Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Why Jerusalem Recognition Matters - By Ron Cantor

I cannot remember another time, in my lifetime, when the world was so completely unified in anger. From France to Turkey, from Hamas to Bernie—the majority of the world believes that President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was, at best, a mistake and, at worst, the end of the world!
But don’t fear. This is exactly what the Bible speaks of. Parallel to the restoration of Israel is the rejection of Jerusalem from the nations (Zech. 12:2-3). And nations are irrationally angry over a Jewish Jerusalem. This is a perfect picture of Psalm 2, when the psalmist asks, “Why do the nations rage?” Well, why do they?
And why do the “kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed…”

The answer, in a word, is: Jerusalem.
We see in v. 6 that the Lord rebukes these kings and rulers saying, “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.” Zion or Tzion in Hebrew, is synonymous with Jerusalem. The kings of the earth take issue with God’s Son (verses 7 and 12) and Jerusalem.
It is interesting that the Muslim world has called for days of ragethe exact word from Psalm 2.

Restoration

And yet, I’ve seen many believers fret over President Trump’s announcement, saying it is irresponsible, racist towards Palestinians, inconsequential, a impediment to peace, etc., completely missing the spiritual significance of it. The word Zion means signpost. Jerusalem is a sign to us.
  • From the 1880s to the present, the Jewish people have been returning en masse to Israel.
  • In 1920, the League of Nations (U.N.) adopted the Balfour Declaration as international law, saying that the region of Palestine would be developed into a homeland for the Jewish people.
  • In 1947, the U.N. voted to partition the remaining 20% of Palestine (80% was given to create the new nation of Jordan) into another Arab state and a Jewish state. (The Arabs rejected it.)
  • In 1948, Israel became a nation.
  • In 1967, Jerusalem was reunified after the Six Day War and the Old City was recovered.
  • From 1984 to 2000, tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews and around one million Russian-speaking came home to Israel.
  • Fast forward to December 6th, 2017: Jerusalem is recognized by the most powerful nation on earth as Israel’s capital.

Also in the New Testament

The full restoration of Israel is prophesied not only in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament. When Yeshua was asked by His disciples after His resurrection, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6), He does not rebuke them for asking a stupid question. For any student of prophets, this was the most logical question.
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her … I will return to Zion and dwell in Jerusalem … I will save my people from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem; they will be my people, and I will be faithful and righteous to them as their God.” (Zech. 8:2-3, 7-8)
There are dozens of passages such as this. So, of course the disciples would ask about the restoration of Israel. Yeshua responds:
“He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’”
Did you see that? Many people miss it. Yeshua clearly indicates that the Father has set the time and date for Israel’s restoration. This why I have said, if President Trump is truly a type of Cyrus (to be clear, no one has ever said that Isaiah 44-45 was referring to Trump, but merely that Trump may have a Cyrus-type calling), then he will favor Zion. That is what Cyrus is known for. A Gentile head of state gets behind the restoration of Israel. And while Trump did not do this when we expected it in May, during Jerusalem’s 50-year anniversary, he has done it now.
My friend and mentor Asher Intrater paraphrases Yeshua’s response in his new book Alignment (free download here) and I think it is brilliant.
“You have asked Me to restore David’s kingdom to Israel. The prophets envisioned a much wider kingdom which would cover the whole earth (Is. 42, 49). Let’s not settle for just David’s kingdom; let’s go for the whole vision of the prophets. Let’s not set up the kingdom in Israel until we offer salvation to all the peoples of the earth. When they all have a chance to be part of the worldwide kingdom, let’s return and restore the kingdom to Israel. The kingdom will start in Israel as Isaiah said, with its capital in Jerusalem, but it will cover the whole earth.
“I will establish the kingdom government on earth when I return. For now, proclaim both personal salvation and kingdom authority, from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. In the meantime, there is no need for the nation of Israel to be here until it is time for My return and the kingdom restoration. Therefore, Israel will be scattered while the gospel goes to the Gentiles (Matt. 24:14). Then in the period before I return, the nation of Israel will be restored, so that there will be a place for Me to return and set up the capital of My kingdom.”

