheelchair” for Steve Abbott.  Steve’s wheelchair could not be taken into Israel in case someone planted a “pipe bomb” or something else inside it.  Finally, after a lengthly delay we were off again.

We were informed that the Dead Sea is rapidly sinking.  Potassium is the main product used from the Dead Sea.  One can see mountains all around the Dead Sea.  In America, I believe the Shennandoah Valley looks similar to the topography in this area – a low area that is surrounded by mountains.

The name of our new guide in Israel was Naphtali (one of the twelve tribes of Israel), and he was from the Levite Tribe.  It is amazing, I thought, for an unbelieving Jew to “guide” people who know Jesus Christ.

We passed through New Jericho.  The people in New Jericho are not Israelites, but citizens from Jordan.  Arabs also occupy the West Bank (1,200,000 of them), a section of Jerusalem, and other parts of Israel.  Jericho is an oasis or green spot.  We passed the Mount of Temptation on our left.  This, of course, is where Jesus was tempted by Satan for forty days in the wilderness.

Next, we visited the palace of the Islamic Muslim ruler Hisham, who ruled from 724-743.  The palace was destroyed by an earthquake only four years after it was completed.  In the realm of architecture, the Muslims copied the Corinthians, Byzantines, Romans, and Greeks.  Hisham stole the ruins from Herod’s palace at Jericho, in order to make his palace.  This place was furnished with bath houses, steam rooms, and spas similar to the Romans.  The palace had mosaics, a mosque, and an ornamental pool.

Now we proceeded towards historical Jericho, passing a couple Refugee Camps for Nomads and Bedouins along the way.  Jericho is the oldest city in human history, dating to about 7300-8300 B.C.  There are various cities in Jericho differing in age – 8000 B.C., 2000 B.C., etc.  The Jericho from the time of Joshua dates to about 1300 B.C.  Despite legendary folklore, the famous walls that tumbled down in Joshua’s battle have never been located with complete certainty.  Finally, in Jericho, we saw the spring of Elisha where he made the bitter waters sweet.  Fruits were plentiful in the area, including tangerines, pomegranates, figs, and dates.

We left Jericho northbound on a long ride towards Galilee.  We could appreciate the good shape that Jesus and the disciples were in to walk such a distance on foot.  Immediately, after we left the oasis of Jericho, the landscape once again became brown, barren, and dry.  As we moved toward Samaria, we saw grapes, fruits, and other crops.  On our left, we passed the mountains of Samaria.  Naphtali pointed out the mountains where the Maccabees hid.  Then we went by the Gilead mountains on our right.  We passed a road to Shechem, which was noted from Jacob’s time for his well.  We passed Jerash, Jordan which was one of the Roman Decapolis cities.  Next, was the Brook Gibok, where Jacob met God.  There is never a dull moment in this incredible land.  We passed a couple of tells, which are mounds containing the ruins of ancient cities.  One tell we passed, may have been Makula, where Elisha came from.  We finally left the Jordan River Valley, noting the Gilboa mountains on our left, where Saul fought the Philistines and killed himself.  We went through Bet Shean, and passed Afula on our way to Tiberias.  We went by another Crusader’s fortress, and fortified mountains on our left as we went north.  The Jordan River is sixty miles long from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.  Finally, we approached the Sea of Galilee.

We entered Tiberias, a Roman town noted for its hot springs.  It was a Muslim town and walled only one hundred years ago.  Tiberias was of importance to the Romans as a place of relaxation and therapy.  The Jewish Talmud was completed in Tiberias by 200 A.D. by Herod Antipas.  Herod built Tiberias in honor of the emperor.  All of the Herods were always trying to placate the Romans, since it was through them that they received their power.  Jesus never witnessed or preached in Tiberias, probably knowing that the gospel was not ready to be received there.

We passed a Jewish stronghold used against the Romans.  Then we passed Magdala, the home of Mary Magdalene.  Next, we went by Ginnosar (Ginnessaret).  We saw bananas and olive trees.  It is 600 feet below sea level even at the Sea of Galilee.

We then went to the traditional site of the Sermon on the Mount, or the Mount of Beatitudes.  We then approached the area where Christ fed the multitude of five thousand.  We saw an olive press outside the church called Tabgha, right off the Sea of Galilee.  Again, this is where it is thought Jesus fed the multitudes.  The Basilica of Tabgha was new.  The original church was built in the fourth century.  The Crusaders built a church on this site, then the Muslims ripped it down.  The Crusaders built it again, and once again the Muslims tore it down.  There were many icons inside the new basilica.  We then proceeded to the Golan Heights region on the north shores of the Sea of Galilee.  We saw barbed wire and many evidences (foxholes, bunkers) of modern warfare.  Nightfall came rapidly and we stayed at the beautiful Ramot, right off the shores of Galilee, opposite Tiberias.  We had fish for breakfast.

One interesting observation of our trip thus far, is the heavy Roman influence, all the way from Petra in south Jordan, to Tiberias in northern Israel.

The Jordan River is a very powerful river from Mt. Hermon to the Sea of Galilee, then tapers off from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.

Another thought is that I believe we should be wary of “traditional sites,” such as 1) Moses smoting the rock at Rephidim, the Wadi Feiran.  2) Where Jesus taught at the Mt. of the Beatitudes.  3) The feeding of the five thousand at the Tabgha basilica.  4) Aaron’s burial place at Mt. Hor, etc., etc.  5) The place of ascension by Jesus on the Mount of Olives.  6) The rock where Jesus prayed at the Garden of Gethsemane.  7) The place of the upper room on Mount Zion.  8) David’s tomb.  9) The Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem – the place of the birth of Jesus Christ.  All of the traditional locations show the weak faith of man.  The important thing is that they happened.  In many cases we are just not sure where they happened – and it really does not matter.

I was surprised by the fact that you can see all the shoreline on the Sea of Galilee.  I thought it was larger.  At Lake Okeechobee, Florida, for instance, you cannot see all the way across.  This just added to its’ quaintness.  We could see Tiberias across Galilee from Ramot; at night the cities’ lights were beautiful.  Just as in the time of Jesus, the region of Galilee today is noted for health resorts, spas, saunas, etc.

Note:  I do not agree with the aforementioned dates of Jericho’s age as a city.  I do not believe the world dates prior to about 4000 B.C.  This is what the Bible tells us.  Radio Carbon dating methods are totally unreliable.  Furthermore, since this paper was written in 1988, there is much more archaeological proof about the location and discovery of the famous walls in Jericho that fell down during Joshua’s conquest. 

 

 

 

2015 Second Orlando Prophecy Summit, Part 34

Thomas Ice    ~    Christian Zionism

The theme and history of Zionism started on January 23, 1892.  Benjamin Netanyahu says the first Zionist was a Christian named William Blackstone.  Zionism is simply the desire of the Jewish people to occupy the land of Israel.  Hence a Christian Zionist is a Christian who desires for the Jewish people to occupy the land of Israel.  Hundreds of years ago these Zionists were known as the Restoration Movement.  Zionism was nearly nonexistent in the early and medieval church age.  During the Protestant Reformation, the mindset of the Jews returning to their land once again came to the forefront.  This era prepared for the later time of Christian Zionists.  After the Bible usurped the Roman Catholic Pope as the key to spiritual truth and understanding, the foundation would be laid for Christian Zionism.  Both the Pilgrims and Puritans had a heart for Zionism.  The early English Protestants too, realized that the Bible taught that the Jews would return to Israel.  Oliver Cromwell and Parliament in 1655 actually voted for the restoration of Jews to the Holy Land and sent some of them there.  Other 17th century English Protestants who held restoration views were John Milton, John Bunyan, Roger Williams and John Sadler.  There were other European Restorationists in Holland, Denmark and France.  Colonial America likewise had a strong representation of Restorationists (Zionists).  The Puritans took the lead.  This is why there are so many Jewish people in America today.  America was founded as a Protestant and Christian nation.  Catholics were not allowed to come to America until the 1820’s.  Abraham Lincoln was a Zionist as well.  The British too, gave later support to Restorationism, leading to the Balfour Declaration in 1917.  Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948.  American Christian Zionist William Blackstone (1841-1935) was raised in a pious Methodist home, and founded an organization for evangelizing the Jews (it still exists).  Harry S. Truman was brought up in a devout Baptist home, and yet another proponent of the Restoration Movement.  75% of Americans are pro Israel.  The problem is that the younger people are less so- about 50%.  Hopefully, that will change.  Britain abandoned Israel in the 1930’s, along with their previous treaties and mandates.  Against the advice of his advisors and cabinet, Harry Truman helped Israel become a nation on May 14, 1948.  Richard Nixon came to the aid of Israel during the Yom Kippur war in 1973.  This saved Israel from destruction.  Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, wanted Israel to be wiped out.