Manipulating Scripture

I heard a replacement theology pastor share the other day from Matthew 23, how God is not really concerned anymore with Jerusalem and, in fact, the Jewish people rejected the Messiah in Jerusalem. He quotes Yeshua:
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Look, your house is left to you desolate.” (Matt. 23:37-38)
Well, if we stop, it sure looks like Yeshua is done with those pesky Jews. That is what I call intellectual dishonesty. My dear brother was manipulating his hearers because he didn’t read the next verse.
“For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (Matt. 23:39)
Read differently, Yeshua was saying to the Jews of Jerusalem, “You will see me again when you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” The phrase in Hebrew, Blessed is he who comes is a greeting. When someone comes back to Israel from traveling, we say, “Baruch haba” or “Blessed is he who comes.” And Zechariah clearly says that the Jews of Jerusalem will welcome Him back.
“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son.” (Zech. 12:10)
Yeshua left the Mount of Olives with the angel saying, “He’s coming back the same way.” (Acts 1)  Zechariah 14 shows a restored Jerusalem being attacked by the nations, and “then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem.” (Zech. 14:3-4)
Beloved, again, Zion means signpost and each step of restoration in Israel is a sign that we are one step closer to His coming. Maranatha. Come, oh Lord!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Statement by President Trump on Jerusalem

Diplomatic Reception Room
1:07 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. When I came into office, I promised to look at the world’s challenges with open eyes and very fresh thinking. We cannot solve our problems by making the same failed assumptions and repeating the same failed strategies of the past. Old challenges demand new approaches.
My announcement today marks the beginning of a new approach to conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
In 1995, Congress adopted the Jerusalem Embassy Act, urging the federal government to relocate the American embassy to Jerusalem and to recognize that that city -- and so importantly -- is Israel’s capital. This act passed Congress by an overwhelming bipartisan majority and was reaffirmed by a unanimous vote of the Senate only six months ago.
Yet, for over 20 years, every previous American president has exercised the law’s waiver, refusing to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem or to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city.
Presidents issued these waivers under the belief that delaying the recognition of Jerusalem would advance the cause of peace. Some say they lacked courage, but they made their best judgments based on facts as they understood them at the time. Nevertheless, the record is in. After more than two decades of waivers, we are no closer to a lasting peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. It would be folly to assume that repeating the exact same formula would now produce a different or better result.
Therefore, I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
While previous presidents have made this a major campaign promise, they failed to deliver. Today, I am delivering.
I've judged this course of action to be in the best interests of the United States of America and the pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This is a long-overdue step to advance the peace process and to work towards a lasting agreement.
Israel is a sovereign nation with the right like every other sovereign nation to determine its own capital. Acknowledging this as a fact is a necessary condition for achieving peace.
It was 70 years ago that the United States, under President Truman, recognized the State of Israel. Ever since then, Israel has made its capital in the city of Jerusalem -- the capital the Jewish people established in ancient times. Today, Jerusalem is the seat of the modern Israeli government. It is the home of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, as well as the Israeli Supreme Court. It is the location of the official residence of the Prime Minister and the President. It is the headquarters of many government ministries.
For decades, visiting American presidents, secretaries of state, and military leaders have met their Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem, as I did on my trip to Israel earlier this year.
Jerusalem is not just the heart of three great religions, but it is now also the heart of one of the most successful democracies in the world. Over the past seven decades, the Israeli people have built a country where Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and people of all faiths are free to live and worship according to their conscience and according to their beliefs.
Jerusalem is today, and must remain, a place where Jews pray at the Western Wall, where Christians walk the Stations of the Cross, and where Muslims worship at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
However, through all of these years, presidents representing the United States have declined to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In fact, we have declined to acknowledge any Israeli capital at all.
But today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. This is nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. It is also the right thing to do. It's something that has to be done.
That is why, consistent with the Jerusalem Embassy Act, I am also directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This will immediately begin the process of hiring architects, engineers, and planners, so that a new embassy, when completed, will be a magnificent tribute to peace.
In making these announcements, I also want to make one point very clear: This decision is not intended, in any way, to reflect a departure from our strong commitment to facilitate a lasting peace agreement. We want an agreement that is a great deal for the Israelis and a great deal for the Palestinians. We are not taking a position of any final status issues, including the specific boundaries of the Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, or the resolution of contested borders. Those questions are up to the parties involved.
The United States remains deeply committed to helping facilitate a peace agreement that is acceptable to both sides. I intend to do everything in my power to help forge such an agreement. Without question, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues in those talks. The United States would support a two-state solution if agreed to by both sides.
In the meantime, I call on all parties to maintain the status quo at Jerusalem's holy sites, including the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al-Sharif.
Above all, our greatest hope is for peace, the universal yearning in every human soul. With today’s action, I reaffirm my administration’s longstanding commitment to a future of peace and security for the region.
There will, of course, be disagreement and dissent regarding this announcement. But we are confident that ultimately, as we work through these disagreements, we will arrive at a peace and a place far greater in understanding and cooperation.
This sacred city should call forth the best in humanity, lifting our sights to what it is possible; not pulling us back and down to the old fights that have become so totally predictable. Peace is never beyond the grasp of those willing to reach.
So today, we call for calm, for moderation, and for the voices of tolerance to prevail over the purveyors of hate. Our children should inherit our love, not our conflicts.
I repeat the message I delivered at the historic and extraordinary summit in Saudi Arabia earlier this year: The Middle East is a region rich with culture, spirit, and history. Its people are brilliant, proud, and diverse, vibrant and strong. But the incredible future awaiting this region is held at bay by bloodshed, ignorance, and terror.
Vice President Pence will travel to the region in the coming days to reaffirm our commitment to work with partners throughout the Middle East to defeat radicalism that threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations.
It is time for the many who desire peace to expel the extremists from their midst. It is time for all civilized nations, and people, to respond to disagreement with reasoned debate –- not violence.
And it is time for young and moderate voices all across the Middle East to claim for themselves a bright and beautiful future.
So today, let us rededicate ourselves to a path of mutual understanding and respect. Let us rethink old assumptions and open our hearts and minds to possible and possibilities. And finally, I ask the leaders of the region -- political and religious; Israeli and Palestinian; Jewish and Christian and Muslim -- to join us in the noble quest for lasting peace.
Thank you. God bless you. God bless Israel. God bless the Palestinians. And God bless the United States. Thank you very much. Thank you.
(The proclamation is signed.)
END 1:19 P.M. EST

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ON TITHES AND “BEERING” IN THE CHURCH



Never heard of the fella called “Daddy Freeze” (Mr Ifedapo Olarinde) before. I guess he must be some sort of clown, especially reading his half-baked teaching on tithes, and his announced crusade against Pentecostal preachers who ride personal jets to do their jobs, or establish high-quality universities which not all members of their congregations can afford.
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Don’t know if he is claiming to be a teacher of the word of God, but a good number of folks seem to be taking seriously his suggestions that rather than pay their tithes to worship God and take care of needs in the Church, people should use their tithes to buy beer or some other alcoholic drink of their choice and take these to drink at Church!

When the revered Pastor Enoch Adeboye observed that “even mad people know you don’t go to Church to drink beer,”  Mr Olarinde sneeringly suggested the statement is based merely on “sentiments” and does not square up with the teachings of the Scriptures.  Obviously, Pastor Adeboye is not likely to have the time to oblige Mr Olarinde of the response he was demanding for. We therefore offer the man and those insisting on a response the following comments.

Yes it is true that the Mosaic Law prescribes, in addition to the regular tithes payable to the Levites,(Numbers 18:21,24) additional tithes (every three years) for the poor and needy (Deut 14:28-29; 26:12-13), and also for the family to eat with rejoicing in the presence of the LORD in the “place” He prescribes.(Deut.14:22-27)

All the extensive preaching by Mr Ifedapo “Freeze” Olarinde on permissibility of wine and beer in the Christian culinary is absolutely unnecessary.   Most folks are very familiar with the basic difference between getting drunk and having a sip of wine recreationally. And that the latter does not constitute a “sin”. Of course, the Freezes of this world are not likely to see the multitude of Bible verses that additionally teach that not all that is allowed is expedient or beneficial.(1 Cor. 6:12, 10:23)  Even in the Old Testament, there are scriptures that aver that wine and beer are not for “Kings and Priests” who need to be sober at all times.(Prov. 31:4-5)  Why, there is even the well-known story of an old testament Priest, Jonadab of the Rechab lineage who actually forbidded his children from ever tasting alcohol (Jer 35).

But as earlier said, the issue here is not about the permissibility or otherwise of drinking alcohol; but the reasonableness of going to Church to do so. The golden passage latched onto by Freeze is Deut. 14:22-26.  It is actually interesting to see at least for once, minions of the antichrist rooting for a text in the Old Testament, which ordinarily they insist is no longer relevant. In Deut 14, the Law permittted people to take whatever they considered as delicacy, including alcohol or beer, and consume these with rejoicing before the Lord at “the place” He so designates.

The “place” is obviously the Temple at Jerusalem.  But the primary reason for the trip is not just to go there and feast on the tithes before the Lord.  Actually there are specified Feasts during which a Jew is required to go up to Jerusalem to worship and celebrate. This third type of tithes is provision set aside for the family feeding during these Feasts.(see details at https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1958/09/the-three-tithes-of-the-old-testament)

Furthermore, and more importantly, the Temple was never a one-compartment building.  Most Israelites never make it beyond the Outer Courts.  That’s where they may eat their family tithes, which might include drinking their beer and alcohol in moderation.(see details at http://www.biblestudy.org/biblepic/interior-diagram-of-temple-in-jerusalem.html).  But where the Levites/priests operate and eat their own tithes is the Holy Place which they never approach until they have washed at the Laver, and are garbed in special consecrated robes for service. The Holy Place in the Inner Court is certainly no place for beering or frivolities! Even up till today (without a standing Temple), priests in Judaism are not allowed to as much as pronounce blessing on people even after a single cup of wine (see http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/581082/jewish/What-is-Judaisms-take-on-alcohol-consumption.htm).  For Levites who wish to consume alcohol, there are myriads of side chambers (really like their private living quarters) where they may do so – still in the Temple (see for example Jer 35:1-5).  In other words, if they so desire, they may drink wine recreationally in their chambers, but not “at work” in the Holy Place.

But in the Old Testament Temple, the real place of the presence of the LORD is the Holy of Holies.  The New Testament anti-type of the Holy Place is the Church.  Even Freeze and his disciples seem to recognize that the Church is more than the building (although they at the same time refuse to recognize that Christians are Priests! – 1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 5:10, etc). The Church is indeed the coming together of the saints in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – with the assured presence of the Lord guaranteed (Mat. 18:20).  When the veil was torn from the Temple as the Lord Jesus concluded the ultimate sacrifice at Calvary, the Holy of Holies and the Holy Place merged to become a single compartment (Mat. 27:50-51).  Going to “Church” today is therefore to be likened to entering into the Holy of Holies in Judaism.

 It certainly will take more than a mad fellow to contemplate going into the Holy of Holies to consume beer!

As for all the howlers that Pentecostal preachers are threating to curse those who refuse to pay tithes, the reality is that it is God who Himself warned that those who fail to discern between the “holy and the profane,”  and robbing Him of His due tithes, are indeed opening themselves up for curses from Him. No raving pastor here!  (Mal 3:8-9)

One wonders what Freeze and his media flock would have said of the Apostle Peter in the early Church.  In Acts 5:1-10 is recorded the story of a couple who were physically instantaneous slain at the pronouncements of the Apostle.  The Freezes of this world would certainly have had much to pontificate about prestigious pastors who go about killing people who offered only half of the price of their properties just for the offence of putting such forth as the full price.  And by the way, do you talk about giving tithes in a culture where people brought ALL they have to the feet of the Apostles?  If only the 21st Century Church will retrace her steps back to the ways of the early Church.  But certainly NOT by keeping away tithes from the Church and diverting them for “beering” in the assembly of the saints!

As the African proverb goes, “Half education is more dangerous than no education.”  It is half-baked education that makes people insist that the universe came into existence on its own without a creator (Evolution Theory). Likewise, it is half-baked education that makes wanna-be scholars go around viciously teaching that it is okay for a Christian to commit sins; and that confessing, repenting or asking forgiveness of such sins is the only “sin” that God would not tolerate or overlook! That is the core tenet in the Once-saved-always-saved doctrine.  It is exactly the same half-baked bible education that makes people like Mr Ifedapo Olarinde, aka Freeze not see what even a regular mad man on the street would instinctively recognize: you just don’t go to Church to consume alcohol!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Planned Parenthood Teams up with Satanists to Promote Abortion in Missouri (USA)

Missouri has reportedly doubled its abortion capacity this year “thanks to the Satanic Temple and Planned Parenthood,” who have worked in tandem to fight the state’s restrictions on abortion.

(From http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/13/planned-parenthood-teams-up-with-satanists-to-promote-abortion-in-missouri/)

With some of the most clearly defined regulations on abortion in the nation, Missouri had managed to lower the number of abortion facilities to a single clinic, but a second Missouri clinic opened its doors recently and two others plan on following soon.

Planned Parenthood has battled against state regulations requiring abortion clinics to meet the same surgical center standards as full hospitals and for their doctors to have hospital privileges, and in April a federal court sided with the abortion giant.

U.S. District Judge Howard Sachs granted a preliminary injunction invalidating requirements for the state’s abortion clinics to meet standards for surgical centers and for their doctors to have hospital privileges, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down similar restrictions in Texas, which deemed those laws unnecessary and unconstitutional.