******************************************

If you know the Bible, then you know that Israel is the “apple of God’s eye.”  Pray for Israel.  The really great news is that according to Bible prophecy, no one will ever again displace Israel from her land.  Amen and amen.

Jordan/Israel ~ 1987-1988 ~ Part 3

Day #3

Our hotel is in the capital of Jordan-Amman.  Amman was the southernmost Decapolis city, which explains why there are many Roman ruins there such as a Roman theater.  The population of Jordan is four million, one million of these people live in Amman.  Much of Jordan is three thousand feet above sea level.  When we left Amman for Petra, we saw many things.  We saw olive trees, artisan wells, sheep, military posts, and Palestinian Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) Refuge Camps.  The exports of Jordan are cement, and phosphates from the Dead Sea.

Amman was a very clean city, with white cement buildings, it was a hilly town, very scenic with no advertisements, and there were army and police men posted in many places.  In ancient times Amman was known as Rabbath-Ammon, chief town of the Ammonites.  Later it was rebuilt and renamed Philadelphus by Ptolemy Philadelphus (245-246 B.C.).  Rabbath means “great,” i.e., the capital.  Amman is at the headwaters of the Jabbok, 23 miles east of the Jordan.  The ancient background of Amman is as follows:  When David was king, the Ammonites defied Israel, prepared for war, and hired auxiliaries from the Aramaeans.  The hired army marched to the town of Medeba (I Chronicles 19:7; or perhaps “waters of Rabbah”).  Joab and the Israelites were encamped before the gate of Rabbah, and presently the Aramaeans  pitched camp behind them in the open field.  The Israelites were beset before and behind (2 Samuel 10:8-9; 1 Chronicles 19:9).  By dividing his forces, Joab met and defeated both enemies (2 Samuel 10:13-14).  The next spring, Joab besieged Rabbah again.  During a sally from the gate, Uriah the Hittite was killed.  That part of the city lying between the citadel and the river, and called the city of waters, fell into the hands of Joab, but the citadel held out.  David was sent for to complete the conquest and associate it with his name.  He came, took the city, and condemned the inhabitants to forced labor (2 Samuel 11:1; 12:26-31; I Chronicles 20:1-3).  In time, the Ammonites recovered the city.  Judgments were denounced against it by Jeremiah (40:2-6) and Ezekiel (21:20).  It was embellished by Ptolemy Philadelphus (285-247 B.C.), and in his honor named Philadelphus.  The city was the eastern limit of Peraea (War III:3,3).  The commercial highway between Damascus and Arabia, which skirted the desert passed through it, and there was also a trade road from Philadelphia by way of Gerasa and Pella to Scythopolis.  The modern name is Amman, an echo of Ammon.  So much for the rich history in the city where our plane landed.

Along the way to Petra, Pastor Grimes told us that the best stance towards the Arab/Israeli conflict is one of neutrality.  This sounds like wise advice.  They do not like each other, and they both have no hope for salvation unless they turn to Jesus Christ.

We already mentioned the intense security check upon entering the airport.  They also had several security checks along the highway.  Jordan has goats, mules and burros, we noticed along the way.  It is a very hilly and barren land.  We crossed a large mountain range.  As we mentioned, phosphates are mined in Jordan and exported for fertilizer.  We saw many shepherds and their flocks of sheep.  There were also many small cement homes for miners, dwellers, etc.  There did not seem to be the danger in Jordan that the recent United States news media attempted to portray (especially P.L.O. factions at the Gaza Strip and in Bethlehem).  We also noticed that many people in Jordan just stand around doing nothing out in the country.  A tourist bus is one of the few things which makes them move – they will attempt to sell just about anything, including the right to take their picture.