“Missouri has not complied with that decision,” Sachs, of the Western District of Missouri in Kansas City, wrote.

Shortly afterward, Planned Parenthood expressed its intention to expand its abortion services in the state. On Monday, Planned Parenthood Great Plains announced plans to offer abortion services at two more clinics in Missouri, including its midtown Kansas City clinic, which now offers medication abortion services.

The Satanic Temple has often lent its muscle to pro-abortion efforts alongside Planned Parenthood, and in this case has pressured Missouri legislators and worked through the courts to bring about a relaxing of abortion restrictions, according to reports. One of the Temple’s fundamental tenets is that “One’s body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone.”

On Monday, the Satanic Temple argued in a Missouri court that the state’s abortion restrictions violate members’ rights to free religious practice. The organization challenged two Missouri laws: one that requires patients to look at anti-abortion literature and another that obliges them to wait 72 hours between their initial consultations and second appointments for their abortions.

Satanic Temple members have argued that their religion prizes rational, independent thought and that forcing Satanists to read anti-abortion pamphlets and “consider a religious proposition with which they do not agree” during the 72-hour waiting period constitutes a violation of their beliefs.

read more at http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/13/planned-parenthood-teams-up-with-satanists-to-promote-abortion-in-missouri/ 

Friday, October 6, 2017

Building the Church is the first stage in building the Kingdom of God



      Anyone who is an observer of things would certainly tell that we are definitely coming close to the end of the ages. There is an unprecedented battle that is underway for the souls of nations.
    In the UK, we have seen the move of an aggressive secularism that wants to take the worship of God out of public life. We have seen our leaders embarrassed and forced to resign simply because of their faith. We have seen and see an attempt by another faith to wrest control of the nation, to seize the soul of the nation. We have seen churches closed: on the last account 500 churches in and around London closed and 480 mosques were planted in their stead. We have seen laws that are so ungodly passed. Policies that we know are so ungodly passed. It is impossible to imagine that such things can happen. We are now dealing with the issue of genders and transgenders. It’s being taken out of a lot of our literature the reference to male and female, because it is assumed that there is some middle ground that is neither male nor female. And that is official. Things are dark in the UK.
         But then, I wouldn’t say it’s any different from here. It might not be the same expression, but when we look round at the state of things here in Nigeria, we see the rabid corruption. We see the blatant use of the government’s machinery in some places to advance the agenda of one faith over another.  We read about how our curriculum for our children has been hijacked so that any reference to the deity of Christ has been removed. We look around at some parts of the Church and we marvel that this is the Church of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We hear about the killing that is taking place in some parts of the country. The persecution of Christians. The kidnapping of young girls and them being forced to convert to other faith.
        And I can go on and on and on, but you get the picture. What I’m trying to say is that it’s no different here.  It’s no different in the Middle East.  It’s no different in North America. It is no different in South America.  It is clear that the kingdom of darkness is marching on and has an agenda, and the agenda is to push back the Church, and to seize the high ground.
        How did we find ourselves in this state? We find ourselves in this place because while men slept, the enemy came and sowed tares. We ended up here because we played Church. We became politicians of an ecclesiastical nature. We specialized and majored in pettiness and distractions.  We built empires, we said we were building churches. And maybe we did, but we didn’t understand that to build a church is the first stage in building the Kingdom of God.
    If we stay in our churches and clap hands, and sing songs, the enemy will arrive at the door of our churches.  The whole essence of Church is to equip the saints for the work of the ministry.  The work of the ministry is not just the pulpit. Of course the Pastor can be President. A Pastor can be President of the Senate. Why shouldn’t ministers be heads of banks? Of course, they can!     Agu  Irukwu

Egypt Sentences ISIS members to Death for the Beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya




Remember this chilling picture? Justice has caught up with seven members of the ISIS terror group responsible for the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya in February 2015. (see Vol 18 Qtr 3).  An Egyptian court on 16th September sentenced them to death, three of them in absentia. Thirteen others are on trial in the same case, and rulings for them are scheduled to be delivered on Nov. 25.  During the two-year anniversary of the beheadings earlier in the year, a widow of one of the martyrs told the International Christian Concern that she was proud of his husband for having kept the faith.  “He has lifted our heads up and honoured us and all the Christians."  Similarly the children of the martyrs praised the courage their fathers showed the world by refusing to renounce their faith, even in the face of certain death. For details, see  http://www.christianpost.com/news/egypt-sentences-isis-killers-to-death-for-beheading-of-21-coptic-christians-in-libya-199575/