We drove on the famous King’s Highway which had an expensive tax on it in Bible times.  We saw many Bedouins after we left the main road.  Finally, we arrived at our first attraction on our way to Petra.  This was the Crusader’s Castle Shoubak.  This castle goes back to the sixth century, and is noted for guarding the crossroads at the King’s Highway near Petra.  It sits up very high, it has steep ravines and canyons around it, and looked impregnable.

The pace of life in Jordan seemed very slow and we noticed many grapes growing upon terraces.

Next, we entered the area of three main attractions:  1) The rock Moses smote in the Wadi of Kadesh, 2) Petra, home of the Edomites and many other settlers later on, and 3) Mount Hor, the traditional burial place of Aaron.  The rock Moses smote accounts for all the water in this area even today.  It is called Wadi Musa, and it supports the modern city of Petra.  Petra is one of the most incredible places on the face of the earth.  The inhabitants there dwelt high, among the clefts (Obadiah 3-4).  This was originally a place in Edom, where the Edomites lived.  The Nabataeans, however, were a group of desert tribesmen (a Semitic, Thamudic people of Arabic descent from Yemen) who may have encroached on the territory of Edom as early as the sixth century B.C.  According to the Greek historian Diodorus, these invaders from the eastern desert eventually captured all of the territory of Edom, including the capital city of Petra.  The Nabataean Arabs raised Petra to its highest glory before they came under Roman control in A.D. 106.  The ruins in Petra we saw were Nabataean ruins.  The Roman influence on the Nabataeans can be seen in the buildings, columns and arches.  Petra is surrounded on all sides by precipitous sandstone cliffs.  A rivulet traverses the whole length of the city, accounting for the variegated colors of the rock – red, brown, purple and yellow – adding to the beauty of the spot.  I picked up some of this rock for our four children.  The only entrance to the city is a narrow ravine with steep, high cliffs on each side.  Petra is surrounded by mountains.  There are some things that have to be SEEN in order to be appreciated and believed – Petra is one of these.  From a distance, the Petra mountains are like nothing you have ever seen – they are purple, eerie, mystic, out of place, like lunar landscape, majestic, steep and towering.  The rock in Petra is the easily cutable soft sandstone.  In Petra, there are Nabataean tombs, Obelisk tombs, remains of temples, an amphitheater, a triumphal arch, and dwelling houses in adjacent cliffs.  On the height above, overlooking the ancient city, is the great high place, and other altars standing on neighboring lofty sites.  There are also areas for blood sacrifices and many other things.  Petra received water through a small aqueduct.  Petra is at the center of a network of three roads – 1) The Kings Highway to the north, 2) a road to the south, 3) and the Desert Highway to the east.  1) Transportation and 2) water are needed for the city.

Mohammed, a popular Arab name in an eastern land, was the name of about a thirteen year old lad who led my horse into and out of Petra.

In the realm of culture, we noticed that in Jordan the music sounds very wailing and full of mourning.  It is even depressing, and almost reminded one of a funeral.

*************************

The two most fascinating places that I have ever been to, are Machu Picchu, Peru and Petra, Jordan.  They are both listed among the seven wonders of the modern world.

Although I formerly agreed with Pastor Bill Grimes’ recommendation to stay neutral in regards to the Arab/Israeli conflict, since learning more of God’s plan for the nation of Israel, I have had trouble doing this.  Genesis 12:3 tells us the Lord will “…bless them that bless thee and curse them that curse thee.”  The Lord also calls Israel the “…apple of His eye.”  Although I see both Arabic people and Israelis as largely both lost without faith in Christ, Israel is a specially chosen nation of people for whom the Lord has a plan.  I also carry the underdog mentality.  Americans love the underdog, a role that Israel carries, as she is surrounded by innumerable Islamic nations and radical movements who have desired for this nation to be exterminated since May, 1948.  One day the Lord God will thwart the efforts of Gog and Magog, when they gather a huge coalition and mutually attack Israel.  Many students of prophecy believe Gog and Magog are Russia, Iran, and other like minded nations.  

%d bloggers like this: